Posts Tagged With: Water

Parched Ground

How do we display the image of Elohim (G-d) in the earth?parched ground

Recently, I participated in an online correspondence class with a rabbi. In it, he made mention of the davar (word) and its relationship to the midbar (wilderness/desert). I know many of you are already familiar with this connection, but for the sake of those who are not, I will briefly explore this notion. In Hebrew, the root of midbar (desert) is davar (word). In other words, the wilderness comes directly from the Word. Being in the desert is akin to receiving the Word. Or to be more precise, the wilderness is where YHWH’s Word is tested in us. In the Torah, the Book of Numbers chronicles the Children of Israel’s wanderings in the desert. Thus, quite fittingly, this book is called BaMidbar or “in the wilderness” in Hebrew.

When YHWH miraculously removed ancient Israel from Egypt or when He rescued us from the figurative house of slavery (sin and death), where did He take them or us? Was it straight to the Promised Land? Or was it into the desert or wilderness? The fact that we all must face a literal or figurative desert upon being saved sounds counterintuitive at first. What do we need to learn in wilderness? I think Bill Cloud said it best (I’m paraphrasing Bill here): “God can remove us from Egypt, but we find that Egypt is still in us.” In other words, salvation, deliverance, and sanctification are ongoing processes. The desert becomes a type of threshing floor for our souls. All that offends is refined, purified, and threshed in the scorching sands of the desert. The Word that began a good work in us continues its commission to test and humble us. The difficulty and the pain of the wilderness “does good” for us in the end. For Abba, this is a labor of love.

“He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. “In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. (Dt. 8:15-16)

But the desert has one more vital message to teach us. It is in our wilderness where G-d speaks. In the ups and downs of the desert, we learn to discern the difference between the Shepherd’s voice and the enemy’s crafty imitation. When we are stripped of all the comforts of Egypt, we finally reach the end of self. It is there, in the midst of what appears to us as chaos and disorder, that the G-d of order speaks kindly to us and lifts our weary heads. With no more worldly distractions, the Word reveals what is in our hearts. Each revelation offers us an opportunity to repent and return to the Master’s loving embrace.

Ones That Speak

While all the above is fascinating, even if a little scary, that’s not what struck me in the Rabbi’s lesson. He mentioned that one way we are like G-d is in the fact that we have the faculty of speech. We are the only creatures in His vast creation that, like Him, have words. We are medeber (ones that speak). Think about this for moment. In the same way that davar and midbar are connected, so is medeber. This means that we are not ONLY “ones that speak”, but “ones like a desert”.

Have you ever thought of yourself as a desert? Maybe our souls have felt dry or parched during a great trial, in the midst of mourning, or while suffering for righteousness sake or on account of our own sins. But have you ever considered that our wilderness journey should be as close and familiar to us as speech?

We were not only meant to speak, but we were meant to drink like the parched earth of a desert. Consider the many passages that urge us to partake of the Living Waters.[1] Or think about how the Word of G-d is figuratively referred to as rain or water.[2] We should be like the thirsty ground, eagerly waiting for the gentle rain of Abba’s Word. Considering that Adam was formed from the dust of the ground, this makes perfect sense. Mankind is essentially dirt or dust. And the ground NEEDS the heavenly rains like we NEED the words of our heavenly Elohim.

Dirt and Seeds

seed-plant-life-garden-grow-dirt-wide.1200w.tnWe are, at our core, the substance (dirt) in which seeds can be planted in order for New Life to grow. The Word is equivalent to a Seed in Scripture.[3] Coincidence? I don’t think so. If words are seeds, we should be careful what we allow to take root in our soil or dirt. I believe these words or seeds can come from three places: G-d, the enemy, and ourselves.

Thus, the enemy’s word is a seed. The words we speak are seeds. The words others speak are seeds. But the only Seed that is always truth and always produces life is the Word of YHWH. The question is how do we know, and I mean without a doubt know that we know, whether the seed we are receiving is G-d’s Seed?

This is where the dry, dirty side of our essence comes in to play. In order to hear or receive the Word of Adonai, we must become like a desert. All distractions and things that vie for our attention must be removed in order for us to really hear or shema YHWH. In the wilderness, our nephesh (flesh) is denied worldly pleasures and conveniences. One reason that fasting is so effective is because it strips the nephesh of gratification. Any time our nephesh (with all its thoughts, desires, and appetites) is ruled over by our younger (new) spirit-man, our connection to YHWH is strengthened. And our flesh serves us rather than us serving it.

Whose Voice?

speakingMany times, we listen to the voice of our own desires rather than the Words of YHWH. Like the Tree of Knowledge, it speaks both good and evil. We know this voice so well that we often mistake it for the Holy Spirit (especially when its speaking “good”). Let’s face it, when it seems as if we will get to avoid suffering in a dry desert, our voice (or even the voice of the enemy) sounds like good counsel to our itching ears. This is why various people can all claim to be hearing from the One Holy Spirit, yet will have conflicting ideas, agendas, and doctrine. We are ones that speak, but rarely are we willing to become a desert. We must learn to submit to the wilderness and allow the Word to test us.

Emptying ourselves of our own desires (even those we deem good and profitable or even godly) is the key to becoming the image of Elohim in the earth. You want to love YHWH with all your heart and love your neighbor like yourself? It will cost you flesh and bone. Are we willing to suffer for YHWH and our neighbor?[4] Or would we rather cause others to suffer so that we can have things our way? Do we open our mouths and speak life (healing/shalom) to others or do we use our speech to persuade others to do things the way we like it or see it? Which voice is the Holy Spirit and which is the voice of our own nephesh (soul)?

