Faith understands….

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.   ~ Hebrews 11:3

I love this verse!  First it tells us that faith understands.  We know through Paul’s teachings that the faith we live by is not our own but it is Jesus’ faith in us.  In Galatians 2:20 Paul says I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith OF the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  Our faith is His faith.  His faith in us understands!  What does faith understand?

That the worlds were framed by the word of God.  God spoke the worlds into existence.  Genesis 1:1-2:  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (2) And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.   There is so much in these verses!  Some rabbi’s spend their entire lives studying Genesis 1:1.  That’s what I love about the Hebrew language, it is a rich, meaningful language with layers and layers of meaning.

In Hebrew there are four levels of Scripture interpretation called Pardes.  Pardes in Hebrew means orchard or paradise.  It is an acroynm spelling: peshat (simple or direct meaning); remez (meaning hint — the deep, hidden meaning just beyond the literal sense); d’rash (meaning inquire or seek —  drawn out meaning of the verse, interpretive meaning; and finally sod (meaning secret — a mystery hidden and only revealed by revelation of the Spirit).  As a rule, the remez, d’rash, and sod interpretations never contradict the peshat – the simple, plain, direct meaning.

Today I don’t want to get in a deep study of it, I just want to look at the surface level of it. What I believe is the peshat of this verse.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and we know from later accounts of creation, ALL that He created is good.  But in verse 2 we are told that the earth was without form and void.  Without form and void in Hebrew is “tohu v’bohu.”    It refers to something with no shape and no definition.  Living Bible say “a shapeless chaotic mass.”  The Voice translation says it lacked shape, was totally empty and had a dark fog.   Then in the rest of Genesis 1 God takes the chaos, the dark fog, the formless and emptiness and brings order to it.  Makes it into what He purposed for it.  He takes it and makes it what He “created” in Genesis 1:1…. what He chose (bara in Hebrew).  He did that with words…. Genesis 1:3:  And God said!  He commanded, He declared.

Faith understands that!  God spoke order into the chaos, the fog and the emptiness… into the tohu v’bohu.  Speak is rhema in Hebrews 11:3.  We are speaking spirits, created in the image of our Daddy.  Co-speaking just like Him.  Forming our worlds just like Him. He formed the world to look like what He created it to look like… taking the not (the tohu v’bohu) and the dark and making them seen.  Forming them from the Light He spoke into them.

I love that the Greek word for formed in this verse is katartizo.  It is two words… kata meaning down and artizo meaning to adjust.  It is to adjust to be in good working order (which is tov in Hebrew! Everything God created He said was tov.. it was good!).  It is to adjust to make fully functioning… to mend and to restore.  The root of this word is my favorite!  It is viewed in terms of the present… the here and now! Complete, perfect, ready NOW!

Romans 10:8 connects the rhema to faith just like here in Hebrews 11.  It says the rhema is the spoken word (rhema) of faith.  Sometimes our worlds do not look like what God created them to look like.  They don’t look like what He has said about us… that in Christ we lack no good thing.  That we are saved:  healed, delivered and made whole in every area of our life (spiritual, physical, mental, social and financial.)  Sometimes, our lives look chaotic and empty.  Lacking.  It seems like we’re in a fog sometimes and can’t see the promises of God.

But faith understands!  It understands that God spoke to and formed out of nothing what we can see with our eyes.  Faith understands that just like our Daddy we are speaking spirits and can do the same thing.  Speaking His words (rhema) of faith… calling forth those things that be nought as though they were.

We don’t have to wait til someday when we get to Heaven to see the manifestation of things like healing, abundance, restored relationships, wholeness in every are of our life, etc.  Faith is NOW!  And according to Hebrews 11:3 forming our worlds by our words (like our Daddy) also results in NOW!

Our words are powerful… and faith understands that. Jesus said in Luke 6:45b out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  He said that after he just said that out of the treasure (storehouse) of your heart you will bring forth good things.  Bring forth is prophero meaning  to move something to necessary manifestation!  How do we move something to necessary manifestation?  Through our words which speak and Heb 11:3 tells us that forming is rooted in the NOW… we can see it here in our lifetime.

Our words speak forth what is stored in our hearts.  His faith is stored in our hearts!  We don’t have to rely on our own faith… we simply, like Paul, live our new lives by the faith OF the Son of God.  Resting in His faith!  Speaking forth His faith!  Saying what He knows to be true about us.  Forming our (NOW) world by speaking words of faith that say…..

I am righteous

I am holy

I am complete in Him

I have abundant life!

I am filled to the FULL with the FULLNESS of the Godhead!

He is the Health of my body!

I have ALL things that pertain to life and godliness!

