Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Sh'ma

One of the scriptures that has always fascinated me is the Jewish Sh'ma or Deuteronomy 6:4 from the Christian Bible. How many times would I have recited it or meditated on it - I don't know.

Sh'ma Yisrael Adonai Eloheynu Adonai Echad !!

This is how I always understood it from the Bible. Hear Oh Israel! The Lord is your God, The Lord is ONE. Which makes sense too. It is good Jewish information. Of course, The Lord is God and The Lord is One. True. But this interpretation although true (on its own) always left me thirsty for more. I never felt I had enough revelation on this until a week ago.  

How about this -- Hear Oh Israel!! The LORD, The God, The Lord are ONE. Why should Moses mention The Lord, The God, The Lord thrice? Is Once too few?

David says, The Lord says to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool" Ps 110:1. The Lord (The God) is speaking with David's Lord. Who is  David's Lord? Is there another who is worthy to be addressed as Lord? Of course. And we know who this other Lord is.

The latter interpretation of the Sh'ma clearly (to me) exhibits the perfect union of a TRIUNE God. Of course there are multitudes of scriptures to establish the Triunity of our God (across both covenants), but if the Sh'ma can't open one's eyes then I seriously doubt if there are too many that can. God gives grace to the humble. Humility is in putting one's trust in David's Lord, Jesus (The Second Lord), who is the only way that God has ordained. When one does this in humility and repentance, The Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead shall dwell in you and quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit (The Third Lord) that dwells in you. Rom 8:11

Hear Oh Israel!! The Lord, The God, The Lord are ONE!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

David & Uriah

I pray to God that when I die, May my death be like that of Uriah, dying in the line of duty, serving my Lord Jesus. David was close to Gods heart because he was always quick to repent. He never cared about his reputation when his sins were shown him. He would repent and accept chastening till he was reconciled to the Lord God. But men like Uriah are the kind of people for whom God will chastise even his anointed ones; like David. This anecdote is a paraphrase so "the scriptures" are not quoted as they appear in the KJV. Read on ....

There was a certain man called Uriah. He had a beautiful wife. Her name was Bathsheeba. They lived in absolute safety, in God's own country. The shepherd of the nation was the Man who was known as the "Man after God's own heart". David was a once in a lifetime King. Apart from Josiah and David there have scarcely been Godly kings ruling Israel. Both David and Josiah came to power after ungodly kings. David after Saul and Josiah after Amon his father. There have seldom been men who have had a yearning to follow the law of the Lord with their whole heart like David and Josiah.

David was a ruddy shepherd who loved God from the days of his youth. He was perhaps the most ignored in his family. When Samuel asked Jesse to line up all his Sons so he could see and anoint the Lords chosen one; Jesse didn't even think it necessary to bring David there. But God was with him. God was with David when he defeated Goliath. God was with him when he was in the caves hiding from Saul. God was with him when he resisted the temptation of killing Saul. It was God who helped him win all his battles. As long as David was humble and upright, God was with him.

And then something happened.

In a certain year, during the season when Kings go to war. David didn't go to war. He sent his generals and soldiers but he decided to stay back. He went to his terrace and chanced upon a beautiful woman (Bathsheeba) while she was bathing.

2 sins were committed here.
1. When you come across someone/something that doesn't belong to you, you turn the other way and walk away. That is the only godly thing to do. David decided otherwise. He chose to inquire about the woman. He sent for her. Slept with her, impregnated her and murdered her husband in cold blood to cover his own sins.

2. The Bible says that David could see that the woman was very attractive which means her bathroom was pretty close to Davids terrace, which makes me believe that this was a deliberate attempt on her part to make herself visible to the King.
So they were both equal partners here. Bathsheeba, for putting herself on display and not resisting even when she was sent for by the king. And David, for coveting his neighbors wife, for murdering her husband and for despising his God and the people whom he was required to protect.

When David found out that Bathsheeba was pregnant, he sent for Uriah so that he could arrange for Uriah to be with his wife in order to conceal his own sin of coveting and violating Bathsheeba who didn't belong to him. But Uriah was such a godly man that he refused to go home. He slept at the Kings threshold and told David that while his brothers were fighting and while the Arc of the Covenant was in the battle zone, he would not go sleep with his wife. 

Wow! Uriah is an absolute role model.

Brothers and Sisters, our foremost example is always Jesus Christ. If we follow him, we will never falter. It is when we do not follow his example is when we come up with excuses for sins. But the Bible also says, "follow me as I follow Christ" -- Paul. In that context, it is scriptural to follow examples of those who though not perfect like Jesus, DO set a godly example for us who are called by the Lords name. With that in mind we can see that Uriah is a beautiful example for Christians. "Uriahs" choose to obey Christ rather than enjoy even legitimate pleasures. There was nothing wrong in Uriah going to be with his wife. The law of Moses didn't forbid Uriah from being with his wife during war.

But while God's servant David was blatantly disregarding and despising The Lords written laws; Davids servant Uriah, would choose to obey even the unwritten laws. Who then is the real man of God? At least, in this instance in the Bible, Uriah is REALLY the man in touch with Gods heart. There is an age old saying among the pagans, that when a person attains Perfection on earth, God brings that person into his presence. I believe this was true for Uriah. The zeal that Uriah showed in serving his King; The patriotism; The love for his brethren; Indeed, God must have been pleased with him. While the man whom we know as the "Man after Gods own heart" was scheming and devising plans against Uriah, it was Uriah who really won God over. And though David succeeded in his plans by getting Uriah killed by placing him in the severest part of the battle; it was Uriah who touched God. God chastised his servant for not being like Uriah. God punished David for exploiting the ones he was supposed to protect. While Uriah was away, David should have been the one to protect Bathsheeba. But not only did he violate her, he even widowed her in order to cover his own sins.

One more observation. It was better that Uriah died being oblivious of his wife's unfaithfulness. If he were to find out about David and Bathsheeba, his death would have been a really painful one. Very bitter perhaps. It was good that he died believing that he was dying for his country, dying for his King; dying in the line of duty; defending God's people. Such a glorious death is what a soldier seeks. Such a glorious death is what a Christian should seek. At least I do. That is the death I want. Dying for my Lord and for his people. Bringing glory to his name. Fighting the good fight. Dying in the part of the battle zone where the violence is most severe. For Christians, the battle may not be against flesh and blood. It is against principalities & powers, resisting the vices of the devil, serving the Lord. Christians are supposed to be involved in spiritual warfare. We can learn a lesson or two from Uriah. He was faithful to his Earthly Lord even unto death. I pray that we are faithful to the Lord of our Spirits even unto death.

Like Paul prayed, "Let Christ alone be glorified in my body; whether it be through life or through death".