Nisan – 5776 (2016)

Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.  ~ Exodus 12:1-2

barley yeshua

Last year as we entered into the Hebrew month of Nisan I woke up to a song in my heart and on my lips… “it’s a new season, it’s a new day….a fresh anointing is flowing my way…a season of power and prosperity…..it’s a new season coming my way.”  And in prayer, I kept hearing God say “new day, new day!!”  Then He led me to Joshua 1:2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all these people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel.”   All of this happened in the Hebrew month of Nisan.  A new day had come for the children of Israel…  the old way of living (in the Wilderness) was over and it was now time to cross over into the Promise Land and receive all that God had promised them.

On this past Friday evening we entered into Nisan… on Saturday morning I woke up with an expectancy of something new.  It felt as if something in the atmosphere had shifted.  Saturday was also the day of Azusa Now in Los Angeles (which marked 110 years anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival) as well as United Cry DC in Washington DC.   East coast and West coast worshipping together and crying out to God on the same day for revival in our land!  A day of unity in the Body of Christ.

I believe we have entered into a new day… Saturday marked a day that everything changed… an historic day for us!  For our nation!  And not coincidentally it happened as we entered into the Hebrew month of Nisan.  The month of Passover… a time of liberation, personal change, going from slavery to freedom, and the emerging out of the old.

Saturday I believe we “passed over” into a new season… a season that has shifted us and positioned us for the next Great Awakening.  Rev. William Seymour, the leader of the Azusa Street Awakening, prophesied that in 100 years there would be an outpouring of God’s Spirit and His Shekinah Glory that would be greater and more far reaching than what was experienced at Azusa.

REVIVAL — A TIME OF GREAT AWAKENING IS UPON US!

Revival is defined as to live again, to receive again a life which has almost expired; to rekindle into a flame the vital spark which was nearly extinguished.  Another great definition I read is “The Spirit of God working through the Word of God, in the lives of the people of God.”

Passover (which is in Nisan) is a time of revival and spiritual renewal, a restoration of the Power and Glory….a renewed interest in God!  In Nisan the children of Israel shifted into a new season… a season of liberation as they followed Moses, the revivalist, out of Egypt.  The children of Israel had been enslaved for 430 years and in Exodus 6 God told Moses that He heard their groanings….and He responded to their prayerful cries and to the hearts of His people… there was a revival of His covenant with Abraham.

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.  I loved that on Saturday the 8th (Azusa now and United Cry DC) it rained here in California and also in DC…. in fact my Facebook post that morning was Hosea 6:3 “He comes like the rain”.  That day on Facebook I saw two different photos of rainbows… one over the colosseum in LA and two double rainbows a few days before over the Washington monument and the US capital.

It is also the month that the King had favor on Nehemiah and granted him permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall.  This was another time of revival for Israel…. in Nehemiah chapter 8 the people gather as Ezra reads the Word of God.  They stood listening to the Word for about 6 hours!! Then they began weeping, because they realized how much they had sinned against God…. they were repentant…  and worshipping God after it was read…. their hearts were revived and turned back to God.    Again, this happened in the month of Nisan.

It is also month to watch your speech.. be aware of what your confessions are.    Your Word confessions should “grab the wind” and change the atmosphere. Speak forth revival… in your life, your families, your city and your nation!  

 

~ Robin

 

The widow of Sidon

 

pot of oil     “But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.” Luke 4:25-26

Yesterday my blog post was on Luke 4:16-30… Jesus is our Jubilee.   When He begins talking to them in verses 23-27, He was addressing their neglect of being a people of The Blessing….Gen 12:3 “I have blessed you to be a blessing to ALL families of the earth”  

It’s important when we read Scripture that we really read it with the heartbeat of our Father.… a heart that beats with restoration and love.  

In Luke 4 the people expected God to judge their enemies… to have vengeance on them.

