Will the Father ever shun His children? ∙

Will the Father ever shun His children?

O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. – Psalms 86:5

Micah 7:18-20

 18 Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love.

 19 Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!

 20 You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love as you promised . . .

Shunning is to deliberately avoid someone. It is an act of social rejection and abandonment. Often it includes renouncing and separating. All social interaction with a shunned individual is cut off. Shunning is not the same as banishment. Banishment or exile is physical isolation or separation. Shunning is social isolation. Shunning is the consequence of violating accepted rules and standards.

Historically the Amish employ shunning for the most serious and egregious offenses. These include marrying a non-Amish person, adultery, excessive contact with the outside world, and drunkenness.

Will the Father ever shun His children? Can a sheep that belongs to the Father’s flock exhaust His patience? Absolutely not! The heart of the Father is infinite in mercy, patience, and kindness! Infinite mercy can never be exhausted! In response to sin, His lovingkindness and grace overflow and burst forth.

Romans 5:20 as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.

How many times have you thought to yourself, “I am the worst sinner that ever lived? Well, you are not! That position has already been filled! The worst person that ever lived was the apostle, Paul. That sounds outrageous. But Paul is the one that said it about himself. His words were enthused by the Father. Our self-rejection is driven by our guilt and discouragement

1 Timothy 1:15 “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” – and I am the worst of them all.

Further, Paul unequivocally explains that if anyone could have exhausted the Father’s patience and deserved to be shunned by the Father it was Paul himself

1 Timothy 1:14-16

 14 The grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

REFLECT & PRAY

Isaiah 53:6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.

Father thank You that You are infinitely patient and forgiving. Your response to my sin, defiance, and rebellion is to seek to lovingly restore me.

INSIGHT

Have you ever wondered why sheep were created? The Father made them to serve as object lessons, living letters. Sheep are among the most helpless and needy of all creatures. They easily get lost and fall victim to predators. They have difficulty finding water and food. They are in desperate need of a shepherd.

The Father created sheep as the perfect example of the way people behave. We are constantly going astray. Repeatedly making dumb decisions. Without the love and care truly excellent and caring shepherd we would be doomed.

The Father provided the perfect answer.

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.

Luke 15:4-6

 4 What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?

 5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’

It is only when we realize that we are indeed lost sheep in dire straits because of our foolish decisions and stubborn hearts that we recognize our need for the Good Shepherd. Lost sheep are in danger. The shepherd is responsible to find them and bring them safely home.

The Father takes great joy and feels great excitement in re-establishing a close bond with His wandering creations (Stanley).

What is the Father like? What kind of a person is He? He shows us time and time again the essence of His heart in words, deeds, and examples throughout the Scriptures. Knowing and understanding His character and personality provide great solace to ornery, troubled sheep. The Father is not an angry old man out to get us. Rather, He is a gracious loving shepherd seeking out, rounding up, and restoring each of His wayward sheep. He is the ultimate Good Shepherd. He wants only the best for each of those who belong to Him.

In the first century, many flocks were communal flocks. They did not belong to individuals but rather entire villages. Typically there were two or three shepherds who cared for the sheep. When a shepherd did not come home with the flock, he was often out searching for a sheep that had gone astray. This became a matter of concern for the whole village and they would watch and wait for the outcome. When the shepherd returned with the lost sheep laying upon his shoulders, it was a time of celebration and thanksgiving for the entire village.

“That is the picture Jesus drew of God; that, said Jesus, is what God is like. God is as glad when a lost sinner is found as a shepherd is when a strayed sheep is brought home. As a great saint said, ‘God, too, knows the joy of finding things that have gone lost’” (Barclay).

First-century religious people were often stern and harsh. They would simply shun and disparage those they thought beneath them such as tax collectors and the sinners. Rather than seeking to redeem them, they longed for their destruction. But the point of the story of the lost sheep is that the Father is far kinder than people. People give up on people, but the Father does not. Of course, the Father loves those that do not stray. “But in his heart, there is the joy of joys when a lost one is found and comes home” (Barclay).

Luke 15:32 He was lost, but now he is found!

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Ordinary people ∙

Ordinary people

If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this? – Esther 4:14

Esther 3:1-6

 1 Some time later King Ahasuerus promoted Haman over all the other nobles, making him the most powerful official in the empire.

