Monday, April 29, 2013

Christ Validated the Patriarchs

The core belief of Christianity is that Christ is the Son of God.  As God, He would know the full history of the earth.  We know that God is not man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19).  Therefore, we should look upon what He said as Truth.

Notice, that while God became a man in Yeshua, He is NOT a "man" to begin with.  God became a man to win us back to redemption - LEGALLY - within the boundaries of His Own Law.  Making us just in any other way would have violated His Law, making God Himself UNjust.

I've witnessed a growing trend among Evangelicals, who believe the OT stories to be just that: stories.  Allegory.  Oral tradition.  Perhaps stories like the Garden of Eden or Noah's Flood are just too fantastic to believe.  But I wanted to know what CHRIST had to say about the Patriarchs, because if I believe Him and His words as the Son of God, I need to also take a look at the people spoken of in the Old Testament.

Let's start with Isaiah.



I start with Isaiah because he also spoke of the Patriarchs before him.  It's very important to note that Isaiah was a real man who'd truly been given prophecy by the Lord God.  In two places Christ mentions him.  First, in Luke 4:16-21, Christ is back in His hometown of Nazareth.  He grabs the scroll of Isaiah and announces the prophecy He read has been fulfilled in their hearing.  The Son of God not only validates Isaiah's prophecy (which also means ALL of Isaiah's prophecy is truth, as God wouldn't endorse a liar or a man who never existed), but He also FULFILLED it.

Christ speaks of Isaiah again in Matthew 15:6-8.  This is another validation, not only of Isaiah as a real man, but as a prophet who speaks true.  Therefore, with the endorsement of God On High, we can also look to Isaiah's writings to validate the Patriarchs.


The story of Noah is a big stumbling block to a lot of believers.  How did Noah fit ALL the world's animals in his boat, even if God *did* bring them to him?  Did a flood actually cover the entire earth?  Maybe it was just a flash flood and he merely saved his family.  Or maybe it's just allegory passed down from generation to generation.

Christ speaks of Noah as a real man in Matthew 24:38 and Luke 17:26-27.  In both of these instances, Christ is giving a prophecy of the future end times, "As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man."  Yeshua doesn't say "Like the story of Noah teaches..." or "From the tradition of Noah, we see..."  No.  He speaks of it AS THE DAYS OF NOAH, which means to me, there actually were "days of Noah", when the man lived and built an ark.

Isaiah speaks of Noah too, Isaiah 54:8-10.  In this prophecy, God says "the days of Noah" again, but this time, goes into deeper depth; "as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you".  Remember, God doesn't lie.  Christ validated Isaiah's prophetic words back in Nazareth.  Therefore, there had to be a time when someone named Noah lived, and a promise was given by God that waters should no more "cover the earth."  Not a flash flood.  Not an allegory.


Christ spoke of Abraham in John 8:58, and in Luke 16:23.  He also spoke of "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" all together in Matthew 22:31-33.  In the John reference, He says, "Before Abraham was, I AM."  This was to tell the Jews He was God.  They were fixing to stone Him for such blasphemy, but He managed to slip away.  In the Luke text, He's telling a parable about "Abraham's Bosom", which was where the faithful went to die before they could be taken into Heaven after Yeshua's death.  In the Matthew text, however, is the clincher.  He claims they are all three ALIVE.  "God is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living!"

Men who never existed cannot be alive in the Living God, though they be "dead" to the world. 

Isaiah also speaks of Abraham and Jacob in Isaiah 29:22, Isaiah 41:8, Isaiah 51:2, & Isaiah 63:16


This brings us to Lot, Abraham's nephew.  Christ speaks of the end times again in Luke 17:28-32.  He's already mentioned it will be "as the days of Noah", and here, we see it will be "as the days of Lot" as well.  He even goes so far as to say, "Remember Lot's wife."  What was shall be again.  That is basically what Yeshua is telling us.  History repeats itself.  God rained His wrath down upon Sodom and Gomorrah.  Christ is saying it will happen again, just as in the days of Lot.  If it will happen again, it had to happen the first time.  Therefore the story of Lot and his wife was no idle tale spun to scare people into being righteous.


The story of the Exodus from Egypt is, perhaps, one of the Bible's greatest sagas.  God parts the Red Sea, delivering the Israelites from the hand of a cruel king.  Christ speaks of Moses many times, recorded in Matthew 8:4, Matthew 19:8, Mark 10:3, and Luke 16:31.  He was well aware that God Almighty had given His Law to Moses.  It was Moses who went up on Mount Sinai and received the 10 Commandments.  It was Moses who wrote the Torah.  Yes, it was obvious to one and all that Moses had once been a true flesh-and-blood man.  Yeshua was obedient to the Mosaic Law and mentioned what Moses had written in the Law.  Christ took the Law quite seriously.  In fact, it is BECAUSE of this Law that Christ came to deliver us from the bondage of it.  If God had never given the actual Law to an actual man named Moses, then Christ's mission was in vain.

