Why we should celebrate our oldies
How do we find real favour with God?
Let’s start with an initial working definition of what is Hebraic. The starting point is having a faith in God that underpins our wisdom, which compels us to perform our deeds (rather than thinking or debating or arguing about such things). This definition is gradually refined as God reveals more and more. It bucks the trend of current perceptions that define Hebraic in terms of externals, of practices, rituals and Jewish cultural trappings. Instead the true Hebraic understanding is of an internal mindset, that of Jesus and his disciples and in fact of the Jews who preceded him and inhabited the pages of the Hebrew Bible. In other words, rather than dwelling on festivals, eating habits and vocabulary, we consider how those early Jews thought and acted on those thoughts. Following on from that I contrasted Greek and Hebraic thinking and came to the following conclusions:
The first was that we should live Hebraically, focusing on our relationships. There should be reverence for God, a total respect and unquestioning faith in God in every situation. We should favour small groups, with an emphasis on personal relationships within the Church and nurture family relationships, with the realisation that God’s blessings flow more freely through His covenant people.
The second was that we should think Hebraically, focusing on understanding God’s provisions for us. We should consider living by faith, a total reliance on God’s promises for our needs. We should have total trust in the Bible, treating God’s Word as precious, completely timeless and truthful and endeavouring to study it wholeheartedly. We should also focus on the real Jesus, understanding him in his Jewish setting.
The third was that we should act Hebraically, living lives of truth, joy and purpose. There is the importance of good conduct, showing the world by our actions that there is something different about us. We should seek an understanding of the concept of One New Man and make adjustments if necessary. Then there is unity without compromise, supporting our Christian family without condoning error and heresy.
The Hebraic is about man and God and can be better understood through this set of contrasts.
- The Greek mind says that man is at the centre of life; the Hebraic mind says that God is at the centre of life.
- The Greek mind says that the things of God must be deduced from our logical minds; the Hebraic mind says that the things of God can only be understood by faith and revelation.
- The Greek mind says that we should strive for knowledge about God; the Hebraic mind says that we should know God.
It’s all Hebraic. It’s a lost art for some, to others it’s already an ever-present reality. It’s simply how we can best act out our part in the divine drama, the everlasting love story of God and His people. To do so we need to discover our role and purpose and see where we fit in and then make sure we are on cue and don’t fluff our lines! It’s all about relationship, man and God, God and Man, man and man. It’s as simple as that.
So, hopefully, we are more or less on the same page here in our understanding of the difference between the original Biblical, Hebraic mindset and the worldly Greek mindset that currently defines not just our society, but also, in many ways, the Church itself.
To truly understand the ways of God we need to think Hebraically. At the heart of this is to always put God, not man, at the centre of everything.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
To do this we apply three rules, simple rules, but at the very heart of Hebraic thinking. They are the following:
1. Does God get the Glory? We can only answer this if we have a true understanding of God’s character and desires. We have to make sure we have a true image of God and not one influenced by the devil’s deception, or coloured by our feelings or influenced by the paganism of platonic thinking (from the dualistic teachings of Plato, where the spiritual and the physical are separated). Are you honouring God?
2. Are you a good witness to the world? We can only answer this if we have a clear grip on what influences us. Is Jesus at the centre of our life, rather than personal ambition or agenda? Are we truly Hebraic in our lifestyle? Are we people of action or people of words? Are you reflecting Jesus
3. Are you acting in accordance with Holy Scripture, correctly interpreted? We can only answer this if we read God’s Word without personal agenda and with proper tools, rather than the ‘spiritualising’ of the text or the ‘rationalising’ of Holy Scripture. Are you engaging with the Holy Spirit?
These are good tools, easy to remember – as they are just the Trinity in action – and quite logical in their application.
It is now time to get a bit personal …
This is an extract from the book, Shalom, available for £10 at https://www.sppublishing.com/shalom-239-p.asp