Monday, July 8, 2013

The Widow's Mite

…The Widow’s Mite…
Figure 1. A coin—similar to the widow’s mite—from the time of Christ.[1]
The Widow’s Gift
41 Sitting h across from the temple treasury, i He watched how the crowd dropped money into the treasury. Many rich j people were putting in large sums. 42 And a poor k widow came and dropped in two tiny coins worth very little. l 43 Summoning His disciples, m He said to them, I assure you: n This poor widow has put in more than all those giving to the temple treasury. o 44 For they all gave out of their surplus, p but she out of her poverty q has put in everything she possessed r—all she had to live on.” s[2]

I would like to get personal here for just one second. Three beloved members of my family passed away recently, leaving behind 3 widows and children. We lost these three fine men in the space of just over a month’s time, and the result of such loss is incalculable; it is then in no small measure that  this epistle is written to my beloved sisters, Donna, Debbi and Penny in honor of their losses of Dexter, Allan and Neal. I don’t assume that anything that I can say or do can comfort or ease them yet, for I know the pain and sorrow is still much too raw; my only hope is that the Great and Merciful King of Glory, Yahvey Elohim, Elohey Avraham, Yitz'chak ve Ya`akov (the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob) will allow me to be His messenger and maybe by what I share here today, a measure of peace and reassurance will find its way into their lives.  If what God gives to me cannot be made personal to and by me, then there is no use in sharing it with anyone, for all lessons have to be lived and learned by me first. While my experience in the lessons of loss pale compared to that which they face on a day to day basis, it is none the less something I must see and be a part of.  Their loss cannot be weighed upon any scale that I could every produce, but their tears are carefully considered and weighed in the Heavenly realm and are being acted upon by our God according to His merciful will.  May these words go forth not only to them but to all who have suffered loss and find themselves questioning “Why?” and “What happens now?”  My heart and prayers go out to all…

So let us pray:
O Most Gracious Abba, Yahvey Elohim Tzva’ot (Yahvey, God of Hosts), I come to you today, asking You to make my heart humble and receptive to your Word and Will, and may this servant of Yours be used to as Your conduit of Shalom (peace) to those in need…  Amein…

  What you see above is what is called a “word cloud” (or at least, that’s what I call it). Notice all the words used in this cloud are usually the themes that preachers and teachers use when they are talking about the “widow’s mite”.  Today, I want to talk about what was really going on, and it has nothing to do with money or giving or tithes, or any of these similar thematic exercises. Let us begin by looking at this same incident in Luke’s Gospel…

Luke 21:1     aAnd He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury.
2 And He saw a poor widow putting 1in atwo 2small copper coins.
3 And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them;
4 for they all out of their 1surplus put into the 2offering; but she out of her poverty put in all 3that she had ato live on.[3]

Now, this is where 98.99% of all preachers stop, at verse 4, and then launch into their sermon. Let me give you just a few examples of the titles of sermons that have been preached on these four verses…

·         “Sacrificial Lifestyle”
·         “A Giving Heart…”
·         “Stewardship of the Tithe”

I could go on, but the theme is usually the same. Now some will tie the giving of the widow’s mite to the sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua upon the cross, others with the importance of giving your “all” to God, and still others will use it as a launching pad to get their congregations to dig deeper into their pockets and tithe more to the Kingdom of God (i.e. their church…). I am not here to say any of these illustrations are wrong, or that the themes being preached are not necessary.  How others handle the Words of God and Yeshua are between them and God; may He be glorified in the end, Amein, and may only truth come forth.  As a teacher of the Hebraic roots though, I have to look at things with a different perspective.  It is my task to try and find the “KaVaNah” or the intent behind the words and then help you to see it. In a previous epistle I laid out the case for “KaVaNah” as thus:

“…Loosely translated in a variety of ways, it can mean “intent, focus, direction or understanding”. But KaVaNah is not merely a word that can be defined – it is, as I have stated before, exactly what Hebrew truly is – a concept. We stand before One who sees us – all the time.  Nothing is secret from Him, nothing is hidden.  Yet, consider this: how many of us, in the hopes of landing a job, will spend hours crafting our resume, practice our “spiel” if you will to sell ourselves at the job interview with this potential employer? We’ll be willing to spend countless moments thinking of just the right words to say to someone we want to impress; there will even be rehearsed speeches, teachings, the list goes on and on… but, we’ll just drop in any time we feel like it before the King of Glory, with no preparation, no plan, no conscious thought of Who it is we stand before, and we’ll graciously give Him 2 minutes, 5, maybe 15 minutes of our time. Some maybe are able to stretch it out to 30 minutes or an hour, but truthfully? The most important Presence you or I could ever hope to stand before is neglected or worse, assigned to our minds as an after-thought. We go about our lives, doing our own thing then off the cuff or on the spur of the moment we’ll go “Oh, by the way, did You want me to do this God? I sure hope so, because it’s really what I wanted to do…”