Isaiah 63:10-12 speaks of him as well.  Just as the Isaiah text with Noah, the Isaiah text with Moses goes into greater detail.  Again, Isaiah validates the miracles associated with Moses when he writes, "Then he remembered the days of old,of Moses and his people where is he who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock?" and "who caused his glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, who divided the waters before them to make for himself an everlasting name."

Christ validated the man named Moses who was given the Law.  Christ also validated Isaiah's prophecies.  And Isaiah validated the parting of the Red Sea.

 
Finally, we come to King David.  I've done a study of King David before on this blog which I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend.  It opened my eyes on how to have a heart after God's Own Heart.  Christ spoke of David as well in Matthew 12:2-4 and Matthew 22:41-45.  In the first Matthew text, we have Christ speaking of David as true history.  "Have you not read what David did..."  He was making a point.  The pharisees were trying to trap him by saying he was being unlawful.  But Christ reminded them that even King David did what was considered unlawful.  In the second Matthew text, Christ exposes who the Messiah truly is.  By using the Psalms, He shows that the Messiah is David's "Lord".  But David was King over all Israel.  Therefore the only "Lord" over David had to be God, as David himself was the highest authority.

We also see in the second Matthew text that Christ validates the prophecies in the Psalms.  Which means Psalm 22 and Psalm 83 are legitimate prophecies.  Christ validates the Psalms in another text, Matthew 21:16, which refers back to Psalm 8:2.  So not only was King David a real man, but what he wrote was endorsed by God Himself.

The story of Yeshua Messiah is built upon the backbone of the Biblical Patriarchs.  If we believe Christ is the Son of God, we also must believe the Patriarchs were true men who actually lived.  Through Christ's approval of Isaiah's writings, we can also glean that the miracles associated with these Patriarchs actually happened as well.

With Christ as the hub of our beliefs, we can then work outward from Him to see what is actual truth in the Old Testament.  But saying the old stories are all allegory, tradition, or word-of-mouth is naive at best and ignorant at worst.  The Jews view Yeshua in light of their rich history.  The Gentiles, however, do not have this rich history to draw from, and therefore must learn it after coming to Christ.  These things actually happened.  Yeshua Himself gave His stamp of approval on all the OT Patriarchs, as well as Isaiah the prophet.

They were actual men who lived actual lives, touched, blessed, and spoken of by God Almighty, Who is not a man that He should lie.

~~Becka

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Seek Yahweh your Elohim - Devotional - 1 Chronicles 22:19



Today’s text comes from 1 Chronicles 22:19.  Now set your heart and your soul to seek Yahweh your Elohim.”  This verse is one of the main themes of the Bible.  All throughout the Old Testament and even in the New, Yeshua tells us to seek Him (Matt. 7:7).

“Set your heart…”

Your heart is the seat of who you are.  Your hopes, your dreams, your love.  "As water reflects a face, so the heart reflects the man." (Proverbs 27:19).  The heart, therefore, speaks of one’s life.  Their values, their beliefs, their actions, their words.  The heart is more than love, it is who you are.  It’s Strong’s number 3824, the same word used in one of my favorite passages of all time, Psalm 73:26: “Though my flesh and my heart may fail, God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.

With the context of our “heart” as our “life”, we see our “heart may fail”, could perhaps mean that we may fail in our values, we may fail in our language, we may even die, but God is the strength of our life.  He is the hope of our eternal life.  Setting your heart, therefore, means turning the rudder of your life toward God.  Changing habits, changing routines.  Just as exercise and eating right are lifestyle changes, so, too, is seeking God with all of your heart. 

“…and your soul…”

Here, we have another entreaty, to seek God with your soul.  Strong’s number 5315, this is the same word in Song of Solomon 3:2: “I will seek him whom my soul loves.”  This word in Hebrew is “nephesh”, and means your “self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion.”  More than just our heart, we seek Him with our soul, our very spiritual desire to be with the One Who created us.  This is more than a fleshly desire, this is an spiritual one.  It is a desire that God Himself placed upon our souls from the foundation of the world.  Everyone desires happiness.  Wholeness.  Approval.  Love.  Acceptance.  Joy.  All too often, those of the world fill this spiritual void with “stuff” and with earthly relationships that cannot possibly satisfy.

With this in mind, “and your soul” means to seek Him with that deep spiritual desire only He can fill.  Don’t try to fill it with booze, sex, money, or the things of this world, lest you set yourself up for disaster.  Fill your soul with God alone.

“…to seek Yahweh your Elohim.”

I find it interesting that “seek” is a present-tense verb.  It never ends.  We are forever seeking our God.  There will never come a point, no matter how deeply rooted your faith, when you have “found” God and had enough of Him.  God is bottomless.  Infinite.  He is a Treasure that has no end.  Yeshua likened the Kingdom of Heaven as a treasure in a field (Matthew13:44).  A man found it, covered it back up, and sold all he had to obtain that field.  Within that one parable, we see this entire verse.

The man was digging.  He was searching, seeking.  He must have heard of the treasure and was trying to find it.  He DID find it.  He went and gave his entire heart and soul to purchase that field.  All his possessions, all his money, perhaps even his relationships, for that field.  In the buying, he is still therefore seeking this treasure for his own.

