Quote for Today
“The Lord judges not as man judges.
Better to be cast out of the church than to deny Christ”
“The Lord judges not as man judges.
Better to be cast out of the church than to deny Christ”
“Unto thee, O Lord,
do I lift up my soul”
ALEPH.* In this Acrostic Psalm (see Part Two) David is setting forth the posture of one who through the experiences of life has come to a place of total reliance upon his God for the keeping of his soul. Gone are the self-reliance and the zeal of his youth. The aged man has now learned the value and the truth of the Lord as his shepherd. The fickle soul of man must ever be lifted up unto God for safe-keeping. The purpose of all our experiences in life brings us to the ALEPH of God; He is the Saviour and the Keeper of our very lives. These are more than mere words and must be accompanied by brokenness of spirit and gratitude of heart. This is not something uttered in a special moment of prayer but the very position from which His elect face the reality of life. It is here that the truth of Him makes the deep and lasting impressions of grace; a grace which has wrought upon an individual the need to abide and trust in God alone.
“Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul” is the cry of the human heart reaching out unto Him who alone is worthy and able to satisfy the desire of every man. It may be the faint whisper of one weighed down with the afflictions and circumstances of life or the sigh of the weary seeking rest. His throne is one of grace for us to find the succor of God in time of need. Grace and power flow from the heart of the One who so loved us that He offered Himself in our stead to be our answer for the sin, the rebellion and the ignorance of our utter hopelessness. The lifting up of our soul unto Him is the revelation of a faith rooted and grounded in the knowledge that He hears us and cares for us. As children we have placed our well-being in the hands of men, our beliefs or our own strengths but with the passing of time we are brought to the power of this one truth: “Unto Thee, O Lord”. The journey into Him has brought us through the disappointment of trusting in other things and especially trusting in ourselves. As a child “weaned from his mother” (Ps. 131:2) so are we weaned from our dependency upon other things.
This is the ALEPH of our deportment of life in God. Through the mountain top experiences and down to the dark and dreary days of discouragement the pilgrim of faith has been brought to this abiding temperament of heart…
“Unto thee, O Lord,
do I lift up my soul”
NOTES ON PSALM 25
PSALM 25 is an Acrostic Psalm where each verse begins with an orderly sequence of the Hebrew Alphabet (Verse One Starts with the letter ALEPH)
*ALEPH: Historically Aleph means oxen; thousand; teaching; master…Divinity ‘Master of the universe.’ The Divine ‘One’ revealing Himself throughout the plurality of Creation. It is the first of all the Hebrew letters and is the representation of God’s Oneness and Power. **ALEPH is a unified graphic depiction of Him in relation to His Work, His Power and His Relationship to creation. Its upper right section consists of the Hebrew letter yod, the first letter in the Name of God (YHWH). A second yod in the Aleph’s lower left segment implies the Creator with and in His creation. The central diagonal connecting column is the vau, a Hebrew letter signifying transformation and change. Aleph thus reveals God’s primary intention of bringing forth man in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26) whereas creation is merely the beginning of His work and purpose. The design of this letter communicates Him as the Father/Creator of all things with the intent to bring about the wonder of transformation and change via relationship in and through the Living Word, Jesus Christ.
ALEPH is revealed in Ezekiel’s vision of the four living creatures as the Ox which imparts to us the sacrificial nature of the heart of Jesus our Saviour. These four faces as seen by Ezekiel reveal His Character in the beauty and wonder of the Son. Ezekiel’s setting forth of these four living creatures is one as having the appearance of a man. There is only One in heaven whom God is interested in revealing and honoring: The Man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).
“Also out of the midst thereof
came the likeness of four living creatures.
And this was their appearance;
they had the likeness of a man”
Jesus in His discourse with the religious men of His day declared,
“Search the scriptures;
for in them ye think ye have eternal life:
and they are they which testify of me”
The four-fold Gospel of Jesus bears witness to these faces.
Matthew ——————– Lion
Mark ———————– Ox
Luke ———————– Man
John ———————– Eagle
(To be addressed in a later writing.)
**“The original pictograph for this letter is a picture of an ox head (ox head did not paste) representing strength and power from the work performed by the animal. This pictograph also represents a chief or other leader. When two oxen are yoked together for pulling a wagon or plow, the older and more experienced one leads the other. Within the clan, tribe or family the chief or father is seen as the elder who is yoked *** to the others as the leader and teacher.
