Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, January 23, 2021

Shabbat Shalom,

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)

Sat 23-Jan-2021 10th of Sh’vat, 5781 Parashat Bo

Ex 13:1-16 Jer 46:13-28 Rev 16:1-21

Give God Pleasure and Love Yourself – Day 14 by David Harwood

Shalom. This is the conclusion of a second cycle of seven posts. Today I want to present a review of a few thoughts from the prior six entries and then offer some new material. Any Scriptures I cite but don’t share are listed at the bottom. 

Let’s review. 

A Brief Review

We emphasized Ephesians 4:29-30a as a template upon which we base this exhortation:

Do not allow any rotten inner-conversation proceed from your heart about yourself to yourself. 

Instead, concentrate upon what is wholesome and strategically strengthen your soul  according to your immediate need. 

Make it your ambition to please God with your meditations and impart grace to your inner-being 

And don’t make God sad.

All bitterness, and rage, and wrath, and clamor, and abusive speech (towards yourself), must be removed from you 

What we say to others, that which we think and speak about others, can please or grieve God. The same is true about how we view and speak about ourselves. We have an opportunity to construct an inner narrative which blesses God. This will help us relate to Him, ourselves, and others. Significantly, this will be good for us.

God is pleased when our meditations and words about ourselves are loving. He does not want us to treat our own inner-being in a way He forbids when we interact with others. We must guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23 TLV) because the entirety of our souls can become diseased if we put up with spiritually compromised strongholds comprised of rotten inner-narratives. 

We are called to be merciful people (Matthew 5:7 TLV). Should we show mercy to others and not to ourselves? God wants us to be considerate, gentle and peaceable in our hearts towards our own souls. That will give His presence pleasure.

The Ruach Elohim is affected by what we say and how we say it. He cares about our motives. He fills us with the fruit which comes from Him: His character and personality. 

Here are two questions: Is there a standard of holiness for how we speak to others? Does the living God care about what we say regarding them? Here are two clear answers: Yes, and, yes. 

This applies to how we speak about ourselves in our souls too. The goals God has for any corporate expression of the Messiah’s life also holds true for our inner being’s manifestation of Yeshua’s life. A grace imparting inner-narrative will delight the Messiah who is present in your inner being. 

Through the Ruach’s enabling-favor (by grace) we can relate to ourselves in a way that pleases our Creator. The fruit of the Ruach is not just for the corporate life of a congregation. They are also imparted that we might interact with our own souls. 

A good word that would edify you and give grace to your soul (Ephesians 4:29 TLV) would be a thought that imparts confidence in God’s favor. This reality can be righteously embraced. It is true and honors the Redeemer who gave Himself to bring you into a state of favor. 

Here is an example of an exercise that puts this principle into practice: 

Speak to your soul as if you were addressing a friend. 

(Feel free to insert your name:) 

“God is for you (insert name here).”

Through a sanctified inner-narrative we have an opportunity to bless the holy One who is enthroned within and is devoted to us. The same courtesy we would show a friend, the same forbearance we would offer an adversary, is the same kindness we should offer ourselves in His presence. 

Forgive yourself like you would forgive others and please remove every obstacle that hinders your relationship with God.

Today’s Encouragement: A Whole New Way in the Inner Being

Some motives are great, some are not so good. It takes the Ruach ha-Kodesh’s intervention to have a true sense of conviction. Otherwise we are left to our conscience’s devices. The human conscience is frail and unreliable. Sometimes we excuse what we ought to censor and condemn what we should release (Romans 2:15–16 TLV).

We all have secrets, thoughts that only we know. We have hidden motives. We have self-evaluations that are hidden. God is aware of them and we should be aware that He is focused upon, well… everything.  Peter wrote of, “… the hidden person of the heart, with the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious (1 Peter 3:4 TLV).

The word hidden (1 Peter 3:4 TLV), is a good translation of kryptō (Greek: κρύπτω, Hebrew: sātar סָתַר). So, also, is another possible translation, secret. For example, a) our Father is in secret and b) sees what is done in secret. (Matthew 6:6); c) our giving is to be done in secret and our Father takes notice (Matthew 6:4 TLV). 

God also experiences what we think in secret. There is a hidden (secret) person of the heart (1 Peter 3:4 TLV). Our Father sees and hears what goes on there and you can give your Father pleasure through your secret words and meditations. 

God can guide us in these matters through His Ruach interacting with us through the Scriptures and our intuitive Ruach-bequeathed relationship with the living God. In fact, we need the Ruach ha-Kodesh’s communication about what is pleasing to Him and what grieves Him (1 Corinthians 4:5 TLV).

