15 January 2011 (Shibi'i/Sukkot)|
Day #305, 5934 AM
The Fixed Heart
Revealing the Glory of Yahweh
The more I research the Hebrew roots of words the more fascinated I become not only because I want to know the original sense of Yahweh's revelation but because our own translations and renditions can sometimes unintentionally deceive us into believing something the Creator has not said.
"My heart is fixed (kuwn, erect, perpendicular), O Elohim, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise" (Ps.57:7, KJV).
In today's passage we are taking a look at the Hebrew word kuwn which the King James Version (KJV) renders as "fixed" but which others, like the NKJV, render as "steadfast". Interestingly, this same word is variously rendered elsewhere as "perfected", "ready", "right", "stable", "ordained", "ordered", "faithful", "firm", "direct" and a number of other nuances. Because a single Hebrew word contains so many shades of meaning it becomes especially difficult to translate it into English. For what the Hebrew kuwn conveys to us is a picture of an erect, perpendicular pole. This one image contains all the various senses which we then try to put into words.
Traditional Christian piety has taught us that Yahweh should have all the glory. And the intent is noble enough - as the Master of masters (Lord of lords) and King of kings - Yahweh and Yah'shua should have the exalted position in our minds and hearts and in the verbal fruits of our praise. And yet, as David points out here, he too has glory or spleandour, even though it is not something he has earned - it is something that Yahweh has given to him as a sovereign act. It is not wrong for a man to have glory or splendour provided it is never placed alongside or exalted above that of Yahweh. Rather, such a lev or heart should be kuwn - like an erect, perpendicular pole pointing to heaven. If it isn't, it is glory for self-gratification and becomes idolatry.
"My heart is steadfast (kuwn, erect, perpendicular, fixed), O Elohim (God), my heart is steadfast (kuwn, erect, perpendicular, fixed); I will sing and give praise. Awake, my glory (kabowd, splendour, copiousness)! Awake, lute and harp! I will awaken the dawn (wake early). I will praise You, O Yahweh, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations. For Your mercy (chesed) reaches unto the heavens, and Your truth (emet) unto the clouds. Be exalted, O Elohim (God), above the heavens; let Your glory (kabowd) be above all the earth" (Ps.7:7-11, NKJV).
There is much emet or truth hidden up in these verses for those who will dig it out. Yahweh has distributed His glory to whom He will on condition that it is pointed back - vertically - to Him as the Source of everything. This will include toqef or authority amongst other things.
Glory is not, however, what you might suppose it to be. The biblical sense of "glory" generally represents the Hebrew kabod which has a root that basically means "heaviness" or "weight" from which we get the word "worthiness". A person who is "worthy" is one who is of "heaviness" or "weight", as in the English expression, 'he is worth his weight in gold'. This same word can be used to describe a man's wealth, his splendour or reputation. A man who has weight, glory, honour or splendour in Yahweh's eyes is a man who has a tov shem or 'good name'. He is erect, perpendicular, or fixed. Thus the glory of Israel was never in her genetics or armies but Yahweh Himself (Jer.2:11). And finally, the word for "glory" can also be rendered as a man's "soul".
When we speak of the glory of Yahweh, what do we mean? We are not talking about a bright light. Rather, the glory of Yahweh denotes the revelation of His being, His nature, and His presence to mankind, which may be attended by physical or sensual phenomena like a 'bright light' or 'glory'.
We know from the account of the Exodus that this glory accompanied the people out of Egypt and was revealed visibly in the cloud which led them through the wilderness (Ex.16:7,10). This same cloud rested on Mt.Sinai where Moses saw Yahweh's glory (Ex.24:15-18). And though no man was ever permitted to see Yahweh's panim or face and live (Ex.33:20), a part or vision of that glory was permitted (Ex.34:5-8) to those worthy enough to approach close enough. It is this same glory that is apportioned to men and is beheld in a similar fashion to those whose hearts are vertical, perpendicular, or fixed. Otherwise we remain mysteries to one another.
The glory of Yahweh filled the tabnernacle even as the glory of a man is supposed to fill his home (Ex.40:34-35) and appeared especially at the hour of sacrifice (Lev.9:6,23) just as it does us when we approach Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit (Ps.51:17; 34:18) and approach Him at the appointed times or moedim. It is at these sacred times and heart-attitudes that make known the character of Yahweh throughout the earth:
Because Solomon's heart was (in the beginning) fixed on the Most High, Yahweh revealed His glory spectacularly in the newly dedicated Temple at Jerusalem:
"Then Yahweh said: 'I have pardoned, according to your word; but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of Yahweh -- because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it'" (Num.14:20-24, NKJV).
