Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, November 5, 2022
Shabbat Shalom,

A shout out “happy birthday” to my youngest daughter, Jacquelyne.  Yippee, it’s your birthday.

Day 21: Evening Meditation by David Harwood
Knowing God and Loving Him Go Hand in Hand

Our Creator has plans, and God’s goal for us is that we would know Him and love Him. This purpose is revealed throughout the Scriptures and is the reason for the Foremost Commandment.

Knowing God and loving Him go hand in hand. As we grow in the knowledge of the One we love, we are progressively being transformed. We are being changed from glory to glory into the exact image of the Son (2 Corinthians 3:18).

As regards knowing God: I assume that most of those reading this are familiar with Yeshua’s definition of everlasting life. Nevertheless, it is worth repeating: the Messiah said that eternal life is knowing God.

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Yeshua the Messiah, the One You sent. (John 17:3 TLV)

One thing that is exceptional about Yeshua is that no human ever lived who had more complete knowledge about spiritual things. He knew His Father. He understood the nature of that which remains unseen. We can trust His definition of eternal life.

Desiring eternal life is a good thing. We honor God by cultivating that hope and living in such a way as to bring Him pleasure. We are to persevere in doing good as we seek for glory, honor, and immortality: eternal life (Romans 2:7). We’re to seek for glory and honor. Well, what’s so bad about that?

Paul made no secret of his desire to have a blessed eternity. He revealed his deepest personal desires to the Philippians. He wanted to arrive at the resurrection from among the dead. (Philippians 3:11 TLV).

It is our participation in the resurrection from the dead which starts our full participation in eternal life. It is the pier from which we embark on life everlasting.

Our expectation of immortality is a bit different from that of the pagan world. Our hope for eternal life is relational. We get to be with the One we love in fellowship with those we love. In fact, the concept of eternal life (knowing God) can be placed within the framework of loving Him. I think it should be seen in that context.

Concerning knowing God, consider this: knowing the Father and the Son is a heart, soul, mind, and strength relationship. It is the process and the goal of the Foremost Command. Participating in knowing God along the lines of the Foremost Command is a participation in eternal life.

Knowing God can be experiential and non-cognitive. An extreme example of this would be the glory of God’s presence filling the temple.

The Temple, the House of Adonai, was filled with a cloud. 14The kohanim could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of Adonai filled the House of God. (2 Chronicles 5:13b-14 TLV)

That was not an intellectual experience. That was not information based.

However, knowing God is not just experiential and non-cognitive. Knowing Him is also revelatory. Of necessity, revelation imparts wisdom and knowledge. Paul prayed that God would give the believers a S/spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of God (Ephesians 1:17-18). The experience of interaction with God’s Spirit produces understanding. It is a knowing of God with our minds.

In fact, our love for God is often dependent upon what we think of Him. How we view Him affects our love for Him. Consider Psalm 18. David wrote:

I love You, Adonai my strength! (Psalm 18:2 TLV)

Why? Because of what he understood about the God he experienced and what he expected in the way of rescue. Here are the next couple of verses from Psalm 18.

Adonai is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. My God is my rock, in Him I take refuge, my shield, my horn of salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:3-4 TLV)

David understood God’s love for him. He experienced it. He had words to describe it.

Knowing God, loving Him, is not merely emotional, but it is not apart from emotion.

Neither is it dependent upon our effort, but employing our strength in pursuing and responding to the God we love is part of this relationship. Here’s a great verse enjoining our use of effort in knowing God:

So let us know, let us strive to know Adonai. Like dawn His going forth is certain. He will come to us like the rain, like the latter rain watering the earth. (Hosea 6:3)

Let’s do that.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarsson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sat 5-Nov-2022 11th of Cheshvan, 5783 Parashat Lech-Lecha
Ge 17:7-27 Isa 40:27-41:16 Ro 4:1-12