Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, November 14, 2020

Shabbat Shalom,

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

Sat 14-Nov-2020 27th of Cheshvan, 5781 Parashat Chayei Sara

Ge 25:12-18 1 Ki 1:1-31 Gal 4:21-31

For the Pleasure of God

by David Harwood

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) 

Last week we wrote that there have been times and places where God’s presence more greatly intensified than others. We mentioned the burning bush, Mount Sinai, Solomon’s temple. We emphasized the Messiah Yeshua and His Body.

God is everywhere, but in the Incarnation He is especially present.

For all the fullness of Deity lives bodily in Him (Colossians 2:9 TLV) 

God is everywhere, but in the Messiah’s Body, the Spirit is uniquely interacting with creation.

His community— 23which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:22c–23 TLV) 

Consider this: The Incarnation shows, on a whole other level, that, If-He-So-Chooses, God can experience some things more than others depending on His proximity to them. His proximity can be revealed by where His presence has been powerfully disclosed. There has never been a greater manifestation of the fullness of God’s nearness than in the Messiah, Yeshua.

How about this? 

In the Incarnation, the Word-made-flesh saw some things more than others, felt some things more than others, and heard some sounds more than others. This is very much the Biblical prophetic view of God’s interaction with His creation. Read the Biblical narratives. Read the prophets. Read the psalms. You’ll see that this is part of the testimony.

Have you been “born from above” (John 3:3a TLV)? If so, God is especially present in you.

The Scriptures teach that, from a human perspective, there are places where God is more manifestly there and acutely aware.  Conversely, He’s especially aware when He’s especially there. 

This is seen in the special call to external holiness which is stressed with priests who are about to participate in their ministries.

Nor are you to go up to My altar on steps, so that your nakedness would not be uncovered while on it.”’ (Exodus 20:26 TLV) 

The priests were not forbidden to walk up steps in normal life. But in the presence of God’s holy intensified awareness there were special rules.

To further illustrate this principle, here is a verse about an awkward topic regarding public sanitation and God’s personal presence:

For Adonai your God walks in the midst of your camp, to rescue you and to give your enemies over to you. Therefore your camp must be holy, so that He does not see anything indecent among you and turn away from you. (Deuteronomy 23:15 TLV) 

Have you been filled with His Spirit? If so, God is especially present in you.

In the Apostolic Writings do we find that His manifest presence has relational ramifications? Yes. Let’s look at Acts 5 where we see judgment and deliverance due to God’s presence.

In that chapter we find that, in the midst of a community dense with the Glory of God, through Peter’s words, God released judgment on Annanias and Sapphira. They were seeking to deceive the Messiah’s community but too late learned the consequences of lying to God.

On the other hand, a man named Ananias together with his wife, Sapphira, sold a property. 2He kept back some of the proceeds, with his wife’s full knowledge, and brought part of it and set it at the feet of the emissaries. 3But Peter said, “Ananias, why has satan filled your heart to lie to the Ruach ha-Kodesh and keep back part of the proceeds of the land? (Acts 5:1–3 TLV 

Because of God’s manifest presence there was a dread consequence. 

Later in that chapter we read that God, in and through Peter, released blessing through Peter’s shadow.

They even carried the sick into the streets and laid them on stretchers and cots, so that when Peter passed by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16Crowds were also gathering from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing those who were sick or tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all being healed. (Acts 5:15-16 TLV)

Does Yeshua live in your heart? If so, God is especially present in you.

The Lord is always aware of people’s suffering. Due to the Messiah’s presence in His community He felt the pain of His people’s persecution in a special way.

Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4 TLV)

According to Acts 9:4,  Yeshua actually experiences what His brethren feel. That takes the revelation about the judgment of the nations to another level.

And answering, the King will say to them, ‘Amen, I tell you, whatever you did to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ (Matthew 25:40 TLV) 

God is especially present in you.

Allow me to pose a mind boggling type of question. Here it is: Does God experience some things more than He experiences others? 

We can declare with certainty that Holy Writ’s witness is that we are to view God as if His nearness, revealed in His manifest presence, can be a reality for Him, not just for us. 

Remember Moses’ and Joshua’s experience.

Then He said, “Come no closer. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5 TLV) 

Then the commander of Adonai’s army replied to Joshua, “Take your sandal off of your foot, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:15 TLV) 

There is a place in your soul which is the equivalent to holy ground. 

God is especially present within you.

This is not something we’re supposed to pretend is the case. This is real and it has ramifications for the way we relate to ourselves in His presence. 

Right now we are the temple of God. We exist in His manifest presence. 

In Him, you also are being built together into God’s dwelling place in the Ruach. (Ephesians 2:22 TLV)

Each believer is a temple of God. Each believer hosts God’s manifest presence. 

Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Ruach ha-Kodesh who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19 TLV) 

The true things about God’s presence in His heavenly sanctuary and when He dwelled in tabernacle and temple are now true about us. God’s manifest presence in the earth is now in the corporate and individual members of the Messiah’s Body. 

Priestly service was accomplished within the precincts of the manifest presence of the LORD. We are His house. We have become a sanctuary. Our hearts can be places of sacrifice and worship. In the same way the priests understood that their actions were pleasing to God, so we can order our thoughts and words in a way that minister to the LORD. Our meditations can bless the Lord who is especially present within us.

It is true. God is especially present in us and our words and our deepest thoughts can give God pleasure. 

Would you like aspects of your inner thoughts to bless God, today? Here’s a meditation that will give Him pleasure: Please read James 3:17 and the following meditation.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, not hypocritical. (Jacob – James 3:17 TLV) 

Consider how He thinks about you.  Pray it out toward God.

Your thoughts towards me are pure.

Your thoughts towards me are peaceable.

Your thoughts towards me are gentle.

Your thoughts towards me are reasonable.

Your thoughts towards me are full of mercy and good fruits. 

Your thoughts towards me are unwavering. 

Your thoughts towards me are without hypocrisy. 

I am especially thinking about this: the God who indwells us is reasonable and not hard to please. 

Now let’s pray that opening verse again, this time with a slight twist:

May the words of my mouth and my hearts deepest thoughts give Your presence pleasure.