When I think of the glory of Yahweh, I tend to remember this event especially because it was so spectacular and was witnessed by so many. The glory, in this instance, was accompanied by esh or divine fire, the same that burned up Elijah's sacrifice on Mount Carmel. But this glory is manifested in other ways too in Scripture as in the visions of Ezekiel (Ezek.1:28; etc.) and elsewhere (Is.40:4-5; 60:1-3; etc.). Isaiah seems to have had a similar experience to Solomon and Israel only this was for him alone:
"When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of Yahweh filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of Yahweh, because the glory of Yahweh had filled Yahweh's house. When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of Yahweh on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised Yahweh, saying: 'For He is good, for His mercy endures forever'" (2 Chron 7:1-3, NKJV; cp. 1 Ki.8:11).
The imagery of a storm features prominently in Yahweh's glory and that is male principle (Ps.18-19), a glory that will also be revealed to the whole world in the future (Ps.57:11; 96:3). The Greek equivalent to kabod, doxa, is of more limited meaning but overlaps with its Hebrew counterpart in conveying a reputation, like the tov shem or 'good name' I already mentioned. As with the Hebrew, doxa is also used of human honour (Mt.4:8; 6:29) but mostly it is used to describe the revelation of the character and the presence of Yahweh in the work of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). He is the 'outshining of the Divine Glory' (Heb.1:3) just as men are supposed to be the outshining of the male-principle glory of Yah'shua and women the outshining of the female-principle glory of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit).
"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw Yahweh sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: 'Holy, holy, holy is Yahweh of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!' And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke" (Isa.6:1-4, NKJV).
The glory of Yahweh was constantly seen in the life of the Messiah and the glory of the Messiah in His talmidim or disciples as they surrendered themselves to Him. Perhaps the height of the revelation of Yah'shua's Glory was in the Transfiguration (Mt.17:1-8; Mk.9:2-8; Lk.9:28-36) that recalls Moses' ascent to Sinai (Ex.24:15) and of Elijah to Horeb (1 Ki.19:8) and their visions of the Glory of Yahweh. Now Yah'shua the Messiah both sees and reflects this Divine Glory, but no tabernacle (sukka) needs to be build because the Word of Elohim (God) has pitched His Tent in the human flesh of Yah'shua (Jn.1:14) and His Glory is to be more fully revealed at the coming exodus at Jerusalem (Lk.9:31) and finally at His Second Coming.
In the Gospel of John it is the hour of dedication to death which is essentially the hour of glory (Jn.7:39; 12:23-28; 13:31; 17:5 cp. Heb.2:9). Thus the resurrection and ascension are also manifestations of the glory of Yahweh in Messiah (Lk.24:26; Ac,3:13; 7:55; Rom.6:4; 1 Tim.3:16; 1 Pet.1:21). But above all it is to be revealed in its fullness at the Second Coming (Mk.8:38; 13:26; etc.).
Man, who was made as the image and glory of Elohim (1 Cor.11:7) for relationship with Him, has fallen short of his destiny (Rom.3:23), which has been fulfilled only by Yah'shua, the second Adam (Heb.2:6-9).
It is the will of the Most High that the glory of Yahweh-Elohim, revealed in the panim or face of Yah'shua the Messiah, is to be seen and reflected in the messianic community (church) or Bride of Messiah (2 Cor.4:3-6). It is indeed the glory of the New Covenant (2 Cor.3:7-11) and it is especially shared both now (1 Pet.4:14) and hereafter (Rom.8:18) by those who suffer with Messiah. The object of the messianic community is to see that the world acknowledges the glory which is Yahweh's (Rom.15:9) and is shown in His deeds (Ac.4:21), in His talmidim or disciples (1 Cor.6:20), and above all in His Son, the Master of Glory (Rom.16:27).
What Yahweh wants from you and me is also glory - the glory of a heart which is fixed like an immovable heavenward-pointing pole. Aaron Linford calls this Davidic attitude, which we saw in the opening Psalm quotation, a "heart-fix". In other words, what Yahweh wants is an attitude of mind and heart - a lev - that is moulded and fixed so that, once set, it is hard to change:
There is no glory for man or for Elohim outside of Divine Tavnith or Pattern. Paul likens the doctrine he taught as "the mould into which you have let your nature be run" (Rom.6:17, A S Way). Therefore a renewed mind and heart will automatically accept the mould of Yahweh's will (Rom.12:2) and become heart-set after the spiritual tavnith or pattern set by Scripture.
