יהוה is good to all; and His tender mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall praise You, O יהוה ; and Your Khasidim shall bless You. They shall speak of the Kavod of Your Malkhut, and talk of Your might; To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glory of the majesty of His kingdom….” Tehillah 145:9-12
As I prayed one morning, these verses pierced me.
For years, I have been striving to do just this, to make known the glory of the Kingdom of Elohim, through His appointed and anointed King, Messiah Yeshua, King of the Jews, King of Israel.
So many people miss the beauty, the majesty, the glory of His Kingdom, which is seen in His People most clearly when Jews and Gentiles are assembled together around His Torah. Our Congregation is a beautiful picture in microcosm of His WHOLE kingdom: A small number of Jews surrounded by people from EVERY RACE and nation, language, and culture, coming together to exalt the CREATOR and His Son Messiah Yeshua, to declare His Word, to learn, and most importantly, to “impress” His Words upon the hearts of our children, so there will be a righteous generation following after us.
It never ceases to amaze me how this simple goal is thwarted and fought so much. When we declare the beauty and benefit of keeping His Torah as ONE BODY, we are hammered! And many times by those who say they know HIM.
I know that sometimes our message is blurred by my humanity, and by others in the Messianic Faith who are sometimes frustrated by the opposition. [the opposition is never really any person, may we understand this].
We are His ‘works’, and He truly does extend His TENDER MERCIES to me every single day. Today, I only echo Shaul’s words in that regard:
“For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor HaMalakhim, nor empires, nor armies, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else created, shall be able to separate me from the love of Elohim which is in Yeshua HaMashi’akh Adoneinu.”
Our congregation is getting to a place where we are becoming “Ekhad.” It has been hard work, and it has oftentimes been very painful and sad; but, at the SAME TIME, it has been a GREAT JOY. This morning, as I prayed, I began to pray beyond the bounds of our Congregation for the whole Body of Messiah. We who keep His Torah do passionately believe that His Whole Body should and DOES keep His Torah. Yeshua is STILL a Torah-observant JEW! He wears a ‘vesture’ [once called a me’il, which we NOW call a tallit, but which Jews have ALWAYS worn], and on His is written the following:
מֶלֶךְ הַמְּלָכִים וַאֲדֹנֵי הָאֲדֹנִים
Melekh HaM’lakhim, V’Adonei HaAdonim
King of Kings and Master of Masters
When we in Messianic thinking try to communicate the rule of law in His Kingdom, we are often seen as being judgmental and ‘legalistic.’ And, make no mistake, I have seen people who claim to be Messianic to be the MOST judgmental people at times, and it is NO WONDER to me any more why some stand so opposed to the ‘law’, the Torah of His Kingdom. But, His Torah is not a burden: MEN make it into a burden. His Sabbath, His most frequent appointed CALLED OUT [of our homes] assembly is the MOST IMPORTANT of the feasts, and it is PRECIOUS to Abba. He calls it an “ONEG”, a SWEET DELIGHT! And it is made sweet like various spices when His many different children assemble together for ONE purpose: to PRAISE THE KING! On the DAY HE said for us to do so. He blessed the SEVENTH day, for eternity! We enter into HIS BLESSING when we ‘observe and remember the Sabbath.
We in our congregation are STRIVING for a BALANCE. One of the primary concepts of the Torah, “Justice”, or “Just weights and just measures,” or ‘equal’ weights and measures, applies to how we apply the Torah to our lives and THEN those around us. Judgment within the Body of Messiah is absolutely necessary! We are told that we ARE to judge our brethren. But, what most do not realize is that where English has ONE word for ‘judge’, Hebrew has three! And in this case, it simply means to ‘measure’ the behavior of our brethren and ‘see’ if there is an equal measure of mercy to be applied! THERE USUALLY IS! There are precious few reasons we are given to divide from our ‘brothers’ [who may not actually be our brothers, but may be false brothers]. Those reasons are CLEAR, in both the “FIRST” and “RENEWED” covenant scriptures. But, on the lesser ‘measures’ of the Torah, we are ALWAYS supposed to apply MERCY! This is what Yeshua meant when he says, ‘LEARN WHAT THIS MEANS: I DESIRE MERCY! and NOT sacrifice.’ Serving Abba without mercy for those around us is a STENCH in His nose. But applying MERCY to our brothers in EVERY OPPORTUNITY is SWEET! “ONEG”, a unique, SWEET DELIGHT. He gives us the opportunity to do this EACH WEEK on Shabbat.
