Shabbat Shalom! Counting of the Omer ai??i?? Day 18
60:1) Ai??For the Chief Musician. To the tune “The Lily of the Covenant.”
A miktam by David, when he fought with Aram-Naharayim and with Aram-Tzovah, and Yo`av returned, and killed twelve thousand of Edom in the Valley of Salt.
60:2) `Elohiym, you have rejected us. You have broken us down.
You have been angry. Restore us, again.
60:3) You have made the land tremble.
You have torn it.
Mend its fractures,
For it quakes.
60:4) You have shown your people hard things.
You have made us drink the wine that makes us stagger.
60:5) You have given a banner to those who fear you,
That it may be displayed because of the truth. Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai?? Selah.
60:6) So that your beloved may be delivered,
Save with your right hand, and answer us.
60:7) `Elohiym has spoken from his sanctuary:
“I will triumph.
I will divide Shekhem,
And measure out the valley of Sukkot.
60:8) Gil`ad is mine, and Menashsheh is mine.
Efrayim also is the defense of my head.
Yehudah is my scepter.
60:9) Mo’av is my wash basin.
I will throw my shoe on Edom.
I shout in triumph over Peleshet.”
60:10) Who will bring me into the strong city?
Who has led me to Edom?
60:11) Have you not, `Elohiym, rejected us?
You do not go out with our armies, `Elohiym.
60:12) Give us help against the adversary,
For the help of man is vain.
60:13) Through `Elohiym we shall do valiantly,
For it is he who will tread down our adversaries.
When we all know the good as good, there arises the recognition of evil.
When discussing seedless fruit, my wife mentioned that fruit and vegetables are being constantly modified. What about ai???easy-peelai??i?? oranges, straight cucumbers, bright orange carrots? These and many others have been modified to be more attractive to the consumer. If a modified carrot (straight, conical and bright orange) was placed along-side an un-modified carrot (twisted, brownish and sometimes even having two roots), the consumer invariably chooses the modified vegetable. The modified fruit and veg. are made to appear ai???perfectai??i??.
However, it is more serious than that. The perfect are promoted as being the ai???normai??i?? and anything less than perfection is considered worthy of only being discarded. Why do you think that there is such a big industry in ai???touching upai??i?? or ai???air-brushingai??i?? celebrities in glossy society magazines? Or that most couturiers want to display their wares on stick thin, six foot plus women models? They are not trying to sell an aspiration; they are selling lies. An aspiration is something that is attainable for most people; the life style sold in advertising is not. There is nothing wrong in having a dream, but when that ai???dreamai??i?? involves serious risk to mental as well as physical health then is it a ai???dreamai??i?? or is it a nightmare?
In the late 1960ai??i??s my parents took the family on a touring holiday to Scotland, staying in various bed and breakfast hotels. Two things stand out in my memory of that holiday. The first was the fabulous breakfasts and the second was Ailsa Craig. Whilst staying in a town called Girvan, my dad asked if I thought that I could swim out to that island. To me, it looked like a mile or so out to sea. If it was in a heated swimming pool, I thought that I probably could make it. My dad laughed at this then told me that the island was ten miles out to sea! The point is, with nothing alongside to compare with, the island looked much closer than it really was. It is easy to be deceived.
In making any comparison, there has to be something else to compare with or a standard to measure it by. I have great admiration for judges in dog shows. Sometimes they compare dogs within a given breed; which dog is the best representation of the breed. Sometimes though, they judge for best in show. How can you judge if a pug is better than a great dane? The judge has to visualize the ideal pug and compare the contestant against this ideal standard. Similarly the great dane is judged against the ideal standard for a great dane. The dog coming closer to its ideal standard is deemed the better dog.
ai???Do not judge, so that you will not be judged. For with whatever judgement you judge, you will be judged and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you.ai??? (Matt. 7:1, 2). It is only when we have the ideal standard can a true comparison be made. Few people could judge a dog show because they do not have the knowledge or experience to do so. Yet, when it comes to judging people, we are ever ready to make judgements. Unfortunately we tend to us our own standard by which to make the comparison. How can perfection be gauged by an imperfect standard? It cannot be. The Master goes on to call those making the comparisons as hypocrites.
How often are judgements made by church-goers to strangers coming in that do not fit the mould of the ai???normalai??i?? church-goer. A couple of quick examples will highlight what I mean.
