Friday, June 24, 2011

Messianic Torah Devotional by Kevin Geoffrey

book cover

Messianic Torah Devotional
by Kevin Geoffrey

ISBN-13: 0-9785504-4-7
Trade Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: Perfect Word Publishing
Released: 2008

Source: Bought.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Presenting the five books of Moses from a distinctly Messianic Jewish perspective, the Messianic Torah Devotional will forever change the way you see your relationship with God. The Torah is far more than a set of stories about the Patriarchs and the minutiae of ancient Jewish laws--it is the God-breathed instruction given to the descendants of Israel to ensure their success as His unique, set-apart people. The topics of Torah--from the fundamental to the fiery--are sure to stir you toward a life of unparalleled holiness and commitment to the Master, Yeshua.

Using the framework of the Torah portions read in the traditional Jewish annual reading cycle, the Messianic Torah Devotional explores Israel's distinguishing covenant as a rich source of nourishment for the hungry disciple of Messiah.

My Review:
Messianic Torah Devotional is a devotional book authored by a Messianic Jew. It follows the Torah portions read in the traditional Jewish annual reading cycle (provided in the back of the book), so there are 54 devotionals covering the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. It will last for a year if you read the several chapters (around 4 or 5 chapters) in the reading portion during the week and then read the devotional at the end of the week. However, you can read through it faster than that.

The devotional provides a commentary on the Scripture reading, which you read using your own Bible. It's intent is to encourage the reader to a greater trust and knowledge of God. Each devotional is three pages long and includes several quotes from the reading portion, but it's translated in super-literal way. This translation only obscures the text, in my opinion, but it's not really a problem since supposedly you've already read the same text using the translation of your choice. At the end of each devotional, there is a suggested prayer.

I thought that, overall, this devotional made some good points about the text--how we're supposed to respond to God versus how we often do and why. If you like devotionals but aren't highly familiar with the first five books of the Bible, this could be a great devotional to try.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from pages 15-17
[Please note that some actual Hebrew words and letters are used in the devotional heading and Scripture quotes, but I haven't included them in my excerpt.]

Sarah's Life
B'reshiyt (Genesis) 23:1-25:18

"And [the servant] said, 'ADONAI, God of my master, Av'raham, cause [me] to meet--please--before me this day (and show grace to my master, Av'raham; behold, I am standing by the fountain of water, and daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. And may it be, [that] the young woman to whom I say, "Please, hold out your pitcher, that I [may] drink," and she says, "Drink, and I [will] water your camels also"), her You have decided for Your servant, for Yitz'chak; and by it I [will] know....'" B'reshiyt 24:12-14

We tend to play games with God, don't we? Sometimes, we treat Him like a magic eight-ball, shaking Him around until we get the answer we want. We think that by mixing our circumstances together with our prayers, the Lord will somehow give us a sign through it--something to hang our hopes on--because otherwise, we just can't seem to hear Him.

So, how do we account for the servant of Av'raham? Surely, he concocted this scenario to figure out how to choose Yitz'chak's wife...or did he? "He is sending His messenger before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there." (24:7)

There's a big difference between grasping for direction in random occurrences or self-fulfilling prophesies, and truly being directed by the Lord. He can and does guide us by giving us specific signs to follow. The question is, do we know ADONAI well enough to recognize His signs when we see them?

"And it came to pass, before he had finished speaking [to his heart], that Riv'kah...came out, with her pitcher on her shoulder...." B'reshiyt 24:15

Following a sign from God is certainly important, but how can we tell the difference between the guidance of the Lord and our own wishful thinking? In the case of Av'raham's servant, it was easy: even before he had finished entreating the Lord, his prayers were answered!

We can miss the signs and direction of the Lord for many reasons, but the most likely culprit is that we have already made up our minds about the way we think things should go. Perhaps we ought to give God a chance to show us His way first--just in case He has a better ideas.

When we ask God for direction in our life and it seems like our prayers aren't even being heard, let us remember how easy it was for the servant of Av'raham. Maybe the reason we have so much trouble discerning answers from the Lord is that we're praying with pre-laid plans in our head. Isn't it possible that the Creator of the universe just might have something else in mind?

"And the man bowed [down] and worshipped ADONAI, and said, 'Blessed is ADONAI, God of my master, Av'raham, who has not forsaken His loving-kindness and His faithfulness toward my master...." B'reshiyt 24:26-27b

When our prayers appear to go unanswered, we're often quick to complain. But what about the times when God answers clearly--how swift are we to bless Him with worship, thanksgiving and praise? Aren't we more likely to forget the Lord until the next time we want something from Him? To a God who provides for our every need, that's really not much of a blessing.

Answered prayer is one way that ADONAI shows "His loving-kindness and His faithfulness toward" us. It proves that He not only remembers us, but that He cares enough about our daily needs to be both the compass and destination on this journey we call Life.

So, when ADONAI responds to our requests, let us not forget to be faithful to Him in return. Surely, bowing down in worship and glorifying Him with praise isn't giving too much of a blessing to a God who answers prayer...


ADONAI, I bless Your Name--You are glorious and worthy of my worship. Teach me, Father, to run to You in prayer when I am in need, and to not forget You when You show Yourself faithful. Make me Your servant, ADONAI, that by signs I may know Yor ways--that I will not set my mind according to my own desires, but clearly see Your hand of loving-kindness. I speak to my heart right now, Father, "Show me Your ways, that I may follow You all of my days...."

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