We who have returned to our Hebrew Roots just celebrated Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, known also as the Season of our JOY, for Yah commands in his WORD that we are to rejoice before him for eight days, and rejoice, we did.
But now I have returned to the routine of my daily life. And like all of creation, I groan for release from the pressures and anxieties, the fears and depressions of this ever-degenerating fallen-creation. I eagerly await Messiah Yeshua, for only HIS return will free me from this creation’s corruption. His return is my blessed hope. Meanwhile, life is a battle. I get weary focusing on all that is wrong: in the world, in my family, in my finances, and most of all in my character.
And I know I am not alone.
Just this morning, right after I asked the Lord to show me what I should write about, I opened an email from a friend. In it she confessed she sometimes struggles to find balance between Hebrew roots and Joy in the Lord, and I immediately knew what she was going through, and what I was to write about, for with this I struggle too.
I call it growing pains.
I’m sure everyone’s heard the term “comfort food.” Well, since man does not live by bread alone but by every word of God, when I was still in Sunday church, I had my Spiritual comfort-foods:
Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery again to fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba! Father! And…because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba! Father!
To this day, nothing is more comforting than realizing God is my Father, my Daddy, on whose lap I can snuggle. But what I had often failed to recognize, or to recognize fully until returning to the Hebrew roots of my faith, was that God is also the Great King of all Creation. And as with earthly Kings, there are protocols the King has established, from how we are to enter His presence to how we are expected to live in his Kingdom.
We are blessed that He has inculcated His “truth” into nature itself, like in the parable of sowing seed to represent God’s Word growing in our hearts in order to reveal His Ways to us. That is why Scripture says the natural comes before the supernatural. And just as a two-year old’s spontaneous way of showing love, though endearing as a toddler, would be inappropriate in a child of forty; we must learn how to balance uninhibited praise with awestruck reverence, and that ain’t easy! In Sunday church I too often concentrated on everything God promised to do for me in the New Covenant, and now I see that I too have made a commitment.
Just as Romans 8:14 was a comfort food in Sunday church, “If you love me, keep my commandments,” has become spinach now that I have returned to the old paths. And although eating greens keeps me healthy, spinach isn’t sweet like a Krispy Cream. And although I have grown to appreciate its taste and recognize its nutrient value, it will never taste sweet like a donut. For as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:23 . . . while all things might be lawful, all things do not edify.
I now think of my years in Sunday church as childhood. It was fun. But all through childhood I yearned to grow up. Then one day in my early thirties, I remember wishing I could return to those days when my father took care of everything and I had few responsibilities.
Now, at 63, there are days, weeks, and even months in my life when I wish I could go back to the time when all God required from me was to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him.
And the truth is that is still all He requires.
The problem is I’m growing, being stretched, and that causes growing pains. Yah has revealed through His TORAH exactly what doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with Him looks like, whereas before, the passage meant whatever I wanted it to mean. And as Isaiah 5:21 says: Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
Growing brings pain. It’s uncomfortable. But God has been showing me that it does not necessitate depression. I can choose to focus on the pain, to my own detriment, or focus on the fact that the Father is entrusting me with more and more responsibility.
He is setting me apart, sanctifying me.
Knowing that the answer to everything I need is found in His Word, I have put together Scriptures that encourage me, and I hope they will encourage others, to forget those things which lie behind, as we stretch toward those things which lie ahead, pressing on for the prize, for the high calling of Yehovah in Messiah Yeshua.
The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, also heirs, truly heirs of God and joint-heirs of Yeshua. If we suffer with Him we may be glorified with Him. For I calculate that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which will be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the children of God. For we know that the creation groans and travails until now. And we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly expecting adoption, the redemption of our body. We were saved by hope, but hope that is seen is not hope. One does not hope for that which is seen. But if we hope for what we do not see, with patience, we wait eagerly.
For Yeshua says: To the one overcoming, I will give to eat of the Tree of Life which is in the midst of Paradise. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. To the one overcoming, I will give to eat from the hidden manna. And I will give him a white stone on which a new name has been written, a name no one knows except the one receiving it. Hold onto what you have until I come. The one overcoming and the one keeping My works until the end, to him will I give authority over the nations.
I have spoken these things to you that you may have peace. You have distress in the world, but be of good courage, for I have overcome the world. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. For he who sows to his flesh will reap corruption, but the one sowing to the Spirit will reap everlasting life. We should not weaken in doing good, for in due time we shall reap, if we do not faint, being persuaded of this very thing, that the one having begun a good work in you will finish it until the day of Yeshua Messiah.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Yeshua, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. My sons do not despise chastening. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons, for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down and the feeble knees.
Who shall separate us from the love of Messiah? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Even as it has been written, “For Your sake we are killed all the day. We are counted as sheep for slaughter, but in all these things we are more than conquers through Him who loves us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature can separate us from the love of God in Messiah Yeshua, our Lord.
So put on all the full armor of God, so that you can stand against the wiles of the Devil. You fight not against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the world’s rulers, against the darkness of this age, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavens. So take up all of the armor of God that you may resist in the evil day, and having done all, stand firm, girding your loins with truth, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. Shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, and above all, take up your shield of faith, with which you will quench every dart of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. With prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit. For I will keep in perfect peace the mind stayed on ME.
Trust in Yehovah forever, for in Yah is everlasting strength. Let all who put their trust in ME rejoice! Let them shout for joy forever, because I cover them. And let those who love MY name be joyful. Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has the heart discerned the things which God has prepared for those that love Him.
When Yehovah brings back the captivity of His people, Jacob will rejoice. Israel shall be glad.
For You have been a help to me, and I will rejoice under the shadow of Your wings. Let all those who seek You rejoice, and let those who love Your salvation forever say, Let God be magnified. You will give us life anew, so that Your people may rejoice in You.
Let the earth rejoice.
Let the multitude of islands be glad.
For, behold, YOU create in Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. YOU will rejoice in Jerusalem and joy in YOUR people. And the voice of weeping and the voice of crying shall no longer be heard in her.
For now, occupy till I come!