"He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does YaHoVeH require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your Elohim?" Micah 6:8
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
The secret to living in the Light of Spirit is no secret at all - it is mishpat, chesed, and hatz'ne lekhet (click on highlighted words to view content). Do justice, love kindness and mercy, walk humbly and guess what? You will live comfortably in the Light. Stop worrying about what YHVH wants from you. Stop trying to figure out what comes next and just do what YHVH says - do those three things that make up what is good: mishpat, chesed and hatz'ne lekhet. The rest will follow. Light embraces these three and it rejects whatever is not of these three.
One of the most important differences between our inherited Greek-Roman culture and the ancient Near-Eastern culture of the Hebrews is the understanding of "law." As we have discovered before, law (Greek nomos) for Romans is restriction; necessary for the smooth operation of society, but nevertheless is viewed as limitations on one's personal freedom. For Romans and Greeks, law is the opposite of freedom. Law demands compliance for the good of the many, but it necessarily stands opposed to individual desires. Not so in Hebraic thought. For the Hebrew, law (Torah) is freedom! Why? Because "law" (Torah) instructs me precisely how to live in accordance with the will of YHVH. Therefore, it frees me from anxiety, confusion, concern, distraction and misdirection. I know what to do because YHVH tells me what to do. I am free of all those questions that otherwise haunt me when I do not know for sure what to do. With this in mind, when YHVH tells us what is required, He is not laying down restrictions - He is opening the road to freedom. He is telling us exactly what is needed in order to be at peace with and in alignment with His Purposes.
Why, then, refuse His requirements and claim that His instructions for the Hebrew are not applicable today? Why select what fits cultural conveniences and leave out the rest of His Torah? Where is it written that YHVH changed His mind about what brings peace to the individual? Did He really tell Micah one thing and Sha'ul (the apostle Paul) something else? If YHVH gave instructions for freedom to His children for two thousand years before the crucifixion, do you really think He altered all those instructions after the crucifixion? Why would He try to change His Nature? What is required of us is straightforward - it has been clearly, carefully, concretely revealed. It has never changed as His Nature never changes. The three ways of scriptural greatness found in Micah 6:8 are also to be found in Yeshua's words: to be a servant, to teach Torah, and to walk in humility. So why do we grope around in darkness trying to find another answer?
"If it is the anointed priest who has incurred guilt,
so that blame falls upon the people
One of the reasons why leadership is so terrifying is that if the anointed priest accidentally or unintentionally sins, there is a direct consequence to the people. The principle characteristic of a scriptural leader is reluctance because when the leader falls short, even unintentionally, all the assembly bears the consequences - bringing a greater judgment upon the leader (James 3:1). When you meet people who desire to lead, you would be wise to be wary of them until Spirit confirms who this person is. Those who want the job are more than likely to let ego and pride determine their choices. When that happens, the people suffer - sometimes greatly. Men and women marked by Spirit for leadership roles almost always wish they were not chosen for this very reason and, if they do find themselves in that position, most often tend to lead from behind, shunning the spotlight - as Yeshua often did. Therefore, the least in outward stature is considered the greatest in YHVH's Kingdom (Matthew 6:2-5).
Words mean things. To properly understand the words of scripture, we must always consider the context they are presented in, the context of the Hebrew perspective they are presented from and the audience they are presented to. The context that each of the following verses are spoken in is the resolution to this seeming contradiction of the least and the greatest. Briefly, there are two Greek words that are translated into the same English word "least". Speaking of John the Immerser in Luke 7:28, Yeshua is pointing to what is considered greatness comparatively among men. Here, it is the Greek word mikros which (according to Thayer's Greek Lexicon) has more to do with stature among men; whereas, in Matthew 5:19, the Greek word used is elachistos, having more to do with an excellence of spirit as is born out in the following verse of Matthew 5:20. The least commandment Yeshua refers to is found in Deuteronomy 22:6-7. The religious of Yeshua's day were constantly re-interpreting the Words to fit what they considered to be more convenient for them. Is it not the same with religious theology today? The Shem Tov Hebrew Matthew 5:19 says this person "shall be called a vain person in the kingdom...", one who is seeking to define his own righteousness rather than to abide by the righteousness of YHVH - alluding to the least in character of spirit Yeshua says we must cultivate. Therefore, whoever "keeps and teaches" the Words of YHVH shall be called great in His Kingdom.
|"He opened his mouth and began to teach them..." Matthew 5:2|
So who is it among us that is to be considered a teacher? Do you preside over a study of the scriptures - perhaps to your children or grandchildren or those in your household? Do you have a Shabbat group? Do you host a Torah study group? Then you are a teacher. But, most would answer, "No, I am not a teacher. I have not received the proper schooling to be a teacher. I'm just a participant" - but that attitude is not consistent with scripture. Before there were public schools, the older children of the household would teach the younger how to read, write and do arithmetic. The same is true of leading younger disciples we find ourselves involved with into the Way of Yeshua. To be a teacher is to take the time to give ourselves as a servant to others. Biblical leadership is not based on the charismatic, success, take-charge platform of current Christian culture. It is based on sphere of influence - and we all have influence. We all open our mouths to talk about YHVH and His Son. Therefore, as seen in the article the Ascension, His followers are anointed even as Yeshua is anointed - we should teach what we know about YHVH. And don't let thinking that you have to know everything about Him keep you from starting - nobody does. But, if we continue to hunger and thirst after His righteousness, He assures us that He will continue to guide us into all Truth. It is a life-time process.
Some of the material in this article is excerpted from Skip Moen's daily exegesis of biblical texts. You may read his studies by going to www.skipmoen.com and searching for the verse reference.
|"Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10|
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.