The Modern name for this letter is aleph and corresponds to the Greek name alpha and the Arabic name aleph. The various meanings of this root are oxen, yoke and learn. Each of these meanings is related to the meanings of the pictograph . The root (אלף) is an adopted root from the parent root אל (el), written as in the original script, meaning, strength, power and chief and is the probable original name of the pictograph .” (The Hebrew Alphabet by Jeff A. Benner) http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/alphabet_letters_aleph.html
*** It is in this understanding of the yoke represented by this letter where we are afforded the beauty of Jesus’ invitation to us “to take His yoke” upon us (Matthew 11:29). It is in our being “yoked” with Him that we come to know His Ways and His Heart. Change can only be wrought in us via relationship with Him. While the religious desire intellectual knowledge (as revealed in Eve reaching for the “tree of knowledge”) the true in heart know that it is only in us partaking of the “Tree of Life” that His Life becomes ours.
We would also like to acknowledge the contributions from the following sources:
Alfred Jones, “Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names” Jeff A. Benner “The Hebrew Alphabet” Hebrew Today website Aleph – Wikpedia website Andrew Jukes – “Types in Genesis” and “The Names of God” B. E. Crowley C.R. Oliver Rabbi Michael L. Munk -- “The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet” (Mesorah Publications) Abiram Publication – www.abiram-publications.com Jeremy Aranoff – “Torah, The Quintessential Blueprint”
“And I turned to see the voice which spoke with me.
And having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands,
and in the midst of the seven lampstands
One like the Son of man…”
Those who are true desire the truth; living truth which comes to those who walk and live in the Spirit. It comes at a cost and with the requirement for the individual to respond in order to receive its power. Any “truth” that does not require response and change is not living truth. It is in hearing and turning we are enabled to see. In turning from our ways and the current measure of truth we hold we are enabled by His wondrous grace to see Him anew. Those who walk in the static world of religion, words, teachings and doctrines of men never change. The growth and development of that on-going revelation of Christ becomes stagnant and motionless. The horizons of vision do not change with the passage of time and the wonder of His life becomes drab and uninviting to themselves and to those about them. The fervency of passion has long since subsided and the fire of burning hope is replaced with the cold and emptiness of a religious life.
It is in the hearing of His Word and the response from our hearts to the voice which calls us where we see Him in a new and higher way. This turning causes the former things to pass away as we step into that which is new and living. Transition and repentance is the hallmark of those who desire The Way. Those who walk in this living path become an antagonism to those who are static and set in something less than the “new” of God. God’s truth is one of unveiling the mysteries and glories of Christ and as such there is never a point of arrival; His Glory has no end! Eternity is not long enough to exhaust the wonders of our risen Lord. The scriptures are full of men and women who knew the Way of change and transition.
“I have heard of You by hearing of the ear,
but NOW my eye has seen You;
Therefore, I despise myself,
and I have repented on dust and ashes”
Job 42:5-6 (LITV)
We must ever be going on. That which I know today must be eclipsed by a further seeing and knowing of Him. Those who are of the truth cannot abide in what they see now for within is the continual cry to see Him in a deeper and fuller way. Consider Moses who saw such signs and wonders in his walk with God yet cried out at the end of his journey show me more of your glory.
You have begun to show Your servant
Your greatness and Your mighty hand…”
Moses at the end of his life knew that all he had seen, heard and understood was the mere beginning of God’s glory. Do we not feel within our own heart of hearts the desire for “more of God”? Is there not an aching to go deeper and higher wherein dwell things which cannot be put into words? Paul saw things, heard things, which could not be shared because of their holiness and the inability to put them into the vernacular of man. How can men and women rest in the shallow waters of teachings and concepts (though good in themselves)? These things must become the bud of which the flower is produced, and the flower must give way to the fruit. and the fruit must give way to the seed so that it may replicate the wonder and glory of God in another heart. Such is the law of Life.
Ezekiel could not stop at the waters to the ankles, he could not linger in the waters to the knees, and the waters to the loins could not hold him from the depths of the “waters to swim in” (Ezekiel 47). Let us find grace to hear, to turn and to respond to the call of God to see Him anew. May we be so smitten with His Glory that the present place of abiding is merely a momentary one of provision to finish the race set before us. Let His hunger to fill our hearts with more of Him. Relationship is the mystery of God into which we have been called; not things about God or even of God. The true heart cannot rest until it is found in Him and in Him we become new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17) of wonder at which even the angels will marvel for ages to come.
“…that He might show in the coming ages
the exceeding great riches of His grace
in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus”
The hunger of the average Christian life in our day is revealed in the contentment with the status quo. Paul in writing to the Church of God in Corinth about the Love of God spoke to them of transition and going on. He had earlier called them carnal for clinging to the ministries of God by choosing one over another thus segregating and secularizing the Body of Christ. (i.e. “I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ”) Paul’s call to this carnal church (which fully resembles the one in our day) was to move beyond the childhood phase to grow up and become full grown people in God. The transition from childhood in God into maturity requires us to put away (turn from) childish things. Childish things are not wrong in themselves but they become wrong when people linger in them and fail to develop in God.
