... and our Covering
As I woke this morning, I kept seeing the coat that had accidentally been left inside a friend’s car … I kept seeing the times over these many weeks where each morning I have put my little lamb at the foot of my bed - not a living one of course... although… might be nice ; ) … each time I have laid that lamb down, it was if I was seeing Ruth uncovering the feet of Boaz … her kinsman redeemer. And then I remembered my recent reading through Judah & Tamar and how great was her desperation out of the lies, falsehood & broken promise … did it cause her to do what she normally wouldn’t? And yet, out of her womb came one of twins called Perez which can mean “breach or break forth, breakthrough.” I am reminded that G-D is the G-D of the breakthrough!! And with His help, we can also be ones to repair the breach in the wall just as Nehemiah did with the walls of Jerusalem!
And then strangely … I began hearing the words from Notting Hill - a film from years ago - a loud "WHAAT!!!" interupting my thoughts, LOL!! But then becoming a little more somber as I [perhaps with some of you] remember the words of Julia Roberts standing as a woman before the one she loves, with tears in her eyes softly saying …
”but I am also just a girl, standing before a boy, asking him to love her.” And then even more bizarrely, tying into Tamar the connection with Julia Roberts and her role in Pretty Woman; she plays a prostitute who eventually finds her way out and into love … she is rescued by one who was finally able to see past what he thought was standing right before him - to see the person hidden underneath the surface. But even moreso, he was seeing who she was able to become! AND HELPING HER TO SEE IT TOO!!! And while his intention was initially very wrong, with time - as he gave her the chance that no body else was ever willing to give to her - she was becoming more than what even she thought she could ever BE … old labels being stripped away to reveal what she thought was never possible … being given something tangible that once seemed out of her reach and beyond her grasp … could she dare to believe and walk into the reality that there was so much more than what the life she had once known had to offer her … he rescued her from a life of prostitution and grave depravity to bring her into a wide open space … a world full of dreams and possibilities beyond her imagination!
As my very heart cries … I hear the voice of one crying … and the words of Isaiah 61 roaring through the very core of my being …
I didn’t quite expect to begin with all of that … but there seem to be many little dots wanting to connect this morning … but if you are willing to ride the waves with me, with its twists and turns … then dive right in … but don’t follow me - look to the One who knows and sees all things … I simply share from the view I can see at this moment in time, with the understanding that as He takes my hand and leads me on, there may be a different view just over the horizon … I pray that I might encourage you to see a different view as we “LOOK UP … LOOK UP!!” together and lift our eyes to the hills from where our help comes from … our help is from the L-RD … maker of heaven and earth!
So … all of these dots seem to be pointing in one direction … COVERING …
Inside the heart of every human being lies the G-D given desire to be loved, cherished and valued … to be affirmed and accepted … to belong and to know they have a place in this world - that they are not here just by accident or by coincidence … but by Grand Design.
G-D as our Father puts a covering over us in our parents who, according to His Original Blueprint, are supposed to keep us safe, protect us, teach us, nurture us, all with the goal of giving us the best tools possible in order that we could walk strong in the world on our own one day, but never all alone … “for it is not good for man to be alone.” Our parents are meant to be a reflection of His love to us, showing us and teaching us WHO G-D is through both words and deeds. As parents, we are never perfect but we can only do the best we can with the tools that were passed down to us … and some were provided with many while others not so many … and others still very little. This causes me to go back to the last entry about the deficit and the yearning deep within …
When we haven’t been given those things that G-D originally intended for us to have … when we have not been given the tools with which to live and build our lives, we can find ourselves grasping for something - ANYTHING - to hold onto … and in our grasping, we can even find that we are holding the wrong tools in our hands … suddenly finding that we have been digging ourselves a deeper pit, like a twisted maze we began long ago … until one day we realise we are no longer able to find our way back … in this place that can seem so dark and cold, our only hope remains in the One who has been watching over us our whole lives … because the thing about mazes? Those who are in it cannot see their way out from the ground … but for the One who is looking from above, He has the aerial view which reveals all ... He can help us find our way home when we cry out to Him! Our hearts can be crying out with a desperate longing as we feebly attempt to claw our way out of the pit we have fallen into … but I am being reminded of Joseph who tried to speak to those he met while imprisoned. He had hoped they would remember him to the one who had authority to call him out … but they forgot about him. But I say ... there is One even greater who holds all power & authority to call out every imprisoned soul - the very same One who called Lazarus forth from his grave. I encourage us to remember that HaShem NEVER forgets about us, nor does He turn a blind eye when we are calling out in desperation from the dark and lonely places within our hearts … BUT just as it was in His perfect timing that Joseph was released from his prison … so it is with us … for His promise in Isaiah 61 is to each and every one of us … and His promises are forever true - never broken, never under false pretence or out of selfish desire … for He is True and Pure and Fair and Righteous. He is Holy and it can be from within the very prison we find ourselves that He can bring us forth as pure gold … that we would be made Holy … and take the Light of His Holiness to the world not only living in darkness, but loving the darkness ... to not only the lost but to those who have
Lost covering ...
