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

Jouking to the Lee-side

My husband was a Golden Gloves boxer and appreciates the techniques of bobbing and weaving, and ducking or jouking. He says that the goal of ducking is to “avoid damages.” Many of us have incurred serious damages by trying to fight our way through life on our own and in our small strength. 

Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide;
Oh, receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.  (Charles Wesley)

I would like to share a post from another blogger today with my comments. “In the Lee-Side of Christ” is a post from the blog of Douglas Taylor[i]. His posts have deeply blessed me in my journey. I tried to summarize this, but he says it better than anybody.

In the Lee-Side of Christ (Douglas Taylor)

When looking for the passage quoted in the last post, I came across a sentence of Rutherford’s which at first sight seems puzzling, but is actually very valuable to all struggling Christians. He says:

 ‘I think it manhood to play the coward, and jouk in the lee-side of Christ; and thus I am not only saved from my enemies, but I obtain the victory’ ([Rev. Samuel Rutherford] Letter 181, p. 352).

My attempt to paraphrase it would be something like this: What might be thought cowardly, namely, to hide behind Christ, I find to be the manly course, or the best course a man can take, for in doing this I not only escape my enemies, but overcome them.

 This is expressive of a great truth: that real wisdom for helpless sinners like us is not to try to be brave and strong in ourselves, but to flee constantly to the Saviour, for when we are hidden in him, our enemies are powerless, and we are victorious.

 The old Scots word ‘jouk’ makes it all the more expressive. It is often explained as meaning to duck, but the way I have heard it used conveys more the idea of a rapid sideways movement, like a boxer avoiding a punch, or a football (soccer) player dodging a tackle. It is a quick evasive movement; but in this case into the protective shadow of Christ, so that he absorbs the assault, and we, in him, overcome our attackers.

 The lee-side of Christ reminds me that ‘a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest . . . as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land’ (Isaiah 32:2). When our enemies approach – they may be fears about the future, doubts, temptations, fiery darts of the wicked one – let us, without delay jouk into the lee-side of Christ. He has already borne the full force of every assault the enemy could make against us at the cross. It all stems from sin, and he has borne sin. He has died and risen again. Let us not be such fools as to face the enemy on our own, or try to do over again what the Lord has done once and for all! 

“A man will be as a hiding place (machabe’) from the wind, And a cover (cether) from the tempest, As rivers of water in a dry place, As the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” (Isaiah 32:2 NKJV)

The word translated “hiding place” in this verse is the Hebrew word machabe’ (מַחֲבֵא). It means refuge, hiding or lurking place, bosom. The word translated “cover” is cether (סָ֫תֶר), and means cover, hiding place, secret place, and shelter. Jesus is all of these for us. We can “jouk” into the hiding place of Jesus and let Him fight our adversary. My husband was a Golden Gloves boxer and appreciates the techniques of bobbing and weaving, and ducking or jouking. He says that the goal of ducking is to “avoid damages.” Many of us have incurred serious damages by trying to fight our way through life on our own and in our small strength.  Hiding or “lurking,” without joining the fray, is seen as cowardly in some situations, such as social media (though it may be wise). But I don’t mind lurking in the shadow of the Great Rock while he zaps my enemies for me. And he does; he hides me, he protects me, he surrounds me with songs of deliverance (Psalm 37: 7).

The second definition of machabe’, “bosom,” reminds me of a baby in arms, who, when feeling threatened or uncomfortable, whirls around and hides her face in the bosom of her mother or father. “Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to thy bosom fly.” Lord, I know you are carrying me. Let me turn around and hide myself in your bosom. I will dwell there in your shelter; I will build my house in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 91:1).

You hide (keep close, conceal) them in the secret place (hiding place, protection) of Your presence from the conspiracies (snares, plots, pride) of man; You keep (hide, treasure) them secretly in a shelter (lair (lair of the Lion of Judah!), tabernacle, tent) from the strife (adversary, quarrel, dispute, controversy, case at law) of tongues. Psalm 31:20 (NASB)

Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes. Isaiah 40:11 (NASB)

 [i] “In the Lee-Side of Christ” (post shared August 16, 2011) by Douglas Taylor. I highly recommend his blog, called Works Worth Declaring at http://worksworthdeclaring.blogspot.com/ This blog contains three years of posts written after he discovered he had terminal cancer. His family also published some of the posts as a book after his death in 2014, which I also highly recommend if you are like me, and need to hold it in your hands https://www.amazon.com/Shall-Not-Die-But-Live/dp/1848717113

Look up and see

In Genesis 22:7-8 when Abraham is on his way to obey God in faith and sacrifice his only son Isaac as a burnt offering, Isaac asks his father, “The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answers, “God himself will provide (ra’ah) the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” God does provide a ram, “Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw (ra’ah) 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 (ra’ah), or Jehovah Jireh. And to this day it is said, “’On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided (ra’ah).’” (Genesis 22:13-14).

The word translated both “saw” and “provide” in this verse is the same Hebrew word, ra’ah (רָאָה) which means:

to see, perceive, observe, consider, look at, give attention to, discern, gaze at, appear, present oneself, cause to see, show, cause to look intently at, behold, cause to gaze at, to be caused to see, be shown, be exhibited, to look at each other, face

God sees what’s going on, he is giving attention to it. Some people think it is like he is going to “see to it.” He is gazing at and sees the answer to the problem right now. He is going to cause us to see, behold, the answer too, as he caused Abraham to see the ram caught in the thicket. And he has been seeing the answer to all our problems from the beginning of time. The mountain, Moriah, where this all took place, and where “on the mountain of the Lord it will be provided” is the same mount where Solomon built the first temple (2 Chronicles 3:1) and where the second temple was rebuilt (Ezra 5:13). God saw it all, from beginning to end, and provided the answer there on mount Moriah when Jesus came to offer himself up as the Passover Lamb. He let himself be caught like the ram in the thicket; he let himself be sacrificed.

At the temple Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus and he was prophesied over (Luke 2:22-32); “my eyes have seen your Salvation” (2:30). At the temple Jesus taught daily, demonstrating his power and authority and allowing the children to call him the Son of David or Messiah (Matthew 21:14). In the temple the veil dividing God from the people was torn in two from top to bottom as Jesus died, providing the way for reconciliation to God (Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45, Matt. 27:51). The sacrifice for our sins, providing reconciliation with God, was provided. And if we look up we will see it, and we will be able to look at God face to face.

For some reason this knowing that God sees, that he’s got it all under control, he’s planned and known the answer from the beginning of time – this has boosted my faith way more than just knowing that he is my provider, though that is a wonderful and awesome fact. I know I can trust in him, I can lean back on him, he’s got my back, he’s got it all figured out.

But you, O God, do see (ra’ah) trouble (misery, pain) and grief (vexation, frustration, anger); you consider it to take it in hand. The victim (or unfortunate one, poor) commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. (Psalm 10:14 NIV)

 

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