Category Archives: Treasures

Life in the Rock

for they drank froim the Rock

In a previous blog (Tzur Chayeinu-Rock of Our Lives, March 12, 2016), we began a study of rocks and stones in Scripture.  We discovered that rocks can have either positive or negative connotations.  Stones and rocks had various uses in Scripture including memorials of visions or significant events and witnesses to covenants. The most important Rock in Scripture is Yeshua, who produced the most significant event in our history and is the Mediator and Guarantee of our most important covenant (Matt 26:28, Heb 7:22).

A comment in the New Revised King James Bible led me to explore the word tzur further.  I learned that not only is this word for rock or cliff a noun, but it can be a verb as well.  I did not have to search long before I uncovered a treasure trove of meaningful information and symbolism.  One cannot plunge anywhere in Scripture without encountering a bottomless depth.  My exploration produced a wealth of pictures or images of our Rock, Yeshua, and the numerous roles He has in our lives.  Each of these Scripture references uses the word tzur or a variation of it.

Yeshua (YHVH) is our Origin, the Rock from which we were cut (Is 51:1).  We see a clearer picture in Deuteronomy 32:18.  You neglected the Rock who had fathered you; you forgot the God who had given you birth.  YHVH not only created us, but He gives us a new birth in Yeshua.

Yeshua is our Defender.  A tzur is not only a mountain or a cliff, but it can contain caves or enclosures where we can hide.  One of the definitions associated with tzur is “to enclose or barricade” (Song of Songs 8:9; Ps 139:5).   David hid from the Philistines in or near a cave (1 Chron 11:15).  Although the cave and rock were physical structures that David used as a stronghold, David discovered that his only true stronghold is YHVH (Ps 18:2, 27:1, 5).  In Daniel 2:45, we see that the Rock that destroys the other nations is hewn from a mountain, but not with human hands, signifying Yeshua.  Our Rock trains us for battle (Ps. 144:1, 2 Sam 22:35).  Our Rock besieges our enemies and even us, when He needs to punish us or bring us back (Ex 23:22, Is 29:2).

Our Tzur is our Atonement (Ps. 62:6).  It is appalling how quickly we can forget Yeshuas sacrifice for us, yet we do, just as the Israelites forgot the Savior who rescued them from slavery to the Egyptians (Deut. 32:5).  Perhaps that is one reason for circumcision.  The instrument to be used was a sharp (surim) knife (flint) (Joshua 5:2-3).  The males were to be cut in a vulnerable area of their bodies, causing them much pain, just as Yeshua made Himself vulnerable to severe pain at His crucifixion.

Yeshua, our Rock, is our Righteousness.  Everything He does is perfect and everything He does is just and fair (Deut 32:4).  In Judges 6:21, we have a picture both of YHVH accepting sacrifices offered to Him as well as the perfect sacrifice of Yeshua (the meat and the unleavened bread).  YHVH is perfect holiness and righteousness (1 Sam 2:2).

Finally, our Rock, Yeshua, is our Eternal Life.  My favorite Scripture in this study is the picture presented in Exodus 17:6.  I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on.  Yeshua, our Rock, was struck on our behalf and out of Him flow rivers of living water.  Yeshua Himself provides eternal life and is Life (John 11:25). With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation (yeshua) (Is 12:3).  Yeshua invites us to come to Him to drink (John 7:37).

Although I have always been attracted to mountains and cliffs, I will now look at them with a new appreciation as I reflect on our most important and awesome Rock.  This article barely skims the surface. I encourage you to search for yourself in the treasure trove of Scripture perhaps beginning with Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Hebrew 6696 and 6697.  You will be greatly rewarded for your efforts.

Esau’s Blessing

choice between life and deathMost of us are familiar with the narrative of Jacob and Esau who were twins. Esau was the firstborn, but as he emerged from the womb, Jacob was holding onto his heel. Esau was very casual about his birthright (traded for a bowl of lentils) and rebellious when it came to following YHVH’s commands (marrying a pagan woman). We recall how Jacob tricked his father into giving him Esau’s blessing as the firstborn son. These stories can be found in Genesis 25-27.

When we read the story of Jacob and Esau, we tend to dwell on the rivalry between the brothers, Jacob’s deception, and family dysfunctions with Isaac favoring Esau and Rebecca favoring Jacob. We focus our attention on Jacob and shove Esau into the background. Do we realize that Esau’s story is our story? Do we comprehend what YHVH (through Isaac) was saying to Esau (and to us)? Let us examine Esau’s blessing closely, for in it lays a gem of hope, the greatest hope for us all.

The blessing consists of three sentences and is translated incorrectly in many English versions. The English Standard Version (ESV) and the New Living Translation (NLT) have a more correct translation. The first sentence, “You will live away from the richness of the earth, and away from the dew of the heaven above.” So far this doesn’t sound like much of a blessing and indeed it isn’t. Esau will not enjoy the abundance and blessings that YHVH provides for us in the earth. Even what he has, he will not enjoy. This is not something new for Esau, because he never really enjoyed or appreciated what he had. He could not see the true value in his blessings.

