The Living Word

Our words and thoughts either hinder or support relationship with the Lord God.

The sayings of our mouth and the meditation of our heart.

Ps 19:14 – Let the sayings of my mouth, And the meditation of my heart, Be for a pleasing thing before Thee, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer! (YLT)

Ps 19:14 – Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (ESV)

Ps 19:14 – May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be acceptable in your presence, Adonai, my Rock and Redeemer. (CJB)

Ps 19:14 – These are the words in my mouth; these are what I chew on and pray. Accept them when I place them on the morning altar, O God, my Altar-Rock, God, Priest-of-My-Altar. (MSG)

Read the psalmist David’s words above slowly and reflectively. Let them settle deep in your soul and take root.

Are you intentionally conscious of the sayings of your mouth and the meditation of your heart? Are you aware of what you chew on and pray? Do you perceive your words and thoughts as an offering to the Lord God? Do you intentionally seek to know that the Lord God takes pleasure in them? Do you actively, continually strive to know what they reveal about your inner self and your various parts?

Our thoughts and ways.

Isa 55:8-9 – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Can you discern the origin of the sayings of your mouth and the meditation of your heart? Whose influence are you under?

What have I to do with idols?

Hos 14:8-9 – O Ephraim [O Your Name], what have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like an evergreen cypress; from me comes your fruit. Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors [those who break away from just authority] stumble in them. (ESV)

Is the Lord God speaking to you as he did to Ephraim? Do you hear his voice? “What have I to do with idols?”
“I am like an evergreen cypress.”

An evergreen cypress is a tall evergreen of hard and durable wood, suitable for building and was used to fashion idols. This was likely the wood which Noah used to build his ark.1

“From me comes your fruit.”
It is I, whose ways are right, who answers and looks after you.”
Do we know the One whose ways are right, who answers and looks after us so that we walk in the ways of the Lord?

And also.

2 Kings 17:41 – So these nations feared the Lord and also served their carved images. Their children did likewise, and their children’s children—as their fathers did, so they do to this day. (ESV)

So they do to this day. They feared the Lord and also served their carved images.

For years my religion itself, with its lists of do’s and don’ts, was an idol that stood between me and the Lord God, preventing me from intimately knowing and trusting him. It kept me focused on my works, sometimes on my fear due to my failures to comply and sometimes on pride as I judged others as doing worse than I in meeting expectations.

Our inward being and secret heart.

Ps 51:6 – Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. (ESV)

I was not familiar with my inward being or my secret heart. I was stuck in my head, emotions, and external circumstances, relying on my own thoughts and actions and the expectations of the world around me to make myself acceptable to God and people. So many idols I was trying to please and manipulate to get the acceptance and approval and belonging and security I wanted!

What is truth, or rather, who is truth in the inward being that God delights in?

John 14:6-7 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (ESV)

Oh, that we would learn to delight in what God delights in!

Go in through the narrow gate.

Matt 7:13-14 – “Go in through the narrow gate; for the gate that leads to destruction is wide and the road broad, and many travel it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (CJB)

Let me lead.

Matt 16:24-26 – Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for? (MSG)

“Embrace suffering. Follow me, and I’ll show you how. Self-sacrifice is my way to finding your true self.”

Satisfied.

Ps 17:13-15 – Arise, O Lord! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword, from men by your hand, O Lord, from men of the world whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants. As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness. (ESV)

Note the contrast between two states of being. The world whose portion is in this life versus waking up, satisfied with the likeness of the Lord God.

For years I was religious and worked hard to do good works and be right in what I said and thought, and was mostly satisfied with having my physical, mental, social, and emotional needs met. Then I became aware of an emptiness and loneliness deep within that no one and no thing and no effort could satisfy. I now know that it was a yearning deep in my soul to behold the Lord’s face. I longed for intimate experiences of knowing him. I was no longer satisfied with hearing about him or waiting for some promised experience after my physical death.

