Haftorah Portion: Vayishlach (Hosea 11:7-12:12, Obadiah 1:1-21)
Gospel Portion: Matthew 25:35-40
Commentary by: Brian Serrano
Human to human interaction is at an all time low. We live in a society now where individuals will have thousands of Facebook friends or Instagram followers but then commit suicide because they are depressed and lonely. Our society has far more screen time than they do face to face time. So with interaction at an all time low, people positively intervening in someone else’s life in a rarity. This is a sad state of being, because we need each other.
Let me be clear, I do not mean meddling or trying to manipulate or control someone, I mean intervening when we see a real need. In his 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language Daniel Webster says it this way:
1. To come or be between persons or things; to be situated between.
2. To come between points or time or events;
3. To happen in a way to disturb, cross or interrupt.
4. To interpose or undertake voluntarily for another.
Have we situated ourselves between someone and harm? Do we come between peoples times of hurt and sit with them until joy comes again? Can we say we have disturbed or interrupted someone’s depression or anxiety to bring them hope and encouragement? When did we last voluntarily undertake a burden for a brother or sister? In short, when was the last time we intervened in someone’s life?
God takes not intervening seriously. Obadiah 1:11 -14 says,
On the day that you stood aloof, On the day that strangers carried off his wealth, and foreigners entered his gate And cast lots for Jerusalem—You too were as one of them. Do not gloat over your brother’s day, The day of his misfortune. And do not rejoice over the sons of Judah In the day of their destruction; Yes, do not boast In the day of their distress. Do not enter the gate of My people In the day of their disaster. Yes, you, do not gloat over their calamity In the day of their disaster. And do not loot their wealth in the day of their disaster. Do not stand at the fork of the road To cut down their fugitives; And do not imprison their survivors In the day of their distress.
He was angry that Edom stood aside as Judah was plundered. They could have intervened, but they did not. They did far worse than trying to help and failing, they failed to try. They did nothing.
So God tells them in verse 15: “For the day of the Lord draws near on all the nations. As you have done, it will be done to you. Your dealings will return on your own head.
He will not deal favorably with those who can intervene but do not. Why should He, Messiah says the very opposite. He tells us in Matthew 25:35-40,
For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
When we intervene in the lives of others, it is as though we did it to Him. We bless Messiah when we bless others. That is an amazing opportunity. It should be a motivation for us to be proactive in others lives. However, it also bring to mind the law of polarity. The Law of Polarity states that all things under the Universal Laws has its own polar opposite. Within every failure there is potential for success. Everything in life has an equal opposite. It is up to us as to what side of this pole to experience. In others words, when we don’t intervene in the lives of others, we fail not just them, but Messiah. We let Jesus down.
I should confess, I have done that too many times. I have been in a rush, or self absorbed, or frankly, didn’t care enough. That is an awful confession, but a true one. I wasn’t walking close enough to the Master at different times of my life and I missed a chance to intervene. I often wonder why God gives me so many chances to try again, and He doesn’t just wipe me out. Then I read:
I will not execute My fierce anger; I will not destroy Ephraim again. For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, And I will not come in wrath. They will walk after the Lord, He will roar like a lion; Indeed He will roar And His sons will come trembling from the west. (Hosea 11: 9-10)
He isn’t human like us. (I am so thankful for that.) He doesn’t wipe us out in anger, though He could. He displays His power not in execution of wrath, but in a roar of love. Constantly intervening in my life, so that I will get up, repent, and come trembling after Him.
So let us be challenged:
Therefore, return to your God, Observe kindness and justice, And wait for your God continually. (Hosea 12:6)
Let us return to the close intimate walk with the Father, watch His good ways, and wait for opportunities to do the same. Someone intervened with the Gospel in our life, it’s our turn now.