 2 All the king’s officials would bow down before Haman to show him respect whenever he passed by, for so the king had commanded. But Mordecai refused to bow down or show him respect.

 3 Then the palace officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why are you disobeying the king’s command?”

 4 They spoke to him day after day, but still, he refused to comply with the order. So they spoke to Haman about this to see if he would tolerate Mordecai’s conduct since Mordecai had told them he was a Jew.

 5 When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show him respect, he was filled with rage.

 6 He had learned of Mordecai’s nationality, so he decided it was not enough to lay hands on Mordecai alone. Instead, he looked for a way to destroy all the Jews throughout the entire empire.

Anti-Semitism is defined as hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious or racial group. The term anti-Semitism was coined in 1879 by Wilhelm Marr to designate the anti-Jewish campaigns underway in central Europe at that time. Although the term is now widely used, it is a misnomer. It implies discrimination against all Semites. Arabs are also Semites, and yet they are not the targets of anti-Semitism (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Captain Alfred Dreyfus was a Jewish French artillery officer. In 1894, he was falsely accused of espionage and treason, stripped of his rank, and sent to Devil’s Island. The case became known as the Dreyfus affair. It was one of the most controversial and polarizing political dramas in modern French history. It caused reverberations that were felt throughout Europe. After a global campaign to demonstrate both his innocence and rampant anti-Semitism, Dreyfus was ultimately exonerated, freed, and restored to his rank in the French military. But anti-Semitism is nothing new. Most everywhere the Jewish people have lived for the last 4000 years, it has raised its ugly head. And so it was an ancient Persian (modern-day Iran).

The book of Esther was written about 450 BC. The events in the book take place in Susa, the capital of the Persian Empire during the reign of King Xerxes, who was known as Ahasuerus in the book of Esther. The Jewish people of the southern kingdom of Judah were conquered by Babylon and taken into captivity. Babylon was in turn conquered by Persia. The Persians were very flexible and allowed many conquered foreigners to return to their lands. Many of the Jews had returned to Judah, but a large number stayed behind.

Esther and her cousin Mordecai were among those who remained in the Persian kingdom. They grew comfortable and felt safe. Of all things Esther became a contestant in a beauty pageant and won. She was crowned Miss Persia. She became the wife of Ahasuerus and the queen of Persia. At first, she must have been way outside of her comfort zone. But eventually, she felt safer than ever and fit right in. The fact that she was Jewish seems to have little impact on King Ahasuerus because she was so beautiful. Just like Natalie Portman, Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), or Madeleine Stowe in our day.

In one sense, the book of Esther is unique. It is the only book in the Bible that does not mention the name of God. Although the Father is not mentioned, His presence, faithfulness, and providence permeate the story. The Father was always working behind the scenes and setting the stage for what was going to happen. The Father had a unique and special task for Esther to carry out. Had she not been elevated to the position of Queen she could not have accomplished it.

For Mordecai and Esther, it was “the good old days.” But they were not to last. I had no idea that great darkness was at work in the kingdom of Persia.

An evil man named Haman was secretly plotting to destroy all of the Jews in Persia. Haman managed to shrewdly weave a web of seemingly insurmountable circumstances to entrap, capture, and annihilate all the Father’s Chosen People.

The Father often uses average people and everyday events to accomplish His eternal purpose. Esther and Mordecai were two ordinary people with extraordinary faith and trust in the Father. They placed their lives totally in the Father’s hands and trusted Him for the outcome. They risked everything to save Father’s Chosen People and themselves.

As the story unfolds, the Father is hidden but not hiding. He is the unseen, behind-the-scenes artist of the tapestry of events coming together. He is at work to accomplish His eternal plan. The Father is fulfilling His redemptive promises for His Chosen People. “Providence is God’s attention concentrated everywhere. His care is microscopic as well as telescopic” (Strong). “Kings may issue their unalterable decrees, but God overrules and accomplishes His purposes” (Wiersbe).

REFLECT & PRAY

The Father is everywhere present and actively at work. The challenge for us is to find where He is at work and respond in faith.

Father encourage me to stand up and complete the tasks You have graciously assigned to me with integrity and endurance.

