We Belong to God

Experience belonging through companionship with the Spirit of God in us.

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)

What do the sayings of your mouth and the meditation of your heart reveal about who you think you are? Are they in agreement with the words of the Lord God and the meditation of his heart?

Are you aware of a growing desire for your every word and thought to please the Lord? Are you becoming conscious of the Lord’s response to your every word and thought?

Have you considered that the Lord God desires for you to be pleased with his words and thoughts?
How often have you read Scripture and found it to be dull, unappetizing, unexciting, confusing…?
Might it be that you’ve only read Scripture through the lens of your own logic and rationale, unaided by the breath of the Almighty?

Read the words of Scripture slowly and reflectively. Let them settle deep in your soul and take root as the Spirit of God brings them to life.

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

God-breathed. Valuable.

2 Tim 3:16-17 – All Scripture is God-breathed and is valuable for teaching the truth, convicting of sin, correcting faults and training in right living; thus anyone who belongs to God may be fully equipped for every good work. (CJB)

All Scripture is God-breathed
For teaching the truth.
For convicting of sin.
For correcting faults.
For training in right living.
Fully equipping everyone who belongs to God for every good work.

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 questions and longings do you become aware of? Does a word satisfy? Encourage? Convict? Prod? Empower? Give hope? Instruct?

All Scripture is God-breathed, valuable…fully equipping for every good work anyone who belongs to God.

Do I belong to God? Do you belong to God? How do we know?

The Spirit.

Rom 8:16 – The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (ESV)

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit.
Bears witness with: To testify jointly. Corroborate by concurrent evidence. Union. With. Together. Companionship. Resemblance.1

Do you know this companionship, this union between your spirit and the Spirit of God?
I’d heard about it for decades, but I didn’t know it through personal experience.

Eph 1:13-14 – Furthermore, you who heard the message of the truth, the Good News offering you deliverance, and put your trust in the Messiah were sealed by him with the promised Ruach HaKodesh [Holy Spirit], who guarantees our inheritance until we come into possession of it and thus bring him praise commensurate with his glory. (CJB)

Hear the message of the truth. Put your trust in the Messiah, the deliverer. Sealed by the Messiah with the promised Holy Spirit. Guarantees our inheritance until we come into possession of it.

For years I agreed that a set of church doctrines and Bible statements were true. But I didn’t know the Messiah. How can one trust someone they have not met and do not know, only hearing about him or reading about him, but never experiencing being in his presence and looking into his eyes and heart?

Through Jesus Christ.

John 1:17 – For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (ESV)

How different the experience of living by law, trying to interpret it and apply it to everyday circumstances and the experience of living by grace and truth that comes through relationship with Jesus Christ!

Law: to parcel out, especially food or grazing to animals; to set down as a rule or direction; a principle.2
Grace: graciousness of manner or act, especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life.3
Truth: true, as not concealing.4

Divine influence upon the heart. Divine influence reflected in the life. Unfolding, revealing reality from God’s all-seeing, all-knowing, influential presence everywhere perspective.

Do you see reality only from your own puny view or are you learning to see from the Lord God’s vast, eternal, gracious perspective?

Grace.

Ps 85:7-8 – Show us your grace, Adonai [LORD]; grant us your salvation. I am listening. What will God, Adonai, say? For he will speak peace to his people, to his holy ones — but only if they don’t relapse into folly. (CJB)

Show us!
Show us your grace, Lord; grant us your salvation.
I am listening. What will God say?
For he will speak peace to his people
But only if they don’t relapse into folly, silliness, confidence in someone other than the Lord.

Peace: Safe in mind, body or estate, well, happy, friendly. To be, make completed; make amends, make an end, finish, full, give again, make good, perfect, restore.5

Are you intimately familiar with the Lord God’s grace? Are you aware of divine influence upon your heart?

Keep asking. Keep waiting. The Lord God is showing us his grace. He is granting us his salvation. He is speaking peace to us. Maybe we just do not yet have eyes to see or ears to hear, mind to understand or heart to trust.

Don’t give up! Don’t turn back to folly if the Lord God does not answer quickly or in the way you expect. Keep asking and keep waiting and keep anticipating.

The friendship of the Lord.

Ps 25:14-15 – The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net [the corruption of human nature with its passions and desires]. (ESV)

The friendship
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear [revere] him
He makes known
He makes known to them his covenant.

