Author: Laura

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Word Study:Nashon נהשׁנ

WORD STUDY – NAHSHON – נהשׁנ

Num 7:12 And he that offered his offering the first day was Nahshon the son of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah:

I am amazed at how Christians will talk of their love for the Word of God but (by my guess) only spend their time, at best, studying 30% of the Bible. Most of their study is in the New Testament particularly the Book of Revelation where they will parse every verb. As far as the Old Testament goes they will read the Bible stories and the Psalms but when they get to a book like Numbers. I mean really who cares that Nahshon was the son of Amminadab from the tribe of Judah and that he gave the first offering?

Well, I will tell you who cares, the Jews. This is from the Torah, the book given to them by God and thus they will devour every word seeking a message from God. If you study this passage in light of the following passages, if you examine the words that are used, meditate on it, the Holy Spirit will reveal a truth to you. I can look at many hours I waste every day, but the three to four plus hours I spend in the Word of God is time I know and am certain is not wasted.

First let’s look at the name used here, Nahshon. The first person to give an offering was a man named Nahson. You don’t usually hear this name very often. It is a Hebrew name from the root word nachash which means an enchanter. It also means one who observes signs both the giving and receiving of signs. Isn’t it interesting that the first one to give an offering is one who observes signs, both the giving and receiving of signs. He is the son of Amminadab which means my kinsmen are of high morals, principled and honorable.

So the first man to give an offering came from a respectable, morally principled and honorable family who carefully watched for signs from God and would give signs to God. You can play around with this yourself to find some message but to me it means that we should look for signs from God and send signs to God. Nahson saw that giving an offering was sign to God, a sign of one with an honorable heart. He did not give an offering to God to get something in return, he gave it to send God a message, a message of love or respect. Ok, that is just me, maybe you can pull something else from that, maybe the Spirit of God is showing you something different. But still this is the Word of God and there is a message for us, even in a verse that seems to have no significant message. But like Nahson, we should look for the signs of a message from God when we find a passage like this that seems to have no spiritual value.

I went to the Midrash Rabbah to see what the Jewish sages and rabbis picked up from this passage. Let me quote from the Midrash Rabbah, more specifically Numbers Rabbah 13&14: “The Torah seems to be squandering dozens of verses by itemizing the gifts brought by the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel on the occasion of the inauguration of the Sanctuary. Each tribe brought its offering on a different day, but the gifts they each brought were identical in every respect, down to the weight of the silver plates and the age of the five lambs. Nevertheless, the Torah recounts each tribe’s gift separately, repeating the 35 item list twelve times in succession.”

Here’s the kicker: “While the twelve tribes made identical offerings, each experienced the event in a different manner. Each of the 35 items in the offering symbolized something – a personality or event in Jewish history, or a concept of Jewish faith or practice- but to each tribe it symbolized different things.” The passage concludes by saying: “All conform to the same divinely ordained guidelines, all order their lives by the same Torah; all carry a common bond with God, yet each flavors the very same deeds with his individual nature and approach…we are faced with the powerful drive to create, to personalize, to grow and soar with our individualized talents and tools.”

This is what it Numbers 7, a chapter which seems to “squander” dozens of verses with repetition, is saying to me personally or what I believe the Holy Spirit is revealing to me for my personal benefit. What it being told here is that everyone is different. We all share a common bond with God, but when it comes to worship and our relationship with God this is personal, individual with each of us responding to God within the nature, creativity, and mentality that He created in us.

I will make a confession. I cannot worship God with the music that is played in our churches today. I know that there are people who can, but I can’t. Yet, I feel this pressure to join in the worship, I lift my hands and I act like I am being blessed by the music. In truth I am not. So what I do is stay seated. Not in defiance. For whatever reason worship leaders expect you to stand during the worship service for the full half hour to forty five minutes as they drone on and on with their horrible music. I am getting to be an old man, it is a really a challenge to stand all that time, particularly when you are bored out of your socks. So I disobey the worship leader, I stay seated. I have my own way of worshipping God and relating to God and it is not the way of the worship leader. I bow my head and I just sit back and enjoy the presence of God. If I feel compelled to lift my hands, I will but if I don’t I won’t.

You see, like you, like every Christian, we are individuals who have a personal relationship with God. Right now God created me old so I worship like an old person. I dig the old hymns and worship songs of the 70’s. That is how I worship. The music may sound silly and stupid to you but to me it brings me into God’s presence just like the modern music does for you.