KaVaNah needs a closer look…” [4]

What is the intent of Yeshua’s message? You have to see it in context, not just a snippet here or there…

Luke 2:1-36
   1  aAnd He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury.
    2   And He saw a poor widow putting 1in atwo 2small copper coins.
    3   And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them;
    4   for they all out of their 1surplus put into the 2offering; but she out of her poverty put in all 3that she had ato live on.
    5   aAnd while some were talking about the temple, that it was adorned with beautiful stones and votive gifts, He said,
    6   As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which athere will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down.”
    7   They questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, when therefore will these things happen? And what will be the 1sign when these things are about to take place?”
    8   And He said, “See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ‘aI am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ bDo not go after them.
    9   When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.”
  10  Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom,
  11   and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great 1signs from heaven.
  12   But before all these things, athey will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, 1bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake.
  13   aIt will lead to 1an opportunity for your testimony.
  14   aSo make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves;
  15   for aI will give you 1utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.
  16   But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death,
  17   and you will be hated by all because of My name.
  18   Yet anot a hair of your head will perish.
  19   aBy your endurance you will gain your 1lives.
  20   But when you see Jerusalem asurrounded by armies, then 1recognize that her desolation is near.
  21   Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of 1the city must leave, and athose who are in the country must not enter 1the city;
  22   because these are adays of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled.
  23   Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for athere will be great distress upon the 1land and wrath to this people;
  24   and they will fall by athe edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and bJerusalem will be ctrampled under foot by the Gentiles until dthe times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
  25  There will be 1signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,
  26   men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the 1world; for the powers of 2the heavens will be shaken.
  27   aThen they will see bthe Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
  28   But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because ayour redemption is drawing near.”
  29   Then He told them a parable: “Behold the fig tree and all the trees;
  30   as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and aknow for yourselves that summer is now near.
  31   So you also, when you see these things happening, 1recognize that athe kingdom of God is near.
  32   Truly I say to you, this 1generation will not pass away until all things take place.
  33   aHeaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
  34   aBe on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap;
  35   for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth.
  36   But akeep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to bstand before the Son of Man.”[5]

 What is going on here? How do the first four verses tie in with the rest of chapter 21? Are they separate thoughts, separate examples for us to build doctrine out of or have the majority of believers and preachers stumbled at the true KaVaNah of this portion of Mark and Luke’s Gospels? We shall soon see, but first, please understand this…

In studying Scripture, what I believe that the Ruach Ha’Kodesh has taught me is this: the key is context.  We[6] all seem to stumble on the issue of context.  Because we have taught to “mine the Scriptures for the golden nuggets”, we fail to notice the vein of gold that awaits us if we would just stop chipping away at the unified word.  Anyone can justify just about anything they want to believe or hold up as absolute doctrine if they use God’s word as a menu, “one from column A, a part from column B, verse 22:1a, and maybe verse 54:4d…
Peter warned us of this folly:
2 Peter 3:14-18

14  aTherefore, bbeloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be cfound by Him in peace, dspotless and blameless,
15     and regard the apatience of our Lord as salvation; just as also bour beloved brother Paul, caccording to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,
16     as also in all his letters, speaking in them of athese things, bin which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and cunstable distort, as they do also dthe rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.
17     You therefore, abeloved, knowing this beforehand, bbe on your guard so that you are not carried away by cthe error of dunprincipled men and efall from your own steadfastness,
18     but grow in the grace and aknowledge of our bLord and Savior Jesus Christ. cTo Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. [7]
 There is a tendency to manipulate Scripture in this manner, when things are hard to understand, to twist and distort the Words of God to fit whatever pattern the user wishes;  but if you keep Scripture in context, then it is impossible to twist the Word of God, for in His wisdom, the Lord of Glory made it so truly only Scripture can interpret Scripture. The Western church has loved to pick apart the context of God’s Word, to jumble up bits and pieces until a doctrine is shaken out, a doctrine that more resembles Frankenstein’s monster than the Holy Word of God.  We have taken this man-driven theology of ours and shook it until we have formed doctrine, instead of letting Yahvey’s doctrines (sound teachings), precepts, statutes, ordinances and commandments constitute the theology we must follow.  Peter warned us of twisting and distorting God’s word; that message is clear.  To those as I, men and women who call themselves teachers, we must carefully and prayerfully handle this word.