I am saved – healed, delivered and whole in all the 5 areas of life… physical, spiritual, mental, social and financial!

I have NO lack!

I walk in favor!

This is what faith… His faith in you.. understands! I challenge you to go find out what God says about you and begin to speak it forth and watch the manifestation of His abundant life begin to form your world in this lifetime!

Because faith understands that just like Abba framed the worlds by His words….we also frame our world by our words!

~ Robin

Speaking Spirit

Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children….. Ephesians 5:1

We are to be imitators of God.  Mimic Him.  Imitate the pattern He has set.  The amplified version says to imitate Him as well-beloved children imitate their fathers.  The Message Bible says watch what God does, and then you do it. Like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.  

I love that this verse starts with BE… just BE an imitator.  You don’t have to work at it.  You don’t have to practice it.  You just have to BE.  BE who you are IN CHRIST.  You were made in the image and likeness of God.  Genesis 2:7 says that He breathed life into man and he became a living being.  In the Targum (the Aramaic translation of the Old Testament), the Jewish sages have translated “living being” as “speaking spirit.”  He made us a speaking spirit….. made in His image….. to create our world through our words, just like Him.

Romans 4:17 says God calls those things that are not into existence…. He calls them – He calls aloud, utters in a loud voice, He calls them by name.  Mark 11:22-23 shows us that God’s faith “speaks.”  Job 22:28 says “you shall decree a thing and it shall be established.”  And of course, one of my favorites is 2 Cor 4:13 But having the same spirit of faith according to that having been written: “I believed, therefore I have spoken,” we also believe and therefore speak.  

God is a speaker!  He spoke everything we see around us into existence.   Hebrews 11:3: Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.  This is the faith chapter!  It says faith understands…. it understands that the worlds were framed by the word of God.  The word of God is the rhema word.  The spoken word.  Faith understands that the spoken word contains power to frame the worlds…. to accomplish or bring to pass what is spoken.

The word in Hebrew is dabar and is more than just the spoken word, it’s an act… something carried out or completed.  Dabar is not just sounds… it’s words that have within them the energy or power to accomplish what is said.  God said “Let there be light. And there was light” “We lay hands on the sick and say be healed.  And they are healed.”  We are speaking spirits just like our Daddy!  The words we speak carry within them the power to accomplish what was spoken.

Isaiah 38:7b says “…… that the LORD will do this thing that he hath spoken;”  In Hebrew it says Yahweh will do this.  Yahweh is the Covenant Name.  It is the unspoken name in Hebrew.  Instead of Yahweh, ancient Jews and conservative modern ones say Ha’Shem… The Name!  This Name was so sacred that they would not speak it nor would they write it in full (they left out the vowels: YHWH).  YAHWEH was the Holy One of Israel. In Hebrew it is spelled Yod-Hey-Vav-Hey, which means Behold (Hey) the Nails (Vav), Behold (Hey) the Hands (Yod).  Yahweh is Yeshua…. He is Jesus!

Then it says in Isaiah 38:7b, Yahweh (Jesus) will do that. What will Yahweh do?  The rest of the verse tells us, this thing that is spoken (dabar).  But right between “Yahweh will do” and “this thing that is spoken” is the untranslatable Hebrew word “et.” In modern Hebrew grammar it is a direct object marker, pointing out the subject of the sentence.  But I believe that it is actually direct object marker pointing to Jesus.  Alef tav in Hebrew is alef – the beginning letter of the alphabet and tav – the last letter of the alphabet.  Jesus said He is the Alpha Omega… the beginning and the end in Greek.  In Hebrew He would be the Alef Tav.  It also means power of the Cross or power of the covenant.  This little word “et” is scattered all throughout the Old Testament in various places. It’s an identity marker. A road sign if you will, alerting you to a New Covenant truth in the verse…. alerting you to God’s heartbeat.  It is an object marker, so to speak, directing you to the Object – Jesus!

John 14:13a says And whatever you might ask in My name, this I will do.  Whatever you ask… whatever you call for.  It also means whatever you understand.  Remember Hebrews 11:3 says “faith understands that the worlds were framed by God’s spoken word.”  Faith in us (His faith) understands that we are made in His image and likeness, and in Christ our worlds are framed by our spoken words. They have the power to accomplish what we say!

Let’s read Isaiah 38:7b in light of John 14:13 and include the alef tav marking.  Yahweh will do this thing that is spoken (by us)  IN CHRIST.  We are in Christ and what we speak has power!  We are speaking spirits just like our Daddy.

Prov 18:21 tells us that death and life are in the power of our tongue.  One meaning of power is border.  I like that… it’s within the “borders” of our tongue.. our words, what we say! One of the synonyms of border is hem.  Hem yourself in with the IT IS FINISHED!!

