This week’s Torah and Haftarah portions, Vayechi, reminds me of the proverb, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV).
The title of this week’s Torah portion is “Vayechi”, which in Hebrew means “and he lived”. If you have followed along my YouTube ‘Seabbatical’ Bible Studies or are familiar with weekly Torah portions in general, then you know the title of that week’s passage comes from the first few words of the first verse in the listed passage. For example, Genesis 47:28 is the first verse of this week’s Torah portion and the first few words read “then Jacob (he) lived”.
The last few weeks we have followed the life of Joseph, the favored son/hated brother, who was a victim of human trafficking, ended up in prison due to the betrayal of his brothers, and yet eventually thanks to his spiritual gifts of dream interpretation became a high official of Egypt, who saved not just Egypt, but his brothers, father, and extended family from starvation all the while trusting God and forgiving his treacherous brothers. Ironically, despite being titled, “and he lived”, this week’s portion highlights the death of both Jacob, also known as Israel, Joseph’s father as well as Joseph starting in Genesis 47:28.
However, before Jacob, father of the twelve tribes of Israel, dies he blesses not only his own twelve sons, but Jacob also blesses and adopts Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (Genesis 48). Much could be said about this prophetic significance, but for now, I believe the Holy Spirit is having me focus this particular Seabbatical on being mindful of our words as we address others, particularly our families/spouses…
As Jacob continues to give his final words just prior to his death, he “blesses” some of his sons, but much of his blessings seem more like curses or perhaps accurate prophecies. For example, when addressing his eldest son, Reuben, Jacob says, “unstable as water, you shall not excel, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it…”(Genesis 49:3-4). Jacob is referring to the incident when Reuben foolishly slept with one of Jacob’s wives, Reuben’s half-brother’s mother or like a step-mom figure (Genesis 35:22). Gross! Similarly, Jacob speaks more like a curse or rebuke over Simeon and Levi (Genesis 49:5-7) whereas he prophecizes the Lawgiver/Messiah will come from Judah’s lineage. Jacob hints the Messiah will first manifest like a young cub and then later as a mighty lion (Genesis 49:8-12). Interestingly enough, Jacob also prophecizes Dan will be like a judge and venomous snake that bites and causes harm. Jacob says immediately following as a part of Dan’s prophecy, “I have waited for your salvation, O LORD!”. It would seem Jacob could be hinting the Anti-Messiah/Anti-Christ may come from Dan’s lineage, which could also be why in Revelation 7, the tribe of Dan is not mentioned as part of the Israelite tribes sealed with God’s name on their forehead towards the very end. Moreover, Judah and Joseph have the most lengthy blessings and positive prophetic words of all the sons.
Likewise, in the Haftarah portion found in 1 Kings 2:1-12, we see King David blessing his son, Solomon, and providing him instructions namely to be careful to keep God’s instructions, His laws, commandments, etc. so that he will not only prosper, but that prophetic promises may be fulfilled through their lineage.
On a personal note, this passage of 1 Kings 2:3-4 is yet another “2-3-4” confirming the meaning of the numbers 234 I have been seeing frequently especially upon moving to Texas. In last week’s Seabbatical (posted on Flip Flop Fellowship’s YouTube channel), the Lord revealed to me the meaning of all the 234’s I have been seeing. Again this week, it’s as if Abba Father is reinforcing to me how important it is to make disciples, to be fruitful, to produce and instruct future generations in the results, the blessings of being obedient, being holy, to live it out, etc. Moreover, He seems to be encouraging me to continue to do and teach others to obey God’s instructions for life, His laws, His commands, etc. just as Jesus/Yeshua said in Matthew 5:18-19,after all, heaven and earth are still here as are God’s instructions for life.