Now what does this have to do with our subject today? Everything.  Context is everything in the Word of God, and it is in this context we learn of the God of the Word.

You see, there is but one consistent theme in Scripture.  No matter what you read or want to believe, there is but one theme in God’s Word.  It is the theme of balance, of even scales. What we are talking about is mō’zĕnayim, balances or scales. Other definitions are to weigh, test or prove.[8]

We can see more in this definition:

“…3976. מֹאזְנַיִם mōʾzenayim: A dual noun referring to scales, a balance scales. The word is in a dual form and refers to scales for weighing various things: money (Jer. 32:10); hair (Ezek. 5:1); figuratively, the Lord has weighed the mountains in a balance (Isa. 40:12); the nations are a speck of dust on the scales to the Lord (Isa. 40:15). Job wishes for his grief to be weighed in a balance (Job 6:2). Also, figuratively scales are used to weigh Job before the Lord as to his integrity (Job 31:6). Persons in general weigh nothing on the scales when it comes to righteousness before God (Ps. 62:9[10]). Dishonest scales were a feature of Israel’s ethical corruption in their business dealings (Hos. 12:7[8]); Amos 8:5; Mic. 6:11). Such scales are an abomination to the Lord (Prov. 11:1; 20:23); He always uses just weights, as a righteous God (Prov. 16:11)…” [9]

 Here is the implication of all this: God is a God of just balances, of fair scales.  Ever since Adam’s sin in Gan-Eden [Garden of Eden], the world has been out of balance. Throughout mankind’s history, we have been out-of-balance.  Our sins are many, our ways are unjust and unrighteous, and let us face the truth; we have made a mess of things by trying all these millennium to do things our way and not God’s.
                 Pro. 16:11 states: “…A ajust balance and scales belong to the Lord;
All the 1weights of the bag are His 2concern…” [10]  As I have previously said though, context rules.  Pro 16:11 has to be considered in context from verse 9 to 16 -  “…Proverbs 16:9-16 (NASB95): (9) The mind of aman plans his way, But bthe Lord directs his steps. (10) A divine adecision is in the lips of the king; His mouth should not 1err in judgment. (11) A ajust balance and scales belong to the Lord; All the 1weights of the bag are His  2concern. (12) It is an abomination for kings to commit wicked acts, For a athrone is established on righteousness. (13) Righteous lips are the delight of kings, And he who speaks right is loved. (14) The fury of a king is like messengers of death, But a wise man will appease it. (15) In the light of a king’s face is life, And his favor is like a cloud with the 1aspring rain. (16) How much abetter it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver…” [11]

Who is our God?  Is He not the King of Glory? Is He not called Avinu Malkeinu (Hebrew: אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ‎; "Our Father, Our King")?  Joseph H. Hertz (died 1946), chief rabbi of the British Empire, described it as "the oldest and most moving of all the litanies of the Jewish Year." [13] It makes use of two sobriquets for God that appear separately in the Bible; "Our Father" (Isaiah 63:16) and "Our King" (Isaiah 33:22).[14] If the standard He holds up to earthly kings is high, why should we think the standard He holds Himself to is any less?

So, if you are one who has lost someone dear to you, how does any of this comfort you?  You didn’t ask God to take your loved one; the opposite is more truthful, you pleaded with Him not to.  You would not have chosen the way they were taken from you, or the time, or anything.  It must seem like such empty words to hear me say “God is a God of just scales and balances.”  In fact, I could not blame you if you are yelling at me right now, about how stupid or callous I might appear to be… 

Please, bear with me a little longer. Father does not need me to defend Him or His ways, but I  do want to show you who He is. Let me show you His great love.

Exodus 34:5-8
aThe Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as 1he called upon the name of the Lord.
6) Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed,

“The Lord, the Lord God, acompassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and 1truth;
7) who akeeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He bwill by no means leave the guilty unpunished, cvisiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.”