A border is an edge or boundary of something. So begin speaking and framing your world with this as your border…… IT IS FINISHED!

I am healed!

I am righteous!

I am holy!

I am loved!

I am complete!

I am as He is in this world!

I am prosperous!

I am delivered!

I am FREE!

I am whole in every area of life – spiritual, physical, mental, social and financial!

There is nothing missing and nothing broken in my life!

I am favored, I have favor and I continually walk in favor!

I have ALL things that pertain to life and godliness!

I am more than a conqueror!

I have the FULLNESS of the Godhead in me!

I am anointed and know all things!

I am love!

I am good!

I am IN CHRIST!

I am co-crucified, co-buried, co-resurrected and co-ascended with Christ!

I am co-seated with Christ in heavenly places!

I reign in this life through the gift of righteousness and the abundance of grace!

I am dead to sin and alive to God in Christ!

~  Robin

Wise home builders — Rebecca

I have to confess that I didn’t always think Rebecca was a very wise home builder.  I thought she was a bit manipulative “deceiving” Isaac.  And for favoring one child over the other.  But a few years ago as I was working on my Proverbs 31 Bible study and looking at all of these different women, I began to see Rebecca differently.  I believe I began to see her through Abba’s eyes… and I hope you do too.

Rebecca had been barren for 20 years.  And now, her pregnancy was not an easy one. The Bible says the babies struggled within her.  The Hebrew word for struggled means to crush or oppress.  It sounds like a violent word.  I’ve had 4 babies and they all moved around a lot while I was pregnant and occasionally kicked really hard.  But it wasn’t a violent moving around.  I can’t even imagine what that must’ve felt like.  She wanted to know why this was happening to her….

So Rebecca inquired of the Lord (Genesis 25:22).  This is the first time that a woman is mentioned as “inquiring of the Lord.”  That tells us a lot about Rebecca’s relationship with God.  Something didn’t seem right to her about this pregnancy.  God had blessed her with a baby after 20 years and it didn’t seem “normal” to have sorrow or trouble with it (Proverbs 10:22)….. there was a violent warring going on in her womb.  She obviously had a personal relationship with God and wanted to hear what He had to say on the matter.

In Genesis 25:22-28 tells us that Rebecca inquired of the Lord and He answered her with his plan for the Jews – she had 2 nations at war in her womb. He said they would be divided from birth…. two nations, two kingdoms.  The Hebrew word for nations is goyim, which means both Jewish and Gentile nations.  The Jewish nation of Israel will be from Jacob, and the Gentile nation will be from Esau (later the nation of Edom).  One people will be stronger than the other because Israel will be stronger than Edom. And the older will serve the younger (Second Samuel 8:12-14) because Edom would be enslaved to Israel.

Romans 9:10-13 emphasizes the importance of God’s word to Rebekah.  Before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad, in order that God’s purpose in election might standnot by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”  Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”   The LORD’s choice of Jacob, the younger, to inherit His covenant promise was made before the boys were even born. This showed that the choice did not depend on what either did.  This was not about birth order but rather Divine election.  Jacob’s destiny was to produce the lineage that the Deliverer would come…. to be an heir of the Promise (Hebrews 11:9).  

After she had given birth, it says Isaac loved Esau and Rebecca loved Jacob.  This is more than just parental favoritism over children.  Rebecca understood the importance of God’s word to her.  She chose what God had already chosen.  In order to understand this, we have to look at the natures of the two sons.

Esau

Genesis 25:27 gives two descriptions of Esau…..

  • cunning or skillful hunter
  • a man of the field.

He was a skillful hunter.  This isn’t referring to him as a rugged hunter.  A manly man.  An outdoorsman like Daniel Boone.  It isn’t a positive characteristic.  Another man earlier in Genesis is described as a skillful hunter… Nimrod.  Josephus said of Nimrod that he “excited them (the people) to such an affront and contempt of God.”  The meaning of Nimrod’s name is “rebel” or “let us revolt.”  He had contempt for the plans of God and he hunted men, enslaving them in his rebellion.   Esau was a man of the field who knew entrapment.    “Knew how to trap” in the Hebrew implies that he used superficial righteousness to trap with his mouth/words. Basically, he may have talked the talk but he didn’t walk the walk!  He was a man of the flesh who knew how to deceive.  He was a man ruled by his carnal nature… by his senses.

Esau was a man of the field who knew entrapment. “Knew how to trap” in the Hebrew implies that he used superficial righteousness to trap with his mouth or his words.  Basically, he may have talked the talk but he didn’t walk the walk!  He was a man of the flesh who knew how to deceive.  He was a man ruled by his carnal nature… by his senses.

