In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
John 1:1-5 NASB
This is the month of receiving. What do we receive? The revelation from the written Word of God, specifically the Torah but also all of the revealed written Word of God. Why? Because it is in this Hebrew month that we celebrate Shavuot – the giving of the Torah at Sinai and the giving of the Spirit in the book of Acts.
God gave. We receive. Let that sink in.
This is the month to pay special attention to the fact that the God who spoke the world into existence also spoke His will to His created beings. You might not know that Yeshua was quoting Moses (Deuteronomy 8:3) when He said "man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." It's a reminder that the entire material world came into existence and is even now being sustained from the Word of God.
The Word of God affects change in us like no other; it is living and active. What will you do with the Word of God – His ‘house rules’? The Hebrew language offers great insight to our understanding of the significance of God’s house rules and our responsibility to them. The Hebrew word mitzvah, usually translated as "command, precept, law, or ordinance" literally means the "directions for the journey." Tsadik, usually translated "righteous," literally means "traveling the path." Rasha, usually translated as "wicked," literally means "lost from the path."
King David said to God concerning His house rules, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” God has given you His Word - the very blueprint of creation, having existed before the world came into being and containing the very breath of the Divine. Yeshua was on to something when He said, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”1 I like how D. Thomas Lancaster puts it, referring to when God spoke His house rules on Mount Sinai, “When God broke the silence and spoke to His creation…the words He spoke were the fullness of His heart. Each law, each commandment, no matter how small or seemingly irrelevant, descended as a piece of revelation from God, an overflowing of His heart.” 2
It is incredible to me to grip a bible in my hands, knowing that I hold a piece of God’s overflow. When you or I commit the bible to memory, and when we live based on its Words, we carry the abundance of His heart to the world! That’s powerful! Our mouths should only be used to bring honor and glory to God. The words that come out of our mouths reveal what is inside of us. We are earthly ambassadors of His Kingdom - Our words should represent the King to the world and flow in wisdom, His authority, and be completely trustworthy as He is.
I remember the first time I realized that God’s commandments are His rules for the family. As a mom to seven, I can relate to the necessity and value of house rules. I think it puts His Torah into proper perspective. His commandments are a blueprint for how to act in His family and how to represent Him accurately to the watching world. Suddenly the bible’s relevance for us today skyrockets, doesn’t it? I know that when I see God’s family rules as an outpouring of what is in His heart, I can more easily experience the truth that His Words hold their own Divine authority to accomplish whatever it is that God wills.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Hebrews 4:12-13 NASB
I think we all, at some point or another, must grapple with whether we create our own destiny or let God call the shots. I ask myself, do I shape and mold His words to suit my whims, like the insecurely attached child who picks and chooses which of their parent’s rules to follow? Or will I allow the Words to call forth transformation in me? I know we all need to experience for ourselves how the Word of God really has the kind of power to invite intimacy with Him that He says they do. Are we family or not? Sometimes my spiritual orphan heart gets the best of me. Every orphan wants intimacy, someone to belong to but most are terrified of connection at the same time.
Many of us long to be connected to God on a deeper level, like a hungry child clings to a nursing mother, but we are terrified of that vulnerability at the same time. We’re scared because that kind of intimacy means we have to put down our defense mechanisms and trust the unseen One. Did you think you were the only one who struggled with this? We all do to some degree or another. But His Word is an anchor in the storms of uncertainty of belonging. His Word is a bridge, offering a clear path closer to Him when we want to shrink back in fear. We can overcome this unbelief that we belong to Him.
I am autistic, which means that I struggle understanding the nuances of making and keeping connections with people. Relationships and the unwritten rules of belonging and fitting in are not within my intuitive grasp because of the way my brain is “wired.” God’s Word has been a lifeline to me because I also struggle with knowing how to connect with the Unseen One. It took me many, many years of being a Believer before I realized that bringing Him into the day-to-day parts of my life was part of the package. It never occurred to me to talk to Him (pray) about everything like I have only recently learned to do. (No, you don’t have to be autistic to miss the mark on this.)
My having His written Word makes the gap less severe because I can study how He interacts with people in the pages of the Bible and I can trust that He’ll be there for me those ways too. His written Word helps me take that vulnerable next step and cry out like Jacob did when wrestling with the heavenly messenger, “I will not stop until You bless me!”3 Even when I can’t wrap my mind around the awesomeness and splendor of God wanting a relationship with me. Even when I lack the ability to make those connections with Him. Even when I simply forget to check in with Him (like I forget to check in with family and friends). Even when I question how He could love someone like me.
By clinging to His faithful Word, I receive the fortitude like Jacob to say, in my struggle to know and be known by God, I will press on even if it hurts, until I am blessed by a touch from Him. That was nothing less than Jacob’s experience, and as a result, he became Israel, the father of a nation of God’s sons and daughters. That’s what you can learn from His written Word. Look to His written Word to see how others just like you have struggled to know and be known by God, and prevailed.
Perhaps seeking God with everything that is within you is to you and I the chrysalis4 if you will, which the caterpillar needs to struggle against to transform into its butterfly destiny. Maybe we shouldn’t assume the struggle means we don’t belong or aren’t wanted or that God is absent. Could it be that the struggle is actually a sign of son-ship or daughter-ship after all? That’s what His Word teaches.
Listen to David’s gut-wrenching honesty in Psalm 13. A prayer of desperation that comes from a place of deep attachment to God, a deep understanding that He will not fail David, even when David feels abandoned. In all of the despair, notice how David clings to the goodness of God in verses 5-6. If you also struggle at times with not feeling like God is there for you, that’s just part of the human condition. But David has faith in God’s character. How He acted in the past, informs how He
is acting even now. David lets God call the shots because He trusts God based on how He acted with others before him.
How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me? 3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, 4 And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken. 5 But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. 6 I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
The questions to ask this month are:
God’s written Word has been such an instrumental force in my life for helping me both understand myself better and understand God’s love for me. Through the written Word, I’ve been able to see how He interacted in the past to look for clues that He is also interacting with me. I love the Feast of Shavuot, celebrating the giving of the Torah because it reminds me that His Word does not return void, but will accomplish everything that He set out to do. (Isaiah 55:11) And for this work- in-progress (me), that is amazing GOOD NEWS.