8) Moses made haste 1ato bow low toward the earth and worship. [15]

In the English of our Bibles, we fail to see what is actually written in the Hebrew text. In the above highlighted section is how God answered His servant Moses when he asked God to show him His Glory:
 Exodus 33:17-23

17)    The Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; afor you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name.”
18 ) aThen 1Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!”
19)    And He said, “aI Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and bI will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.”
20 ) But He said, “You cannot see My face, afor no man can see Me and live!”
21 ) Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place 1by Me, and ayou shall stand there on the rock;
22)    and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and acover you with My hand until I have passed by.
23)    “Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but aMy face shall not be seen.” [16]

Within the Name that Yahvey proclaimed to Moses are what is called the thirteen attributes of God. Here is the text in Hebrew:
Exo 34:6   ויעברH5674 passed by  יהוהH3068 And the LORD  עלH5921 before  פניוH6440 before  ויקראH7121 him, and proclaimed,  יהוהH3068 The LORD,  יהוהH3068 The LORD  אלH410 God,  רחוםH7349 merciful  וחנוןH2587 and gracious,  ארךH750 longsuffering,  אפיםH639 longsuffering,  ורבH7227 and abundant  חסדH2617 in goodness  ואמת׃H571 and truth,
Exo 34:7   נצרH5341 Keeping  חסדH2617 mercy  לאלפיםH505 for thousands,  נשׂאH5375 forgiving  עוןH5771 iniquity  ופשׁעH6588 and transgression  וחטאהH2403 and sin,  ונקהH5352  לאH3808 and that will by no means clear  ינקהH5352  פקדH6485 visiting  עוןH5771 the iniquity  אבותH1 of the fathers  עלH5921 upon  בניםH1121 the children,  ועלH5921 and upon  בניH1121 the children's  בניםH1121 children,  עלH5921 unto  שׁלשׁיםH8029 the third  ועלH5921 and to  רבעים׃H7256 the fourth
Exo 34:8   וימהרH4116 made haste,  משׁהH4872 And Moses  ויקדH6915 and bowed his head  ארצהH776 toward the earth,  וישׁתחו׃H7812 and worshiped.
 Exo 34:6 ויעבר יהוה על־פניו ויקרא יהוה יהוה אל רחום וחנון ארך אפים ורב־חסד ואמת׃
 Exo 34:7 נצר חסד לאלפים נשׂא עון ופשׁע וחטאה ונקה לא ינקה פקד עון אבות על־בנים ועל־בני בנים על־שׁלשׁים                        ועל־רבעים׃  
 Exo 34:8 וימהר משׁה ויקד ארצה וישׁתחו׃
The first and second attribute is the NAME!
When we recite the first name/attribute of God, YHVH, we should have in mind, I am calling in the name of God, who brings everything into existence, and I request kindness and mercy because I exist.  I request kindness simply because I fulfill the will of God that the world exists and I am part of it!

When we cry out the second time His Name, YHVH, whether it be in sin or pain, we are essentially crying out for His mercy. Sometimes all we can do is ask “why”, but understand the very fact that we exist today is because His mercy is revealed. We exist because He exists, and He is not done with us yet.
 Exo 34:6 ויעבר יהוה על־פניו ויקרא יהוה יהוה אל רחום וחנון ארך אפים ורב־חסד ואמת׃
We now come to the third attribute/name: El or God.
El stands for God’s power or might and strength. That He is a King of Justice. He is the Judge of all the earth.
Forgiveness requires great strength!  Sometimes our losses and sorrows come so that we are left with no where else to go.  In our hurt we accuse the God who is trying to comfort us; so to enable forgiveness we need to appeal to God’s strength to overpower our current condition, our anger and mistrust; we must ask Him to sustain us and allow us to continue to exist.
Know this: God’s strength isn’t in judgment; it is in His acts of mercy.
How many of us have the strength to forgive? We need to forgive ourselves, forgive the one we lost for we are angry they are gone; we want them here with us yet….  God is only asking, “Can you trust me?”

Exo 34:6 ויעבר יהוה על־פניו ויקרא יהוה יהוה אל רחום וחנון ארך אפים ורב־חסד ואמת׃

The 4th and 5th attributes: Racham- Merciful / Chanan Gracious
When a person declares God’s name Racham, they are crying out “ PLEASE look at the mitigating circumstances!”
These aren’t excuses for our actions; but sometimes things get beyond our ability to contain them; this is what we are asking God to remember, and to show us mercy in our mistakes, in our regrets, in our sorrow.

When they declare Chanan, they are crying out “There is nothing or no one to justify or comfort  me, but please Daddy, Father,  it hurts;  help me.”

Exo 34:6 ויעבר יהוה על־פניו ויקרא יהוה יהוה אל רחום וחנון ארך אפים ורב־חסד ואמת׃

The 6th attribute/name: Erekh Apayim Longsuffering (delaying anger).  Apayim is plural Aph is singular - referring to God’s patience with both the righteous and with the wicked. It is here, when I say repent, it really means t’shuvah – return.  God is waiting for us to return, to come back into His arms.  Maybe in our sorrow and pain we have pushed Him away, blamed Him for our hurt… He will not show us anger, but compassion.

