Sunday, June 12, 2022

Shaveta ‘ad YHWH, Return to the Lord

When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, 2 and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, 3 then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes[a] and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. -Deuteronomy 30:2-3

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” -James 4:8

It’s interesting that time and again when we read the scriptures, it talks about seeking God, seek after the Lord, return to God, come to Him. Draw near to Him, and what, he will draw near to you? So it seems to be our responsibility as Christians to come and sit down with God and discover who he is. Then God responds and joins us, and we sit down together and we learn about Him. And he shares mysteries with us.

The Hebrew word for return, as in return to God, is interesting. It’s actually very similar to the Hebrew word for rest. Isn’t that interesting? We’re invited in many ways to cease from our sorrow, and striving, and angry and self-seeking, and rest in God.

There are many people in my life who are currently fleeing from God. They don’t want God. They sense his calling to them. But they run the opposite direction. I see them buzzing around town, miserable, stressed, seeking for what they want, working out schemes, texting and calling, manipulating people to do what they want, and it’s miserable. It’s a miserable existence. It’s empty.

God says return to me and find rest. End the circus, end the constant self-seeking and rest in my loving arms. Return to me, he says.

Which brings us to our Hebrew word, the last of the series, return to the Lord. Now, when we return to God, when we turn back to Him, we must do so in two ways, with both heart and soul.

It’s quite possible to return to God intellectually, with our mind, but not with our heart. We can know God is there and believe he is real without being in relationship with Him. We can also return to God with our passions, with our heart, but when we leave out the intellect, it lacks substance. It’s just a vague feeling, without truth attached to it.

So we want to return to God with our heart and our soul, with our mind and our passion. This is all certainly very true when we are unsaved, and we realize our need for Christ as our savior, and then we give ourselves over to God in our mind and in our heart. That is true.

But I also want to suggest to you today that many of us as active Christians needs to return to God at variance points in our lives.

We start to drift off a bit, and maybe we stop studying his word as much and we stop thinking about God, and our minds become filled with junk of the world. There have been several times where my mind has drifted from God, as worldly things begin to clammer in, and God will speak to me and say, alright, time to return to me with your mind.

He'll guide me to study his word. He’ll guide me away from tv and away from YouTube, and toward prayer and Bible study, and groups I need to attend. That is one way to return in the mind.

I think just as common is when we drift away from God in our heart. We intellectually know god, know the doctrine of Christ, know about the Bible, and maybe we’re even praying and studying the word daily, but our heart has disappeared from it.

Maybe something very dark or painful or traumatic happened that left us wondering at why God would allow it. And we begin to pull our heart away from God, because deep inside we don’t think we can trust God with it anymore, after what he allowed to happen.

So for you who struggles this way, and you’ve pulled your heart back from God, or maybe you’ve just lost your passion for the faith, and it’s become stale and plain, let me challenge you to return to falling in love passionately with God.

Bring your heart back to Him. And entrust it back to him. You can trust Him. He doesn’t promise there won’t be any pain. But he is God. And he knows what it best for our growth and prospering.

We see in this phrase Shaveta ‘ad YHWH, is the name of God, YHWH. What’s interesting is that in this particular scripture in Deuteronomy 30, YHWH is in it’s feminine form. This form emphasizes the mercy of God and loving nature of God, the sort of motherly characteristics of who God is. So in this syntax of the phrase and the feminine use of YHWH, we’re being told to fall in love with YHWH again.

Go back to the garden of Eden with me, and if you recall God made Adam, and then made Eve to be a “helper” to Adam, and the Hebrew there is ‘ezer and an ‘ezer helps someone understand something deep.

“In the case of Eve, the woman was to help Adam to understand God- more specifically to understand the love of God and how to love Him in return.” -Chaim Bentorah

The way a man and woman fall in love, is a picture to us of how we ought to fall in love with God. We should fall in love with his nature. We should fall in love with how he works things out perfectly. We should fall in love what how he changes us. We should fall in love with his divine character. We should fall in love with him based on the time we spend together, the things we do together with God. And every day can be an adventure to God.

So that is the call today, to return to God, return with your mind and return with your heart.

We want to love God for more than what he does for us, yes he forgives our sins in Christ, he gives us eternal life, he saves us from damnation in hell, but we should love God because we love Him for who He is. It’s a heart thing, a passion for God, a zeal for God, a ravishing love for God that consumes our souls. Then we do more than have simple book knowledge of God, we experience an intense love relationship with him, and that is the goal.