God’s great mercy………

chesed love

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.  ~  Genesis 1:27

That has become one of my favorite verses lately.  It’s our blueprint… our original design.  No matter what mankind may look like on the outside, no matter what sins we may commit, this is truly who we were created to be and how God sees us – because He always sees us according to our potential in Him.   The very first man walked in that design, and all mankind afterward were supposed to walk in the same pattern.  But although Adam was created in that design and walked in it for at least a few days, he sinned and introduced sin and consequently death into the world.

All men born after him were born in Adam’s likeness and image instead of God’s.  Genesis 5:3 “When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth”.  All mankind was born into sin. Made in Adam’s likeness and image – one of sin and death. Romans 5:19 “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners….”  Man isn’t a sinner because he sins, he is a sinner through birth.   Sin in the Greek is hamartia and means to miss the mark.  To sin is to behave out of tune with God’s original harmony.  It is to believe a lie about ourselves.  It is to miss out on sonship.  Sonship is our blueprint… our true, original, chosen design.  Ephesians 1:5 “He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…”

Even when the Law was introduced, mankind was still a sinner.  No matter how good he was morally, he could never fulfill the requirements of the law and be made righteous.  The Law simply revealed sin and made mankind aware of his lost state.  Man was unable to save himself — the Law revealed that he needed a Savior! God’s timing was absolutely perfect.

He always had a plan to redeem us.  He had found us in Christ before He lost us in Adam!  Ephesians 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”  He always loved us too much to leave us in such a wretched state…. He never abandoned His creation!  Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  God’s great mercy is far reaching and ALL encompassing.  Just as it took Adam’s one act of sin to condemn all of mankind, it only took Jesus’ one act of righteousness to completely declare all mankind innocent.  Romans 5:18  “So here is the result: as one man’s sin brought about condemnation and punishment for all people, so one man’s act of faithfulness makes all of us right with God and brings us to new life.”  Freely acquitted in the sight of God.  Through Adam we were ALL declared sinners and death reigned in us BUT through Jesus we are ALL declared righteous and life reigns in us.

Jesus’ death and resurrection reconciled us back to God and to our original design of sonship.  Now we are no longer made in Adam’s image and likeness – one of sin and death.  The sin nature has been completely removed and we received a new nature.. a new spirit… His Spirit.  Ezekiel 36:26-27A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.”   

Jesus defeated sin and death ONCE and for ALL.  God did not love us more once we were reconciled.  Reconciliation simply made us free to realize how much He has always loved us and free to enjoy our redeemed original identity — made in His image and in His likeness.  To see ourselves as He sees us — IN CHRIST.  Free to enjoy sonship and all of it’s joys and privileges.  And not just to see ourselves, but our old ways of seeing others is over as well (2 Cor 5:16).  We are now to see everyone through the eyes of our Redeemer.

He has made us ambassadors or ministers of His reconciliation with the world.  Our lives are now to exhibit the urgency of God to persuade everyone to be reconciled to God because Jesus took their life to the Cross in exchange for His resurrected life in them.  He did a finished, completed work on the Cross for ALL mankind.

The language of the Old Covenant… of the old written code was “Do in order to become”.  The language of the New Covenant is “Be, because of what has been done.”  It’s simply a matter of saying yes to God through faith in the shed blood and resurrection of Jesus.  It’s simply a matter of them awakening to their righteousness… of seeing themselves as God already sees them…. IN CHRIST.  So that then they will be able to say “I once was blind, but now I see.”

God’s great mercy for mankind is seen in the riches of His goodness toward us and His absolute passionate refusal to let us go.  His Covenant love for us is because continues to hear the echo of His image and His likeness in us.

I love the Mirror Translation of Romans 3:23-26:

Humanity is in the same boat; their distorted behavior is proof of a lost blueprint. (24) Jesus Christ is proof of God’s grace gift;  He redeemed the glory of God in human life; mankind condemned is now mankind justified!  (25) Jesus exhibits God’s mercy.  In His blood conciliation God’s faith persuades mankind of His righteousness and the fact that He has brought closure to the historic record of their sins (not by demanding a sacrifice, but providing the sacrifice of Himself).  Jesus is the unveiling of the Father’s heart toward us.  (26) All along God refused to let go of mankind.  At this very moment God’s act of righteousness is pointing them to the evidence of their innocence, with Jesus as the source of their faith.

It is the revelation of God’s goodness that leads men to repentance, not our repentance that leads to God’s goodness.

