8:45 a.m. Wednesday January 18, 2023. 57F/14C.
Now. The cabin is cooling, with at least one window wide open. The large heavy raindrops hit with the sound of an audience of thousands, clapping and stomping. The creek is surely filling quickly. Only a few minutes ago, an attempt was made to walk to the creek. A golden feral cat followed, keeping a few paces behind. As the sound of rain approached, the cat meowed fiercely, as if begging. “Don’t let the rain hit your ears! It feels so icky!” He paced between a pickup truck, where his secret kitten friend hid under its shelter, and the path to the creek, where the human stood. A few large drops hit one shoulder. This rain was not cold. The cat yowled loudly. Like the gallop of horses, the rain drew closer, crossing the creek and the treetops. The golden cat ran back to his friend. Old human legs are no longer ideal for running, and wet dead leaves become slippery underfoot. That was this morning. Now the lights are on in the cabin. Now the window is wide open, so that thunder and rain will seem closer. Now.
The Gospel of Matthew, chapter six
Heavenly Father, cause your children to take care of what goes into their ears and comes out of their mouths. Lead us, I ask, in a study of your words, spoken through your son, Yeshua Jesus. Amen.
Disciples, in the Hebrew language, were talmidim. Talmidim gave up their careers and home lives to follow their master. It was not an easy decision, except for twelve. Thousands followed Yeshua. They ate of fish and loaves. They saw miracles. He was the best show in town. But for twelve men, there was nothing else so fulfilling as following Yeshua at any cost, and even one of them was a traitor.
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.
Are ye not much better than they?
Most students of Roman culture agreed to follow a master. The master, under a standard teacher’s agreement, would house and feed the student for the full year of his education. At the end of the year, the student’s family would pay the master his wages. Yeshua had no such standard Roman agreement with his talmidim. They gave up everything with no Roman business agreement attached. They gave up everything with only God to provide their sustenance.
Could they really trust God for everything?
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
Can we add an extra measure of life to our bodies? Are we capable of that on our own?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Are we ever guaranteed clothing, food, shelter? Even today, if Yeshua came to earth and sought followers, would we – would I – be bold enough to make a I-give-up-all-for-you commitment to him?
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Even the sweet everlasting weed retains its bloom for less than three months. Then it dries up. And falls over, under the hooves of a deer, or with the wind. What wonderful fragrance, and unusual beauty God gave to that one skinny weed
But what did Yeshua mean by “O ye of little faith?” Were they still worried about shelter, clothing, and food? What was his purpose in saying their faith was little? I looked in the older, Hebrew, manuscript, and found that Yeshua was pushing his talmidim with a question. His statement began with “mah”, a word that meant how, or what. In modern English, this might be translated as…
Just what do you believe about God?
Yeshua, with all his intensity do to only the will of his heavenly Father, was asking others to search themselves while they were aware of being fully exposed to God.
What do you believe?
Life in the hollow, Wednesday
Whenever I read a list of three things in the Bible, I end up pondering whether the three things can be matched to God our Father, his son, and his Holy Spirit.
In Deuteronomy 6, Moses gave the Shema:
Hear O Israel
The LORD our God, the LORD is one!
You shall love the LORD your God
… with all your heart,
… … with all your soul,
… … … and with all your strength
The God who is all three, is one. The human heart might be matched up with God our Father, who is the center of all things, ruler of the universes, central processing unit of perfect love. The human soul, that life package of intellect and will and emotions, added to the spirit, that develops with the maturing of our bodies might be matched up with Yeshua, God’s spirit voice in the flesh of man. Human strength, our intensity, our drive, our passionate desire, might be matched up with God the Holy Spirit.
The image of Yeshua that I so frequently see, asked me last night, “What do you think of me?” I think he is fascinating, but that did not seem to be the answer he was seeking. I tried several answers.
“I keep checking,” I told him, “throughout my day to see if you are still there. It is as though, if I turned away, I might miss something.” It seemed the silliest of all the answers I gave, really. However, that was the answer to which he responded.
“That’s what I need my people to do. Stay alert – you might miss something!”
… We search the Bible.
… … We search ourselves.
… … … We stay alert to the God who asks us,
“Just what do you believe?”