Exo 34:6 ויעבר יהוה על־פניו ויקרא יהוה יהוה אל רחום וחנון ארך אפים ורב־חסד ואמת׃

This brings us to the 7th attribute.
Rav Chesed Abundant in Goodness - Master of Kindness –

Micah 7:18-20
Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.

5375 asn no-seh' to lift
It means God lifts the iniquity side, the sin side, of the scale, and makes the merit side weigh more. It’s as if God puts his finger on the merit side of the scale. If we lash out in anger at God, yes we sin, but here is a God that balances the scales.  We ask, how can God do this? Doesn’t the word speak of a different standard?

(Lev 19:36)  You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin. I am Jehovah your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt;

(Deu 25:13)  You shall not have in your bag a stone and a stone weight, a great and a small.

(Pro 16:11)  A just scale and balances are to Jehovah, all the stones of the bag are His work.

(Pro 20:23)  A stone and a stone are hateful to Jehovah; and a false balance is not good.

(Mic 6:11)  Shall I declare wicked balances to be pure, or a bag of stones of fraud?

Yes, these speak of uneven scales, but the scales were made uneven by man, not God. Yeshua touched on this theme in Matthew:

Mat 5:43-48  Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  (44)  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  (45)  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  (46)  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?  (47)  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?  (48)  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

He not only is One that abounds in loving kindness, but of justice and even scales also:

Ezekiel 18:27-32
Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Isaiah 45:7
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

Here is one of the most powerful statements in the whole of Scripture. Thomas Scott wrote of this:

 “…Jehovah here declared both light and darkness, good and evil, to be his creatures; that is, there is no being in the universe independent of him; all are his creatures and instruments, either acting at his command or by his permission. He is positively the Author of all that is true, holy, good, or happy, in the universe; and evil, error, and misery, came into the world by his permission, through the willful apostasy of his creatures; but are so restrained and overruled by him as to subserve his wise and righteous purposes; and cannot possibly exceed the bounds that he assigns them, or defeat any of his plans, or create him any disquietude or disappointment…”

There are those who teach that God is not in control or responsible for the evils that happen in this world. I have learned that such a thing is not possible.  Who can defy the will of God?  We spend an extraordinary amount of time worrying and wondering if we are in the will of God, when I say to you, how can you ever be out of His will?  Is he not the Sovereign Lord?  Is He not the Elohim Adonai Tzva’ot, the Almighty Lord of Hosts?

See what Jeremiah had to say:

Jer 13:13-15  Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings that sit upon David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness.  (14)  And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.  (15)  Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD hath spoken.

Yet, here in Rav Chesed, we ask for mercy, and in His grace He grants it. This is power, true power, the power to forgive when it is His right to judge.

When we recite this Name/attribute of God it’s as if we are asking him to not judge us alone by our mistakes and self- will choices but through His abundant kindness would He please take some of the responsibility to help tilt the scales in our favor.
 In essence we are saying to Him “If I have done wrong O God, please shoulder a part of this, my wrongs, for me… O help me…”

Exo 34:6 ויעבר יהוה על־פניו ויקרא יהוה יהוה אל רחום וחנון ארך אפים ורב־חסד ואמת׃

The 8th attribute: Rav Emet – Abundant in Truth
Daniel 8:12
And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground;

Psalms 85:10,11
Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth; (See Amos 3:3!)

Rav Emet introduces the concept that even the condition of evil and guilt can be used for good. How often have you or I cast truth to the ground? It is in our sinful nature that we take the truth of God and stamp on it, thinking we are above its reproach, yet, it is this very act that God uses to bring us to our knees, as the more we sin against Him, the greater the realization becomes that we cannot do without Him. The weight of sin, sorrow and pain becomes unbearable, and from the dust of the earth we cry out for mercy; from out of the ground that we had trampled springs the very truth we tried to deny and the love of God kisses us…. O how undeserving we are of this holy kiss, yet how precious it is to a dying soul…  This is one attribute of God that will not be completely fulfilled until the end of time when God puts all things under His feet. For you see, if we walk in truth alone, what is there but only a sense of annihilation, that we can’t every measure up to this standard and ought to get what we deserve. But here is the absolute truth – abundant truth –that even evil can be used for good…
Rom 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Truth, and the good that comes from abundant truth, can grow from a flawed state even better than from a state of perfection, for indeed, isn’t by our mistakes we learn? Now please, do not take all this talk of sin as if it means I am accusing you or your loved ones of having done something wrong.  We are by our nature sinful creatures.  And we are dealing with a Holy God.  T’shuvah begins when we can recognize our faults and our need for the embrace of this God. Sometimes, and I know this is a hard truth, but sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring us to our knees, to bring us back home…

 Exo 34:7 נצר חסד לאלפים נשׂא עון ופשׁע וחטאה ונקה לא ינקה פקד עון אבות על־בנים ועל־בני בנים על־שׁלשׁים                        ועל־רבעים׃  
 The 9th attribute: Notzer
Hesed LaAlafim –Keeping(Preserves) Mercy for thousands [of generations]

Isaiah 54:10
For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.