Our motives count.  The Father weighs the motivations of our hearts. He ponders and evaluates each one (Proverbs 16:2 TLV). Adonai examines the heart of each person (1 Thessalonians 2:4b TLV) and may make decisions about an individual’s destiny based upon the state of his/her heart (1 Samuel 16:7 TLV).

One thing He experiences when He examines your heart is the way you speak of yourself to yourself. One premise of these brief essays is that our inner-narrative is an aspect of the content of our hearts’ meditations. That narrative has potential to give Him joy. I’ve reiterated that I find Psalm 19:15 to be helpful in clarifying this reality.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You, Adonai, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:15 TLV) 

A Whole New Way

I have become convinced that we are to dedicate our secret inner-narratives to God in the same way we are commanded to dedicate our bodies to holy action (Romans 6:13; 12:1 TLV). If we begin to do this it will make a difference. For me, this has provided a whole new way of approaching the way I speak within myself, about myself, toward myself.

Your inner-narrative can delight God. In addition, you can know that the meditations of your heart about yourself give God’s presence pleasure. 

Here’s an example of an inner-narrative that is Scripture based and helpful. Let’s briefly examine the role of our unfeigned faith in giving God’s presence pleasure.

It is written that Enoch “obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God (Hebrews 11:5 TLV).” Likewise, your foundational trust in God pleases the God you trust.  Is that part of your inner narrative? It can be. It is written:

Now without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6a TLV) 

Without faith we can’t please Him. With faith we do please Him. Can you look at yourself and appreciate that your faith is something about you that is precious to God? 

What about weak faith? 

Weak genuine faith is effectual. It affects the environment and it pleases God.

… if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20b TLV) 

We may have a tendency to bemoan our small faith. We may lament, “When, Oh, when shall I even have faith the size of a mustard seed?” Here’s some good news: Yeshua did not share this truth to discourage us. True faith is not just out of reach. In fact, the faith you already have is precious to God. In particular, the saving faith you maintain gives Him pleasure. 

Your faith in God is valued by Him in the way people value gold. Especially faith that is tested by fire.

so that the true metal of your faith (far more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire) may come to light in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Messiah Yeshua. (1 Peter 1:7 TLV)

If you boil it down and find that your refined faith is genuine, then recognize, in the presence of God, that your faith pleases your Father. 

Your foundational faith in God 

is something you possess 

that gives God pleasure.

Is this part of your inner-narrative?

It can be.

Make it so.

We are called to walk in a manner worthy of the Messiah (Colossians 1:10a TLV). This extends to our inner-narrative. We can think of ourselves in a way that is worthy of our Creator and pleases Him.

Please pray:

Oh! For a gentle and quiet spirit… (1 Peter 3:4 TLV).

Abba, let the words I speak and my heart’s deepest thoughts give Your presence pleasure. (paraphrase of Psalm 19:15a)

Cited Scriptures: 

No rotten word must proceed from your mouth, but only something good for the building up of the need, in order that it may give grace to those who hear, 30 and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 All bitterness, and rage, and wrath, and clamor, and abusive speech, must be removed from you, together with all wickedness. 32 Become kind toward one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as also God in [the Messiah] has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:29–32 Lexham English Bible) 

Guard your heart diligently, for from it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23 TLV) 

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy. (Matthew 5:7 TLV) 

They show that the work of the Torah is written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts switching between accusing or defending them 16on the day when God judges the secrets of men according to my Good News through Messiah Yeshua. (Romans 2:15–16 TLV) 

so that your tzedakah may be in secret; and your Father, who sees in secret, shall reward you. 5“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Amen, I tell you, they have their reward in full! 6But you, when you pray, go into your inner room; and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, shall reward you. (Matthew 6:4–6 TLV)

Therefore do not judge anything before the time—wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the things hidden in darkness and also make clear the motives of the hearts. Then the praise for each one will come from God. (1 Corinthians 4:5 TLV)

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the Adonai weighs the motives. (Proverbs 16:2 TLV) 

we declare it—not pleasing men but rather God, who examines our hearts.. (1 Thessalonians 2:4b TLV) 

But Adonai said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have already refused him. For He does not see a man as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but Adonai looks into the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 TLV) 

And do not keep yielding your body parts to sin as tools of wickedness; but yield yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your body parts as tools of righteousness to God. (Romans 6:13 TLV) 

I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice—holy, acceptable to God—which is your spiritual service. (Romans 12:1 TLV)