Iyar — 5776 (2016)

Jehovah rophe necklace    Last night we entered into the Hebrew month of Iyar.  This is one of the three Spring months…. Remember that each month is a progressive blessing of revelation – the blessing of the Spring months are:

  1. Reconfirm your covenant with God at Passover in the first month (Nissan)
  2. So that, He can reveal secrets of His covenant in this second month (Iyar)
  3. And then He will bring you into a whole new level of Pentecost in the third month (Sivan)

Spring is a time to plant…. as you sow this month declare that your harvest is being secured and that every seed will prosper.  Biblically it is the “New year of Kings”… a time of counting the years of the reigns of kings in ancient Israel.  It is also the month when kings go to war (2 Sam 10:1)… This is a time to reign as kings and to use your authority…. to war for your covenant promises.  Zech 10:1 tells us to ask the Lord for rain in the springtime…. this month is a time to ask for the rain of His presence.  

After coming out of Egypt, Iyar was the transition month between Egypt and Mt Sinai.  It was a transition to a new level in their relationship with Him from being one of deliverance to one of covenant.  The rabbis have traditionally taught that this new level was actually a marriage covenant between the Lord and Israel… He became their Husband. During this transition time, He began revealing His covenant secrets to them in the Wilderness.

In Ex 15:26 He revealed Himself to them as their Healer, Jehovah Rophe.  In fact, Iyar is actually an acronym meaning Ani Yahweh Rophe.  In Hebrew, it is spelled:  Aleph, Yud, Yud, Resh….. “Ani Yahweh Rofecha.  Aleph – stands for Ani,  Yud – 2 yud’s next to each other always represent God’s name and Reish – stands for Rofecha.

In Ex 16:12 He revealed Himself as Jehovah Jireh, the Lord their Provider as He sent in quail in the evening and rained down Manna (angel’s food) from Heaven.  Another covenant secret He taught them was the Sabbath (Ex 16:26)… He was trying to teach them to rest in Him, that He would provide everything they would ever need.  His provision was given even in their grumbling (Ex 16:2).  In Ex 17 He revealed Himself as Jehovah Nissi, the Lord their Banner after their victorious battle against the Amalekites.  This battle was only victorious because He was their banner and fought for them…. later after the report of the spies and they are judged to wander in the Wilderness for 40 years, they realize their sin and decide to go up and take the land against Moses’ counsel and are badly defeated by the Amalekites and Canaanites.

In Ex 17 He revealed Himself as Jehovah Nissi, the Lord their Banner after their victorious battle against the Amalekites.  This battle was only victorious because He was their banner and fought for them…. later after the report of the spies and they are judged to wander in the Wilderness for 40 years, they realize their sin and decide to go up and take the land against Moses’ counsel and are badly defeated by the Amalekites and Canaanites.  Our victories are only guaranteed IN CHRIST… Psalm 108:13; Psalm 60:12;   How do we learn His secrets?  Simply when we ask!  Dan 2:21-22, Mt 13:11, James 1:5.

 Iyar is often called the month of Ziv, meaning radiance.  It is linked with light or increased revelation.  It is the opposite of darkness….Isaiah 60:1-3.  This is also the month the disciples were taught many things about the Kingdom by Jesus during the 40 days after His death and when they waited in the upper room to receive the promise from on High.  Just like every year before, as tradition dictated, they spent the night before Shavuot (Pentecost) first taking an offering to the temple and then staying up all night studying the Word.

But this particular year on Shavuot, He fulfilled the prophecy in Joel 2.  He poured out His Spirit upon them and they became changed men and women who went forth changing the world.  This month we are still in the period of what is called counting the Omer.  Omer in the Hebrew is to form and utter speech!  This is a time to speak out the promises of God… releasing words that will help propel us into our destiny and transition us successfully into this new season!

Remember that this is the month of transition for them through the wilderness before Mt Sinai.  In the wilderness they received grace – the word encampments translates “grace was available”.  