Exo 20:2-6
I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  (3)  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  (4)  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:  (5)  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;  (6)  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

What is a generation? In Moshe’s time a generation was about 50 years. So the judgments of God would last 150-200 years on those that hated Him, yet would stretch into the thousands for those that love Him. If it was only a thousand generations this equals to 50,000 years, yet Yahvey says it is to thousands of generations.  This is the promise, this is the covenant. It is all about the covenantal relationship that God established with Abraham (Gen. 15:7-21; Gen. 17:1-21) and this relationship extends to us today as the seed of Abraham, the people of the nations. The Jewish people are the natural sons of Abraham, yet by Messiah, we are able to have a place in God’s house. Our generations to come will have this relationship if they continue with God; that is why we are to teach it diligently to our children so that they may be a part of the divine family also. God through our hurt and pain is reaching out with the love of the ages, to bring us in.  Remember, He is no stranger to loss.  His only begotten Son, our Savior, our Kinsman Redeemer, was lost to Him at the Cross.  The same power that resurrected our Messiah though is the same power that awaits to heal the wounded heart, for it is in the hope of the resurrection that we can know our loved ones await us. Death has no sting for those who believe…
Exo 34:7 נצר חסד לאלפים נשׂא עון ופשׁע וחטאה ונקה לא ינקה פקד עון אבות על־בנים ועל־בני בנים על־שׁלשׁים                         ועל־רבעים׃  

The 10th, 11th and 12th Noseh: Avon, VaFesha, VeHata’a:

Forgiving (To bear):
·         Inquity (Rebellious sins)
·         Transgression (Intentional sins) and
·         Sin (unintentional).

In calling upon these attributes we ask God to neutralize the harmful impact of our sins by transforming them into unintentional sins.  This is the true power of God.  To justify the sinner; to take our rebellion and remember it no more.  To cleanse us of our unrighteousness and to bind our wounds, heal our stripes, and remove a stone cold heart and make it flesh once more.  O the comfort of His arms, of the beat of His living heart.  O precious nail-scarred hands that long to touch and hold…  Is our pain so great that we would refuse this love of eternity?  Such is our God…

Exo 34:7 נצר חסד לאלפים נשׂא עון ופשׁע וחטאה ונקה לא ינקה פקד עון אבות על־בנים ועל־בני בנים על־שׁלשׁים                  ועל־רבעים

 The 13th attribute: VeNakeh –and cleanses but not entirely…
Psalms 42:1,2
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
First thing to understand: repentance or t’shuvah is not a pre-requisite for the application of God’s divine mercy.

…Repentance IS THE GOAL of divine mercy… [17]

Romans 2:4
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness/mercy of God leadeth thee to repentance?

It is God’s intention, His KaVaNah, to draw us closer to Him so that He can cleanse us from our sins and heal our pain.
By the power and conviction of  the Holy Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh, God draws us near to show us His divine mercy and  His grace by leading us to the cross of Machiach where the ultimate act of mercy was performed.  It was in this satisfaction of the divine justice of God that we are introduced to the greatest display of His mercy and grace, to the abundant truth of who He really is; a just, merciful God, but one in whom we should approach with awe and trepidation. He cleanses those who repent after this display of His mercy, but not those who refuse, hence what was said originally, who cleanses, but not entirely. To be included in this mercy, we need to join with the fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We need to be counted in the family of God and to continue the work of Abraham, which is to have faith – belief, trust and commitment to the unchanging Word of God – the Living Word – Yeshua Ha’Machiach, Jesus our Messiah.  I know that sometimes it seems that He choose a cruel way to draw us toward Him, but who is to say that with any certainty?  Hebrews 9:27-28 says this: “…(27) And inasmuch as ait is 1appointed for men to die once and after this bcomes judgment, (28) so Christ also, having been aoffered once to bbear the sins of many, will appear ca second time for dsalvation ewithout reference to sin, to those who feagerly await Him. [18]

We all have an appointed time with death; it is a destiny none of us can escape.  Our loved ones passed at their appointed time.  It is painful knowing it was not the way or time we wanted for them or would have chosen, yet hear once again the words of God:
Isaiah 55:6-10

