06 May 2013

But I'm part of the family!

Alicia's muddy foot by bobmendo
Alicia's muddy foot, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.

We Jewish people are part of God's family. It started with Abraham, the first Jew, back about 2,000 BCE. He was called the 'friend of God' and walked with the Almighty. His son Isaac, not his servant Eliezer, would be the one who continued the godly line, later titled "The Jewish people." The people are family-based. No wonder we care to keep family and family relationships so close to our hearts.

Last week, my neighbor and her daughter were outside and the daughter, about 9 years old, was playing in the mud. In fact, the other neighbors had their sprinkler system going and Alicia found the water/mud-making-machine too tempting. She kept putting her feet in and coming out with laughter and glee as her feet were mudified.

Imagine with me, if her mother were upstairs, cooking dinner at the time. And the mother was busy with so many things, had cleaned the house earlier that day, and was on to final preparations for the dinner in only 10 more minutes.

So she calls, "Alicia. Time for dinner." And Alicia comes running up the steps, only to be met by her mother at the door, with a look of refusal. Her palms facing her daughter and the Russian word for "Not now" coming out her lips.

"What!" moaned the indignant child. "I belong here. This is my home. You called me, and now I want to come inside."

"Nope, not until you clean those dirty feet."

"But I belong. I'm a member of the family. You cannot prevent me!" as Alicia tries to turn sideways and enter by CIA-sneakiness.

The scene did not happen, but I was imagining it. I wondered if Alicia's mother would cave to the pressure. What if she had just mopped and waxed the floor? What if the new white berber carpet was recently shampooed? Would Alicia still have been welcomed or prevented?

I hear this often from my Jewish mates. God loves us Jews, and we are part of his family. So when I die, of course, I'll go to heaven, if there is one. But I wonder if God isn't like the mother with the tidy floors and we are more like the muddied Alicia than we care to admit.

No wonder we read in Leviticus 10.10 and again in 11.47 ("to make a distinction between the holy and the profane, and between the unclean and the clean"). Ritual purity was significant in Torah and included spitting and leprosy, touching dead animals and so many other things. The list was not comprehensive, but indicated how seriously God takes impurity. Like Alicia's mother.

Job felt the weight of God's judgment and cried, "Who can make the clean out of the unclean? No one!" (14.4)

Our heart deceives us too often. Jeremiah the prophet said so (17.7), and the Proverbs teaches, "All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives." (16.2)

But King David got it right, when caught out in sin, and repenting, he declared, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (Psalm 51.10)

The answer is in being born again. Ezekiel the prophet declared, "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols." (36.10)

Y'shua made it clear that there is an order to tidying which works. "first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also" (Matthew 23.26)

Being born again, trusting Y'shua as Saviour and Lord of your life, that's faith, and that belief will take you into cleansing which works on your heart, so that you can be welcomed into the heavenly moment of eternity.

Then your part in the family will be unquestioned. And your welcome into the community room of faith will ever be extended.

Hebrews 10.22 finishes this thought very well: "Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water."

Welcome home. "Come on in!"


Steve said...

Thank you Bob... A truly awesome message. Kol ha kavod

It kind of meminds me of the statement by Jesus in John 14:15 - “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

And: Luke: 6:43-49

A Tree Is Known by Its Fruit

43 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heartbrings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Build on the Rock

46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and NOT DO THE THINGS 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.”


Blessings, Steve

Bob Mendelsohn said...

Steve, appreciate your add-ons. Thanks. Let's keep proclaiming the good news of the cleanser of our sins.