Rabbi’s Reflections – Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Counting the Omer – Day 31
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 four weeks and three days of the counting of the Omer.
We all long for beauty. The beauty of God’s world is found in His divine order. John and Stasi Eldridge wrote the book “Captivating” in 2005 and then they updated and expanded it in 2010. The front cover says “Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul.”
Rabbi Trail: I’m getting ready to reference a few things in this book written 15 years ago by the Eldridges. If you want to know why, it’s because they have captured some truths we need to know. I’ve never had a woman’s soul, but I (and hopefully you too) am/are part of the bride of Messiah. We are all drawn to beauty, but as part of the body of Messiah we must process that longing in a way that is consistent with God’s call on our lives. End RT.
I wrote yesterday that beauty is a powerful force. None of you wrote me back to ask, “How is beauty a powerful force?” But, I’m going to explain it anyway.
Beauty speaks to us. Beauty is that still small voice that Elijah heard. 1 Kings 19:12b After the fire there was a soft whisper of a voice. Beauty is found in the voice of Yeshua, Who calls us beyond the physical command to work (Genesis 3:19 By the sweat of your brow will you eat food, until you return to the ground, since from it were you taken.) into God’s Spiritual Kingdom. Matthew 11:28 Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Beauty nourishes us, and our souls crave that nourishment. Zechariah 9:17 How good and beautiful it will be! Grain will make the young men thrive and new wine the virgin women. Yes, we thrive on beauty, so we should think often of it. Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any virtue and if there is anything worthy of praise—dwell on these things.
Beauty inspires us, calling us to something higher. Psalm 45:12(11) Then the king will desire your beauty. Honor him, for he is your lord. This verse is taken out of context, but retains a profound message. We desire God’s beauty, and at the same time, He desires ours. That’s inspiring. 2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory—just as from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Beauty invites us in, by drawing us and capturing our attention. Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces shalom, who brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Beauty comforts us in a way that is profoundly healing. 2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. And please do read the context on this one (verses 14-18).
Beauty is transcendent, taking us from what is urgent to what is eternal. Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Moreover, He has set eternity in their heart—yet without the possibility that humankind can ever discover the work that God has done from the beginning to the end. What is more eternal than our salvation? Psalm 149:4 For Adonai takes pleasure in His people. He crowns the humble with salvation.
All of this emphasizes the spiritual side of beauty. This is the spiritual reality of the physical reality, the 4th dimension of our 3 dimensional physical world. Tomorrow we’ll talk about how much greater that 4th spiritual dimension is than the 3 physical dimensions.
One last note… As we gaze upon Yeshua in our everyday lives, we must guard against allowing this temporary “light affliction” to shift our gaze away from His profoundly eternal beauty. God is still on the throne; He was, He is, and He always will be in control. “Al Tishkach” (“Al Tishkachi” if you’re a woman), meaning “never forget.”
Memory Verse: Proverbs 1:7 The fear of Adonai is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
96 5/11 Monday: Proverbs 1-2
* 97 5/12 Tuesday: Proverbs 3-4
98 5/13 Wednesday: Proverbs 16-18
99 5/14 Thursday: Proverbs 31
100 5/15 Friday: 1 Kings 11-12
Question of the day: Okay! Today I’m going to write about 2 verses from Proverbs chapter 3 and 2 verses from Proverbs chapter 4. The question of the day is, “Which ones?”
Answer: The “slam-dunk” obvious choice for chapter 3 is Proverbs 3:5 Trust in Adonai with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
But which 2 verses from chapter 4 capture my attention? The last 2… Proverbs 4:26 Clear a level path for your feet, so all your ways will be firm. 27 Do not turn to the right or to the left. Divert your foot from evil.
4 verses from 2 different chapters that essentially say the same thing. “Do not turn to the right or to the left” sounds a lot like “He will make your paths straight.” The Hebrew word for “straight” is “Yashar” (with the Shoresh “yud-shin-resh”). That word is also translated as righteous, upright, and straightforward.
Here is the message of these 4 verses… “Be straightforward (acting and thinking righteously) in all your ways; God, Himself, will help you.” God wants us to walk before Him blameless. He does not want us to stumble. Psalm 121:3 He will not let your foot slip. Your Keeper will not slumber. 4 Behold, the Keeper of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. And the last 2 words of Psalm 121:4 in Hebrew is where we got the name of our congregation, Shomair Yisrael (Watchman or Guardian of Israel).