Monthly Archives: February 2015

Fear and Glorify His Name

great is your mercy toward me

In my previous postings about God’s name, I talked about the many scripture passages relating to speaking, fearing, and trusting in YHVH’s name [Yehovah]. YHVH goes beyond just saying that we are honoring and pleasing Him when we do these things. YHVH also pours out His blessings on us when we fear, glorify, praise, and trust in His name.

The banner verse for this posting from Psalm 86:12-13 states “…I will glorify Your name forevermore. For great is your mercy toward me, and You have delivered my soul from the depths of sheol.” David knew he deserved to be cast off forever and doomed to hell for his sin against Uriah. The prophet Nathan assured David that YHVH had taken away his sin and delivered him from hell. David knew that God’s mercy towards him was awesome and unconditional. In the verse before this (Psalm 86:11), David says “I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.” And then in verse 12 he says: “I will glorify Your name forevermore.” Clearly David understood the importance of fearing and glorifying YHVH’s name.

In Isaiah 52:6, YHVH says: “Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore they shall know in that day that I am He who speaks: ‘Behold, it is I’” (Isa 52:6). The word translated as “behold, it is I” is hineni in Hebrew, which is what Isaiah answered to YHVH when He first called him to be a prophet (Isa 6:8): “Here I am [hineni], send me.” This is a very powerful promise to people who know His name (Yehovah), that He will be right there for them – it essentially means “Here I am, waiting for you.”

One of the greatest blessings King David ever spoke over his people was in 2 Sam 6:18 – “And when David had finished offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts [Yehovah Tzava’ot].” You are truly blessed when someone blesses you in the name of YHVH. Numbers 6:27 confirms this truth. Immediately following the Aaronic blessing YHVH says: “So they shall put My name [Yehovah] on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.” (Num 6:27)

Although all of YHVH’s promises are powerful to meditate on, the passage in Malachi 3:16 is especially meaningful to me, as Yehovah speaks directly about blessing His people because they are fearing and meditating on His name: “Then those who feared the LORD [Yehovah] spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name.”

YHVH provides the perfect follow-up to the verse above in the next chapter of Malachi: “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.” (Mal 4:2) From the study of Messianic prophecy, we learn that this verse points to the healing miracles Messiah Yeshua would perform when He came to earth the first time. The “wings” spoken of here are Kanaph in Hebrew, which literally means the fringes of the garment which all observant Jews wore. This prophecy was fulfilled in Matt 9:20, when the woman who had the flow of blood for 12 years came up behind Yeshua and touched the fringes of His garment.

This woman had faith in the scripture promise that she would be healed if she “feared His name” (trusted in Yehovah). It was her faith (trust) that healed her more than the physical act of touching the fringes of Yeshua’s garment. What about us? Will we trust in His name the way this woman did, laying our life on the altar and risking everything we have to follow Him? If so, Yehovah is faithful to keep His promises.

Buried Treasure

Finding 1 pearl of great value

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it (Matt 13:45-46 NIV)

 Have you ever thought of yourself as valuable? Have you ever considered your true worth? Do you realize how precious you are?

 After Adam and Eve sinned, they lost their glory. They were stained, no longer perfect. They saw their nakedness and were embarrassed and ashamed (Gen 3:7 NLT). They tried to cover up their loss of glory by using fig leaves sewn together. It was not enough. They were still “damaged goods.”

 Even though YHVH was angry with them for their disobedience and lack of trust, He took pity on them. He slew animals and made temporary coverings for Adam and Eve. The Author of life now had to take back the life that He had given to some innocent animals, so that Adam and Eve could be covered, not just physically, but spiritually.

 Animals continued to be sacrificed to cover the sins of Adam and Eve’s offspring. All of nature suffered right along with humans. The blemishes and stains multiplied, while the glory of creation diminished.

 The enemy must have thought he had accomplished his goal. Surely the perfect Creator would discard the earth and its inhabitants. How could YHVH, Who is pure and holy, accept something so tarnished especially those who had been created in His image and likeness? They were a lost cause, or so the enemy thought.

