Years ago, I had a friend named Elisa who was raised in a Jewish home and later made a decision to make Jesus Christ her Lord and Savior. She was a Jewish-Christian. She was very proud of her heritage, and used to flaunt it by telling me she was a “completed” Christian. Which, of course, insinuated that I was an “uncompleted” Christian! She was such a snob!!
But, I have to admit, being Jewish would be pretty cool. In the Old Testament book of Exodus, it was the Jewish people that God selected out of all the other nations to be his bride. Moses initiated the engagement or betrothal when the Israelites were still Egyptian slaves. Acting as the friend of the bridegroom, Moses extended the proposal and then brought the “bride to be” to meet with God at Mt Sinai. Standing at the base of the mountain, the people were presented with a marriage type contract, the Ten Commandments. If they agreed to the terms, they would be considered legally married.
Even today, religious Jews see every wedding ceremony as a celebration of their national marriage to God at Mt. Sinai. In fact, whenever the Torah is read publicly, the Jewish people believe they are hearing the terms of their Marriage Contract with the Lord.
In a Jewish wedding, the contract that is signed is called a Ketubah. It literally means “written document”.
After the terms of the ketubah are read in a marriage ceremony, the bride and groom take a public oath before witnesses that they will abide by the details of their covenant.
This same practice is seen in the book of Exodus in the marriage between Israel and the Lord. The Lord’s oath to Israel was “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people.” (Ex 19:5; KJV) After the Lord, as Husband, presented his vows, Israel then gave hers: “They responded, “We will do everything the Lord as said; we will obey.” (Ex 24:7b)
Once the agreement had been reached, Exodus 24 says, 9 Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel climbed up the mountain. 10 There they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a surface of brilliant blue lapis lazuli, as clear as the sky itself. 11 And though these nobles of Israel gazed upon God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they ate a covenant meal, eating and drinking in his presence! Israel’s leaders got to experience a divine revelation of God at the conclusion of the marriage ceremony. Up until this time, God had revealed his presence to them through things like a cloud, a fiery pillar, thunder, and smoke. They saw evidence of God, but only now were they able to “see Him” in a new and more personal way.
I think that this is something God wants us to pay attention to. Who doesn’t desire divine revelations? Sign me up right? I want to “see God”, I want to experience his presence in new ways. If you have no idea what I am talking about, then that’s okay. For most of my life, this terminology would have been unfamiliar to me too. But, something changed in my 30’s. I had tried the “buy a house, have kids and build a career” way of life. And it was great, but somehow I had wandered away from my commitment to God. He wasn’t first anymore. Not exactly sure where he was, but it was further down the list for sure. Anyhow, it was my Jewish friend Elisa who invited me to a Bible study for women that led me to get my priorities straight.
I went, I got into reading God’s Word, I started to pray and see answers to prayer. And then one day, I was leaving Bible study, and while walking across the parking lot I remember telling God, “Lord, use me, use my life for your glory.” I can see now, that this was a turning point. God began to reveal more of himself to me as I gave more of my life to him. Experiences in worship, prophetic words in prayer, visions and prophetic dreams, all of these came after I made a more complete surrender to his will for my life.
There is no “high” more thrilling than being in God’s presence. It’s funny that the Israelite leaders got this high literally on a mountain! John Denver had nothing on them!
This is a good word for me today. Recent weeks have been full of family drama, conflict, disappointment and changes at the church. Each by itself, not that big a deal. But together, they took their toll. And rather than run to God and immerse myself in prayer, I just felt frozen. Can’t say this has ever happened before. But even in this, I felt that God understood and was there with me if and when I was ready to talk.
Today I went to church and the message was on the paralytic and the four friends who took him to Jesus (Luke) They went out of their way to make sure their friend was touched by God and healed. I thought about my friends, and how they have been there for me this month. I feel so much better, lighter and more optimistic about the future because they brought me into Jesus presence in prayer.
Do you have friends like this? Do you need prayer? Please leave a request, and let’s band together as Sistah’s before God’s throne.