A well-known evangelist held a meeting in a church. The meeting was well advertised in the local churches so that, on the day, the church was full. It was attended by regular church-goers in their nice suits and dresses. When a man, obviously the worse for worse with drink tried to gain access brandishing a can of strong larger, the ushers refused him entry. Out of everyone there, he was probably more in need of hearing the evangelist than all the rest.
When my wife and I first came to faith, we had the pleasure of meeting Derek an evangelist. He was an ex-convict who was led to faith by what turned out to be his future wife Iris. Derek was a big man who filled the ideal standard of a convict, tattoos and all. Virtually every church I have been to would not have let Derek in their door. Yet he has led more people to faith than most people. I wish that ever church had a ai???Derekai??i??.
So if our standard is deficient, what then constitutes perfection in a person? Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with outward appearances.
ai???For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.ai??? (Rom. 8:29). Halleluyah for the Word of Yahua. We have the ideal standard set before us in Messiah Yahshua. In all things He was perfect. That is, compared to Yahuaai??i??s standard, Messiah Yahshua was complete, lacking nothing. Even at His trial, His staunchest enemies could find no wrong in Him.
Therefore Beloved, instead of judging others, we should be always comparing ourselves (our attitudes, our behaviour, our lifestyles) to the standard of perfection found only in Messiah Yahshua. In doing so, how do we compare? What in our lives detracts from the completeness? What must be done to make us whole and at peace?
ai???Every writing inspired by Yahua is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for instruction which is in righteousness, that every man of Yahua may be made complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.ai??? (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). Let the Spirit guide you by the Word of Yahua and let Him who is both willing and able to mould you into His image.
ai???Yahua `Elohiym created Man in His own image. In Yahua`Elohiymai??i??s image He created him; male and female He created them.ai??? (Gen. 1:27). Who is to say what is perfect and what is not? Surely this must be left to the One who wrote the Standard in the first place.
When compared to this Standard we all fall short. Unfortunately, many people look at other who have a disability or impairment of some description and think that these people are not ai???perfectai??i??. They do not fit into societyai??i??s idea of the ai???normai??i?? because they lack sight or hearing or voice. My wife used to support a man who was non-speaking and deaf. She is a competent signer and spent many long hours translating for and to him. He would be considered by society to be ai???disabledai??i??. However, in the many times that I have been in the company of signers, I have been the one who was ai???disabledai??i??. Disability is a social construct and with a group of signers, I am the one who is not ai???normalai??i??. I could not be part of their conversation. There are vast numbers of anecdotes of people with so called ai???disabilitiesai??i?? having skills way above the norm.
ai???Yahua said to him, ai???Who made manai??i??s mouth? Or who makes one mute or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, Yahua?ai??? (Exod. 4:11). ai???Yahua `Elohiym saw everything that He had made and, behold, it was very good…(Gen. 1:31a). ai???Which things also we speak, not in words which manai??i??s teaches, but which the Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things.ai??? (1 Cor. 2:13). Every human being has been made by a loving and caring Father and whatsoever He makes, it is perfect.
ai???Therefore, as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, because all sinned.ai??? (Rom. 5:12). The single biggest factor in stealing away the wholeness that Father wants for us is sin. This is disobedience to the will of Father in our lives. Unfortunately, this, in itself, is one of the major reasons that people do not come to Faith. It is not that they do not believe there is an Almighty Creator, or that there exists such a thing as sin. It is not that they do not know that His Son, Messiah Yahshua was born, crucified and resurrected in order to pay for their sins. Just the opposite. Their thought is that how can a person be good enough to come into the Presence of the Almighty? They acknowledge the sin but it is this sin that prevents them approaching the Throne of Grace.
If this is you, I have got some Good News for you. This is the most grotesque of lies that haSatan has propagated and the vilest of all evils. No one has, is or ever will be ai???good enoughai??i?? to approach the Throne; on our own behalf. Nevertheless, there is One who holds out His hand, waiting to take hold of yours and lead you into that Presence. Even while you are reading these words, His hand is there, waiting. He will not grasp it or force you to take it; but it is there, waiting for you.
The Spirit of Yahua is there to guide you in repenting of your sinful disobedience and showing you what the Saviour has done for you. It is He that has made you ai???good enoughai??i??. The Father, Son and Spirit are their holding out the hand; if only you would believe and accept the hand.
Why wait any longer? Do you not want wholeness, completeness or peace in your life?
Come to Him that alone is perfect so that He can remake you like Him again and be perfect in His sight.
Father, we thank you for the power of your Word and that Word was made flesh in Messiah Yahshua so that in believing in His Life, Death and Resurrection we may have eternal life with you.
Father willing, we will gather again next Shabbat.