|...because he held nothing back|
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"And the angel of YaHoVeH called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, 'By myself I have sworn, declares YHVH, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your seed as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice'." Genesis 22:15-18
"Now there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Gerar to Abimelech king of the Philistines. And YHVH appeared to him and said, 'Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore before Abraham your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws'." Genesis 26:1-5
Perspective. How we manage this undertaking called life depends upon our perspective of Life. For most of us, our focus is directed toward us; on making this life as comfortable, convenient and as painless as possible that we might prolong our lives for as long as possible. Consequently, since our perspective is on us, for us, about us, our faith about Who YHVH Is and how He operates becomes enmeshed in that focal prism. How we perceive Him to Be is based largely on what our perspective dictates. If our focus is on us, then our faith becomes about how YHVH, because He is Good, will arrange for good to happen to us in spite of what we do. We believe YHVH will protect us by making pain, suffering and discomfiture disappear from us because we have confessed Him to be our Lord and Savior and He is Good. And, since we confess Him as such, we don't have to worry much about our actions because He, being good, has already forgiven our waywardness - even before any such waywardness occurs. Much oratory and writings have been sold, particularly over recent years, dedicated to this singular approach to the God of Creation that emphasizes doctrine about atonement (click on highlighted words to view content) - because it feels good to us to hear such words. However, scripture tends to paint a different picture. For those of us who believe that YHVH is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we believe the Bible to be the container of the words of this God entrusted to the Hebrew people that we might come to know Him for Who HE says He is - to know the Nature and Character of His Essence. If we believe the words contained in these scriptures as being "breathed out by YHVH" (translated as inspired from the Greek word theopneustos which means "Deity currented" or of YHVH and is a derivative of pneo, meaning to breathe), then we must rely on those words to validate our perception of Who YHVH says He is. Words mean things and, if we are to understand His Essence, we must delve into the meanings of the words of scripture just for what they say - devoid of any traditional template we might try to impose upon them. When we do we will find, as Yeshua persistently tried to show us, those scriptures tend to paint a profile of Someone apart from what we have been traditionally taught - that the Father's perspective about this brief, breath of a life we occupy is quite different from ours (Mark 7:9-13).
|"For thus says the High and Lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." Isaiah 57:15|
Humility is not something that comes naturally for any of us. The nature of man is to want to feel in control of circumstances. But that sense of control is merely an illusion. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Indeed, none of us are guaranteed the rest of today. That awareness is the first step toward humility. The Hebrew word for humble in this verse in Isaiah is shaphal and means "to be low in station - either of condition or of spirit". James 4:6 and 1Peter 5:5 tell us the opposite of humility is pride, but they are both merely stating what they have learned of the Nature of the Father revealed in the original Book (the Torah). Proverbs 6:3 says to "humble yourself". Both Peter (as referenced) and Paul in Colossians 3:12-13 admonish us to "put on", to "clothe" ourselves in humility. This is something WE DO - just like when you clothe yourself every morning. It is a choice we make what we are to wear. A disciple is one who actively bends his will toward YHVH's instruction (Matthew 16:24). Without obedience, without choosing to "follow through" with those instructions, nothing is learned. No matter how many times I tell my child how to do something, if he chooses to take no response to my directive, no instruction has occurred. This is why it is not possible to deepen our relationship with the Father until we learn - by obeying, by choosing to do - the lesson, the directive He has for us to learn today in whatever circumstance we find ourselves designed to lead us into the path of humility (Psalm 90:3). It is precisely BECAUSE the Father is Good, that He knows living in the Present Presence of Life is more important that the immediacy of the circumstance we find ourselves in that He allows us to experience hardship - for it is under the pressure of circumstance that what motivates our heart is revealed (Matthew 7:13-14, Proverbs 4:23). Does He arrange circumstances to crush us? Scripture tells us it is highly unlikely that He does. Yeshua said in this world we will have tribulation, that it rains on the just as well as the unjust (John 16:33, Matthew 5:44-46). What He does is to allow us to remain in the circumstance we encounter until our heart has been proved (Deuteronomy 8:2). It is in our response to those circumstances that determine what is in our heart - humility or pride. Like light and darkness, the two cannot occupy the same space at the same time - you will either have one, or you will have the other (see the Law of Grace for a more detailed observation). It is only in the crucible of pressure, of fire, that our hearts reveal what we are truly motivated by (Luke 3:16). The purpose of testing is to see which way we will choose when faced with dire consequences - to keep His Way or our own (Luke 2:34-35). If we want to dwell in His Presence, we must first humble ourselves by giving up control of our lives to Him - in spite of what we see or feel or hear or think. We relinquish that control of our lives to Him to the extent that if we perish physically, then, so be it - we perish. Our lives are in His Hand.
