Holy Contrast

March 20, 2015 at 2:18 am (Remodeling the Mind) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

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“What is the difference between God and man? In Hosea, God said He’d stop loving and no longer forgive. This seems contradictory to me” asked Toby to a friend.

“That’s a good question, Tobe. I almost forgot God said that through Hosea to Israel. The best I know is that God is God. There is no sin in Him, even when He “stops loving and forgiving”. But, man cannot stop loving without sinning. And I’ve never seen a man refuse to forgive without becoming bitter or resentful. It’s hard to understand I ‘spose. But the thing is, there are things we just don’t “get”, aren’t meant to “get” that God does and doesn’t do. He often seems to give breaks and leniency to some, and as far as I can see – it does them no good. Yet I’ve seen Him press down on some that I see as needing some kind of break, some of that leniency I see Him give another, yet He seems to be unrelenting. It makes no sense to me. He often tells me “It’s not meant to make sense to you.” Yet the Truth is, God can do or not do anything without a shred of sin or its effects – man can not. God is God, man is His creation. I’m not sure God truly stopped loving as we think of loving, or stopped forgiving as we think of forgiving Israel. Truly though I just don’t know. If He wanted me to know, I would. And so would you. God is God and can not sin, ever. Man is man and can not do anything good without Him – ever. So we are then called to just trust, and not always understand. I admit it’s really difficult to do. Yet when I do, I have peace.” The friend looked up at a flock of geese honking as they flew over head; he smiled.

Toby watched his friend, saw the words his friend speak came from some deep place of serenity Toby had never really experienced. All his life he asked questions and expected answers, answers that made sense to him. If they didn’t or no answer was forth coming he felt his spirit pout and would brood. He wanted what his friend had but had no idea where to begin. He had been reading the book Hosea as a result of a series his church was doing on God’s love verses man’s love. It kept poking at the question center of his mind.

Could I love someone who would not love me back? Could I continue to hold and cherish a woman if she always went to other lovers?

God’s love seemed impossible. But then there were those seeming contradictions. As he mentioned earlier about God saying he would cease to love and forgive. It confused him. Yet the words his friend spoke were true. Man can’t stop loving without sinning, and if God is all He says He is perhaps He could. Perhaps the “ceasing of love” mentioned in Hosea was different than what he could understand. Another passage came to mind. From the 1st chapter.

“So what about where God told Hosea to tell them that they were no longer His people and He was no longer their God? But then not long after that He then says He’d no longer consider then ‘not His people’ but change the name to His people and change again their name from ‘not loved’ to loved. Does God always contradict Himself?” Asked Toby.

The friend was quiet for a length of minutes that made Toby wonder if he’d heard him. Yet the way he looked at him in stillness left little doubt he’d been heard.

“Toby, the same thing seems to apply here. Only God can disown without abandoning. Only God can withdraw His person, His character without withdrawing His presence. It’s so hard to understand to us because we are incapable of disowning without sinning a.k.a. ceasing to love. We cannot withdraw our person without cutting someone off from our presence. Read Romans 12, it talks about how God corrects or disciplines those He loves. Then go to Isaiah chapter 53, in verse 5 it says “the disciplining that makes us whole fell on Him” meaning Jesus. Whenever you read about God passing judgement and causing things to happen that seem “unloving and rejecting” to our mind to His people we must keep this in mind. Love is discipline. And only God can discipline perfectly, fairly and lovingly. Hosea is a love story of God’s undying love and commitment to us as people who constantly betray and turn away from Him. How He is not like us and will never turn away from us.
When we discipline our children, it’s love that causes it and fuels it. It seems unfair to them, and at the time of correction we can come across to them as though we have ceased to love them. But they will learn in time that perspective. Not right away. It takes time. Correction, plus time soaked in consistent love teaches this. Not words, not “understanding” as we think but as Love teaches with time, correction, and faithfulness.
Love does not make us comfortable to be unloving, unfaithful, selfish, abusive, self-centered, revengful, and so on. Love makes us uncomfortable doing that, too our benefit, our good. But that brushes up against us as unloving and unkind much of the time. Hence why we must not lean on our understanding to follow God. The passages in Hosea you’ve been referring to are loving discipline passages. You must ask a question every time you read God’s Word. It’s not a question that seeks to make your understanding feel good. It is a question that asks the opposite. It is this:

Lord, would You give me eyes to see, ears to hear,and a heart to understand what YOU are saying here. Give me, YOUR perspective, Your understanding?”

