Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, April 23, 2022
Shabbat Shalom

Growing in Love for God 13
by David Harwood

How valuable is humanity to the Creator? King David knew the Genesis accounts describing the unique creation we are. He also knew that he was personally, specifically, favored and loved by God. Yet, he wrote of his wonder at the significance of humanity.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? (Psalm 8:3–4)

Their science was primitive. What Israel’s sages knew concerning the knowledge of nature is dwarfed by the average elementary student of our era. However, their interactive knowledge of God and the spiritual realm towers above the modern age.

They didn’t know a lot, but they knew enough to look up. They were aware of God looking down.

Who is like the Lord our God, Who is enthroned on high, Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth? (Psalm 113:5-6)

We are aware of God, motivated by love, coming down and uniting with that which He saw. We believe the report.

Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (Isaiah 53:1–3)

We receive the report-and what a report it is! Knowing the Servant, this man of sorrows, is actually God Incarnate makes this prophecy poignant. When considering a source that provides direction into the mystery of His humility it is inevitable that we should revisit Philippians 2.

6Who, though existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to be grasped. 7But He emptied Himself— taking on the form of a slave, becoming the likeness of men and being found in appearance as a man. 8He humbled Himself— becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  (Philippians 2:6-8 TLV)

Many scholars believe this is something believers sang. I think that is likely. Make an effort to meditate on one of these earliest hymns. You may find a place of fellowship with the Father in appreciating the Messiah.

Father treasured Israel’s King. He loved His Son’s humble, yielded heart, soul, mind and strength. How I wish my eyes were more fully opened that I could more fully fellowship with our Father in His love for Jesus.

As it is, I love how God seeks to win my heart. Just the fact that my love is something He desires has the potential to awaken and empower my love for Him. I relate to the beginning of Psalm 18.

“I love You, O Lord, my strength.” (Psalm 18:1)

In this brief exclamation is a common Hebrew word used in a very uncommon context. The word translated “love” is רָחַם (rāḥam). It means compassion and is usually translated that way. Literally, David said, “I have compassion on You, O LORD, my strength!” (Usually ignored, the New English Translation mentions this in a footnote.)

Have you ever felt badly for God? Have you ever empathized with Him? Do you believe that there is anything the Creator experiences which could stir a human heart to empathy?

Let me ask another question. Has God ever revealed Himself to you in such a way as to provoke you to grief on behalf of what He suffers? Was Jesus, man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, representing the heart of the Father, or not?

This God has to command – command – His beloved creation to love Him. That is a measure of how estranged we are from the One who loves us.

Yet He has demonstrated His love for, and mercy on, us. And we? We demonstrated our enmity and judgment against Him. We know His love was demonstrated for us at the cross. Our pride and anger against Him was demonstrated at the same place.

Say with me, “I love You, O LORD, my strength.”

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sat 23-Apr-2022 22nd of Nisan, 5782
De 14:22-16:17 Nu 28:19-25 Isa 10:32-12:6  SS 1-8  Ro 6:1-11