The acquisition of treasures (desires of our hearts/flesh) by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor, the pursuit of death. (Pr. 21:6 added parenthesis mine)

 

If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. (Jam. 1:26)

Watch Your Mouth

He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles. (Pr. 21:23)

shut your mouthOur mouths cause us more trouble than any other member of our bodies.[5] Is this because we only desire to be ones that speak and not ones like a desert? After all, you can’t speak AND drink at the same time! Interestingly, if we fail to choose to become a humble desert before YHWH, He will take us there kicking and screaming. Our only choice in the matter is the method of how we arrive and how we act once we get there. YHWH’s Word is ALWAYS tested in the wilderness/desert.[6] Consider the many judgments that result with the people and the land becoming desolate. In these cases, Abba’s judgment has in effect “shut our mouths”.[7]

Is Adonai just an angry tyrant or does He know something that we desperately don’t want to accept? The Bible says that G-d is Love and that He chastises those whom He loves.[8] He takes us to the desert because He knows that the testing of the wilderness will reveal our hearts. We need to face the serpent on the pole, so that we may be healed and saved. The serpent is the voice of our own selfish desires. It is the crafty forked tongue that whispers both good and evil. When we heed its voice rather than Adonai’s, we are stung with its venom and take the fast track toward death.

This is why we must die daily like the lamb offerings in the Tabernacle and the Temple. Our beast must be brought to the altar. Like all creatures, the beast doesn’t submit easily. It is excellent at convincing us (with its mouth) that all is well. The smooth words of the serpent appeals to our feelings of entitlement, self-righteousness, and piety. The beast does not like to identify with suffering or humility. But like Cain, we are told to MASTER this impulse.

Hearing-GodWe do this by becoming what we were created to be. We are a desert; a vast wilderness laid bare for all of heaven to see and judge. In this position, we are no longer mouths that speak to justify or coerce; rather, we become a sponge that soaks up the words of life. Though the Living Word kills the flesh, it quickens the spirit.

This is the key to humility, hearing from Abba, and loving our neighbor sacrificially. It is also what molds and shapes our clay vessels into the image of our great and loving Elohim. If we really got this we would no longer scorn our fiery trials or fear the seemingly empty places of life. Instead, we would prostrate ourselves under the heavens and allow the Word to truly divide between our soul (nephesh) and spirit.

For the word of God is living and active 
and sharper than any two-edged sword, and 
piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit,
 of both joints and marrow, and able to judge 
the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, 
but all things are open and laid bare 
to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. 
(Heb. 4:12-13)

[1] Jer. 2:13; 17:13, John 4:10-11, Rev. 7:38

[2] This post speaks about the early and latter rains.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. (Is. 55:10-11)

“So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.” (Hos. 6:3)

So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word. (Eph. 5:26)

[3] Luke 8:11

[4] Suffering for Righteousness’ Sake

To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. For, “THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT. “HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT. “FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.” Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. (1 Peter 3:8-17)

[5] James 3

[6] Think about Moses and Yeshua. Were they each not tested in the wilderness? What about Paul? Can you recall a period where he was tested in the desert? Consider the Children of Israel, Job, David, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, and others. Can you connect these righteous men with both suffering and the desert/wilderness? Does the Bible give us examples of those who willingly flee to the desert and those who are taken there against their will? What is the difference between these two experiences? What is similar about these experiences? It seems as though we ALL must experience the wilderness. The question is: Will we go willingly or by force?

[7] Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God. (Rom. 3:19)

[8] FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” (Heb. 12:6)

Categories: Musings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Biblical Role of Women Part XI

Role of Women Main Page

I had promised to look at sacrificial love and respect in marriage in Part XI, but after further study, this post had to come first to lay a proper foundation. Enjoy!

 

dreamstime_l_47405125 copyMan, Woman, and Fire

 

Up until now, we have only explored the roles of the male (zakar) and the female (neqevah).[1] In this post, we will look at what it means to be a man or husband (ish) and a woman or wife (ishshah).

For this reason a man (ish) shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife (ishshah); and they shall become one flesh. (Gen. 2:24)

Let’s begin by looking at the ish and ishshah in Hebrew.[2] Below are Brown, Driver, and Brigg’s Hebrew definitions.

אישׁ

BDB Definition: (ish) 1) man 1a) man, male (in contrast to woman, female) 1b) husband 1c) human being, person (in contrast to God) 1d) servant 1e) mankind 1f) champion 1g) great man 2) whosoever 3) each (adjective)

 

אשּׁה

BDB Definition: (ishshah) 1) woman, wife, female 1a) woman (opposite of man) 1b) wife (woman married to a man) 1c) female (of animals) 1d) each, every (pronoun)

Man אישׁ and woman אשּׁה share two Hebrew letters: aleph and shin. The difference between the two is that man has the letter yohd and woman has the letter hey. Interestingly, if we put these two together, it spells Yah (yohd, hey). Yah is the poetic form of God’s Name.[3] In other words, the man and the woman each have a piece of the name and authority of God, but only when they come together as one flesh, can we see the Creator’s Name.