But as anyone who’s purchased that field will tell you, the Treasure doesn’t stop where the man found it in the dirt.  Seek a little more, and there is gold dust in the soil.  Dig deeper, and there are jewels in the clay.  Go farther down than you ever dared dream, and you find your field is on an endless gold mine! 

Why does God wish for us to seek Him?  Because it keeps the romance alive.  Remember wooing your spouse?  How exciting it was to learn their favorite color or movie or anything about them?  You were elated to talk to them, to spend time with them.  You wanted to know them, what they loved, who inspired them, if they felt the same way about you…  You were seeking their heart, seeking who they are!

With God, our seeking never comes to a close.  He goes on and on.  The more we seek, the more we find.  The more we find, the more we want to find.  The more we want to find, the more this seeking becomes an obsession.  It is within the seeking, dear reader, that the life-change happens.  I cannot fathom anyone, who has found a nugget of gold, would not wish to go back into the mine to get the rest! 

But seeking our God isn’t merely study.  Oh no.  We seek Him in prayer as well.  How many times has He been elusive to your petitions?  How many times have you come into His manifest presence?  He wants us to LONG for Him.  To PANT after Him.  He wants us to so LOVE Him, that the entire focus of our very being is on HIM.

Not only is seeking God a main theme in the Bible, it is also one of God’s most precious promises.  “Seek” is Strong’s number 1875, which is found in Deuteronomy 4:29: “You will seek Yahweh your Elohim and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.

God promises that He WILL be found.  But we must seek with ALL of our hearts, ALL of our soul.  This means with our entire life, our entire love, our entire being, and our entire passion.  There is no room for wiggle.  God wants all – or nothing.

He asks you now, tonight, what is keeping you from Him?  Get rid of it.  What is more important?  Him?  Or that thing?  To what are you giving your heart and soul?  If you’re not seeking God, what you are seeking is futile.

Our Lord is elusive, like a young stag upon the mountains of spices.  He delights to reveal Himself to those who take the time to actively seek Him.  It is in the SEEKING, believer, that our passion and delight in Him grows.  The more He reveals, the more we want to know as He pulls back the veil to His Holy of holies.  He whispers His love for us throughout the pages of Scripture.  He beckons us to come forth, through the temple veil.  He grins at us to follow in His magnificent Footsteps and find a Love as strong as death, with flashes of consuming fire.  What could possibly hold us back from falling desperately in love with Yahweh, Lord of Hosts? 

I suppose the true question, Christian, is thus:  Are you willing to cross that veil into His glorious, unshakeable Love and leave this wretched world behind?

“Now set your heart and your soul to seek Yahweh your Elohim.”

Yeshua beckons you…  RUN to Him. 


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Proverbs 31: Song of Solomon Parallel Study


Anyone familiar with the book of Proverbs knows well the woman described in Proverbs 31:10-31.  This has been the "go-to" text for women of God to compare and contrast their own walk with Him.  Recently, I've been studying Proverbs and writing notes in the margins of my study Bible.  I came to the last chapter, knowing I was about to study the Proverbs 31 woman, but I had no idea what I'd find.

Let me just preface this study by saying this is my interpretation of this passage.  On the surface, this IS a "manual", if you will, for women to strive after God's Own heart.  But the more I got to scratching at this, I began noticing parallels between this woman -- and the woman of Song of Solomon.

Considering King Solomon wrote both Songs and Proverbs, this isn't too big of a stretch to consider, although, chapters 30 and 31 are under suspicion of being written by someone else, Agur and Lemuel respectively.  I don't know who actually wrote chapter 31, personally.  But there are definitely shades of the woman outlined in Songs within.  I won't go through the entire passage, but I will pick out choice Scriptures that not only parallel Songs, but also just give a richer understanding.  For those of you not familiar, or just to have a visual to help with this study, here's a great picture of the entire passage:


The first thing I notice about this passage is in verse 14, "She bringeth her food from afar."  If you take this verse and break it down into symbolism rather than literally, this means to me that see seeks her spiritual food from afar.  She doesn't expect it to fall into her lap, nor is she content with what she can "buy in the marketplace" (ie., Sunday sermon), she goes "afar" to find her food.  She finds different teachers, different writings, studies her Bible, attends groups and prayer meetings.

In verse 15, it says "she riseth while it is still night and giveth meat to her household."  It would seem here that she makes time for morning prayer, before her busy day.  The "meat" she gives to her family would therefore be the deeper things of Yahweh, since it's already mentioned that she "went afar" to get her food in the previous verse.

Verse 16 is where it starts to get good!  "She considereth a field and buyeth it; with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard."  My "Song of Solomon" radar went off immediately!  First of all, it seems reminiscent of Christ's parable in Matthew 13:44 of a treasure in a field a man sells everything to buy.  Then what does she do?  She plants a vineyard, which is powerful imagery used in Song of Solomon.  The woman's vineyard and garden in Songs was the same place the Beloved was pleased to rest in and eat its choice fruits.  I believe this verse is talking about a woman who becomes a Christian.  If I'm right, then the Proverbs 31 woman is the OUTLINE of the Lily among thorns in Songs!

