Meditating deeply on God’s word sets believers apart

Holiness is not accomplished in 30-second or one-minute devotions.

Joshua 1:8 – “This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to meditate on it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.”

In our current age of instant information we many times are guilty of seeking to understand God on our own limited terms, not his. Browsing recently through a bookstore I noticed a title that was called the One Minute Bible. I had the sense that this was oddly irreverant; I mean, what can we really learn about God in one minute? Then to my dismay was a title a few shelves away called the Thirty Second Bible. Thirty seconds, really?

Those who would be set apart for the purposes of God must meditate deeply on the things of God. This is not a thirty-second or one-minute proposition by any means. A believer’s life is a lifetime of deep consideration and thoughtful contemplation. What sets believers apart is an ongoing desire to be in God’s word, to understand it, and to apply it in all situations.

Psalm 1:1-3 – “How happy is the one who does not walk in the advice of the wicked or stand in the pathway with sinners or sit in the company of mockers! Instead, his delight is in Yahweh’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams that bears its fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”

God’s torah, his instruction, sets believers apart by its very nature. Yeshua mentioned that the words of the Father that he had faithfully represented to his disciples helped them recognize who he was.

John 17:7-8, 17 – “Now they know that everything you have given is from you, “because I have given them the words you gave me. They have received them and have known for certain that I came from you. They have believed that you sent me. … “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”

The truth of God’s word sets believers apart from the rest of the world. This is not being set apart to become the world’s judges, but to plead with them for the sanctity of God’s word and encourage others to come to him by leading with righteous example.

Meditating deeply on God’s word includes the idea of groaning and muttering, as one who ponders the depths of truth, reciting to oneself the concepts and ideals under consideration. I liken this to the apostle Paul’s description of one who is praying within the Spirit of God.

Romans 8:26-27 – “In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

A meditative life in the word is one in which the deep groanings of God percolate to the surface in times of trial and weakness. In strength, the groanings of God illustrate a consuming passion for God’s torah, helping us maintain a righteous life amidst the darkness of each generation.

These are indications of being set apart, of being truly holy. We would shun ideas of one-minute or thirty-second encounters with God and strive to be in his presence always. In holiness, we could join with the psalmist when he writes:

Psalm 84:2, 4 – “I long and yearn for the courts of Yahweh; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God. … How happy are those who reside in your house, who praise you continually.”


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The thief who must become an example of generosity

God’s solution for discouraging theft is its exact opposite: a type of forced generosity. They must give abundantly or they must give themselves.

You shall not steal.

Exodus 20:15

Within the founding charter of the kingdom of God, the Ten Commandments, theft is forbidden. Within the entire Biblical narrative, theft is never looked upon as a positive characteristic. To be a thief is to knowingly take something from someone else, usually associated with violent acts or even murder.

Anyone who steals from his father and mother and says, “What’s wrong with that?” is no better than a murderer.

Proverbs 28:24

The thief upsets the system of civilized conduct because they feel that the same rules that govern others do not apply to them. Whatever their justification is for taking something that belongs to someone else is to consider their reason more important than obeying the command to not steal and the rights of others to enjoy their own possessions. Theft is dangerous because it mocks the integrity of civil order in any society, and must be punished in order to maintain the economic integrity and security of the community.

However, interestingly, the torah or instruction of God reveals that theft is not punishable by death. Instead, a thief must face a fate that could be worse than death for them: they must pay restitution. At a minimum, they must pay double what they stole (if the goods are recovered). But if what has been stolen has been sold or, in the case of a stolen animal, killed, then he must pay up to four or five times the amount. If they are unable to pay, then they must go into forced servitude to pay off the debt.

So it turns out that God’s solution for discouraging theft is its exact opposite: a type of forced generosity. They must give abundantly or they must give themselves.

Yeshua also taught that not only should believers not steal, they should be generous.

Matthew 10:8 Freely you received, freely give.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

In answering the questions of a wealthy young man, Yeshua also mentions a similar “restitution of generosity” for covetousness, which makes sense since extreme coveting can also lead to theft.

Jesus said, “Never murder. Never commit adultery. Never steal. Never give false testimony. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” The young man replied, “I have obeyed all these commandments. What else do I need to do?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, sell what you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then follow me!” When the young man heard this, he went away sad because he owned a lot of property.

Matthew 19: 18-22

In keeping with the torah or instruction of God within his kingdom, and as a follower of Yeshua, we should never secretly take anything that does not belong to us. Instead, we should always be willing to give generously of all resources that have been entrusted to us. And because the life he has given us is a debt we can never repay, the remainder of our existence should become an offering of servitude to the one who has provided us this immeasurable gift of life.

If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive here. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The Eternal Torah of the Kingdom

As Torah is fulfilled in our lives it will bear fruit for the continued growth of God’s kingdom.

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others [to do] the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches [them,] he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:17-19

Do not relax even the smallest standards of Torah for yourself and others; do it and teach it. 

Torah is the Hebrew word for instruction. The kingdom of God is directly connected to his instruction, and his instruction is directly connected to his kingdom. If the kingdom began in the days of Yeshua and is a kingdom that would never end, then it makes sense that the instruction of God is also eternal and will not pass away unless it is fulfilled in every individual.

Many are of the opinion that Torah has passed away with the death of Messiah. To the contrary, his death was exactly what Torah predicted would happen. Like a seed planted in the ground, the Torah principles taught by Yeshua are continuing to grow into a mighty tree of life as they are practiced by those who follow him.

Clearly, Torah has not been fully accomplished, as we still have murder, adultery, and any other number of commandments from God’s instruction which remain unfulfilled in the lives of people today.

Since God has provided instruction for mankind in his word, we should be faithful in keeping it (i.e., obeying it) and sharing it with others who will listen. Only as it is fulfilled in our lives will it bear fruit for the continued growth of God’s kingdom.