יהּ = Yah

This shouldn’t be surprising considering that it takes both the male and the female to display the image of Elohim (God) in the earth. But before we take this further, let’s see what the ish and ishshah share in common. What does aleph and shin spell in Hebrew?

 

אשׁ = Fire

 Man and woman are beings of fire without the yohd and hey (Yah/God).[4] What does this mean? I believe this depicts two different yet complimentary things to us. I want to explore both. The most obvious side of this issue and the one most often taught is the negative aspect. Fire, burning, and consuming are rarely seen as something positive. In the case of men and women or husband and wife, we understand this all too well. If we say that our marriage is burning, we most likely mean that it is falling apart, collapsing from within, or turning into ashes. Thus, let’s consider this for a moment.

Fire is Destructive

Fire burns. Fire is hot. Fire consumes. Fire can destroy life. If you touch a flame, the effects are painful long after you remove your hand. Nothing hurts quite like a burn. And nothing scars our flesh in a worse way. Flesh can literally melt in a fiery furnace. And yet, at the core of our being, you and I (man or woman) ARE fire (aish). Does that sound scary? You see, we can easily (or maybe not so easily) relate to YHWH as being a “consuming fire”, but how often have you thought of yourself as one?

lion fireThe truth is that with or without YHWH, we are still FIRE. We are truly made in the image of our “fiery” Creator. Do you recall from Part IX how we are either a builder or a destroyer? The analogy is the same here. The question is: “What will you do with your fire?”

If we are fueled by the motives and desires of the flesh, we will burn and consume ourselves and our relationships with a destructive heat. Even if we manage to put the flames out, irrevocable damage and scarring is left in our wake. We must be very careful and intentional with the power the Creator has granted unto us.

Men and women are “hot”, and not in a sexy way. The fact that our FLESH naturally produces heat has a spiritual message to teach. If we live by the “flame” of our desires, we are sure to find ourselves in the Refiner’s fire of correction.[5] (How’s that for a living parable?)

 

Fire Cleanses and Refines

On the other hand, fire can cleanse and refine. Fire can give warmth. Fire can tenderize and cook meat. Fire can form, shape, and create new land. Fire and can refine precious metals. Fire can transform dead soil into a rich fertile environment. Fire can preserve life.

Fire, when handled properly and surrounded by definite boundaries, is a very good thing. Thus, we use phrases such as “I’m on fire” to describe our zeal, compassion, blessed efforts, and the like. We even use it to express a winning streak in life or in a game. Not all fire is destructive.

In fact, there are certain seeds that will not germinate and sprout to life without the intense heat from fire. The giant redwoods (sequoias) are a fine example of this. This is interesting considering that most seeds will sprout in the presence of just water. If we look at this natural picture from a spiritual standpoint, the seeds (Word of God) sprout or produce life in the presence of both water and fire. (Does this remind you of baptism in water and fire? The pillar of cloud and pillar of fire? The judgment of water (flood) and of fire? The river of life and the lake of fire?)

At first glance, water and fire seem like polar opposites. But if Hebraic thought has taught me anything it is that every word has the potential to be a contranym and that two diametrically opposed concepts often have a mighty truth to teach if we will just wrestle with the opposites.

The contrast of water and fire was first given to us in Genesis chapter one. The first reference to the Holy Spirit is on Day one of creation where He is hovering or moving upon the faces of WATER. (Gen 1:2). Then, God says, “let there be light”. Light can easily be associated with fire. We see a repeat of this contrast of water and fire on day two when the heavenly waters (shamayim) are separated from the earthly waters (mayim). (Gen. 1:6-8)

shinThe shamayim (heavens) are quite literally waters (mayim) with a shin prefix. As we mentioned above, shin is not only one of the two letters that make the Hebrew word for fire, but it also physically looks like tongues of fire! Thus, it is quite easy to deduce (as Rashi did) that the heavens are indeed waters of fire or fire waters.[6] For our purposes here, the main point is that from the very beginning until the very end, God uses the imagery of both water and fire to not only express His nature, presence, Word, creativity, judgment, and harvest, but also to express similar things in us! The fact that the Hebrew words ish and ishshah depict the heart of men and women as fire and the scientific fact that our “hot” bodies of flesh are composed of mostly water only reiterates this apparent dichotomy.

cropped-art-fire-and-ice-wallpapers-hd-1080p-high-quality-widescreen-hd-wallpaperAre you fire or are you water? The answer is yes. And both water and fire can either destroy life or preserve it. When our lifeblood begins to boil, will it be in lust? In anger? With envy? Or will we give our warmth over to preserve life? To clothe or feed the naked? To defend the helpless?

The truth is that our fire can only be fueled from two places. We either fan the flames with that which is below the expanse or that which is above the expanse. Will our fire come from our lower earthly nature or from the cool, blue, fiery heavens? Both burn with intense heat, both can destroy or purify, but only one does so with a soothing heat that promises everlasting life.

‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Mat 6:10)

Back into the Frying Pan

Man

I think you get the analogy now. But I want to zoom back in on the differences between the ish and ishshah one more time. Remember that the word for man or husband contains fire (aish) and the letter yohd. The yohd is a pictograph of a hand (yahd) or a fist. It has the numerical value of ten and carries the idea of working or creating.[7]

fire hand 2This is similar to the function of the zakar (male), but with more emphasis. A man or a husband is for all intents and purposes “a hand on fire”. The fire within a man needs to be channeled into working or creating. (Perhaps this is why so many men love to collect tools. Or why they and boys love mission oriented video games.) A man with idle hands will always find trouble and destruction.[8] Thus, a man’s (and a husband’s) greatest strength is found in what he does with his hands. It is his actions that show YHWH to his wife, to his children, and the world at a large. (And actions really do speak louder than words!)