I discovered that the wicked that my soul needed to be delivered from was myself. I needed to be delivered from my idols, from my need for approval and acceptance from other people, from the illusions that the treasures of this world could satisfy me, and from deluding myself that my own efforts could save me from my demons; fear, anger, self-reliance, ignorance of God’s thoughts and ways.

Good News combined with trust.

Heb 4:2-3 – for Good News has also been proclaimed to us, just as it was to them. But the message they heard didn’t do them any good, because those who heard it did not combine it with trust. For it is we who have trusted who enter the rest… (CJB)

Those who heard the Good News did not combine it with trust, with absolute confidence, unquestioning reliance, child-like dependence upon Christ.

Combined/being mixed: to commingle, assimilate; to absorb and and incorporate; to make like or alike; union; with or together, by association, companionship, process, resemblance, possession, completeness; to fill, pour out for drinking.2

The word, the Good News, combined with trust. Trust that develops, not through my efforts, determination, knowledge, or will-power, but trust that grows through relationship, the experience of association, companionship and union with Christ Jesus!

“I am like an evergreen cypress; from me comes your fruit.” From me, the Lord God, comes your fruit, your trust, your being, your righteousness… all the result of the Lord God’s purifying, restorative, gracious acts and gifts of mercy.

Fruit: bough, reward; to bear fruit; be, cause to be, make fruitful, grow, increase.3

All thy goodness springs from the principle of grace which I have planted in thy soul; for as the earth cannot bring forth fruit without the blessing of God, sending the dews and rains, with the genial rays of the sun; so neither can the soul of man, even of the most pious, bear fruit, without a continual influence from the Most High. Without the former, neither grass could grow for cattle, nor corn for the service of man; without the latter, no seeds of righteousness could take root, no stalk of promise could grow, no fruit of grace could be produced. And the unclean spirit, which was cast out, would soon return; and, finding his former house empty, swept, and garnished, would re-enter with seven demons of greater power and worse influence; and the latter end of that man would be worse than the first. Reader, ever consider that all thy good must be derived from God; and all that good must be preserved in thee by his continued influence of light, love, and power upon thy soul.4

Rest.

Heb 4:10-12 – for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (ESV)

Whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
Let us strive to enter that rest. For the word of God is living and active…

Matt 11:28-30 – Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (ESV)

Come to me. I will give you rest.

Rest: cessation, refreshment, to make to cease. Christ’s “rest” in not a “rest” from work, but in work, “not the rest of inactivity but of the harmonious working of all the faculties and affections – of will, heart, imagination, conscience – because each has found in God the ideal sphere for its satisfaction and development.”5

The Word, living, active, sharp, piercing, discerning…

John 1:14-18 – The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.

John pointed him out and called, “This is the One! The One I told you was coming after me but in fact was ahead of me. He has always been ahead of me, has always had the first word.”

We all live off his generous bounty, gift after gift after gift. We got the basics from Moses, and then this exuberant giving and receiving, This endless knowing and understanding — all this came through Jesus, the Messiah. No one has ever seen God, not so much as a glimpse. This one-of-a-kind God-Expression, who exists at the very heart of the Father, has made him plain as day. (MSG)

The Word became flesh and blood… true from start to finish.
This endless knowing and understanding. Grace and truth. From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.
Do we know? Are we aware? Do we understand what we keep receiving?
This grace planted in our soul. This continued influence of light, love, and power upon our soul. Oh, that we would awake!

This endless knowing and understanding, endless grace and endless truth—all this came through Jesus, the Messiah, who exists at the very heart of the Father…making his Father known to us. Therefore, we can confidently join David, the psalmist, in his prayer:

As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

Read the texts again. Chew upon the words. Turn them over and over in your mind. Ask the Lord God what he wants you to receive from them and how he wants you to respond to them.

What thoughts and questions and emotions arise?

Transgressors stumble in the ways of the Lord.