With all that said, I am reminded in this week’s Torah portion our words (and actions) matter to God and how critical it is we take the time to bless and instruct our children, our spouses, our families, as well as others in the ways of God- primarily, by living it ourselves first. Perhaps in doing so, by doing and teaching the ways of God, we will have experienced the “abundant life” Jesus spoke of in John 10:10. After all, is not much of John 10 about hearing and following His voice? Is not the written word, specifically God’s commands, His documented voice (Deut 28:1;30:2)? Perhaps we aren’t really living life to the fullest until we surrender to the instructions, all of them, found in Scriptures. Upon doing so, perhaps angels will record what we are teaching and doing summarizing our obedience to His Voice similar to the beginning words of this Torah portion “then (s)he lived”. May we think before speak pondering carefully God’s instructions as we respond to and instruct others to also ponder and obey Abba’s instructions for life.
Better late than never! I have been battling a pesky and inconvenient sinus infection all week so I apologize for the delayed ‘Seabbatical’, which I normally publish on YouTube on Friday evenings. Due to my illness, I recorded it, edited it, and published it today, Saturday. Nevertheless, I hope it blesses you richly. This recording is themes and lessons I gleaned from this week’s Torah portion (Genesis 25:19-28:9 | Malachi 1:1-2:7).
While navigating this peculiar path and living aboard a sailboat, which my husband and I named ‘Sailvation’, I thought a nautical inspired analogy may inspire fellow boaters and others to reflect on God’s love and His plan of salvation.
B.O.A.T. – Count The Cost
Every mariner knows what the famous acronym B.O.A.T. means: ‘Bring Out Another Thousand’ for we know just about anything and everything with the word “marine” in front of it is going to cost you a fortune!
Now imagine you are a boat owner who has found themselves in a financial fiasco unable to pay the loan on your vessel, let alone the expenses of maintaining it and enjoying her. After awhile, the bills continue to build as does the green algae and moss attacking your once pearly fiberglass hull. Before you know it, many more months have passed, except now the Harbor Master at the dock yard informs you that your slip fee is even more green than what’s growing on your vessel and he is going to have to put up your beloved boat for auction to pay your debt. After all, ship happens. Meanwhile, all your dreams of cruising are sinking further and further into the muck and mire of despair.
Amazingly, in your darkest most desperate hour of need, along comes this guy name Jesus, or Yeshua in His original Hebrew name, who offers to not only pay off the now very-overdue loan on your vessel, but He’s also going to pay all your slip fees causing you to be debt free and in the clear!
You see, fellow mariner, we all are imperfect sinners, who find ourselves making foolish choices and then suffer the damning consequences. We all are sinners who have gone off course and find ourselves run aground spiritually. But the Bible, which is our nautical charts for life, tells us the wages or cost of sin is death (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Meaning our poor choices cause eternal spiritual and eventual physical death or separation from our Creator/God, who created us for relationship with Him and others. Seeing our need for help…for a Savior, or boat tow you could say, God loved each of us enough to send Yeshua, Jesus, His Son, the Messiah, to help us out by paying the cost of our sin..the cost of our lawlessness (I John 3:4) through the shedding of His blood on a cross. Can you imagine our sin cost even more than our yachts?! So much so that the only way to pay off the debt is for a perfect, sinless, Messiah named Yeshua / Jesus of Nazareth, born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23), to pay off our debt by bleeding to death on a cross fulfilling prophecy (Isaiah 53; Psalm 22; Zechariah 9:9; 11:13;12:10). Thankfully, just as the prophecies foretold, Jesus / Yeshua, rose from the dead three days later providing each of us with a hope and future of overcoming spiritual death and eventually even physical death when we are resurrected!
Clean The Exterior
After accepting His gracious offer, Jesus / Yeshua, then tells you He’s going to hose down your now debt-free yacht and even clean the barnacles of her hull. It would seem in just a matter of moments, not only was your debt washed away, but now, the exterior off your yacht gleams too!
Upon accepting God’s gracious gift of paying off our debt, He instructs us to be washed cleaned through baptism. It represents being made new and clean, being born again, or a fresh start as we wash away our unclean past.
