Jesus came to make the Torah “stand up.”

Jesus came to make the Torah “stand up.”

My guest today is D’vorah Calic.

D’vorah explains Matthew 5:17. What did Jesus mean when He said, “Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but fulfill them.”

D’vorah and her husband are co-founders of Bless Israel Network, a media organization
based in Israel. The focus is to provide programming designed to inform viewers of the rightful
prophetic role of the Jewish people and Israel in God’s prophetic plan.


D’vorah writes and hosts “Heartbeat of the Torah,” where she connects the beauty of the Torah
of Moses to the teachings in the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament), assisting in understanding the Jewishness of the Scriptures, the Gospels, and the Messiah. In addition,
she is a weekly contributor to “Gift of Thorns”, a Facebook community spreading hope, good
news, and comfort. Her series is called “Getting Down to the Root.”


https://www.blessisraelnetwork.com/

Happiness is….

For the past eight weeks, we have been looking into the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. The other day, I read Psalm 32 and noticed it begins with the same wording as Matthew 5.

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

Psalm 32:1-2 ESV

While looking for a commentary about these verses, I came across an article from “Working Preacher” called The Pursuit of Happiness.

The Hebrew word, ashre, translates into Blessed are. The Working Preacher described it as Happiness is… This is an interesting translation of the word. You can read it here.

What comes to mind when you hear happiness is?

I found these quotes during a quick online search:

Happiness is a warm puppy.

                  …having you in my life.

                  …being weird every now and then.

                  …the privilege of friendship.

                  …letting go of your worries.

                  … not out there, it’s in you.

What would you say happiness is? To me, happiness is laughing with my family.

The Bible is full of these Blessed are /Happiness is statements.

There are Beatitudes in Deuteronomy, Job, Jeremiah, Psalms, Revelation, and probably others.

Let’s look at a few other examples I found in the Bible, and my Happiness is interpretation below them.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.

Jeremiah 17:7 ESV

Happiness is the man who trusts in the Lord…

Isn’t true happiness being able to fully trust in Someone? Knowing our Father will never lie, cheat, hurt, or disappoint us is a wonderful feeling. I was thinking the other day, if I truly believe God can not lie, then everything He has told me is truth. Everything He has promised He will do, because He has to–He. Can’t. Lie. Lying would go against His holy and perfect nature.

Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.

Job 5:17 NIV

Happiness is getting corrected by God…

This isn’t exactly a quote we would make into a poster and paste on our wall, right? No one really likes correction or discipline. However, I would prefer the Lord correct or discipline, me now, in this life, rather than in eternity. Hebrews 12:6 says, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

In addition, Hebrews 12:11 tells us, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

A number of years ago, I developed a bad attitude with my pastor (Many others saw my poor attitude, as well). It didn’t seem to matter to him what I wanted to teach because he would either say he taught it or he was going to teach it. To me, it seemed as if he didn’t want me to teach at all.

One Sunday morning during worship, I grumbled to the Lord. I complained how my pastor wouldn’t let me teach or lead any groups. As a result, I felt useless and angry. Suddenly, I heard the Lord’s voice inside me, AND it was neither gentle nor caring. Sternly, He answered me, “Your pastor didn’t say ‘No,’ I DID!”

If I could have crawled under my seat, I would have. God made it clear I needed to quit grumbling about the pastor and accept his answer. This was the closest to having the Lord yell at me as I have ever gotten. I won’t forget it either. But God changed my relationship with my pastor for the better through this. I realized all the things I thought he was doing, he wasn’t. I publicly apologized for my bad attitude.

Godly discipline yields fruit–and happy children.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Ps. 34:8 ESV

Happiness is the man who takes refuge in the Lord…

A refuge is “a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.”

I have a picture my mom took on my fifth birthday. I wore a little flowered dress with a bow in my hair sitting on my dad’s lap. That was my safe place.

