Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The LORD, the God of Our Fathers

This is a new one to me:  Jehovah Elohe Abothekem

It means this:

The LORD (Yahweh)
the God (Elohiym:  Supreme God)
of your Fathers (Ab: father, forefather, ancestor)

While touring Washington, D. C. last week, I was overcome with emotion time and time again.  I could have easily blamed the tears on the sweat rolling down my face, but they were indeed, tears.  From seeing the start of the United States of America to reliving the Holocaust, I was reminded that it is all God's story and it all deserves to be remembered.

One of the most memorable parts was taking in a large reproduction of Francis Scott Key's original draft of the Star Spangled Banner.

I had never heard the last stanza:

O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation.
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "
In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Walking the streets of D.C. gives one a true sense of who the nation's founding fathers were.  As a whole, they worshiped God, putting Him on their currency, declarations, and national anthem.  They were not afraid to state that their only hope and trust was God alone.

How far we have fallen.

What has happened to the land that we love?

We have forgotten who our forefathers are.  Not just those of our nation, but those of our spiritual heritage.  Abraham. Isaac. Jacob. None of these men were perfect, but they all seemed to have mighty Jehovah etched deeply on their hearts.

Jehovah Elohe Abothekem. The LORD, the God of our Fathers.  Jehovah is the link between one generation and the string of generations before it.  We would be so wise to listen to the stories of our forefathers to understand who God is and to try to circumvent tragedies such as genocide, slavery,and apathy.

I find it striking that "abothekem" comes from the Hebrew "ab" which means father.  It is the very first Hebrew word in the lexicon and dictionary.  Numero uno.  It all seems to start with a Father.  God the Father places high emphasis on the concept of fatherhood.  God sent His only Son, in an act of courageous love, to allow a heathen world to experience the true love of a Father.

God the Father wants founding fathers of nations to point to the Ultimate Father.  God wants generation after generation to see what the founding fathers saw years and years ago as they searched for freedom.

In the Word, the context of Jehovah Elohe Abothekem is found in Joshua 18:3.  God had promised land to the patriarchs...the forefathers.  The land had been given, but the tribes had become lazy and apathetic.  They refused to go in and take over what had been entrusted to them.  Joshua asks the people of Israel, "How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land, which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?"

As Believers in America, I believe we have a dual inheritance.  We have the spiritual inheritance of our Lord, Jesus, as well as the inheritance of a literal free land in which to dwell. We are doubly blessed.  But, have we become lazy? 

The Message version says, "How long are you going to sit around on your hands?  The KJV says, "How long are ye slack?"  Slack here is faint, idle, lazy, slothful

We've become apathetic.  We are losing our national and spiritual identity.  We are looking sin straight in the face and on television and it isn't even bothering us anymore.  We as a church don't blush anymore.

I'm screaming this to myself:  there is sin in being too comfortable!  It creates an environment where we sit in luxury, refusing to see the glaring need that is all around.

What part of the land do we need to go in and take possession of?  The Hebrew word possession implies that we sometimes need to take BACK something that belongs to us....to drive out the previous tenants. 

We need to slough off the dead skin of apathy and put on courage.  We need to be reminded that we are a people under the God who calls himself Jehovah Tsaba:  The LORD our Warrior.  He wants us fighting alongside of Him. We must put on our armor, pray, saturate ourselves in His Truth, and stand strong against the enemy.

We must remember our fathers and all they taught us about the Father.

What land in our lives do we need to take possession of?

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