He sold his birthright for a bowl of stew!  Genesis is not the only place we are told that.  It’s mentioned in Hebrews 12:16 Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal.  In this verse he is described as godless and immoral…. a fornicator and profane.  Fornicator would refer to idol worship.  He had married foreign, idolatrous Hittite wives.  Profane refers to people unfit to access (to know) God because they approach Him apart from faith.  Esau didn’t know God.  He gave away his birthright… the verb literally means “to give it away.”  In Genesis 27:34 the fact that he is so upset over Jacob having the Blessing indicates that he had an understanding of how powerful The Blessing was and yet still gave it away… he had an understanding of its power but not a care for it.  It meant nothing to him.

This is Esau.  He had no ethics or faith, no scruples or reverence. He had no regard for the good, the truthful, the divine. He was totally worldly, totally secular, totally profane.  He married foreign women who worshipped other gods and they were a source of grief to his parents… in Hebrew, it says they were bitterness to his parent’s spirits.  Even later he added to those wives one of Ishmael’s daughters.  He had no love for God or the things of God.

Jacob

I think Jacob has gotten a bad rap over the years.  He’s often described as deceitful, a schemer, and stealing the Blessing from Esau.  But how does Holy Spirit describe Jacob in Genesis?  After all, His opinion is the only one that matters.   Genesis 25:27 says he was a plain man who dwelt in tents.

The Hebrew word translated as mild or plain is “tam” meaning complete, pious, perfect, undefiled, and upright. “Tam” is one of the most common words the Bible uses to refer to being wholeheartedly devoted to walking with God. This word is the opposite of our English word “hypocrite.”  He was a man wholeheartedly for God….. sincere in his love for God.   This is the Holy Spirit’s basic assessment of Jacob’s character.

He was a man of integrity who dwelled in tents!  The writer of Hebrews (Hebrews 11:9) says their choice to dwell in tents was an act of faith!  He, like Abraham and Isaac, chooses to focus on the Promise of God.  So from this we know he was a man of faith.  Another character trait of Jacob’s that we see is in chapter 27 when he is pretending to be Esau.  He is kind and gentle.  In verse 19 he asks Isaac to please sit up and eat compared to verse 31 when Esau speaks to his dad he just tells him to sit up and eat.

His name has been defined as “deceiver” but actually, it means heel.  Because as they came out of the womb, Jacob grabbed Esau’s heel.  It doesn’t strike me as a negative word.  Remeber they were struggling (crush or oppress) together in the womb.  It sounds like Jacob was Esau’s determined pursuer…. the one who would overtake and dispossess him.  Hosea 12:3 mentions it and calls it strength.  Rebecca named him according to his destiny….. according to the prophetic promise she had from God.

Rebecca’s intervention

Rebecca like Eve and Sarah held onto God’s Word.  She guarded and protected what God had told her.

Rebekah is often blamed for the partiality or favoritism she manifested for Jacob.  I don’t believe that’s true.  She believed God. She loved Jacob because Jacob was the Lord’s preference. … Rom 9:13 God says Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated…. speaking of two opposing nations.  An opportunity presented itself and she took it.  In Genesis 27 it says Isaac was going to bless Esau his firstborn as soon as he came back from hunting.  She heard this and then responded in faith.

I’m not sure why Isaac was going to bless Esau with the Blessing.  Esau had already married two Hittite wives and made life miserable for Isaac and Rebecca.  Didn’t Isaac realize that with idolatrous wives it would be difficult to produce the lineage of the Promised Deliver?  That because of idolatry Esau wouldn’t be able to walk in the Blessing that Isaac was giving to him?  All I can determine is that Esau was very cunning and very deceptive and had Isaac completely bewitched.  But regardless of why Isaac was ready to bless Esau, Rebecca was aligned with God’s choice.   Holding onto and acting on the promise God had given her.

Rebecca sided with God’s preference.   She recognized Jacob as the chosen son… just like Isaac had been the chosen son.  Holding onto and acting on the promise God had given her.  Faith requires action.  And Rebecca acted on her faith.  When God blessed her with pregnancy and it wasn’t going so smoothly, she sought God to find out why.  This showed great faith and strength of spirit.  There is no reason not to think that when it seemed like Esau would receive the Blessing that God had promised Jacob that she again sought the Lord in prayer.  That may have given her the confidence she needed to pursue His promise.

She was a woman who had the faith to ask for guidance and who had the faith to follow it; because of her faith, she was able to be a great co-laborer with God and influence the whole course of history.  She was protecting a lineage.  She continued to protect it by sending Jacob away when Esau plotted to murder him.  And also by sending him to find a godly wife instead of an idolatrous Canaanite wife.  Rebekah was a wise home builder risking deception to follow God’s promise, and His plan unfolded exactly as He had told her.