My dad died almost thirty years ago. One day as I prayed, feeling lonely and a bit depressed, the Lord reminded me of that picture. He spoke to my heart and told me I sit on His lap in much of the same way I sat on my dad’s as a little girl. My Father sees me as His little girl and He holds me when I am happy or sad. The Lord protects me, comforts me, speaks to me and loves me. He is my refuge. The words the Lord spoke to me gave my heart peace, and also joy and happiness.

Here’s the last one for now…

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

Psalm 1:1-2 ESV

Happiness is not walking with the wicked, standing in the way of sinners, or sitting in the seat of scoffers, but delighting in the Law of the Lord…

1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.'” That’s certainly a good reason not to walk, stand, and sit with people who will corrupt us. How many people have you known who didn’t regret following others into trouble?

I looked up the word happiness online. As I read over the definitions given, I realized God, in His Word, gave us the true meaning of Happiness. It is not following Him in a half-hearted, on-again, off-again, when-it-is-convenient way.

What if true happiness is being poor in spirit, peacemakers, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, being meek, mourning over our sin, being merciful, getting persecuted, taking refuge in the Lord, getting corrected by God…#ThisSideofHeaven #Beatitudes #HappinessIs

What if true happiness is being poor in spirit, peacemakers, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, being meek, mourning over our sin, being merciful, getting persecuted, taking refuge in the Lord, getting corrected by God…

You get the picture.

We will never find true happiness by looking at the world around us. It comes from looking up.

It comes from gazing past ourselves to the One who is the meaning of happiness.

Jesus.

Happy are the Pursued…

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Matthew 5:10-11 ESV

Years ago, a recruiter contacted me because he saw my resume online. He called asking me to come in for an interview for a state-of-the-art histology lab in Cleveland–even offering me the salary I desired.

This company pursued me for my skills.

We use the word pursue in many ways. Pursue is one of those words which has a negative or positive meaning.

Matthew 5:10 uses the Hebrew word radaph (pronounced raw-daf’) for persecuted. It means to run after (usually with hostile intent; –chase, put to flight, follow (after, on), hunt, (be under) persecute(-ion, -or), pursue(-r).

As I sit here writing these words my mind is going in many directions as far as where to take this post. I haven’t written much in the hours I have sat in front of this laptop! I feel the Lord taking me in a direction I really didn’t intend to go.

And that direction is the topic of persecution.

Persecution is not too far off in our future. You don’t have to be a prophet to know that.

As I read and re-read related verses these stuck out to me most:

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,  while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

2 Timothy 3:12-13 ESV

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.

John 15:18 ESV

Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.

John 15:20 ESV

If we’re honest, we recognize the signs of the times. It won’t be long before every sold-out Christian/Jesus-lover will be insulted, falsely accused, and/or persecuted.

In this Beatitude, Jesus said people will persecute us for the sake of righteousness and Him. What does that mean?

I’m sure you understand what Jesus meant.

But, I can’t help but think of another verse right now.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.

Matt. 7:21-23 ESV

Why will Jesus say to many, who have cast out demons, prophesied, and done mighty things, “I never knew you”? Because they did not do the will of the Father.

The will of the Father includes being sexually moral and pure. It is holiness. When it comes down to it, the will of the Father is for us to be nothing like the world and everything like Jesus! It is every characteristic Jesus spoke of in the Beatitudes.

When it comes down to it, the will of the Father is for us to be nothing like the world and everything like Jesus! #HappyarethePursued #ThisSideofHeaven #TheBeatitudes

We live in a world where it is not politically correct to talk about Jesus or to tell people they are sinners. If we want, we can find a church and Bible version that suits our worldview. Many claim to be Christians. But are all who claim that title, righteous?

So, what does it mean to be righteous?

In my post on the Beatitude, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…” I explained righteousness this way:

Tsedeq [the Hebrew word for righteousness] has the idea that desperate people like those who are starving or dying of thirst will hunt for God’s righteousness or justice as a person would for food and water.

Do you Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness?

Here is the way Jeff A. Brenner describes righteousness. But, let me say this first, evil, according to the Hebrew language, is to depart from God’s way–righteousness is the exact opposite.