In addition to paying all your vessel’s debt and providing your vessel a fresh start, Jesus / Yeshua, then sends His Helper over to refit the interior of your vessel. As long as you cooperate and are willing, Jesus’ Friend will teach you how to address the various issues that just about all vessels encounter at one time or another. He’ll help you remove any glaring mold while also fixing leaks and rusted chain plates. He’ll even help you replace the holding tanks, repair or replace port lights, rewire your vessel’s entire electrical needs, make sure the water pump is operating as it should along with the plumbing, replace the fabrics throughout, and just to ensure a smooth passage, He’ll even help you replace the engine and fill up your fuel tanks. Need a new bimini, a dodger, or those shabby sails replaced? No problem, Jesus and His Buddy can help with all that too!
Much like the refitting of our vessels, at some point, in God’s time, He sends a “Helper”, the Holy Spirit, which is God’s Spirit or put another way Yeshua / Jesus’ Spirit, to work on our mind, heart, and soul teaching us God’s ways and cleaning up the mess lurking within our souls (John 14:15-18; John 17:17; Acts 2:38; Acts 8:14-17; Acts 19:2-6; Romans 8:9-17; 1 John 2:24-29; 3:7-10).
The Manuals & Charts
All mariners know the manuals to your engine, electronics, and other systems on board your vessel dictate how such systems and your vessel should operate. Similarly, the nautical charts, whether in paper form or through apps, help you safely and legally navigate the waters.
Consider God’s word, whether in print or in app format, to be your guide and manual for life as it is designed to personally reveal to you important instructions on not just how to sojourn the calm waters of life, but God’s word will help you safely navigate the storms too (John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:14-17)! Moreover, His words teaches us how to best operate in God’s kingdom among many other useful tips.
Unlike waterways and nautical charts though, God’s ways and His word never change (Malachi 3:6-7; Isaiah 55:11). Instead, the more you come to know and experience as a mariner circumnavigating God’s word, you will find God’s Holy Scriptures ultimately changes you and your course (Romans 12:1-2; 8:14).
Sailing In The Spirit
Speaking of changing course, while sailing, the sailor must be in alignment with the wind or they are stuck in bondage called “in-irons”. Woven along each sail are strings called the “telltales” because they tell if you and thereby your vessel are in alignment with the wind. The telltales will be flowing horizontally when your vessel is in alignment with the wind.
Similarly, when we as followers of Yeshua/Jesus are NOT in alignment with His Holy Spirit/the Spirit of Holiness also known as wind, we too will be stuck “in-irons” or bondage as slaves to sin..slaves to lawlessness. For we know the “telltale” signs or results of being in alignment with Yah’s Wind (God’s Spirit), we will cheerfully and willingly “horizontally” submit unto His Holy Wind… The telltales of our “course” is our obedience unto Him and His directions found in His Holy perfect Word.
Obedience to Abba’s ways (Father God’s ways)..His will..His laws aren’t bondage, but liberty. Rather, rebellion is stuck in-irons to sin.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 (Free from the consequence of sin! Avoid the law of sin and death//lawlessness see 1 John 3:4, but embrace the law of God//law of the Spirit of life Romans 7:22-8:10)
“So shall I keep Your law continually, forever and ever. And I will walk (or sail) at liberty, For I seek Your precepts.” Psalm 119:44-45
If you have been following Flip Flop Fellowship’s YouTube channel, then you know for months I (Carrie) have been seeing the numbers “234” on a regular if not daily basis. When I say seeing those exact numbers everywhere, I mean I see the numbers “234” in the time, in license plates, street signs, highway exit signs, gas stations, Walmart prices, bank account balance, how many views on YouTube, parking space #234 available at the airport, route numbers, 234 comments on social media site, the amount of storage on my phone available, to numbers in my IP address, etc, etc. It is seriously everyday! And while I have had a solid indication of one possible meaning, I seem to have uncovered another. But first, let me explain one way God speaks to His kids.
