The Ram

I just recently discovered an amazing, wonderful hidden treasure looking at this verse.

Blessed (adored, knelt down to, praised, thanked) be the Lord,

who daily, daily (perpetually, presently, continually, today, yesterday, tomorrow)

bears our burden (our heavy burden, carries our load),

The God (the powerful, strong, mighty God) who is our salvation (welfare, deliverance, victory, Yeshua!).

Selah (pause, lift up, exalt). Psalm 68:19

 

I just recently discovered an amazing, wonderful hidden treasure looking at this verse. The Hebrew word translated God is el (אֵ֣ל). And, according to Strong’s Concordance, el is a shortened form of ayil (אַיִל), which means strength, or anything strong, like a strong man, a pillar, or a mighty oak. But it primarily means, and is mostly used (156 times) to mean a ram, like a ram for the burnt offering. I had to selah, pause, a minute to let that sink in.

Ayil is the word used in Genesis 22 where God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, to test his faith. It is the word used for the ram that Abraham looks up and sees with its horns caught in the thicket, the ram provided by God to be a sacrifice in Isaac’s place, the ram that foreshadowed the Lamb of God who would carry all our sins and sorrows and pains and sicknesses – our heavy load – to the cross.

The one who still daily bears our burdens. The Hebrew word for daily is repeated for emphasis – he daily, daily, day after day, perpetually, presently, continually, today, yesterday and tomorrow bears our burdens as our Intercessor, Comforter, God With Us.

The strong one, the mighty one who willingly let himself be caught in the thicket to be our sacrifice. The One provided by God to be our salvation, welfare, deliverance, victory.

Yeshua.

Jesus.

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” Genesis 22:13-14 (NIV) 

Blessed, adored, knelt down to, praised, and thanked be the Lord!

Selah

 

Image, Silk Willoughby church, East Window detail, by Jules & Jenny on flickr.com https://www.flickr.com/photos/jpguffogg/

In My Distress

The earth truly did seem to quake at the smoke from her nostrils, the fire from her mouth, the bolts of lightening from her eyes – and the neighbor backed down fast.

In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, Lord, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. He reached down from on high and took hold of me;     he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. (Psalm 18:1-19 NIV)

I love this Psalm. The imagery of a passionate God tearing apart the earth to rescue me is breathtaking. And it reminds me of something that happened when I was twelve.

My little brother is eight years younger than me and could be very naughty when he wanted, which seemed most of time to his big sister. At four years old, he especially seemed to aggravate one of our neighbors with his antics. My mom tried her best and kept an eye on him out the kitchen window, and his big sister got to babysit. One day, when he was out playing he did something that was the proverbial “straw” and the neighbor raged out with a baseball bat raised high. I was paralyzed with shock, but in a blazing second, there was my mom standing between them, armed with nothing but her fury and the glorious passion of a mother. The earth truly did seem to quake at the smoke from her nostrils, the fire from her mouth, the bolts of lightening from her eyes – and the neighbor backed down fast. That picture is forever seared in my memory and is why I love Psalm 18 so much. The zeal of The Mom for her children – like a mother bear for her cubs – is a perfect picture of God’s love and zeal for us.

Remember that when you feel under attack, when you feel hopeless and helpless as a four year old child, when the enemy stands over you ready to crush you once and for all. Cry out to Jesus and he will come blazing out to rescue you. For he has already stood between – the Intercessor – he took all the blows meant for you. The Good Shepherd, like David, defending his sheep with his bare hands from the destroying lion. He will passionately rescue you. He will be there and hide you in his shadow and comfort.

He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago. Now we will be saved from our enemies and from all who hate us … We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live. Luke 1:69-71, 74-75 (NLT)

The LORD will march forth like a mighty man (champion); he will come out like a warrior, full of fury (jealousy, zeal). He will shout (for joy, triumph) his thundering battle cry, and he will crush (prevail against) all his enemies (adversary, foe). Isaiah 42:13 (NLT)

The Last Adam

Could it be that, as the first Adam who sinned was made from the dust, this last perfect, sinless Adam would be crushed back into dust so that, through Him, humankind might be remade, reformed, become new creatures, transformed?

Surely (truly, verily, indeed) he took up (lifted up, bore) our infirmities (malady, anxiety, calamity, disease, grief, sickness) and [He himself] carried (bore, was laden or burdened with) our sorrows (anguish, figuratively affliction, grief, pain, sorrow), yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted (chastened, humbled, humiliated). But he was pierced (chalal) for our transgressions, he was crushed (daka) for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on (paga) him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:4-6 (NIV)

The verses of Isaiah 53 are familiar as describing the Messiah, Jesus, and what he would do for us in his suffering on the cross. They are beautiful verses, full of wonderful promises, and I have read them many times over the years. But, this last time as I looked closer at the Hebrew meanings of the three words highlighted above – chalal, daka, paga – I saw some things I had never seen before. I would like to look at them here, saving daka for the last.

