Before we get into the subject of my message this week, I want us to reflect a bit on our individual lives. If you consider what I have to say you will receive my message with opened eyes.
It’s called “Count your blessings, ” if you…
Woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who won’t survive the week
You have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pangs of starvation; you are ahead of 20 million people around the world.
Attend a religious assembly of your choosing without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than almost three billion people in the world.
Have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep; you are richer than 75% of this world.
Have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish somewhere, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.
If your parents are still married and alive, you are very rare, especially in the United States.
Hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.
Can hold someone’s hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder, you are blessed because you can offer G-d’s healing touch.
You can hear this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot because of censorship.
In other words, you are blessed in ways you never even considered.
If you are one of those that has never considered how blessed you really are because you see only the negative things in your life than maybe the following story may help you.
A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a little too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching kids dart out from between parked cars and slowed down a little when he thought he saw something.
As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick hit the Jag’s side door!
He slammed on his brakes and spun the Jag around to where the brick had been thrown. He jumped out of the car, grabbed a child standing there, and pushed him up against his parked car, shouting. “What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing?!” Getting madder by the minute and building up steam, he went on. “That’s a new car and fixing the damage from that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?”
The little boy cried, “Pleas mister, please, I’m sorry, I didn’t know what else to do! I threw the brick because no one else would stop…” Tears were dripping down the boy’s face as he pointed around the parked car.
It’s my brother,” he said. “He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up.” Sobbing, the boy asked the executive, “Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair” He’s hurt and too heavy for me to lift.”
The executive was moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He lifted the crippled young man back into his wheelchair, took out his handkerchief, and wiped the scrapes and cuts, until he was satisfied that everything was going to be okay.
“Thank you and may G-d bless you,” the grateful child said to him.
The man watched the little boy push his brother down the sidewalk toward their home. It was a long walk back to the Jaguar…a long, slow walk in reflection. The executive never did get the door of his sparkling brand new Jaguar repaired. Instead, he left the dent to remind him not to go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention.
YHVH Elohim whispers into our spirit and speaks to our hearts regularly. Sometimes when we think we don’t have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at us to get our attention. The moral to this story is that its up to you, your choice. Listen to the whisper, or wait for the brick.
Most of us go through life waiting for the brick, whether we know it or not. And when it comes we are bitter, confused and mad at G-d. We spend useless energy rationalizing why such and such should not have happened to us. Why is G-d so ungrateful for all the things we do for Him or in His name or do for others? We protest and complain to all who will listen: That G-d is unfair, unfeeling, for we know we deserve better. What we rarely do is acknowledge that we ignored the whisper.
How do we know G-d? How do we obtain a singular, personal relationship with Him? How do we develop an intimacy, where His whispers become rivers of life to us? I am reminded of Elijah, that great prophet, who seeking G-d was looking in all the wrong places. The scriptures tell us that Elijah, the prophet of G-d was running away from Jezebel who wanted to take his life. He was sorely afraid and wanted the comfort and assurance of YHVH Elohim. Elijah was hiding in a cave and we read in: 1 Kings 19:11 “And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before YHVH. And, behold, YHVH passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before YHVH; but YHVH was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but YHVH was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but YHVH was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it that he wrapped his face in his Tallit, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
Elijah this man of G-d was looking for G-d in all the wrong places, he was rushing about in his haste to escape his enemies, not listening to G-d, about to get a brick, but G-d in His Chesed (Loving-kindness), and no doubt as a object lesson for us showed Elijah where to find Him. And we read that Elijah found Him where you and I should find Him in a STILL, SMALL, VOICE. The whisper of G-d within our spirit.
Too many of us are looking for G-d in all the wrong places. Even in our assemblies we search for high energy, emotion producing, programs designed to stimulate flesh behavior. Within all the clamor we are inviting the brick when we should be listening for the still small voice.
Many of us have gone through adversity and conflict because we do not listen. We are too busy to give place to YHVH Elohim our Creator. We can’t hear the whisper because of all the uproar in our lives. The cares of this world. We have no balance in our lives. We seek to fill every minute with some activity to divert ourselves, preventing us from developing a personal relationship with YHVH Elohim. We have not learned how to develop a relationship with G-d.
Yahshua told us in Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. And He promised in Luke 11:10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
We are promised an intimate relationship with G-d if we but earnestly seek Him. Not by clamourous fleshly behavior that only serves to keep Him at a distance. The key to our seeking is our earnest desire to develop a relationship. To know Him, to love Him and to depend on Him as our source of abundant life. To know Him we must learn of Him, through His Torah and through His letter to us the Bible. We cannot merely intellectually apprehend him, and then fill our lives with diversions of fleshy activity. He must be become real to us, important to us as only G-d’s Word can reveal Him to us.
We soon will celebrate father’s day and many of us will honor our fathers, some earnestly and some because it is the thing to do. Many of us who are members of assemblies fall into the latter category. We couch our words in religious terminology, act religiously, and do all the right things expected of us, but we are far from Him because we are living in the flesh, doing only the things that are expected of us.