My prayer for myself, our congregation, and the WHOLE Body of Messiah, is that we learn not only the need to OBEY HIM as individuals, but the need to LOVE EACH OTHER as a unit: ONE MAN, ONE BODY, where we all take signals from the ‘head’, Messiah Yeshua. Bat Tzion is small, and the ‘least’ among congregations, and we passionately believe that we should obey His Word, ALL of it. BUT, we hearken to the words Yeshua told Kefa when Kefa tried to ‘deflect’ to Yokhanan:
“What is it to you?”
It is the WEIGHTIER ‘measures’ of the Torah that are MOST important:
“Woe to you, Sofrim and P’rushim, you hypocrites! For you take tenth-parts on mint, dill, and cummin, and you have overlooked the more important matters of the Torah, such as justice, compassion, and absolute trust. These were necessary for you to have done, without having left the others undone..”
That’s the ‘balance’ we seek. To do the stuff that is EASY: attend the synagogue on Shabbat, keep the Seven Feasts of G-d, avoid pagan feasts, wear tzit-tziyot, give offerings. These are SIMPLE things.
“Compassion”, here, is the word “Khesed”, which means ‘overflowing kindness’/’goodness’ out-flowing from the one giving it. The three Hebrew letters are חֶסֶד, khet, samekh, dalet. The meaning of each of these letters/symbols is interesting: LIFE, APPOINTED, DOOR. “Samekh” is to ‘lean into,’ to put weight on; but it rhymes, in one sense, with ‘same’akh’, for ‘Happy’. Many ‘thinkers’ have noted rightly that happiness comes instantly when we do good to others. Yeshua is the door to happiness, and doing ‘good’ to others is the FOUNDATION of His teaching, and THAT is what Torah teaches! It’s just that so many get HUNG UP on trying to ‘be’ perfect, they cannot even ‘see’ that Messiah has ALREADY imparted HIS PERFECTION to those who trust, in regard to ‘judgment’. And HE challenges us then to strive to reach that same perfection! “Messiah is the goal at which the TORAH AIMS.” Rom 10:4
Recently, during a Torah discussion, something was said concerning Eli-Yahu’s experience at Mount Khorev, implying that Elohim ‘smacks’ us when we get ‘down.’ Eli-Yahu had just won a great victory over the prophets of Ba’al, and then was threatened by the queen of harlotry, and ran for fear. He subsequently had been sent on a long journey by The Messenger of יהוה , and was hiding in a cleft in a rock on the Mountain of יהוה . Then He [HaDavar] appears to Eli-Yahu, who heard first a great wind, then felt an earthquake, and then saw fire; ALL of these are elements of ‘judgment,’ and G-d was NOT IN ANY OF THEM! G-d did not ‘smack’ Eli-Yahu for being down. He wooed him with a still, small voice. He ‘calmed’ him, and comforted him.
“And He said, “Go forth, and stand upon the mount before יהוה .” And, behold, יהוה passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before יהוה ; but יהוה was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but יהוה was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire; but יהוה was not in the fire; and after the fire, a still, small voice. And it was so, when Eli-Yahu heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, “What are you doing here, Eli-Yahu?” This ‘still, small voice’ continued to speak to the Navi, WITHOUT judgment, only telling him to continue to do His service for the Kingdom.
Abba showed KHESED to Eli-Yahu that day, something of which most ‘believers’ are bereft. We are quick to ‘shout’ [wind], to tremble in anger [earthquake], and to excoriate with judgmental words [fire], and very, very slow to express compassion to His servants, our brothers.
I am not speaking from a high place of judgment, either, thinking that I have perfected anything. But, I do ‘press on,’ as Sha’ul set the example and expressed to us in Messiah:
“My brethren, I do not consider that I have reached the goal; but this one thing I do know, forgetting those things which are behind, I strive for those things which are before me; I press on toward the goal to receive the prize of victory of the highest calling of Elohim through Yeshua HaMashi’akh.” Fil 3:13-14
May all of us strive toward that end, keeping in mind that KHESED is ‘life’s happy door’, and Yeshua is the MERCIFUL ONE. “Do not CONDEMN, unless you want to BE CONDEMNED.” The word here is ‘din’, which means to judge in the sense of handing down a ‘sentence’, punishing your brother. Matt 7:1 It is NOT OUR PLACE to punish ANYONE for their offenses!
“Love covers over a multitude of offenses.” “It is the discretion of a man to be slow to anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.” I believe THIS is the ‘glory’ of the Kingdom of Elohim, that we CHOOSE to express ‘khesed’ when we ‘think’ we should punish! That we continue to strive for ‘shalom’ with ALL men, most especially our brothers.