Do you recall from Part I how the zakar literally serves YHWH when he works the ground? A man’s career will bring him the most fulfillment when he labors to till, guard, and keep what YHWH has given him to tend. In marriage, one way that a man serves his wife and children is by reaping the produce of his labor. Ideally, the provision he provides sustains the family. In this way, his “contained” fire preserves life.

The “hand on fire” or the man has great potential. Those fiery fists can accomplish mighty things. If they are fueled by the cool heavenly flames, his hands will become callused and strong by putting food on the table, building the house, leading and blessing his family, and sometimes even wielding a rod that gently corrects the children. All feel safe, secure, and loved by the large worn hands that create and protect a home that is warmed by his fire.

But as you’ve already surmised, this great strength is also a man’s or husband’s biggest test. Hands that strike and abuse, hands that withdraw when they should caress, hands that fail to work, hands that deal under the table, hands that touch what is forbidden… all these things are a misuse of a man’s fire, but are no less powerful. No one is safe, secure, or loved by a man that gives his fire to these destructions. It won’t take long before his house turns to ashes and all of his labors are consumed.

The good news is that we always have a choice to change fuel sources. A man that finds himself wearing sack cloth and sitting in ashes can rebuild. And if he stays the course, those very ashes will make the ground doubly fruitful. There is always hope. YHWH desires reconciliation. And He loves even the fallen.

Woman

 In the case of the ishshah, a woman or wife is fire with the addition of the letter hey. Hey has a numerical value of five and means a breath or to behold.[9] Pictographically, the letter hey portrays a person with arms lifted up or of an open window. Both imply making something known by drawing attention to it. In other words, the fire of a woman is meant to REVEAL something. I hope you recall from Part X that while women are the epitome of what is hidden, they do in fact reveal (prophetic).

They also draw attention to what isn’t easily seen. For example, YHWH is a Spirit. Though we can’t physically “see” Him, it is usually a woman (mother, grandmother, wife, sister, or the like) that first reveals our hidden God to others. (See Part IX for more on this.) As a wife, a woman can often intuit certain motives of people or circumstances that affect her husband and children. Again, this is her revealing something that is hidden. To make these things known, she must use her hey or breath.

fiery breathThus, for all intents and purposes, a woman is a “fiery breath”. Yikes! That sounds too much like a dragon for my liking! Yet, the fact remains that a woman who is not walking uprightly can sure depict this flaming beast. Just ask any man with a nagging, controlling, or contentious wife.

Ideally, a woman’s gentle breath will be a flame of fervent prayers, praises, and edification. In fact, the hey pictures this very thing. In ancient Hebrew, hey looked more like a person standing with arms lifted high. This is a worship pose. It is certainly one of praise! Perhaps this is why so many women are such valiant worshippers, dancers, counselors, and prayer warriors.

In marriage, this strength carries over to her husband as well. How many of you have read in multiple self help books on marriage that one of man’s greatest desires from his wife is praise? Well, the Hebrew is one more witness to this truth. A man is motivated to work even harder and to stoke the flames brighter when he has a woman that gushes his praises.

Like it or not, we were created to function this way as one flesh. When a man functions in his righteous role as that loving hand of fiery work,[10] the woman feels “safe and secure”, which compels her mouth to sing fiery praises to her man.[11] The converse is also true. Actually, the jury is out on which comes first here… the chicken or the egg. What I do know is that the roles are reciprocal and one fans the flames of the other. If we do our part, even when it seems futile or even if it’s the last thing we “feel” like doing and we don’t grow weary, the other half naturally changes. Change always starts with YOU, not your spouse. But I digress… let’s continue with the woman.

The strength of a wife or woman is in how she expresses the praises of both Adonai and her man. With words women reveal the will and Word of God to their husband and children. Words can encourage, inspire greatness, and motivate others. Words can bind up wounds and brokenness. Words can uncover the heart of a matter or situation. Women are far more relational than men. Our lives focus and center around our family and friends and to maintain these relationships we use our words in person, on the phone, and through social media. There’s a reason women are known for “talking”.

refiners-fireBut like our counterpart, the ish, it is also our greatest test. I once heard someone say that our greatest trials and tests are in our strengths, not our weaknesses. The Refiner’s fire isn’t fun, but it is better to suffer for the sake of righteousness than for the sake of unrighteousness.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (1 Pet. 4:12-13 ESV)

I wonder how many of these “fiery trials” occurs within marriages? I suspect a great deal. And ladies, how often is our strength (our mouth) the reason for our troubles? Dr. Alewine says that women have trouble with “delivery”. She intends the pun because it encompasses childbirth and delivering a message. How we say things, the way it comes off of our lips, MATTERS.

Women can be gossipy, cheeky, and manipulative with words. Women know how to say all the right things, but say it in a way that undermines the very message they are conveying. With a look, sigh (breath), or even a smile, they can tell you everything you need to know about what they are really thinking. That old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a lie from the pit of hell. Words give or destroy life! And words are indeed associated with fire in the Bible.[12]

When a woman speaks solely from her emotions or feelings her fire can race out of control. The flood from her lips can consume an entire forest. (People are trees!) And because women are gifted with juggling multiple tasks and holding numerous issues, topics, and stressors in the forefront of their mind at one time, this flood can touch EVERY area of the person she spews on at once. Somebody yell, “FIRE!”