I want to pass on to you a piece I recently read concerning our relationship to our earthly fathers that demonstrates very nicely the problem inherent in becoming spiritually mature and developing a relationship with our heavenly father.
It reads something like this.
“When we were around 4 years of age we thought, “my daddy can do anything? By the age of 7 we amended that to “My daddy knows a lot, a whole lot.” At about 12 years of age, we thought, “Oh well, naturally Father doesn’t know that either.” Then at 14 years we thought “Father, is hopelessly old fashioned and out of touch.” In our early 20‘s we allowed that, “He knows a little about it, but not much.” And as we progressed into our 30’s, we thought, “Maybe, we ought to find out what Dad thinks.” As we mature into or 40’s we think, “Well maybe we ought to ask Dad before making a decision, but never seemed to get around to it..” Then in our later years, we come to understand that Dad knows absolutely everything. However, many of us find out too late. Earthly fathers pass on, and it is too late. We wind up thinking that we’d give anything if Dad were here so we could talk this over with him.” Sorrowfully, we finally come to treasure a relationship we neglected, until it was too late.
However, it is never too late with G-d, but it requires initiative on our part.
These stories, illustrations, and Bible verses help, but they only give clues on How to Know G-d. Many of us want to know Him but haven’t a clue as to how. First and foremost, we sincerely need the overpowering desire to know Him. A desire that supercedes all other desires in our lives. When I tell you that you need to study your bible, to hear the word of G-d, I am not just making words. The more I study about G-d the more I want to know Him. YHVH tells us in His word that…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of G-d (Rom 10:17).
Of course, this is easier said than done. For like the story, the cares and concerns of this world seem so easily to push G-d out of the picture. Even if we observe all that we are supposed to do, it is futile in many cases because we see it as a duty to dispense with and not as an act of love and desire. To know G-d you have to have a love affair with Him and that love affair begins through study and hearing of Him.
All of us remember the awakening of an all pervasive earthly love in our lives. The initial stirring of the libido. The longing, the overwhelming desire to be with the one we love. To hold, caress and to lose ourselves in that person, forfeiting ego, caring more for the object of our love than for ourselves. The one with whom we wished to spend the rest of our lives. The one with whom we so desperately wanted to share all of our hopes, aspirations and life. You all remember that I hope.
G-d has given us the capacity to love another at the expense of our own self-interest, and it is not by chance that G-d has likened our relationship to Him with that self-same love we share with our life mates. A complete book of the bible is devoted to sensual, yes sensual, ever pervasive love for another. This book employs the imagery of male/female love to teach us the depths of love that must exist between our Creator and ourselves. The “Song of Solomon” is very graphic in a poetic way about our love of G-d corresponding to the love between a man and a woman. This ungovernable force, love, best understood in the context of the union between a man an woman, was designed by YHVH as a pattern for us, that we may understand how we are to become closer to G-d. For everyone who has experienced true love there is no argument that it is the most dynamic force on this earth. Individuals have given their lives for those they loved. Have moved mountains, subdued continents and built empires. Love can build or it can destroy. If our love is centered on the wrong object, disaster will result, but if on the source of all life we are promised that love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance will result. These, the fruits of the Spirit are in contradiction with worldly aspirations and not what the world teaches us are admirable qualities. Yet, these are the qualities that bring us an abundant and satisfied life. If we gain the whole world the scriptures say, and have not love, we have nothing.
Have you ever noticed that your love for your mate develops through intimacy? I’m not speaking specifically of physical intimacy, although that is important., but the intimacy that is born of closely knowing each other’s desires, aspirations and goals. The spiritual bond that is formed when you have developed a mutual focus and direction in your lives both individually and collectively. In this context the more intimate you are the more love matures and develops. It is the same with G-d. We get to know Him through hearing and studying His Word. The more we engross ourselves in His word the more we come to love Him. When through our developing love for Him He becomes more important to us than anything else on the earth then we are approaching an intimacy with G-d that defies all understanding. We see our focus and direction developing in accordance with our love for Him.
How to know G-d is to love Him above all else. This love is developed by our hearing and learning His word, and our hearing and learning His Word, feeds, develops, and matures our love of Him. It is a cylindrical process. One element of the process develops the other repetitively.
Let me close with a selection, from The Song of Solomon. In these passages the woman a metaphor for us as believers is speaking.
While in bed at night,
I reached for the one I love
with heart and soul.
I looked for him,
but he wasn’t there.
2 So I searched through the town
for the one I love.
I looked on every street,
but he wasn’t there.
3 I even asked the guards
patrolling the town,
“Have you seen the one
I love so much?”
4 Right after that, I found him.
I held him and would not let go
until I had taken him
to the home of my mother.
5 Young women of Jerusalem,
promise me by the power
of deer and gazelles,
never to awaken love
before it is ready.
Are you ready to awaken your Love of YHVH Elohim? To dwell with Him is marital bliss such as is described in this book. To be in a relationship that provides security, protection, provision and most of all Love. Are you ready, for it means forsaking all others, leaving all your worldly lusts and desires behind. It means placing YHVH Elohim before all else in your lives.