Are you watching over the words God has spoken to you?  Protecting His promises over your family at all costs…. even if your actions and character are misunderstood?  Are you co-laboring with Him to see His plans unfold exactly as He has told you?

~ Robin

Which Law did God write​ on our hearts?

“This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the LORD: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”  ~ Hebrews 10:16

In a Bible study, I recently started attending it seemed like you had only 2 options…. antinomian (against the Law – basically hyper-grace) or a mix of law and grace (saved by grace but relying on the Law to keep us holy – specifically 10 commandments).  I guess if those are my two options, then I must be antinomian.  Though personally, I prefer the term “IN CHRIST” because in Christ we are no longer under the Law (Galatians 3:24).  I am definitely against the idea of following the Old Covenant Mosaic Law as a moral compass.  I tackled that issue in yesterday’s blog post 10 Commandments.    

law hearts 1

I do know quite a few people who believe that the law God has written on our new hearts as believers is the Old Covenant Law, making it easier to walk out.  Why would God write the Mosaic Law on our hearts?  All that the Law did was arouse sinful passions (Romans 7:5).  Also, Romans 7:4 says that we died to the Law through Christ and we are now married to Him.  So, if it’s not the Mosaic Law on our hearts.  Which law did He write?  According to Hebrews 10:16 He wrote laws (plural) on our hearts and our minds.  I’ve found 4 different laws mentioned in the New Testament.

The Law of Love

Under the Mosaic Law, love was commanded in order to receive the blessings of long life, many children and for life to go well for you.  Failure to obey this command of love would obviously result in not attaining those things.  Deuteronomy 6:5 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.”  This is impossible to fulfill in ourselves!  No one can love God with ALL of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We try… we give it our best shot… but that is an impossibility in and of ourselves.  But of course that was the purpose of the Old Covenant laws… they were meant to point us to Christ.  To awaken in us the revelation that we in our selves… in our flesh… we cannot walk out or obey these laws… we need a Savior. 

Under the new covenant of grace, Love is given to you.  Out of Christ’s measureless love, we are now able to love others.  It’s out of the overflow of His Love in us.  It’s not something we have to work up in ourselves towards others or even towards God.  Romans 5:5 tells us God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. God abundantly poured His love into our hearts by giving us the Holy Spirit, … the Spirit of Grace.  Jesus said, “As I have loved you” – it’s out of His love that is in us that we are able to love.   Do you see the difference between the old and new?  Under the old, you loved others because you feared punishment…. you feared not receiving His blessings, His promises.   But under the new, you love because the Lover lives in you and His nature is Love.  He can’t be anything else.  It’s not just an adjective that describes Him, it is who He is (1 Jn 4:8)

The law of the Spirit of life

The Old Covenant was a written code no one could keep (except Jesus) and the New Covenant is Christ Himself living in you.  Paul told us in Romans 7:24 that trying to keep the Old Law makes you frustrated and miserable… “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”  Notice he didn’t say what will rescue me but rather Who… Who will rescue me?  And the answer was….Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 7:24-25a).  The old law is a what but the new law is a Who.  The old law ministers condemnation and death (2 Cor 3:7-9), but the new law of the Spirit gives life (Rom 8:2).  The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Cor 3:6)  So Who gives life… Who rescued from the frustration of trying to keep the Law?  The Spirit of Christ within you. 

The perfect law of liberty

James wrote that “the perfect law gives freedom” (James 1:25).  In contrast, Romans 7:6 tells us that the law of Moses binds.  What is the perfect law that gives freedom?

It’s Jesus, the living Word who set us free.  The perfect law of liberty describes what Jesus has done (perfectly fulfilled or completed the law) and the fruit He will bear in our lives (liberty) if we trust him.

But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do. (James 1:25)

Look into the mirror of Moses’ law and you will be miserable, for it exposes all your faults… your weaknesses in serving God in the flesh.  It is like putting a veil over your eyes and you are unable to see that Jesus fulfilled it all not just for you… but as you!  Looking into the perfect law, which is Jesus, blesses you because it reveals his righteousness.

But it also says “Don’t just listen but do what it (the perfect law of liberty) says” (James 1:22). In other words, allow the Spirit of Christ to convince you that in Him you are righteous and holy. Don’t walk away from the perfect law and forget who you are in Christ. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Look intently with an unveiled face and be transformed into his likeness.

Law of faith

Romans 3:27 says Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.  God is a faith God.  Without faith, it’s impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6), so our relationship with the Lord is dependent on it. Faith is what brings the things God has provided for us from the spiritual realm into the physical realm (Heb. 11:1). Our faith is the victory that enables us to overcome the world (1 John 5:4). Everything the Lord does for us is accessed through faith.

