Tag: You

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BEYOND THE DALETH – FAILURE AND FORSAKEN

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Joshua 1:5: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you, I will not fail you nor forsake you.”

 

There’s a somebody I’m longing to see

I hope that he, turns out to be

Someone who’ll watch over me,

I’m just a little lamb

Whose lost in the woods,

I know that I could

Always be good

To Someone who watches over me.

-George Gershwin-

 

I can talk bravely of my faith in God to others, how I am trusting God for ministry breakthroughs that never come, healing’s that never come, deliverance from the consequences of past failures and mistakes that just keep rearing their ugly heads, but the truth is that many mornings I wake up in a funk over all these things. This morning I picked up my I Pad  and I was in such a funk that instead of hitting the App for my Hebrew Bible I hit the ITunes App and accidently queued in the ole George Gershwin song, Someone To Watch Over Me. Inside I felt like that little lamb that was lost in the woods. Where is the Shepherd who leaves his ninety and nine to search for this little lost lamb.

 

I finally found my way to my Hebrew Bible App and began reading in Joshua and here I see God give a wonderful promise to Joshua that he will never leave him nor forsake him. I like to think that would apply to me also, even though it was directed to Joshua. Have I not, like Joshua, been faithful and ready to serve?  I sure deserve similar treatment.

 

“Hmmm! I wonder if I decide take a trip behind my Looking Glass hanging from my Daleth I might find the Shepherd. So, I leave my desk and head for my Looking Glass  Unknown to me at the time Raphah (fail) and Azav (forsake) jump out of my Hebrew Bible leaving behind Lo (not) and follow me through the Looking Glass. 

 

I find myself in a very thick forest. There are many different trees surrounding me and it makes it almost impossible for me to move. There is the tree of financial distress, ministry failure, the tree of past mistakes, failure, I see a failing health tree and, oh, so many other trees. All these trees are whispering to me: “Things are really bad.”  “God has abandoned you.” “God has given up on you.” Suddenly I step right into a pit of miry clay and I am stuck and sinking deeper and deeper into the miry clay. I cry out for help and suddenly all three letters of Raphah (failure) appear and its three letters, Resh, Pei, Hei, jump on my shoulder and the Resh (self-righteousness) whispers in my ear: “Pull yourself out. You can do it, you’ve been good, you are a lot better than all these people who are prosperous and healthy. You deserve to be free from this miry clay.” Well, Resh, is right, my righteousness will get me out of the miry clay. Then Pei, the second letter of Raphah (failure), starts jumping up and down on my shoulder shouting: “Yes, pull yourself out, you are righteous, you’ve done good things, pull yourself out.” Of course Pei represents the mouth and its shadow is always speaking too much, speaking things that are out of harmony with God. Yet, Pei keeps encouraging me to pull myself out. Then Hei, the last letter of Raphah (failure), climbs down my leg to examine my situation.  This is the Shadow of Hei which represents being stuck in brokenness and self-deception. He raises his voice and yells, “Yes, Yes, you can pull yourself out, you are righteous. I did not realize, however that Hei (self-deception) is only causing me to sink faster into the miry clay.

 

I look at my right arm and hand and I see a swarm of Reshes (self-righteousness) like little ants covering me. I feel they are there to give me strength so with my right hand I grab my left arm and I start to pull and pull, trying to pull myself out of the miry clay. The Shadow of Resh (self-righteousness), the Shadow of Pei (speaking to much out of harmony with God) and the shadow of Hei (selfdeception) all start to chant, “Pull, pull, pull, pull yourself out.” I pull on my left arm with my right hand, harder and harder, but I am failing to pull myself out. I keep crying out: “Oh God , where are you why don’t you give me more strength to pull myself out, I need more strength if I am going to pull myself out of this miry clay.”

 

With that Azav (forsake – Ayin, Zayin, Beth) jumps on my shoulder and yells in my ear, “God has forsaken you, He has abandoned you. Only you and you alone can pull yourself out of this miry clay.” I keep pulling on my left arm with all the Reshes on my right arm tugging for all they are worth, but I keep on sinking deeper into that miry clay. The Ayin (blindness) from Azav (forsake) covers my eyes so I cannot see that all my efforts at pulling myself out are accomplishing nothing.  The Zayin (over aggressiveness) from Azav (forsake) keeps encouraging to pull harder and the final letter of Azav, Beth (feeling spiritually superior) keeps telling me how much more spiritual I am than others and that I can do this with my great spiritual accomplishments and strength.