|the Security of His Presence|
So, just how do we humble ourselves? How do we "put on" this garment of humility? Do we sit in sackcloth and ashes bemoaning our fate? Or do we prostrate ourselves on the floor repeatedly crying out how unworthy we are? If you will notice, both of these approach YHVH from the perspective of us. If Yeshua is our example of how to occupy this space called "life", how did He humble Himself? Philippians 2:5-8 tells us that He became a servant, obedient to the Father's wishes regardless of what it cost Him - He withheld nothing, He held nothing back. He subjected Himself to the whim of circumstance, relying on the Father to redeem Him to the Father's will and purpose (John 19:9-11). He lived this humility right to the cross from where He cried, "Into Your hands I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46). This was not the defeated last gasp of a dying man. Anyone who has studied Torah knows Yeshua was quoting Psalm 31:5 which says, "Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You WILL redeem me, YHVH, God of Truth." He was proclaiming to the elements the faithfulness of the Father to redeem (Hebrew padah meaning to redeem by paying a price). Having lived it, He taught it - telling us that if anyone would come after Him they must first "deny themselves" (Matthew 16:24, Matthew 10:38). To be humble is something we "do" - as the Life Yeshua lived exampled for us to follow.
|"Since therefore Yeshua suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of YHVH." 1Peter 4:1-2|
There are two types of circumstance - those that befall us in which we have no choice and those we bring upon ourselves a result of our choice. There is one where we choose to remain in the circumstance of life until the Father moves us, trusting in His Goodness by giving Him thanks; then, there is another set of circumstances where we decide to take the reins of control into our own hands to remove ourselves from the forces afflicting us - we tire of waiting on the Father. What compromises our effectiveness in the Spirit to be used in the present is when we lose our focus as to who we are in Him in the midst of circumstances that surround us and challenge us. Far too often, we think we hear something that sounds like it might be Him and fail to measure it against His Revealed Essence - His Truth, the Torah. As we begin to make selfish choices that appease our flesh and not the Spirit, we get caught in the vise-grip of circumstance and wonder why. Hence, we need His Commandments, His delineation, His distinction, His definition of what comprises flesh and what is Spirit in order to make proper choices. They are our compass. Without them, when we abandon them, we lose our bearing and become overwhelmed by the consequence of our choices. When we keep them, as the scripture tells us above, we cease from sin - we are no longer a sinner. How many people who profess to know God do you know today who are overwhelmed by the circumstance they find themselves in as a result of their own fleshly choices? They continually call out to friends and family to pray to God that their circumstance be changed instead of giving thanks to the Father IN and FOR their circumstance (1Thessalonians 5:18, Ephesians 5:20). They have made choices in the presence of the Present Presence that took them out of His Hand for we each have a free will the Father considers sacred - He will not force us into anything. That is why He tests us - to see what will surface in our hearts. (Mark 7:20-23).
When we read John 10:27-30, we should think of "eternal life" as being in the Present Presence who dwells in eternity (Isaiah 57:15). How did Yeshua say we obtain that Life? He said to keep the Commandments - the Words of His Father (Matthew 19:16-22, Mark 10:17-21, Luke 10:25-28, Luke 18:18-22). He even repeated them so that there would be no mistake as to which ones He was referring to. Hence, to "hear" is to discern the Essence of the Father. To hear is to BE by remaining in the Present Presence. The Way we come into His Presence is to keep His words, His Commandments. He says if we will DO this, "My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest." (Exodus 33:14). The testing we endure is not to punish us, but to see if we will keep the Words of the Father, both of what is written and what He speaks to us - under the pressure of life's circumstances. Now, before you start copying and pasting volumes of scripture in an email to show how we are not "under the law", stop for just a moment and consider Revelation 14:12. Do you notice the distinction between keeping the "commandments of YHVH" and the faithfulness "OF" the faith that Yeshua exhibited? These are two separate, distinct phrases. It is Yeshua Himself who points to His keeping of the commandments of the Father as His validation (John 8:54-55). When we begin to comprehend that Yeshua, Peter, James, John and Paul did not bring anything "new" to the table in terms of the Nature and Character of the Essence of Life, that they were all pointing us back to the Father, the Source of Life - scripture takes on a whole different perspective from what has been traditionally presented.
|"And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure." 1John 3:3|
Please feel free to email them to me at email@example.com. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to share with you what the Spirit is uncovering.