It’s more a request, a plea than a question as we understand questioning. But it is the best question anyone can ever ask of Him.”

The friend again, looked up into the sky. No birds were flying and honking, but the cloud that had been shielding the Sun from its full brightness was moving off to the west. The full light and heat of the Sun became a physical thing to the eyes and the body. Again his friend smiled. The smile seemed to say “thank you God”.

Again Toby was drawn to his friends words but also how he seemed to be part of them, it wasn’t just head knowledge, it was where he was moved and had his being.

“God, I want that! I want to know You like that. I want to be part of YOUR understanding, and not my own! I want to know how to receive YOUR love and so be able to love like that. I will continue to read Hosea, and ask or plead the question this friend has shown me. Thank you for bending down in this moment to teach me the Holy contrast of man verses You.”

The two friends continued to sit in silence, but having very real and intimate conversations with the God of Hosea. And it was good.

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♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡

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Approval or Peace?

March 17, 2013 at 1:37 am (WSGD Newes) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

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Proverbs 16:7

When a man’s ways please Adonai (the Lord),
He makes even the man’s enemies be at peace with him.

The above verse has been so distorted by man, one has to wonder; what is this peace God makes in this passage??
The common distortion is:
If you love God, do all “good” things, read your Bible, go to church, never lie, never cheat, and never commit “purposeful” sins; then man will approve of you because God does. I.E.: Approval by God equals approval of all man-kind…even your enemies.

This is a short stick attempting to reach a light year distance to scratch the surface of an object so solid; the wood doesn’t even survive the trek to its desired course.

For the description in Isaiah of our Savior Himself contradicts such a view.

Isaiah 53:3

People despised and avoided Him, a man of pains, well acquainted with illness.
Like someone from whom people turn their faces, He was despised; we did not value Him.       

Following the common misconception above, Yeshua (Jesus) must not have pleased God much! But wait! Then is God a liar?

Matthew 3:17

and a voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, whom I love; I am well pleased with Him.

It’s rather unreasonable to assume that peace and approval have anything in common with the too often misconceived translation to “common sense” among men. The verse in Proverbs says: when a man’s ways please Adonai. Lets focus on the focus of this part. Not a man’s ways but Adonai’s! For how can a man’s ways please God? Unless his ways are Adonai’s ways!

Now let’s look at the second half.
He makes even a man’s enemies be at peace with him.
Who is making what? Man’s ways? Or God? And does peace equal approval??

Here is the correct definition of peace as used in this passage (and in the one in Matthew)

Peace (English) Shalom (Hebrew); Translation: Completeness; Definition: something that has been finished or made whole. A state of being complete.

For a complete job the word complete is also needed.

Complete (English), Shaleym (Hebrew), Translation: Complete; Definition: Having all the necessary parts, elements or steps. A state of being whole or full. Left unaltered and whole in its original functional state without removing or adding to it. To finish.

The following added exposition will help.

When we hear the word peace, which this word is usually translated as (shalom), we usually associate this to mean an absence of war or strife. However, the Hebrew word shalom has a very different meaning. The verb form of the root word is shalam and is usually used in context of making restitution. When a person has caused another to become deficient in some way, such as a loss of livestock, it is the responsibility of the person who created the deficiency to restore what has been taken, lost or stolen. The verb shalam literally means to make whole or complete. The noun shalom has the more literal meaning of being in a state of wholeness, or being without deficiency. The Biblical phrase “shalu shalom yerushalayim” (pray for the peace of Jerusalem) is not speaking about an absence of war (though that is part of it), but that Jerusalem, and by extension all of Israel, be complete and whole and goes far beyond the idea of “peace”.
~ Ancient Hebrew Dictionary – page 151
~

So…in the spirit of correct translation lets review this scripture from the correct angle.

When a man’s ways please Adonai, He makes even the man’s enemies be complete with him.

Given the correct wording one can understand why the translator used the word peace; but without understanding the meaning of the word; in English the profoundness of it gets lost.
Now let me add even more depth, if you will. Take the last him in the verse and CAPITALIZE the H. Meaning that the peace being made is not for man but God! I can send no debate for arguing this view. It did not come from me. I can only suggest that if this view seems to be against what you have been taught to believe; then ask the Spirit to guide you into the truth. Too often our “working out of our salvation” is the Spirit’s work to correct our un-inspired teaching…change our minds…so to speak. Just like being willing to believe that approval is not peace when it comes to human to human relations as a result of pleasing God. Yeshua (Jesus) said men would hate us. Lets look at some confirmation.