This month walk in the abundance of grace that is yours IN CHRIST as you move towards the month of Sivan.  This month begin to learn the ways of God….the secrets of His covenant.  

The tribe associated with Iyar is “Issachar”, this is probably one of my favorite tribes.  Jacob prophesied over Issachar in Gen 49:14-15 and Moses prophesied over them in Deut 33:18-19.   Issachar was the 5th son of Leah…..five represents grace, goodness, and the favor of God.  Issachar was a man of strength that would not hold back from hard work to establish a secure place to rest.  He was a burden bearer… this links the anointing to intercession.  

Men of Issachar were also prophetic people…. they not only had an understanding of the times and seasons but they also knew what Israel should do in those times and seasons… 1 Chron 12:40.  Deut 27:12 reveals that an Issachar anointing understands the timing of God and the government of God, carries the burden of the Lord, and releases the blessing of God into the earth realm at the crossroads of every season.

IN CHRIST we have this same anointing….. to understand the timing of God and of His government…. to carry His burdens in prophetic intercession…. and to release His Blessing into the earth and to everyone we come in contact with.  This month walk in the revelation of the Issachar anointing.  

~Robin

Enemy of Israel…. healed!

naaman the syrian   And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”  When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath   ~ Luke 4:27-28

I started this blog post 2 weeks ago but a death in my immediate family forced me to put my study on hold.  Now that life has resumed back to normal, I’m excited to start blogging once again.  

We had been talking about Jesus’ teaching of Isaiah 61:1-2 in the past two blogs (see Jesus is our Jubilee and The widow of Sidon) and the people of Nazareth’s response to His teaching.  He was revealing to them that He had come to be a light and a blessing… to show forth His salvation… to the Gentiles (unbelievers) as well as the Jews.  

He was reminding them of their covenant responsibility to co-labor with Him in being a blessing to ALL the families of the earth (Genesis 12:3)…. He had blessed them to be a blessing… and to release that blessing to ALL we come in contact with.  

This example that He gave was unthinkable to their natural reasonings!  The widow represented Gentile sinners which was bad enough….. BUT Naaman represents much more than that… he was the captain of the Syrian army… the Syrians oppressed Israel.  They were enemies of Israel.  Much in the same way that the Romans were the oppressors of the group sitting and listening to Jesus.  

Surely Jesus wasn’t asking them to be a light and a blessing to their oppressive enemies, was He?  

Remember, God’s heartbeat is for the nations.  He was so intent on showing the Israelites His love and compassion for ALL people, and that ALL people can have faith in God, that He chose one of the most hated men in Israel at that time to prove it.  God in His mercy pursued Naaman…. there were MANY lepers in Israel but none of them were healed except Naaman the Syrian (Luke 4:27)  

The Syrians were always terrorizing and attacking Israel and then taking prisoners back to Syria… and on one of these raids, Namaan carried off a little girl from Israel and made her his wife’s servant (2 Kings 5:2).  

2 Kings chapter 5 opens with the Lord allowing Syria to win a battle, although we don’t know who the other side is.  The Bible also tells us that Naaman was mighty, honorable to his King (King Aram) and strong in battle.  But his military strength and glory were marred by an incurable disease of leprosy.    

This little girl that he kidnapped tells Namaan’s wife about the prophet Elisha and that Naaman could be healed if only he were with him.  

I love the little girl in this story… she is definitely a co-laborer with God…a minister of reconciliation.  She is extending the light and the blessing to the one who took her captive.  She has complete faith that if Naaman were to see Elisha he would be healed!  She had faith in her God that He is not only able to heal but is also willing to heal…. even an enemy of Israel!

While this story in Luke 4 is a rebuke to the people listening to Him that they are neglecting their covenant role of being blessed to be a blessing to ALL the people of the earththankfully, however God doesn’t just rebuke us and leave in our neglectful condition.  It is also an invitation to be His ambassadors of unconditional love… God’s love that He poured out into our hearts (Romans 5:5) … to even our enemies… those who oppose us… oppress us… or even enslave us (as Namaan did to this girl).  

