Posts Tagged ‘chaos’

December 21, 2013 – What is the Reason for the Season?

Every year we observe and have to listen to the comments of those who embrace this holiday known as Christmas.  Some enjoy the festivities and prepare with excitement and anticipation of ‘the morning of’.  They bake cookies, wrap presents, prepare an ‘advent’ calender,  trim trees, and wait for Santa Claus to come down the chimney.   I am specifically thinking of my niece and want to say,  Happy Holidays to You!  

Others we know claim they center the holiday on the “Reason for the Season.”   It is those, who we were once like, that we marvel at.  They become stressed and obsessed with shopping, gifts, parties, decorating their house and trees, church activities and extra  activities to the point their Season loses its Reason.   If some unexpected event turns their well-devised plans upside down, they become angry or depressed.   Feelings of inadequacy, unfinished business, an urgency to ‘get it all done’ before that ‘great and glorious morning’ arrives replaces the joy the Messiah brought into the world when He became flesh.  We know.  We lived it.  Though we tried and tried to focus on the birthday of Jesus by changing the Advent Tree to a Road To Bethlehem, reading more and more daily Scriptures, baking a birthday cake for a baby, it just didn’t do away with the trappings of the wrappings.

“In the countryside nearby were some shepherds spending the night in the fields, guarding their flocks,  when an angel of Adonai appeared to them, and the Sh’khinah of Adonai shone around them. They were terrified;  but the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, because I am here announcing to you Good News that will bring great joy to all the people.  This very day, in the town of David, there was born for you a Deliverer who is the Messiah, the Lord.  Here is how you will know: you will find a baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.” Suddenly, along with the angel was a vast army from heaven praising God: “In the highest heaven, glory to God! And on earth, peace among people of good will!”

No sooner had the angels left them and gone back into heaven than the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go over to Beit-Lechem and see this thing that has happened, that Adonai has told us about.”  Hurrying off, they came and found Miryam and Yosef, and the baby lying in the feeding trough. Upon seeing this, they made known what they had been told about this child;  and all who heard were amazed by what the shepherds said to them.  Miryam treasured all these things and kept mulling them over in her heart.  Meanwhile, the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen; it had been just as they had been told.”  (Luke 2:8-18).

Since our family has embraced the Deliverer, who is Messiah, as the shepherds who were in the countryside,  we stopped celebrating this time of year as anyone’s birthday or holiday season.  It’s no longer ‘our’ holiday and it has no appeal to us, emotionally or even spiritually.   It wasn’t a radical decision that happened overnight and BAM, everything Christmas was gone.   It  was a process of letting go of cherished traditions and warm fuzzies.  The change was gentle, loving and led by the Spirit of God.  When we listened to His voice, read His Word, we found it was His desire to separate us from the chaos in the world (and the church) around us because He was not part of the celebration nor was His beloved Son.

For the past 20 years, we have had a much more relaxed November/December.   Every stress and struggle disappeared as soon as we stopped insisting that the devil was trying to pull us his direction and we realized the Spirit of God was actually trying to deliver our souls from the god, mammon.  We have saved so much money and our credit cards breathed a sigh of swipe relief.    We now sit back and watch the chaos around us and pray for the shalom of Messiah to challenge the hearts of Christians to seek the real reasons for this eventful disordered season that is supposed to be ‘merry.’

For those who wonder, we do celebrate Yeshua’s birth.  We do honor Yahweh’s arrival in the flesh of a human being – Immanuel.    Yet, even when we do remember the birth of the Risen King of  the Jews, the Salvation of the World, at the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall, it is without any pomp and circumstance, obsessive gift giving, evergreen trees decorated with silver and gold, endless parties and financial despair.  It is within a sukkah, the Hebrew word for ‘manger’,  and like Miriam, we treasure all of the things that happened with the shepherds in Bethlehem in our hearts with a vision and hope for the coming Kingdom.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).

©2013 Tent Stake Ministries

The Sons of Israel

When studying Genesis 29 and 30 for Parashah 7,  I decided to look at the Hebrew letters and word pictures for names Jacob/Israel, Rachel, Leah and the 13 children (12 sons and one daughter) written about.  What I found was really fascinating as the word pictures brought to life the message of salvation through a shepherd, life, door, binding, nails, and a finished work.