First, chalal (חָלַל) is a heartbreaking word. Translated “pierced”, it means to wound fatally, bore through, pierce. But it also means to profane, defile, pollute, desecrate, to treat as common. One way a person could be defiled in the Old Testament was through contact with the dead (Leviticus 21:4). We were dead in our transgressions (Ephesians 2:1-6) yet Jesus had contact with us. He had contact with our pollution, our dirt. I like the image above. It’s messy and dirty. God got his hands dirty saving us. The sinless, perfect, unblemished Lamb of God allowed himself to be defiled, polluted, treated as a common criminal to carry our sins and rebellions to the cross, and there, do away with them (Isaiah 53:9, Luke 23:33). Not only did God get dirty, he also allowed his reputation to be destroyed. Psalm 8:9 proclaims, “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name (reputation, fame, glory) in all the earth!” Yet, he laid it all down to completely identify with us. The Bob Carlile song calls Him a “Man of No Reputation.”[1]

The Hebrew word paga (פָּגַע) is translated here “laid upon” – God laid upon him the iniquity of us all. It means to lay upon or light upon, but it also means to cause to come between, cause to entreat, make intercession, meet together, pray, reach the mark. In laying on Jesus our iniquities, God caused Him to come between us and the justice due us from a righteous God. Jesus has become the Intercessor, entreating the Father for us, reaching the mark set by God for us – whereas we “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”[2] – making the way for us to meet together, to come into His Presence.

Amazing grace! But it was the Hebrew verb translated “crushed” here – daka (דָּכָא) – that stunned me. It means to crumble, to bruise, beat to pieces, break in pieces, crush, destroy, humble, oppress, smite. The noun derivative of this word is dakka and literally means “dust.” It is used in Psalm 90, “You turn men back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, O sons of men” (NIV). Could it be that, as the first Adam who sinned was made from the dust, this last perfect, sinless Adam would be crushed back into dust so that, through Him, humankind might be remade, reformed, become new creatures, transformed? “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22 (NIV)

Could it be that Jesus, Son of God, became a human being so he could bear all the punishment and consequences of our rebellion against God? All the infirmities, malady, anxiety, calamity, disease, grief, sickness, sorrows, anguish, afflictions, and pain could be laid on Him? That He would become our sin there on the cross, and then would be crushed to dust so that the Potter could remake, reform humankind into a new creation?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand. Isaiah 64:8 (NASB)

But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so the potter squashed the jar into a lump of clay and started again. Jeremiah 18:4 (NLT)

Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ John 3:7 (NASB)

 

Image detail: By Earthen Potter – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54699329

[1] Man of No Reputation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVJtfXLqFr0

[2] Romans 3:23

This blog is also a Bible study, free to use, at The Last Adam Bible Study

The Judge is in Love with You

The Spirit is leading us to God, The Judge, and sometimes I could be afraid to go with him because of fear of being judged, of not measuring up, of being rejected.

Romans 8:14-15 (NIV) says that “those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'” What does it mean to be “led by the Spirit of God?” Sometimes I have gotten this picture in my mind of the Spirit or Jesus way ahead of me leading the way saying, “Look this is the way it should be done,” and I am struggling alone over rocky ground to keep up and follow him. Or that he has given me a map or a set of instructions that I’m trying to figure out.

But the word “led” in this verse is the Greek word “agó” (ἄγω) which means to be taken along with, accompanied, attended personally, conducted, or led by laying hold of. So, he is not far ahead of me, nor have I been left alone to figure it out by myself, but he is right there with me all the way, holding my hand and accompanying me, even attending to me personally.

The Greek word “agó” also includes the meaning of being brought to, or, led away to a court of justice – to the judge, and it is used many times this way in the New Testament (Mark 13:11, John 8:3, 18:28, Acts 5:21, 25:6 are examples). The Spirit is leading us to God, The Judge, and sometimes I could be afraid to go with him because of fear of being judged, of not measuring up, of being rejected. But, Jesus is there at the right hand of the Judge, our Intercessor. And, even more, Jesus promised that He would give us a Friend, Counselor, Helper, or Advocate in the Holy Spirit. The Greek word is parakletos, which means summoned, called to one’s side or aid. The parakletos is “one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate†.” All I need do is turn from sin, from my own way, and He pleads my case – “Jesus shed His blood for this one on the cross!”

And even more wonderfully, what does it say? That if we take His hand and follow after and are led by the Spirit of God, we are sons of God, we are His beloved children. “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'”

And then later, “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:31-34 NIV)

When it says “God is for us” it means in the Greek that he is over the top for us – on our behalf, for our sake, over and above, more than, more, beyond, exceeding, abundantly – it’s almost like the language, Greek or English, can’t quite contain or express the fullness of the meaning completely.

Don’t be afraid, take his hand and let him lead you. He is for you. He is over the top FOR you!! As the old Lamb songs goes, “The Judge is in love with you.”

The Judge by Lamb

† Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament

This blog is also available as a Bible study for free use here The Judge is in Love with You Bible study