By Themselves They Are Just Animals

To those whom the word of God came, God called them gods, sons of 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)

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?

Meditating and resting.

Do you have a regular practice of meditating on God’s Word and resting in his promises? This is a vital part of the sanctification process, a separation and surrendering to the will of God for you.

Sanctification.

Sanctification is not an attainment, it is the state into which God, in grace, calls sinful people, and in which they begin their course as Christians, followers of Christ. It is a separation to God; it is the relationship with God to which their sole title is the death of Christ. Sanctification is God’s will, his purpose in calling sinful people by the gospel, and must be learned from God as he teaches it by his Word. It must be pursued by the believer, earnestly and undeviatingly, for the holy character is built up little by little, as the result of obedience to the Word of God, and following the example of Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Agent in sanctification. The sanctification of the Spirit is associated with the choice of God; it is a Divine act preceding the acceptance of the Gospel by the individual.1

Lectio Divina.

I encourage you to practice Lectio Divina – taking in just a small bite of Scripture each day, and chewing on it all day, all week, all month, all year, all life long, giving Holy Spirit time and access to the deep recesses of your heart to cleanse and nourish your soul as you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (1 Pet 3:18).

“Lectio Divina”, a Latin term, means “divine reading” and describes a way of reading the Scriptures whereby we gradually let go of our own agenda and open ourselves to what God wants to say to us. …the stages…

lectio (reading)… meditatio (reflection)… oratio (response)… contemplatio (rest), where we… simply rest in the Word of God. We listen at the deepest level of our being to God who speaks within us with a still small voice. As we listen, we are gradually transformed from within… The movement of the prayer is towards silence… The practice of Lectio Divina as a way of praying the Scriptures has been a fruitful source of growing in relationship with Christ for many centuries and in our own day is being rediscovered by many individuals and groups. The Word of God is alive and active and will transform each of us if we open ourselves to receive what God wants to give us.2

Lectio.

Reading. Read the Word of God slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into you.

Ex 31:15 – Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. (ESV)

Meditatio.

Reflection. Think about the text and ruminate upon it so that you take from it what God wants to give you.

Ex 31:15 – Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. (ESV)

What word or phrase stirs you? Take some time to murmur and mumble the word/s, taking a kind of pleasure in making the sounds and getting the feel of the meaning. Take in what God wants to give you that will make you more yourself, created in his image and likeness.3

A Sabbath of solemn rest.

Separated as holy.

Gen 2:2-3 – On the seventh day God was finished with his work which he had made, so he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. God blessed the seventh day and separated it as holy; because on that day God rested from all his work which he had created, so that it itself could produce. (CJB)

God rested: to repose, to desist from exertion.4
God blessed: as a benefit, praise, still.5
God rested from all his work which he had created
So that…
So that it itself could produce.

Be fruitful.

Gen 1:28 – God blessed them: God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air and every living creature that crawls on the earth.” (CJB)

Be fruitful. Bring forth fruit, be, cause to be fruitful, make grow, increase.6

Rest.

Ex 31:15 – Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. (ESV)

Do you sense the paradox in being fruitful while resting?

As a covenant.

Ex 31:15-17 – Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.'” (ESV)

A Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord.
Solemn/holy: a sacred place or thing, sanctity; consecrated, dedicated, holy, saint, sanctuary.7

Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death.
Death: literally or figuratively, to die, be dead.8

Therefore, the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath.
Keep: to hedge about as with thorns, i.e. guard; to protect, attend to; take heed to self; preserve.9

As a covenant. In the sense of cutting; a compact because made by passing between pieces of flesh; to render clear10

How often we make the error of thinking only in terms of our physical bodies when we think of resting! How often we think of fruitfulness in literal physical and material terms, unconscious of spiritual fruitfulness.

By themselves they are just animals.

Eccl 3:18 – Concerning people, I said to myself, “God is testing them, so that they will see that by themselves they are just animals. (CJB)

Ex 31:15 – Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. (ESV)

Sons of the Most High.

Ps 82:6-7 – I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.” (ESV)

He called them gods to whom the word of God came.