When I was in the early stages of hearing God and consequently, responding in obedience, learning to trust and obey Him, God did a similar pattern of showing me the numbers “316” on a regular if not daily basis until I finally understood it’s mysterious meaning. Ten years ago, when navigating the tumultuous waters of being in an abusive marriage, Abba Father (God) used the numbers 316 to tell me to get ready to go to my vacant safe house in Pennsylvania, whose street number was 316, when He says to go! At the time, my ex-husband and I were renting an apartment in Maryland, but I owned a house in Pennsylvania. Through that marriage, it not only woke me up to the power of Jesus’ name, but I also learned how to hear God’s Spirit and plan for my life. By doing so, I am convinced it probably saved both the lives of my kids and me. Nevertheless, after getting my kids in safe homes, I had to wait for His Spirit to tell me when to flee for I learned the hard way escaping physical captivity in domestic violence can not only be incredibly destructive, but even fatal. That ordeal was quite an experience, which you can learn more about in my testimony on YouTube, but the point is God patiently worked with me until I noticed and then understood why I kept seeing the numbers “316” everywhere nearly everyday.
Many years later, the same thing is happening except this time with the numbers “234”. I know from Scripture, Abba loves patterns and themes and He most definitely loves details like numbers! In 2016, after being remarried many years later since my divorce in 2009, Abba’s Spirit called my husband and I to sell that home in Pennsylvania and eventually He revealed where He was taking us. You can read more about all that on our “Walk His Way” home page. After listing our home for sale, many months later, His Spirit whispered to me in the wee hours of the morning to go to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Long story short, that is where we went and lived for 18 months. The beach condo we miraculously purchased in cash was unit #234. Then, after living there for quite some time, I began sensing His Spirit was moving us on to the next destination of this peculiar mobile journey. In His time, He revealed we were to buy a boat and it would seem we would be headed further Southwest. Now, we live aboard a sailboat full time in Kemah, Texas. A few months after living here, I started to see the numbers “234” often, then more often, and now daily.
Meanwhile, all along since 2016, when Abba told us to list our home during the Feast of Tabernacles, which I knew very little about at the time, He has since revealed so much truth to us using the Feast of Tabernacles and incorporated it through each destination He has called us to. For example, did you know when God redeemed the Israelites from their captivity in Egypt, He had them make temporary, mobile housing in the wilderness and they were to cover their tabernacles or booths or tents, if you will, with a myrtle tree branch, a palm tree branch, and a willow tree branch (Leviticus 23:40; Nehemiah 8:13-18)? Interestingly enough, the first place God called us to was Myrtle Beach. Later, Kemah, Texas. Kemah means “tabernacle, tent, camp”. Do you see the connections of the places His Spirit has led us to with the Feast of Tabernacles? I have since realized both Myrtle Beach as well as Kemah have the myrtle tree, palm trees, and willow trees and we indeed are living in temporary housing of sorts in both places. Oh, but it gets better! After confessing on my YouTube channel, I keep seeing the numbers “234”, a subscriber shared with me Leviticus 23:40 which reiterates the very thing I am noticing using the numbers 2-3-4 in the verse itself as well as to describe those three tree branches in the Feast of Tabernacles! How YAHsome is that?!
With all that said, I have been pondering and praying on these last few months, that I suspect since He used “316” to lead me to the 1st place being Pennsylvania, then perhaps the 2-3-4 signifies the amount of places He will lead us to and where we are at in that journey. Myrtle Beach being place #2 and where the #234 first manifested as our condo’s unit number. Kemah, Texas appears to be #3 of the 2-3-4. Each time, the Lord has nudged us and then eventually directly spoke saying things like “List it during the Feast of Tabernalces” when in PA or “List it now” when we were in Myrtle Beach, He gave us a heads up and direction as to where to research ahead of time. It was never way in advance, but advanced enough that we weren’t confused, we simply knew what we needed to do. For example, after listing our home in Pennsylvania on October of 2016, Abba told me the house would sell in April of 2017 and to plan to live tiny and be mobile. So I thought we would be getting an RV. Then after purging most of our belongings, we got a contract and the house did sell (close) in April of 2017. After getting the contract is when He started talking to me about Myrtle Beach, so Jerry and I made an impromptu trip to Myrtle Beach to check it out. Likewise, before He called us to sell our 500 square foot studio beach condo in Myrtle Beach, we got word from a credible prophet, who knew nothing about us, to not get too comfortable because this was just a temporary stopping place on this God-adventure. Later, Abba began to reveal the concept of living tiny and mobile on a sailboat. It was as if God knew we needed to gradually downsize from a large 5 bedroom home to a small 500 sq foot studio condo near the beach to an even smaller sailboat! LOL During all that, He had us research and investigate places we felt He was leading us to.
