Approaching God

Qumran 02

Caves at Qumran

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has breathed life into our dusty bodies. He has breathed his Word, the Bread of Life, to sustain our starving souls.

Such power and mystery. We cannot even begin to comprehend his thoughts or his ways. And yet, we live as though we have God figured out. In our pride we have put him in all sorts of little boxes, succinctly describing our interpretations of his character. We think we know what he desires from us, so we abandon our search of him and we squelch the Spirit’s prompting that there may be more to God than we perceive. We stop truly seeking God or searching the Word.

When we have come to the realization that we have put worthless things before the King of the Universe, yearned after our own idols in place of YHWH, strayed from worship of the Holy One…there is a way back. Turn around, repent and seek Him with everything that we are. Seek God. Search his Word.

“But from there you will seek YHWH your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Deuteronomy 4:29

Why should we seek YHWH with all our hearts, to passionately and continually search for him? So that we actually find him! So we experience a real life-giving glimpse of his holy face!

If we “seek” him and “search” the Scripture with a wrong attitude, prideful or self-seeking, we will not really find God. We must, absolutely must, reevaluate our attitude in how we are approaching the throne of YHWH and his Word. We must guard against stubborn hearts. Many of us may not think we have hearts hardened against the revelation of God, but we must closely examine our attitudes and thinking surrounding our views of who God is and what his Word really reveals.

 

  • Do we approach God and his Word with a prideful attitude that strives to defend our traditional foundations as more relevant than Scripture? Do we know where our Christian traditions originated and why? Are they man-made or are they instituted by God? Do they contradict any part of the Word? If they do not align with the whole Word, is there a common teaching to justify this?

 

  • When we seek God are we unconsciously, or even consciously, attempting to separate our “Christian” understanding from biblical culture that God created? When we read the words “law, commandments, covenant” do we switch into “ignore” mode because we are adamant that does not apply to Christians? Do we immediately throw off certain seemingly “Jewish” interpretations of God or his Word just because they contradict Christianity? Was not the Messiah himself Jewish and part of a culture mandated by God for his people for all generations? Is not true “Jewish” culture, excluding the man-made fences dispelled by Yeshua, actually biblical culture? Are we viewing God and Scripture through our resistance to biblical culture merely because we deem it to be Jewish?

 

  • Do we make quick interpretations of Scripture without really understanding the context?  When we read are we generating understandings based on our current beliefs or on deep study of the beliefs of the authors and the culture? Do we have Christian “answers” that we gained from study of commentaries or is our knowledge gained by the interpretation of the whole Word?

 

  • Are we continually, generation after generation, approaching God and his Word by striving to prove our disconnectedness and distance from his Law and establish our right to live according to our redefined righteousness through faith? Do we bow before the King of the Universe desperate to grow in knowledge and understanding of him as expressed in the Word, or do we insist that some of that Word (actually, the great majority) is obsolete, outdated and not meant for all of his people?

 

We should passionately and continually search the Scriptures. We should not stop just because we have been given a glimpse of God. We need to pursue him earnestly until the all is revealed to us and then continue in worship throughout eternity. We need to do what Yeshua himself did, what Paul and the Bereans did, and what is instructed of us in 2 Timothy 3:16? Search the Scriptures!

All Scripture is God-breathed, and in every way it is useful for developing righteousness in us. And the Scripture being referred to here is not the “New Testament” but the Scriptures that were being taught in the synagogues every Sabbath. This is the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings…the Word by which Yeshua lived. When Scribes and Pharisees approached Yeshua confronting him on his light interpretation of the Law, he didn’t reply, “I’m not under the Law anymore and I’m developing a new definition of righteousness.” He pointed them the God-breathed Word! He revealed to them that their traditional, man-made interpretations were not grounded in the true Law. Should not our attitude, when seeking to truly know God, be the same as Yeshua’s?

Search the Scriptures! Struggle through those hard passages, the confusing parables, by searching the Word, re-reading it, meditating on it, and asking for the Spirit to reveal truth, through Scripture itself.

 

  • What does the Messiah mean when he says that he didn’t come to abolish the Law, and those who teach others not to obey even the least of the commandments will be least in the Kindgom? Matthew 5:17-20

 

  • What does he mean when he says that not everyone who declares the name of God, even ones who have prophesied, casted out demons and done good works in his name, will be known by him? Matthew 7:21-23

 

  • What does Paul mean when he says that by no means should we overthrow the law but we should uphold it because it is holy, righteous and good and in no way contradicts the promise? Romans 3:31, 7:12, Galations 3:21

 

  • What is the meaning of the verdict of the Jerusalem Counsel on whether Gentiles needed to become convert Jews before following the Messiah? What does it mean when it was said to just let Gentiles follow a few Laws because they will then be accepted into the synagogues where the whole Law of Moses is taught every Sabbath? Acts 15:21

 

  • What does Peter mean when he interprets an odd dream (which is usually interpreted by man to mean Biblical dietary laws are abolished) saying that God has shown him that no people are unclean and God doesn’t show partiality? Acts 10

 

  • What does it mean that David, a prophet who wrote about the Messiah yet to come, never wrote about longing to be free from the Law to live by faith, but that he desires the Law to be his whole life, that the commands are a delight, and that he yearns for a deeper understanding of these wonderful precepts? Psalm 119

 

  • What is meant in the prophecy that when the King reigns in Jerusalem all will celebrate the Festival of Sukkot? Are these festivals going to be part of the future Kingdom? Zechariah 14:16

 

When we are confronted with questions should we not head straight to the Word, begging God to strip away our preconceived ideas about him, his plan and our part in it? Or are we we, as the Scibes and Pharasees, trying to prove our own interpretations to assure ourselves in the path we are on?

I want to approach God for who he is and dig deeply into his Word, all of it, and strive to apply it. Not part of it. Not just the areas that I haven’t yet rationalized away. I want to passionately and continually seek the beauty of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, approaching him with awe and reverance, trembling at his Word. I want desperately to journey toward a fuller revelation of God’s character, a greater understanding of his infinite mystery. Not just so I can show that my current lifestyle is confirmed by my interpretation. I want to truely seek YHWH because his breath, the breathed Word, whispers life into dead, dry bones!

This is a joyful journey for us, to see God’s word as whole and united– as Gentiles, by God’s grace, to be drawn near, welcomed in to the covenant people, and to humbly share in the blessings of learning and applying his Word.

Seek God and search the Word!

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

Romans 15:4

 

“Righteous are you, O YHWH, and right are your rules.
You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness.
My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words.
Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it.
I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts.
Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true.
Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight.
Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live.”

Psalm 119:137-144

2 thoughts on “Approaching God

  1. Dawn @Oh Sweet Mercy says:

    This is such an excellent post! I have come a long way in my new understanding of “the law” but by no means have it all figured out of course. I appreciate these practical ideas for examining how we approach Scripture and our Heavenly Father, thanks so much!

    • Carrie Kokoska says:

      Thanks, Dawn! I’m thankful that YHWH is never done with us…I, too, have much more refining that needs to be accomplished!

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