For The Fear of The Jews

In the ten months that followed the issuing of the second edict there was a great time of rejoicing within the Jewish community.  It was such an outward expression of joy that it was clearly seen by their friends and neighbors, even by those who had before wanted to attack them.  After the second edict came a time of gladness a time when their light of that joy shined onto those around them.  They became a witness to the power of God, a light to the Gentiles.

I believe this to be an initial fulfillment (the ultimate fulfillment of the following passage I believe will be fulfilled in the end) of Zechariah 8:23 which says, “This is what the Lord almighty says:  “In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘ Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.'””(NIV)  It is interesting to note that Zechariah was written in the time of Xerxes father Darius and even in the early part of Xerxes reign.

This is what the ancient world was seeing.  Many peoples were coming to the Jews and following their God.  God had made it obvious that He was with His people and the Gentiles did not want to be caught on the wrong side.

Remember that the first edict was sealed with the king’s signet ring, but so was the second.  The people now had a choice as to which edict they would follow.  Before the second edict came out there was but one choice and it had to be obeyed.  Now, however, there was hope.  Hope in the God of the Jews.

Here is where most people miss the blessing of the book of Esther.  It is not just that God rescued his people through Mordecai and Esther, but that He used them to also start a chain reaction, so to speak, that overflowed to the rest of the peoples of the kingdom.  It is clear that because of the fear of the Jews many became Jews.  Yes, it does take looking beyond the surface to see the object of that fear.  It is God Himself.

Remember that even Haman’s wife knew that his downfall began with parading Mordecai, a Jew, through the streets of Susa.  Because the King’s honor went to a Jew, she knew he would surely come to ruin.  She knew who truly lead the Jews, it was their God.  It was their God that caused her to predict the ruin of her own husband.

Here too, we see the peoples of the kingdom understanding that the fear of the Jews is God.  Their only hope was in trusting in this God of the Jews and thereby becoming Jews themselves. We must not think that becoming a Jew was a casual thing.   It was not and is not.  It involves, and did then as well, a public ceremony declaring your allegiance to the God of the Jews, immersion (called mikvah) for both men and women, and circumcision for the men.  It is and was no small thing to become a Jew. 

What we see at the end of chapter eight is a mass revival.  We see people from different tongues, tribes and nations coming to God through the joyful witness of His people.   We see the heart of God giving us a glimpse of what he would one day do.

Why do I say it like that?  Because this was a short lived revival, it only lasted one generation.  After the death of Xerxes, his son, Artaxerxes would declare Zoroastrianism the official religion of the kingdom.  It is important to remember here that it was the Zoroastrian priests who helped conspire against Xerxes and largely gave direction to the coup against him that put Artaxerxes on the throne.  One must ask the question why?  Why would the priests feel the need to do that?  Perhaps Xerxes himself turned and followed the God of his new adopted family.  He had publically aligned himself to that family and perhaps, we can hope, to their God.

Either way, God had moved among the nations and given His invitation to the peoples of the Persian Empire just as He had with Egypt (The Exodus), Assyria (Jonah), and Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar’s turning to God).  God’s heart has always been that His people, Israel, be a light to those far away so that they can be brought near. 

Let us also not forget that the Northern Kingdom of Israel was dispersed into this area by the Assyrians.  They may very well be a part of this revival.  We think of them as lost, but God never lost them and never stopped wanting them back.  We see in Ezekiel 37 that God would once again bring the house of Israel and the house of Judah back together to be one.  This event in Esther may very well be that event or at least a part of that process.  Remember Ezekiel was a prophet during the time of the Babylonian exile about 100 years before the account of Esther. 

We also know that by the time of the first century that the Jews once again saw themselves as the twelve tribes.  We see this in the opening verse of James where he addresses his letter “To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations”(NIV).  The scattering James is referring to is not the exile but the diaspora in the first century after the stoning of Stephen.

Here in Esther we see God once again drawing people to Himself.  This is the heart of our Father.  We should never neglect to see the working of His might Hand.

For The Fear of our God,

Vicky

 

Mordecai is Honored by the King

After the banquet Xerxes was unable to sleep.  We could speculate that perhaps he was wondering what his bride would request of him because obviously this was not going to be a small thing.  However, Scripture does not tell us why he could not sleep, but it does give us the result of that insomnia.  Xerxes has the chronicles of his reign brought in to be read.  Perhaps he was hoping he would find it easier to sleep after listening a while or perhaps he thought he might as well get some work done.  Either way it was read that Mordecai had saved his life.

