Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! Deuteronomy 6:4
Witness – When God’s children observe His commandments, He enables them to be a witness to Him. That’s the point of being Torah-observant. Yes, of course, living according to God’s Word brings joy and peace and well-being (God promises that). But that’s not the end of the story. All of God’s actions are set within the redemptive purpose of reclaiming His creation.
Did you get that? God’s plan is not to rescue you. It is to rescue the world through you by delivering you. God’s plan doesn’t stop with your best life now. Your best life now isn’t the end of the story; and it is certainly not the end of what God wants to do with you and through you. In fact, your best life now might just be a life of living on the edge of survival because that serves God’s ultimate intention – to redeem the world. If you are serving God in order to meet your goals and objectives, no matter how ethical and noble they are – you have missed the point. It’s not about you! (Where have we heard that before?). Did you think that Paul said that all things work together for your good? Think again. All things that God does work together for the good, namely, His good purposes – and your good is to fit into that framework.
If we read Hebrew, we would be reminded of this perspective every time we saw the great call here is Deuteronomy 6:4. In the Torah scrolls, the last letter of the word “hear” (shema) and the last letter of the word “one” (‘ehad) are written larger than the rest of the text. Why? Because the two letters together form the Hebrew word ‘ed which means “witness.” One rabbi says it this way, “The enlarged letters allude to the thought that every Jew, by pronouncing the Shema, bears witness to [God’s] unity and declares it to all the world.” In other words, every time you repeat God’s call, the central purpose becomes top of mind. To declare God as Lord is to witness to the world.
How does this intricate and esoteric textual insight become practical reality? The answer is also bound to the call. When do I declare God as my Lord? When things are going great? Certainly. But what about when things are going terribly wrong? What about when I am abused, persecuted, rejected or ignored? Isn’t God still my Lord? What about those times when I just can’t see what God is doing, or when He is silent? He’s still my Lord, right? Whether I sit on the throne or stand in the welfare line, God is still my Lord. And when I declare His sovereignty over me, no matter what my circumstances, I proclaim Him to the world that watches. In fact, my guess is that more people come to Him when I declare His Lordship in my pain and suffering than when I mention His name from my comfortable castle. Are we attracted to Jesus because He was on the cover of Forbes or voted Man of the Year? I don’t think so.
Are you keeping the commandments of your Lord with His purpose in mind?
Topical Index: Commandments, Mission