 

Suddenly there appears the word Lo (no, not) who heard my cry and left Joshua 1:5 in my Hebrew Bible and journeyed behind my Looking Glass to find me. Lo (Lamed, Aleph) was now hanging over me from a tree branch.  The long arm of the Lamed in Lo which represents prayer is reaching up to heaven. The center of the Lamed which represents my heart is wrapped around the branch and the other end of Lamed has a firm grip on Lo’s next letter Aleph which represents God.  I immediately stop pulling on my arm and grab Aleph instead.  Suddenly Raphah (failure) and Azav (forsake) disappear and they are quiet. I realize that Lo (not) has caused them to cease to exist. Lamed Aleph pulled me out of the miry clay and once out they followed me back to my office through my Looking Glass. When we arrive back in my office Aleph tells me that God was there all the time but I was so busy trying to pull myself out of the miry clay that I did not notice Him and did not reach up to take His hand. Together Lamed Aleph spell the word for No or Not and I failed to invited them on my journey behind the Looking Glass so Raphah (fail) Azav (forsake) followed me without the Lo (not) and I became trapped in the miry clay. God will not fail (Raphah) nor forsake (Azav) me.  Both Raphah (fail) and Azav (forsake) are in a hiphal form, God will not be caused to fail or forsake me, but I am the one who believes that He has failed and forsaken me and if I believe that then it is that unbelief that blinds me to see that He is there searching for his little lost lamb.  As long as I keep trying to pull myself out of the miry clay by myself, I will fail to see that His extended hand ready and waiting to pull His little lost lamb out of the miry clay.

 

WORD STUDY – THE LORD OF HOST

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Zechariah 1:3: “Therefore say thou until them; Thus, saith the Lord of hosts, turn ye unto me, saith the Lord of Host, and I will turn unto you, saith the Lord of Host.

 

Is it just me or do you get the impression that it is the Lord of Host who is speaking?  So why is it so important to repeat the Lord of Host so many times?  This is a common phrase used by Haggai and Malachi.  The Lord here is the word Jehovah.  The word host is tsaba’.  It could mean angels and mankind, it could also mean armies.  As a verb it means to go forth or carry on war.  In the Aramaic the word means determination, resolution, will, please choose.  Perhaps we can say that the Lord of Host means the Lord who does what He pleases or what brings him pleasure.

 

So if we turn to the God who does what He pleases, then we are a part of that pleasure of God. So just what does it mean to turn to God?   First, let me point out the obvious.  It is we who must first do the turning before God will turn to us.  So we have to push the button, turn the crank, flip the switch before the lights of God turn on in us.

 

So let us take a closer look at this all important word turn to. In Hebrew the word used is shavab.  In reference to us it is found in an imperative form or a command. In reference to God turning to us it is in a Qal imperfect form or in a future tense.   Simply put we would render this as Turn to me and I will turn to you. Now other uses of shavab are to return or restore, all which fit nicely into this verse.

 

However, can we really be sure the root word is Shavab? It does fits nicely into the context of the verse so why question it?  Well for one thing, the root word could very well be yashav which means to dwell or take up residence.  Translators would tend to avoid this rendering, although it would be perfectly correct to use this root word, because it would make our relationship with God a little too personal.  It is acceptable to most of Christianity to allow God to turn to us, but to have Him inhabit us, well that is a little too much to swallow.  After all we are talking about the Lord of host here, the God of everything, who does just as He pleases.  Why would He want to inhabit a poor old slob of a sinner like me?

 

So here again we have an example of multiple possible renderings and whatever rendering a translator choses will reflect his point of view about God.  If your view of God is one who is just too big, too powerful to actually inhabit us personally, you will use the root word shavab (turn to).  However, if you believe God is so loving, so personal that he wants to personally indwell you, then you can go with yashav (to dwell, take up residence). From my own personal experience I would chose the root word yashav and thus I would render this verse as: “Return to the Lord of Host and He will dwell within you.”  Since He declares Himself to be the Lord of host, then by letting Him dwell within us, we will literally be driven to do whatever pleases Him.

 

This is really important to me personally, because about seven years ago I was pretty mad at God over the events in my life, but one evening after getting a good dutch uncle (aunt) talk from one of my students I sat alone in my car and I experienced God holding out an olive branch to me and asking if I could stop being mad at Him and if we could be friends again. I agreed and ever since that time, I have become obsessed with the study of His Word.  I mean every waking hour that I have free; I am digging into His word.  I carry my I Pad with my Hebrew Bible downloaded everywhere I go and in every free moment I am looking up some passage of Scripture.  Now I have only two explanations for this.  Perhaps about seven years ago I suffered some sort of stroke which made me hallucinate that I heard God speak to me and left me with a compulsive obsessive behavior or The Lord of Host has actually taken up residence in me and as the Lord of Host He is doing whatever he pleases or brings Him pleasure and as His friend, I am more than happy to do whatever it is that will bring Him pleasure. In my case that happens to be a driving passion to study His Word which, I suspect,  pleases Him.

 

Of course there is an upside to all this.  If the Lord of Host, whom I invited to dwell within me, is happy and taking pleasure in my studies, then I am happy and taking pleasure in my studies.  So, I guess you can say this is a win win situation for me.

 

Now if you will excuse, I just  happen to be on my two week vacation and I don’t want to waste one minute with my Lord of Host, so I need to grab my favorite book (Bible) and spend some time in the Son.

 

{ The Colors Of Our Life }

“For I know the plans (cashab) that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

The word “plans” in Hebrew (cashab) has its origins in the idea of a weaver of fabric.

Here we have a picture of Jesus thoughtfully and lovingly choosing each strand of fabric which represents a season, a day, and a moment in our life. Some red, some more blue, but in the end they all compliment each other beautifully. Harmonizing into a one of a kind design…for a one of a kind you!

Laura