Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Yada: It's Not What You Think

Q. What do you call couples who use the rhythm method [of birth control]?
A. Parents

The natural outcome of a union between two people is fruit (fruit of the loins, according to the KJV).  It is true in the natural realm.  It is also true in the spiritual realm.

Psalm 46:10 tells us to, ‘Be still and know God.’  The word, still, is translated raphah and means to yield, or give slack [to another].  The image being denoted is to cut the tension.  The NASB translates the word, ‘cease striving’.  In a game of tug-of-war, the opposing teams keep tension on the rope and try to win by pulling the other team into their territory.  It takes a great deal of effort.  

As I read the whole of Psalm 46, I have a mental image of God’s people having a tug-of-war with God.  The real enemy is simply watching the efforts of the Israelites and picking them off at will because they are fully focused on their own struggle with God.  God is telling them to yield, cut the tension.  In doing so, they swing around to God and in effect, they encircle the enemy in the rope.  All at once, the Lord of [heavenly] Hosts will fight the enemy. 

Although God is able to defeat the enemy and at the same time have a game of tug-of-war with his people, he will not.  He is focused on his people and wants to partner in the victory with them.  He’s a gentleman in that way.  He will never force himself on us.

How is this true?  The word, know, is yada in Hebrew and in one sense of the word, it means to ‘know carnally’.  When you know someone, one yields him or herself to the other; two are united as one and the result is fruit. Fruit comes from intimacy.

John 15 speaks about the same type of connectedness.  Jesus is the vine, we are the branches and when we are connected to the source of life, the natural result is a fruit-bearing tree.  Is the focus fruit?  No, but fruit is the result of a right relationship.

Chasing the fruit is like performance-based Christianity.  It looks impressive but the vitality is missing.  Independent cable networks have some wonderfully weird and wacky television shows.  A while ago I saw a show about State Fair vegetable growing competitions.  The particular episode I watched showcased pumpkins. They were so big they needed to be transported by a trolley cart. 

A vine that produces a pumpkin that large will only produce one fruit.  The pumpkin is inedible, and therefore only good for “show”.  Once the show is over, it is not good for anything and will rot away.  This is not the picture of how we are to be in the kingdom of heaven.  We are supposed to bear much fruit, fruit that will last BUT the goal is not to produce fruit.  The goal is to remain connected to the vine, Jesus.

Cut the slack, yield to God and intimately know him, as he intimately knows us and the reward is fruit that lasts.

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