INSIGHT

The Father allows the evil villain to arise, knowing his end from the beginning. The Father sees what people cannot see. There would be no surprises for anyone, except of course for Haman. His invisible powerful Hand of Providence is at work in a faithful woman and a faithful man. Against overwhelming odds, way outside of their normal comfort zones, Mordecai and Esther rise to the occasion. When everything was at stake, they chose to stand up and trust the Father with the outcome. This was their time to shine. It was their moment in history.

Mordecai becomes aware of the plot. He must get word to Esther. He could not go to her directly. However, he could do so discreetly by making her aware that he was greatly troubled and grieving.

Esther 4:1 When Mordecai learned about all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on burlap and ashes, and went out into the city, crying with a loud and bitter wail.

His public display was seen by Esther’s servants. They came and told her what was going on. She sent one of her attendants on a fact-finding mission to find out what was troubling Mordecai. He returned to Esther with the shocking truth and Mordecai’s even more shocking request.

Mordecai wants her to approach the king uninvited, at risk of her life. If the king did not hold out his golden scepter, she would be doomed and forfeit her life (Esther 4:11). Mordecai solemnly warns her, if she did nothing she would not be spared. Anti-Semitism would reach even to the palace and she was in danger because she was Jewish. But the Father was faithful and had her back.

Esther 4:13-14

 13 Mordecai sent this message to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed.

 14 If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”

Wouldn’t be great to have someone who would encourage you like that? Undoubtedly fear raced through her heart, there was so much at risk. Remember it was the good old days, life was good, everything seemed normal in the palace. But she stepped way outside her comfort zone.

What did she not do? Esther did not tweet or go on Facebook and rant. Remember, if Satan cannot get us to do the wrong thing, he will try to get us to do the right thing in the wrong way. What did she do, she called a prayer meeting!

Esther 4:16 Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.

Wow! Not only was she in the right place at the right time, but she also had the right heart attitude and immediately responded in faith. If only we could all be just like that.

Haman’s evil law was in place. A bounty was offered for every Jew that would be exterminated. His twisted and perverted plan to eliminate all the Jewish people was ready. The trap was about to be sprung. The Jews were about to be destroyed. The stakes could not have been higher. Haman had already built special gallows to hang Mordecai, the focal point and source of his hatred for anything Jewish.

Would the Father prevail? Would the people of God be spared?

Esther boldly but politely went before King Ahasuerus. Ahasuerus lifted his scepter and welcomed her. Esther believed that the Father had her back and had developed a plan of her own. She invited King Ahasuerus and Haman to a banquet. Haman, totally clueless, thought he was going to be honored. Haman had no idea that Esther was Jewish, or that Mordecai was her cousin.

Esther exposed Haman’s evil plan and destructive goals. The king became outraged and commanded Haman to be hung immediately on the very gallows prepared for Mordecai. What a shocking reversal! The Jewish people of the land were spared. Sadly, hatred of the Jews did not end with Haman. It is with us to this day. Mordecai was promoted to become one of the king’s servants.

The Father’s unseen and unknown eternal plan was implemented. Yet in real-time, the Father heard the earnest prayers of the people and answered. They had prayed God’s will into existence. His will was being done on earth as it is in heaven. Who knew? The Father knew!

The Father is at work, He is at work all the time. He invites you to participate in His plan. The choice is yours. Maybe you also have come into His kingdom for such a time as this.

¯\_()_/¯ 10-12-9

Who’s in, who’s out? ∙

Who’s in, who’s out?

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens, and no one will shut, and who shuts, and no one opens. – Revelation 3:7

Revelation 1:17-18

 17 Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,

 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

Isaiah 22:20-24

 20 And then I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah to replace you.

 21 I will dress him in your royal robes and will give him your title and your authority. And he will be a father to the people of Jerusalem and Judah.

 22 I will give him the key to the house of David – the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them.

 23 He will bring honor to his family name, for I will drive him firmly in place like a nail in the wall.

 24 They will give him great responsibility, and he will bring honor to even the lowliest members of his family.”

Most everyone has misplaced their important keys from time to time, not to mention a wallet or purse. But knowing that does not make it any less exasperating when it happens to you. Berating yourself does not make things better. Resorting to haphazard searches and wasting time are frequently our normal go-to routines but they do not get us any closer to finding what we have misplaced.

A better plan is to remain calm and think through where you have been and the actions you have recently performed. Where is the last place you remember having or using the lost item? Go through a thorough and systematic search of the most logical and reasonable places the lost object might be hiding.

