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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Hundred-Fortieth (Dwelling)

We've looked at a good bit of scripture since we started about two and a half years ago, albeit what we've read is still only a fraction of what's there. I'm sure you've read more of it on your own as well. If you had to summarize all of scripture in one central idea, what would it be? What message does it give you?

Some would say the idea or message is the prophecy of Yeshua and His mission, and of course its past and future fulfillment. Other maybe say its focus is on mankind and our salvation. On the fringe, some might even say it's an historical record of events since they believe that literally everything written has been fulfilled in one way or another. While you could make an argument for all those viewpoints, obviously with some being more believable to me than others, I think they miss one major theme. That theme is what we're going to look at this week.

In order for us to see this theme, we need to look at the beginning and the end. YHWH gave us a complete account of man and the universe, including what our future eternity will be. While some writings of man start in one state, or set of conditions, and end in a completely different one, scripture is a "full circle" writing, meaning when you look at it from a certain view the beginning state is the same as the end. And to me, that is telling as to what YHWH's true desire is without getting muddled with all the in-between happenings.

You know, one very important thing to remember as you read scripture is that YHWH created us in His image (Genesis 1:26). When you keep that in perspective, you can see that He loves (Genesis 22:15-18, Isaiah 54:10), He hates evil (Proverbs 12:22, 6:16-19), He protects those He loves (Psalm 91:14-16, 97:10), and He fights for His people (Joshua 6:1-20) just like we do. But man became very self-centered, starting all the way back in the garden, such that we almost expect or require those things of YHWH. We make our relationship transactional, asking for Him to heal us or our loved ones, maybe even hurt those who hurt us. Then we get angry and upset, turning away from Him, when He doesn't answer our prayers for the things we ask of Him.

He created us as the highest level of being in His creation that has the ability to procreate and gave us dominion over the other living things in the world. I will tell you that the most eye-opening experience I have, in terms of getting a glimpse into the heart of YHWH, is having children. From that experience, it seems to me that as a whole, man is the equivalent of a child when it comes to our relationship and interaction with YHWH. Questions like, "if He is all-powerful, why does He let bad things happen?" and statements like, "He must not exist because He didn't answer my prayer," just show our immaturity level in our relationship to Him.

We read about Him destroying nations (Acts 13:19-21), and in our myopic view we see that as an unnecessary and horrendous thing to do. However, other than the fact that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9) so He obviously has a justifiable reason, we can also see that in this case, the nations being referred to are descendants of Ham, who was cursed by Noah for what he did (Genesis 9:18-29). And we know that the iniquities of the father are imposed on his descendants (Exodus 20:5, Numbers 14:18). But instead of trusting in His decisions we jump to conclusions about what happens to us and determine that if it's bad it's "undeserved."

This is all in the "middle" of scripture, though. What we're looking for right now, to start, is the beginning and the end. So, what do we find? A universe created with a focus on one being, man, and with the intention of achieving a certain type of relationship with that being. One of co-existence and companionship. What any person wants with someone they love. He wanted to dwell with us.

All the beings He created, except those in the world, were made to dwell with Him in the heavenly realm. Cherubim (Genesis 3:24), seraphim (Isaiah 6:2), chief messengers (1 Thessalonians 4:16), etc. All were created for a purpose, just like we were created to be the keepers of the world and everything in it (Genesis 1:26). And His intentions were that He would be with us as well (Genesis 3:8). But us, again with a short-sighted view of things, made a choice to violate the only rule and eat of some fruit, ultimately separating us from Him and from His intention for our relationship with Him.

But out of love, He set into motion and guided a plan that will ultimately achieve His original intention rather than just destroying everything and starting over. At the end, He will be with us and comfort us (Revelation 21:3-4), which is what He wanted to begin with. We were never meant to dwell in heaven, even though some believe that's our ultimate destination, because that's not what He designed in the beginning. And He tells us that in the end, New Jerusalem comes down to the New Earth and He and Yeshua dwell with us there (Revelation 21:2,22-25).

He came to be with us over the course of "the middle" of our story, giving instruction (Exodus 19:1-20:17), and leading (Exodus 13:21). All the while, He showed that what He truly wanted was a relationship of faith and trust. He changed His mind on multiple occasions, sparing people because of repentance (Jonah 3:10) and because of leaders standing up for their people (Exodus 32:9-14). He had them build a place so He could dwell with them (Exodus 25:8). And of course, He sent His son to tabernacle with us so that ultimately, in our current "middle" time, we could have a piece of Him in us to guide us and lead us (1 Corinthians 3:19, 6:19, 2 Corinthians 5:5). In that last verse, Paul writes that we are given a "pledge" of the Holy Spirit, and the word for pledge, arrabona, means "earnest payment." The Holy Spirit is given to us as a security deposit, so to speak, for our future when He will dwell with us and we will dwell with Him for eternity.

You see, He always wanted to be with us, and rather than give up on us, He redeemed us so we could be with Him in the end. His actions have shown us just how much we mean to Him, and if we don't live our lives with actions that reflect that, we're doing a disservice to Him, His sacrifice, and really to us and what we're capable of. We need to keep the big picture in mind, keeping our faith and trust in Him and His plan. We only live as the Lord wills (James 4:15). And death? It means nothing unless He's the one doing the killing (Luke 12:5). He loves us. He wants to be with us. And in the end, that's what's going to happen!

So, while the message of our salvation is important, as well as believing on Yeshua as our Savior, and the commandments given are important, along with His promises for our future, when it really comes down to it, all He wants to do is dwell with us as His people. So much so that He sent His only Son to be persecuted and crucified even for those that reject Him. He became one of us, lived like we do, and ultimately died so that He could dwell with us like He did in the beginning. Remember that as you go through this week, and think about how you should think and act in a relationship with someone that would do all those things, knowing you could never repay Him or do anything that comes close to the sacrifice He made.

Shabbat shalom and God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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