Notice that Xerxes is the one who asks if Mordecai had been honored for saving his life.  When the answer of “no” comes back to him he genuinely  desires to honor Mordecai.  He also wants to make sure he does just the right thing to honor him.  He wants some input and ideas from others.  So he asks if there is someone in the court and, of course, Haman had just entered to ask if he could hang Mordecai.  However, unbeknown to Haman he will indeed be discussing Mordecai, but in terms of honoring him not executing him.

Xerxes wants an honest opinion to his question of how to honor someone that the king delights to honor; so he does not give Haman the name of the man.  Haman being an egotist thinks that naturally the king is meaning him and so gives the king a very elaborate plan for honoring someone.

Xerxes knew he could count on Haman for this and likes his idea.  Here’s the kicker to Haman’s gut, the man the king delights to honor was not him, but his enemy Mordecai.  Not only did Haman come up with the idea of how to honor Mordecai, but he would be the one to carry it out and parade Mordecai through the streets.

I love the sense of humor of our God.  Remember, that Haman is the antagonist in our story.  Haman had intended to make an example of Mordecai with an execution.  Instead, he would make an example of him as someone honored by the king.  God is very capable of turning the enemy’s plans upside down  and making His people shine as the stars instead of being extinguished by the enemy.

The enemy here is humiliated by having to parade Mordecai on the king’s horse while wearing the king’s robe.  But that was not all.  Haman himself would robe Mordecai.  In other words, he would serve Mordecai.  What a humiliation.

As we study this we must understand the theological truth within this passage.  For the hearer it seems like all is lost.  Haman is about to get his way and kill Mordecai.  It is at that moment that the king steps in to honor him.  Our King wants to see His people robed for His glory.  He wants us to shine and be the light of the world, because the light we reflect is His.

Let’s break this down.  We are to put on our new selves or the Lord Jesus Christ.  Just as Mordecai was clothed in the king’s robe so when we put on our new selves we are putting on Yeshua our King.  We are made into His image in righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4 & Colossians 3).  We are then lead  by God Himself “in triumphal procession in Christ” (II Corinthians 2:14).

Mordecai is led through the streets in the name of the king.  Granted, Haman leading Mordecai is not the same as God leading us, but then again even though we see truths in this account it is not a perfect parallel.  I believe for Haman this was part of God making him His footstool (Psalm 110).  For Haman set a trap that he himself was falling into and he would fall hard (Psalm 57:6 & Proverbs 28:10).  The one who set out to destroy the Jews, God’s people, was indeed to be made the servant of God’s people, a sign of cursing.

This was a sure sign that God was working and about to deliver His people. But notice that Mordecai does not proudly declare victory yet among his people.  Instead he returns to the city gate where he had gone to fast, pray and mourn.  He did not stop appealing to God, but persevered in his appeal.  Allow me to give an example.  Let’s say you are in a strange town with your family and having car trouble.  Your husband must go into a potentially dangerous situation to get the car to the place that can help, so you begin to pray.  Once you hear from him and know that God is answering your prayer for his safety do you stop praying or continue until you see him walk in the door?  You continue to pray for God’s protection until he walks in the door.  That is what Mordecai is doing.  He does see God working, but still continues to pray and watch.

Meanwhile, Haman and those connected to him definitely see the writing on the wall.  They know the reputation of the God of the Jews and know His hand is against Haman.  Here we see the enemy experiencing the fear of the Jews and knowing he is in real trouble and will come to ruin.  When something happens in the book of Esther through God’s people, the Jews, it is clear that it is God doing the work.  Again, God’s people are a reflection of the One True God.  Their actions, the actions of God’s people, are not seen as their own, but as those of their King. 

And the king’s eunuchs come and quickly take Haman into the presence of the king.

May We Truly Reflect His Glory,

Vicky

God’s Armor

Today I want to talk about the armor of God in Ephesians 6.  Everything up to this point in Ephesians has been about unity and what that is, what that looks like and to some extent how do we do this, but beginning in the passage we are going to discuss today Paul gets down to the brass tax so to speak on how to administrate the unity of the body. Here is the passage:

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. 12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore, with truth  like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, 15 and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. 16 In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. 18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. 19 Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness  the mystery of the gospel. 20 For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should.(HCSB)

We are to be empowered by the Lord and by His awesome power, the two words here for “vast strength” are two different words that could both be translated “power”.  Paul is trying to remind us of the power he described to us earlier in the letter when he referred to the resurrection power.  In fact, the two Greek words used here are the exact same words.  This is   power power, awesome power, resurrection power, from God Himself.  This is the only power in the universe that is capable of changing and transforming lives.  Only the resurrection power can resurrect in us what is dead in sin, yet created, created in His image, to be alive in Him. 

