Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, August 19, 2023
Shabbat Shalom,

Behold Yeshua!
He is the Righteous Messiah
by David Harwood

—the righteous Messiah Yeshua. (1 John 2:1c)

May Father help us look at Him with admiration and tell others how wonderful He is, how excellent His example, how supernaturally practical His teaching, how He lived what He taught, and how He promised that we could live the same way.

Yeshua knew how to live. In the Sermon on the Mount we receive comprehensive instruction to live like Him. A foundation and theme of that message is that we are to embrace the type of faith Yeshua had: restful, reverent reliance. He had a deep relational faith in His Father and He instructs us so we might have the same quality of faith.

Remember Miriam at the vacated tomb. She called Him, “Rabboni.” Our resurrected Rabbi can teach us to live in Sermon-on-the-Mount-like faith in Father: a resting reverent reliance. Yeshua trusted Father and taught His disciples what His attitude towards God was. He reinforced this reality: your Father knows what you need and He will provide. (Matthew 6:8,32)

The Righteous Messiah trusted God’s wisdom, willingness and power. This is the spiritual environ in which Yeshua lived before His  ministry began. It is the atmosphere of the community He established. He wants us to have the same relationship with the Father, trusting His good-love. This type of faith is an important component of righteousness described in Habakkuk:

… the righteous will live by his trust. (Habakkuk 2:4b)

Yeshua was the Righteous One who lived by faith. The Messiah wants us to live the same way. Let’s begin to consider the way of righteousness, beginning In the Beginning. Look at this:

Noah was a righteous man. He was blameless among his generation. Noah continually walked with God. (Genesis 6:9b)

The Lord wants us to increase in faith so we might really know Him and walk before the God who is really there, who is really good.

Yeshua, like Noah, the first man called righteous, walked with Father.

The One who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to Him.” (John 8:29)

Yeshua is the preeminent Righteous One who reverently relied on God.

As a person relies upon God, God’s righteousness is revealed. He is the Faithful God who rewards faithful faith. Here’s a principle:

… the righteousness of God is revealed, from trust to trust. As it is written, “But the righteous shall live by emunah.” (Romans 1:17)

Yeshua lived Sermon-on-the-Mount-like restful, reverent, reliance. Please consider this: through this faith Yeshua became the means of Father’s provision to others. In this way He was the epitome of everything God was after when He called Abraham, the offspring through whom all nations would be most significantly blessed.

In Genesis we find that Abraham’s faith in God’s promise awarded him the status of righteous. Yeshua is Abraham’s child. We can understand Yeshua’s relationship with God better as we look at His forefather. After all, there was a family resemblance. Let’s examine the time Abraham was declared righteous. Come, look at the relational dynamic between the father of us all (Romans 4:16) and His God.

Abram had just rescued the king of Sodom and his people. That king wanted to reward Abram. Abram responded with a bold confession of faith, a consecration to preserving God’s glory, and a generosity towards his allies.

Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people—the possessions take for yourself.”

But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I raise my hand in oath to Adonai, El Elyon, Creator of heaven and earth. Not a thread or even a sandal strap of all that is yours will I take, so you will not say, ‘I’ve made Abram rich!’ I claim nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me—Aner, Eschol, and Mamre—let them take their share.”

What extraordinary loyalty and fidelity. May we always choose to honor God boldly before men.

Here’s God’s response to this brazen, reckless, abandoned trust:

After these things the word of Adonai came to Abram in a vision saying, “Do not fear, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”

First came Abram’s testimony before men and then comes the promise to Abram from God.

After the promise from God to Abram comes the complaint from Abram to God! This is not exactly a confession of faith:

But Abram said, “My Lord Adonai, what will You give me, since I am living without children, and the heir of my household is Eliezer of Damascus?”

Then Abram said, “Look! You have given me no seed, so a house-born servant is my heir.”

Allow me to paraphrase this: “You say that You’re my shield and reward, but what will You give me?” In the light of God’s self-revelation and promise, Abram respectfully expressed his unabashed self-interest, anxiety, and disappointment. Let’s review this interchange.

But Abram said, “My Lord Adonai, what will You give me, since I am living without children, and the heir of my household is Eliezer of Damascus?”

The way I read it, his description of his circumstances was flavored with an inherent accusation and complaint to the Promisor.

Then Abram said, “Look! You have given me no seed, so a house-born servant is my heir.”

As we continue to look into this, we observe that rather than withdrawing from, or obliterating, the complaining man, God drew near. We read of another visitation and a reiterated promise. This is not what I’d expect from God in the light of Abram’s wounded, self-focused, response to God’s self-disclosure.

Then behold, the word of Adonai came to him saying, “This one will not be your heir, but in fact, one who will come from your own body will be your heir.

He took him outside and said, “Look up now, at the sky, and count the stars—if you are able to count them.” Then He said to him, “So shall your seed be.”

This promise came reinforced with a visual prophetic picture. God used every day natural phenomena as a spiritually imparted message similar to a vision. I believe that Abram never saw the night’s sky again the same way. And look, this is the time this covenant partner of God, called, chosen, led, protected, anointed, a worshipping prophet(!), finally believed and is called righteous.

Then he believed in Adonai and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Upon the basis of Abram’s faith God repeats and broadens His promises.

Then He said to him, “I am Adonai who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans, in order to give you this land to inherit it.”

Immediately after hearing this, Abram boldly revealed his heart. He did not express worship, nor gratitude. What we read is a question. Was this a confession of unbelief or anxiety? Was it a challenge? I confess, I read it like a challenge.

So he said, “My Lord Adonai, how will I know that I will inherit it?”

We find this mortal questioning God’s faithfulness: “How shall I know that I will inherit it?” And what does God do? He answers by essentially saying, “I’ll affirm it in the most solemn way known to your culture. Let’s make a blood covenant.”

Then He said to him, “Bring Me a three year old young cow, a three year old she-goat, a three year old ram, a turtle-dove and a young bird.” (Genesis 14:21–15:9)

Abram was respectful, but he was not fawning. Abram did not grovel. He related to God out of weakness with boldness. I don’t see how anyone can read this without it sounding like a holy confrontation. This is the same man who deferentially, deliberately, confronted God about the justice of destroying Sodom. Here’s the record:

Far be it from You to do such a thing—to cause the righteous to die with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked share the same fate! Far be it from You! Shall the Judge of the whole world not exercise justice?” (Genesis 18:25)

This is most astounding.

There is a way to walk with God that is not servile, cowering and laden with false humility. Abram walked with boldness because He was God’s beloved.

Next week we’ll look at how this relates to Yeshua’s walk with Father.

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