Although Esau was the firstborn and was entitled to receive a double inheritance, he traded it for instant gratification in a bowl of lentils. His carnal nature, his flesh, dominated his decision making. So it is with us when we are still in sin and in the kingdom of darkness. Even what we have on this earth, we cannot fully enjoy and appreciate while we are blinded by the enemy.

The next sentence of the blessing states, “You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother.” Esau would serve Jacob, his younger brother. What does this mean for us? We live in a world of violence and deception. We end up serving those who are crafty enough to foil us. Our concern is to gain what we can, often by any means, and protect it at all costs.

So where is the hope in all this? It is contained in the last sentence, “But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.” How was Esau to break free? How are we to break free? We must make the same decision that YHVH presented to Esau. We must choose to stop serving hasatan and the humans who follow the ways of the kingdom of darkness.

When we decide to break free, we can be restored to our birthright which is relationship with YHVH . We have this option because of the love and sacrifice of Yeshua, our Messiah. We throw off the yoke of Satan and accept the yoke of Yeshua. It is an easy yoke. We serve others, not because we are forced to, but out of love and gratitude to YHVH. Our older Brother serves us and we serve Him. Our brothers and sisters serve us just as we serve them. We no longer haggle over the abundance of the earth, but share and enjoy all that YHVH provides, which is far more than enough for us all.

Scripture tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” If you aren’t Yeshua, you fit into this category with all other humans. Whether we know it or not, we are serving Satan when we don’t serve YHVH. Just before I prayed for salvation for myself, I distinctly recall inwardly chafing at the idea of turning my life over to Yeshua and serving Him. The idea of being a servant seemed foreign to me. I thought I was my own person, making my own decisions. Only sometime later would it become crystal clear to me just how much I had been in bondage to Satan all my life. My greatest joy is to serve Yeshua now that I realize all that I have gained by serving Him.

If you have not yet made the decision to break free from the yoke of Satan, do not wait any longer. Perhaps you don’t feel that you are in any type of bondage. You are your own person and you live your life the way you see fit. This was precisely what Esau did when he married a pagan woman. He did not consider YHVH’s commands or his parents’ teachings. This was precisely what I did and my life was a mess before I threw off Satan’s yoke.

Tell Yeshua that you no longer want to work for Satan, but you want to work for YHVH. Tell Him that you are ready to trade your cumbersome yoke of bondage for the easy yoke of Yeshua. Embrace Yeshua’s precious gift of salvation and let Him embrace you with His overwhelming love.

Invisible Treasure

keep pursuing the goalAs discussed in previous article, Yeshua paid a heavy price for His treasure. We are His pearls of great value. Yeshua is our Pearl of great value, a value far beyond what we can comprehend. Yeshua was once on this earth, but we can no longer see Him. However, He is real and still very much alive, even though to us He is invisible right now.

Let us examine Scripture to learn some of the aspects of Yeshua’s value. The following list is but a fragment of all that describes Messiah Yeshua, but it is plenty for us to contemplate. Yeshua is fully human, but He is also fully God (Matt 16:16; 1 Tim 3:16)). Our treasure is God Himself! Our Father refers to Yeshua as “My Beloved Son. (Matt 17:5).” In western thinking, we tend to view Yeshua as somewhat inferior to Father, but in Hebrew thinking the firstborn son is equal to his father. Colossians 1:15 refers to Yeshua as the first-born of every creature. Yeshua came to restore all creation.

 Our Redeemer is the Creator and Upholder of all things. (Col. 1:16; Heb.1:3). Yeshua refers to Himself as the Alef and the Tav (in Greek, the Alpha and Omega) (Rev. 1:8, 22:3). In ancient Hebrew, each letter was a picture. The alef is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and was a picture of a strong bull designating both a leader and a protector. The tav, which is the last letter of the alphabet, was a picture of a cross being carried. Yeshua, Who is first and strongest, made Himself to be last and weakest for our sake (John 1:29).

 Yeshua is eternal life (1 John 1:2; John 11:25). We all face death in our mortal bodies, but we have hope of eternal life in and through Yeshua. In our present life, we may have many trials and tribulations, but we can look forward with hope to a joyous and triumphant life in Messiah Yeshua for eternity.

 Everything we will ever need or desire is in Yeshua. He is our Shepherd (John 10:16). He is the true Vine and we, the branches, receive power and abundant life through Him (John 10:10; John 15:5). It is only with His lifeblood flowing through us that we are able to be fruitful in the Kingdom of God.

 Yeshua is our Provider (John 6:35) and with Him we will want for nothing. We need never fear for Yeshua is also our Rock (Ps. 19:14; 1 Cor 10:4); and our Refuge in all the storms that threaten us (Isa 25:4). Yeshua is our wisdom, righteousness, holiness and redemption (1 Cor 1:30).

 Many people mistakenly believe that there are many ways to God. Yeshua has revealed to us that no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). Even if it were possible to find another way to the Father, why would we desire anyone or anything else? Yeshua is everything to us (Col 3:11). Therefore, it is our joy and privilege to die to ourselves, so that we may have life in Him. If we are willing to give up all that we have, we will be abundantly compensated (Mark 10:29-30). Our Pearl is priceless indeed!

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)