We don't get a full picture as to WHY the spouse of the Beloved was considered "as the Lily."  But in Proverbs 31, the puzzle comes together.  This is showing us WHY the Beloved is so taken with the one His soul loves.  Yes, she is covered with the Beloved's righteousness, but she also has a beauty all her own.  And here we see how she's won His heart.

If Proverbs 31 is an outline for the Lily, then that means her "husband" spoken of... is Christ.

Let's keep going.



Verse 17 says "she girdeth her loins with strength."  In doing my study of Proverbs, I have repeatedly been amazed at how many proverbs define other proverbs.  "Strength" is shown in Proverbs 24:5 to be "knowledge."

A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.
And from Proverbs 1:7, we learn what "knowledge" is:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.

All throughout Proverbs, when it speaks of "knowledge" and "wisdom", it is talking about the "fear of the Lord".  This "fear" is respect, reverence, and belief in God, which are all the beginnings of wisdom, because from the knowledge of God, flows all other wisdoms.  Therefore, God is the Seat of Wisdom and Knowledge.  And knowledge of God comes from reading His Word and spending time in prayer.

Therefore, the woman in Proverbs increases her "strength" by increasing her wisdom and knowledge of God.

In verse 18, it says "her candle goeth not out by night."  There is a candle mentioned in Proverbs 20:27:

The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord.

Her "candle" is her spirit.  It does not go out at night.  Just as she prays in the early morning, it is likely she also prays at night, for thanksgiving of the day's blessings, or protection from the enemy over her household.  Her flame is for the Lord; the text says it is the "candle of the LORD."  Perhaps this is her love for Him, her burning heart that doesn't go out when she is finally alone from the work of the day.  In other words, her love for Yeshua is not mere lip-service, but even alone, in the dark of night, it burns brightly.

Skipping a few verses, we see in verse 21 and 22 her family is clothed with scarlet and she is clothed with purple.  All throughout the Bible, royalty was clothed in these colors.  In fact, Yeshua Himself was mocked at His crucifixion in Matthew 27:28 with a scarlet robe someone found to drape Him after they'd jammed the crown of thorns into His scalp.


So the Proverbs 31 woman is likened to royalty.  In verse 24, it mentions she "maketh fine linen".  We learn from Revelation 19:8 that the saints are clothed in fine linen, which is "the righteousness of the saints."  She sells this linen.  She gives it to others, perhaps making disciples?

I find verse 29 to echo Songs 6:9.  It says in Proverbs that "many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all."  The text in Songs states:

My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her;

In Songs, the dove of the Beloved is the favored daughter of her mother, and the favorite of the Beloved.  It just seems to fit for me.

Finally, we come to the last verse, 31, which says, "Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates."  Again, we have almost a perfect reflection in Songs 7:13, which says:

"The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved."

We have the fruits, which were grown in her vineyard, and we have the gates.  In both passages, the "fruit" symbolizes the work of her hands.  My notes in Songs says of this verse:  "All the fruits laid up for Him are the disciples we have won and all the things we have done in His name for His Kingdom."  Also, "Our gates could refer to Heaven's gates, for we are co-heirs to Glory (Romans 8:17)."

Whether or not this study is actually a "hidden" definition of the Lily in Songs, I thought it was compelling enough to blog about it.  If the "husband" mentioned is actually Yeshua the Beloved, then what does it say of Him?

In verse 11, it says:

"The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil."

I love that imagery.  Christ safely trusts in us.  He does not need to steal us, we give ourselves to Him freely.  Neither does He need to steal fruit, as we grow it gladly ourselves.  Also, in verse 23:

"Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land."

If the gates mentioned are indeed the "gates of Heaven", then that makes the "elders" come into focus doesn't it?  Revelation 4:4 speaks of elders 'round His Throne...

Verse 28 states:

"Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her."

Her husband calls her blessed.  Perhaps her children are those she's won for Him.  But just imagine, the King of Heaven calling you blessed!  And He does!  He is our Greater Husband, Yeshua, the Lord of Hosts!  I can't even imagine what's coming our way, brethren.  It is a glorious inheritance indeed.

If I'm right and this is a reference to the spouse in Songs, then the Proverbs 31 woman isn't only for women.  She is a "type" of the Church!  Men, that means you can get in on this too!  I believe Scripture has many layers, and while on the surface this is an outline of the "perfect woman", I also believe her to be a type of Christ's Bride, which means she is the example of the woman in Songs.

I hope this study spoke to you like it spoke to me.  It literally came out of nowhere, which is how I usually recognize when the Spirit wants me to stop and consider a hidden treasure.  I think this is a hidden treasure in plain sight!  May you never look at this passage in the same light again!  \O/  Be blessed!




~~Becka

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Song of Solomon: My Dove with Dove's Eyes


The first place in Song of Solomon we hear the expression "doves' eyes" is in Songs 1:15.  The theme of the dove is prevalent throughout this book: 

"Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold thou art fair, thou hast dove's eyes."