Namaan goes to see Elisha.  An enemy of God, one who has attacked, killed, plundered Israel, one who has leprosy… an outcast of outcasts is standing at the door of the man of God hoping to be healed.  He comes carrying as gifts 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing and with his horse and chariot and wealth.  What a sight Namaan was… power, prestige, a commanding presence.    He had yet to acknowledge with the psalmist that “Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7).  

But rather than respond to such pomp and circumstance as Namaan was undoubtedly used to people doing…. rather than come personally, Elisha sends a messenger to him telling him to go and wash 7 times in the Jordan River and he will be made clean.  God alone would get the glory for healing Namaan… not Elisha… because Namaan was expecting Elisha, the prophet of God, to heal him… he didn’t even know the God of Israel yet.  His trust was in a man whom he assumed had “magical” powers.  

Naaman comes from a pagan country, where his “prophets” made quite a spectacle when they healed the sick. According to the Bible Commentaries, they raised their hands in the air and shouted for the sick to be healed.  

But God was after Naaman’s heart not just in healing his physical body… He was pursuing Namaan in love!   

However, Naaman almost misses his miracle healing because of pride and self-importance.  The first words out of his mouth were “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.  He went away more than just mad… the word used means wrath, rage, full of poison and venom.  

Naaman thought!  He had a preconceived idea of how he thought his healing would come about.  

How many times have we missed or almost missed our miracle because we thought God would do something the way we preconceived it?  We had it all figured out in our minds!  Thank God He is not bound to the limitations of our preconceived ideas or the boundaries of our thinking!!  

Let’s let go of our limited expectations and have faith in the God of Israel and His limitless way of manifesting miracles in our life.

Naaman thought the resources he trusted in were better than what God was providing.  He said the rivers in Damascus are better than Israel…. they are tov.  Tov in Hebrew is good… to be in proper working order, the way it was meant to… the way God created it to work.  Naaman’s pagan ways were far from tov!  He lived in a culture that didn’t function the way God created us to live.  We were created to love Him… not to serve false gods. 

He was asked to do nothing less than to betray the faith of his fathers. He was being asked to be willing to acknowledge that there was a possibility that Israel’s God could do something the Syrian god was unable to do. Naaman would have to let go of everything he trusted in and trust God for his healing.  The Jordan means to descend… Namaan would have to humble himself… to descend… to lower himself in order to be made clean.  

And this was exactly what Jesus was saying to the people in the synagogue listening to Him that day… if they wanted salvation, they were going to have to let go of everything they trusted in… their adherence to the law…their good works…. and admit they were the poor, the blind, the oppressed, unclean.. that they were no different from Namaan.. or for that matter their Roman oppressors…in need of a Savior.    Instead of responding to the rebuke and the invitation to release His goodness and His presence… His salvation…. to the Gentiles (the unbelievers), they responded with offense.  

So, after being encouraged by his servant to do what was asked of him, he steps out in faith and humbles himself by dipping in the dirty Jordan 7 times.  Naaman experienced the overwhelming power, presence, and mercy of Israel’s God and his whole attitude changed.  Naaman had a whole-hearted transformation: “Then Naaman and his entire party went back to find the man of God. They stood before him, and Naaman said, ‘Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.’”  

When Naaman goes back to Elisha’s house – he’s a changed man! There is no mention of horses and chariots this time as he returns to Elisha.  And he doesn’t just declare the goodness of God but that God is the only God in the entire world.  This is a radical statement for a man of his time, living in a polytheistic society.

Naaman’s God is now the God of Israel and he declares he will only make sacrifices and offerings to God. Before he didn’t want to wash in the Jordan River, because the waters of Damascus, were better than any of the waters of Israel, and now he wants to take dirt from Israel (v 17).

