This post will most likely be broken up into several posts eventually as I haven't found a stopping point yet. One point keeps leading to another. But in the meantime, here is what I have so far.
Hebrews 11:6 says that the L-rd rewards those that diligently seek Him. I have discovered the truth of this verse in a very personal way that will always be with me. I have found that whenever I am pondering some spiritual matter, G-d always answers me with His Word.
I was born Jewish but raised Catholic and never delved into my Jewish roots until about 15 years ago. My husband and I both got saved in 1976 right after we got married. My salvation experience was somewhat progressive up until that point but when my husband received salvation we began trying to live out our faith. We attended church faithfully, tried to tithe, and studied scripture constantly. Over the years we hit some bumps and ruts in our understanding but kept plugging along. There were several times we became dissatisfied with our walk and really struggled to find the meaning of living out our faith daily. We tried different churches but every time we did we felt like we had “blackslid.” The last time we came back to the church was around 1998 or so. I was determined that I was going to nail down this Christianity thing and figure out how to remain faithful.
Someone had given me a book I think by Charles Spurgeon and one of the chapters dealt with the verse in Matthew 7 where Yeshua said, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity.” These workers were supposedly believers who were supposedly doing the works of the Father. I was struggling with these verses and really meditating on this. One Sunday during this time I was in church worshipping the L-rd with songs and praises when all of a sudden I just stopped in the midst of this and sort of got “outside myself” and was looking around at everyone. I actually asked G-d a question – “L-rd is this how you want us to worship you?” I began really thinking through the scriptures I had memorized to recollect a verse that actually answered this question when I felt the L-rd speak this verse to my mind/heart: “He that wants to worship me must worship me in spirit and in truth.” And I remember thinking, “WHAT IS TRUTH?” That is a great question to ask G-d…..that is a question I believe He is waiting for all of us to ask just so that He can have our complete attention and our minds empty of any preconceived notions of what truth is. A childlike mind if you will.
That question became a mantra in my daily walk. To remind myself to pray that question frequently, I committed to praying it every time I set foot in a church or even just drove by a church. I had no idea how G-d would answer me or how I would know He had shown me truth or not. I think I prayed that prayer for almost 3 years before I realized He had shown me His answer.
During that time, my husband just randomly decided to research Passover and when the season of Passover had arrived we actually held a seder in our home and did not celebrate Easter that year. In sharing that with a friend at church, we found out that there were Messianic services in a nearby town. We intended to try it one Friday night but several months passed before we actually did. We quickly discovered that it was not just a church holding Messianic services – it was a Messianic Synagogue. During that first service, I learned so much truth and it was then that the L-rd spoke the “bookend” scripture to my question I had been praying….”He rewarded my diligently seeking heart” with truth in my innermost being. It was as the scripture says, “truth was quickened to me.” My heart bore witness to the truth within me. I liken the experience to that of my salvation. For me, it was my salvation. I had always wondered what was a life of works as a believer? Witnessing to unbelievers? If so, what was I supposed to tell people they were to do after they prayed the sinner’s prayer? Go to church? I knew there had to be more to it than that. My problems and confusions did not go away just because I started going to church and I always knew there was some missing component and in my relentless seeking, the L-rd rewarded my efforts with those missing pieces.
I discovered there were a lot of “do’s” we were supposed to be doing as a people set apart for G-d. I learned that the Torah is an instruction manual for how we are to live our lives so that we receive the blessing instead of the curse. Deut 29:30.
To quote John Parsons (www.hebrew4christians.net), “Truth is about doing, not being…” The final letters of the last three words in the account of creation (Genesis 2:3) form the Hebrew word for truth – emet. In Hebrew these words are bara Elohim la’asot – G-d created to do. In other words, G-d created reality “to do” and this interpreted by the sages means that it is incumbent upon us to complete the doing of His creation. Exodus 24:7 records the words of G-d’s people whom He had delivered, “Naaseh V’Nishma” or “we will do first and afterwards, understand.” And James (2:20-24) said faith and deeds go hand in hand and that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
Seeking is one of the things we are to do. Yeshua said if we seek we will find. Psalm 42:1 says our soul should pant after G-d as the deer pants after water to quench his thirst. Psalm 51:6 tells us that G-d desires truth in our innermost person – to get this truth we need to seek.
G-d’s Word is my refuge – The L-rd G-d is my refuge – He always answers the cries of my heart with truth from His Word that He has preserved from long ago.
The leader of the Messianic Synagogue we attended frequently used the phrase, “flesh out” to explain why we do some of the traditions we do as Torah followers. I like that – I think it really explains or articulates what happens when we “do.” G-d created us with five senses and those senses are engaged in Tabernacle worship. For an example of fleshing out scripture consider the mezuzah over the doorpost. Deuteronomy 6:4 says to write G-d’s Word on the doorpost of our house and on our gates. The mezuzah “fleshes” out this scripture.
Some people say they don’t light the candles on Shabbat because G-d did not command us to light candles for Shabbat. While this may be true, it is also true that G-d is a G-d of separation. Lighting the candles is a beautiful way to mark (or flesh out for our visual senses) the separation of the 24 hour Sabbath period from the other six days of the week. This is an example of “doing.”
My 15 month old grandson has foolishness bound up in his heart because he is a child, (Proverbs 22:15) but when I strike that match to light the candles and cover my head in reverence to G-d, he notices! He settles down and realizes that something special is happening. So the fleshing out is also “teaching our children” to do these things. Another example of doing.
A major example of doing is in keeping the Feasts of G-d. To Be continued.....