John 10:31-39 – The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” (ESV)

By themselves they are just animals.

To those whom the word of God came, God called them gods, sons of God.
The One whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world
The Son
The Son of God
Doing the works of his Father.
“The Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”

What is the fruitfulness that proceeds from Sabbath rest?

That they may all be one.

John 17:20-23 – “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (ESV)

Perfectly one.

A Sabbath of solemn rest.

Ex 31:15 – Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. (ESV)

Oratio.

Response. Leave your thinking aside and simply let your heart speak to God. This response is inspired by your reflection on the Word of God.

Prayer means yearning for the simple presence of God, for a personal understanding of his word, for knowledge of his will and for capacity to hear and obey him. It is thus something much more than uttering petitions for good things external to our own deepest concerns…

We wish to gain a true evaluation of ourselves and of the world so as to understand the meaning of our life as children of God redeemed from sin and death. We wish to gain a true loving knowledge of God, our Father and Redeemer. We wish to lose ourselves in his love and rest in him. We wish to hear his word and respond to it with our whole being. We wish to know his merciful will and submit to it in its totality. These are the aims and goals of meditation and oratio.11

 

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

Contemplatio.

Rest. Let go of your own ideas, plans and meditations, your holy words and thoughts. Simply rest in the Word of God. Listen at the deepest level of your being to God who speaks within you with a still small voice. As you listen, you are gradually transformed from within. Take what you read in the Word of God into your daily life. The way you live is the test of the authenticity of your prayer.

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.12

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Resources/For deeper study:

1Sanctification: A. Noun. hagiasmos (<START GREEK>a)giasmo/$ <END GREEK>, NT:38), “sanctification,” is used of (a) separation to God, 1 Cor 1:30; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2; (b) the course of life befitting those so separated, 1 Thess 4:3,4,7; Rom 6:19,22; 1 Tim 2:15; Heb 12:14. “Sanctification is that relationship with God into which men enter by faith in Christ, Acts 26:18; 1 Cor 6:11, and to which their sole title is the death of Christ, Eph 5:25,26; Col 1:22; Heb 10:10,29; 13:12.

“Sanctification is also used in NT of the separation of the believer from evil things and ways. This sanctification is God’s will for the believer, 1 Thess 4:3, and His purpose in calling him by the gospel, v. 7; it must be learned from God, v. 4, as He teaches it by His Word, John 17:17,19, cf. Ps 17:4; 119:9, and it must be pursued by the believer, earnestly and undeviatingly, 1 Tim 2:15; Heb 12:14. For the holy character, hagiosune, 1 Thess 3:13, is not vicarious, i. e., it cannot be transferred or imputed, it is an individual possession, built up, little by little, as the result of obedience to the Word of God, and of following the example of Christ, Matt 11:29; John 13:15; Eph 4:20; Phil 2:5, in the power of the Holy Spirit, Rom 8:13; Eph 3:16.

“The Holy Spirit is the Agent in sanctification, Rom 15:16; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2; cf. 1 Cor 6:11…. The sanctification of the Spirit is associated with the choice, or election, of God; it is a Divine act preceding the acceptance of the Gospel by the individual.”

From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 115, 271.

For synonymous words see HOLINESS.

  1. Verb. hagiazo (<START GREEK>a(gia/zw <END GREEK>, NT:37), “to sanctify,” “is used of (a) the gold adorning the Temple and of the gift laid on the altar, Matt 23:17,19; (b) food, 1 Tim 4:5; (c) the unbelieving spouse of a believer, 1 Cor 7:14; (d) the ceremonial cleansing of the Israelites, Heb 9:13; (e) the Father’s Name, Luke 11:2; (f) the consecration of the Son by the Father, John 10:36; (g) the Lord Jesus devoting Himself to the redemption of His people, John 17:19; (h) the setting apart of the believer for God, Acts 20:32; cf. Rom 15:16; (i) the effect on the believer of the Death of Christ, Heb 10:10, said of God, and 2:11; 13:12, said of the Lord Jesus; (j) the separation of the believer from the world in his behavior — by the Father through the Word, John 17:17,19; (k) the believer who turns away from such things as dishonor God and His gospel, 2 Tim 2:21; (l) the acknowledgment of the Lordship of Christ, 1 Peter 3:15.