The Bible Commentaries say: he wants to take dirt because God’s presence was in Israel.  His solution to worshiping in Syria was to take Israeli dirt with him.  He asks God to forgive him when he has to bow to other “gods” because of his obligation to the king. This gentile, knows it’s a sin to bow down to any other “god” that isn’t the God of Israel.  Elisha blesses him and tells him to go in peace.  

In Luke 4:27 Jesus says there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”  

God’s heart is for the Nations…. Naaman was a changed man… a redeemed man all because of one little Jewish girl who had compassion on him… her oppressor.  

~ Robin

Full of Grace and Truth

grace and truth

John 1:14 “….We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Jesus came full of grace and truth. Full of is “pleres” in Greek which means abounding in and completely occupied with. Grace is “charis” which means bowing down favorably toward us… it’s also the Old Testament equivalent of “chesed” which is God’s covenant loyalty toward us (see the last blog post Goodness and Grace).  Chesed (grace) is His love that will not let us go!  And truth is “aletheia” which is not just truth spoken but the reality of truth.. truth revealed.

Summed up, Jesus came abundantly and completely occupied with bowing down favorably toward us… He came abundantly and completely occupied with showing us God’s covenant love toward us and revealing to us the reality of the Father… what He’s like… that He’s a good Father to us all the time. He was completely occupied with reconciling us back to the Father!!

He was consumed with revealing to us the true realities of the Father’s love.  The Word, the Son, who is God, became flesh to reveal a divine glory that is “full of grace and truth.” The Word of God became flesh to be gracious to us. The Word became flesh so that this graciousness to us would come in accord with God’s truthfulness.

Paul put it like this in 1 Cor 4:4 “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  The glory of Christ is the image of God, our Father. Verse 18 says although no one has ever seen God, Jesus has revealed Him and made Him known to us. Our Father is full of grace and truth all the time.  Verse 16 tells us that we have received “out of this fullness” grace upon grace!  We’ve received an abundance of grace.   

Sometimes I get preoccupied with the demands of my life… motherhood, being a wife, family time, making a home, friendships, our business, etc. and don’t make the time to be completely occupied with Him…. completely occupied with His love and allowing that Love to flow through me to the world around me.  Completely occupied with the truths and realities of what my Father really looks like…. and showing others what our Father looks like.

Not completely occupied with being a walking, talking manifestation of His extravagant grace.  Being full of grace makes me more pleasant to be around.  I’m not pointing out others faults or weaknesses but rather helping them to look to the One who can pour out His grace upon them.  Being full of grace causes me to encourage and walk along side those around me.  It makes me realize that apart from Him I can do nothing because in Him I live and move and have my being.

I have become more occupied lately with learning about grace and the truths or realities of my Father. The more I learn, the more it replaces old mindsets… the wrong perceptions of who my Father is and what He’s like.  And the more revelation I get, the more I become a walking epistle for a hurting world to read…. because isn’t that truly what we all want… for the world to come up and grab our coat tails and ask us how they can have a life like ours… one that is victorious, peaceful, loving, and full of grace and truth.  For them to look at us and not see us but to look into our Father’s eyes and experience His truth (realities) and His grace (chesed).  

And then we get the honor of directing them to the One who can give them life more abundantly.

~ Robin

Goodness and Grace

 

chesed love      Yesterday we looked at the word good.  We studied 1 Chronicles 16:34  O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good…  ” and learned that good is not an adjective describing God but it is who He is (see yesterdays post entitled “Goodness“).  Good and God are the same thing… they are a single idea.  He is good!  And He can’t be anything but good to you!

Good and God are the same thing… they are a single idea.  He is Good!  And therefore He can’t be anything but Good to you!

The rest of that scripture says “for His mercy (lovingkindness) endures forever”.  The word mercy is not an accurate translation.  Translators use words like kindness, lovingkindness, mercy, loyalty, steadfast love, and graciousness because there really isn’t a proper English word that encapsulates the meaning of this word. Perhaps loyal love is close.  