You see, Numbers 7 convinces me that of the 6 Billion people in the world today, no two are absolutely identical. Each are different in some way. If God made each person different then it stands to reason they can relate to God and worship Him in a way different than the other six billion. So don’t try to tell me how I am to worship God, how I am study His word, or how I am to enjoy my relationship with Him. I have a personal relationship with God and I have spent my entire life discovering how I relate to Him personally without trying to imitate some young whipper snapper who can play a guitar.

Word Study:Reason יקה

WORD STUDY – REASON יקה

Job 13:3: “Surely I would speak to the Almighty and I desire to reason with God.”

I really can’t blame Job for wanting to reason with God. After all, God can be so unreasonable at times. I know I would like to just sit down with Him and explain my circumstances. Surely once I explain everything He will come around, see the error of His way and reverse the situation I find myself in. Not only is poor Job is being afflicted but then he has to listen to his friends, the experts, explain why he is suffering.

You know, about 500 years almost to this day a monk named Martin Luther tacked 99 thesis on the Wittenberg door and started the reformation. Few Christians really understand the underlying reason for the reformation. As a result they do not see some parallels to the church today, I mean the Protestant church today.

Everyone thinks the doctrine in their denomination and church teaching is the correct doctrine, they never stop to consider who came up with this doctrine in the first place. They just know that some learned men and women, mostly men, in their denomination somewhere in their history declared what is truth.

You see what Martin Luther came to understand and what many Christians are coming to understand is that truth is determined by the power structure of the church. Martin Luther was a scholar and studied the Bible in the Greek, Hebrew, Latin and Aramaic. He found some things that just did not square with the teachings of the church. This really bothered him, he loved the church and wanted to obey but how could he obey teachings that did not match what he felt the Holy Spirit was revealing to him.

In the Diet of Worms he appeared before the Holy Roman Emperor and the church’s main theologian John Eck thinking he would finally get to debate these issues and get some answers. Instead he was given just one question, would he recant all these issues he raised. Martin Luther replied that he would gladly recant if they could prove he was wrong. He wanted them to prove he was wrong so he could go back to his peaceful life as a monk. But they would not, they could not and thus he was excommunicated and became an outlaw to the church. Some years ago many pastors lost their pulpits during the charismatic movement. The power structure in their church determined that speaking in tongues was no Scriptural and thus if these pastors could not abide by the church doctrine, they were forced out. These pastors had no chance to defend themselves, it was establish doctrine in the church and you either abide by that doctrine or your out.

Just like in Job’s day, his friends were convinced they had the truth and if Job did not buy into their doctrine then he was just a heretic. Job could not reason with his friend so all he had was to try and reason with God.

But seriously, can we really go to God, reason with Him and persuade Him to change His mind? No doubt our intercessory prayers will change God’s direction, but that is a matter of submitting our wills to Him. The Hebrew word for reason is something different. This word is yaqah which means to argue, plead, contend or reason; all with the purpose of showing how someone is wrong in their thinking and should change their mind. Can we really argue with God and show Him that He is being unreasonable or that He has not completely thought out a matter? That His whole thinking on a matter is wrong and we are right and He should reverse His actions?

But if our lexicons tell us the word reason yaqah means to argue and contend, then we have no choice because that is what the word yaqah really means. But who says our lexicons and Strong’s are the final word? As I go through Jewish literature I find many many other possibilities. You see it was the elites in the Christian power structure that gave us these various definitions for Hebrew words. Yet, who says they are the final source? I sure don’t, not when there is a world of information from the people of the Old Testament themselves, the guardians of the Hebrew Language, the Jews. Christian commentaries and lexicons are only my beginning.

So let’s take for example today’s word yaqah which our lexicon says mean to argue, plead, content or reason. It is spelled Yod, Qop and Hei. The Yod represents a clarification of God’s priorities, the Qop shows the development of a strong kavanah or direction of the heart and the Hei pictures one listening for the still small voice of God. Putting this together you have yaqah as meaning more than Job just trying to reason or argue with God what he might have been trying to do was plead with God to clarify His priorities Yod and once he understood what God’s priorities were he would be able to set the direction of his heart Qop and listen to the still small voice of God Hei. Man’s reasoning involves opinions, many times bias opinions and sometimes even from people who secretly are glad to see you suffer and would like to rub it in.