 However, the all-knowing and all-seeing YHVH was already prepared with a plan to rescue and restore what had been damaged or lost. In due time, YHVH would beget a Son and send this most precious Son to be the ultimate sacrifice for us.  The spotless and blameless Yeshua would be sacrificed for the sinful and guilty.

 Yeshua embraced this role, and willingly sacrificed all that He had, even His own body, to pay our debt and our ransom to get us back. Through Yeshua’s shed blood we are once again restored to glory. Yeshua looked through all the ugliness of our sin and saw something precious, so valuable buried within us that He gave everything that He had to purchase us.  What unseen glory awaits us now that we belong to Him again?

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Cor 3:18 NIV)

Is God Weak?

God's emotions

When we think of God’s nature or character, what comes to mind? We certainly think of His supernatural qualities (omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent), since they are astonishing to us as mortal humans.  Next we might think of His qualities in interacting with His creation, such as His love, compassion, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness. These qualities are not quite so amazing to us, since He wants us to learn to take these on personally as we grow closer to Him. The most awesome aspect of these qualities is their absolute perfection within our Creator (e.g. unconditional love).

There is a tendency to think that emotions attributed to YHVH are only mentioned in scripture to help people relate better to Yehovah. In other words, some scriptural commentators teach that the apparently human emotions ascribed to YHVH in His Word are meant to be merely anthropomorphic, as we wouldn’t understand Yehovah’s words and actions if we didn’t bring His character down to a human emotional level.

However, if the scriptures are inspired by the Holy Spirit of YHVH, then they would not lie to us or mislead us by wrongly ascribing contrived human emotions to the Creator and Redeemer of the universe! As we have said in other postings, Yehovah Elohim is all about relationship, both within the triune Godhead and between Himself and all of His human children on earth. So, wouldn’t He want us to know His emotions as well as His will, His heart, His intellect and other aspects of His character? Nancy and I believe that YHVH has powerful and awesome emotions which He exhibits all through His Word. It is apparent from even a simple perusal of the passages where He shows strong feelings that He has good reason for His emotions, and understanding those emotions helps us to know Him better and draw closer to Him.

We know that we are made in Yehovah’s image (Gen 1:27), so it makes perfect sense that our emotions are reflective of His emotions. The only difference is that we are subject to sin whereas He is sinless. For example, He gets angry but does not sin, unlike us. Yehovah is pleased with us sometimes (1 Kings 3:10), but at other times He can be angry with us (Deut 1:37); He is truly grieved at times, with His heart full of pain (Ps 78:40), but at other times He is full of joy (Jer 33:9). We even see YHVH laughing (Ps 2:4) and also weeping as illustrated passionately by Yeshua in John 11:35 and Luke 19:41.

Here are a few other key examples illustrating Yehovah’s emotions in scripture: He was “moved by pity” (Judges 2:18), had “compassion on His children” (Ps 103:13), “rejoices over them [His people] with singing” (Zeph 3:17), shows great anger – Isa 54:8 “In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment..”, and even has regrets – “So the LORD was sorry He had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke His heart” (Gen 6:6). We also know that Yeshua was fully human and fully divine (Heb 2:17; 4:15), representing YHVH on this earth (Immanuel, literally “God with us”). Being fully human means that Yeshua has a mind, will, heart and emotions just like any created human, except that He is without sin. Yeshua also said that if we have seen Him we have seen the Father, so Yeshua’s emotions cannot be attributed merely to His being human.

Recognizing that YHVH has emotions helps us understand YHVH better, and there is comfort in knowing that He identifies with every one of the emotions we feel, because they originated from Him and He feels every one of them just as we do (Heb 2:17).   When we search for evidences of Yehovah’s Kingdom being manifested here on earth as Yeshua prayed in Matthew 6:10, we need to look for YHVH-like qualities in people. We can certainly see people’s actions easily – but how do we see their heart motives underneath as YHVH sees them? One of the best ways is through the emotions they’re exhibiting. Are they God-like – kind, compassionate, patient, gracious, and caring more about others than themselves?