I did some general study on doves, and it would seem the accepted explanation of this verse is that doves have binocular vision.  This means they can only focus on one thing at a time.  Usually, it is their mate.  Because of this, they have the nickname "love birds."  If you've ever seen a mated pair of doves, what one does, the other does.  They are always watching each other.  It's amazing to witness.  I had the privilege to have a pair of mourning doves in my backyard for a few days.  They sat on the fence together.  They alighted on the ground together.  And they took wing together.  It was as if they were coordinated to synchronize their movements.  

Given that the Beloved (Yeshua) speaks of His love's eyes being like doves' eyes seems to allude to the fact that she only has eyes for Him.  She moves when He moves.  She does what she sees Him doing.  She does not turn or get distracted.  He is the only One she sees.  She does not waver nor turn from her purpose - to follow her Beloved wherever He might lead.

Surely this is a part of the meaning of the "doves' eyes" in Songs.  However, the Beloved also calls His love "My dove", which has a different meaning than having only "doves' eyes."  

Consider Songs 2:14.  In this verse, He calls her "My dove", which means He sees not only her eyes, but HERSELF as the dove:

"O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely."

If we skip a few chapters, we come to Songs 5:12.  In this verse, the woman is explaining why her Beloved is the "chiefest among ten thousand."  She describes HIM as having "doves' eyes":

"His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set."
 
In the context of the woman having doves' eyes, here, we see the Beloved has them too!  He sees only her.  He loves her individually.  She is His everything.  The one He longs after.  We see this idea take root in Songs 6:9:

"My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her." 

The Beloved is saying here that she is the ONLY one of her mother, the choice one of her that bare her.  This woman, in other words, is like the only daughter of her mother.  The choice of her mother, her favorite.  The one she doted upon and lavished all her love.  There is no other woman like this daughter.  We learned from the previous study about lilies, that the Beloved's love is as a lily among thorns.  She is the choice flower in the garden.  Therefore, Yeshua has eyes for only her.  

This is a marvelous truth to realize.  Most folks believe Christ died "for the world."  And while that's true, the narrow gate into Heaven is single-file.  Our atonement to God is a life for a life.  Our life for the life of the Son of God.  Therefore, we each come to Him one at a time.  We are each one-of-a-kind.  And because we are unique, we can EACH say with confidence, "I am Yeshua's favorite."  

 
Now, there is another way of thinking about "doves' eyes."  As stated in my previous study, the Song of Solomon is generally seen as allegory between Christ and His Church.  We know the true Bride of Christ is born again and indwelt with the Holy Spirit.  And what is the symbol of the Holy Spirit?  A dove.  

With the eyes as the "window to the soul", when the Beloved looks into the eyes of the one He loves, He sees His Spirit gazing back at Him.  She "ravishes His heart with just one glance of her eye" (Songs 4:9).  The Beauty of the Spirit is clearly evident within her, and her purity is without question.  At the beginning of the book, she tells the Beloved not to look upon her because she is black (Songs 1:5-6).  This is because at the beginning of Songs, she isn't yet covered by the righteousness of Yeshua.  Later in the book, however, the Beloved describes her as having a belly "set about by lilies" and a "neck as a tower of ivory" (Songs 7:2-4).  Therefore, being "black" has nothing to do with skin tone and everything to do with being dead in sin -- UNTIL the Beloved makes her "AS the Lily" in (Songs 2:1-2).

Therefore, not only would she be outwardly righteous (neck as ivory) but inwardly righteous as well (doves' eyes).  


There is one more verse I want to share about the dove that I believe God gave me some insight on.  It is Songs 5:2:

"I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night."

Here, we have the Beloved knocking to wake His love.  I firmly believe no one can love God in the way outlined in Song of Solomon until Love so desires (Songs 8:4).  Until you ask God to draw you into a deeper, more intimate love with Him, this level of communion with Him will be foreign to you.  Therefore, in this verse, Christ is knocking on the door of her heart...  Much like He knocks in Revelation 3:20.  

We know it is Christ speaking in this verse for a few reasons.  First, He calls His love His "sister."  This isn't some thumbs-up for incest, no.  Christ is our "Brother in the flesh."  Therefore, when you call Christ your "Brother", it is because God condescended to be born in this world as a baby and live a pure life.  Yeshua, therefore, is our Brother.  He is also our "Love."  He left the Throne of Heaven just to prove it.  Again, He calls His love "My dove", but then goes on to talk about... dew?  Huh?

The last part of this verse didn't make sense to me.  So I asked the Lord about it.  I didn't get an immediate answer.  I've been reading through the book of Proverbs and I came across Proverbs 19:12 which states: 

"The king's wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass."

That stood out at me because I'd remembered the weird dew in Songs.  I know there's no "idle word" in Scripture.  So I sat up and took notice.  Suddenly I was piqued to find out what was so special about "dew."  In Proverbs, it would seem God's favor is like the dew.  Okay.  Does that mean the Beloved has God's favor?  Yes.  It does.  But it goes deeper.