Not God, God has no need to rub it in. He understands your suffering and His heart aches for you. He is the ultimate power structure and He will not condemn you but lead you into the truth. He has given us the Holy Spirit to direct our hearts.

As Job’s friends tried to reason out his suffer, Job simply wanted to know what God’s priorities were. Job realized that God had a priority over his own comfort level and Job was fine with that, he just wanted to know what that priority was so God could set his heart in the right direction and he could hear God’s voice. Job wasn’t interested in his friends opinions as to why he was suffering, he was more interested in knowing God’s priorities so he could have a heart that was right and open to hear God’s voice. If suffering he must endure, then suffering he would endure so long as his heart was right and he could hear God’s voice.

The pronoun ani which we render as I comes from a root word anah which has a secondary meaning of moaning, suffering or having sorrow. Maybe a secondary rendering of this verse could be “Surely, my sufferings will speak to the Almighty and my sufferings desire to know God’s priority so my heart will follow the right direction and hear God’s still small voice.”

The point is, when Job needed answers he went to God not to a human source. Too many pastors and friends take themselves too seriously, they want to try to explain the reason for you problem and offer solutions when what they really should be doing to directing you to the ultimate power source to guide you to truth. To pray with you, share Scripture with you let you find God’s purpose in your situation, not condemn you or accuse you and offer non Scriptural solutions like Job’s friends.

Word Study: Don’t Fence Me In

WORD STUDY – DON’T FENCE ME IN

Micah 2:12-13: “I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make a great noise by reason of the multitude of men. The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them.”

These two verses are very rich in Hebrew imagery. Jewish Oral Tradition explains that this is a picture of a shepherd penning up his sheep for the night. He quickly builds a barrier by throwing up a makeshift rock fence against the side of a hill. The next morning in order to let the sheep out he will make a hole (a break) by tossing some of the stones aside. He steps through the gate with the sheep following close behind. The sheep have been penned up all night in cramped quarters. They will push and shove trying to get through at once and thus will break the gate further in their eagerness to get out and into green pastures. Finally they break through out into the open and rush after the shepherd.

Now when we look at this passage the breaker and the king are one and the same. However, in rabbinic interpretation the breaker is interpreted to be Elijah, and their king is the Messiah.

Keeping this in mind, let us jump to the New Testament. I have always been troubled by the verse in Matthew 11:12: “And from the days of John the Baptist until the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”

You see a common rabbinic teaching on this passage in Micah 2 is that Elijah would come first as the breaker, the one who would make the first hole in the rock. He goes before the Messiah to prepare the way for Him. The Messiah is the king who follows Elijah and leads the sheep through the gate to the kingdom of God. The ones following the Messiah will be so anxious to pass through the gate that they will deliberately widen the gate like the sheep anxious to get out of their pen and to green pastures.

The word violent in the Matthew passage in the Greek is biastes which carries the idea of breaking forth. In the Aramaic the word used is qetira which has the idea of breaking away from a restraint. In its Semitic origin it has the idea of a circle. Later carrying the idea of being encircled like by a fence. Curiously, I found the word used in Jewish literature to take it further to being fenced into the law and breaking away from the law.

As this teaching in Micah was a common teaching in Oral Tradition, it is very possible that Jesus was alluding to this passage in the Old Testament when He spoke of taking the kingdom of God by breaking out or removing any restraints of the Law. The rendering of the Greek word biastes or the Aramaic word qetira as violent is unfortunate and misleading as it gives the idea of a negative aggression rather than the idea of an anxiousness to move away from the Law and embrace the Messiah who came to fulfill the Law.

In other words, John the Baptist is the breaker. He makes the breach in the rock gate and goes forth. He has opened the way. He is the Elijah the sages suggest in the Micah 2. Jesus now as the King leads the people through only they are so anxious to enter the kingdom, like the sheep they break through the gate leaving behind the Law and rushing to the Messiah and eternal life through Him, the one to whom the Law of God pointed to.

Jesus does not directly refer to Himself as the Shepherd, but any Jew listening will know who He is referring to.

So, if Jesus is referring to the teaching in Oral Tradition, then He is not talking about taking the kingdom by violence, but is alluding to this Old Testament imagery which every Jew knew, that the people or the sheep will be so anxious to break out of their old traditions to follow the Messiah and enter the kingdom of Heaven that they will biastes or qetira, that is they will break down the narrow gate and widen it so that more and more can rush through.

