Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, November 21, 2020
Quick reminder… today (Saturday, 11/21), after the morning service at Shomair, the ladies are gathering to give Maggie McNally a wedding shower. Ladies, please bring a salad, snack or cold dish to share.
If you would like to bless Maggie and Doug with a wedding gift, some suggestions are here at the link to their registry at Target. https://www.target.com/gift-registry/gift/f64cca3c79d548d7baf34936e806d94f
That involves more details than any man (like me) should know, so that’s the extent of my reminder.
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sat 21-Nov-2020 5th of Kislev, 5781 Parashat Toldot
Ge 28:5-9 Mal 1:1-2:7 Ro 9:1-16
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)
The Lord is with you. The Messiah’s code name is Immanuel (Im = with, Anu = us, El = God).
God’s manifest immanence is a sign of His immediate attention and interaction and constant reminder to us, your God is with you. Those of us who are born from above have the experience of God being present with and in us. He cannot get any closer. We have joined ourselves to the Messiah and are one spirit with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17). He is very aware of our thoughts and emotions.
Our hope is that we would seek to please the living God with our words and meditations. As we seek to please God, our own words about ourselves and even our private thoughts about ourselves present a challenge. The way we think about ourselves is an integral part of our thought life. To some degree, it is the foundation of how we see the rest of the world. Everything starts as a thought. By thoughts, we establish our priorities. Then, our thoughts create our words. Hear the words of Yeshua.
Out of the good treasure of his heart the good man brings forth good, and out of evil the evil man brings forth evil. For from the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45 TLV)
In the case of this verse from Psalm 19, we find that God hears what cannot be heard. Our heart’s meditations are silent. We do not have to make sound to be heard. The Father hears the words we say and the thoughts we think. And remember, our words and thoughts can give His presence pleasure. That includes the way we think about ourselves.
I want to present a short exploration of God taking pleasure in our words and thoughts.
When considering the Scriptures it is a good thing to examine the vocabulary of the original languages in their context. In the light of that, I want to stress two words in this verse: acceptable and meditation. Today I want to write a bit about the word translated acceptable.
Examining God’s Pleasure: רָצוֹן
(Pronounced in English: RahTsohN)
As I mentioned in the beginning of this series “acceptable in Your sight” is a weak translation of rahtsohn.
The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament gives three basic translations for rahtsohn: delight, pleasure, favor. What I want us to focus on is that in each case it has to do with a pleasurable emotion derived from something external that may elicit an action. … That’s a bit wordy … Let me try again. … It has to do with seeing something you like. Or, hearing something that gives you joy. Or, watching some action that gives you pleasure. Perhaps it is sparked by the company of someone you love. If the pleasure is strong enough it may cause you to act in a way that benefits the source of that joy. …. umm a bit wordy, again. … Sorry.
Rabbi’s note: Let me help you here David. “Rahtsohn” goes beyond what you (or God) want, all the way to what you desire, must have, seek in earnest. A desire so strong it can alter behavior. End Rabbi’s note.
Our meditations and words are thought and spoken before His presence and they can give God pleasure. That is a blessed opportunity. Also, it is a matter of justice. After all, why shouldn’t our Creator get joy from what His heart inspired and His hands made?
Consider, our thoughts about ourselves, the way we see the story of our lives, how we speak in our hearts, can give God pleasure. God wants us to love Him and to love each other. Both of those hang on a love of self that reveals our value of God, our Creator.
On a human level, where kings or dictators rule, one’s wellbeing might be dependent upon having the authority’s good will. In our society the favor of a bureaucrat who has a small jurisdiction can make a difference in our lives. People in those positions give favorable decisions to those with whom they are pleased because of a) their relationship (nepotism?), b) righteous actions (or, sometimes, bribery), or c) attitudes (respect is big).
Fundamentally, people are just people and they are pleased with what gives them pleasure. Here are two verses that illustrate this in human government:
The king shows favor (rahtsohn) toward a servant who acts wisely, but his wrath is on one who is disgraceful. (Proverbs 14:35 TLV)
Righteous lips are the delight (rahtsohn) of kings. He loves those who speak honestly. (Proverbs 16:13 TLV)
Here are four illustrations of rahtsohn as regards God and His pleasure in people who are pleasing to Him.
God’s pleasure towards the tribes descended from Joseph is described by Moses.
with earth’s bounty and its fullness and the favor (rahtsohn) of the One dwelling in the bush. May it come on Joseph’s head, on the crown of the prince among his brothers. (Deuteronomy 33:16 TLV)
The end-time favor-delight of Israel’s God upon His people produces restoration.
in My favor (rahtsohn) I will show you mercy. (Isaiah 60:10b)
Adonai’s delight can often be revealed in blessing and in His protecting those whose actions and attitudes please Him.
For You bless the righteous, Adonai. You surround him with favor (rahtsohn) as a shield. (Psalm 5:13 TLV)
No wonder the psalmist wanted his words and meditations to please God.
That which is “acceptable” to God is that which gives Him pleasure. Here’s an example.
these I will bring to My holy mountain, and let them rejoice in My House of Prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable (rahtsohn) on My altar. For My House will be called a House of Prayer for all nations. (Isaiah 56:7 TLV)
Their sacrifices will be received because His sincere worshippers delight God. They please Him. Their sacrifices are not merely allowable. God’s emotions are stronger than that and – mark this – we can choose to offer up the way we see our lives as a spiritual sacrifice to our Creator. We are called to think about ourselves and seek to understand our lives in a way that pleases God.
Let’s consider these contrasting meditations.
The following verses reflect a problem with one’s inner perspective. This orientation is not pleasing to God.
Oy, to one who quarrels with his Maker, like a pot among the pots of the earth! Shall the clay say to the potter, “What have you made?” Or does your work say, “It has no handles”? 10Oy, to him who says to his father, “What have you begotten?” Or to a woman, “What have you born?” (Isaiah 45:9–10 TLV)
On the other hand, this verse is a shining example of a meditation that gives God pleasure.
I praise You, for I am awesomely, wonderfully made! Wonderful are Your works— and my soul knows that very well. (Psalm 139:14 TLV)
Please choose to think about yourself along the lines of what gives your Creator pleasure. Why not begin with gratitude? His motivations are pure, His skill is unparalleled, and His goodness unquestionable. And, after all, why shouldn’t our Creator get joy from that which His hands fashion?
Ask God for wisdom. Ask God for His perspective of your life. I encourage you to make it an ambition to honor God in the way you view yourself.
May the words of my mouth and my hearts deepest thoughts give Your presence pleasure. In Yeshua’s name, amen.