It makes sense to start with the messiest parts of our dwelling, office, or vehicle. Of course, for some of us, we may have way too many areas to choose from. Lost items tend to get misplaced in the most cluttered areas of your home or workplace. Search these untidy locations systematically, shifting debris off to the side as you search.

In the ancient world, keys would unlock and open access to what was beyond. They could also prevent access. Keys were often a symbol of authority and power. Both the wealthy in general and the rulers and monarchs, in particular, would entrust the keys to their treasury and other wealth to loyal and devoted servants. The holder of the key yielded the power and authority of its owner.

In the days of Hezekiah the king of Israel, he had a faithful steward named Eliakim. Eliakim was entrusted with Hezekiah’s key to the treasury. Thus Eliakim had authority over all of Hezekiah’s household. Further, the holder of the key had special access to the king himself. He alone could prohibit or allow others into the presence of the king. Putting it another way, access to king Hezekiah’s presence was granted through Eliakim alone.

Hezekiah being of the family of David had a special key. It was called the key of the house of David. Faithful Eliakim was given the key to the house of David – the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them (Isaiah 22:22).

The apostle John uses the same imagery (Revelation 3:7). The reference to the Lord Jesus Christ holding the key of David echoes Isaiah. The Son of God holds the key to the Father’s household and the promised, coming messianic kingdom. Access is granted or prevented through Him and Him alone. He has the power and authority to open and shut the door. The authority of the Lord Jesus Christ is complete and final. The Lord Jesus Christ possesses ultimate and absolute power.

John 5:26-27

 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so, He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;

 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.

John 14:6 I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.

Access to the Father’s presence is through the Lord Jesus Christ alone. There is no other way to come to the Father except through Him. His decisions cannot be reversed. When He opens a door, it cannot be shut. When He shuts a door, it cannot be opened. Further, the Lord Jesus Christ has supreme authority over death and Hades. As such, Jesus controls death itself and judgment. In 21st-century American idiomatic expressions, if He had an office there would be a sign on it, that would say, “The buck stops here.”

Revelation 1:17-18

 17 Do Not be afraid; I am the first and the last,

 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

REFLECT & PRAY

Supreme and final power and authority belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. The good news is that he is gracious, merciful, and filled with lovingkindness. Everyone is invited to come to the Father through Him.

Father, thank You that I have the privilege of calling You Father! Thank you that I have been granted access through the Lord Jesus Christ.

INSIGHT

Have you ever been locked out, or worse thrown out of someplace you desired to be? In the ancient Roman empire, Jewish synagogues were just about everywhere. When Jewish people recognized that the Lord Jesus Christ was the Messiah of Israel, the local synagogue had to decide as to what would happen to them. Too often Jews who believed in Jesus were excommunicated. In Philadelphia, the synagogue doors were shut to them and they could not enter. It was as though, the local congregations put up a sign, “Your kind is not welcome here!”

But there’s more. The local synagogues erroneously thought that they had the final say in matters of faith and access to the living God. They did not. Rather, the scales of balance and judgment are in the hands of the Messiah of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

It is poignant, personal, and touching. Empathizing with their sense of rejection, the Lord Jesus Christ softly reassures the local Jews for Jesus in the city of Philadelphia, that the doors to the true and eternal synagogue of heaven are wide open to them and they are always welcome.

Have you ever been excluded? How does that make you feel? The Lord Jesus Christ has the keys. He welcomes all children of the King to come into his everlasting kingdom.

In Old Testament times, the chief priests and Levites were granted sole custody of the temple key (1 Chronicles 9:27). Similarly, they thought that they held the key to David’s house. They could not have been more wrong!

The key of David belongs to David’s son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Israel. Local Jewish believers may not get into the local synagogues, but what does that really matter? They have box seats in the Father’s true and eternal synagogue.

How tragically ironic. Those who thought they were right, were dreadfully wrong. They were given every opportunity to examine and recognize their beloved and longed-for Messiah. But they failed to correctly identify and receive Him. They may have had the keys to the local synagogue, but they wound up being locked out of the Father’s eternal congregation that He had set aside for them. The price of entry was faith. And they failed in their unbelief.

John 1:11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.

Romans 10:1-3

 1 Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved.

