Saturday, January 15, 2011

Manna from Heaven

"mann hu" is what the Hebrews called the manna from Heaven. It means "what is it?"

Exodus 16:31 says, "Now the house of Israel called its name manna. It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey."
Manna is what was provided from the Lord for the wandering people's sustenance. Their daily bread. What they needed to be sustained and grow. Each morning going out to glean their fill for that day. Except for Fridays, when they would r...eceive a double portion...they lived one day at a time on what they were given.

Midrash (Jewish commentaries on the Scriptures) says that the way the manna tasted depended on the heart attitude of the person eating it. To those people who had an attitude of gratitude and were thankful for its daily provision for them, it tasted sweet. Delicious. Dessert for dinner!

But for the people who were the mutterers and grumblers, it was supposed to have tasted like stale saltine crackers (really much worse than that, but that's what I compare it to when I read the description). Dry. Bland. Sticks to the roof of your mouth.

Isn't it funny that that's how we can see our lives that we are given and choose each day. Approaching them with an attitude of gratitude is like the spoonful of sugar that helps the "medicine" go down. Medicine is often times bitter and unpleasant to take. But ultimately for our health, healing and restoration. Situations God allows in our lives as we choose them is our medicine. Meant for our good and to heal us and restore us to Him even as we are changed into His likeness.

And then there's seeing life as one disappointment after another. All the while muttering and grumbling about our circumstances. How unfair life has been and is. How undeserving we are of where we are and wishing things were so much better. Easier. Not so hard and painful. I think life for these people must be an awful lot like eating a stale soup cracker.

Jesus tells us in John 6:51, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven." Looking at the word bread, you can find that the Greek form is autrov. This is from the primary root aiuto which has as its definition to take upon one's self and carry what has been raised up, to bear.

Are we taking Him at His word today? Is He the living bread? The One we allow to take upon Himself our cares, our burdens, our bitterness over the circumstances and choices of our lives and carry them away? Does the manna of our lives taste sweet like honey? Does it leave the taste of wholeness, peace and forgiveness in our mouths?
Or are we bearing our own burdens? Muttering and grumbling over what we have or don't have, and always envious of what we think we should have had in our past and now in our present lives? Does life taste like a stale saltine?

"According to your faith, be it done unto you." Mt 9:29

Friday, January 7, 2011


The Hebrew word for contentment is ya'al. In the Bible, part of being content is being willing or pleased to start something that requires our submission. Our determination to undertake a course of action no matter how hesitant or reluctant we are. Or afraid.

Doing what we need to do, even if we don't want to do it. We have a resolved determination to do so no matter what challenges or difficulties lie ahead. We "Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead." Knowing we are self-sufficient.

Not self-sufficient as in we think of it today. It isn't so much about thinking we can provide for ourselves without the help of others or independence, so much as it is a walk of faith after taking a "leap to faith".

If we've had any life experiences that were difficult, challenging, almost soul and will breaking in their scope, we know Who brought us through such hard times. We felt His arms around us. His love carrying us. Providing. Keeping. Guiding. He was and is building up our trust in Him and what He will do for us based on past experiences.

Like Abraham sacrificing Isaac. It was nothing short of full trust in God providing whatever was needed at that time and place, based on His doing so in the past for Abraham. Abraham knew Who was in charge and that what was about to happen was fully for his benefit. He trusted God to resurrect Isaac if it came to that need. He was content with what God was going to do for him.

In Phillipians,I don't think Paul was talking about self-sufficiency the way we define it. I think he was talking about learning through these life experiences with God to accept where we are as sufficient. Sufficient to draw closer to Him. Sufficient to continue building up that relationship of trust and love. Faith in a God Who always meets our needs and is always working for our good.

Paul had learned not to count on himself or others to fix what was wrong in his life. He was content to be invited to trust a little deeper. Move a little closer. Change just a bit more into the Likeness. He had learned to accept, and even be thankful, for his own lot in life. It was perfectly tailored for him.

And it was enough for him.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Happy New Year!

Exodus 2:2 finds the Lord instructing Israel "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you."

Here in the Western World, we celebrated our New Year January 1, 2010.
In the Jewish World, they will celebrate the Biblical New Year on March 15th, at sundown.