“Since every believer is sanctified in Christ Jesus, 1 Cor 1:2, cf. Heb 10:10, a common NT designation of all believers is ‘saints,’ hagioi, i. e., ‘sanctified’ or ‘holy ones.’ Thus sainthood, or sanctification, is not an attainment, it is the state into which God, in grace, calls sinful men, and in which they begin their course as Christians, Col 3:12; Heb 3:1.”

From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 113, 114.

(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

2https://www.ocarm.org/en/carmelites/what-lectio-divina

3“Meditate (hagah) is a bodily action; it involves murmuring and mumbling words, taking a kind of physical pleasure in making the sounds of the words, getting the feel of the meaning as the syllables are shaped by larynx and tongue and lips. Isaiah used this word “meditate” for the sounds that a lion makes over its prey (Isa 31:4). They purr and growl in pleasurable anticipation of taking in what will make them more themselves, strong, lithe, swift.” From: Peterson, Eugene H. (1991). Answering God: The Psalms As Tools For Prayer (pg 26). New York, NY: HarperCollins.

4Rested: OT:7673 <START HEBREW>tb^v* <END HEBREW> shabath (shaw-bath’); a primitive root; to repose, i.e. desist from exertion; used in many implied relations (causative, figurative or specific): KJV – (cause to, let, make to) cease, celebrate, cause (make) to fail, keep (sabbath), suffer to be lacking, leave, put away (down), (make to) rest, rid, still, take away. (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.)

5Blessed: OT:1288 <START HEBREW>Er^B*<END HEBREW> barak (baw-rak’); a primitive root; to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit); also (by euphemism) to curse (God or the king, as treason): KJV –  abundantly,  altogether,  at all, blaspheme, bless, congratulate, curse,  greatly,  indeed, kneel (down), praise, salute,  still, thank. (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.)

6Fruitful: 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.)

7Solemn/holy: OT:6944 <START HEBREW>vd#q) <END HEBREW> qodesh (ko’-desh); from OT:6942; a sacred place or thing; rarely abstract, sanctity: KJV – consecrated (thing), dedicated (thing), hallowed (thing), holiness, (X most) holy (X day, portion, thing), saint, sanctuary. (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.)

8Death: OT:4191 <START HEBREW>tWm <END HEBREW> muwth (mooth); a primitive root: to die (literally or figuratively); causatively, to kill: KJV – at all, crying, (be) dead (body, man, one), (put to, worthy of) death, destroy (-er), (cause to, be like to, must) die, kill, necro [-mancer], must needs, slay, surely, very suddenly, in [no] wise. (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.)

9Shall keep: OT:8104 <START HEBREW>rm^v*<END HEBREW> shamar (shaw-mar’); a primitive root; properly, to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; generally, to protect, attend to, etc.: KJV – beward, be circumspect, take heed (toself), keep (-erself,), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save (self), sure, (that lay) wait (for), watch (-man). (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.)

10Covenant: OT:1285 <START HEBREW>tyr!B=<END HEBREW> beriyth (ber-eeth’); from OT:1262 (in the sense of cutting [like OT:1254]); a compact (because made by passing between pieces of flesh): -confederacy, [con-] feder [-ate], covenant, league.

OT:1262 <START HEBREW>hr*B* <END HEBREW> barah (baw-raw’); a primitive root; to select; also (as denominative from OT:1250) to feed; also (as equivalent to OT:1305) to render clear (Eccl 3:18): KJV – choose, (cause to) eat, manifest, (give) meat.

OT:1254 <START HEBREW>ar*B* <END HEBREW> bara’ (baw-raw’); a primitive root; (absolutely) to create; (qualified) to cut down (a wood), select, feed (as formative processes): -choose, create (creator), cut down, dispatch, do, make (fat). (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.)

11Thomas Merton (2014). Contemplative Prayer (pg 45-46). New York, NY: Image Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC.

12Rest: 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.)

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