The SHEMA

So as we saw in the last message, Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, and He replied in Matthew 22:36-40:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?And He said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

To see these verses in context, we looked at Deuteronomy 6:4-9…..

We looked at the Pharisees and how they looked from the outside that they followed the law, but on the inside they were still sinning and hadn’t taken the law into their hearts. Outward religious observance without a changed heart is not what the Lord looks for.

I want to look a bit more at the Shema and what it means and look a bit more at the meaning of each word@

“SHEMA YISRAEL ADONAI ELOHEINU, ADONAI ECHAD.”

So, the Shema is a section of the Torah, the first 5 books of the Bible, written by Moses in the wilderness at the creation of the 1st temple Israel had to worship their Lord in. It is a prayer that serves as the centrepiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services. For many Jews this is stated as “receiving the kingdom of heaven”. These words are seen throughout the new testament, and the word heaven is used by Jewish people as a metaphor for God.

The 10 commandments were said at these times as well as the Shema but were removed from the daily prayer books during the years 70-200ce. The Shema prayer is seen as an opportunity to commemorate the 10 commandments.

It is thought that the recitation of the Shema shows that they are a living witness testifying the truth of the message of the Shema itself. Some of the more Kabbilistic schools, (which is a form of Judaism – seen as a cult) teaches that when their members recite the word Echad meaning “one”, he is to intend that he is ready to die into God.

Judaism does not speak or write the actual name of God. Out of respect and honour to Him, they replace it with Adonai or Lord. This is why in the Shema, the name God was changed to Adonai.

So if we look at the words of the Shema

Shema – This word means to listen, to hear, to do. It is an active word not passive

Yisrael – Israel, the people or congregation of people, not the land on its own

Adonai – trandlated Lord from YHWH. Interestingly, Samaritans, who the Jewish people despised in bible times, they say Shema, which is Aramaic for the “divine name”. We know Jesus spoke Aramaic and therefore would have know this and was able to speak to the Samaritan woman at the well with her own tongue and words that she worshipped with.

Eloheinu – A plural word. Meaning our God.

Echad – Unified and cardinal number 1

The Shema relates to the kingship of God. It is the confession of belief in the One true God. There are other translations which say the same thing but with words mixed around. They are

Hear O Israel! Adonai is our God! Adonai is One!

Hear O Israel! Adonai is our God! Adonai alone!

There is an addition, which is expanded. It was added rabbinically, and is used for silent congregation worship, except during the time of Yom Kippur where it is recited aloud together as worship. Yom Kippur means to atone. It is the day of atonement and is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people, and for Jesus Himself. It is a day of atonement and repentance and the Jewish people even now spend the day in the synagogues worshipping and spending time with God. This is such an important day, even for us. It foreshadowed Jesus and His death and resurrection.

Baruch shem kvod l’olam was added which means blessed be His glorious name.

Over time, the words Malchuto, meaning His kingdom, and va’ed meaning forever and ever were added. Malchuto was added during the time of the Romans, as a counter claim over the land of Israel against the Roman emperors. Va’ed was introduced at the time of the 2nd Temple as a contrast to those who believed there is no life after death, which we can see around the times of Ezra and Nehemiah.

I was brought up in a messianic fellowship, which is a merge of Jewish and non Jewish believers, who come together as a congregation to worship the same Lord and risen Christ. There are many of the old traditions practised together with new and ground breaking songs and styles of worship. We were all taught the Shema in its full added to form which is:

Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinh, Adonai echad.

Baruch shem kevod, malchuto

L’elom va’ed

So, today. These words from the Shema are straight from the Bible, and are correct. We have open eyes to see their true meaning, and have had the veils taken away by the blood of Christ. Sadly, most of the people who love God and say these words in worship every single day, have still got the veils over their eyes, and can’t see the risen Lord. They are still in darkness. They can’t see the joy and wonder of all that Jesus has done for us, or the Holy Spirit given as a gift for us, and who is at work within us all the time making us more and more like Jesus. I think it is time that more of the church prayed for these friends. Pray for the Lord to show Himself to them, so they may join us as brothers and sisters on the same vine, worshipping together with freedom.

