Fruit From the Vine: Chacah, Batach, Yachal

I think we might (it’s also quite possible I am just speaking for myself here) get a little confused when it comes to trusting the Lord. When I ask my child to trust me that I’m not going to let him fall, it’s because I really am not going to let him fall. So we naturally think that when we trust the Lord, it provides supernatural protection against all major and most minor harm.

So when you’re faced with no job or cancer or no money coming in or no financial plan for the future or retirement and you say, “I’m just trusting the Lord,” it seems really spiritual. Except really what you’re saying is, “God is going to make a job fall in my lap” or “God is not going to let me die from cancer” or “He meets all of our needs, we don’t need to worry. Our cell phone and TV and car payments will still be paid even without the numbers working out on paper.” This sometimes does happen. God sometimes does the miraculous in our lives, and for that I am thankful. But our picture of trust is tainted, still.

What about the Christian, who really is trusting the Lord with all their heart and not leaning on their own understanding, that is dying of a disease or that can’t pay the bills and is going into foreclosure or whose desires of their hearts aren’t being met? Not enough faith? God not being faithful?

The word trust has a few different meanings in Scripture. One word in the Hebrew that means trust is chacah and it means “to take refuge”. Another one is batach which means “to have confidence in, to set ones hope in.” Another is yachal, meaning “to wait, hope, expect.” (Note: The word list is not exhaustive…there are many more in Hebrew and Greek.)

With any one of these words, the definition is NOT: “trust because He will make everything work out okay. That’s God’s job.”

Trust does not mean that Jesus will work it all out just because you commit the situation to Him. It doesn’t mean safety, peace, comfort, prosperity, health, or even life. It certainly doesn’t mean that all of your American dreams or wishes are met. Yes, he has plans for you. But have you considered the possibility that those plans could be bankruptcy or disease or being murdered?

I don’t think I have considered this much in the past. God is indeed faithful to Himself and His promises but a good, prosperous, safe life with every desire being met is not one of his promises. When I say, “I trust you Lord,” what I mean is “I take refuge in You. I have confidence in You, that Your plan is better than mine. I put my hope in you and I wait for You. I expect you to be Faithful, because that is Who You are.”

Anything that I desire cannot be compared to Him and His glory. All things, material and otherwise, are to be in service to Him and point to Him. He does not serve US and the things in our lives. We gladly use and give thanks for the gifts He gives, holding on to them very loosely, knowing that we are not owed any of them. They are ALL evidence of grace. Our right response is to love Him, serve Him, obey Him, trust Him.

I cling to him during times of uncertainty or worry because He has Sovereign hands. And I trust Him, not because it will all work out for what I think is good, but that it will be what He deems good for me. Maybe that’s life, maybe that’s death. Maybe that’s poverty or illness or persecution or famine. Whatever it is, I place my trust in Him, because He is trust-worthy.

Friday Fruit from the Vine: Get Real

Have you ever really read Matthew 5? I know I have before, and was really paying attention. But for some reason, this time it was like looking into Lake Tahoe- I felt like I could see the bottom, the waters were so crystal clear!

In the past, I have noticed the different themes Jesus is touching on: Anger, Divorce, Lust, Oaths, Retaliation, Loving your enemies. But when you read it without creating sections and themes, when you read it as Jesus spoke it to His disciples with the backdrop of the Pharisees, you see that Jesus is really just talking about one thing. STOP THE RELIGIOSITY. STOP THE OUTWARD MORALITY. GET REAL!

We think, or at least I do sometimes, that we’re doing pretty good. We don’t do this or that. And we DO this good thing and that great thing. However, if we will allow this text to lead us to repentance, we will see that Jesus ups the ante enough to condemn each one of us. And then he tops it of with a demand of perfection: “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven,” and “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

With these raised standards, who can attain? Who can be that perfect? Not me. Obviously not even the scribes and Pharisees, to which he referred. So who? NO ONE. NO ONE is justified in His sight.

I do lust sometimes. I certainly get angry. And I seldom can justify it as being “righteous anger.” I haven’t ever been divorced, but I’ve certainly wanted to. Lusted after it, in moments. Woahhh, killed two birds with one stone, there. I have taken oaths and broken oaths. I have retaliated. And I don’t love my enemies. I have a hard enough time loving my family and friends.

So how can I come before God?

Go from Matthew 5 to Romans 5.

“Therefore, since we have been JUSTIFIED by faith, we have peace with God THROUGH our Lord JESUS Christ.”

The only way I can stand perfect before a perfect Father is Jesus.

And today, I sing,

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
And to take Him at His word…

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!”

He who justified us, who we trust to present us as perfect before a holy God, is trustworthy for all things. So get real with others and get real with Him today. Not real good, or real moral, or real religious or real presentable. Just get real with Jesus! He presents you before the Father BLAMELESS!