Oh well it does make me feel a little better about this passage in Matthew, but soft, I am claiming no expertise on the New Testament.

Word Study: Slavery

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WORD STUDY – SLAVERY – עבד

Leviticus 25:44: “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.”

I was listening to one of those talk shows where their guest was an atheist who was talking calls. Christians were calling in giving all the pat responses that this atheist has probably heard over and over and he had an answer for each one, sometimes really humiliating the poor Christians and making them sound like fools.

I fear I had to side with the atheist on many of these arguments. For instance some Christians tried to give history facts or statistics to prove the authenticity of the Bible. Heck we are not even sure Shakespeare wrote every play and poem ascribed to him. Nothing is certain in history. The bottom line for me is that I accept the Bible as the Word of God not by so called facts, statistics and testimonies of eyewitnesses, I accept the Bible as the Word of God because I chose to believe it and along those lines I am accepting the Bible, deity of Jesus, the cross and the resurrection purely by faith. I have a PhD in Archaeology for crying out loud, I know how historical facts can change with every new archaeological find. You cannot convince me with facts and figures. I could easily be an atheist myself but for the fact that I have chosen to live a life of faith. I figure if I am wrong and there is no life after death, I will never know it anyways. So I plan to just live my life according to the Bible and enjoy every subjective experience that God gives me believing it is from God.

So I listened to this atheist shoot down every one of the Christians arguments and I realized that most if not all his attacks taken from the Bible show a real lack of understanding of the culture, history and ancient language of the Bible. But worse the Christian’s response show just as much of a lack of understanding.

Leviticus 25:44 is one example of this. The atheist says: “So you say you are a Christian and believe the Bible and follow all its teachings, then you believe in slavery.” He then quotes Leviticus 25:44 from a modern translation which renders the Hebrew word ‘avad as slaves and the word amah as either bondswomen or female slave or maids.

Is it proper to assign the English word slave to ‘avad and amah? When we hear the English word slavery we think of owning a human being, making a human being just a form of property with no rights. No where do we find the Bible condoning such a thing. Pagan nations may have had such an understanding of slavery but for the Hebrews it was entirely different. They were more like indentured servants. An indentured servant is one who signs a contract where they agree to work for a number of years to pay for transportation to a new country or work off some other debt. In the case of Leviticus 25:44 the Hebrews were actually encouraged to buy slaves. But look at that word buy, it is the word tiqnu from the root word qanah which means to purchase, possess or redeem. I think it should be rendered redeemed in this passage.

If you read further in Leviticus you will find that there are a number of laws involving the humane treatment of these servants, so life was not at all bad being the servant of a Hebrew.
We need to also understand just how one ended up a slave in ancient times? The slavery of the 19th century in America were mainly Africans who were kidnapped, brought to the States in the most inhumane conditions and then sold as property where if they had an evil master went through many tortures.

In the Hebrew culture slaves fell into captivity in three different way. They were captured or the survivors of a war and were the losers and thus subjected to the rule of the victors. If the Hebrews were the victors they would use these captives to work their fields or doing other tasks for the primary purpose of keeping them from forming an army and attacking again. If the captors were smart like the Hebrews they would treat these captives quite well so they would not revolt. Even the slaves in Egypt were not like you see in these phony movies. They lived a fairly good life but did work very hard. Yet they were well fed, they were allowed to remain with their families and have some sort of home life. Even in American there were the occasional good masters who treated their slaves fairly and after the civil war the slaves returned to their former masters as employees with the freedom to leave when they wanted. Many really did not want to leave the service of their former masters and remained employed for the rest of their lives. In Biblical times you had bond servants. These were people who were slaves but were treated so well that when they were given their freedom they returned to their masters to live the rest of their lives doing what they always did. The only difference was that they were living as servants by their own choice.

Then you had those who were had debts and thus were put into service to pay back their debts, but the Hebrew law allowed them to be free again after seven years. During those seven years a family member could pay off the debt and the servant would be free.

Finally, you have the case of Leviticus 25:44 where the Hebrews could purchase slaves, but what they were really doing was buying a slaves freedom. In return they would be like an indentured servant where they would work off the cost of their redemption and/or be freed after seven years. During their time of servitude the Hebrew master followed some strict laws that guaranteed humane treatment.

We have a number of words here, servant, bond servant, bondsman, maids, and slaves. The modern English word slave does not fit the word for the Hebrews. Because our English word slave means the person is owned by another person. The Hebrews never owned a human being, what they owned was that servants debt or obligation that the person was supposed to pay off.