~ Robin

Distorted view of the Father

luke 15

What a beautiful description Luke 15:24 is of the Father’s love for us… truly His heartbeat is restoration and His response to our being restored to Him is to celebrate over us!!  Zephaniah 3:17 in God’s Word Translation says “The LORD your God is with you. He is a hero who saves you. He happily rejoices over you, renews you with his love, and celebrates over you with shouts of joy.”  I love that.  Psalm 91:15 He says He will rescue us and then throw us a party.  The more I meditate on His goodness, the more I see Him in this light…. rejoicing over me, renewing me with His love, celebrating over me and throwing me a party!!  I begin to see Him as Love… extravagant, lavish, outpouring, overflowing Love towards me!  This is the picture of the Father that Jesus is showing us in this parable… a picture of a Good, Good, Daddy.. full of chesed (Covenant Love) toward us (for more on chesed see my post Goodness and Grace).. a love that just won’t let us go!!

Both sons had a distorted view of their father…..

Both sons had a distorted view of their father and therefore a distorted view of themselves…. this identity problem made them unable to walk in the fullness of their positions as “sons” and enjoy the benefits of their inheritance.  They couldn’t see themselves the way their father saw them… accepted, loved and favored.

The Greek word for son is ‘huios’ and means son… a son having the nature of the father; a son representing the father — this is a word of position….a word of maturity.  As opposed to the Greek word ‘teknos’ which means child… one not fully grown or mature, still needing to be under tutors and governors (Galatians 4:2).  God has called us as sons…. Ephesians 1:5  Having predestinated  (in Greek:  proorizo…determined our destiny) us unto the adoption (in Greek:  huiosthasia… declaration of sonship) of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will”.  How awesome and powerful is that truth!!  Before the foundations of the world, He determined and established our destiny as sons of God… being conformed to the image of the Firstborn Son.  

And he said, “There was a man who had two sons.  ~Luke 15:9

He had 2 sons… both were huios.  We are first introduced to the elder son as a huios (Luke 15:25)…  meaning having the nature of the father; one representing the father — this is a word of position and a word of maturity.  But his distorted identity was based on works… on what he did for the father instead of who he was.  Verse 29 gives us a glimpse of how this son saw himself.  “But he answered his father, ‘Look, all these years I have served you and never disobeyed a commandment of yours. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.”  The word served is douleuo which means “to serve as a slave” — slave was “doulos”.  This was a distorted the view the son had of himself.  He was a son not a slave but he saw himself serving as a slave…. not as a representative of the father.  And the rest of the verse gives his distorted view of the father… not as an extravagant, generous father but someone withholding from him — even something as small as a goat to celebrate.  

The younger son is introduced in verse 12 as a huios…. again meaning having the nature of the father; one representing the father — this is a word of position and a word of maturity.  His distorted view of his identity was based on his inheritance.. what he would possess at his father’s death —  his priority was on his inheritance instead of relationship.  Although even after he leaves with the inheritance, he is still called a “son” (huios).  His position hadn’t changed even though he walked away from it.  Later in the story he comes to his senses and realizes he has sinned against heaven and against his father and decides to tell his father he is no longer worthy to be called “a son” but instead a hired hand (with no inheritance).  But the father’s response is one of love and although the son no longer sees himself as a son but a servant, the father sees him the way he always has… as a son… his son. 

He always makes grace available for us…..

Redemptive grace was offered to both sons to see themselves as they truly were and to see the father as he truly was.  While we know the younger brother repented and began to see clearly who he was, sadly we never know if the elder brother repented and if his heart was healed and he embraced his sonship.  But we do get a glimpse of the condition of his heart in looking further into how the father referred to him.  In verse 31 the father calls him son but the Greek word used is teknos instead of huios;  Teknos means child — a member born into the family but immature; not yet transformed into mature sons, able to inherit and to administer the father’s house and his belongings.

We are sons of God.  And our Father is a good Daddy to us.  Ask Abba Father today to reveal this truth to you…. begin to see yourself in Christ… as joint heirs with Him, carriers of His glory, made in His image and as a representative on earth of all that He is and all that He is… and then begin releasing that to those who have lost their way!

~Robin  

Tammuz 5776 (2016)

keep eyes on prize

Wow can’t believe we’re already 1/2 way through the month of Tammuz and this is the first time I’ve had a free moment to even post a blog about it!  We have been extremely busy here in the Smit family.  Summertime is always a busy season for us here at the Farm… we have so many different varieties of summer fruits and it seems like it’s non stop until around October.  I’ve also been teaching every Sunday night at our church which means I study all week and just haven’t had the extra time needed for blogging.  However, we did manage to take a few days and go to San Clemente and enjoy life at the beach… we’ve missed it!  All that to say, I’m so happy today to blog about the wonderful month of Tammuz.

Every month in Biblical times had a different meaning and purpose… it was a new prophetic season.  