We need some water on aisle 9! The good news is that all this destruction can be redeemed. Perhaps, a giant sequoia will grow from the ashes. But of course, the better path is to allow the seeds to sprout after a gentle rain. My prayer is that we LEARN the difference and choose to be a breath of shalom. (By the way, the breath can be another symbol for the Holy Spirit, the ideal role model for the female. See Part V for more detail.)

One Flesh

Now, none of this is meant to limit an ish or ishshah to a one-size-fits-all box. Obviously, men use words and women use their hands! But what this does teach us is that men have more proclivities toward work that involves their hands, physical labor, or just “rolling up their sleeves” to conquer a task (literally and figuratively); whereas, women usually shine brighter when they are able to interact with others in a relational way. There will always be some cross over between the roles of men and women. My thoughts are expressing the general rule based on what I see in real life, the Hebrew language, and the Bible.

Remember, you are not just a light, but also a fire. Burn responsibly.

In upcoming Part XII, we will continue the man, woman, and fire with a tie-in on sacrificial love and respect. For previous posts in this series click here

See also Dr. Hollisa Alewine’s The Creation Gospel Workbook 3: The Spirit-Filled Family, p. 39


[1] See Part I.

[2] These transliterations are pronounced eesh and eesh-shah. There is NO short English “i” sound in Hebrew. Every time you see an “i” in a Hebrew transliteration, it is marking the long double “e” (ee) sound. For example, Elohim (God) does not sound like the English word “him” at the end. It sounds like “heem”. If you hear someone making a short “i” sound in a Hebrew word, it is incorrect. 🙂 As my Hebrew teacher taught me, Hebrew uses strong pure vowels. I guess she was implying that English is impure, lol.

[3] For example, see Psalm 77:11. ( Strong’s H3050) Many translations simply translate the poetic name Yah with LORD as they do for the Most Holy Name YHWH. You can search online Bibles to see the poetic version for yourself.

[4] Fire is often transliterated as aish, esh, or aysh. Make the English letter “a” say it’s name then add “sh” to the end and you’re saying it correctly.

[5] But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years. (Mal. 3:2-4 ESV)

[6] The great Jewish commentator Rashi asserts that in Genesis 1:8, “God mingled fire with water and of them made the heavens“. He bases this on an etymological analysis of the Hebrew word for heavens. Rashi explains that shamayim is a compound of the words for fire (esh) and water (mayim).

I wrote about the spiritual aspect of water (and somewhat on fire) in Miriam’s Cup Part I, Part II, and Part III.

You can also read more about the creation days, including the mayim and shamayim, by studying Dr. Hollisa Alewine’s The Creation Gospel Workbook One.

[7] For more on the value of ten, see Hebrew Numbers 1-10.

[8] Pro. 19:15

[9] For more on the number five, see Hebrew Numbers 1-10.

[10] This implies much more than a “job”. I mean work in the fullest sense of the word. Work at work. Work at home. Work for YHWH. Work in marriage. No man does this without LOVE, which we will explore in Part XII.

[11] This is respect or reverence, which we will cover in Part XII.

[12] Think of YHWH’s Ten Words coming from a “smoking” Mt. Sinai and the tongues (words/language) of fire that rested upon the disciples in Acts 2. If good and righteous words are akin to fire, you better believe that there is a counterfeit! What do you think the watery river that flows from the mouth of the dragon in Revelation 12:15-16 is metaphorically speaking about? Remember, water and fire mirror one another. (You can see this comparison in my post on The Rivers of Eden.)

Categories: Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Five Smooth Stones

He (David) took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine. (1 Sam. 17:40)

K. Gallagher

K. Gallagher

My family recently visited the Cherokee National Forest to view the beautiful waterfall in Tellico Plains called Bald Creek Falls. Noted as one of the most scenic and impressive falls in eastern TN, it is also the most accessible. (You can get a great view and photography opportunity right from your car.) We decided to spend the day relaxing up the road along the Tellico River. Though the temperature outside was hot and humid, the river water was a chilling 60 degrees. (One of the reasons it is ideal for trout fish.) Needless to say, the stark contrast of the water and air temperature made this an ideal place to spend a hot summer afternoon.

As I sat on a large rock dangling my feet in the refreshing cold water, I took a survey of the thousands of smooth stones surrounding the riverbed. I bent down to examine stone after stone. Each had its own color, pattern, size, shape, and other unique characteristics. But nearly every single one had soft smooth edges. (Ideal for skipping, my husband and son would tell you.) Just gazing at the constant flow of the water or listening to its soothing rushing sound is enough to invoke feelings of relaxation and wonder. But dialing the lens in closer, looking at the seeming mundaneness of pebbles and stones, conjured up thoughts of another person that obviously enjoyed the brook, the young King David.

When faced with the threat of an enemy army and their champion giant, it wasn’t the king’s armor or sword that David chose to wield. No, this shepherd went with what he knew best, his trusty old sling shot. His choice of ammunition? Five smooth stones from the brook or river. Before we get into his choice of picking up five stones, let’s look at the Hebrew word used here for brook. It is different than the word for river used in Genesis 2:10, where I examined the The Rivers of Eden.