Hos 14:8-9 – O Ephraim [O Your Name], what have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like an evergreen cypress; from me comes your fruit. Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors [those who break away from just authority] stumble in them. (ESV)

Stumble: to totter or waver through weakness of the legs, ankle; to falter, faint, or fall; be overthrown; a stumbling-block, obstacle, enticement, specifically an idol, scruple.6

Are you aware of stumbling blocks, idols, hesitation, uneasiness that hinder your union with the Lord God? Have you asked him to reveal them? Do you earnestly, continually seek him and his word to discover both the hindrances and the path through the narrow gate that leads to life, freedom and union with him?

Ps 119:165 – Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. (ESV)

Isa 57:21 – There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked [those who are wrong, who violate, who stumble].” (ESV)

Peace: safe in mind, body or estate; well, happy, friendly, favor, friend; to be, make completed; make prosper.7

Safe in mind, body, and estate, made complete are those who love your law, O Lord.

What did the psalmist David do when he experienced this state of no peace?

I remember. I meditate. I ponder. I stretch out. My soul thirsts.

Ps 143:5-10 – I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah [Pause. Breathe. Reflect.]

Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord! I have fled to you for refuge! Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! (ESV)

Read the texts again, setting aside your own thoughts, perceptions, judgments, your own agenda to allow response from your inner depths to surface. What do you discover? What does the Lord God want you to know about yourself and about him?

Not to idols, but to you, Lord God, I sing praise.

Ps 138:1-3 – I give you thanks with all my heart. Not to idols, but to you I sing praise. I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your grace and truth; for you have made your word [even] greater than the whole of your reputation. When I called, you answered me, you made me bold and strong. (CJB)

You have made your word even greater than the whole of your reputation. Do I give your word, the living Word, the respect and honor and time and attention that He is due, Lord God?

 

But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. (Job 32:8 ESV)

Become aware of your breath. The breath of the Almighty in you.
Breath by breath. Become conscious of the presence of the Almighty in you. Seek his strength. Seek his presence. Surrender to the influence of the breath of the Almighty. This continued influence of light, love, and power upon your soul.

Inhale.
Exhale.

You must rely on the breath of the Almighty, the Spirit of God who lives inside you, to make you understand Gods words, to discern the thoughts and intentions of your heart, to seek the interests of Jesus Christ and not your own.

With your inhalation draw the words of the Lord God deep within you.
With your exhalation empty yourself of all your own ideas, plans, thoughts, imaginations and words to make room for the words of God to take possession. Open yourself completely to what the Lord God wants to reveal to you about yourself and about him.

Ps 138:2 – I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. (ESV)

Inhale: (draw the words of the Lord God deep within you)

I give thanks to your name for your steadfast love

Exhale. (empty yourself of self to allow the words of God to take possession)

For you have exalted above all things your name and your word.

Wait, watch, listen, be still, be willing for the Lord God to transform you from within, revealing who you really are. Strive and reach for the goal, alive to the energy that he powerfully works in you as you rest, completely dependent upon him to reach the goal, united with the Messiah.

As you receive the Word of God into that deepest place of your being, the Lord God is rescuing you, he is loosening your bonds to your old nature, he is delivering you from your illusions and foolish boasting. Through Jesus, our Messiah, God is gradually transforming you from within, revealing who you really are, becoming one spirit with him.

Inhale.
Exhale.
Breathe the Lord God’s words all day every day.

2 Cor 13:14 – the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, [is] with you all! Amen. (YLT)

*****

Resources/For deeper study:

1Cypress. A tall evergreen tree of hard and durable wood. Cypress wood was suitable for building, and was used to fashion idols (Isa 44:14). The word rendered gopherwood by the NKJV, KJV, RSV, and NASB in Gen 6:14 is thought to be cypress. This was the wood which Noah used to build his ark. The word for cypress is also renderd as camelthorn (Isa 55:13) and ilex (Isa 44:14) by the NEB. (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

2Combined/being mixed: NT:4786 <START GREEK>sugkera/nnumi<END GREEK> sugkerannumi (soong-ker-an’-noo-mee); from NT:4862 and NT:2767; to commingle, i.e. (figuratively) to combine or assimilate: KJV – mix with, temper together.

