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Searching for our brothers

Like most people around the world, I have to keep up with the news that is taking place globally. Just glancing at a television broadcast, we have seen wars, political upheaval, natural disasters, and everything in between. Also, like most believers, I view the news through the lens of the Holy Scriptures and the prophecy described within the pages of the Bible. Over the past few years, it seems that the events foretold by prophets like Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Daniel are coming to pass at very increasing rates.

This past week, as I watched the President of the United States declare Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel, I couldn’t help but believe that this action was also part of the fulfillment of prophetic events. Yet, in my excitement at that moment, I felt within me a check in my spirit and this check redirected my thoughts to three Scriptural texts. Two of these texts are very familiar to most of those reading this article. The third may not be as familiar, but the concept and message of the verse will be.

The first verse is Matthew 28:19-20:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Ruach ha-Kodesh, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you. And remember! I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Most believers are familiar with these verses, which are often referred to as the “Great Commission.” They provide the commandment from Yeshua for all of us to be active in making disciples of all nations and teaching them to observe the commandments of Yeshua.

The second verse is found in Romans 1:16:

“For I am not ashamed of the Good News, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who trusts—to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

This verse continues the instructions of Yeshua that we read in the book of Matthew by letting us know that the “Good News,” which is the power of G-D for salvation, was to be shared to the Jew first and also to the Greek, or non-Jew.

These instructions or commandments were provided to the early believers, but as we read in Matthew 28:20, the intent of the instructions were for us to hold to them until the “end of the age.” This means we should still be making disciples of all nations because the “Good News” is the “power for salvation” and that this “Good News” should be still preached first to the Jews and also to the Greeks, or Gentiles.

The third Scriptural text I mentioned above is found in Genesis 37:13-17:

“Israel said to Joseph, “Aren’t your brothers grazing the flocks in Shechem? Come, let me send you to them.” “Here I am,” he said to him. Then he said to him, “Go now, and check on the welfare of your brothers and the welfare of the flocks and bring word back to me.” So he sent him from the valley of Hebron and he went to Shechem. A man found him there, wandering in the field, and the man asked him, “What are you looking for?” “I’m looking for my brothers,” he said. “Please tell me where they’re grazing.” The man said, “They moved on from here. For I heard them saying, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan.”

You may be wondering what these verses from Genesis 37 have to do with the verses from Matthew and Romans. Let me attempt to clarify.

Like Joseph, we have all been given instructions by our Father to go and check on the welfare of our brothers. And like Joseph, our response to the directions of our Father must be hineini (Hebrew for “here I am”). Also like Joseph, our actions must be consistent with our words. We see in the text above that after Joseph says hineini, he does go and search for his brothers. Unfortunately, Joseph is looking for his brothers in a place that they no longer are.

Suddenly a man finds Joseph and asks him, “What are you looking for?” This question in verse 15 was the cause of the check in my spirit mentioned above. Notice that the man didn’t ask, “Who are you looking for?” but rather, “What are you looking for?”

On a side note, if we look at all of the verses in the Tanakh (Old Testament) that include the word hineini we will find that almost all of them contain a person saying hineini followed by G-D providing a message to the person saying hineini. Was the man who spoke to Joseph G-D, similar to when the “Man” visited Abraham or the “Man” who wrestled with Jacob? We don’t know for sure. What we do know for sure is that the man was mentioned in the text, and this man was able to tell Joseph were to find his brothers.

It is this same message that I wanted to bring out in this article this week. It appears that in our efforts to bring the message from our Father to our Brothers, we have, like Joseph, found ourselves wandering in the wilderness. We know where our brothers once were. But, for a number of reasons, we don’t seem to know where they are today. As with Joseph, we need to listen to that “Man” who will tell us where our Brothers are so we can bring them the message from our Father and make sure their welfare is good; Make sure they have heard the Good News of Salvation.

The answer to the question, “Where are my brothers?” is found in Romans 1:16, where we are instructed to go first to the Jew and also to the Gentile. We are roaming in the wilderness because we have forgotten that our instructions were not to go to the Jew only, or to the Gentiles only, but to go first to the Jew and also to the Gentile.

My hope is that everyone who reads this article will stop for a moment and examine themselves. First, have you proclaimed hineini (Here am I). If you have examined further, do you know where your brothers are? If not, stop wandering aimlessly and find that “Man” and listen to His instructions. He will tell you where to find your brothers. Then, go to where they are and check on their welfare.

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Eric Tokajer
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, #ManWisdom, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, and Jesus is to Christianity as Pasta is to Italians.

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