The Twelve Sons of Jacob, the father

Jacob (Supplanter) – Hebrew,  Ya’akov or יעקב

Yod, Ayin, Kof, Bet – ‘seen as the least in the house’

Israel (Overcomer) – Hebrew, Yisra’el or ישראל

Yod, Shin, Resh, Alef, Lamed – ‘hand destroys the first shepherd’

 

Rachel and Leah, the Mothers

Rachel (Ewe, female sheep)  Hebrew, Rachel or רחל

Resh, Chet, Lamed –  ‘head authority in the inner room’.

Leah (Weary or tired) –  Hebrew Leah or לאה

Lamed, Alef, Hey –  ‘behold the first strength’.

 

Leah gives birth to six sons and one daughter.

1. Reuben (See, a son!) – Hebrew, Reuven or ראובן

Resh, Alef, Vav, Bet, Nun – “head strength is secured to the house of life’

Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob.

 

2. Simeon (Hearing) – Hebrew, Shim’on or שמעון

The root is related to the word, Shema or Hear.

Shin, Mem, Ayin, Vav, Nun – “consume the chaos the eye ties to life”

 

3. Levi (Joining) – Hebrew, Levi or לוי

Lamed, Vav, Yod – “shepherd joined to the hand”

 

4. Judah (Praise) – Hebrew, Y’hudah or יהודה

Yod, Hey, Vav, Dalet, Hey – “behold the hand bound, behold the door”

 

9. Issachar (Hire, reward) – Hebrew Yissakhar or יששכר

Yod, Shin, Shin, Kaf, Resh – “hand consumes doubly, allowing head”

 

10. Zebulun (Living together) – Hebrew Z’vulun or זבולן

Zayin, Bet, Vav, Lamed, Nun – “house weapon that ties shepherd to life”

 

Daughter, Dinah (Controversy over rights) – Hebrew Dinah or דינה

Dalet, Yod, Nun, Hey – “finished work of the door (hand) behold life’

 

Bilhah, the maid of Rachel, gives birth to two sons.

5. Dan (Judged) – Hebrew, Dan or דן

Dalet, Nun – “door of life”

 

6. Naphtali (My wrestling) – Hebrew, Naftali or נפתלי

Nun, Peh, Tau, Lamed, Yod – “life flows from the mouth sign of the shepherd’s hand’.

 

Zilpah, the maid of Leah, gives birth to two sons.

7.  Gad (Good fortune) – Hebrew, Gad or גד

Gimel, Dalet – “raised up at the door”

 

8. Asher (Happy)- Hebrew, Asher or אשר

Alef, Shin, Resh – “first consumes the head”

 

Rachel, gives birth to two sons (one in this parashah; another in the next)

Mandrakes

The Hebrew word translated as mandrake is דודים (dudim) meaning ‘love plant’.  It is a Mediterranean herb (Mandragora officinarum) that includes some of the most poisonous plants such as nightshade, jimsonweed, tobacco and, paradoxically, some of the most common vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, green pepper, and eggplants.

The plant consists of several large, wrinkled, dark green leaves that lie flat upon the ground forming a rosette. In the center of this rosette a cluster of attractive purple flowers appears in the winter. The root of the mandrake may be several feet long and weigh several pounds. It has bizarre often human-like shapes and for this reason is highly regarded by the superstitious.  The root of a mandrake was used especially to promote conception, as a cathartic, or as a narcotic and soporific.   The mandrake often grows as a weed in wheat fields.

11.  Joseph  (May he add) – Hebrew, Yosef or יוסף

Yod, Vav, Samech, Peh – “hand ties and supports mouth (like a beginning river)”

 

12. Benjamin (son of the right hand), Hebrew Benyamin or בנימין

Bet, Nun, Yod, Mayim, Yod, Nun – “house of life is finished (closed hand), chaos of life is finished (closed hand)

Putting the word pictures of the children of Jacob all together:

The strength of the shepherd is secured to the House of Life.  It consumes the chaos that binds the eyes to life.   The shepherd is bound (by nails) the finished work.  Behold the finished work, the nails, the door, behold.  The door is life.  Life flows from the mouth (words), a sign of the shepherd’s finished work and raises up the pathway.  Strength consumes the head, but the hand allows the the finished work to be the weapon of destruction securing the shepherd to life.  The finished work supports the words.  The House of Life is finished; the chaos of life is finished.  Behold life, the finished work of the hand, the pathway.

©2013 jsixrock