And He has given to us His faith…. Galatians 2:20 says “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  We live our lives by His faith.  Paul did not say that he lived by faith IN the Son of God but by the faith OF the Son of God. The measure of faith that Paul had was the same measure that Jesus had. It was Jesus’ faith. If there is only one measure of faith (Rom. 12:3), then we also have the faith of Jesus.

We don’t have to wonder if we have enough faith for something… or try to work up our faith.  He gives us His faith to live by.  How do we access this faith? Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” We access God’s faith through His Word.  When we hear God’s Word, the Holy Spirit empowers it, and if we receive the truth, God’s supernatural faith enters us.

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that faith is a fruit of the Spirit.  Faith becomes a permanent part of our born-again spirits.  There is no lack of faith within any true Christian. There is just a lack of knowing and using what God has already given us.  Philemon 1:6 says, “hat the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” Notice that Paul isn’t praying that Philemon will get something more from the Lord. He was praying that his faith would begin to work as he acknowledged what he already had. The word “acknowledge” means, “to admit, recognize, or report the receipt of.” You can only acknowledge something that you already have. We already have the faith of God, and it will begin to work when we acknowledge this.

Why would we want the Old Covenant Law written on our hearts?  It is a ministry of death and condemnation.  The New Covenant of grace and it’s laws that are written on our hearts is a ministry of life.  The Spirit of Life abides in us and teaches us all things.  He transforms us into the image of the Son.  The Old Mosaic Law was made obsolete…. Hebrews 8:13 When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete.  Colossians 2:14 tells us that it was nailed to the Cross.  Ephesians 2:15 tells us that in His incarnation, He rendered the entire Jewish system of laws and regulations useless as a measure to justify human life and conduct.  Hebrews 8:7 says that if there had been nothing wrong with the first covenant there would’ve been no need for a second covenant to replace it.  

We don’t need the Old Covenant Law to show us how to live holy lives.  First of all, we have already been made holy — 1 Corinthians 1:30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.  In Christ, we are righteous, holy and free from sin!  That’s good news!  Second of all, Titus 2:11-12 says that grace, not Law is what we need to teach us how to live holy — For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. Now that Jesus has come, we no longer need the supervision of the law.  So begin today to live a grace-filled life… standing fast in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, not becoming entangled again with a yoke of bondage to the Law and it’s commandments. (Galatians 5:1).  

~ Robin

SaveSave

Following in the wrong footsteps….

In our last post (Tammuz 5776 (2016) we learned that Reuben took his eyes off the prize (Phil 3:14).  The sad thing is his descendants also followed in his footsteps… the tribe of Reuben also lost their inheritance.  Wrong vision can cost you your inheritance.

inheritance

As they were about to enter into the Promise land… the tribe of Reuben chose not to cross over.  They stayed on the east side of the Jordan.  They made a choice not to move towards their inheritance.  After 40 years in the wilderness, Israel was getting close to the Promise Land.  But they had to cross through Amorite territory in order to get there

They were attacked by two Amorite warlords named Sihon and Og (Numbers 21:21-35).  

The Amorites were most likely the largest of the 7 enemy nations in Canaan.  They were large and powerful and controlled much of the Promise Land.  Their center of power was Cheshbon which means “reasoning”.  The Amorites were a warlike tribe and their name means to “say or speak” from a root word meaning to speak against or boast of self…. it includes all evil speaking, boasting, slander, boasting, murmuring, complaining, grumbling, blaming God, etc.  This translates as “a talker and a slayer.”

This enemy uses his words to reason with you and cause you to doubt what God has promised you or to settle for something less based on natural reasoning…. which is exactly what the tribes of Reuben, Gad and 1/2 the tribe of Manasseh did.  

King Sihon refused to allow the Israelites to pass through their land.  Sihon means tempestuous and also means warrior.  He gathered all his people together and he came to Jahaz and fought against Israel.  Jahaz is from a root meaning to stomp.  It was here Sihon and his men fully intended to stomp out the Israelites but instead, the Israelites defeated them with the edge of a sword and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok.  Arnon comes from a root word meaning a ringing cry, or joy.  Jabbok comes from a root meaning luxuriant or abundant… to pour forth.  

Like Sihon, we have a violent, raging enemy that opposes us, desiring to stomp us out.  He attempts to target our thoughts and reason with us…..”Has God really said?”  

Just like the Israelites defeated their enemy with the edge of the sword, so can we.  The word edge in Hebrew is mouth.  Ephesians 6:17 tells us that the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit.  By using our mouths to wield the sword against this enemy we will defeat him and take possession of territory that he has illegally stolen from us.  Not listening to his evil words but declaring the promises of God as yes and amen in Christ.  We will regain our joy and abundance.