Doing a search for "dew" in Scripture I came across a remarkable verse in Exodus 16:13-15:

And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.
 
And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.

And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.

WHAT?!  MANNA came with the dew!  (I knew that, but I didn't put it together until God opened my understanding.)  After it was pointed out to me that manna came with the dew, it wasn't too hard for me to connect the dots back to Christ.  Manna is the bread from Heaven, and yet Yeshua says that HE is the TRUE Bread from Heaven in John 6:32-33.  

Therefore, was the Beloved taking ME on a rabbit trail that led back... to HIM?  I think so!  Because the Beloved in Songs speaks of His head being full of dew, that means a few things -- first, He has the "fullness" of God's favor.  Not only is He full, but it is His HEAD that is full, and Christ is the Head of the Church.  We know, obviously, that the Son of God has the Father's full favor.  

However, my digging wasn't finished.  "Dew" is also compared to resurrection!  In Isaiah 26:19, it states: 

"Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise.
    You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!
For your dew is a dew of light,
    and the earth will give birth to the dead."

Now, going back to Songs, Christ is clearly alluding to HIMSELF with the very dew in and on His head!  No word is idle in the Word of God.  Not only does the Beloved have the full favor of God, but He comes with the dew, as manna - the Bread from Heaven.  And also, with Him, comes the resurrection.  It makes one wonder, when His love answers in the next verse (Songs 5:3) and says:

"I had put off my garment;
    how could I put it on?
I had bathed my feet;
    how could I soil them?"

Is the "garment" she put off her flesh?  Would "soiling her feet" be her confusion as to how her now-pure soul can be returned into her "sleeping" (ie. dead) flesh?  Is Songs talking about the dead being glorified at the Resurrection?  It's no surprise to me if it is.  The language of "Arise, my Love, and come away..." (Songs 2:10) is Rapture verbiage if I ever heard it.  

I just love how PACKED this little book is with gems!  There are many more themes - the spices - the garden - the wine - the apple tree - the young stag... it's a very deep well of treasure.  Keep digging in this gold mine and see what you can find with the themes I've suggested.  

And yet there's even more!  Rapture.  Sealing of the Holy Spirit.  The Second Coming.  Seeking God.  Seeing Yeshua as Altogether Lovely.  Intimacy with Him as the Lover of your soul.  

Charles Spurgeon once called the Song of Solomon the "Holy of Holies" of the Bible.  I daresay he was right.  Songs is sacred ground.  Most Christians don't understand it.  Even more don't want to touch it.  Many think it's blasphemous to view Christ in this light.  Some wonder if we're reading too much into it.  Some think it's a manual for intimacy between an earthly husband and wife.  One thing's for sure.  It is intriguing, and absolutely fascinating.  

May my love for my God forever be this deep and this pure.  May I yearn for Him, have a passion for Him, adore Him and stand in awe of Him for the rest of my days.  Yeshua, You are My Beloved ... and I am Yours.  



~~Becka

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Song of Solomon: As the Lily Among Thorns

The Lord has been leading me lately to really dig in to Song of Solomon and study it.  I am no Bible scholar, therefore I likely cannot do ALL the themes in this small book justice, but there are a couple of themes I want to study and post on my blog, one being the "lilies" mentioned throughout the book.  If you do not know already, Song of Solomon is a very sensual book in the Bible, and generally viewed as an allegory between the relationship of Christ, the Bridegroom, and His Church, the Bride.

This is uncomfortable for some, as it rides the line between agape and eros love, but I believe God IS Love and Love is God -- this includes every facet of Love; phileo, agape, and eros.  We know marriage is itself a picture of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:31-32), and therefore the intimacy is a picture of the intimacy with Yeshua.  Not sexual, per se, but rather knowing someone deeply, loving them passionately, and finding great joy and ecstasy with the One you love.  For the sake of this study, it will be assumed the "man" speaking in Songs is Christ, and the "woman" is His Church.

The first mention of lilies is in Songs 2:1-2:



In these two verses, we learn a wealth of information.  First, we have an "I AM" statement, similar to those used in the book of John, when Christ made His parallels to Yahweh and applied them to Himself (I AM the Bread of Life, I AM the Way, Truth, Life, I AM the Door, Before Abraham was, I AM...)  Here, He says, "I AM the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys."  It is CHRIST, therefore, Who is the Lily.  He is our foundation for the Lily throughout the rest of Song of Solomon.

In the very next verse, however, the woman is "AS the Lily among thorns".  She is not THE Lily, she is AS the Lily.  This distinguishes her from Christ, while also having His righteousness -- the purity of the white flower.  She stands out among other women of the world, which are described as "thorns".


Next comes Songs 2:16.  Most folks quote this one and stop after "My beloved is mine, and I am his", but read the rest of the verse -- "He feedeth among the lilies".  The Beloved feeds among the lilies.  I'm not sure this text means Christ Himself is "eating" among the lilies, but rather, feeding THEM.  The word "feed" could mean feeding yourself, or feeding others.  "He feedeth" therefore, could allude to Christ Himself giving the lilies their sustenance.  "Among the Lilies" would mean in their midst (Matthew 18:20).