In Hebrew, the word is nachal spelled nun, chet, lamed.[1] It is indeed a stream, brook, or river. But what struck me is its verbal root, also nachal,[2] which means to inherit, to occupy, to bequeath, or to possess. In other words, David drew his ammo from the only trustworthy source: from the living waters of the promises of YHWH.[3] David knew that Saul’s armor had not been tested, but there was One that had never failed David in the past. David took from the inheritance he had in YHWH Tz’vaot.

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. “This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD’S and He will give you into our hands.” (1 Sam. 17: 45-47)

What made David so sure that he could defeat the giant, Goliath? After all, he was the youngest of his brothers and was much smaller in stature than King Saul. I believe it was because he knew who he was in the eyes of Elohim (God). Shepherding the flocks of his father Jesse had given him valuable experience in not only tending to the vulnerable, but also in defeating mighty beasts. And that’s exactly what David compared Goliath with, an uncircumcised beast.[4]

David knew that the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) would always prevail over the nephesh/flesh of a beast whether that beast is an actual beast of the field, or if it is a man living in the beast’s image. David had already chosen to live after the image of Elohim (God). Those made in the image of God RULE over all creatures, great and small.[5] Goliath was no exception and David had complete faith in this truth from the Word of YHWH.

Though the giant taunted Israel with threats for forty days[6], invoking great fear in the king and army of Israel, David could “see” beyond his natural sight. I believe this is figured not only in the source of his ammunition (the stones were retrieved from Living waters), but in the number of stones that he chose to wield.

Why Five?

In Hebrew, a stone or eben, is a contraction of the words father and son (av + ben).[7] This is why a stone is not only strong, but a far worthier choice of ammo against the enemy. What is stronger than the Father and the Son? Nothing! If this is true, why did David choose five stones when it only took ONE stone to defeat the great giant?

K. Gallagher

K. Gallagher

I believe that YHWH loves metaphors and figurative language. Literary devices such as these are what give depth and dimension to any story, report, poem, song, dream, or vision by conveying multiple facets and angles in very little space. Thus, details matter greatly and can often reveal a sharp angle that is cut just so that the story sparkles only when it is held and turned slowly in the LIGHT. A less diligent examination would miss this beautiful twinkle and some of the story’s dimension.[8]

Five is the number of strength and power as the fifth manifestation of the Holy Spirit. (Is. 11:2) This power is what fueled the first global migrations of the birds and fish created on the fifth day of creation. Just in case we missed this connection with creation and the number five, it says in 1 Sam. 17:48 that when Goliath went to meet David in battle, that David “ran quickly” to meet him. The word for ran (rutz) is the same root word used to describe the movement of the creatures created on day five. Quick flowing movement is a trademark of those filled with YHWH’s Spirit of Power.

For more symbolism found in the number five, please see my article: Hebrew Numbers 1-10. For now, consider that there are FIVE books of Moses or Torah. The Ten Commandments were written on two stone tablets, each with FIVE commands per side. FIVE is associated with grace, the gospel, and anointing.

Though it only took one smooth stone to defeat Goliath, David picked up five, a clear indication that the Torah (Word) is what defeats a beast. Our greater King David, the Messiah Yeshua, was likewise taunted (tempted) for forty days. Like David, He overcame the adversary with one smooth stone by quoting one of the FIVE books of Torah. (Deuteronomy, the fifth book) Coincidence? I don’t think so.

The hints of the number five are one example of many precious stones scattered throughout the Biblical text. When the Light hits them just right, our (spiritual) eyes see the connections that thread the entire Bible together in one seamless and flawless tapestry. The same story is told again and again in simple and progressively more detailed and varied ways. That story is the good news or the gospel.

So, Why Are the Stones “Smooth”?

The answer to this question came to me as I sat by the river examining the multitude of smooth stones and pebbles. If the Word is in us, we become the stones that cry out in triumph.[9] We have become One with the Father and the Son.[10] The constant washing of the water of the Word wears down all of our rough and crooked edges. Like the river stones, this is a slow process, a journey if you will, down the bumpy and twisted path of life.

K. Gallagher

K. Gallagher

Each impact, trial, and toss that the Living Water subjects us to, wears, carves, and sculpts us into the image of Elohim. The persistent and consistent rush of tiny water droplets beats things that offend off of us until we are as smooth as one of David’s five stones. (And the Word of God)

God chose the story of David and Goliath to be one of the first impressions we are given about King David. Why do you think this is so? Could it be that He wanted us to know how “a man after His own heart[11] defeated the beast without AND the beast within (nephesh/flesh)? We do see David battling both throughout his lifetime. One quality seems to stand out with David and it’s not perfection. He committed serious sin in his lifetime. But like the water, David was persistent and consistent to turn (repent) and let God continue the good work He began in David. As such, he became a “living stone” and a role model for us.

I think YHWH expects us to sit by a river and meditate on the smooth stones and the rushing water. This natural phenomenon has deep spiritual implications. The Father’s Light (water) is always trying to penetrate our thick skulls (and hearts). But like the hard rocks, we must yield to the soft water (of the Word). The will of God is evident: He desires for us to be the Living Stones in His House.