If we use the Hebrew word ‘avad that we attached the English word for slave, then practically everyone reading this study is a slave. We either owe money on a mortgage, car or credit cards. That makes us a slave to the banks or credit unions. However, like the Hebrews these bankers have many laws and regulations that keep them from abusing us so that we can live a fairly decent life in slavery.

So where is the lesson in all this? Why did God allow this in the Hebrew culture? Consider, we were once slaves to sin and Jesus purchased our redemption. But we don’t have to work off that payment, we are free automatically unless we, like the Apostle Paul, decide to become a bond servant of Jesus Christ. We serve not because we owe a debt but because we love our master who paid our debt.

Word Study: This Matter

WORD STUDY – THIS MATTER

Daniel 3:16-18: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer you in this matter. If it be so our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O King. But even if he does not, let it be known to you O King, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

These three Hebrew young men were pretty insolent to the king. Not only do they refuse to bow down to his idol, but they address the king simply as “Nebuchadnezzar.” Even the “O” as you see in most translations is not in the original Aramaic. They don’t prefix it with “King” nor do they end it with “live forever.” Even Daniel had the protocol to do that. Their response was a blunt, lo chashechin. The KJV translates this rather nicely: “we are not careful to answer you.” Basically that is what lo chashechin means, “we do not need to answer you.” It has the idea of a careless answer, and can be expressed as, “I don’t have to answer to you.” But note they add the word pitegam which is rendered on this matter. Pithegam is not a matter but a decree, a demand or command. The word matter is pithegam which is a decree. They were not in a blanket defiance against the king, only in this particular decree. Herein lies a real lesson. When we are under Godless leadership we are obligated to obey except when it is in directly against the command of God.

We need to look at the situation here. These three young men, along with Daniel, had earlier made a very strong impression on King Nebuchadnezzar when Daniel interpreted his dream. When Nebuchadnezzar heard that the three refused to worship his idol he was enraged. He called for them and characteristically would have had them cast into the furnace right away, but instead he gave them another chance. Nebuchadnezzar had to be spooked out with these guys to begin with. He had a sense that he was dealing with the true God Jehovah, thanks to Daniel, and he probably was not too keen are crossing Him up. Now he finds himself confronted with a challenge before all his subjects, will he back down to this God that he recognizes and face disgrace before his subjects? The three young people most likely knew the respect Nebuchadnezzar had for their God, which may explain their flippant attitude. “Go ahead, try it, we dare you, our God will crush you so fast you won’t even be grease spot.”

The next verse is little difficult to translate out of the Aramaic. Basically, what the young men tell Nebuchadnezzar is, “If our God is able, He will deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire.” The next word should really be then not and. “Then he will deliver us from your hand (or your power). The word deliver is shazav which means to rescue, but this form is a Pael infinitive. Again to use a Pael infinitive would really be taunting the old King because they would be saying: “If our God is able he can rescue us from the fire, then we will really be rescued from your power. In other words, “If our God pulls this off, we will never have to submit to your power. It will prove who is in charge.”

It is at that point that they add their final insult to this king who dared to defy their God. “But even if He doesn’t choose to rescue us, we are still not going to worship your gods.”

Depending on what translation you use, you kind of get the impression that these three young men fully expected to be delivered from the furnace. However, from my reading of the text, I don’t think they were sure they were going to be rescued. The emphasis is not on the confidence that they would be rescued, but on their commitment to not bow down to any other god.

Throughout Church History and even today there are Christians like these three young Hebrew men who take their stand for God, but they are not delivered. Christians have been thrown to lions, burned at the stake, and in modern times, tortured, shot, hung, etc. Like the Hebrew young men, they stood and said: “My God can rescue me, but even if He doesn’t, I am not about to deny Him.” In this country we do not face such a decision, or do we?

Not too long ago there was a movie, Hacksaw Ridge, based upon a true story of Desmond Doss who joined the army during World War II as a combat medic. He refused to carry a rifle as his faith in God forbid him to do it. He was by all accounts an excellent soldier except he would not carry a rifle. He suffered much persecution and was labeled a coward, yet he saved the lives of 75 of his fellow soldiers and won the medal of honor. Desmond Doss was a modern day Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Desmond Doss quietly faced persecution, beatings, and a court martial for his beliefs. In the end he is seen before his fellow soldiers, those who mocked him, beat him and called him a coward for not carrying a rifle and he is praying. The men, the modern day Nebuchadnezzars, refused to go into battle until their medic had finished praying. Yes, the story of Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego still applies especially in pithegam the decree that goes against the will of God.