NT:4862 <START GREEK>su/n<END GREEK> sun (soon); a primary preposition denoting union; with or together (but much closer than NT:3326 or NT:3844), i.e. by association, companionship, process, resemblance, possession, instrumentality, addition, etc.: KJV – beside, with. In composition it has similar applications, including completeness.

NT:2767 <START GREEK>kera/nnumi<END GREEK> kerannumi (ker-an’-noo-mee); a prolonged form of a more primary kerao (ker-ah’-o) (which is used in certain tenses); to mingle, i.e. (by implication) to pour out (for drinking): KJV – fill, pour out. Compare NT:3396. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

3Hosea 14:7 (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

4Fruit: OT:6529 <START HEBREW>yr!P=<END HEBREW> periy (per-ee’); from OT:6509; fruit (literally or figuratively): KJV – bough, ([first-]) fruit ([-ful]), reward.

OT:6509 <START HEBREW>hr*P*<END HEBREW> parah (paw-raw’); a primitive root; to bear fruit (literally or figuratively): KJV – bear, bring forth (fruit), (be, cause to be, make) fruitful, grow, increase. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

5Rest: 1. anapausis (<START GREEK>a)na/pausi$<END GREEK>, NT:372), “cessation, refreshment, rest” (ana, “up,” pauo, “to make to cease”), the constant word in the Sept. for the Sabbath “rest,” is used in Matt 11:29; here the contrast seems to be to the burdens imposed by the Pharisees. Christ’s “rest” is not a “rest” from work, but in work, “not the rest of inactivity but of the harmonious working of all the faculties and affections — of will, heart, imagination, conscience — because each has found in God the ideal sphere for its satisfaction and development” (J. Patrick, in Hastings’ Bib. Dic.); it occurs also in Matt 12:43; Luke 11:24; Rev 4:8, RV, “(they have no) rest” [KJV, “(they) rest (not)”], where the noun is the object of the verb echo, “to have”; so in 14:11. (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

6Stumble: OT:3782 <START HEBREW>lv^K*<END HEBREW> kashal (kaw-shal’); a primitive root; to totter or waver (through weakness of the legs, especially the ankle); by implication, to falter, stumble, faint or fall: KJV – bereave [from the margin], cast down, be decayed, (cause to) fail, (cause, make to) fall (down, -ing), feeble, be (the) ruin (-ed, of), (be) overthrown, (cause to) stumble,  utterly, be weak.

Stumble/offend: OT:4383 <START HEBREW>lovk=m! <END HEBREW> mikshowl (mik-shole’); or mikshol (mik-shole’); masculine from OT:3782; a stumbling-block, literally or figuratively (obstacle, enticement [specifically an idol], scruple): KJV – caused to fall, offence,  [no-] thing offered, ruin, stumbling-block. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

7Peace: OT:7965 <START HEBREW><olv*<END HEBREW> shalowm (shaw-lome’); or shalom (shaw-lome’); from OT:7999; safe, i.e. (figuratively) well, happy, friendly; also (abstractly) welfare, i.e. health, prosperity, peace: KJV –  do, familiar,  fare, favour,  friend,  great, (good) health, (X perfect, such as be at) peace (-able, -ably), prosper (-ity, -ous), rest, safe (-ty), salute, welfare, (X all is, be) well,  wholly.

OT:7999 <START HEBREW><l^v*<END HEBREW> shalam (shaw-lam’); a primitive root; to be safe (in mind, body or estate); figuratively, to be (causatively, make) completed; by implication, to be friendly; by extension, to reciprocate (in various applications): KJV – make amends, (make an) end, finish, full, give again, make good, (re-) pay (again), (make) (to) (be at) peace (-able), that is perfect, perform, (make) prosper (-ous), recompense, render, requite, make restitution, restore, reward,  surely. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

 

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