Skipping a bit, we come to Songs 6:2:


This verse is FULL of allegory.  I could do a whole study on the Beloved's garden from Songs.  The "beds of spices" are myrrh and frankincense spoken of at length throughout the book.  But interestingly enough, this verse speaks of TWO gardens -- "His garden" -- and "the gardens." 

"His garden" is the heart of the believer.  The beds of spices are likely the works of that believer in Yeshua's name.  And notice what He does afterward -- He feeds in "the gardens and gathers lilies".  Through the garden of the believer's heart, Christ comes to feed OTHER gardens, and "to gather lilies", or if you prefer, gather new disciples.

Now, I am of the opinion that there isn't an idle word in Scripture.  As the Word of God, it is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). Yeshua knew good and well every single word He spoke would one day be written down and studied.  I don't believe it is coincidence at all that He spoke of lilies while teaching His disciples not to fret about what to eat or what to wear.


"Consider the lilies, how they grow; they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."  ~~Luke 12:27

Not only is it no coincidence He mentions "lilies", but also "Solomon."  This is a clue for the Bride, in my opinion.  If the Song of Solomon is allegory between Christ and His Church, we should take a good look at what Christ Himself says about lilies in this verse.  Not only would He therefore be talking about the flowers of the field, but about the lilies among thorns, His Bride, His Beloved.

"Consider the lilies..."  Look at My Bride.  "how they grow; they toil not, they spin not"  How they're sanctified, how they work not for their salvation.  "yet I say that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."  Solomon, the wisest, wealthiest king who's ever lived, was not clothed in the Splendor that My Bride shall one day be clothed.

This is an amazing text!  Was King Solomon made as wise and as wealthy as he was to be an example of the inheritance of the Saints?  All the best this world has to offer, wine, women, song, was given to King Solomon.  More than any other man who's ever lived, King Solomon had it ALL.  And yet, Christ says even the LILIES are arrayed in MORE glory than Solomon could ever dream.

True, on the surface, He is speaking of mere flowers.  They don't work for their beauty.  They've never had to buy it, never had to earn it.  And yet they have it.  God gives them the grace to be even more glorious than Solomon.  But He's also alluding to the lily in Songs by mentioning Solomon by name. 

The very next verse drives the point home in Luke 12:28:



Yeshua clearly wraps up His analogy by bringing it full circle and tying it all up in a pretty bow.   If God cares for these flowers, which are here today, and tomorrow are gone, how much more will He clothe you?  To God, our lives are but a vapor.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  Yet even though our lives are so short in comparison to eternity, He cares for us and clothes us -- not only with our worldly needs, but also, our eternal needs.  With a Robe of Righteousness of His very Own.

These verses in Luke are, on the surface, about God taking care of our earthly needs.  But on a deeper, eternal level, Yeshua is telling us that He clothes His lilies in GREATER splendor than He ever clothed King Solomon -- with His OWN righteousness, His OWN Glory.  We must look deeper, beyond the riches of the world and focus on the Treasure of Heaven.

We are His lilies among the thorns of this world.  Our hearts are His garden.  When His breath blows upon us, the lovely fragrance of our spices flow out to others.  Our Beloved comes into His garden and partakes of our pleasant fruit (Songs 4:16).  In return, He clothes us with His Righteous Beauty, the very nature of our Glorious God.

He IS the Lily.

We are AS the Lily.



~~Becka



Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Devotional: Matthew 28:20

"Behold, I am with you always" ~~Matthew 28:20

The words of our Lord at the end of the book of Matthew have comforted countless Christians for 2,000 years. It is very profound in its simplicity.

"Behold" (according to Google) - See or observe (a thing or person, esp. a remarkable or impressive one): "behold your king!".

This verse begins with "Behold", which, according to its definition, means the Speaker (Christ) has something very remarkable or impressive to say. Listen! Pay attention! What I am about to tell you is worth the hearing.

Then, we come to that blessed Name above all names: I AM. Yahweh, Lord of Hosts, the Great I AM. God, in all His wisdom, gave Moses the name of "I AM" at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14) to tell Pharaoh of Who's authority he spoke. But the name "I AM" is only half of God's name. Yahweh did this on purpose, so that in His Son, the full glory of "I AM" can truly be revealed and understood. In the book of John, we see Yeshua display His true Glory. "I AM the Light..." "I AM the bread..." "I AM the door..."





 

In Matthew, Yeshua gives us another: "I AM...with you". The God of all Creation is with you. Wherever you are. In the ocean depths, He is with you. On the mountain top, He is with you. In the far reaches of space, He is there. Hidden in the hall closet, even so, He is with you. There is nowhere you can think of in this entire universe you can flee to outrun Him. There isn't a single nook nor forgotten cranny in which He is not present.

