Australia Ministry Trip (Sept 26-November 10, 2017)

Australia Ministry Trip (Sept 26-November 10, 2017)
From September 26 to November 10, 2017, my husband, daughter and I will be on a ministry trip in Australia and New Zealand. The places we will be visiting are shown on the map above - along with the dates in which we'll be in these places (and what we'll be doing while there). Please keep this ministry trip and all of us in your prayers! Blogs will appear daily throughout this time, as I have written them and scheduled them in advance. I welcome your comments - and enjoy them! Just know I will not have Internet access for much of this time. So, I will look forward to reading your responses upon my return. Thank you for your understanding! And please keep reading to complete the "Reading the Bible in a Year" challenge and blessing! I am very grateful to Claire for her faithful blog comments (please everyone - join her in sharing each day as a discussion blesses everyone so much more!) And I am thankful that Claire has graciously agreed to add a bit more into her daily comments during my time of absence. Please direct special comments or questions which require immediate responses to her (on this blog). Blessings as you continue your journey through God's Word this year!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - April 6, 2017

Today's Reading:

Matthew 27:1-31

Deuteronomy 5-6

Job 6

Listen to the Bible

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

The heart of the whole Bible is found in today's reading. It's the part of the Torah (Law of God) found in Deuteronomy 6:4-6. This part of the Bible is known as the Shama, in Hebrew. Because the ancient Hebrew people understood that the Shama was the heart of the whole Bible, they wrote these words upon their doorposts (encased on a tiny roll or parchment within the Mezuzah):

Deuteronomy 6:4-6 "Hear, O Israel. The LORD our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart."

Remarkably, all the doctrinal principles of the Torah are contained within those few words, which are highlighted in yellow above. How so? Let's look at what these verses mean a bit more carefully. Let's start with Deuteronomy 6:4.

Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” 

Looking up the highlighted words from Deuteronomy 6:4 yields the following meanings:

Key Word
Strong’s Number
Hebrew Word
Meaning
HEAR
8085
shâma‛
hear intelligently, discern, give ear, obey, to tell, proclaim
ONE
259
'echâd
One, united, first, alone, altogether

As you can see in the above table, the name of this part of Scripture (Shama) is the Hebrew word for "hear". But it means so much more than that. It means that God wants His people to hear His Word with understanding, discerning what it means. He wants us to give ear to what He has to say. This means to listen enthusiastically, desiring to know it more. It is visually demonstrated by cupping one's hand about the ear in an effort to perceive even the slightest nuances of His Will. 

Once we understand the Word and Will of God, the next meaning of Shama kicks in. Now God wants us to obey what we have learned and be a witness to others by sharing it. This is what it means for God's people to truly "hear Him", which He says all His sheep do. In the following New Testament passage, the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew word shama is translated as "hear":

John 10:27 "My sheep hear My Voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." 

Next, in Deuteronomy 6:4, we read that Yahweh our God is ONE. This also has many levels of meaning. It is numeric in that there is only ONE God. It is a number of unity and it is also a number meaning primacy. In other words, we are to keep Yahweh first in every aspect of our lives. 

In summary, Deuteronomy 6:4 is a call to submit to Yahweh as the One and only God in the universe. Make Him first in your life, thinking, and heart.  Now let's look at the final verse of the Shama:

Deuteronomy 6:5  “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."

To demonstrate how this passage encompasses all of the principles of Torah, consider how Scripture tells us that "love is the fulfilling of the Law" (Romans 13:10). This is because, when we love God as we should, we will keep Him first, have no idols, reverence His Name, worship Him at the times He requests, and honor Him first and supremely as our Heavenly Father. Love is the fulfilling of the Law.

Now let's look at the meanings of the highlighted words from Deuteronomy 6:5:

Key Word
Strong’s Number
Hebrew Word
Meaning
LOVE
157
'âhab
to have affection for, love
HEART
3824
lêbâb
Understanding, mind, courage, innermost being, tender hearted toward
SOUL
5315
nephesh
a breathing creature, breath, appetite, pleasure, will, mind
MIGHT
3966
me'ôd
vehemently; wholly, speedily
 

What does this mean? It means that as a Child of God, it is my privilege and thankful response to love Him tender-heartedly and with all my innermost being. I am to have affection for Him in my understanding. I am to love Him with courage, being willing to face whatever this whole-hearted love may cost me. Yahweh is my breath. It is my greatest desire, pleasure, and determination to live in a way that demonstrates my vehement devotion to God. And this total devotion is to be evident in my thoughts, words, actions, and emotions. 

This living demonstration of my true love for God is pleasing in His Sight. It shows Him, as no words alone can, that I do love Him supremely and with my every breath.

Wow! Once we see what truly loving God involves, it is enough to take one's breath away. Is a human heart even capable of loving God like this? The answer is no - not on our own, we aren't. But God enables and empowers us to grow in our love for Him. To shama is always the prayed-for goal. And when we finally do, by His Grace, we will be fully and completely sanctified. 

Not only this, but such people who love God like that will change the world. Consider the following quote by John Wesley:

Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not whether they be clergymen or laymen, they alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven upon Earth.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnwesley524891.html

 "Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not whether they be clergy or laymen, they alone will shake the Gates of Hell and set up the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth."

Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not whether they be clergymen or laymen, they alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven upon Earth.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnwesley524891.html

Today, and everyday, let's seek to shama! Truly then we can pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done!"