Then Og, king of Bashan, went out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei (meaning might or strength).  Deuteronomy 3:11 describes King Og of Bashan (meaning fruitful) as ‘the last of the remnant of the Rephaim’ and notes that his iron bed measured 13.5 ft by 6 ft.   Most likely, Og is not a personal name but a title given to the Canaanite king meaning man of valor.  God told Moses not to fear Og because He has delivered him into their hands.  Israel fought Og and conquered their land.  No matter how big or strong the enemy appears to be he is a defeated foe… stripped of all his power (Col 2:15).  Declare your victory over him and take back your fruitfulness and strength.

The Amorite territory was never part of the Promise Land. Israel had told the Amorites that they did not want to possess their land and asked permission to cross over.  But Reuben looked around and said “We’ll take this for our land”  They chose the territory of Sihon and Og (Num 32:33) over the Promise Land God had chosen for them.

Because of this, they had continual trouble:

  • They were attacked by their pagan neighbors
  • They were drawn into the idolatry of their neighbors
  • One of the first tribes to be taken into captivity

Why did the tribe of Reuben settle for a land that was not the Promise Land?

“The Reubenites and Gadites, who had very large herds and flocks, saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were suitable for livestock”  Numbers 32:1

They reasoned based on their natural vision, forsaking the vision God had for them.  The land of Gilead is lush and fertile; they saw that and thought, Why should we go any further? They saw something…. it looked good, and they were willing to stop short of what God had promised to them in order to have it.  What they saw was beautiful and bountiful…..however, what they saw was not the Blessing that God had for them.

In this decision, the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh divided the nation. They separated themselves from the Blessing of the land of Canaan. As a result they were farther from the tabernacle and much closer to the influence of the pagan nations that surrounded them.

God has promises for us that He desires we step into.   But to make this shift will require that we be willing to lay aside all natural reasoning… stop looking at things in the natural and step into faith….. like the children of Israel to go to a new place where we’ve never gone before.  

What has God promised you?…. health, healing, prosperity, etc?  Don’t settle for anything less!  In a time of transitioning not everyone will be willing to move forward with you. Be willing to leave behind the familiar to cling to God’s promises even if it’s unfamiliar territory for you.

~ 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

Av – 5776 (2016)

We’re already almost halfway through the month of Av….. it’s been a busy month for us in the Smit family.  We’re at the height of our summer farming season and life for us just feels non-stop, go, go, go.  I’m not complaining though… God has been so good to us and our fruit harvests get better and better each year.

I’ve also taken on teaching 4 Bible studies per week… one at church, one at my home, and 2 on an app called oovoo.  I love studying and teaching but it does leave me with very little time during the week for anything else.

However,  I wanted to take a moment this morning and write about the month of Av because it really is such a great month.. full of promise… even though on the Hebrew calendar this month is considered to be a low point….. a month of sorrow.  When studying the Hebrew months, we are to look for the redemptive side of things and pull out the treasure..pull out God’s original plans and purposes for each month.  

Av was originally meant to be the month that the Israelites entered into the Promise Land BUT on the 9th of Av, ten of the spies came back with an evil report.. a report full of unbelief.  They came back and gave the people a mixed report (Numbers 13:25-14:10).  They told the people that yes it was true that it was a good land…. a land flowing with milk and honey…. BUT there was no way that they could take the land because the giants were not only bigger than them BUT even too big even for God.  They had a zero chance of success!

That report struck fear into the hearts of the people and caused an entire generation to miss out on entering into the promises of God and they had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years until they died there!  That story makes me think of Acts 13:36.  It says he served God’s purposes in his generation. David had served his generation well.  The ten spies didn’t serve their generation well.. they didn’t serve God’s purposes in their generation.  Instead, they caused their generation, through their mixed words of unbelief, to miss out on the purposes of God.

I want to be one who serves my generation well.  I want the words of my mouth to cause faith to arise in the hearts of those around me… to release life and destiny to them.  To encourage and help my generation reach their destinies.  And for the purpose of God to be manifested in their lives.  I choose to speak life words…  to give a report that stirs the hearts of those around me to press into the promises of God.  So that one day, like David, when it is time to “fall asleep” and be buried that it will be said of me that I served the purposes of God in my generation.

So even in a month viewed as a low point on the Jewish calendar, we can choose to see it as God originally intended….a month of goodness, grace, and favor.  A month of fulfilled destiny and promise!  A month of Holy Spirit’s transforming power (the 5th Hebrew letter hey which is connected to this month) making us fruitful and productive, taking what we are not and making us into what He has called us to be… as in taking Abram from father to Abraham “father of a multitude.”