A righteous person is not one who lives a religiously pious life, [which is] the common interpretation of this word, he is one who follows the correct path, the path (way) of God.

https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/definition/righteous.htm

The CORRECT path and way.

Jesus is that way and the Father puts us on the path of His choosing. The only way to be righteous is through the righteousness of Jesus. The only way to know God’s path and to avoid departing from it is to be in the Word.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6 ESV

Who or what do we love the most? That is who we worship. What is the promise in this Beatitude? The Kingdom of Heaven.

Going back to the title of this post…Why are the pursued/persecuted happy? Because they know Who they belong to. This world will persecute those who stand for God’s truth and ways.

I can’t think of a better verse to demonstrate how Jesus’ disciples lived out this Beatitude.

The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.

Acts 5:4 NLT

Shalom

How blessed are those who make peace! For they will be called sons of God.

Matthew 5:9 CJB

I am a middle child. I have three older sisters and two younger. My oldest sister, Cindy, is nine years older than me, while my youngest sister, Melanie, is nine years younger.

The term most often applied to middle children is peacemakers. That was my role as a child in our loud and sometimes chaotic family. I hated conflict and strove to make peace.

What is a peacemaker?

Google defines it as : “A person who brings about peace, especially by reconciling adversaries.” But, the Hebrew language doesn’t use the word peacemaker, but the phrase “those who make peace.”

In English the word peace means, “freedom from disturbance; tranquility.”

Perhaps the best known Hebrew word for most Christians is shalom. Although people use it as a greeting, most people will say shalom means “peace.” But, if you know me, or have read my blog for any amount of time, you might predict I will tell you there is more to the meaning of the word shalom than just peace. 🙂

Shalom means more than “freedom from disturbance” or absence of strife. Strong’s Concordance, as well as the Hebrew defines shalom as:

Completeness, soundness, welfare, peace

https://biblehub.com/hebrew/7965.htm

Completeness means, Having no deficiency; perfect. Finished; ended; concluded; as, the edifice is complete.https://av1611.com/kjbp/kjv-dictionary/complete.html

Soundness is, “The ability to withstand force or stress without being distorted, dislodged, or damaged.” https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/soundness

The Prince of Peace

Isaiah 9:6 tells us Jesus is the Prince of Shalom or Peace. However, Jesus never promised us a world without disturbance or strife. Actually, quite the opposite.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33 ESV

They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.

John 12:53 ESV

But, Jesus did promise to make us complete. He promised to give us a sound mind and told us He would never leave us or forsake us.

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

Colossians 2:9-10 NKJV

Jesus said, “O the Blessedness of those who make peace…” So, how do we carry out completeness and soundness?

How can we bring people to a place of completion while helping them withstand the battles around them? Prayer, discipleship, helping them discover their identity in Christ, and simply walking this Christian life beside them.

Again, taking in all the Beatitudes we have covered up until now, we find it begins with our heart, humility, and compassion.

In Exodus 34, God describes Himself to Moses:

“YUD-HEH-VAV-HEH!!! Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [Adonai] is God, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in grace and truth; showing grace to the thousandth generation, forgiving offenses, crimes and sins; 

Exodus 34:6 CJB

God described Himself as merciful first. Jesus used this exact Hebrew word in the Beatitude: How blessed are those who show mercy! For they will be shown mercy.

Throughout these Beatitudes, Jesus is telling us to be like Him and the Father.

This brings us to the promise of this verse: For they will be called the sons of God. We are most like the Son of God when we are a peaceful, encouraging, and loving presence in people’s lives.

We are most like the Son of God when we are a peaceful, encouraging, and loving presence in people’s lives.

My twins were born at twenty-seven weeks, weighing two pounds and unable to breathe without a ventilator. Women from my church provided me with rides to the hospital, since the doctor had not cleared me to drive. I remember one particular day clearly. While sitting next to their isolettes, I watched Alexandria’s tiny body struggle to breathe–her lungs collapsed. She was already on a ventilator, but the neonatal staff could not keep her lungs inflated. She was so weak and gray-looking from the lack of oxygen circulating in her fragile body.