“You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Yeshua the Messiah.” (1 Peter 2:5)

 I want to leave you with the following passage from the Book of Revelation. This section speaks about our future inheritance (nachal). Like David, we can draw from this truth right now when we have a giant to face. Life is hard and trying. If you find it easy, you might not be in the River getting worn and washed by the Word. Rejoice in your current battle, circumstances, and trials. Move fluidly and without fear as David did; for each step will only make you smoother in the New Jerusalem!

 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Rev. 21:9-27)


[1] Strong’s number 5158.

[2] Strong’s number 5157.

[3] Fresh water streams, rivers, and brooks (even those that run under ground) are constantly moving or flowing. In Scripture, waters that are specifically called “Living Waters” come only from these sources. David’s five smooth stones would have been retrieved from a source of living waters!

[4] 1 Sam. 17:34-37

[5] Gen. 1:26-28

[6] Forty is a time of completeness as a multiple of four. It especially marks a period of testing and trial. By the time David arrives on the scene, this period has reached its peak and David, filled with the Ruach HaKodesh (4), is ready to move in strength and power (5) against this insolent head of a beast. For more on the symbolic meaning of numbers, see Hebrew Numbers 1-10 or Misparim.

[7] See Frank T. Seekins’ Hebrew Word Pictures under Aleph.

The Hebrew words “stone” (eben) and “son” (ben) were spoken by the Messiah in a play on words in Matthew 3:9, “And do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones (eben) God is able to raise up children (ben) to Abraham.”

Luke 19:37-40 records Yeshua making another comparison to His people (ben) and stones (eben).

[8] Don’t let this reality cause you or those you love to despair. The wisdom of YHWH is all encompassing. The plain, simple, one-dimensional surface meaning of His Word is enough for the smallest child and any of us. The joy is that no matter our I.Q. or developmental stage, the Word is Alive! From the shallow pools to deepest depths, the nuances, patterns, analogies, symbolism, chiasms, numbers, and codes are in His Word for the unearthing. No matter who or where you are, the Word has just what you need and more. There is something for everyone, no matter your maturity level. I don’t know about you, but I find this most extraordinary and exhilarating!

[9] See notes in footnote 6.

[10] “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. (John 17:20-23)

[11] 1 Sam. 13:14

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Creation Gospel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Mirror Waters and the GateKeepers

As I was writing Part II of Deborah the Bee, my study took me in an unexpected direction. So, humor me and I promise to post Part II next time. (:
 
laver-daily-for-cleansing

Ex. 38:8 Moreover, he made the laver of bronze with its base of bronze, from the mirrors of the serving women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting.

While it’s probably not news to you that the bronze laver was made from the mirrors of the women, the role or service of these women just might be — it was to me. However, for the sake of those that haven’t considered the links of the laver, water, and women, let’s explore that first.

In my posts on the Cup of Miriam, we took a long hard look at why women are so closely associated with water. It is just like our Elohim to use articles from women to build the one piece of furniture in the Tabernacle that contained water. Even more significant is the fact that mirrors are used to reflect an image. Thus, we often hear how the waters in the laver were there so the priests could “see” the dirt and wash their hands and feet.

But it’s more than that. A mirror reflects beauty and defects. The Word of Elohim also reveals both when we look into it.[1] This is why we need the constant washing of the water of the Word.[2] The Hebrew word for mirror or looking glass is marah[3], but this word is ONLY elsewhere translated as “vision” — as in I saw a vision.[4]

You can see the connection with seeing “into” something. In other words, the purpose of the laver was to give spiritual insight about the state of a person’s heart. The washing was more symbolic than a remedy to physical dirt. In order to serve the King, you must be washed by His Water, which is the Word. Only the Torah can show you at once how beautiful and precious you are in the Father’s eyes and at the same time reveal your unsightly blemishes and spots. The Water of the Word is meant to cleanse us of these marks as James so aptly remarks in 1:25.

This idea is expanded by the Hebrew word for laver, keeyor. This word means a furnace and also to purify. Once again we see the dichotomy of fire and water, both cleanse and purify. But who are these “serving” women at the doorway of the tent of meeting? The answer to this question is what provoked me to write this post.

Translator’s (both Jewish and Christian) have a terrible tendency to diminish the roles or service of women. We have become so accustomed to this that we read right through a verse such as Exodus 38:8 and focus on the bronze (or brass if you prefer) laver and/or the mirrors. Yet, we know that there is not an idle word in the Torah. These women were important; and I for one, am ashamed that I never noticed their position until now. But, that’s what I’ve come to expect: the woman is always hidden! And I know that YHWH had divine intent and purpose for that as you will begin to see in my post on Deborah the Bee Part II.

The Hebrew phrase for “the serving women who served” is hatzovot asher tzaveu. You can probably see the repetition of the Hebrew verb tzvah, which means to go forth, wage war, fight, and serve. It is directly related to YHWH Tz’vaot (LORD of Hosts). It carries strong military connotations. This should remind us of the eshet chayil or woman of valor.[5] She too, is often obscured by translation and softened from a warrior to a woman of virtue, goodness, worth, or excellence. Why?

Would it surprise you to know that tz’vaot is feminine? When we call on the God of Armies (YHWH tz’vaot), we are really saying God of (women) warriors. Apparently, the women who “served” at the doorway to the Tent of Meeting were warriors! Now, considering the context of their station, it would appear as though this was more of a “spiritual” guardianship. After all, the laver was made from their “visions” or “mirrors”. I imagine these women to be warriors of the faith, prophetesses, prayer warriors, and guardians of the Water of the Word. I believe there is evidence of this with the prophetess Anna.