Not only does God equip us with His power for the task, but He also gives us the tools we need to wield that power.  To be sure this task will take the full armor of God, not just a part of it.  We are in a battle against the realm of darkness itself, not mere flesh and blood men and women, but the original liar himself and his demons.  They are crafty and we must be alert and on guard every moment so that in the end we will be left standing.

So, what is this armor?  Obviously, Paul is using the Roman armor as a template, but is that all?  If we look closely at this armor we will find its pieces referred to in the Old Testament as well.  Remember, this gospel is about the mystery that makes us one with God and each other.  The Old and New Testament are not two disconnected pieces, but two parts of a whole.  One will always refer and define the other.  The Old Testament, will define the New Testament for us and the New Testament explains much about the Old Testament that was hidden, yet right there.  God is the God and author of both.  Both of them together tell His story.  So let’s look at what the Old Testament has to say about this awesome armor. 

The first part of the armor is the belt of truth.  We see that the Messiah is clothed in the belt of righteousness in Isaiah 11 where He is judging for the poor and needy and slaying the wicked.  He will do that in righteousness, but notice the section before that when the Spirit rests on Him — the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge and the fear of the Lord — in fact the fear of the Lord would be His delight.  In following the Messiah we can only do what is right and properly discern when we are listen to the Spirit of the Lord and the fear of the Lord is our delight.  This belt holds the inner garments in place.  For us only the truth can hold our inner being in place.  He, the Messiah, is the truth.  As we follow Him and strive to live righteous lives He and His truth holds us in place to continue the fight.  We cannot fight the good fight in ignorance or falsehood.

Next, we put on the breastplate of righteousness.  You see after knowing and believing the truth and in the Truth we must put on the breastplate of righteousness to protect our hearts from deception that leads us in the paths of death, not life.  We are to strive in the fruit of the Spirit, part of which is self-control, to do the right that God calls us to do.  In addition, the Messiah not only wore a belt of righteousness that held His inner part in place (remember He is the truth – John 14:6).  He was always alert and clear minded, never distracted by His own thoughts or thoughts from the enemy.  Can you imagine your prayer life like this and how awesome that would be?

The Messiah also wore a breastplate of righteousness.  He covered His heart with doing what pleases God.  Never did He waver.  In Isaiah 59 15a-18a it says, “The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice.  He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.  He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.  According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes.”(NIV)  In this passage we see that His own righteousness sustained Him and was His breastplate as He did  the work of salvation and He will be wearing that same breastplate when He repays wrath to His enemies. 

In Psalm 132:9 we read the statement about Israel, “May your priests be clothed in righteousness..”(NIV)  You see He is the High Priest with His breastplate in place, remember the High Priest of Israel wore a breastplate with all the jewels of the tribes of Israel on it, and we are called a royal priesthood in I Peter 2:9.  Our breastplate reflects His – our righteousness reflects His righteousness.  We will never win the battles in life without it.  We cannot do our own thing and expect Him to bless it.  We cannot follow the deceptions of our heart and expect to win the battle against the enemy, at that point we are following darkness and not the light and we will fall.

Thirdly, we put on the sandals of “readiness that comes from the gospel of peace”(NIV).  Remember the gospel of peace is the good news of oneness with God, the mystery.  We get to proclaim that to others, which is what Jesus called us to in the Great Commission.  We are to take His message to the ends of the earth.  In Isaiah 52:7(NIV) it says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!””  That is the awesome blessing He allows us to be a part of and at the same time being a part of that is also a protection for us in the fight.  The more we proclaim it and live it the more we come to understand what He did for us and grow closer and closer to Him and farther and farther from the arrows of the enemy.

Then we see the shield of faith with which we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the enemy that do come our way.  We must hold it up, hold it up high.  It does us no good by our side.  We can be holding the shield and still get hit if we keep it down.  We must use His strength, the strength that we spoke of earlier.  It is only with His strength that we can hold up the shield and keep it up. 

