13 August 2010 (Sheshi/Kippur)|
Day #151, 5934 AM
Teshuvah #5 Micah
Learning to Repent for Sinners
In this hope-filled passage is a beautiful truth that we must not miss. The prophet who is called to relay Yahweh's judgments must identify himself with those being judged, becoming echad with them so that he too experiences the same judgment on a human level. This is the principle of atonement. For here the prophet Micah became one with his people Judah while Yahweh's wrath fell on them in exactly the same way that Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) identified Himself with all mankind and their sins, feeling the wrath of Yahweh fall on Him. This messianic passage therefore tells an essential truth: atonement (kaphar) is repentance (teshuvah). Yah'shua, the Son of Elohim (God), was repenting for our sins and paying the penalty for our Torah-disobedience.
"Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, Yahweh will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of Yahweh, because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness. Then she who is my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, 'Where is Yahweh your Elohim?' My eyes will see her; now she will be trampled down like mud in the streets" (Mic.7:8-10, NKJV).
This is what may also be called the Husband Principle. The Bridegroom must suffer for the sins of the Bride. And yet his identity with her does not mean that he becomes her, save in a representational way - she remains who she is and what she is and must go through the teshuvah process like us all. But the Bridegroom must nevertheless descend from his place of righteousness, entering into her space, in order to lift her out of the darkness.
The final descent of the Son was impalement on a Cross. The enemy gleefully thought he had won when the Son died. "Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, Yahweh will be a light to me". Micah was in full identity with his people and suffered along with them. He did not 'deserve' to be treated like them any more than the Son 'deserved' to be crucified but then that's the whole point: ahavah- or agapé-love is not about what you deserve but about what you don't deserve. We did not deserve to be rescued by Messiah. We did nothing to earn our salvation at all.
Micah experiences the wrath of Yahweh against his people and although he himself has not sinned against Yahweh, he has representationally sinned by choosing identity with the sinful people of Judah: "I will bear the indignation of Yahweh, because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me". Yah'shua was treated as a sinner and those looking on Him, having no understanding of what was going on, would easily have interpreted His fate as a judgment from Yahweh. Yet things were not as they seemed to be. What they were in fact seeing was Yahweh's judgment against them. And though they were not there up on the torture stake - on that cruel gibbet - that would be their fate spiritually if they did not make teshuvah. When we read the Gospels and see Yah'shua on the Cross, that is where we will be when we refuse to repent. And that is where we remain until we do, for a shorter or longer period of time - to suffer and opay for our own sins...which is impossible, so our suffering is then totally in vain.
Yah'shua descended into Hades for three days and three nights in the same way that Jonah was in the belly of the whale for the same period of time. He was buried in a tomb. All the while, "He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness; I will see His righteousness". And indeed Yah'shua arose from the dead and ascended into Heaven - into the fullness of the Light once again. And He knew the rightness of what He had done - His substitute suffering for sin - being filled with simcha or joy for the fruits of this suffering.
If Micah was willing to suffer in identity with his unrepentant people, and if Yah'shua was willing to suffer for us, His unrepentant Bride (both knowing that good would eventually flow from this suffering), then should not husbands be willing to suffer for their unrepentant wives? But first the husbands have to decide whether they are going to be a complaining Jonah or a Yahweh-submitted Micah. As for the wives, have they any idea what their rebellion against the set-apart tavnith or pattern of their husband's sovereignty does to their husband, and have they any idea of the cost it will be to them in the eternities if they do not make teshuvah? And you, man or woman in Christ, have you any idea what you do to Christ when you sin, and have you any idea what will happen to you in the eternities if you do not make teshuvah?
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Yah'shua (Jesus), the author and finisher of our faith, who for the simcha (joy) that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of Elohim (God)" (Heb.12:1-2, NKJV).
"Then she who is my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, 'Where is Yahweh your Elohim?' My eyes will see her; now she will be trampled down like mud in the streets".. The "she" here is Babylon, she who refuses to make teshuvah who becomes the persecutor and oppressor of the unrepentant Bride. She who mocked because Yahweh seemed so distant and so disinterested when the rebellious Bride was suffering, in the end, once the Bride has served her Torah sentence for sin, be brought down and be trampled down in the mud. Note the contrast between her and Micah - Micah is sitting in his sorrows in identification whereas the enemy of the Bride is prostrate and trampled. Job sat too while he endured for the sake of Yahweh and put Satan to shame.
The taunting of the godless eventually is silenced. Justice does come but only after we have made our proper identifiction - only when we have learned to repent for those who yet refuse to repent or who are undergoing their mandarory punishment. This is the second dimension of teshuvah. The first is repentance for our own sin, the second - and highest (which denotes spiritual maturity) is when we identity with, sorrow and repent for others rather than striking out at them, grumbling and complaining like Jonah.
In our passage today the enemies of Yahweh's people were the Babylonians who took Judah into captivity. However, she in her turn was trampled down by the Medes and Persians. Daniel was in the Babylonian King's palace when Belshazzar was slain, a witness to the end of his own oppressor. Justice is always done but only after a period of grace. But remember the price of grace - it is not cheaply given. It's cost was the Cross.
Part of being in relationship with Yah'shua is our enabling by Him to identify with His unrepentant people - those who refuse to make teshuvah. That identification is what truly makes us a Messianic or Christian because it then means we have acquired something of His heart and have become like Him. Will we repent for them - not as atoners, of course, for only Yah'shua can do that - but as true family? Family members are supposed to take care of one another and put family member's interests above their own. When all in a family - the messianic community or church - are doing that, then you have arrived at Sukkot and are ready for the full marriage of the Lamb. Then teshuvah is finished...for ever. Then teshuvah has met its goal. Then there is eternal shalom.
Comments from Readers
"Very deep truths presented so anyone can understand - brilliant!" (AH, Sweden, 13 August 2010)