Truth be told, sometimes we all feel that way…. so angry with someone or tired of their treatment of us that we cry out like David “slay the wicked Lord!” or like the disciples “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”.  We tend to like Scriptures like the one in Romans 12:19 that says “Vengeance is mine says the Lord, I will repay”…. of course the next part of that Scripture is if your enemy is hungry, feed him and if he is thirsty, give him a drink.

And Jesus rebuked His disciples telling them they didn’t know what kind of spirit they belong to because He didn’t come to destroy men’s lives but to save them….. sozo – to heal, deliver, rescue, make whole… nothing missing, nothing broken in their lives.  Remembering Romans 5:10 that we were once enemies of God and yet Jesus laid down His life for us.  Our hearts need to beat for our enemies the way God’s does… with love, restoration, being ministers of reconciliation.  Overcoming evil with love – not judgement.

God’s heart has always been for ALL people, every nation… Jews (believers) AND Gentiles (unbelievers).  Rahab, Ruth and the people of Ninevah are examples of God’s saving grace in the Old Testament.  Psalm 2:8 says ask of Me and I will give you the nations as your inheritance.

In Luke chapter 4 Jesus was giving them examples of the Gentiles that Elijah and Elisha had done miracles among… and this widow woman in 1 King 17:8-16 is one of them.  We don’t know the widow’s name, but we know where she is from, her circumstances and the circumstances of the nation at that time.

The land was in a middle of a drought and the brook that Elijah was at was dry. The drought had been for 3.5 years.. meaning the people of Israel could not grow crops and in turn they could not feed and take care of their own widows.

The verses before that tell us that Ahab was Israel’s king and he had married Jezebel.  And then Ahab built altars and groves for her god Baal.  And in doing so he angered God more than any of the Israelite kings before him.  And during this time Ahab commissioned the rebuilding of Jericho through Hiel, the Bethelite…. although God had ordered through Joshua that it never be rebuilt (Joshua 6:26).

This is where the widow resided… a place that was full of idolatry and rebellion… and yet it was just the place where God was going to pour out His grace and extend His love to this Gentile woman.  Luke 4:26 says there were many widows in Israel at the time but Elijah was sent to none of them…. he was sent to this widow only.. a Gentile widow.  God tells Elijah to go to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there because He has commanded a widow there to supply him with food.

God chose her… she didn’t choose Him (John 15:16).  She had no idea that God had commanded her to feed Elijah.  Ephesians 2:8-10 for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.  God prepared her good works in advance… long before she had the opportunity to do them.

Even though there were 7000 in Israel who were still faithful to the Lord… and many would’ve considered it a great honor to help Elijah.  Instead God chose a widow in Zaraphath… a foreigner outside of Israel’s borders.  God chose a Gentile to take care of Elijah…. she didn’t have the priviledges that Paul talked about in Romans 9:4-5….. the people of Israel, chosen to be adopted to sonship, God revealed his glory to them, He made covenants with them and gave them his law, He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned.   Not only did she not have that great heritage…. she had a distinctly ignoble one.

But she did have one thing going for her… in 1 Kings 17:12 she acknowledges the “Lord, God of Israel lives”.  She is a pagan Gentile widow in the midst of a pagan godless area but acknowledges the true and living God. And then she did what the prophet… the man of God asked her to do.  She added faith to her acknowledgement. She believed the word of the prophet and gave ALL that she had. She gave everything… the last little bit to God.   God also later raises this woman’s child back to life.  Faith pleases God.

The gospel is the power of God unto salvation.. healing, deliverance, rescue, making whole… to ALL who believe (Romans 1:16).

Next blog post we’ll look at Jesus’ other example, Naaman the Syrian…..

~ Robin

Jesus is our Jubilee

Jubilee 1

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  ~Luke 4:18-19

2016 is a Jubilee year (see post-2016 year of God’s manifested goodness).  In Leviticus 25, Jubilee has promises attached to it….