Covenant. To cut a covenant, from the ceremony described in Gen 15:9-17, in which God appeared as “a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp [flaming torch] that passed between those pieces.” “Covenant is parallel or equivalent to the Hebrew words “word”, “statute”, “precepts”, “testimony”, “law”, and lovingkindness”. These words emphasize the authority and grace of God in making and keeping the “covenant” and the specific responsibility of man under the covenant. Above all, the “covenant” calls Israel to “love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they might” Deut 6:5. God’s “covenant” is a relationship of love and loyalty between the Lord and his chosen people. In the “covenant,” man’s response contributes to covenant fulfillment; yet man’s action is not causative. God’s grace always goes before and produces man’s response. God’s “covenant” is central to the entire Bible. The Bible relates God’s “covenant” purpose, that man be joined to him in loving service and know eternal fellowship with him through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.6

My eyes are ever toward the Lord
His authority, his grace.
His grace always goes before and produces my response,
Relationship of love and loyalty.
For he will!
He will pluck my feet out of the net.
He will save me from my twisted, corrupted thinking and ways.

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?

 

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.

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, his covenant, 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.

Rom 8:16 – The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (ESV)

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

The Spirit himself bears witness with my spirit

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

I am a child of God.

Listen at the deepest level of your being to God who speaks within you with a still small voice, awakening you and showing you his grace, granting you his salvation, urging you to hear what he will speak.

Anticipate.

As you listen to the Word, the covenant, of God from that deepest place of your being, the Lord God is rescuing you, he is loosening your bonds to your old nature. Through Jesus, our Messiah, he is delivering you from your illusions and foolish boasting. He is gradually transforming you from within, revealing who you really are.

Be willing to rest in the living, active Word of God and the breath of God.
Be willing to wait for as long as it takes to become aware of his/her presence.
Be willing to trust that you will learn to hear and understand the still small voice within.
Be willing to be taught by the still small voice within.
Be willing to be convicted of wrongdoing, called out for words and thoughts that displease.
Be willing to have your faults exposed and corrected by the still small voice within.
Be willing to be trained in right living by the still small voice within.
Be willing to be equipped for every good work
As the Spirit of God bears witness with your spirit
You are, indeed, a child of God!
His divine influence reflected in your life.

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

I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it. I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it. (Ps 119:15-16 MSG)

*****

Resources/For deeper study:

1Bears witness with: NT:4828 <START GREEK>summarture/w<END GREEK> summartureo (soom-mar-too-reh’-o); from NT:4862 and NT:3140; to testify jointly, i.e. corroborate by (concurrent) evidence:

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.: (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.)

2Law: NT:3551 <START GREEK>no/mo$<END GREEK> nomos (nom’-os); from a primary nemo (to parcel out, especially food or grazing to animals); law (through the idea of prescriptive usage), genitive case (regulation), specifically (of Moses [including the volume]; also of the Gospel), or figuratively (a principle): KJV – law. (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.)

3Grace: NT:5485 <START GREEK>xa/ri$<END GREEK> charis (khar’-ece); from NT:5463; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude): KJV – acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace (-ious), joy, liberality, pleasure, thank (-s, -worthy). (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.)

4Truth: NT:225 <START GREEK>a)lh/qeia<END GREEK> aletheia (al-ay’-thi-a); from NT:227; truth: KJV – true,  truly, truth, verity.

NT:227 <START GREEK>a)lhqh/$<END GREEK> alethes (al-ay-thace’); from NT:1 (as a negative particle) and NT:2990; true (as not concealing): KJV – true, truly, truth. (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.)

5Peace: 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. (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.)

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.)

6COVENANT: berit OT:1285, “covenant; league; confederacy.” This word is most probably derived from an Akkadian root meaning “to fetter”; it has parallels in Hittite, Egyptian, Assyrian, and Aramaic. Berit is used over 280 times and in all parts of the Old Testament. The first occurrence of the word is in Gen 6:18: “But with thee [Noah] will I establish my covenant.”

The KJV translates berit fifteen times as “league”: “…now therefore make ye a league with us” Josh 9:6. These are all cases of political agreement within Israel 2 Sam 3:12-13,21; 5:3 or between nations 1 Kings 15:19. Later versions may use “covenant,” “treaty,” or “compact,” but not consistently. In Judg 2:2, the KJV has: “And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land….” The command had been also given in Ex 23:32; 34:12-16; and Deut 7:2-6, where the KJV has “covenant.”

