Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bubbles of empty meaning - connecting message and action

At the core of the Torah, I believe, is the relationship between God and man based on what God says and what we do in response. We speak, we do art, we fight, we take action, all in response to God's spirit. Our response must have a meaningful message, a body, a core. It's not a bubble of air, it's fruit.

Moses followed the pattern of holy commandment to fruitful action when he was given the law by God and then reflected the action giving the law to the people of Israel.
Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, "Be silent, Israel, and listen! You have now become the people of the LORD your God. Obey the LORD your God and follow his commands and decrees that I give you today." Deut 27:9-10
There in the camp of the Hebrews, it was important to get their attention, to tell them to stop making up their own instructions of holiness and focus on the real God of the moment instead of idols kept hidden just in case the unfamiliar didn't work out. There is a vague truth in the message of traditional words and in the distracted repetition of words in our heads that needs to be quiet. Both disregard the meaning God gives to us through an understanding of His spirit.

We need the heart of the message, the message that is meant for the people who belong to HaShem. We have to listen so we hear the echoes of the still small voice that calls us to obedience. Like Elijah in a time of isolation (1 Kings 19:11), the commandment came, and the Lord showed His royal might to encourage him with stone shattering winds, an earthquake, and fire. But then the voice that showed His compassion and understanding for us in such a personal way, a peace-filled whisper, started the mission to anoint new kings and a prophet.

Words words words (but no meaning)

Context is important. Without it we lose meaning. As we look back on the message, the action that is associated with the words can retrieve the context, otherwise the interpretation is lost until maybe one day, we go through the same situation, the context becomes real, and the light bulb goes on. When I don't have that context, I feel forced to respond back with doubt and argument.

I am speaking to you.  (No I’m not. You're reading.)
I am writing to you. (Maybe. Maybe not. You get to decide.)

So the word of God demands action. The people of the Book did what God commanded them. And when people didn’t do what was commanded, there was judgment. That complete responsibility to word and action represents what we do between each other also. When we speak something, we have a responsibility to back it up with action if it’s to be done. If it’s something that we did, we have a responsibility to stand up for what it was we did.

I am blessing you. (Really? How? Did I hear you say you were thankful?)
I speak words over you. (Not really. It’s just talk.)
I speak blessings of plenty over you. (No I’m not. More talk. Fancy grammar.)
I am declaring blessings over you. (No difference there.)
I am declaring financial blessings over this group of people. (Not even close. Unless you put $100 on all the chairs.)

There’s got to be a full responsibility to make sure that when we say something, it needs to say the complete story. When the Lord God told Aaron to bless the Israelites in Numbers 6:22-23, there was a real set of actions that were put forth such as protection, favor, peace, and inclusion as His special people. By following the commandments, Israel was protected from being wiped out like many other tribes, and grew in numbers and in prosperity. God backed those blessings up throughout history. When He declared, it was the same as action.

God has blessed me. (That’s just half the story.)
God has blessed me by giving me a good wife. (OK yes!)
I am blessing God. (Just words.)
I am praising God. (Just more words.)
I am praising God for my salvation. (Ok, as long as you know how God backed that up.)

Every time I open my mouth, I have the opportunity to say something that will shine a ray of life from the spirit of God to another person. Some people just put out a lot of smoke and you never are sure what they mean. I don’t want shallow happy talk. That's smoke. I need talk that gets down to your glimmering soul and reflects your true spirit and feelings about life.

Life isn’t an endless ride on a merry-go-round and shouldn’t be about staying on the musical horse until your ticket runs out. Life is more about being transparent to God's light and letting people live with you and you with them. Joy feels like a light from heaven when it streams in. God wants to be a part of His people and shine through them and not just have them watch reruns and remakes of Exodus. Zech 2:10

God is restoring me. (Just words.)
God is restoring my life by getting me out of a bad job. (Just a personal perspective.)
God is restoring my dignity by giving me a job to help my family. (Meaning to others.)

It certainly is the time for people to stop faking it with vague political phrases and give people a sense of security by backing up your words with actions. It takes some real thought to back up your words and that you put meaning to them. The words have to be well chosen, because without meaning, they become a torrent of trite phrases. When the thoughts are few, the words start repeating themselves as if the repetition makes the meaning more clear.

Think before speaking

Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. Eccles 5:2 May God bring patience to my mouth so that the words I choose have time to know whether they cause pain or real instruction by preparing a person to hear them. And may I not weary the Lord Almighty by saying that evil is good, using empty words like bubbles holding no value, or doing works without merit.

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