  • Liberty for the captives
  • restoration of family, land, and possessions
  • increase from your field
  • freedom from oppression 
  • safety
  • triple blessings…. blessings upon blessings!   

In Luke 4,  Jesus goes into the synagogue… which was his custom… to read and teach the Word.  The Word was teaching the Word!  This time He went to the synagogue in Nazareth, His home town.   Jesus had just begun His ministry and was becoming pretty well known for all of the signs, wonders, and miracles that He was doing in Capernaum and the rest of the Galilee of the Gentiles.

The synagogue was an intimate place that allowed the Jewish people to gather in a less formal setting than the Temple itself. There were no high priests, no Levites, nor any standard liturgy.  Anyone was allowed to get up and read from the sacred scrolls.  The reader stood and the rabbi sat. They stood up to read the Torah, and they sat down to teach to Torah (Matthew 5:1-2:; Luke 5:3; Matthew 26:55; Luke 10:39;)  In ancient times sitting was the posture of authority.   Here, after reading the scroll of Isaiah 61:1-2,  Jesus assumed the position of a rabbi….sitting while teaching.

The rabbis taught that these two verses were a Messianic prophecy…. and everyone in that synagogue knew the acceptable year of the Lord was the great Jubilee of Leviticus 25.  Jubilee was always a symbol of salvation.. this was the hope of Israel… that there would come a final Jubilee.  When the Messiah would arrive and all the promises to Abraham and David would be fulfilled.  They knew this passage in Isaiah well… it was their hope.  So all eyes were fixed on Him as they waited until He sat down to teach on what He just read.

The only thing He said upon sitting was “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”  What a short teaching… but so life changing for the people listening!  Everyone else whoever read and taught on that scripture said “someday”…. but Jesus said TODAY!  

Jesus was saying everything you’ve been waiting for is here!  The Jubilee you’ve been hoping for stands before you…. I AM your Jubilee… I am your Messiah.... the Messianic age (the age of Salvation) has begun… it is no longer a future hope.  Your Messiah is here!  Salvation has come!  They no longer had to be poor, broken hearted, captive, blind or bruised.  That day Jubilee became a person…. not just a year in time!

  • Jubilee was a time to sound your trumpet of freedom!
  • Freedom from slavery to Satan (Ephesians 1:17, 2:17; Colossians 1:12; Romans 6:14).  Freedom from sickness and disease (Deuteronomy 28:61; Galatians 3:13).
  • Freedom from debt to Satan and the World’s system (Colossians 2:13-14).
  • Freedom from fear (1 John 2:5, 4:17-18).
  • And a time of the commandment of blessing (Leviticus 25:20-21; Deuteronomy 28:8; Ephesians 1:3; Galatians 3:13-14).

Then He closed the Book….He left off the 2nd part of Isaiah 61:2 which was to proclaim the day of vengeance for our God.  Jewish expectation was that when Messiah arrived, He would not only restore the fortunes of Israel but would do so by destroying her enemies.  They expected a Messiah who was a Warrior King!  Such an exclusion from this reading of Scripture was unthinkable for most Jews.

Deliverance from captivity always included destructive judgment upon the enemies of God who enslaved or oppressed them…. the deliverance from Egypt…. the entrance into the Promise Land…. deliverance from the Babylonian Empire…. from the Medo-Persian Empire… why should the Roman Empire be any different.  But God was doing a new thing!!  

Isaiah 43:19 “”Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.”

He also gave them examples of Gentiles that Elijah and Elisha had done miracles among.  When He begins talking to them in verses 23-27 He was addressing their neglect of being a people of The Blessing….Gen 12:2 “I have blessed you to be a blessing to ALL families of the earth”  

In verse 23 Jesus indicates that they are asking for signs and for the blessings to flow in their own town because so far Jesus had been doing miracles in Capernaum which was a city of both Jews and Gentiles.  Jesus was indicating that He had come also to be a light and a blessing to the Gentiles.  This would include their Roman oppressors… unthinkable!