The last few days, I have sensed an interesting nudge to investigate the Emerald Coast, Panhandle area of Florida. That is the Pensacola, Destin, Niceville area. Jerry and I are trying to make plans to attend a family gathering in Atlanta and so just yesterday, I was looking into potential places we could stay while driving up to Atlanta and back. One such place was to stop in the panhandle of Florida somewhere. The next morning, I woke up to a message from a girlfriend in Niceville, Florida that it has been way too long and we need to spend a couple of days together. I thought to myself perhaps the Lord is confirming the area I need to research. Then today, at Shabbat services at the Messianic Jewish congregation we attend, one of the woman excitedly told me she just got back from Destin, Florida and told me all about it. So there I was thinking surely this is not coincidence that I felt prompted to start researching that area, then hours later my long lost friend reaches out to me to come visit her there, and then a couple of hours later another lady friend goes out of her way to tell me about her trip there that I knew nothing about!
While still at worship services in a Bible study called “Torah Club”, today’s Torah portion was all about the 10 spies who were sent out to research and investigate the Promised Land. Unfortunately, most of them, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, came back fearful and caused toxic fear to spread among the Israelites instead of choosing faith in God’s plan for them in that new land. I also learned because of the spies’ fear and spreading that fear among God’s people, that generation of Israelites were cursed on the 9th of Av and were caused to wander the wilderness for 40 years to account for the 40 days of their fearful research in the future land. Scholars conclude the spies’ fearful report was presented to Moses on the 9th of Av in the Hebrew calendar because of the agriculture clues, feasts of the LORD, and history reflects major issues manifested for the Jewish people on the 9th of Av due to being cursed by God for the spies’ fear, such as the destruction of Solomon’s temple occurred on that day as well as the 2nd temple’s destruction in 70 A.D. occurred on that date. The 9th of Av falls in early August this year in the Gregorian calendar which is the time frame I was looking to “spy out” or research in person the panhandle of Florida while going to and fro Atlanta. It was then I realized, God must be sending Jerry and I out to “spy” on land #4 of the 2-3-4 right around the 9th of Av! Will we be fearful as we research yet another foreign land to possess or will we be full of faith? Is it a coincidence the LORD has been teaching me about generational curses and how to break them? Surely, operating in faith verses fear is a big part of the cure to curses!
I pray we will be like Caleb (and Joshua), who the Torah says in Number 14:24, “But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.”
While driving home after services this Shabbat, explaining to Jerry and my 15 year old son all that I learned in my class and what the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) seems to be communicating to me about the 2-3-4 meaning we will be eventually going to yet another land in our fascinating Feast of Tabernacles, wilderness journey, I saw not once, but four times the numbers 234! I took that as confirmation. After seeing the infamous “234” several times while driving home, I prayed out loud to Abba to confirm to me we indeed are being sent out to spy out or research the Emerald Coast area of Florida. I asked Him to show me in His word a verse or something related to emeralds or something else blatantly obvious. I did the same thing when He whispered to me about Myrtle Beach. He told me to go to Isaiah 55, which at the end speaks of the myrtle tree! I had no idea, but God knows His own word!
Stay tuned to see what develops with the mystery of 234. Regardless of whether He has us stay here in Texas or calls us to Florida or wherever, I pray we are courageous like the only 2 spies, Caleb and Joshua, who led the next generation into God’s Promised Land!