Rosh HaShanah 2008, A D’rash

Don’t miss the post a little further down, “A Sermon for Rosh HaShanah 2008.”

What I have in this post is a d’rash, a short commentary on the Torah reading, which for Rosh HaShanah is Genesis 22, the Akeidah, or the story of Abraham and Isaac on Mt. Moriah. Here is a little d’rash from a Messianic Jewish point of view…

Rosh HaShanah D’rash 2008
Derek Leman

Genesis 22:13-14
And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place Adonai will provide; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of Adonai it shall be provided.”

What if God had not provided a mediating sacrifice? What would it have meant to Abraham? What would it have meant to us?

Suppose God had let Abraham slay his only son. Suppose all our hopes and dreams rested in the knowledge that God had not sent a mediating sacrifice.

What would history be like if Yeshua had never come?

On the surface, it might not seem that bad. There would still be Judaism. There would still be the promises made to Abraham and confirmed through Moses and the Israelites. We could worship God, right?

And for those who do not believe Messiah has yet appeared, that is how it is. For those Jewish brothers and sisters who do not entertain the idea of Yeshua being the Messiah, God has been quite silent for a long time.

Imagine if Yeshua had not come. What would be different? Would we be like Abraham on the mountain weeping for our son who was dead, taken by our own hand?

The fact of the matter is that history would have little record of God’s love. History without Yeshua would be darkness with little hope.

Perhaps my Jewish brothers and sisters would disagree with me. Some would say, “God’s promises are enough. We don’t need to have some savior figure dying for our sins.”

And we must admit, Yeshua has come, but we don’t see him now. Yeshua has come, but we are still in the grip of the darkness. Yeshua has come, but it still takes faith to believe. Yeshua has come, but our problems are not over and the long night has not ended.

But I think of what Abraham told his son as they climbed the mountain, “God himself will provide the lamb.”

You see, here’s the thing. It’s why we are able to have so much hope. It’s true, God is hidden and Messiah has left us for a time. It’s true, we appear to be in the dark just as much as everyone else in the world.

But there is a difference. For us who have faith, God has spoken in a way that is real and tangible.
God was here. He lived and spoke and remembrance of his life and words is left to us. His death was seen by many and his return to life was seen by many. God has provided the lamb even though he has not yet extinguished the darkness.

We have climbed Mt Moriah with God already and seen a lamb provided for us. And our hope is now a tangible hope. Our hope has a name, Messiah Yeshua.

I’d hate to imagine a hypothetical, “What if God had not provided a ram for Abraham?” I’d hate to imagine, “What if Yeshua had not come into the world?”

My problems are not over. But a man as real as you and me was here and he persuaded me that he was more than a man. The world has darkness, but I know the light, because he is more than a promise, more than an idea — he has been here.

And so we can truly say, “God will provide and on the Mount of Adonai, it has been provided.”


About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
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