Rabbi’s Reflections – Monday, April 27, 2020 


Counting the Omer – Day 16

Here is the proper blessing to be said each day.  This is how Jewish people fulfill the command to count.

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 two weeks and two days of the counting of the Omer.

This is the first time I’m writing in the 3rd week of the counting of the Omer.  Every year we count 7 full weeks (a week of weeks) until we reach the 50th day, Shavuot (Pentecost).  As we count (according to the command of God), we recount our blessings.  Every year we seek the Lord on a format to follow.  And every year, God blesses us with something extraordinary.  

This year, we are counting the blessings of being created with 7 longings.  Each of these longings is intended to be fulfilled in a lasting and covenantal relationship with Yeshua.  But each may also drive us toward a counterfeit found in the lust of this world and the things in it.

So far, we have examined two longings, the longing to be enjoyed (loved, valued, pursued, cared about) even in our weakness, and the longing to be fascinated (filled with wonder).  Now in week 3 we will examine the longing to be whole hearted and passionate with God. 

Watch how these longings build; first enjoyed, then fascinated and now passionate.  First we receive His love (enjoyed by Him), then we love Him back (by being fascinated and passionate).  1 John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.

This longing, to be whole hearted and passionate, is the desire to love God without restraint.  We hold nothing back.  We abandon all sense of self and elevate Him to preeminence.  The key reason we hold back involves fear, fear of rejection, fear of ridicule, fear of judgment, or fear of criticism.  

So, let me ask you, does God love perfectly?  Hint… God does everything perfectly.  Let’s return to 1 John 4, and back up one verse.  1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and the one who fears has not been made perfect in love.

Loving God with reckless abandon is not reckless.  It simply requires trust.  We trust God to love us perfectly, and part of His perfect love is perfect acceptance.  Let me put this in other words.  When we trust God’s total acceptance, that releases us to be “all in” as we love Him.

The Bible speaks of this in many places.  Here are just a few.  The Torah addresses this… Deuteronomy 31:8 Adonai—He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you. Do not fear or be discouraged.”  

It is confirmed by Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Surely I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.  Finally, the last words in the book of Matthew 28:20b And remember! I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

We all know God’s response to those who offer Him a lukewarm reception.  Let’s sell-out for God and love Him with reckless abandon.  Isn’t that also in the Torah?  Deuteronomy 6:5 Love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  Yeshua even calls this the greatest commandment.  

I’ll write more on this tomorrow.  

Week 18
Memory Verse:  Psalm 1:1 Happy is the one who has not walked in the advice of the wicked, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of scoffers. 2 But his delight is in the Torah of Adonai, and on His Torah he meditates day and night. 3 He will be like a planted tree over streams of water, producing its fruit during its season. Its leaf never droops— but in all he does, he succeeds. 4 The wicked are not so. For they are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand during the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For Adonai knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.

86    4/27      Monday:        Psalm 51

87    4/28      Tuesday:       2 Samuel 24; Psalm 24 

88    4/29      Wednesday:  Psalm 1; 19

89    4/30      Thursday:      Psalm 103; 119:1-48

90    5/01      Friday:           Psalm 119:49-128     

Question of the day:  We have very few Psalms in the F-260 (which is a chronological reading plan).  Why is this Psalm 51 included here?

Answer:  The second verse gives us the answer.  It was written by King David after Nathan confronted him about Bathsheba.  Psalm 51 is King David’s song of repentance.  

David brings the Psalm to a climactic conclusion when he says… Psalm 51:19 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. 20 In Your favor do good to Zion. Build up the walls of Jerusalem.  

Yes, King David got it right.  Everything with God is a heart thing.  Our hearts hear God’s call to change, and we change.  2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

That newness of all things includes our hearts.  When our hearts line up with God’s purposes, we find every other area of life becomes aligned according to God’s will.  Then we will each be walking and talking, living and breathing Seder meals to the Lord.  2 Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who in Messiah always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us reveals everywhere the aroma of the knowledge of Himself. 15a For we are the aroma of Messiah to God.