Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, May 15, 2021

Shabbat Shalom,

Counting the Omer – Day 42

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 counting the counting of the Omer.  Today is six weeks and no days of the counting of the Omer.

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

Sat15 May-2021 4th of Sivan, 5781 Parashat Bamidbar

Nu 4:1-20 Hos 2:1-22 1 Co 12:12-27

Enjoying Your Identity by David Harwood

I want to offer some further encouragement concerning who you are and how you may need to deliberately see yourself. I think that what you’re about to read is worthy of emphasis. Our progressive sanctification is connected to our adjusting to God. He calls us to be relationally compatible with Him and to yield to His point of view. 

Let’s pray:

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You, Adonai, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:15 TLV) 

Enjoying Your Identity in Corporate Realities

We want our inner-narrative to give God’s presence pleasure. This is a process that is like a pilgrimage. Part of this path contains a synergy of knowing a) your special calling and b) your participation in aspects of your identity that are primarily experienced as a member of the Messiah’s Community. 

You were added to the Messiah’s Community (Acts 2:41,47; 5:14). Consider:

You, are part of God’s family. Enjoy it.

The community of disciples is the light of the world. You are part of that light, so shine forth.

As a ministering member of the Messiah’s body you help to reveal Yeshua’s activity in the world, so serve Him and others. 

You are a worshiping living stone built together with other living stones as a unified temple. Draw near to God.

Since you are part of the Messiah’s beloved bride you can experience Yeshua’s husband-like love. Be loved.

You are part of the reconciled One New Humanity participating in the covenants and promises that reveal God’s heart for Israel. Recognize your end-time role.

Acknowledging these realities helps balance the glory of your unique calling and vocation. They give even the most humble Ruach ha-Kodesh empowered service great significance.

Called to Specific Service

We touched on the topic of individual calling in Day 26. I want to elaborate.

Many have a sense of calling to a specific role or ministry within the Messiah’s Body. My hope is that those who have illumination in this regard have an accurate view of themselves. If we don’t, we should cultivate reality.

How do we cultivate reality?

First, embrace humility. 

A mentor of mine, some forty years my senior, said something like, “If you want to know how irreplaceable you are, put your hand in a bucket of water, then take it out and see how much you’re missed.” I think he meant that there won’t be a hole in the water. At any rate, let it be said that, despite any significance we have to others, there is only one absolutely necessary Person, and it is not you or me.

Therefore, please do not have an inflated sense of your own importance

For through the grace given me, I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think—but to use sound judgment, as God has assigned to each person a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3 TLV)

There are degrees of expertise, effectiveness, and influence. We differ from one another in these matters.

Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Ruach. 5There are various kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are various kinds of working, but the same God who works all things in all people. (1 Corinthians 12:4–6 TLV) 

We will even differ in degrees of glory after the resurrection.

There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead: (1 Corinthians 15:41–42a TLV)

Each of us are suited for, and called to, specific tasks. Paul likened it to the diversity of parts and functions within a human body (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12).

Calling is intrinsic. Roles are fluid. 

Roles may differ from one circumstance to another. For instance, the first chair violinist in a local high school would most likely not get a seat in a citywide orchestra comprised of accomplished adult performers. If they attended that orchestra’s rehearsal perhaps their role would be to make certain that there was enough coffee for those musicians when they took a break.

The called, empowered, and functioning, teaching pastor in one situation may be the student in another.

I think everyone desires to experience blessing. In the beginning we were created to be blessed. Part of your inner-narrative can be that as you are faithful in your allotted God-given responsibilities you will experience growth and multiplication. It’s part of the original pattern and promised by the Messiah.

The Unified Community’s Confirmation of Your Calling

Often, a person becomes convinced of what they’re to do and their function through the circumstances that surround them (i.e. “Someone’s got to do it”). But, perhaps, quite apart from circumstances, you believe you heard from the Ruach ha-Kodesh about a significant calling. Maybe you had some confirming prophetic words, or prophetic words that appear to confirm prior prophetic input. You may be hearing accurately. You may have a correct appraisal of your call.

If so, remember, there is usually a significant stretch of time between awareness of calling and the fulfilling of the beginning of that call’s realization. The time lag between revelation and fulfillment stretches the best of us.

At times there may be some confusion. If that is so, how can you know if what you believe about yourself is accurate?

Pursuing reality in matters of calling is often connected to participating in vital fellowship. After all, your call is most likely connected to your relationships in the Body. 

Submitting your sense of unique calling to others may cause you to feel a bit exposed and vulnerable. What if nobody agrees with you? What if you get shut down? On the other hand, what if you’re mistaken about how you see yourself? If you’re wrong about your self-perception it can cause you to miss out on what will give you fulfillment and you may spend a long period of time confused and contributing to confusion in the Body. This is true concerning both putting oneself down and puffing oneself up.

I encourage you to confide in select peers and leaders with whom God has brought you into relationship. Are they courageous enough to confront you if they believe you are deceived? Are they wise, prayerful, and experienced enough to be able to separate reality from fantasy? If they are courageous, wise, prayerful, and discerning – and if they love you – there is no need to fear this process. 

It may look like this: 

Joseph says to Joel, Sarah, and Mark, “I believe this is who I am and what I’m called to do. I am a teacher and called to teach.” 

Joel, Sarah, and Mark interact with what Joseph said, and caution, or affirm, or offer counsel and a path forward for Joseph. 

They pray for Joseph and the four of them continue in relational, mutually accountable, fellowship.

Before I forget, let me share this: If what you believe about yourself is true there may be spiritual warfare that accompanies the revelation you received about yourself. This is not unusual. After all, right after Yeshua received a public affirmation from His Father, and the Ruach of God filled Him, He was led by the Ruach into the wilderness where His calling was contested. 

Don’t isolate yourself. Stay in fellowship with God and the believing community. God exalts the humble, and the path to humility is loving the truth. Open yourself up and receive affirmation or adjustment. It will be good for you.

Embracing Calling. Maintaining the Call

Do not self-denigrate your calling. If you know it, be grateful to God and acknowledge it in the depths of your soul. It is an important identity-matter and your godly inner-narrative needs to include it.

We are called to embrace what is always true for every believer. The same principle is true pertaining to our sense of unique calling and destinies.

The believing community affirms people. The apostolic community spoke of Judas and Silas as men who had risked their lives for the name of the Messiah (Acts 15:26). Paul said the same thing of Prisca and Aquila (Romans 16:3-4) and spoke highly of Timothy (Philippians 2:20-22). 

Receive affirmation.

Individual disciples know what they are. Peter called himself a fellow elder and witness of the Messiah’s sufferings (1 Peter 5:1). Paul said he was a herald, an emissary and a teacher of the Gentiles (2 Timothy 1:11). John called himself the beloved disciple (five times in the Gospel that bears his name).

Recognize who you are.

You are part of the Messiah’s Unified People. You are a member of His Body, a part of His house, a member of His family. You also have a unique role to play within the context of these corporate identities. 

Please receive this blessing:

May the words of your mouth, and your heart’s deepest meditation give God’s indwelling presence pleasure.