Word Study: Tuning Fork

WORD STUDY – THE TUNING FORK  טוב

Psalms 25:8: “Good and upright [is] the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.”

There was a time some years ago we had a “God is good” explosion. All over Christian television you kept hearing “God is good,” It seemed in every church and church service we were singing that chorus “God is so good He is so good to me.” I don’t know about you but when I hear that someone is good, I think of someone who is kind, moral, and deceit. You know, sort of average. Even in our English language we have good, better best with good being the lowest on the totem pole. When I was in grammar school our grading system ran U = Unsatisfactory, F =Fair, G = Good, E = Excellent and S = Superior. Good was average, somewhere between Superior and Unsatisfactory.

I recall hearing over and over Proverbs 18:22: “[Whoso] findeth a wife findeth a good [thing], and obtaineth favour of the LORD.” I kept thinking of my understanding of good and thought finding a wife wasn’t so bad, it was decent. Of course it was just good, not the greatest. Sort of like finding a decent used car.

But come on, when we talk of God we are not talking average, passable, deceit, we are talking of the greatest, the ultimate, the most wonderful. I hardly apply the word good to God. But that is what the Bible says: “God is just good.” He was the Good, not the Excellent, not the Superior, but at least not the Fair or Unsatisfactory.

All throughout the Old Testament everything was just good. The world was created as good, animals were good, man was good. In English, however, that means average, that there was something better out there.

So here we are once again in Psalms 25:8 confronted with the knowledge that God is just good and upright, you know average. If we look at that word good in the Hebrew lexicon what we find is that it is the word tov and your lexicon tells you it means good, pleasant, and agreeable. Again, that is pretty much average, nothing really special.

Yet, the context that the word good is always used in when you read the Bible is that it is making a reference to something really valuable, special, unique, wonderful. I don’t get that from the word good. One day I was reading in Jewish literature where a rabbi once wrote that when you take all the renderings of the word tov, which we regularly plug in the English word good, not only in Scripture but in extra Biblical literature we find that at the very core of the word tov we have the idea of something musical, something that is in tune or in harmony.

Now that will move the word tov or good out of the realm of opinion. I mean you can eat a hamburger and say it is good. Someone else may declare it excellent, another would say superior and possibly someone else would call it fair or unsatisfactory. It comes down to a matter of individual taste or opinion. But something that is out of harmony or in harmony, out of tune or in tune can be scientifically measured and it is not a matter of taste or opinion, it is usually a fact. To be sure some have a greater sensitivity to something being in tune, but we all can grasp something that is in tune or out of tune.

When we apply the words in harmony to tov rather than good we find that it will make much more sense. When God created the world he found that it was in harmony with Him. When man finds a wife he finds someone who can bring him in harmony with God. When we say God is good we say that He is the harmonizer. He is the one who brings everything thing into harmony. He is the Tuning Fork by which everything is measured.

So we learn in Psalms 25:8 that God is that great Tuning Fork and He is upright. The word upright in Hebrew is yashar which means to be straight, level,or correct. When a piano is perfectly tuned it is correct. God is not only the ultimate Tuning Fork by which all creation is measure, but if you are in tune with God then all you do and say is correct. If God is yashar upright then all He does and says is correct.

Being good and upright will not get you into heaven. Being in tune with God so you do the correct thing is what will get you into heaven for you will be another harmonious instrument in the kingdom. An orchestra has many different instruments playing at the same time. Do you ever listen to an orchestra tuning up? It is not at all in harmony and sounds horrible until they all come in tune and harmonize and then begin to play as one. If just one instrument is out of tune, it will throw the whole orchestra off and create an unpleasant sound. Heaven will be a mighty orchestra with everyone in tune with the Master Tuning Fork. This Master Tuning Fork died, shed His blood so that He could bring everyone into harmony with Him, Without that Master Tuning Fork one will be out of harmony and there is no place in the orchestra of heaven for someone who is out of tune. Only Jesus Christ can make you tov, good or in tune with Him.

Only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Master Tuning Fork, and allowing Him to tune you to be in harmony with Him can you belong in that great orchestra hall that we call heaven.