Psalms 112:7-10

He (a righteous man) will not be frightened by bad news; he remains steady, trusting Adonai. His heart is set firm, he will not be afraid, till finally he looks in triumph at his enemies. He distributes freely, he gives to the poor; his righteousness stands forever. His power will be increased honorably. The wicked will be angry when they see this; they will gnash their teeth and waste away, the desires of the wicked will come to nothing.

Psalm 116:9-11

I will go on walking in the presence of Adonai in the lands of the living. I will keep on trusting even when I say, “I am utterly miserable,” even when in my panic, I declare, “Everything human is deceptive.”

Psalms 118:5-9

From my being hemmed in I called on Yah; He answered and gave me more room. With Adonai on my side, I fear nothing – what can human beings do to me? With Adonai on my side as my help, I will look with triumph at those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in Adonai than to trust in human beings; better to take refuge in Adonai than put one’s trust in princes.

Proverbs 9:7-8

He who corrects a scoffer only gets insulted; reproving a wicked man becomes his blemish. If you reprove a scoffer, he will hate you; if you reprove a wise man, he will love you;

Matthew 10:22 ~ Yeshua (Jesus) speaking…

Everyone will hate you because of Me, but whoever holds out to the end will be preserved from harm.. ***See also Mark 13:13; Luke 21:17***

John 15:18-19 ~ Yeshua speaking…

If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would have loved its own. But because you do not belong to the world – on the contrary, I have picked you out of the world – therefore the world hates you.

John 16:33 ~ Yeshua speaking…

“I have said these things to you so that, united with Me, you may have shalom. In the world, you have tsuris (troubles). But be brave!! I have conquered the world!

We triumph in the over coming of our enemies because Yeshua completes, finishes, restores; not because we gloat about it or – God forbid – our ways are so good! For to please God our ways must be His ways! And the peace God makes with our enemies, is a completing, restitution making, finishing of His ways; which He began and continues in us and in everything He began long before we existed! In other words: its not about us! For us, yes! About us, no! We triumph in Yeshua over His conquering of evil, enemies and the world, not ours. Without Him we can’t triumph over our own evil! And we have plenty…indeed they are our worst enemies! The ones within our own hearts, as Yeshua so emphatically taught. For those are the deadly ones. The ones without or on the outside have NO power to harm you or I. It is utterly pointless and completely out of context to think that if we please God, then men or women around you will fall into your favor! Hardly…most genuine followers of Christ are avoided, chastised, gossiped about, slandered, ridiculed, criticized, and thought to be “too religious” now-a-days. Often said to be not followers of the One True God. Much like Yeshua was accused of way back then, and Abraham, and Isaac and David and Isaiah and Matthew and John, Peter, James, and Paul and………the list goes on! Its an honor to be listed so! Yeshua is, was, and ever shall be an offense to the “human condition”. Be not surprised that you invoke the full spectrum of human responses as those listed above! The focus is to please God, and let God deal with man-kinds response to your obedience. We need not give that a second thought! For to please God, it is impossible to do any harm to anyone else!

1 Peter 3:13-17

For who will hurt you if you become zealots for what is good? But even if you do suffer for being righteous, you are blessed! Moreover, don’t fear what they fear or be disturbed, but treat the Messiah as holy, as Lord in your hearts; while remaining always ready to give a reasoned answer to anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you – yet with humility and fear, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are spoken against, those who abuse the good behavior flowing from your union with the Messiah may be put to shame. For if God has in fact willed that you should suffer, it is better that you suffer for doing what is good than doing what is evil. ****The entire 4th chapter of 1 Peter goes deeper into this suffering and God’s will and ways in it****

What encouragement can be found in understanding God’s word! Though some may call “suffering” a rather gloomy ordeal, and indeed there is a suffering that is far from encouraging! The suffering we endure for His sake is the epitome of honor to a Kingdom we lay our lives down to be in everyday thanks be to Yeshua!! Popularity is such a demon terror of illusion! Tempting, in that our flesh screams for some sense of human approval, and tries desperately to convince us the God’s approval is so “unseen” that it can’t be real! Oh! But hearing His voice, living in His presence…is out of this world!! May He finish us all, complete us all, restore all in such ways as are His!! Amen!!

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Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah ❤

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