     6    aSeek the Lord while He may be found; bCall upon Him while He is near.
     7     aLet the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his bthoughts; And let him creturn to the Lord, And He will have dcompassion on him, And to our God, For He will eabundantly pardon
     8     “For My thoughts are not ayour thoughts, Nor are byour ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
     9     “For aas the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.   
    10    “For as the arain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing bseed to the sower and bread to the eater;
     11     So will My aword be which goes forth from My mouth; It will bnot return to Me empty, Without caccomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
     12     “For you will go out with ajoy And be led forth with bpeace; The cmountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the dtrees of the field will clap their hands.
     13     “Instead of the athorn bush the bcypress will come up, And instead of the cnettle the myrtle will come up,
And 1it will be a 2dmemorial to the Lord, For an everlasting esign which fwill not be cut off.” [19]

The Widow’s mite is the ultimate act of sacrifice.  To my beloved family, you all have given more than you should, yet God weighs all things, knows your sorrow and will balance the scales.  To those who have lost brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, if evil befell them, God will repay.  If tragedy took them, God will comfort and heal the broken hearted.  Trust not in what you see, or feel, but reach out with trust, awe and fear unto the hands that can heal, the arms that can hold, the heart that yearns to comfort.  May my words not have distressed or angered, but may they have shown you a God of mercy and love; if my words have failed, the lack is not in my God, but in me, His inadequate messenger. 

Balance.  Restoring the balance to your life, that is what He wants to do.  Call upon Him, call upon His Holy name, and may my heart and prayers be for you always, Amein and Amein…