Luke 2:36-37 And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, (37) and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers.

Of course, we also have a witness as to what happens when these women are either taken advantage of or in outright rebellion.

1Sa 2:22 Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting.

In this verse, their role has been perverted; these women have become like the harlot mentioned in Proverbs instead of the righteous woman. Whether or not these women were manipulated, forced, or were the seducers themselves is not mentioned. I believe we have evidence of all these possibilities happening in our assemblies still today. Regardless of the reason these women strayed, we see the male counterparts in this story also falling away from their purpose.

1Sa 3:1-2 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent. (2) It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well).

There can be no coincidence that as the Word of YHWH and visions began to diminish, so did Eli’s eyesight. What is not immediately apparent is that the women are also related to the reduced visions by their association with the mirrors (visions) of the laver and the doorway. The proverbial “chicken or the egg” question might pop into your head. We want someone to blame. But, I believe the point is that improper worship, negligence, perversion, and the like is the culprit here. Lack of the Word means lack of vision and eyesight (insight, foresight, and hindsight). Torah is our One True Mirror! Without it we perish in our perversion.

Since women are often associated with vision and the prophetic, these next verses shouldn’t surprise you.

John 18:15-17 Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, (16) but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in. (17) Then the slave-girl who kept the door *said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He *said, “I am not.”

The Greek indicates that this “slave girl” was actually a bond-servant. Notice that Peter has to go through HER to get inside. She is the gate-keeper to get to the court of the high priest. And what does she do? She immediately “sees” right through Peter. She knows that he is one of Yeshua’s disciples! But he lies, and this becomes the first of three denials he makes of the Master.

This happens with wives and their husbands as well. A woman meets her man at the door to question him on some issue and if he lies or denies the thing —- she can usually “see” right through him! Since women were created to be managers and guardians of the home, we shouldn’t be surprised that YHWH gave women this role in His House as well.

If we lack vision, perhaps we need to visit the laver. What do you see when you look into the mirror waters? Look closely and allow the waters to fully reveal the good, the bad, and the ugly. Once revealed, true beauty emerges.

bronze laver 2

 

[1] James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (KJV)

[2] Eph. 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, (26) so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, (27) that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.

[3] H4759 from H4758 (mareh) meaning view or appearance.

[4] H4759: Total KJV Occurrences: 9 visions, 5 Gen.46:2, Eze.1:1, Eze.8:3, Eze.43:2-3 (2) vision, 3 Dan.10:7-8 (3) lookingglasses, 1 Ex.38:8 (2)

[5] For more information, see my post The Biblical Role of Women Part IV, which defines the Eshet Chayil or Woman of Valor.

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

redshoooz

Living the Abundant Life

In the Galute

B'ney Yosef

His Perfect Timing

My Incredible Journey with God

searchingfornorway

ancestry, geneology, knitting, history

praythroughhistory

Heal the past. Free the present. Bless the future.

Heaven and Earth

Bringing pieces of heaven to earth

Ladder of Jacob

ascend higher.

Operation Jeremiah 6:16

Ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.

Neviim Tovim/TheHaftarah Circle Gillian Gould Lazarus

Hebrew prophets and other themes from Tanakh

radicalrighteousroots

Biblical foundation resources for the family

Torah Rocker

Writings and studies of Torah

Hardcore Mesorah

Torah and Tefillah for those who aren't faint of heart

BE COURAGEOUS BLOG

NEVER LET GO OF GOD'S HAND

Ancient Footsteps

The end is known from the beginning...

modern day samaritan woman

welcome to all sojourners

Chalom Shalom

Unveiling the Voice of Creation...

ReDo~ReNew

Enjoying New Life in myself, others, and the things I find along the way...

Obadiah's Cave

A place of safety

Blue Jeans and Chocolate

~ My So-Called Glamorous Life

Awakened 2 Torah

It's time to leave Egypt and follow Yahweh!

The Well Trodden Road

following the Way back home

Move Your "..BUT God .."

CLIMBING TO THE HEIGHTS OF GOD'S LOVE

Ohana Home Education

"Ohana means family. Family means no-one gets left behind, or forgotten."

Sewn olivette

Elevating Daily Life

Helena

The Protocol of Truth

Missing Pieces

Discover the missing pieces in your walk with Yeshua / Jesus

Wilderness Report

by Cathy Helms

Wholeness 4 Love

Life is for Living & LOVE is a choice!

natsab

Here I stand.

Rus Alan

Kingdom Minded living with issues related to discipleship, the Holy Spirit, and power.

Tannachton Farm

Faith, Family, Farm

GRACE in TORAH

Leaving Egypt is only the beginning of our journey...

The Lamb's Servant

Discerning Truth from Tradition | Our Hebrew Roots | Getting Back to Torah

Sharing God's Love

My passion is writing to share God's love with everyone who believes in HIm.

Daughters of Torah

Revealing our identity to the nations

SnarkyCrunch

Tree-hugging, Hippy-go-lucky, Dread-head, Jewish Mamma

Sanctuary Gardener

A Yankee grows in the South ~ Homesteading, gardening, & harvest recipes

little tent on the prairie

Restoring life through simple living

Coffee Shop Rabbi

Basic Judaism spoken here.

madebymamaleh

Creating a modern Jewish home one project at a time

%d bloggers like this: