“”Therefore, let us draw near with a whole heart, in full assurance of absolute trust, having our hearts sprinkled and cleansed of evil thought and our bodies washed with pure water.” ~ Ivrim 10:22
I ‘practiced’ this today. And then I thought of this verse. Let me explain what I mean.
There are times, for me, that it seems nothing I ‘do’ in regard to worship seems to ‘work.’ I do not mean in the sense of ‘feeling goose bumps’ or emoting to any degree. I mean in the sense of finishing prayers, and having absolute “shalom,” even though the circumstances of life have not changed. Don’t get me wrong, many days I do that. But sometimes I think that is quite by accident, and not a cognitive function.
There was a moment in my life, during the hardest year of my life to date, the year I lost both my parents and both my grandparents, mom and dad only six weeks apart, grandmother barely eight weeks later, and grandpa right near my birthday. During all that and the collateral turmoil, I just could not get ‘shalom,’ and I still remember the very spot I was standing when these words came across my lips in a plea from deep within: ” יהוה Ro’i, lo ‘ekh’sar”…. And I ‘gave’ myself over to Him. In a moment, in the blink of an eye, all the angst left me. I stood there in joyful shock, having thought that I’d never have a still mind again. There I stood, in perfect shalom. I will never, ever forget that brief moment, whose ‘shalom’ lasted for quite some time.
But, since then, there have been times when I struggle to get to that place. I slip back into the human habit of thinking it’s G-d’s job to come to me. I slip almost subconsciously into typical human thinking and behavior, forgetting the reality of His Presence, of His Compassion, and His ‘khafetz’ toward His people, His deep, affectionate desire for us to draw near to Him. To delight in HIM. To TRUST that He is waiting there for us, and for us to ‘move’ into Him.
I consciously had to do that again today. The last week or so has been inordinately stressful, for various reasons. Nothing catastrophic, just things of life that must be dealt with, several converging all at once. And I decided, consciously, deliberately, that He is waiting for me to worship Him. To make a move. I was singing a melody I wrote for parts of Tehillah 135 and 115, that starts out “Bless יהוה ,” and then ‘Trust in יהוה ,” speaking to Yisra’el, the houses of Aharon and Levi, and those who FEAR יהוה . The imperative plural for ‘trust’ is ‘bit’khu’. It dawned on me how very similar בִּטְחוּ and בְּתֹוךְ are, ‘bit’khu’ and ‘betokh’. They are, ‘trust,’ and ‘in the midst of’, respectively. They’re similar mostly just phonetically, having two letters the same. But, It just occurred to me that my ‘trust’ is what ‘moves’ me into the ‘midst of’, betokh, the “High Tower,” the “Shield,” the ‘Buckler’, the ‘strong fortress, the ‘ever present help’, that is יהוה .
It really is that simple. One thing I am learning more and more, is that men complicate G-d. Men make it difficult to ‘get to Him.’ Men impede others’ progress in their walk. Yeshua said of the Rabbis that they make proselytes “Two-times the sons of Gehinom” as they are. Men do this, because we all think the ‘systems’ of brilliant men must be ‘the way.’ Nope. HE is. And HIS WAY is simple. His burden is easy. His Torah is a DELIGHT. And HE HIMSELF is so FULL of compassion, and a ‘desire’ to commune with us, and be our comfort.
There really is a paradigm shift in ‘shalom,’ when we come to Him with a ‘whole heart,’ like the verse quoted above says. נִתְקָרְבָה נָא בְּלֵבָב שָׁלֵם Let us ‘draw near with a WHOLE heart. The word for heart there is its full version, ‘levav.’ Two ‘houses’ and a king. The King perhaps ‘joining’ the two houses together. The word there for ‘whole’ is ‘shalem.’ It is the last letters of Yerushalayim, and the root word of “Shalom.” Shalom, in Hebrew, means ‘being complete,’ having need of nothing. The verse I quoted those years ago, ” יהוה “ Ro’i, lo ekh’sar” has a similar idea. “ekh’sar” is sort of an opposite of ‘shalem’. It means ‘lack,’ not complete or whole, unsatisfied. But, in the verse, it is negated by the word ‘lo’. ” יהוה is my shepherd, I will lack nothing.”
This is deeper probably than I can convey herein… but I hope this helps someone whose mind ‘lacks’ shalom. Bit’khu is ‘confidence’, being translated as trust. I hope someone is able to ‘move’ a little closer, realizing you settle your heart by KNOWING He is also coming to you….