Creation Studies Institute
Six days
 

Weekly Devotionals by Pastor Steve Rowitt, Th.M., Ph.D.



June 1, 2014 – “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!”
This verse, Deut. 6:4 is known as the “Shema.” There is no catechism in Judaism, but this verse is the closet thing to a statement of faith that the Old Testament offers. It is both a statement about the unique monotheism as well as a statement, in the original Hebrew, concerning the unique tri-unity of the Creator and Savior of the world. If we are to comprehend God’s Word, the living Word of God, Jesus, and the written Word of God, the Logos, you must be one of God’s children by faith in Messiah Yeshua. The Bible is written specifically about (and to) the children of God. If you are not one of God’s adopted children, (all God’s children are adopted into the body of Messiah by entering into the New Covenant and being born again, John 3:3) you are reading someone else’s mail. You can easily be lead astray and get involved with people who know about Jesus, but don’t know Him personally. This amazing statement of God’s true nature found in Deut. 6:4 indicates that God is a plurality of Persons.  He is the one true and living God. He is the I AM of Exodus 3:14, the uncreated, Creator of all. It begins with the Hebrew word “Shema.” This word is used dozens of times in the Old Testament and it denotes the positive and productive aspect of hearing. The meaning indicates an intelligent and careful attention to the declaration that follows. To be discerning or understanding of the instruction, message or proclamation; to obey, to show forth, to witness. It precedes the greatest of God’s commandments, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength,” Deut. 6:5.
 
June 8, 2014 – The Hearing Ear Responds
What do we mean by the phrase, the hearing ear responds? When the Messiah taught, during His three-year ministry on earth, He often used the expression, “He who has ears to hear, let them hear” Matt. 11:15, 13:9, 13:43; Mark 4:9; Luke 8:8, 14:35. The risen Savior, who spoke to the specific angels of the Revelation churches, repeatedly used this expression when speaking to those congregations, Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; Rev. 3:6, 13, 22. The prophet Isaiah gives us insight into this truth. During his ministry, Isaiah spoke eloquently about the coming Messiah. Prophetically, he explained that the Messiah would be God incarnate, Is. 9:6; born of a virgin, Is. 7:14; Who would be rejected by His own people, but He would suffer and die as an atonement for the sins of God’s people Israel, Is. 52:13-53:12; as well as the Gentiles, Is. 42:6-7, 49:6-7. Isaiah also explained man’s predicament due to his or her own sinful condition.
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened,
That it cannot save;
Nor His ear heavy,
That it cannot hear.
But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear, Is. 59:1-2.
We know that by definition, the one true and living God must have certain attributes. Without these attributes, we could not attach the term God, and all that implies, to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For God to be truly God, He must have exhibit the following characteristics:
        • He must be omniscient (all knowing) Ps. 44:21; I Cor. 2:10.
        • Omnipotent (all-powerful) Rev. 19:6.
        • Omnipresent (Everywhere He wants to be) Ps. 139:7-10.

So, understanding the above noted attributes of God, we can discern that Isaiah is not saying that God cannot hear something. He is God, therefore, He hears everything, even your inner most thoughts. The truth we learn from Isaiah is two-fold. First, God is El Shaddai, God Almighty and He is able to save; however, because He is holy and we are not, our sins have separated us from Him. He will not respond to our prayers until our sin problem is dealt with.

 

June 15, 2014 – Only God Can Solve Our Sin Problem

The fact that God is unwilling to respond to the petitions of the ungodly does not mean that He does not care. This does not mean that He is not merciful and gracious towards all people, Matt. 5:45, but to have close personal contact with the Holy One of Israel, we need to be cleansed from the unrighteousness is our natural condition, Ps. 14:1-3; Rom. 3: 10, 23. This means that the only prayer that God is interested in hearing from anyone is their acknowledgement that they are sinners in need of what God offers through Yeshua. Here is where the rest of the Shema comes into play. It is not enough to acknowledge God exists; we are required to place our full faith into His promised Messiah. This is described by Moses in the following way:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,”
Deut. 6:5-9.

The context of the Shema is God’s great deliverance of the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt. We are to commemorate the Passover as a Memorial forever, Ex. 12:14. Who are we memorializing? We are to remember the one who died. It was the blood of the Passover that exempted the children of Israel from God’s judgment 3,500 years ago. It is the blood of Messiah our Passover, I Cor. 5:7, that cleanses us from all unrighteousness today.
June 22, 2014 – Nothing Can Be Accomplished Apart From Messiah  

      • You cannot love God until you experience His love, I John 4:18-20.
      • You cannot have God’s written Word in you without being born again, John 3:3.
      • In the New Covenant, God writes His Torah on our hearts, Ez. 36:26-27.
      • Only then can we diligently teach (by word and deed) what we have   received, II Tim. 3:16-17.
      • You should memorize God’s Word and celebrate His presence in your life, Ps. 119:11.
God’s instructions can be extremely sobering, especially when God links our ability to trust and obey Him with our salvation experience. There is no middle ground where Yeshua is concerned. You are either for Him or against Him, Matt. 10:33-34.; I John 2:23, 4:15. He communicate this truth to His disciples during His three-year earthly ministry.
46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great,” Luke 6:46-49.

The Old Testament saints prophesied that the Messiah would be the Foundation Stone that the builders (the spiritual leaders of Israel when the Messiah would appear as the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 52:13-53:12.


21 I will praise You,
For You have answered me,
And have become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This was the Lord’s doing;
It is marvelous
in our eyes, Ps. 118:21-23.


The above noted verses becomes even more spectacular when we understand that the word ‘salvation’ in Hebrew is the name of the Messiah. Yeshua is transliterated into English as Jesus. So, that is why the angel said. so that is why the angel told  His stepfather Joseph,  “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Salvation (Jesus), for He will save His people from their sins,” Matt. 1:21.

 

June 29, 2014 – Believers Take God at His Word 
There have always been believers and make believers. That is why Paul always inserted the gospel into every letter he wrote to the churches he planted. These tares (false brethren) are mixed in with the wheat (true believers). Jesus warned us not to judge with condemnation those who profess to believe, Matt. 7:1-5. We cannot see their hearts, only God can do that. The warning implies that we will get it wrong if we try to decide who is saved and who is not within a body of believers, Matt. 13:29-30. If we look at many of the Old Testament saints, we can easily make the mistake of seeing them as disobedient and wicked people. The brothers of Joseph plotted to murder him and Lot was way too comfortable with the carnality of Sodom. Samson was almost entirely controlled by his sexual lust. Cain, Moses and King David were all murderers. Peter was carried away by legalistic hypocrisy, Gal. 2:11-18. When Paul and Barnabas began in ministry together, they had a dispute over John Mark and went their separate ways, Acts 12:25, 15:36-37. Later, Paul, evidently believing that John Mark was now ready for ministry, sends for him, II Tim. 4:11. Make not mistake about this, you are either in Messiah or you are not. Only those who have been born again can trust and obey the Lord, truly discerning the presence of God in their own lives and in the lives of others.
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together, .Rom. 8:16-17.