My driver, who I met for the first time that day, was eight months pregnant, and had three other children at home. I knew she needed to go, but I could not leave Alexandria. I told her to leave me there, but she would not go. She stayed with me until my baby girl was stable. My husband was at our restaurant and since this sister did not want me to be alone at home, she took me there. I don’t see her anymore but will always remember this woman’s kindness and the care she and the other women who took me back and forth to the hospital gave me for six weeks.

They were Jesus to me during my time of need.

Ask the Lord how you can give peace to someone this week.

Here are links to the other Beatitudes in this series…

The Poor in Spirit

Blessed are those who mourn

Blessed are those who are Meek

Blessed are those who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

Blessed are those who show Mercy

Blessed are the Pure in Heart

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The Pure in Heart Sees God Everywhere

How blessed are the pure in heart! For they will see God.

Matthew 5:8 CJB

I read a great quote on the Beatitudes by Skip Moen, PhD. He says, “[A Beatitude] is not a “blessing” that implies one party granting a favor to another party. A Beatitude is really a macarism, an announcement of an existing state, a status of happiness. https://skipmoen.com/2018/02/character-1/

Today, we will explore the sixth Beatitude of Matthew 5. As said above, these are not blessings over you or me, but a state of happiness when understanding that we are nothing more than beggars in need of the Lord, when we mourn over our sin when we look inward to see what keeps us from God when we are desperate to be righteous like Jesus, and when we are merciful and compassionate to others.

However, this is not the happiness the world teaches, but the happiness of a child of the Father.

I remember reading an article about the “sinfulness” of the seven deadly sins. The majority of the people polled did not regard pride as a sin. But yet, according to the Bible, God hates pride.

We cannot look at the Bible through the lens of the world or even with our American knowledge. We must look at it through the eyes of our Father. As we dig a little deeper while depending on the help of the Holy Spirit we will understand as much as He allows.

In my research of this Beatitude, the Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels puts it this way:

O the gladness of the pure in heart! For they will behold God.

Matthew 5:8

I don’t know about you, but I struggle daily to have a pure heart. If it were pure, I wouldn’t have to seek forgiveness when I have the wrong attitude, or when I feel envy, jealousy, or anger.

The word Jesus would have used is the Hebrew word tahor, which means clean. This word has the connotation of cleansing. To be clean, someone must do the cleaning.

We can see this in John 15 as well.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 

John 15:1-2 ESV

In John 15:2, we see the word prunes. This is the Greek word kathairó, meaning clean or cleansed–the same Greek word used for pure in this Beatitude. God is the gardener who prunes the Vine of the extra weight of dead or overgrown branches (us).

A pure heart is a pruned heart. It is a heart that has allowed God to make it clean. No heart becomes clean on its own; we have a part in the process of cleansing as well.

A pure heart is a pruned heart. It is a heart that has allowed God to make it clean. No heart becomes clean on its own; we have a part in the process of cleansing as well. The Bible tells us:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17:9

What is our part in the process of having a clean heart? We must surrender it to God so He can prune it. Google’s dictionary describes pruning as, “Trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth.

How does our heart become dead and overgrown?

By the cares of this world, hurts, wounds, and the desires of our flesh. The Lord prunes us because He loves us–He wants our hearts to be fruitful and our lives to look like Jesus as we walk with Him.

So what is the promise to those willing to have their hearts pruned?

To see or behold God. This is not future tense.

This is now.

The pure in heart will see God EVERYWHERE. They will see Him at work around us. They will not have to wait until Heaven, they will see Him moving here on earth.

Think about that. Why do some see God at work around them, and others don’t? Why do some ask where is God? Could it be related to the condition of our heart?

I was in a meeting about the Church and the current culture of disunity and division. At the end of the meeting someone asked,

Do we have a clear picture of what a healthy follower of Jesus looks like?

The answer was so clear to me…Yes!

The healthy follower of Jesus is the one who is in a state of happiness because they are living as Jesus told us to within the Beatitudes.

Remember, Jesus blesses you because He loves you, but you are a Blessed one because you do what He says.