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Hear Oh Israel


Shema Yisrael by Flickr User Yaniv Ben-Arie, CC License = Attribution, Share Alike

Shema Yisrael by Flickr User Yaniv Ben-Arie, CC License = Attribution, Share Alike
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Imagine trying to have a close relationship over a long distance and without ever getting to know your partner. Could you even call it a real relationship? Two people who are acquainted with one another have a type of relationship, but they do not have an interactive, loving, and intimate relationship. They can’t. An intimate relationship requires truly knowing who your partner is.

God knows us because He made us, but it takes more than a set of repetitive prayers, a few glimpses at Scripture, and a weekly visit to a church to get to know God. All the gold stars, volunteer duties, and memory verses in the world will not take the place of seeking God with your whole being in the effort to get to know Him deeper and better. His word even tells us that when we seek and search for God with all our hearts, we will find Him.

In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 6:4 through Deuteronomy 6:25 (the end of the chapter), we begin with God’s main introduction of Himself to the people of Israel. In Hebrew, the first verse is called The Shema. It means “hear” or “listen.” You may even have heard it sung in your church in either Hebrew or English or a mix of both since some Israel-friendly churches like to add it to the worship songs. There’s some great information with a breakdown of words and such for the subject at Wikipedia. For our reading today, the verse that begins it all goes like this…

Hebrew: Sh’ma Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad — English: Hear Oh Israel, The Lord Our God, The Lord is One

The reading continues with what Yeshua quoted as the greatest of all commandments…

And you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources.

Moses then tells the people that these words should always be on their hearts, and they are to teach them carefully to their children. They should talk of them when they are at home, when they travel, when they lie down, and when they rise up. They are so important, they should be written on something strapped to their hands, tied around their foreheads, written on all their door frames, and engraved on their gates.

As the chapter continues, Moses reminds the people that when they are living in the land of promise, in houses they didn’t build, using water from wells they didn’t dig, and eating from vineyards and olive trees they didn’t plant, to remember who delivered them from Egypt and brought them to the land. He tells them to fear The Lord, serve Him, and swear by His Name. Then, he reminds them to never follow other gods, especially those chosen by the people that surround them because Yahveh is there with them, and He is a jealous God. Moses reminds them to never again test God like they did at Massah and to always do what is right in His eyes.

The last paragraph gives us the first representation of the power of personal testimony. Moses tells them that someday their children will ask them why they have so many laws and rules. When that happens, they are to tell their children that the community of Israel was once in slavery to Pharoah in Egypt, but The Lord brought them out with a strong hand. They should tell them of the signs and wonders God worked against Egypt, and that He brought them out for the purpose of bringing them to the land He promised to their ancestors. And they are to share that He gave them all the laws and statutes for their own good because it is righteousness for them to observe all that The Lord commands.

I love how Moses keeps referring to the laws of God being for the good of the people, and how that should even be part of their testimony to their children (and I’m sure to others). Their testimony should include the bondage they were in before they were delivered, and it should include the powerful ways in which God brought them their deliverance. Our reasons for keeping the laws of God are the same. They bring us righteousness, and they are for our own good. By living a holy and separated life, people will ask us why we’re not like everyone else, and then we will have a chance to share the testimony God gave us when He delivered us from whatever bondage we were in.

No matter how many laws we keep though, if we forget God, they become nothing but legalism. We must know who He is to know why we would want to walk with Him. The longer we serve God, the more we should know Him and know about Him, but it must begin somewhere. That somewhere for Israel was Deuteronomy 6:4-5, so it should work just as well for us. When we know God as who He is, we can have an intimate relationship with Him that becomes more than doctrine or legalism.

So how does that translate to those of us now who serve under the blood of Messiah? Well, since God never changes, it means that even for those of us who consider ourselves to be Christian, God is still One. We won’t be able to fit that infinite concept into a finite mind easily. Even Paul says in 1 Timothy 3:16 that Godliness is a great mystery. He reminds Timothy that God was manifested in the flesh, seen by angels, preached to the Gentiles, and received up into glory. God could only have done those things in the body of Yeshua.

