Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Under the Shadow of His Wings. ~ Ganeida

We are living in evil days; days where men are calling
evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight!… Isaiah 5:20/21

If we are wise we know there is only one place where safety is to be found & the only way to be in that safe place to be absolutely rock solid in our understanding of who we are in Christ & what He has done for us.

What I want to look at today is God’s provision of a safe place.  I am going to start with 2 scriptures.

The first is from Psalm 64:4/5 Let me dwell in Your tent forever; Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. Selah.  For You have heard my vows, O God; You have given me the inheritance of those who fear Your name

The 2nd is Ruth 2:12 ~ May the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done."
There are 2 ideas that are established in these verses & they are wonderfully tied together in the person of Jesus Christ.

The first idea is in the little word *tent*.  In Hebrew the word is ohel.  By now we have done enough word definitions that you will immediately know more is hidden in the meaning of this word than first appears.

Firstly we have the 2 letters
that form EL, one of God’s names, separated by the letter Hay. In Hebrew, words that comprise the EL word with another letter in the middle are usually words which lead towards something. yesheva4me  It can be a picture of returning to God by means of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. John J Parsons ~ Hebrew for Christians.  Ohel is also one word for the basic framework of reality.

In Genesis 24:67 we read that Isaac brought Rebecca to the tent of his mother Sarah, & he took Rebecca as his wife & loved her… Why?  By this point Sarah is dead & this event takes place immediately Abraham’s servant returns with the chosen bride for Isaac.
In effect Isaac is revealing to Rebecca his mother’s world view, her reality, the path she followed & the reality, or the world view, he wanted in his own home.  When Rebecca understood that he married her.  You see Isaac wanted to pass on a Godly heritage & he understood that both partners needed to work in unison in order to achieve that. Sarah was a woman of Faith.  Rebecca was to follow in her footsteps, understanding that wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord, & that the centre of their marriage, their family, was to be God.
Keep this in mind as we move forward in history. 

I will come back to discuss the Ark of the Covenant in detail but for now I simply want to point out a progression. 

The first *house* that was built for the Ark was a tent.  It was always placed in the centre of the Hebrew camp & the tribes of Israel encamped about it in a designated order. This is the next meaning of ohel [tent].  It can mean the Tent of Meeting; that is the tabernacle, the holy place, the place where God meets with His people.

 By the time of Jesus Jesus is refers to His body as the temple John 2:21 with the logical extension in 1 Corinthians 6:19 Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,
Under the New Covenant we ourselves become the meeting place for God.  That is a very wonderful thing but there is something more here & it is revealed through the 2nd word we are looking at.  That word is kanap; wing.

Please bear with me.  I will go slowly but I want you to fully grasp God’s provision & what scripture reveals about God’s protection. 

I have found that God is a brilliant teacher.  He provides pictures.  He provides actions to perform. He provides things to taste & things to say; things to hear & things to touch. One of the first things He provided was an instruction that all Hebrew men were to wear tzitzit . These are literally tassels, but can mean *wings* as we will see & traditionally you will see them on the corners of the prayer shawl though nowhere in scripture is this term used.  The term you will probably be more familiar with is *outer garment*.  This would have been some sort of cloak or *mantle* such as Elijah wore & on each of its four corners you would have found a long *string* or tassel. Twined in the knot pattern was *the blue thread* as commanded in Exodus.

The blue dye to make this thread was farmed from the murex trunculus or Chilazon & you needed 12,000 snails to make just a thimbleful of dye.  Consequentially it was hugely expensive & eventually the snails were farmed to extinction.  A garment with this would have been expensive & passed down from father to son.
Each blue thread is knotted 613 times for the 613 laws of Moses ~ 365 prohibitions, 248 affirmations. It includes the Shema: Hear oh, Israel, the Lord our God, The Lord is one. They were worn as a visible reminder to walk according to God’s Laws. The blue colour represents the ruach hakadesh ~ God’s Holy Spirit. It also is the servant thread & represents messiah in the same way the servant candle of the menorah is symbolic of Jesus.

To cover oneself with the tallit, the mantle, is to cover oneself with the presence of God & to form a private, personal *tent* & may have been part of what Jesus meant when he gave instructions about a *prayer closet*.

Now we will return for a moment to the Ark of the Covenant. You will remember that God specifically instructed that the lid for the Ark was to include cherubim.  Here we find the word Kanap, meaning wing, edge, hem. The Cherubim spread their wings over the Mercy Seat & God speaks from between the cherubim.  What was sprinkled on the mercy seat?  The blood of the sacrifice!

The Greek for mercy seat is hilasterion ~ the word usually translated into English as propitiation.  It has the same root as atonement. Jesus is our propitiation, our mercy seat, our atnonement.  As the tassels of the tallit represent God’s Word & God’s authority so we find refuge under His word & under His authority. He is our tallit, our covering, our prayer shawl.

Romans 13:14 says Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof. The final part of this chapter is referring specifically to the 2nd coming of Christ. We are instructed to understand the present time; to wake from our slumber; our salvation is nearer that it was; that the night is nearly over & the day here.

Revelation 19:12 talks of the names on Jesus thighs ~ an image I always found a little weird but is perfectly explained by the tallit because the names of God are here: Yaweh; The Word of God; King of Kings; Lord of Lords & the tassels would fall against Christ’s thighs as he rode.

There is one more image of the tent or the wing.  It is very subtle & it is given specifically to women & it has caused more controversy at different times than just about anything else in the bible; that is a woman’s hair. The Greek word is peribolaion, literally something thrown about oneself such as a mantle or veil but is not the same word Paul uses when referring to an actual head covering.  That word is katakalyptō.

  Now I know you will all be thinking by now, “Well, that’s all very interesting & just like Ganeida but where is the practical application?

Psalm 27:5
For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.

Psalms 31:20
You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues.

Psalms 17:8
Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings
Col 3:3
For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.
God has given us these wonderful pictures & practical reminders so that in the day of Trouble we know where to turn.  We know whence cometh our help.  We know where to find it.  He wants us to know how to find Him & how to hide ourselves in Christ. 
Under the old covenant people had to travel to the Place of Meeting & offer a blood sacrifice for sin & other sorts of sacrifices through a priest & it became a problem every time they were sent into exile but Paul says we have a better covenant with better promises. [Hebrews 8:6]

We are the temple, the living stones.  The Holy Spirit dwells within us in the Holy of Holies. We can have immediate & personal access to God because we are all priests.  Our bodies are to be a living sacrifice but Christ is our atonement for sin. When we enter in to that place we find Grace poured out at the Mercy Seat, forgiveness of sin, & the wings of the Lord spread wide sheltering us.
This does not mean we will never suffer trial or tribulation or persecution.  It does mean we have a place of refuge where, like Christ at Gethsemane, we can be strengthened for the fight. We are called to be overcomers.  If that is to happen we need something to overcome but there is no need to fear.  God has told us where we will find our strength & provision.  All we need is to be found in Christ. We need to spend time, not seconds or minutes, but hours, becoming intimate with God ~ & how hard that is to carve out of our busy schedules! The blessing is God is always available.  He will take the meagerest of our offerings & multiply it. Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.”And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.”

In these last days we are being called to make our home under the safe shelter of His wings & in the refuge of His tabernacle.'

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