Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, May 21, 2022
Shabbat Shalom,

Growing in Love for God 17
by David Harwood

Love for God is birthed by illumination from God about God.

We do not want to be in love with a concept. You can’t have a relationship with a concept. Our desire is to love and interact with a Person through His Ruach and His Word.

One thing we do know: God wants to be known and He wants to be loved.

He sent the Messiah to bring us to Himself and give us eternal life.

For Messiah once suffered for sins also—the righteous for the unrighteous—in order to bring you to God. (1 Peter 3:18a TLV TLV)

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Yeshua the Messiah, the One You sent. (John 17:3 TLV)

We receive guidance as to how to relate to the One we know through the most important command He gave. Herein is the heart of the relationship:

Love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5 TLV)

Those who are growing in their love for Adonai express that love in obedience and praise. God loves our obedience. He also loves our praise. The Great Command reveals that our grateful praise – birthed by love – is meaningful to our Father.

Some ignore Scripture and, speaking from experience, say that the purpose of petition is to change us – not to receive answers from God. There are those who believe that God gets nothing out of the praise that is offered to Him. They say, “He needs nothing, therefore He wants nothing.” Some of these people simultaneously insist that what motivates God is a desire for His creation to recognize how much credit He deserves. I find this to be a self-contradictory conundrum. As with the purported purpose of prayer, they believe that praise’s purpose is the wellbeing of our souls.

Allow me to ask this: Is our praise meaningful to Him, or is it just for the wellbeing of our souls? Here’s a partial answer:

For Adonai takes pleasure in His people. (Psalm 149:4a TLV) 

In the context of Psalm 149:4, God is delighted by our being delighted in who He is, and what He’s done. Our praise is meaningful to Him.

He created us to elicit His love

and He reveals Himself in order to elicit our love.

In the light of the vastness of creation, the revelation of our importance is counter intuitive. I don’t know if any faith, apart from Biblical faith, recognizes our worth. King David wrestled with this and wrote:

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You established— what is man, that You are mindful of him? And the son of man, that You care for him? Yet You made him a little lower than the angels, and crowned him with glory and majesty! (Psalm 8:4-6 TLV)

Despite our self-evaluations, we have been created to be significant to the Significant One. In fact, we are His inheritance, His prized possession.

Yet they are Your people—Your inheritance that You brought out by Your great power and Your outstretched arm. (Deuteronomy 9:29 TLV)

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what is the richness of His glorious inheritance in the kedoshim, (Ephesians 1:18 TLV)

He created us to be so valuable to Him that our appreciation of Him blesses Him. Our manifesting that appreciation reallyblesses Him.

The degree of our love for Him, and the expression of that love, affects God’s emotions. It is referred to as blessing the LORD. He is not an unmoved mover. We worship the God of Hebrew Prophets, not the speculations of the pagan, Plato.

What has God been revealing about Himself to you that inspires you to praise Him? To what facet of His glory are you being guided? How does He want to relate to you in the busyness of life? Are you hungry for more insight?

If you are, ask Him for wisdom. Wisdom from above is not only relevant to the puzzles of life, wisdom is an answer to prayer that can help us relate to God.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all without hesitation and without reproach; and it will be given to him. (Jacob/James 1:5 TLV)

Ask like this: “Living God, please reveal Yourself to me. What do You love about Yourself. Grant me wisdom.”

Counting the Omer – Day 28
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 no days of the counting of the Omer.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sat   21-May-2022 20th of Iyyar, 5782 Parashat Behar 28th day of the Omer
Le 25:47-26:2 Jer 32:6-27 Lk 4:14-44