Wednesday, 7 April 2021
We continue to count our blessings by obediently counting the Omer. These 7 weeks of counting are weeks of preparation. On Pesach we recounted our liberation from slavery into freedom. Biblical "freedom" is not worldly freedom (freedom to be out of control) but the freedom from Egyptian bondage was always tied to one demand of Pharaoh ... Exodus 7:16b "Let My people go, so they may serve Me in the wilderness". That's right, freedom to serve God. In Hebrew the word for serve is Avodah, which is frequently translated as worship.
We cannot serve Pharaoh and God at the same time. Yeshua understood this (and all things) and found it important enough to make it a focus of His "Sermon on the Mount." Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick by one and look down on the other. You cannot serve God and money."
Having now celebrated the Passover, we have 7 weeks of preparation that will take us to Mount Sinai and Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks). At Mt. Sinai, (traditionally, we believe, on the original Shavuot) Moses received the Torah. About 1300 years later, exactly 7 weeks after the crucifixion, the disciples (as part of the 120 in the upper room) received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
They left the upper room and were on their way to the Temple for morning prayers when they encountered 3,000 who had just finished celebrating Shavuot with all night prayer. The result was the beginning of a revival that is still going on today. This is our destiny; to continue the revival on Shavuot until Yeshua returns. To do this effectively, we must prepare our hearts with thanksgiving for the blessings of God for the next 7 weeks. Now that we have our "marching orders," let's go.
We are all on a journey. Jeremiah 6:16a "Thus says Adonai: Stand in the roads and look. Ask for the ancient paths -- where the good way is -- and walk in it. Then you will find rest for your souls." Coach Bill McCartney and Raleigh Washington named their ministry after this journey. They called it the Road To Jerusalem (https://theroadtojerusalem.org/) The destiny is Jerusalem, but Jerusalem is symbolic of the heart of God. The greater reality for our journey is nothing less than the heart of God.
We can say we love God, but unless we love what God loves, those are just words. John 14:15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." Can we keep His commandments without loving each other? Let's get our answer from Scripture. 1 John 4:20-21 "If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar. For the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: that the one who loves God should also love his brother."
I want to emphasize this with another verse from earlier in 1 John 4:12 "No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God abides in us and His love is made perfect in us." God's commanded love must take place in relationship. Love without committed family relationships is an abomination. God's ancient path is the path of covenant. Please don't miss the point. Love is not love until it is tested, and there is no way to test love outside of covenant. Back to 1 John for the last word today ... 1 John 4:19 "We love, because He first loved us." God cut covenant with us on the cross. How much do you love us, Lord? He stretched out His arms, enduring the pain, and prayed, "Forgive them Father." Give thanks for His covenant love.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,