The Hebrew language has a word for this loyal love that is richer and deeper than anything in English—it is chesed (KHEH-sed). It is a covenant word that goes beyond the requirements of mere duty and obligation…..it is a love that WILL NOT let me go!  It is from the root word chacad, which is to be good or kind…..”to bow down.” It is a picture of God coming down to where we are (in the person of Jesus)  and providing us the Way of Salvation! It truly is covenant love…. an immovable, unshakable, unchanging loyalty to His covenant with us.

We also quoted Ps 23:6 yesterday “Surely goodness and loving kindness (chesed) will follow me all the days of my life…. goodness, and chesed (God’s loyalty to His covenant) will follow me ALL the days of my life.   The word”surely” is set as a seal upon it… it’s guaranteed… a done deal! It doesn’t depend on what I do or don’t do… I can add nothing of myself to it.  I am sealed with His goodness and chesed!

Psalm 107:1 is the same verse as 1 Chronicles 16:34 (above) and the same word chesed is used.  Psalm 136 is another identical Scripture….again the word used is chesed although our English uses the translation mercy.  I like Psalm 136 in the Complete Jewish Bible translation (you can go to bible gateway.com to read it)…. this translation always translates chesed as grace, and not just in this Psalm only.

One of the earliest usages of chesed is by Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, when he was sent to find a wife for Isaac. He realized that his success was because of the Father’s chesed (translated “kindness” in Genesis 24:12).  It was because of God’s covenant loyalty to his master Abraham.

Moses used this term to show why God delivered Israel from captivity in Egypt…. because of covenant loyalty (chesed). “You in Your mercy (chesed) have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation” (Exodus 15:13).In Ex 34:5-8 after God gives Moses the Tablets, He descended in a cloud and stood before him proclaiming who He is… verse 6 translates

In Ex 34:5-8 after God gives Moses the Tablets, He descended in a cloud and stood before him proclaiming who He is… verse 6 translates chesed as abounding in goodness! He abounds in covenant loyalty towards us.  

We see a similar statement in John 1:17  “grace (charis) and truth (reality) came through Jesus Christ.”  Jesus is the manifestation and the reality of grace and truth… of chesed (covenant loyalty). Thus we see the connection between the Hebrew word chesed (translated here as “goodness”) and the Greek charis, meaning “grace.”

Ps 117 says Praise the LORDall nationsExtol him, all peoples!
For great is his loving kindness (chesed) toward us, and the faithfulness (truth) of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!…..The CJB translation says in verse 2… For his grace has overcome us, and Adonai’s truth continues forever.

Grace and truth! Jesus came full of grace and truth….this had always been His character and by extension the character of His Father. 

Chesed is covenant word ….  it is the Old Testament equivalent of the New Testament word charis which is “grace.”  Sometimes we view the Old Testament (Judaism) as a religion of laws and the New Testament (Christianity) as a religion of grace.  God extended his grace in both Testaments… both Covenants. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He revealed his grace to the fullest in the New Testament coming of Jesus …John 1:16-17 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace…….grace and truth came through Jesus Christ…. but His grace is also displayed throughout Old Testament Scriptures

Chesed is definitely a word that begs for a deeper study than we can give to this one blog post.  Now that I know it is the equivalent of New Testament grace, it will change how I read scriptures and it will definitely cause me to do a deeper study of it.  I hope it sparked you to do a deeper study as well.

Hosea 6:6 says that God desires chesed (covenant loyalty) not sacrifice, and He desires the knowledge of Him (yada – intimate knowing as in a husband and wife) not burnt offerings.  

That reminds me of Paul’s words in Phil 3:10 that I may know (ginosko in Greek – the equivalent of the Hebrew word yada) Him and the power of His resurrection.  By going deeper, drawing nearer to Him… knowing Him more intimately… only then can I fully understand chesed.

God’s grace is a given that is always being given!  There is nothing you can do to earn or merit His grace.  It is given because of chesed… His covenant loyalty toward us…. HIS LOVE THAT WILL NOT LET US GO!