 2 I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal.

 3 For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law.

Of all the things that you are sure you are absolutely right about today, could you possibly be wrong about any of them? Sanity checks, self-examination, and talking to trusted counselors regarding my “rightness” ought to be a part of each child of the King’s regular maintenance.

“What keys are on your keychain?”

¯\_()_/¯ 10-26-9

Just ask the animals ∙

Just ask the animals

There are things on earth that are small but unusually wise: spiders are easy to catch, but they are found even in kings’ palaces. – Proverbs 30:24, 28

Job 12:7-10  

7 Just ask the animals, and they will teach you. Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you.

 8 Speak to the earth, and it will instruct you. Let the fish in the sea speak to you.

 9 For they all know that my disaster has come from the hand of the LORD.

 10 For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being.

Dr. John Dolittle is the title character of a series of children’s books by Hugh Lofting that began in 1920. Dr. Dolittle lived in a small English village. He spent little time with human patients. He specialized in caring for and communicating with animals. In fact, he could speak to them in their own languages. When word of Dolittle’s ability spread, many animals sought him out for medical advice.

No doubt, there is much we could learn from animals. If only they could really talk to us, but of course, they do not.

In the book of Job, Job’s friends are trying to get to the bottom of why Job is suffering. After much lively debate, they conclude that Job must be responsible. Surely, the Father is punishing him for his sins. Job defends himself and declares his innocence (Job 10:7). He asks a rhetorical question. Is it possible to understand and search out the depths and mysteries of the Father? (Job 11:7). No doubt, after a great deal of soul-searching and reflection, he came to his own conclusion. There are some things in this life that we will never really be able to understand fully. They are simply beyond us.

Job offers a whimsical suggestion, “Just ask the animals, and they will teach you. Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you” (Job 12:7).

Try as we might, we are unable to figure out how animals know things and do things simply by instinct. For example, how does a spider know how to build a web? Where does it get the architectural plans? How does the spider engineer it? How does it know where to begin and end? How does the spider perfectly carry out the design to completion? Once the web is finished, how does it navigate it? How does the spider avoid getting stuck in it?

REFLECT & PRAY

For since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. – Romans 1:20

Father, so many of the things that You have made are irreducibly complex. Father, teach me to look and to listen to the message Your creation declares.

INSIGHT

If animals could talk, perhaps they could explain how the Father designed, planned out, fabricated, cares for, and controls His creation. But with very few exceptions, animals are mute and they cannot communicate with us in a way that we can understand.

But, without speaking, animals teach, birds tell, the earth speaks, and the fish inform (Job 12:7-10). Animals are programmed with instinctive intelligence. Some animals are born fully wired and ready to cope and function in their real-world environments. Ants and locusts know exactly what to do and how to do it.

Proverbs 30:25,27

 25 The ants are not a strong people, but they prepare their food in the summer;

 27 The locusts have no king, yet all of them go out in ranks;

Some animals, for example, birds, marsupials, and mammals, require protection, nurture, and a bit of parental direction and coaching to grow to maturity and fully functioning adults. 

The Father is the Father of lights and all things that exist. He intelligently designed and created all things.  All of the animals, without a word, proclaim the Father’s existence, wisdom, excellence, and greatness.

But there’s more, He cares for what He has created.

Matthew 6:26-30

 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?

 28 Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,

 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.

 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. 

The wondrous and amazing truth is that the Father cares for what He creates. If He cares for animals and plants how much more does He care for humanity which he created in His own image? “The point that Jesus is making is not that the birds do not work; it has been said that no one works harder than the average sparrow to make a living; the point that he is making is that they do not worry” (Barclay).

When we come to realize how much He loves and cares for us, our anxiety diminishes and we are able to experience peace and tranquility. How does this become a reality? We develop the skill of depending upon him and transferring our cares to Him. We gave Him the burden of our heavy load and He carries it for us.

“Jesus wants you to throw your cares on Him and leave them there. You depend on Him for life itself, and you acknowledge this reliant relationship by saying, ‘Here, Jesus. Take my problems. You have the answers! I trust You to show me what to do and to take care of the consequences’” (Stanley).

¯\_()_/¯ 12-11-9

Yada, yada, yada ∙

Yada, yada, yada

Jeremiah 12:3 You know me, O LORD; You see me, and You examine my heart’s attitude toward You.