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child,
I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man,
I put away childish things”
1 Corinthians 13:11
In the processes of God, we must grow from the infant into the man, we must go from needing bread to becoming bread, and we must go from water to the ankles to waters to swim in (Ezekiel 47:1-5) by responding to His living word.
The deeper truths are withheld from His children and reserved for those who have been exercised in their growth in God.
“Concerning whom we have much to say,
and hard to interpret since you have become dull in hearing”
The Apostle was eager to share the deeper truths of Melchizedek but was restrained because of their lack of development:
“For indeed because of the time you are due to be teachers,
yet you need to have someone to teach you again
the rudiments of the beginning of the oracles of God,
and you have become in need of milk, and not of solid food;
for everyone partaking of milk
is without experience in the word of righteousness,
for he is an infant
But strong meat is for those full grown…”
Our ability to see Him in His word is dependent upon growth and development within our own lives! It is we who determine what we see (i.e. Matthew 5:8), hear and know (in an experiential way) of the depths and wonders of Him. It is a day for us to turn, to give heed to that which He has spoken. If we linger it will be to our sorrow not only here but in the eternal to which we have been called.
The promise of God is sure and it is one upon which we can stand:
“Seek and I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you;
seek, and you will find;
knock, and it will be opened to you.
For everyone asking receives,
and the one seeking finds,
and to the one knocking, it will be opened”
James tells us the reason we do not receive is because we do not ask. The lack of seeking is the reason for not finding and the failure to knock is the reason why men and women do not have new doors opened in their lives. Let us hear this solemn word…
If we believe His Word our lives will be filled with asking, seeking and knocking.
”Many shall be purified,
and made white, and tried;
but the wicked shall do wickedly:
and none of the wicked shall understand;
but the wise shall understand”
Understanding comes to the wise. The wicked pass through life void of the understanding of the Almighty God. Though trials, testings and temptations are the common lot of those who seek first His Kingdom, there comes to us the consolation of true understanding that more than compensates for the hardness of the way. With true understanding comes Vision. In the purposes of God, vision must give way to reality. Joseph’s dream must become substance. For a vision to remain something visionary only is the danger of religion; where the impulse of the desire of God becomes a teaching and a doctrine, a thing instead of a life. Men linger in the realm of words and creeds. A living vision must create a life of pursuit and quest where obedience is not optional.
“Whereupon, O king Agrippa,
I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision”
True vision communicates a need for obedience for it births a burden for the thing to come to pass. All true visions concerning God and His purposes must impart a burden for the thing to be made real. Vision is the womb of a quest. It is the conception that enables a birthing of that which was promised. People with a teaching are content with words; people with a burden cannot linger. During a great storm the disciples were besieged in a small boat. In the midst of this they saw Jesus walking on the water and they were terrified. Only Peter saw Jesus in a way that communicated a longing to walk as Jesus. The vision imparted the desire to walk. The vision birthed the impulse to launch himself from the security of the boat into the violent sea. Men and women throughout the ages have launched themselves into the purposes of God. They have left the safety of their “boat” for the great sea of God’s will. Abraham went out…not knowing where he was going. The launch precedes the knowledge of the destination; the impulse is in itself the very compass which will unerringly bring us to His End. To ignore the impulse is to miss the launch.
The launching of our lives into the purposes of God is a series of definitive acts not just a one time occurrence. It is a life of yielding to Him. There are many opportunities along the way for compromise and failure. Our one hope is found in His Faithfulness. Faithfulness to lead us from the good to the better, from the better to His highest. We see Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration saying it was good to be there and “let us build” only to be rebuked from God Himself. While many settle for the good those whose vision transcends the status quo can never be satisfied with the building of human hands regardless of how “good” the experience or motive. The heavenly call is upward not just higher. Upward communicates a direction not a destination; higher is just another step in the stairway.
Men declare their heart by their “abode”. The demoniac dwelt in the graveyard, Lot in Sodom, and Abraham in Mamre. In all of God’s creation every organism has a habitat that is in harmony with its inner life; so also in the spirit. Where people dwell is the revelation of the life within.
“And Jesus saith unto him,
The foxes have holes,
and the birds of the air have nests;
but the Son of man
hath not where to lay his head”
The scriptures are full of such illustrations. May we find within our hearts the call to follow, the call to forget the past and the call to apprehend that for which we have been apprehended.
“So David went on his way,
and Saul returned to his place“
1 Samuel 26:25
Saul’s vision was for himself, his concern was for his house (legacy), while David’s was for God and His House. Such is the contrast between the static and the dynamic.