I'm looking through the different names that have been given the month of Nisan.  "Rosh Chodashim" which means the head of months, "Chodesh Ha-Aviv" or the month of spring and "Chodesh Yehudah" or the month of Judah.

Some interesting facts about Judah:

Judah was Jacob's fourth son through Leah, but he inherited the birthright.  Reuben had it taken from him for wrongdoing (he slept with his father's concubine Bilhah) and Shimon and Levy lost the inheritence because of their actions at Shechem.

Judah offers himself as a sacrifice and plays the role of intercessor for Israel when he pleads with Pharoah on behalf of his father, Jacob, to not take Benjamin as "bondman", but to take him instead. 

At Jacob's death, he prophesied that Judah would be praised by his brothers, that the "scepter shall not depart from Judah...until Shiloh (which means quiet rest and is interpreted as the Messiah) comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people."

The name Judah in the Hebrew includes the Name YHVH with the letter "dalet" included.  This is suggesting that Judah would be the "door" into the Lord's presence (dalet is the fourth letter of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet and means tent door or pathway).  In Numbers, we read that the tribe of Judah was camped right in front of the door to the Tabernacle.

Jesus calls and refers to Himself as "the door" in John 10.

In the Zohar (which I'm merely quoting), dalet is read as "that has nothing [d'leit] of her own."  It is the consciousness of possessing nothing of one's own.  That one's accomplishments are known not to be of "my power and the strength of my hand".  It speaks of having no other light than that which is received from the higher light.  As one reads through the New Testament, it is clear that Jesus is always pointing the people towards the Lord.  Never asking for glory or worship (although He did not stop others from doing these things), but continually humbling Himself. 

This humility coupled with selflessness (Mt 16:24) is what the Lord asks of us.

This speaks to us today.  If we have chosen the Door, the Way, Messiah, we are to take the Son's example and always seek to reflect the light of His life to others.  To live out Micah 6:8 "To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."  To make a difference in our world, so that others will ask "What is different about you?  And how can I have that?"

A challenge for me today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


We all have a beginning.
Sometimes, we have more than one.

This is a place for me to go and share where my footsteps are beginning to lead on the journey Home.  I stumble, I fall.  At times, I run and every now and then, I fly.

Right now, I'm swimming.  I've jumped into a opaque, deep pool of Living Water.  I've been floating for a long time.  Mostly, I've been afraid to do much more than this.  It's safer at the shallow end!  The Lord invited me to take a step, or stroke, to faith.  To head out into deeper water and be amazed.

An invitation from the Author.

Who begins our understanding of time and history with Bereishit, which means "in beginning of".  My Bible says "In the beginning."  But that's not quite a literal translation of the Hebrew.  Bereishit is really the word resheit and the prefix of beth, or the letter B, meaning "in".  So, at the beginning, there is no "the".  Just "in beginning of".


If He wanted to, the Lord could have inspired the use of the word barishonah, which does mean "at the beginning" or "at first".  If He had used this word, we would be reading "At the beginning" or "At first, God created the heavens and the earth." instead, which makes a lot more sense to my Western mind than "In beginning of, God created the heavens and the earth."  My English teacher would be horrified.

Instead, He chose resheit.  It's a word that in no other place in the Bible doesn't not have a noun immediately following it to let us know exactly what it is that has begun.  The nouns give us context.  We know what is beginning.

Genesis 1:1 though, is missing its noun.  "In beginning of ____________, God created the heavens and the earth."  We're given an emptiness, a hole, a fill in the blank so to speak.  Jewish commentator, Rashi, brings up that if Genesis 1:1 is about the start of the arrangement or progression of creation, then it should say "of the Lord God's creation of' as is found in Genesis 2:4's 'when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens'."

Could it be that in choosing to inspire the Word to be written in this way, with no "the" at the beginning, the Lord is trying to tell us that something unique--so totally different is happening alongside His fashioning creation?  Do I dare take this fill in the blank as an invitation to swim to a deeper part of the pool?

Could that noun that should follow "in beginning of" be the word decision or desire?  Because it is here, in this grammatical emptiness and infinite eternity, that a complex choice was made by the Lord.  To increase His relationships--which encompasses and unfolds at the same time--to create.  Things and beings outside of Himself, in relationship to and fellowship with Him.

It is quite literally, when Time and existence apart from the Lord began.

And that, of course, is only one of my beginnings.