We live in a generation of children who have lost their covering … women who have lost their covering because the men have not held fast to the word of the L-RD, remaining passive and indifferent toward their wives; we may have been the last thing created, but we are not an afterthought. When we lose our covering, we can feel exposed and vulnerable, insecure continually trying to cover ourselves with all kind of “good” that isn’t necessarily G-D! Men looking to please their wives above pleasing the L-RD, allowing them to “be mother” instead of encouraging them to "be helper" … women being forced to “be strong” in carrying responsibility that was never ours to carry while also stripping away man’s authority in the process … men and women both confused in our G-D given identity and roles, seeking the pleasures of our flesh instead of pleasing our Father ... blaming each other when things go wrong instead of looking to the One who created us with our very own unique ID and DNA … the very same One who is more than able to make all things Right in His Righteousness. And yet … taking us right back to the beginning …
... in the heart of each one of us - MEN AND WOMEN ALIKE - comes a desperate cry to be covered where we have been found naked and bare … to be made safe and secure even in our transparency, even when feeling exposed and vulnerable … to be kept warm … to be built up and encouraged, but also to be corrected in love … to know what it is to be loved and cherished … to be valued and held dear to another’s heart … to love and to be loved in the safety of His Holiness.
Boaz & Ruth - Judah & Tamar - Ahab & Jezebel ... ???
In all my ponderings this morning, I am trying to tie together all those things that seem to be linked somehow, but not being able to make sense of it all. Thoughts of Ruth … and then Judah & Tamar … I was astounded to suddenly see Ahab & Jezebel in the mix of things … what are the connections that are trying to be made? … In trying to look at each of these stories and their characters, and there is much we can glean from all of it … I think what all the arrows are pointing to on this occasion is the issue of the heart … what do you think? … As we look at
1) Judah & Tamar ~ receiving what is ours but in the wrong way:
Tamar knew what should have been rightfully hers; Judah made promises that he had no intention of keeping for fear that his youngest son would die like his brothers. Out of selfish motive, he tells Tamar to live as a widow in her father’s house until Shelah grows-up. She eventually takes drastic measures, deceiving him with prostitution … but in doing so reveals Judah’s heart for all to see. In Genesis 38:26, we read that Judah - recognising what he had done - says that Tamar is more in the right than him because he had not kept his promise.
2) Ahab & Jezebel ~ Wanting and taking what is not ours:
Ahab wanted what did not belong to him … but so did Jezebel desire what did not belong to her. Between them became a twisted plot over a vineyard that Ahab wanted … Jezebel does not encourage him in his role as king nor does she encourage him to take his rightful place of authority … but she actually succeeds in mocking him, going even further to say she will take care of it for him … tragically he does not stop her or rebuke her with the word of the L-RD. Ahab gives in to his lustful desires, while also allowing his wife to carry out false accusations in his name - even using his very seal of authority - the result being death to an innocent man who rightfully owned the vineyard.
3) Boaz & Ruth: Receiving what is rightfully ours through the great kindness of the kinsman redeemer:
I was actually flabbergasted to see the connection and the contrast that hit me between the eyes in Ruth & Naomi vs Judah & Tamar. Even more interesting that it was to the land of Judah that Naomi and Ruth were heading! We see Judah telling his daughter-in-law to go back to her father’s house to remain a widow … waiting for an empty promise that would never come. Compare that to Naomi who tells both of her daughter-in-laws to return to their mother’s home, that the L-RD would grant that “they will find rest in the home of another husband.” Naomi makes it very clear to them she can offer them nothing … no promises of a husband or children … as if she were laying out the cost that would be involved if they were to follow and stay with her … we then see Orphah who says goodbye to Naomi … but Ruth clings!! with a reply of “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” We read on to see the Great Kindness that was bestowed upon Ruth [and Naomi] even though she seemed to expect nothing in return … she had such great respect for her mother-in-law and in listening to her instruction found herself sitting at the feet of her kinsman redeemer, finding His gentle Love and Kindness expressed toward her … and yet, listen to Boaz’s heart as he wakes to find Ruth lying at his feet … he says, “The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask … “ And we could go on and on … such beauty is melting my heart as I once again fall at His feet in worship …
… with a heart that longs to be like Ruth … receiving only that which is given by the L-RD’s hand - not out of the desperate places in my heart, nor the grasping at the wrong things … but receiving His reward in the Right way at the Right time … in the Right place with the Right people … and as Ruth determined to walk the walk set before her even after knowing the cost that journey might require … may we also be willing as His people to be determined to finish the race no matter what place we find ourselves in … and just like Ruth, finding Great Kindness as she walked into His plans and purposes … our reward is the Kinsman Redeemer, Yeshua HaMashiach!! Amazing … breath-taking that Ruth would be the Great-Grandmother of King David … leading us to the One who was and is and is to come ... Behold ...
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