This should bring you great comfort, for God meets you where you are. He has never left, nor will He ever leave. He is always there, right there. Yes, even within your thoughts. One heartfelt cry and I AM is at the ready. The King of Heaven has inclined His Divine Ear to your groaning. What privilege we have as children of God! The Eye that gazed at the Heavens and called it "Good" is now gazing at you. The One who breathed life into your lungs has given you His rapt attention. There is nothing you might say that He finds boring, nothing you care about that's a trifle.

We do not need to request an audience with our omnipresent King. We are not cast in an endless line waiting to be heard. Nor are we given a number and sent to a waiting room. No, the God of Glory is there for you.

When?

Always. According to Google - "At all times; on all occasions."

Always. In all circumstances. When the rain pours, when the sun shines. When the flowers bloom, when the leaves fall. When the bills are paid, and when they're overdue. When you are soaking in the Spirit or as dry as a bone. When you've been praying for years, or just now beginning. Whether you've loved Him all your life, or have come running to His arms like the Prodigal son. Always. Always. Behold, My child. I AM with you always.

Praise the Lord. \O/


~~Becka

Monday, April 1, 2013

Who is Like You, O Lord?


Today while doing the dishes in my kitchen and singing along with my praise, the Lord gave me some amazing wisdom.  It just kind of popped into my head.  That's when I know this wisdom didn't come from me, especially when there's no effort on my part to put 2+2 together.

The song I was listening to is a new one by Paul Wilbur entitled "Who is Like You" off His "Your Great Name" album.  This entire album is amazing.  I highly recommend it as its one of my favorites.  Before I get to my "revelation" in the kitchen while elbow-deep in dish soap, I want to give some background on the message of the song above.

One of the main themes of the Bible is that there is no one like our God.  He is absolutely holy and completely "other" than His creation.

In the book of Exodus, we come across chapter 15, which is known as the "song of Moses and Israel."  Verse 11 says:


Here we see the uniqueness of God among all the other "gods", as if there were others.  Only the God of Israel is the One running the universe.  No other god made of stone or gold can boast of such a claim.  We see this theme again in Psalm 71:19.


And one more example is found in Jeremiah 10:6:


There are many more similar verses.  The Jews were quite sure there was NO ONE like their God.  He was Higher than all other "gods", more Glorious than creation, completely Worthy of their praise, and their Provider Who took care of them.  He was holy, just, amazing, wonderful, fearful, and altogether lovely.

So here's where my "revelation" comes in.

While listening to Wilbur's song and doing the dishes, I was hit with a verse from the New Testament that floored me, even though I've skimmed the verse many times and never saw it.  Compared to this main theme of the Bible, that no one is like our God, it was one of those "WHOA!" moments that stopped me mid-scrub, lost in thought.  I held that dish aloft, dripping suds into the sink, while staring out my window.  My mind was blown!

Let this truth sink in to your spirit for a moment:



WE.  Shall.  Be.  Like.  HIM.

Do you see that truth nestled in 1 John 3:2?

The Apostle John is speaking of our glorification at the Resurrection (also known as the Rapture), when Christ comes for His Church and completes her salvation (Philippians 1:6).  Our salvation isn't "complete" until our glorification, when we shall be LIKE HIM.  I've read this verse many times, and I've even read and pondered that truth.  We shall be like the risen Christ, glorified and perfected, spirit-flesh rather than fallen-flesh.

But this revelation goes deeper than face value.

We received Christ's righteousness at the cross.  We are literally covered by His perfection.  Right now, we only have that righteousness spiritually.  But at the Resurrection when the Church is glorified, we shall have His righteousness bodily.  We will inherit the very righteousness of God.

This is an ASTONISHING gift!  A jaw-dropping one.  The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Lord of Hosts, the One who rides on the clouds, will one day glorify a people who WILL be like Him.  And we will SEE HIM as He is.  This implies that not even the angels can see Him as He is.  Scripture mentions angels in God's Throne room who cover their faces with their wings (Isaiah 6:2).  We know angels have the ability to rebel against God (hence demons).  Therefore, they do not have God's Own righteousness.

This is a privilege given only to Christ's Beloved -- His Church.  This idea is further solidified in Romans 6:5:



I knew we would become like Yeshua, but I guess it just didn't fully click with me, considering all the other times it's mentioned in the OT that NO ONE is like our God.  And yet...  He gives His favor to His children, and elevates them above the angels into the family of God.  Only the righteousness of God could win us through Heaven's gates, and one day, only the righteousness of God will make us like Him.  What an HONOR.  What a GLORY.  What a LOVE!

God was quite fond of letting the Israelites know there was NONE like Him.  Yet when Yeshua comes in Glory to take His Saints back up to Heaven, His Bride will unite with Him in such a way that she will literally be made in His image!  Could it be that God wanted a people for Himself, one that could actually see Him and know Him as He is, in a way that not even His holy angels could?  I think so.  And the more I learn about my Glorious God, the more I get absolutely fired up about the life to come!

I feel like I'm on the verge of Christmas morning every single day.  Who knows when Yeshua will call me up to Heaven?  But wow, am I EVER excited to get there!  Let's go, God!  I'm ready!  \O/

Praise Your Holy Name!

~~Becka