Were they offended that He had taken a passage of vengeance and judgment upon the Gentiles and turned it into a passage of mercy and blessing?

Were they offended that His gracious words…. or words of Grace were towards the Gentiles?

He reminds them of Elijah and the widow from Sidon.  He also reminds them of Elisha and Naaman the Syrian.

More on both of the widow and Namaan next time…. 

~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

Tevet – 5775 (2015)

 

chesedMy mom nicknamed me Pollyanna Sunshine when I was little… because I have always had an abundance of optimism.  Truly it’s a gift from God that I cherish. I have always tended to always look at things through a heart of hope.  I love just simply believing what God says and looking for His goodness… His redemption in all things.  I’m learning to read the Scriptures through this lens of redemption… through my Father’s eyes.  We will always find grace in His eyes…..Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD 

When I’m studying the Hebrew months I look for goodness and hope… for something that encourages and causes me to grow higher in Him. Each month was given by God with a unique purpose and is designed to release a blessing of revelation of His goodness into our lives.  I pray that my study of this month and this season gives you fresh hope of the goodness of God and all that He has for you.

Tonight  we enter into not only a new month on the Hebrew calendar, Tevet (Dec 13th – Jan 10th).. but also a new season, Winter.  Winter is the season to plan for increase in the next season.  Tevet is the 10th month on the Hebrew calendar… 10 is a number of divine order … 10 is also 5 + 5… five being the number of grace or in this case a double portion of grace.  This month walk in the double portion of grace available for you… choose to walk in the fullness, in the grace that Jesus made available for us.  He paid it all so that you could have it all!  It’s a free gift (Eph 2:8).

The first two letters in the word Tevet is “tov” which is the Hebrew word for good and it is followed by the letter tet which is also a letter connected to the word good…. so the word Tevet from beginning to end is a word full of God’s goodness.

While I LOVE the Christmas season,  I realize not everyone enjoys it.  It can be a time of bitter disappointments, sadness over loved ones gone, rejections of family members, depression, etc.  It can also be a financially stressful time for many.  But in this month of Tevet, let’s declare it as a month of God’s goodness from beginning to end.. allowing Him to lavish us with His goodness, His grace, and His favor.

Tevet is also connected to the Hebrew letter “ayin”.  Ayin means the eye.  This month purposely choose to see things through the Father’s eyes.  Seeing circumstances through the eyes of faith and hope… and seeing others through the eyes of love, grace, and redemption.  Read the scriptures through the lens of the finished work of the Cross and the Resurrection… it will change how you read it!

Each month is associated with a tribe of Israel.  The tribes were divided into four groups of three.  This Winter season included the three tribes:  Dan (the leader of this group), Naphtali and Asher.  They formed the “rear” guard of the camp and were the ones to watch out for the enemy attacking the camp from behind.‭ ‬These three formed the rear guard, not because of military skill but because they brought the glory of God.  They were the most creative of the tribes… Dan were skilled craftsmen in all kinds or artistic work, Naphtali brought forth beautiful words, and Asher caused the land to flourish.

This Winter season let’s understand that His glory is our rear guard  (Is 58:8)…. knowing that we are His most artistic work, and He is speaking over us such beautiful words and causing us to flourish in the land.  

Dan is the tribe connected to Tevet.  Dan in the Hebrew means to judge.  Dan’s ensign was the eagle!  Dan is one who can see the prey afar off‭ ‬-‭  the ‬one who soars on high in the Spirit and get the heavenly perspective on things.‭ ‬His judgement takes in the full scope of the scene and from his viewpoint,‭ ‬he is able to objectively give good direction and accurate assessments of situations.‭ ‬As a result,‭ ‬he is called to judge Israel.‭

Let’s judge correctly this month… soaring on wings of eagles and judging things through God’s eyes of love and mercy…..of goodness….. of grace.