[1] Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988).Baker encyclopedia of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House. (pg 1475)
h 12:41–44 Lk 21:1–4
i 12:41 Jn 8:20
j 12:41 Gn 24:35; Rv 2:9
k 12:42 Mk 14:7
l 12:42 Lit dropped in two lepta, which is a quadrans; the lepton was the smallest and least valuable Gk coin in use. The quadrans, 1/64 of a daily wage, was the smallest Roman coin.
m 12:43 Mt 9:10; Mk 10:10; Lk 6:1; Jn 6:3; Ac 6:1
This is a phrase used only by Jesus to testify to the certainty and importance of His words; in Mt, Mk, and Lk it is literally Amen, I say to you; in Jn it is literally Amen, amen, I say to you.
n 12:43 Ps 72:19; Rv 22:21
o 12:43 Jn 8:20
p 12:44 1Co 15:58
q 12:44 Php 4:11
r 12:44 Lk 15:12
s 12:44 1Jn 3:17
[2] The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Mk 12:41–44). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
a Luke 21:1–4: Mark 12:41–44
1 Lit there
a Mark 12:42
2 Gr lepta
1 Or abundance
2 Lit gifts
3 Lit the living that she had
a Mark 12:44
[3] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Lk 21:1–4). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[4] From the Epistle ““Know before Whom You Stand” Or …KaVaNah and the Long Dark Night of the Soul…” by David Robinson
a Luke 21:1–4: Mark 12:41–44
1 Lit there
a Mark 12:42
2 Gr lepta
1 Or abundance
2 Lit gifts
3 Lit the living that she had
a Mark 12:44
a Luke 21:5–36: Matt 24; Mark 13
a Luke 19:44
1 Or attesting miracle
a John 8:24
b Luke 17:23
1 Or attesting miracles
a Luke 21:12–17: Matt 10:19–22; Mark 13:11–13
1 Lit being brought
a Phil 1:12
1 Lit a testimony for you
a Luke 12:11
a Luke 12:12
1 Lit a mouth
a Matt 10:30; Luke 12:7
a Matt 10:22; 24:13; Rom 2:7; 5:3f; Heb 10:36; James 1:3; 2 Pet 1:6
1 Lit souls
a Luke 19:43
1 Lit know
1 Lit her
a Luke 17:31
1 Lit her
a Is 63:4; Dan 9:24–27; Hos 9:7
a Dan 8:19; 1 Cor 7:26
1 Or earth
a Gen 34:26; Ex 17:13; Heb 11:34
b Is 63:18; Dan 8:13
c Rev 11:2
d Rom 11:25
1 Or attesting miracles
1 Lit inhabited earth
2 Or heaven
a Matt 16:27; 24:30; 26:64; Mark 13:26
b Dan 7:13; Rev 1:7
a Luke 18:7
a Luke 12:57
1 Lit know
a Matt 3:2
1 Or race
a Matt 5:18; Luke 16:17
a Matt 24:42–44; Mark 4:19; Luke 12:40, 45; 1 Thess 5:2ff
a Mark 13:33; Luke 12:40
b Luke 1:19; Rev 7:9; 8:2; 11:4
[5] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Lk 21:1–36). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[6] By “we” I use this term to include all of us, preachers, teachers, scholars and lay people.
a 1 Cor 15:58; 2 Pet 1:10
b 2 Pet 3:1
c 1 Pet 1:7
d Phil 2:15; 1 Thess 5:23; 1 Tim 6:14; James 1:27
a 2 Pet 3:9
b Acts 9:17; 15:25; 2 Pet 3:2
c 1 Cor 3:10; Eph 3:3
a 2 Pet 3:14
b Heb 5:11
c 2 Pet 2:14
d 2 Pet 3:2
a 2 Pet 3:1
b 1 Cor 10:12
c 2 Pet 2:18
d 2 Pet 2:7
e Rev 2:5
a 2 Pet 1:2
b 2 Pet 1:11; 2:20
c Rom 11:36; 2 Tim 4:18; Rev 1:6
[7]New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update, 2 Pe 3:14-18 (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995).
[8] Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament by R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., Bruce K. Waltke, MOODY PUBLISHERS
CHICAGO © 1980 by The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago (printed edition pg 29) electronic edition, (In the beginning was theWord, abbreviated theWord) © 2003-2012 - Costas Stergiou, Version
[9] Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003).The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
a Prov 11:1
1 Lit stones
2 Lit work
[10] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Pr 16:11). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
a  Prov 16:1; 19:21
b  Ps 37:23; Prov 20:24; Jer 10:23
a  1 Kin 3:28
1  Lit be unfaithful
a  Prov 11:1
1  Lit stones
2  Lit work
a  Prov 25:5
1  Lit latter
a  Job 29:23
a  Prov 8:10, 19
[11]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.
[13] Hertz, Joseph H., The Authorized Daily Prayer Book with commentary, introductions and notes (rev. American ed. 1948, NY, Bloch Publ'g) page 161.
a Ex 19:9; 33:9
1 Or he called out with the name of the Lord
a Num 14:18; Deut 4:31; Neh 9:17; Ps 86:15; 103:8; 108:4; 145:8; Joel 2:13; Rom 2:4
1 Or faithfulness
a Ex 20:5, 6; Deut 5:10; 7:9; Ps 103:3; 130:3, 4; 1 John 1:9
b Ex 23:7; Deut 7:10; Job 10:14; Nah 1:3
c Deut 5:9
1 Lit and bowed...worshiped
a Ex 4:31
[15] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ex 34:5–8). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
a Ex 33:12
a Ex 33:20–23
1 Lit he
a Ex 34:6, 7
b Rom 9:15
a Is 6:5; 1 Tim 6:16
1 Lit with
a Ps 18:2, 46; 27:5; 61:2; 62:7
a Ps 91:1, 4; Is 49:2; 51:16
a Ex 33:20; John 1:18
[16] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ex 33:17–23). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[17] The Thirteen Attributes of God, with thanks to the teachings of Pastor Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries, and Rabbi Ezra Bick with edits by David Robinson. Any mistakes or omissions are the responsibility of David Robinson alone.
a Gen 3:19
1 Lit laid up
b 2 Cor 5:10; 1 John 4:17
a Heb 7:27
b Is 53:12; 1 Pet 2:24
c Acts 1:11
d Heb 5:9
e Heb 4:15
f 1 Cor 1:7; Titus 2:13
[18]New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update, Heb 9:27-28 (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995).
a Ps 32:6; Is 45:19, 22; 49:8; Amos 5:6
b Is 58:9; 65:24
a Is 1:16, 19; 58:6
b Is 32:7; 59:7
c Is 31:6; 44:22
d Is 14:1; 54:8, 10
e Is 1:18; 40:2; 43:25; 44:22
a Is 65:2; 66:18
b Is 53:6
a Ps 103:11
a Is 30:23
b 2 Cor 9:10
a Is 45:23; Matt 24:35
b Is 44:26; 59:21
c Is 46:10; 53:10
a Ps 105:43; Is 51:11; 52:9
b Is 54:10, 13; Jer 29:11
c Is 44:23; 49:13
d 1 Chr 16:33
a Is 7:19
b Is 60:13
c Is 5:6; 7:24; 32:13
1 I.e. the transformation of the desert
2 Lit name
d Is 63:12, 14; Jer 33:9
e Is 19:20
f Is 56:5
[19]New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update, Is 55:6-13 (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995).

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