~ Robin

Abraham’s Journey part 3….. from Abram to Abraham

abraham in hebrew

So in our last 2 blog posts, Abram has been on a journey with God… a journey towards his destiny… a journey of finding the Abraham that God created him to be.  This journey required that he leave behind his father, his family, and his country.  God wanted to be a Father to Abram and to transform Abram into Abraham, the father of many nations.  First, though he had to be taught what a true father is…. his father was not teaching him about a covenant relationship with God but rather covenant relationships with idols.  Abraham made the choice to leave and set out on this journey to Canaan.

Abraham made the choice to leave and set out on this journey to Canaan.

He took his wife Sarai with him and all their cattle and servants that they accumulated in Haran… and verse 4 says that Lot went with him.  In the Hebrew it says Lot walked (halak) with him…. halak means to live following a manner of life, to follow the precepts of God, to follow after.  Lot was following Abram who was following God… reminds me of 1 Cor 11:1 when Paul told the Corinthians to “follow him as I follow Christ” or “imitate me as I imitate Christ”.  

Jump ahead 5 chapters to chapter 17 and Abram is now 99. It’s here that God gives Abram a token… a sign of the covenant He made with him in chapter 15… after he rescued Lot and gave a 10th of all (tithe) to Melchizedek.  This was a covenant of grace…  Abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness.    It’s here also that God reveals himself to Abram as El Shaddai….the God who is enough… Who is able and is everything we need.  It also comes from a root meaning “to pour out”…I am that God who pours out blessings, who gives them richly, abundantly, continually.”  

Then He tells Abram to walk before him and be blameless.  At first glance, this looks like God is giving Abram a command in order to reap the blessings of the covenant.  … to walk (halak), to follow after Him and to be complete, whole and if he can do that he can walk in the Blessing..   But remember back in chapter 15:17 “God caused Abraham to fall asleep, and then He came down in the image of a smoking

But remember back in chapter 15:17 “God caused Abraham to fall asleep, and then He came down in the image of a smoking fire pot and flaming torch and walked through the separated halves of the sacrificed animals by Himself”…… God was committed to upholding the covenant.. to blessing Abraham and his descendants whether they were faithful or not.   It was a covenant established on grace, not works.  God upheld both sides of the covenant… His and Abram’s.

God was telling Abraham to walk with him,  to follow after Him and He (El Shaddai) would make him complete and whole… and would pour out The Blessing on his life abundantly and continually.  

And finally, it’s here that he changes Abram’s name to Abraham.  God added the Hebrew letter “hei” to Abram’s name.  Hei is the 5th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and is a number for grace, goodness, and favor.  It speaks of revelation and light.  It is also the wind, breath…the Spirit of God…blowing on us.  It is the divine breath of God breathed into Adam releasing His life into Adam.  Adding hei to the end of a noun allows it to be fruitful and productive – it is the transforming power of the Spirit.

All of this was added to Abram when he finally became Abraham at the age of 99.  God poured out on him… added to him... grace, goodness, favor, revelation, light and of course the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to be fruitful and productive.  Abram became Abraham – a man whose destiny is wrapped up in and made manifest through the work of God’s Spirit.

We also receive a new identity when we follow after God and walk in covenant with Him… we are now IN CHRIST…. we are then able to walk complete and whole, blameless before God…. in the completed, finished work of the Cross and Resurrection and we receive the Holy Spirit… Who transforms us, equips us, helps us, making us fruitful. We are new creatures IN CHRIST through grace and empowered by Holy Spirit to walk out our God given destinies….  Gal 3:14, Gal 5:22-23, Rom 8:14, 1 Cor 12:4-11, Eph 3:20 and Eph 3:1-16 just to name a few scriptures.   The letter “hei” is all about GRACE…..the infusion of the very BREATH or LIFE of God within us.

Today allow Him to introduce you to your new self… to the you IN CHRIST, a new creature that never existed before!

~ Robin

 

 

~ Robin