It reminds me of when Aaron and Hur held up Moses arms while Joshua and the Israelites were fighting the Amalekites.  As long as Moses’ arms were up the Israelites were winning and when they were down they were being defeated.  That is why Hur, from the tribe of Judah, and Aaron, the High Priest, held them up for him.  He did not have the strength on his own and neither do we. 

Yeshua, the lion of Judah and our High Priest, is the one who holds our arms up, He is our faith, our strength and our shield.  It is when we humble ourselves that in due time He lifts us up.  Let Him lift you up with His strength and power.  We cannot be defeated if we use His strength to hold up that shield of faith.  Hold it up, hold it up high.

After all of this is in place we can put on the helmet of salvation.  This helmet not only protects the head, but keeps the head attached to the body.  He is the head, we are the body.  Just as in our discussion of the Bridegroom and the Bride we must stay with Him and do what is best for Him and He does what is best for us.  As we have a helmet so does He.  Back to Isaiah 59 we not only see the Messiah in a breastplate of righteousness as He works salvation, but also the helmet of salvation itself.  He wants to stay connected to us and so we should want to stay connected to Him.  So make sure that helmet is on.  How can we fight the battle if we are cut off from the head.  Protect your connection to Him.  That is why the helmet and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, are spoken of together.

The word of God is one of the main things that protects that connection.  Just as the body receives its instructions from the head so the body of Christ receives our instructions from His word.  It is our offensive weapon as it was His when He met Satan in the wilderness.  We must take this weapon and defend what He has given us, what He has entrusted to us. 

The enemy wants to make us believe we are not secure, but if we know our weapon and we are attached to the head, if we hold up the shield of faith and wear the breastplate of righteousness, the sandals of readiness, and the belt of truth, then this lie cannot enter into our hearts and deceive us.  We are His and He is ours.  Just as the master promised the slave to never leave him or forsake him, to abandon him, to pay his own debt on his own, our Master has promised to never leave or forsake us either.

With all of this equipment on we are to pray in the Spirit on all occasions.  Remember the passage we mentioned in speaking about Yeshua wearing the belt of righteousness.  He had the Spirit of God on Him and so must we.  We must pray in the Spirit for the saints to be able to fight the good fight along side of us.  We are in this together.  We are not alone.  He took those who were far and those who were near and made us one nation in Jesus the Messiah.  We must stay alert to this fact and the fact that the enemy will also stay alert for any weakness in our armor.  We must not let Him find one.

Finally, Paul asked for prayer for himself.  Not to be released from his chains, but for boldness to proclaim the mystery for which he is in chains.  Would you, would I, be willing to be in chains to proclaim the mystery, nonetheless, desiring to proclaim that mystery while in those chains.  No matter our circumstances we must put on His armor in His resurrection power and pray in the Spirit.  If we do we will be more than conquerors. 

Stay strong my fellow warrior,

Vicky

The Administration of the Mystery

Ephesians 1:9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him  10 for the administration  of the days of fulfillment —to bring everything together in the Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him.(HCSB)

Ephesians3:3 The mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have briefly written above. 4 By reading this you are able to understand my insight about the mystery of the Messiah. 5 This was not made known to people in other generations as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: 6 The Gentiles are co-heirs, members of the same body, and partners of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.(HCSB)

Ephesians 3:8 This grace was given to me —the least of all the saints—to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah, 9 and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things.(HCSB)

Ephesians 3 defines the mystery for us as Gentiles and Jews sharing in the promise as co-heirs together in Christ Jesus.  This is a true mystery that for ages past had been kept hidden although hinted at.  The Old Covenant spoke of people of other nations and tongues coming to worship God, but the actual understanding that Jews and Gentiles would share equally in the promise was not even thought of by those who worshiped The Name.

As we saw in chapter 2 not only were these two to be co-heirs, but would become one man.  Yeshua came to make us one together so that we can be presented to Him as a spotless bride without wrinkle or defect.  Our God is so awesome and His ways are truly above our ways and His thoughts truly far above our thoughts.

God, however, does not stop by just revealing this mystery to us and then leaving us to figure out how to make this reality in our time for ourselves.  Most of us, I would venture to say, do not even think it is really possible for us to truly act and be as one this side of the Messianic Age or heaven.  We tend to leave things alone as they are and not strive for true oneness in this world where sin is still a reality.  But Beloved, God’s plans are greater than ours and not only does He expect us to act and be as one now, He also gave us the road map of how to achieve it.  That is what the rest of Ephesians is about.