Jews in Biblical times had a special celebration at the beginning of every month, it was a time to put God first and seek direction for the new month.  It was called Rosh Chadesh (Head of the Month).   They came together to praise God, gave their first fruit offerings and to hear what He was saying for the month….they listened to the prophets to gain direction for the month ahead.

Tammuz is the 4th month on the Hebrew Biblical calendar and the 10th month on their civil calendar.  It is a month to worship and stay faithful. A month to wait on God and choose to trust Him.  It is also the month associated with the tribe of Reuben.

Reuben was the firstborn son of Jacob and Leah, and as such he was born into a position of great privilege.  

In Genesis 49:3,4 Jacob prophesies over Reuben that “he is my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power.”  This was his position.  He was destined to inherit the double portion. He was to be the leader of the tribe and the priest of the family.  But like his Uncle Esau, Reuben lightly esteemed his birthright…. he acted so disgracefully that he forfeited his birthright – Gen 35:22.

This incident changed the course of his life.  The double portion was taken away and given to Joseph.  Leadership as a tribe was taken away and given to Judah.  Priesthood was taken away and given to the tribe of Levi.  When Jacob blessed the other sons he pronounced a curse on Reuben – telling him he would not excel.

Why did Reuben do this?  Jacob’s family had been through a traumatic period.

  • They had fled from Laban who had chased them down and would have killed Jacob if God had not intervened.
  • Escaping Laban then they faced a confrontation with Esau who also tried to kill Jacob
  • Entering Canaan their sister Dinah was raped at Shechem and two of her brothers massacred all the men of the city in retaliation.  Canaanites were outraged.
  • Fleeing Shechem, Rebekahs nurse Deborah died and was buried at “The Oak of Weeping”  Then Rachel went into labor and died giving birth to Benjamin.
  • Still they journeyed on until they came to the tower of Eder where they finally stopped.

So the whole family had gone through a time of tremendous upheaval, violence and loss.  They had to just keep moving through all of it.  Not until they stopped at the tower of Eder could they even begin to process what they had just gone through!

That’s when Reuben went in to Bilhah.  He wasn’t even thinking about what blessings lay ahead.  He wasn’t thinking about all he could lose…. he wanted comfort NOW!

He was desperate for comfort and security and sought them in Bilhah instead of in God.  

The biblical tower of Eder was built near Hebron as a watchtower shepherds watched their flocks from. Eder became a symbol of God’s watchfulness over His people. It’s a place of refuge.  That’s when Reuben went in to Bilhah.  It was here that Reuben should of sought refuge in God.  Allowing Abba Father to refresh his soul… a soul that had been through a series of traumatic events.  Doing that would have restored his vision and helped him walk out his prophetic destiny.

So, he went in to Bilhah.  He wasn’t even thinking about what blessings lay ahead.  He wasn’t thinking about all he could lose…. he wanted comfort NOW!  He was desperate for comfort and security and sought them in Bilhah instead of in God. Bilhah means terror or trouble.  It also means worn out…. something so worn out that it serves no purpose.  Another possible definition means foolish.

These definitions sum up for us what Reuben was experiencing when he went in to Bilhah.  His action was foolish…Ps 14:1 – a fool says there is no God… a better translation is a fool says in his heart “no God!”.  Reuben by yielding to sin was saying no to God… no to His promises, no to His destiny for Reuben, no to trusting God to see him through this time in his life.  He was so worn out in life that he ended up losing sight of his purpose in God.

Reuben’s name means “behold a son”.  Behold means to see…. see a son!  It’s important in this season that we begin to see ourselves as “sons”.  Sonship is our destiny that was marked out for us in love by God (Eph 1:5).  Having correct vision… seeing ourselves as God sees us, in a position of sonship… will keep us from forfeiting our spiritual inheritance.

God wants to awaken the mantle of “Sonship” in our lives in this season.  Psalms 2:7-8 – we are to declare/decree our position as sons;  Gal 4:1-7 – time to claim our inheritance as sons;  Rom 8:14-17 – as sons & daughters we are endowed with authority in His kingdom;  This is a time to displace, to cast off  an “orphan spirit” and embrace the spirit of sonship with all of the rights, privileges, and responsibilities (John 5:19).

Because of Reuben’s sin, his birthright was forfeit.  The wonderful inheritance… the prophetic destiny… God intended for him was lost.  Reuben took his eyes off the prize (Phil 3:14)… when you lose sight of the goal you are always in danger.  Wrong vision can cost you your inheritance. The sad thing is his descendants followed in his footsteps… the tribe of Reuben also lost their inheritance.

Next time we’ll look at how Reuben’s descendants followed in his footsteps……

~ Robin