Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, January 28, 2023
Shabbat Shalom,

Day 28: Evening
The Foundation and Capstone of Lawlessness
by David Harwood

In our last meditation we considered that disregarding, or breaking, the Great Command is the Great Sin. It was a bit sobering. Let’s not let up. I’d like us to take a look at a verse that is one of the most serious warnings in the entire Bible. Yeshua said:

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 

Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, and drive out demons in Your name, and perform many miracles in Your name?’ 

Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23 TLV) 

Lawlessness, as a topic, covers a wide range of offenses. Although not generally the subject of concentrated focus, the foundation and capstone of lawlessness is antipathy or apathy toward the Foremost Command. Yeshua’s dread foretelling followed the self-description of people who were actively involved with the appearance of godliness manifested in spiritual illumination and power. They  . They delivered people from demons. They performed many miracles. However, they didn’t love Him; they practiced lawlessness. In contrast, of the apostolic company Paul led, he wrote:

Instead, we renounced the hidden shameful ways—not walking in deception or distorting the word of God, but commending ourselves before God to everyone’s conscience by the open proclamation of the truth. (2 Corinthians 4:2 TLV) 

The self-professed heroes of the faith addressed in Matthew 7 were involved with ministry. Yet, despite their protestations of loving loyalty, those addressed by Yeshua did not love God. Paul speaks to this potential problem in 1 Corinthians 13.  What Paul wrote was in harmony with his Messiah’s words. In that chapter we see this: miraculous giftings, dedication and self-sacrifice can be done without the motivation of love. The verdict on these things is that they are profitless manifestations of a meaningless life.

I am nothing… I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2b, 3b TLV)

1 Corinthians 13 continues a discussion of the mutual ministry of the community of believers. In the beginning of that section, a description of love’s actions and attitudes toward one another is emphasized. At the end of the chapter, the discussion morphs into an emphasis upon our attitudes toward the Lord as we endure this age. We are living before that which is perfect comes. When the Lord returns, we shall know fully as we have been fully known. Meanwhile, “But now these three remain-  faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13 TLV). Faith is directed toward God, as are hope and love.

Now, suppose the beginning of the chapter includes our love for God that affects our love for others. Let’s read it as if God were to be the prioritized object of our love.

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love (toward God and the brethren), I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 

If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love (toward God and the brethren), I am nothing. 

If I give away all that I own and if I hand over my body so I might boast but have not love (toward God and the brethren), I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 TLV) 

Let’s work with this a bit. We’re called to have faith in Who God really is, hope because of Who God really is and love for Who God really is. Our faith and hope in Him build our love for Him. The one who loves God need never fear being ultimately disqualified.

Paul trumpeted this truth:

If anyone loves God, he is known by Him. (1 Corinthians 8:3 TLV) 

Again, let us turn to our God and ask Him to refresh, strengthen and maintain our love for Him. Let us not trust our own efforts. We are those who “put no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3b).” Instead, we receive the ministry of the Ruach ha-Kodesh. God’s Spirit reveals the nature of God, guiding our hearts into God’s heart.

But God revealed these things to us through the Ruach. For the Ruach searches all things—even the depths of God. (1 Corinthians 2:10 TLV) 

Ponder that and ask:

In Yeshua’s name, Father, may Your Spirit strengthen my faith, hope and love toward you. By Your Spirit, reveal His perspective of Who You are.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarsson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sat 28-Jan-2023 6th of Sh’vat, 5783 Parashat Bo
Ex 13:1-16 Jer 46:13-28 Rev 16:1-21