The name Av literally means “father.” Av derives from the root, which means, “to will” or “to desire.”  This is a month for us to walk in the Father’s will for us.  It is a month to hear and then speak forth what you have heard from the Father… just like Caleb and Joshua.  They had another spirit… they wholeheartedly followed after God.  They were “filled” with following after, or following behind God… there wasn’t any room in them for anything else.  They had no plan B… they had no mixed reports.  They heard God’s promises and then saw through eyes of faith that they were well able to take possession of His promises.

promises

Caleb is one of my favorites in the Bible.  He is always so optimistic and full of undaunted faith…. wholehearted and unwavering!  Verse 30 in chapter 13 says that he silenced the people and told them we are well able to overcome… in the Hebrew he said we are “yakol yakol”.  He repeated the word, which means able, to have power, to prevail, to overcome!  Repetition of a word shows intensity.  He was in effect saying, “come on boys!!  We’ve got this!!  We can do it… we are strong in the Lord and the power of His might!”

In chapter 14 the people caved and given in to fear because the ten had spread an evil report.  Chapter 14 begins with saying they raised a loud cry (in Hebrew they “set” or established their voices). Even after hearing the encouragement of Caleb they made a choice to set their voices to speak contrary to what God had promised.  ALL because they listened to a group of fearful doubters. 

Then it says they grumbled against Moses. The Hebrew word for grumble or murmur is lun which is to lodge, or to abide.  Grumbling, murmuring, complaining was abiding in them instead of the Word of God.  

John 15:7 tells us that if we abide in Him and His Word abides in us we can ask whatever we desire and it will be done for us.  

Their grumbling pitted them against Moses and Aaron… it actually says “over” Moses and Aaron.  Grumbling not only pits you against leadership but causes you to think you are over or above them… pride had set in.

This caused them to say three things:

  • “We wish we had died in Egypt or in this wilderness”
  • “God’s purpose was to bring us into a land where we would be prey for the enemy.  It is good that we return to Egypt.”  
  • “Let’s make… let’s establish or set… a captain, a leader and return to Egypt.”  

Wow!!  They didn’t just react with fear to the possibility of the Promise Land being hard to conquer…. they spoke out against the purpose of God and accused God of having an evil purpose for them!  

It says in verse 36 that the 10 spies had incited rebellion against the Lord with their bad report.  The word for bad report is “dibbah.”  It means to whisper, to defame or slander.  It’s from a root word meaning to move slowly, to glide over. Comparable to a word that means to walk slow or leisurely.  These men did more than just give an evil report to the congregation…. they did more than just give their fearful opinion of the matter.

These 10 men moved slowly through the camp from one person to the next whispering and slandering the promise of God.  Telling the people that this land… the land God has “given them” is not safe.  It devours and consumes it’s inhabitants.  It is full of “giants of the giants” and we saw ourselves as but grasshoppers and therefore they must see us like that also!

Caleb, when he is 80 and finally ready to enter the Promise Land with the 2nd generation of Israelites, asks for the biggest mountain which was inhabited by the fiercest of the enemies to possess!  His faith only got stronger during the 40 years of waiting.  I’m sure he probably spent the 40 years serving this 2nd generation well.   Stirring their hearts with courage and faith so that they would be able to walk in the purposes of God.

Joshua was another one who was full of faith and courage.  After he and Caleb tore their clothes in response to the Israelite’s words against God,  he tried again to encourage these rebellious people.  He assured them that it was a very good land.  In fact, he uses the word very twice… a very, very, good land.  An exceedingly, great land!!

He goes on to say that the Lord’s desire is to bring us into and give us a land flowing (gushing or overflowing) with milk and honey.  Overflowing and gushing with all good things.  Overflowing and gushing with prosperity and abundance.  He encourages them not to rebel against God and also not to fear the people of the Promise Land – “who will be our prey because the Lord is not with them and they have no defense.”  The Israelites responded by wanting to stone Joshua and Caleb.

Regardless of the Israelite’s response and the fact that they were not persuaded and moved by Joshua and Caleb’s words, Caleb and Joshua had served their generation well and were allowed to serve the next generation well and enter the Promise Land with them.   God will have a people, even if He has to raise up a second generation to receive and walk out what the first generation refused.

This month be determined to be one who speaks forth a good report… a God report.  Be one who chooses to see with eyes of faith… wholehearted in following after God… in being led by His Spirit into His exceedingly great promises.  Be a strong leader of faith, encouraging others to step out into God’s purposes for their life.  Serve your generation well – Acts 13:36

~ Robin