Because of my personal testimony and studies, I have much more to share on this finding out who God is and how we can draw closer to Him, so if you want to read the rest, just click for more at the end. If you must come back to it later, or you’re just not ready now, I ask you to pray specifically to ask what God meant when He told Israel that He is One Lord and why that is important. I bless each one of you, my readers, with a desire for more wisdom in your walk that you may also have more intimacy in your walk with our wonderful Creator. Shalom and Bye for now.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

(Continued…) The great mystery of Godliness is not as much of a mystery if you can see God as being an angel when He wrestled with Jacob, a man/angel that came to Abraham’s tent to discuss Sodom & Gomorrah, an angel that told Samson’s parents how to bless him with the Nazarite vow, a child to Mary and Joseph, a man on the cross, a dove at the baptism of Yeshua, a lamb in the midst of the throne, and still be God the Creator in the heavens the whole time. Those things show Him with the omnipotence and omnipresence that makes Him who He is.

Remember this, the Gentiles were given an invitation to serve God in His grace and mercy because He loves all and does not desire for anyone to perish. But, we were also given that invitation in order to make the Jews jealous. We cannot make them jealous by teaching them something so far away from the One God that has been the root of their faith from the beginning of their knowledge of Him. Knowing Him as One Lord not only gives us a deeper relationship with Him, it also gives us the tool we need to draw those still looking for their Messiah to the knowledge that He has already come for them as well as for us.

Hear oh Israel, the Lord is One! Even the other eastern religions that have sprung from Judaism (whether they admit it or not) have in their text that their main god has no son. It is the Christian doctrine of the Trinity (instead of “tri-unity”) that has caused many to be confused and not receive their Messiah.

The problem with most of the Trinitarian doctrine is that it focuses more on a concept of “This one is three” rather than “These three are one.” There is a HUGE difference in those two statements. I can see God in His omnipotence and omnipresence putting Himself in three (or more) places at one time, but He is still one. Making one become three shows up when people start having The Son, even in His glorified and heavenly position, ask permission of things from The Father. It also shows up when we call Yeshua (Jesus) the “second person in the godhead” even though He says He is “the Alpha and the Omega; the First and the Last.”

Yeshua Himself said, “If you have seen me, you have seen THE FATHER.” He didn’t say they had seen “the Son,” or “God,” or “the Spirit,” but He specifically identified Himself with what many call “the first person of the Trinity” even though, as I said above, many put Him in second place. He also said, “I and my Father are ONE.” This lines up with Colossians 2:9 where it says (in the Amplified Bible)…

For in Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form [giving complete expression of the divine nature].

If we can see God as making a decision to be over all, through all, and in all, and then understand that this Almighty Creator loves us so much that He would put on a robe of weakened, pain-enduring flesh and suffer just to bring us a ticket to eternity with Him, we can see a God whose love is much more intimate and powerful. It is far more pleasant than thinking of a fatherly God that would point a finger at his only child and say, “Go suffer and die for them, Son.”

He wants us to be like Him, right? Well then, if giving up your only son is the greatest gift, why does He ask us to sacrifice ourselves and not our children? I can see how that doctrine of the abusive parent could spring from the worship of false gods like Molech who did demand people to sacrifice their children.

See, that was the thing keeping me from serving God. I asked Him this question: Lord, If You love me so much, why did You force (yes, I used the word force) Your Son to die for me? Why didn’t You just do it Yourself? I knew, even as a teenager, that God was powerful enough to take Himself through death and back if He wanted. I could see an abusive parent throwing a child in front of a moving car if that would bring praise to the parent, so to me, the Trinitarian God was a child abuser far more than a sacrificial Lord who loved me enough to give up what He loved the most.

Yeshua said, “Greater love has no man than to lay down His OWN life for a friend.” He didn’t say, “his child’s life.” We can easily see that Yeshua is speaking of Himself when He says “His own life,” but without seeing that He was also talking about the Almighty Father, we would have to admit that He is saying He is better than His Father here. God forbid! That’s why the Scripture says that God laid down His own life for us, and it says as well that God purchased the church with his own blood.

One more thing that may help in understanding: When Scripture like Mark 16:19 mentions Yeshua on the “right hand” of God, the Greek word there is a plural one, and the body part of a hand is not in the original words. Even if hand was there, the pluralization would mean that God either has two right hands. We know that cannot be. In fact, the correctly translated word is rights, so what is actually being said is that Yeshua returned to Heaven to sit in the rights of God or rights of the throne. Now we can understand why, in the Book of Revelations, The Lamb (Yeshua) is in the midst of the throne and not on the (right) side of it.

This wonderful Creator who loved me so much that He would willingly step away from His throne and suffer is one worth serving and getting to know better and more intimately. What I have learned since I have accepted God with these infinite traits has continually drawn me closer to Him, so I can be satisfied with His love and His presence above any other gift He can give to me. Like the song I used to sing often for Christian Karaoke says, “I keep falling in love with Him over and over, and over and over, again.”

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July 31, 2014 - Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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