I looked up the word Messianic and found these definitions

  • Relating to the Messiah “the messianic role of Jesus”
  • Inspired by the hope or belief in a messiah “the messianic expectations of that time”
  • fervent or passionate “ an admirable messianic zeal”

or these definitions

  • the promised and expected deliverer of the Jewish people.
  • Jesus Christ, regarded by Christians as fulfilling this promise and expectation. John 4:25,26
  • Any expected deliverer
  • a zealous leader of some cause or project

If only every eye could see who Jesus really is and how He really is the deliverer and saviour of the whole world and all peoples. We could give the whole earth back to God and live as we should have done in the first place, as it was meant to be before sin.

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Let him go?

So my youngest son started his Secondary school this week. He looked so smart and grown up in his uniform, and I thought about how this was the uniform that he may wear for the rest of his life. Jacket and tie is the uniform for many millions of office and professional workers just in this country alone. So was it right that I was so emotional and felt such a big wrench in my body that I could actually feel going through me as my child/growing boy/young man walked into the school gates for the first day of the next 5 years of teaching and GCSE work? Am I holding my child back by not wanting him to grow up so fast? Should I be this emotional? Am I able to let him go enough to explore the new world of big school and not let him feel the fear I have? Do I trust God enough to keep him safe emotionally, physically and mentally for the pressures and pleasures he will face?
I truly believe that my God has both of my children in His amazingly gentle protective hands. I know there are a lot of people praying for them, who love them, and who look out for them. They do have a support network and not just from their physical family, but from their spiritual family. I know that its not just me placing my son before God in prayer and making sure he is kept there safely. I cannot express how reassuring it is to know how many people love my little boy that much, that they spend time with him, they give time and energy to him to make sure he knows how he is loved. It is priceless and I cannot tell them enough how much we appreciate it.
So with all that knowledge, can I let my son give me back the apron string I have made him keep hold of? Can I unravel it so that he can go become the person he is made to be? The feeling of being lost is mine to deal with, not his. He won’t see tears, but only support for the big weeks he is having. I have to let him go and be a guide when he needs one, to be here at all times. He is still a child and will always be mine, but he has wings to stretch out, feeling his surroundings as he goes. I am very proud of him, and that will never change because I know God has him close to Him, in His hands, in His heart.
I can let go.

When we let Him arise

As a worshipper, I love to praise my Lord. I love the closeness to Him, and how after I stop singing or praying, I can still feel Him close to me. Its like being in a cloud of light, soft and still. It can carry me through many a bad night when even though there is no sleep, there has been a night of being with my Lord and Friend.

God lives in our praise and worship. He inhabits it. He desires to hear our praise and the worship of His children. He waits for it, and is there with us during our day, still and sure.

Worship is our relationship and intimacy with God. He created Adam and even before Eve was created from her husband, there was a close and intimate relationship between Adam and God. Our Lord was looking for the worship that could restore what was lost when Lucifer was banished. We restore what was broken there, and Christ restores us back to His Holy presence. We can be with Him forever because of Jesus sacrifice for us.

God has a purpose for us all as well as our worship. He has a plan for us. We don’t see the plan if we sit around waiting for it to come to us. We have to make the decision to push the doors to see through prayer, if they are the way we are to go. Just because we maybe can’t see the plan yet, doesnt mean it isn’t there. It is like a seed that is in the ground. Just because we cant see it until just before it gets harvested, does not meant it is not there. We need to position ourselves in Him to see the plan. Prayer, worship and praise bring us in the right place with Him and all He has for us. He wants to bless His children, all of them.

Let God arise in your life. Let Him do His awesome work, and purposes that we cannot even imagine.

Tenants

In the parable of the land owner and the tenants, we can see how Jesus is telling us of the love story of how His Father made Israel His people, and the gorgeous land He gave them. But they rejected Him, His prophets and eventually His Son. But it doesn’t stop there, because we do the same.

The Lord made this amazing place called Earth for us to live in, and look after. Have we taken care of His creation, animals or each other? I would have to say No. We were given authority over the creation and created beings. We have also been called to look after others as we want to be looked after. God gave us His vineyard to tend, not to destroy, or hurt.

Throughout the ages, He also sent many prophets to announce the coming of the most precious and awesome gift we could ever have. His only Son, Jesus. Every person who rejects His Son is one of the tenants from the parable. Every time we reject what the prophets of the Bible tell us about the coming of the Son of God, we are one of the tenants in the parable.

Its not a very good picture of the human race. It doesn’t show our best side. The Word will never show the best or the worst of the human race, neither will it condemn us. We have been given a way to stop becoming one of the tenants. We have been given an exit door, a door of sacrifice and cleansing blood. We don’t make the sacrifice, Jesus does and did for everyone.