May this season be full of the goodness of God, full of His glory (Ex 33:18-19)…… Merry Christmas (Celebration of Christ) from our family to yours!

~ Robin

Declarations for the month of Tevet:

  • God is good and He has lavished me with His goodness and abundance IN CHRIST
  • This month of Tevet is full of goodness, grace, and favor from beginning to end
  • This month I look at my circumstances through my Father’s eyes… eyes full of faith and hope.
  • This month I walk in an abundance of grace….. grace upon grace!
  • This month I see others through the eyes of love, grace, and redemption… seeing them as the Father sees them.
  • This season, God’s glory is my rearguard… I am His most artistic work, He speaks over me with beautiful words and causes me to flourish in the land.
  • This season, I soar in the Spirit and get the Heavenly perspective on things.
  • This season I judge correctly…  judging things through God’s eyes of love and mercy, of goodness….. of grace.

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

Abraham’s Journey part 2… lech lecha

genesis 12;1

Genesis 12:1 begins with God telling Abraham to  “Go for yourself, from your land, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.” and then He gives him a promise as a result of doing that….And I will make you a great nation, and bless you, and make your name great; and you will be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.  

And of course we know that this promise… the Blessing… is ours also according to Galatians 3:9 “So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.”

God didn’t just tell Abraham to leave his land, relatives and father’s house.  He said to him “Lech lecha”.  Lech Lecha is a unique phrase that God only spoke in the Old Testament to Abraham.  To everyone else (Moses, Jacob, etc) He said “Kum” which means arise and is always spoken to those who need to come up to a higher level to follow God.  Lech Lecha, on the other hand is an invitation.

Literally it means “you go” but it means so much more.   Most biblical scholars say that adding Lecha to lech serves to make the verb more intense.  God is telling Abram that this is not just a command to leave home, it is an invitation to journey to himself.  Literally, it means “come to yourself”… find the you I’ve called you to be!  Go to the Land that I will show you – where I will make you VISIBLE – where your “potential being” will be realized in various and unpredictable ways.

In order to embark on this journey he had to first do 3 things… leave his birthplace, his

  • leave his birthplace
  • his relatives
  • and his father’s house.

His birthplace implies boundaries and he had to cross those boundaries and leave them behind…. leave his past behind.  He had to cross the “Euphrates” just like Eber did… to become a Hebrew (one who crosses over) on his own not on his ancestor’s merits.

His family implies influence.  Abraham’s family worshiped idols. God wanted to be Abraham’s influence and wanted to make Abraham an influence to the world around him.  He wanted to become the God of Abraham and through Abraham bless all the families of the earth.  He couldn’t do that if Abraham’s family were his influence.

His father’s house implies control.  Our fathers are our teachers whether for good or for bad. We are under their sphere of control for many years. As a result, it is difficult to separate from the need to seek our father’s approval. This is not to suggest that we should ignore, disrespect or dishonor our fathers. The simple fact is we must grow up. We must learn to seek God’s approval in place of our fathers’ approval.  Our fathers are our teachers. They protect, correct and provide for our needs. They are responsible to God to direct us and to use their influence to guide us in the Word.

However, Abram’s father was an idol maker. He was an idol worshipper…. he was not teaching Abram to worship the one true God.  Terah wasn’t guiding Abram to a relationship with God but rather a life without God.

God is also calling us… inviting us to journey to find ourselves in His Word. He is saying to each of us “Lech Lecha”.   An invitation… an adventure to find who we are IN CHRIST and to fulfill the destinies He has for…as His sons… to be who He created us to be…. made in His image and likeness.

In order to do that we first need to leave behind any boundaries that keep us from God and from crossing over into the fullness of who He is… the abundance of His grace towards us.  And also leave behind those things or people that influence and control us away from God.  Even our own ideas and beliefs that keep us from being all that we are IN HIM.

The next blog we will talk about Abraham’s name change and the next part of his true identity transformation……..

~ Robin