Psalms 139:1-7

 1 O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.

 2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.

 3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.

 4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD.

 5 You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.

 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

 7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!

On April 24, 1997, the popular TV sitcom “Seinfeld” aired an episode called “The Yada Yada.” In that episode, George Costanza complains about his girlfriend’s shortening her stories and leaving out critical facts, substituting the phrase “Yada, Yada, Yada.”

“Yada, Yada, Yada” was introduced into popular American culture and remains to this day. It has become a cliché. It has been used as a disparaging remark of something boring or tedious. It is somewhat of a modern-day equivalent of saying “blah, blah, blah’” or sarcastically rolling your eyes. It is an interjection indicating something is predictable or repetitive, or simply common knowledge. When something can be skipped over, “Yada, Yada, Yada,” is interjected in its place.

There has been much discussion regarding its origin. I do not think it is that difficult to get to the bottom of it. The term, yada, is the transliteration of a Hebrew verb that means “to know.” When something is common knowledge, “Yada, Yada, Yada,” is interjected, meaning “You know.” “You know?”

David’s close and loving relationship with the Father permeates Psalm 139. This beautiful Psalm recounts the Father’s total knowledge of all things and all people. 

Psalm 139 is a love letter from David to the Father. It overflows with adoration, love, loyalty, and awe. This is Theology 101 regarding God’s omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence expressed as a love song, a poem, rather than some cold, abstract theological treatise.

Psalms 139:1-3

1 O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.

The Hebrew word translated examined is chaqar and connotes a deliberate search, thorough exploration to learn people’s sentiments and expose their weaknesses. The Hebrew word translated know is yada. It means to know, observe, realize, care, understand, and express concern.

The Father does not merely know about us, He knows us.

 2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.

The Hebrew word translated know in this verse is bin. It denotes to understand, perceive, comprehend, consider; care for, and bring insight.

 3 You scrutinize me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.

The Hebrew word translated scrutinize is zarah. Zarah originally meant to winnow or scatter, disperse. It came to mean to have a clear knowledge of a person.

The Father actively and personally surrounds, discerns, searches, knows our minds and hearts better than we know ourselves. The Father knows everything and everyone all the time and always has. He never learns new things because He is always known and continually knows everything.

The Father knows each of us deeply and completely. He has pierced all of our defensive fortifications. It is as though, He gets inside our minds and hearts and knows our thoughts, our emotions, our needs, our dreams, our aspirations, and our fears.

And David loves the intimacy and immediacy of being known. He craves it, he pleads for it. Yet at the same time, such intimate and expansive knowledge overwhelms his mind and confounds him.

“God’s infinite knowledge boggles the mind. Our human brains strain under the weight of the idea. It is too exalted for us to comprehend. But when we come to the frontier of our capacity to understand and can go no farther, we can still bow in worship at the immensity of the knowledge of God!” (MacDonald).

One can easily be frightened and troubled by the Father’s omniscience. Yet the recognition that is omniscience is coupled with lovingkindness alleviates all concerns.

REFLECT & PRAY

The omniscience of God is awe-inspiring and overwhelming. But it is also comforting and assuring. It is a short hop from being afraid that we cannot get away from Him, to being afraid that we could.

Father, thank You that You know me intimately at the deepest level. None of my personal faults are repugnant to You and Your response to them is even greater love.

INSIGHT

Psalms 139:6-7

 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

 7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!

In David’s day, the pagans worshiped gods that were local and limited, the sea, the sky, the harvest, the underworld. So it is with polytheists. But not with the Father. He had no such limitations. The Father’s presence is everywhere. He is all-seeing and perceives all things in all places.

Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

David does not wish to hide and evade the Father, rather he embraces Him. David acknowledges that his ability to comprehend the Father’s omniscience is beyond his grasp. He realizes that the Father’s knowledge and guidance are his protection. The Father keeps him safe.

The Father is truly amazing and wonderful. David knows he can never fully get his arms around it. He is not equal to it. Trying to comprehend the incomprehensible is hurting his brain. David gives up trying to understand the inscrutable. He shifts his focus instead to adoration and worship. David reveres and glorifies the Father for who He is, what He does, and what He has done for him.

Romans 11:33 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!

Yada!

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of every day’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.

I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.

(Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

¯\_()_/¯ 10-13-9

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