Word Study: My Transgression

WORD STUDY – MY -TRANSGRESSIONS
Psalms 25:7: “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’sake, O LORD.”

The Psalmist wants God to forget the sins of his youth and his transgressions. I think like most people I thought the word sin was a blanket word to cover everything we did wrong and transgressions were sins. However, Psalms 25:7 suggest that sin and transgressions are two different animals.

If I ask most people what the difference between a transgression and a sin is, I think most would have to think about it and many might not really know. One thing we are all sure of is that transgressions are bad and God does not like transgressions.
We all know sin is missing the mark, but let’s take a look at this word transgressions. The word transgression in Hebrew is pasa.’ This means to rebel, sin, and offend. But more specifically it is talking about a conscious, willful rebelling against something. Tracing this word to its Semitic root I find it comes from an old Canaanite word for being terrified. Do you ever watch these disasters films, like a plane that experiences trouble? Everyone recognizes the captain is in charged. All are fearful but will trust the captain. Yet you always have that one irritating fellow who is so terrified that he will not trust the captain’s directions or orders. He is so terrified, he thinks the captain just does not understand the situation, he knows better and he rebels against the captain and tries to get the other passengers to join with him and follow his plan and not the captain’s plan. It seems these stories always have to have that obnoxious, pain in the neck who is committing a pasa’ or what we call a transgression.
To transgress against God is to face a terrifying situation and rather than trust God you trust in your own devices or plans built out of fear and then try to get others to follow your plan. For instance you have a pastor who feels called of God to build a new church building. He convinces his congregation to take out a large mortgage and when the tithes just do not come in to cover the payments he panics. Rather than trust God, he begins to lean on the arm of the flesh and starts following advice that maybe is not all that honest and truthful. Often in his state of panic he begins preaching sermons that if you don’t pay your tithe you cannot really be a true Christian. If you don’t support this program you are going against God’s will. He begins creating fear in the hearts of his people that they may be transgressing pasa’ by not supporting this building program when in reality it is that pastor who is transgressing by leading his congregation into thinking that their eternal salvation is wrapped up in their faithfulness to paying their tithes and supporting the pastor’s dream and not on the finished work of Jesus. The pastor begins twisting Scripture passages to show that God will bless them if they support his dream and that if they don’t they were probably never saved in the first place. This pastor starts to cause people to depend upon his message and not the message of the Word of God so he can either scare people in paying their tithe to pay that mortgage or promise them things that Scripture never promises if they do pay their tithe. That is pasa’ transgressions. It is to be ruled by your fears causing you to lean on your own understandings and devices or to lean on the arm of the flesh rather than God.
Transgressions can seem very innocent. I notice the sales of my books dropping off. I pray to God and the sales still fall, I trust in God and the sales still fall and then I panic. The royalties support this ministry, God’s work. So I begin to pasa’ transgress and rather than trust God I start reading all the blogs of successful authors and how they sell their books. I start taking note of all the things they do and incorporate it into my own sales program. Not that these devices are wrong but I am doing it out of fear, I am not trusting in God but trusting in these devices. My motives are no longer to deliver the message of God’s heart but to make sure I am successful.
Gideon’s nickname was Jerubbaal which the Bible says means Ba’al will content or let Ba’al do it. He got that name because he tore down the idols of Baal under God’s command and when the Midianites came to his house to lop his head off his father came to the door. They demanded Gideon be turned over to them. When his father asked: “What has that kid done now?” They said he insulted their god and that they must put him to death. Gideon’s father said: “You’re not the only one, you know what time that kid came in last night? Uh, by the way why do you have to lop his head off, if your god is so powerful why doesn’t he do it.” The Midianites looked at each other, scratched their heads and said; “You know, he’s right.” They then left without doing anything to Gideon.
I had to really examine this story and conclude that I was like the Midianites. I was going to do God’s job. If God wants the message of my books to go out, He will take care of the marketing. If I do any marketing it must be done for His sake, not out of my own desire for success or to even meet the budget of our ministry. I have an outside job and if God does not sell enough books to cover the budget, then I will add my own resources but if I go to promote my books to add to my own gain or success, I have transgressed pasa.’
Of course that is my own personal feeling about this and I am only accountable to God. You are free to feel differently if you like and interpret it different if you feel so led. However, the word transgression remains the same and that is to stop trusting God and let your fears rule you to the point where you depend upon the arm of the flesh.