Chapter 3 lets us know that God gave Paul the administration of this mystery or to say it another way, He gave Paul the way in which the body of Christ, the blessed bride of The Lamb, could actually carry out this mystery.  It is that reality that speaks of God’s wisdom to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.  When they see God’s Spirit filled people living out the mystery of being one with each other and with Him it screams volumes to the unseen realms of how only God could have thought of this awesome mystery.

It is with this truth that Paul prays the prayer of Ephesians 3.

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. 16 I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, 17 and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us — 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.(HCSB)

Paul begins pretty much where He left off in the prayer of chapter 1, with praying for power among God’s people.  Remember this is no ordinary power as the world defines power, but the power that raised Jesus from the dead.  That is what he prays will be in us, in our inner being through His Spirit.  He prays that through faith, being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see, faith that leads us to action not just intellectual awareness that Yeshua the Messiah will dwell, be tabernacled in us (we are the temple of God).

Paul assumes our rooting and firm establishment in love.  The believer is rooted deep in God’s love, the love that sent His Son to die for us, and firmly established in our love for one another, a requirement for the believer based on the command of Jesus.  He (Paul) knows that it is only in this love, the love God has for us and our love for each other, that we will together with all God’s people even begin to be able to comprehend the love of Christ – the width, depth, length, and height of His love. 

It is only together that we will have our full strength to eagerly take hold of that kind of love.  It is His love being made manifest in all of us toward each other that makes His love knowable to us just as us living out that life of the mystery makes His wisdom known to the unseen realms.

Paul prays for us to be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God, which harkens back again to the prayer in chapter 1.  We can only be all that God desires us to be as we live in power, faith, and love together.  This life baffles the world, but also lets them know that the Father sent His Son. 

Can this generation of believers live this life?  Yes it can!  And the rest of Ephesians instructs us in just how to live out this mystery.  So as we study the rest of the book we will be approaching it from this perspective.

In His love,

Vicky

My Thoughts

My family and I took a trip to Nashville this past Saturday and worshiped our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah, with Kol Dodi Messianic Congregation.  It was a heart warming experience.  Heart warming because the people of Kol Dodi were very loving and welcoming from the first Shabbat Shalom to the last goodbye. 

We spent six hours with them and by the end of our time with them felt like we were one of them.  The first two hours were spent in worship with songs in both Hebrew and English, readings from Scripture, teaching, communion and prayer.  I have to tell you it did not seem like that much time went by. 

Our daughter spent the teaching time with the children after a blessing upon the children was given under a prayer shawl/canopy.  While with the children she made a pottery communion cup and met a new friend.  One of her teachers has a son who helps with the BCM here at our local university, what a small world.

It was a congregation made up of both Jew and non-Jew.  A congregation worshiping in the Hebrew way together with the walls of hostility gone in the Name of Yeshua.  It reminded me of the passage in Zechariah 8 where God says that ten men would take hold of one Jew because they know the Lord is with him.  What an awesome sight to see Jew and non-Jew worshiping together and being a part of it. 

The rabbi’s wife was very welcoming at the picnic as we talked and she invited me to visit with the other ladies and introduced me.  I thought, “this is how it should be”.  It was a great honor to visit with those ladies and hope to do so again soon.  

The mikvah was amazing and started with the call of the shofar.  We stood on the bank of a creek as two children and two women went into the water to be baptized in the Name of Yeshua.  The two women gave awesome testimonies, one even including a confession that was something only God could accomplish, I pray she will continue to allow God to change her and transform her into the image of His Son.

I could not recommend more highly that each of us find a Messianic Congregation in our region to visit, worship with and participate with in their work.  It will bless your heart and you will be awestruck at what God is doing in His Bride.

Shalom,

Vicky

The Hope to Which You are Called

 Ephesians 1:15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

This is an awesome prayer that is great to pray over ones personal life and family. Paul commends the believers on their faith in Yeshua/Jesus and also in their love for all the saints (whether Jew or Gentile).  Their priorities are just what God the Father would want them to be and this is commended by Paul.  Their love for all the saints is essential to everything we are talking about.  It is because they have faith in Jesus our Messiah that they know obeying His command to love one another must be followed, and follow it they do.  Because of this evidence of faith that Paul continually gives thanks for them and expands his prayers for them.

The prayer of Paul in this chapter is amazing when you take a close look.  He begins with a very interesting statement, “I keep asking”.  This is not a one time prayer for Paul on their behalf.  If is one he prays for them time and time again.  Therefore, one might say that this is very much on his heart for these believers, not just a casual thought now and again. 