"But Elohim (God) be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered" (Rom.6:17, NKJV).
In all other circumstances, inflexibility is a negative trait to be avoided, but when it comes to divine tavnith-emet or Pattern-Truth, there is no other safe course. This is why I am so inflexible and intractable when it comes to scriptural authority and rôles. These things, revealed plainly in Scriptures, are to be allowed to set hard so that they provide a safe and reliable mould for the waters of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) to operate on our souls. The Bible admits to no contradiction and one who is set upon Yahweh must allow for no other tavnith from the world. Scripture is authoritative, life-changing, and behaviour-correcting. I can trust it. You can trust it. It will never let us down. The personality of our Father in Heaven, of His Son, and of the Ruach haQodesh shines clearly and unambiguously through true tavnith. His glory is thereby revealed and ours - pointing vertically to heaven - can then be revealed to the world, as commanded of us. Like David, because our lev or heart is fixed, established, perfect, orderly, stable, faithful, ordained, firm, direct, ready, steadfast and full of emet-tavnith, it can not only be given authentic toqef or authority but it can also sing and praise Yahweh through all of life's circumstances.
I invite you to try it and find real contentment. Shabbat shalom!
Comments from Readers
Just like a flower may stand firm and erect when its filled with the life giving water it needs but becomes limp and begins to droop and lose its uprightness when it is lacking water, the same is true of our hearts - that its when our hearts are filled with the Living waters of Elohim, filled with the Ruach haQuodesh, that our hearts will be kuwn - "perfected", "ready", "right", "stable", "ordained", "ordered", "faithful", "firm", "direct"... But when we are lacking and not filled with the Living waters of Elohim, we will begin to lose our uprightness. Like the flower, when our hearts are filled with the living waters and made kuwn, they will face and look up to heaven in their uprightness, but if they lack the living waters, as they loose their uprightness they will begin to look down to the things of earth.
With kabowd as both glory and soul...
I thought of how Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians 15:40-49 of how the celestial bodies have different glories - the glory of the sun, the moon and the stars, and how the same will be true at the resurrection of the dead - of how, according to how that soul was sanctified, thiri soul and their glory will be different from others, and of how those soul or glory's appearance is compared to either the light or the stars, light of the moon, or light of the Sun... where that is an echo of Elohim and His soul or glory appearing as a brilliant light. The more the soul is sanctified and confirmed to and filled by Elohim, the brighter that soul or glory in Messiah will appear.
Another verse that came to mind was of Paul to the Phillipians, speaking of those who's glory is their shame, or glory in their shame, and I wondered there about the connection with the defilement of their own souls.
I also thought of how we have no glory apart from Elohim - it is with becoming kuwn by being filled by Elohim's kabowd that we, our souls, are truly made glorious...being filled with Light and made kuwn in Elohim that our kabowd's are light.
The glory of Elohim filling the tabnernacle or temple is an echo or shadow of believers, the temple of Yah'shua being filled with Elohim's soul...of our souls being filled with His soul.
Understanding that kabowd is both glory and soul is really beautiful and deep to me, to consider we were meant, in being filled in tavnith, to reveal His soul. It also gives a deeper depth considering, for instance, when Yah'shua spoke of what happened with Lazerus (or even the man who was blind from birth) was allowed so that Elohim's glory - His soul - could be revealed...
It also makes what Moses experienced deeper (and more sense to me), with where he was asking to see Elohim's glory that He was asking for His soul to be revealed to him - and with this, why Elohim gave that declaration of who He is in Exodus 34:5-7 when He allowed him to see His glory, His soul - of how deep a heart revelation Moses was really receiving of who Yahweh - His very soul and being - is! (DP, South Africa, 17 January 2011)
Comment from Lev (18 January 2011)
I totally agree. The 'glory' of this emet or truth is that man has no glory of his own - ever - in the sense that it is some independent force or revelation because all glory is Yahweh's! The only glory for man is revealing Yahweh's glory in a life lived for Him in obedience to Him. Satan sought to reveal his own glory apart from Yahweh and discovered that without Yahweh the only 'glory' left was darkness. How easily we fall for the demonic lie that 'self-worth' is what matters - it isn't, it's christ-worth. What value is there, anyway, of anything apart from Christ? It is precisely the Christ- or zoë- life that gives worth to anything - how can a piece of lifeless dust have value except as a building material for the real thing - chayyim or life itself? Few admire a dead animal - the glory of an animal is in its life and life-attributes. Likewise, our value and glory lies only in the life-attributes we incarnate for the world to see - the spiritual qualities that come from the Creator. And this we can only do by walking in Torah-tavnith.