The KJV translates berit as “covenant” 260 times. The word is used of “agreements between men,” as Abraham and Abimelech Gen 21:32: “Thus they made a covenant at Beer-sheba….” David and Jonathan made a “covenant” of mutual protection that would be binding on David’s descendants forever 1 Sam 18:3; 20:8,16-18,42. In these cases, there was “mutual agreement confirmed by oath in the name of the Lord.” Sometimes there were also material pledges Gen 21:28-31.

Ahab defeated the Syrians: “So he made a covenant with [Ben-hadad], and sent him away” 1 Kings 20:34. The king of Babylon “took of the king’s seed [Zedekiah], and made a covenant with him, and hath taken an oath of him…” Ezek 17:13, NIV, “treaty”. In such “covenants,” the terms were imposed by the superior military power; they were not mutual agreements.

In Israel, the kingship was based on “covenant”: “…David made a covenant [KJV, “league”] with them [the elders of Israel] in Hebron before the Lord…” 2 Sam 5:3. The “covenant” was based on their knowledge that God had appointed him 2 Sam 5:2; thus they became David’s subjects (cf. 2 Kings 11:4,17).

The great majority of occurrences of berit are of God’s “covenants” with men, as in Gen 6:18 above. The verbs used are important: “I will establish my covenant” Gen 6:18 — literally, “cause to stand” or “confirm.” “I will make my covenant” Gen 17:2, RSV. “He declared to you his covenant” Deut 4:13. “My covenant which I commanded them…” Josh 7:11. “I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore… I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” Ex 6:5-6. God will not reject Israel for their disobedience so as “to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them…” Lev 26:44. “He will not… forget the covenant… which he sware unto them” Deut 4:31. The most common verb is “to cut [karat] a covenant,” which is always translated as in Gen 15:18: “The Lord made a covenant with Abram.” This use apparently comes from the ceremony described in Gen 15:9-17 (cf. Jer 34:18), in which God appeared as “a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp [flaming torch] that passed between those pieces” Gen 15:17. These verbs make it plain that God takes the sole initiative in covenant making and fulfillment.

“Covenant” is parallel or equivalent to the Hebrew words dabar (“word”), hoq (“statute”), piqqud (“precepts” — Ps. 103:18>, NASB), ±edah (“testimony” — Ps. 25:10>), torah (“law” — Ps. 78:10>), and checed (“lovingkindness” — Deut. 7:9>, NASB). These words emphasize the authority and grace of God in making and keeping the “covenant,” and the specific responsibility of man under the covenant. The words of the “covenant” were written in a book Ex 24:4,7; Deut 31:24-26 and on stone tablets Ex 34:28.

Men “enter into” Deut 29:12 or “join” Jer 50:5 God’s “covenant.” They are to obey Gen 12:4 and “observe carefully” all the commandments of the “covenant” Deut 4:6. But above all, the “covenant” calls Israel to “love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” Deut 6:5. God’s “covenant” is a relationship of love and loyalty between the Lord and His chosen people.

“…If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people… and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation” Ex 19:5-6. “All the commandments… shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers” Deut 8:1. In the “covenant,” man’s response contributes to covenant fulfillment; yet man’s action is not causative. God’s grace always goes before and produces man’s response.

Occasionally, Israel “made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments…, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book” 2 Kings 23:3. This is like their original promise: “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do” Ex 19:8; 24:7. Israel did not propose terms or a basis of union with God. They responded to God’s “covenant.”

The wholly gracious and effective character of God’s “covenant” is confirmed in the Septuagint by the choice of diatheke  to translate berit. A diatheke is a will that distributes one’s property after death according to the owner’s wishes. It is completely unilateral. In the New Testament, diatheke  occurs 33 times and is translated in the KJV 20 times as “covenant” and 13 times as “testament.” In the RSV and the NASB, only “covenant” is used.

The use of “Old Testament” and “New Testament” as the names for the two sections of the Bible indicates that God’s “covenant” is central to the entire book. The Bible relates God’s “covenant” purpose, that man be joined to Him in loving service and know eternal fellowship with Him through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

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