He asks the glorious Father, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ – that’s right Jesus worshiped, honored, obeyed, prayed to, praised, and glorified His Father during His earthly life, God the Son did all these things in regard to the Heavenly Father – for the Holy Spirit to give wisdom and revelation to the believers.  He offers this prayer so that they will know God better and thereby so that they would be able to properly acknowledge their God.

In this knowledge and acknowledgement of Him, as they gaze at His glory and brilliance, Paul asks that the God would shed His rays of light on them.  In other words, “that the eyes of [their] heart may be enlightened”.  Or to put it another way, as the believers looked upon God’s light that God would share that light with them or reflect it upon them.  Our glory is not our own, it is merely a reflection of His.  We would do ourselves a great service to remember this. 

Paul asked for this reflection of God’s glory in their lives for three reasons: 1) that they would know the hope to which they were called 2) that they would know the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints and 3) that they would know His incomparably great power for all (Jew or Gentile) who believe.  Let’s break them down one at a time.

The first one, that they would know the hope to which they were called, reveals the foundation of their faith.  The hope that Paul speaks of here is a confidence, not wishful, in the promised expectations.  Knowing that they can fully rely on the promises of God with joyful anticipation and steadfast confidence.  This hope is unshakable.  This hope or joyful and steadfast anticipation is firmly imbedded in their calling or God’s invitation in their lives.  God’s invitation to wholeheartedly follow Him in all His ways.  Just as Jesus called the disciples.  He did not just say, “come”, He said, “come follow me”.  We come to God through Jesus and then proceed to follow Him.

The second reason God reflects His glory on us, making us more like Him, is so that we can know the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints.  These riches are the abundant life in our Messiah.  As we know the abundant life is not just for the here and now, but also for eternity.  It is the life lived to the full forever.  A life lived to the full, think about that for a moment.  To know this life that can only be lived with His glorious inheritance that He has placed in His saints.  This refers back to the love He has commanded to have toward one another and ahead to the power of the Spirit in our lives.  However, for this particular point it is important to note that the whole of the saints are in view here, not individuals.  We, as the saints of God, can only live the life to the full, the abundant life, or experience God’s glorious riches in our lives when we live within the whole of the body of Christ.  We cannot forsake the assembly of ourselves together as the writer of Hebrews to eloquently put it.

Lastly, on this list, is to know the power and not just a little power, but super dynamite power for us who believe.  To say it another way, a super-duper magnitude of power for us who come and follow.  Power that goes beyond anything that you and I can comprehend and yet that is the vastness of power that He has placed in His people.  It is also not an arbitrary power, but it is His power.  Then just to make sure his readers understand the true magnitude of this power Paul describes it.  And what a description. 

A power that is according to God’s mighty strength, or strength strength, or power power, or might might.  The two Greek words used here could have easily been translated this way.  They are two different words with very similar meanings.  In other words, Paul was driving home the enormity of God’s power, strength or might.  It was this power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead and to seat Him at His right hand.  No small task to be sure.  Again to be clear, Paul explains the powerful seat of the Messiah.  Yeshua is above all and not just a little above them, but far above or super-duper above.  It is the same Greek prefix used above on “immeasurably”, it is the “hyper” prefix.  So Jesus is “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”  Needless to say, that is a High Seat. 

Paul does not stop at just how high that seat of power is, but also let’s us know what God placed under His (Yeshua’s) feet.  He placed everything or “the whole” under His feet.  He is the head, the One to take hold of, of the church or the “assembly” of His saints.  He was given this position by His Father, to say it another way, this position was committed to Him by His Father.  He is our head, He is the One we take hold of, in everything – absolutely everything – that concerns His people.  He is our Rock, our Firm Foundation, our Anchor, our Cornerstone and He is the One who holds us steady in any storm.  He has absolute supreme authority over His body.

What a body it is, it is what He died for – it is of utmost importance to Him.  His body, His people, are the fullness of Him – the One who fills everything in every way.  WOW, the fullness of Him.  That is who we are.  Do not let that escape you.  The whole of the body or bride of Christ is the fullness of Him.    We were given His fullness when He gave us His Holy Spirit.  We lack nothing in Him.  Everything we need for life and godliness has been given to us.  We are His reflection to a lost world.  Let us live a life worthy of that calling!

According to His Power That is at Work in Us Who Believe,

Vicky