When I think of the best movies and books I’ve enjoyed over the years, I realize that they are the life stories of people who have struggled with various human issues and eventually overcome the sinful nature and frailties of character that we are all born into this fallen world with. So what touches us about these stories? Is it the great victories these people won, or the relationships that were healed, or the way they have (or God has) changed their lives for the better and overcome their sinful natures? It is all of these, but what really touches us (from my experience anyway) are the powerful, passionate emotions shown by these people as they are going through these life-changing experiences and transformations in their character and their relationships.

Yehovah is a God filled with emotions, and one of the best ways to get in touch with His emotions is to spend time with Him. When we praise and worship Him in Spirit and truth (John 4:24) we draw close to Him and learn to empathize with His emotions and His heart. This may result in physical manifestations like weeping or feeling an electrical current flowing through our body, or in a deeper spiritual connection with the Creator of the universe, lining up our emotions with His emotions and feeling what He is feeling.

Our Western society does not value or respect human emotions, and many people (like myself) grew up in families where it is considered wrong or weak to show emotions. I find it so comforting to know that my capacity to feel and show emotions comes from our Abba Father, who is God that expresses Himself through His emotions. Since we know that YHVH is not weak in any way, then the emotions we feel can no longer be seen as a human weakness but rather as a strength that allows to connect with our Creator in a deeper way.

Restoring the Bride of Messiah

marriage of the Lamb

In my previous article, we had a glimpse at how the Bride of Messiah has become fragmented over the past 2000 years and how it is now being restored. YHVH is calling many of Yeshua’s followers to explore their Hebrew roots, to learn His name and use it with reverence and awe, to function in the gifts of the Holy Spirit for strengthening the Bride, and to continue to preach the good news of the Kingdom of YHVH throughout all the ends of the earth. YHVH is uniting the fragments to restore the Bride of Messiah. If indeed YHVH is restoring the Bride and we are part of the Bride of Messiah, then each of us has an assignment, a part to play in this restoration.

 How do we find out our personal assignment and ensure that the Bride is prepared to meet her Husband? YHVH must not only unite the various groups and segments of the Bride, but each individual must understand and operate in all the truth. What do we do? Where do we start?

 The best place to start is to come before YHVH and seek His heart. This is best done through praise and worship. As we worship YHVH, He reveals His heart to us. He lets us know how to intercede for our brothers and sisters in Yeshua. YHVH also communicates to us the direction we are to take or the assignment He has designated for us. Sometimes His revelations will catch us off guard, so we must be open and ready for change, even in ourselves.

 In order to be receptive to what YHVH wants to reveal, we must search our own hearts and minds and ensure that we are actively seeking truth, whatever the personal cost. Seeking the truth means letting go of false strongholds, false beliefs, false perceptions. When we seek truth, we must be ready and willing to relinquish our “comfort zones.”

 Our assignments from YHVH will often begin, not with changing others or with some type of outreach, but rather with submitting ourselves to the Potter to be remolded. Many of us have inherited lies from our ancestors.

 [YHVH], my strength, my fortress,
my refuge in time of trouble,
the nations will come to you
from the ends of the earth, saying,
“Our ancestors inherited nothing but lies,
futile idols, completely useless.” (Jer 16:19 CJB)

 When we come to YHVH, we want to come armed with the truth, not the inherited lies. We certainly do not want to come with idols, for these are an abomination to YHVH. Anything we cling to and cannot relinquish to YHVH is an idol. It may not be a carved statue, but it is still a false god. We must be willing to lay ourselves on the altar and ask YHVH to remove the chaff in our lives and leave us with only the finest wheat. Then, we will be ready for our next assignment in restoring the Bride of Messiah. Let us be about our Father’s business (Luke 2:49 CJB).