Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, April 24, 2021

Shabbat Shalom,

Day 21 of counting the Omer

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל סְפִירַת הָעֹֽמֶר

Baruch Atah Adonai Elohenu Melech Ha-Olam, Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav, Vitzivanu Al Sefirat Ha-Omer.

Blessed are You O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by his commandments and commanded us about the counting of the Omer.  Today is three weeks and no days of the counting of the omer.

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

Sat 24 Apr 2021 12th of Iyar, 5781 Parashat Achrei Mot-Kedoshim 

Le 20:8-27 Am 9:7-15 1 Tess 4:1-12

I Am Chosen by David Harwood

Sometimes we need to correct how we think of ourselves. We might have to deliberately interrupt a train of thought to get us back on track as we retrain our inner-narratives. 

I think that most believers need to reinforce the realities of being chosen by God. I hope you are making progress in considering the truth: You Are a Chosen Person.

You are chosen to be God’s child.

You are chosen to be the Lord Yeshua’s sister/brother.

You are chosen to be Yeshua’s friend.

From my perspective, much of what I share is filled with both comfort and challenge. Today’s challenge is to contemplate the biblical revelation that you have been chosen to be God’s dwelling place.

To begin, I want to establish and offer you a fair estimation of your worth. Your value to God can be determined by the price He paid for you.

You know that you were redeemed from the futile way of life handed down from your ancestors—not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19but with precious blood like that of a lamb without defect or spot, the blood of Messiah. (1 Peter 1:18–19 TLV)

For us, the Kingdom of God is the treasure in the field, the pearl of great price. To the King of kings, we are exactly that. 

44 The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid. And because of his joy, he goes out and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. 46Upon finding a pearl of great value, he went out and sold all that he had and bought it. (Matthew 13:44–46 TLV) 

God became incarnate in Yeshua and Father purchased you at the cost of His Son. To God, you are both the treasure in the field and the costly pearl.

The Lord said that you are valuable. He asked, “Are you not more valuable?”

Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your Father in heaven feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 TLV))

You are valuable.

You are so treasured that God chose you. According to the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament’s definition of choice (ἐκλεκτός – eklektos), it is fair to say that you elicited a significant preference. God had a strongly favorable attitude toward you. Therefore, He chose you. And He chose you to be His dwelling place. 

To get something out of this it may be helpful to look at some biblical background to this concept. There is a lot of context. Let’s try to isolate a few points. 

Adonai promised that He’d choose a place to localize His presence.

Rather you are to seek only the place Adonai your God chooses from all your tribes to put His Name to dwell—there you will come. (Deuteronomy 12:5 TLV)

In the Tehillim (Psalms), God’s choice of Zion almost seems to be the result of a competition. The mountains competed and Jerusalem won. Zion was the mount He chose for His presence.

Adonai said He would exercise His choice to uniquely reveal His presence. He had various options concerning where He would localize Himself. His decision is written about in the same context of the description of God electing David to be Israel’s king.

67 Then He detested Joseph’s tent and chose not the tribe of Ephraim. 68 Instead He chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which He loved. 69 He built His Sanctuary like the heights, like the earth that He established forever. 70 He also chose David His servant and took him from the sheepfolds, 71 from following nursing ewes. He brought him to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. (Psalm 78:67–71 TLV)

David was chosen from amongst his brothers, and Zion was chosen from amongst all the holy land’s mountains.

For Adonai has chosen Zion, He has desired it for His dwelling: 14“This is My resting place forever. Here I dwell, for I have desired it. (Psalm 132:13–14 TLV)

God desired Zion. The Hebrew word (אָוָה -ʾāvâ) conveys a very strong emotion. It is used to elaborate the prohibition against coveting, to describe the emotion of what we call longing. I found a verse that gives the sense of this word. Take a look… David said longingly, ‘ “Who would get me water to drink from the well which is by the gate in Bethlehem?” (2 Samuel 23:15) 

That’s a pretty strong desire.  Concerning El Shaddai, Job said: He is unchangeable, and who can change Him? Whatever His soul desires, He does. (Job 23:13 TLV) 

In the midst of a planet in rebellion, Adonai determined to have a place where He could live, where He could rest, where He could have unique communion with His people. Yerushalayim was chosen as that place. Why? Because Adonai desired it.  The “Good News” is, so were you. God chose you to be His dwelling place. He picked you with a purpose. 

Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Ruach ha-Kodesh who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19 TLV)

Looking for a place to live, and move, and have His being, He purchased you. To fully dwell amongst humanity the Author-of-Life required a living house, and you are it. Look how you are described.

What agreement does God’s Temple have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God—just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  (2 Corinthians 6:16 TLV)

And the description continues… As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house—a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Messiah Yeshua. (1 Peter 2:4–5 TLV) 

It is only fair to ask how you can be a temple and priest at the same time. To answer, I’d say just look at the Messiah. Yeshua was a temple, sacrifice and priest simultaneously. Like Him, you have been chosen to be both temple and a minister in the temple all-at-once as you offer your inner-narrative to God as an act of worship.  Finally, we join with Him in living sacrificial lives.  You have been chosen to be God’s home.  God chose you to be His living house.  Your response to this message (calling) is important to Him.  See yourself as His home. 

Here are some analogies about who you are: 

God’s temple is a place where He chose to rest. It is the location of His throne and mercy seat. 

Know that He chose to be enthroned within you. Believe that you are uniquely constructed for His presence and mutual interaction. 

Your dedication is seen as a pleasing sacrifice. Your worship and prayer is released like incense before Him. 

The Messiah, the eternal High Priest, ministers within you to the Father. God’s holy presence dwells in you.

In addition, God’s House has a future. Isaiah heard the word of the LORD. God said,  and I will beautify My glorious House. (Isaiah 60:7b TLV)

You shall be glorified because you are His beautiful dwelling place. In the same way the tabernacle in the wilderness was the pattern of the temple in Jerusalem, so it is written that He will transform you.

He will transform this humble body of ours into the likeness of His glorious body, through the power that enables Him even to put all things in subjection to Himself. (Philippians 3:21 TLV)

Let’s mediatate on this and make it personal.

God chose me.

God chose Me.

God Chose me.

God chose me to be His living house.

God chose Me to be His living house.

God Chose me to be His living house.

God chose me to be His living house.

God chose me to be His living House.

You are chosen to be a living house for the source of life, a living house for the living God. He lives in you. Please deliberately add this identity-matter to your inner-narrative. It will please the LORD.

Ask Adonai for help.

Abba, in the name of Yeshua, may the words of my mouth and my heart’s deepest thoughts give Your presence pleasure.