And Yahweh said to me again,“Go, love a womanwho has a lover and is committing adultery,just like the love of Yahweh for the children of Israel.
Since the author of Hebrews compares our walk with Christ as a race with clearly marked lanes and an easily identifiable finish line, I feel perfectly free to use the same analogy. (Paul often uses the same racing analogy, after all. And yes, that’s assuming he did not author the epistle to the Hebrews.) Here is what the author of Hebrews writes:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
The “great cloud of witnesses” are the patriarchs and matriarchs of Israel; they show off what real faith looks like! Since we have so many excellent examples of working faith, the author calls us to “throw off everything that hinders.” Whatever hinders our faith, we should dispense with. Then the author encourages us to throw off “the sin that so easily entangles.” Whatever sin remains in our day-to-day walk with Christ, we are to do our utmost to disentangle ourselves! Then, we are to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Notice the author does not call upon us to cross into the running lanes of other racers. He does not command us to grab ahold of our neighbor and drag him or her along with us in our running lane. Each person runs his or her own race in a lane “marked out” especially for him or her. We aren’t able to give someone else our “perseverance.” We have to trust that God provides for each racer as need arises.
We see this in the history of Israel. Each individual saint stands or falls based upon his or her own perseverance and the power that God provides within each person’s situation. Each saint must disentangle himself or herself; each saint must throw off sins that entangle him or her; each saint must run his or her own race and reach the finish line alone (and yet, together with other members of the body of Christ Himself).
“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
So much of the good news is contained in the first ten verses of the fifth chapter of Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. He says clearly that we are “declared righteous,” that “we have peace with God,” that “we have obtained access” to “this grace in which we stand.” We may know with certainty that “this hope will not disappoint us.” Why? “Because God’s love has been poured out.” We have been given the Holy Spirit. And all this was given to us “while we were still helpless.” “Christ died for the ungodly.” That’s you and me! This willing death of God’s Son “proves” God’s love for us. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” Therefore, “we will be saved through Him from wrath.” After all, says Paul, if Christ died for us while we were His enemies, “how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His Life!”
Since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that,but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance,4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.6 For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. 8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! 9 Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!
“And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, What are You seeking? or, Why are You speaking with her?”
Jesus’ disciples are shocked. They are downright flabbergasted to find Jesus speaking with a woman. They are amazed that not only does He speak to a woman; He speaks to a Samaritan woman, a woman of mixed ancestry, a woman outside Judaism as they know and observe it. On top of their shock, they don’t bother to ask Him why He speaks to this woman. They don’t appear to care; they only care that Jesus is doing something unacceptable, out of fashion, and politically incorrect.
The disciples don’t care that Jesus is physically thirsty. They don’t care that as He seeks to quench His own thirst, He recognizes the woman’s spiritual thirst and her need for what Jesus is – the Living Water.
I imagine Jesus is scolded by one or another of the disciples, perhaps by Judas Iscariot, the betrayer or by Peter, His defender on the night He is taken for crucifixion.
The disciples scold Jesus because they only care that He is doing the wrong thing at the wrong time in the wrong place with the wrong type of person. His disciples judge by appearances rather than by substances.
I am ready, and I am not troubled; to keep thy commandments. (I am ready, and I have not delayed, to obey thy commandments.)
What gives David his confidence? Is his confidence in himself? Is he honest when he claims he is ready? Does he correctly assess himself when he says, “I am not troubled; to keep thy commandments”?
In what, in whom is David’s confidence?
David, the psalmist, simply says that if you are merciful to others, if you lend yourself to others fairly and with good judgement, then you are merry. Accompanying your kind words and loving deeds is a happy heart.
The man is merry, that doeth mercy, and lendeth; he disposeth his words in doom; (Happy is the person who giveth favour when he lendeth; he disposeth his deeds with justice, or with good judgement😉
Jesus’ blood, shed to save the world, cleanses us from all sin – not from some, but from all. As we join with God where He dwells, “we too live and move in Light” and we have “fellowship between us.” Living within Light overshadows the darkness that surrounds us; therefore we are clean despite living in a dirty, fallen world. Our fellowship is with the Holy Spirit and with each other. We live and move in Love.
God dwells in light; if we too live and move in light, there is fellowship between us, and the blood of his Son Jesus Christ washes us clean from all sin.
I love – again – how different versions (i.e. translations) of the same Word give new insights into His Mind – here Paul says he “shames not” the good news. In other versions, he says he is “not ashamed” of the good news.
For I shame not the gospel, for it is the virtue of God into health to each man that believeth, to the Jew first, and to the Greek.
In one translation, the gospel is described as the “virtue of God;” in many the good news is the “power of God.” His virtue is His Power, and therefore, our power! In one version, the result of the gospel is “health;” in many the outcome is our “salvation.” What a wondrous thing is the Word of God. Salvation is our health!
Let us praise Him together as one, as we should.
James warns us to cast aside “plenty of malice” for “the wrath of man” does not work “the rightwiseness of God.” Then he bluntly tells us to be “doers of the Word” so that we do not deceive ourselves. James tells us it is not enough to hear Jesus; we must follow after Him.
Presently we see a great deal of “the wrath of man” as well as “plenty of malice.” Just examine your local newspaper if you doubt this is true. The problem is that Christians are expressing this same “wrath” and “malice;” this is unfortunate as our malice and wrath do not work “the rightwiseness of God.”
We are to be doers of the Word.
1 In the beginning was the word, and the word was at God, and God was the word. [In the beginning was the word, that is, God’s Son, and the word was at God, and God was the word.]
2 This was in the beginning at God.
3 All things were made by him, and without him was made nothing [nought], that thing that was made.
4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men;
5 and the light shineth in darknesses, and [the] darknesses comprehended not it. (John 1: 1-5, WYC)
Jesus is the Word; and He is Light who shines in darkness. The darkness does not understand ( or overcome ) the Light of Love, who is Jesus.
20 for the wrath of man worketh not the rightwiseness of God.
21 For which thing cast ye away all uncleanness, and plenty of malice, and in mildness receive ye the word that is planted, that may save your souls.
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Be like the Light of Love; be the Word.
That is why God has raised him to such a height, given him that name which is greater than any other name; so that everything in heaven and on earth and under the earth must bend the knee before the name of Jesus, and every tongue must confess Jesus Christ as the Lord, dwelling in the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:9-11KNOX
For which thing God enhanced him, and gave to him a name that is above all name; [For which thing and God enhanced him, and gave to him a name that is above all names;] that in the name of Jesus each knee be bowed, of heavenly things, [and] of earthly things, and of hell’s; and each tongue acknowledge, that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:9-11WYC
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:9-11AKJV
“That is why,” “For which thing” and “Wherefore” indicate the reason God exalted Jesus Christ above all others. The reason is that Jesus “6 who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (AKJV)
Jesus’ willingness to humble Himself, to “make Himself of no reputation” is also the reason Paul calls upon Christians to likewise humble ourselves. If we walk about with our noses stuck in the air, who will benefit? Certainly not those who are lost. Neither will our spiritual pride bring glory to God. Note that Jesus’ humility brought glory to God the Father. His willingness to step out of His power and accept human weaknesses – including death – is why He is now exalted above all names.