SoulBreaths

God’s Story Lens: Beginnings within Beginnings [Part 1]

By SoulBreaths Author [ 1 year ago ]

 

Genesis 1. God, the master storyteller of truth that your soul needs, delivers factual accounts enveloped within His mystery. From a beginning of beginnings of beginnings to a particular love-fueled purpose behind His creation story.

 

This series is related to a spiritual call (started in the early 90s) for me to walk a bridge—from the Judaic camp reaching out to the Messianic/Christian camp and then vice versa—crisscrossing it, realizing and later sharing who and what the real bridge is. Walk with me to discover God’s revelations and passionate plan for our souls.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 4 MINUTES.

 

INTRODUCTION TO SERIES

 
 

Like any good story, it’s best to start at the beginning. The beginning moment that will lead to or expose a protagonist’s unmet desire. But with God’s masterful storytelling, it’s not always that simple.

 
 

The sheer epic size and generational expanse of His story (the Bible) may appear to be a maximal approach. But in reality, it’s minimalistic, razor-focused on a single, eternally driven thread.

 

We read about what was, what is, and what is to come. But the exactness of time remains hidden. He talks of times but defies time, because He created time and exists beyond this physical dimension . . . yet all the while intersecting and embodying it.

 

He is the ever-present, omniscient “character” in His unfolding story.

 

GENESIS 1:1 INTENT

 

But it’s God’s opening line that gets us, capturing, enticing, pulling us. Those famous first words beg to be unraveled.

 

We sense that they’re the gateway to something immeasurably higher, deeper, beyond ourselves.

 

Rashi, the famed biblical and Talmudic commentator from the Middle Ages, said that those initial [Hebrew] words of Genesis scream for explanation. (Okay, my word choice, but he did say it “calls aloud” for explanation.)

 

The next post in this series more closely explores God’s intro line—but let’s take this step first.

 

Homiletically—per commentary notes in the Stone Edition of The Chumash (an orthodox commentary on the first five books of the Bible)—the first word of this creation process b’reshit can be stated as . . .

 

“The world was created for the sake of [for the things that are called] beginnings.”

 

Stone’s commentary equates that to “God brought the world into being for the sake of things that are of such basic importance that the Torah calls them reishit (ראשית), meaning first or beginning.”

 

That is, the world was created for the sake of bringing forth Torah (the Law).

 

But that for-the-sake-of-the-Law beginning unleashes two other critical “beginnings”:

 

(1) The Law reveals the basics, the reflections, of what is good in God’s eyes while exposing the beginnings of humanity’s self-desire nature .

 

A desire that, from the get-go, will fall short of His righteousness, His holiness—and launch a devastating spiritual rift, a broken bridge, between God and humanity. Because nothing is the same after the Garden of Eden rebellion.

 

(2) But even before the creation process, the impending God-humanity chasm would ache for restoration and grace .

 

So in those beginnings within beginnings, God brings forth another for-the-sake-of layer that trumps all others.

 

An indescribable love-move created for the sake of something eternally driven.

 

The world was created for REDEMPTION—hands down, God’s foundational story thread throughout the Bible.

 

MAJESTY DISPLAYED

 

The first word of Genesis 1:1 creates time and sparks its motion, establishing order and setting the stage for God’s breath-defying, mysterious creation work to unfold, revealing even more of what’s to come.

 

Mind you, that beginning-within-beginnings opening comes . . .

 

#1

 

Before God’s unrivaled, unimaginable might and presence hover over the “astonishingly empty with darkness.”

 

An earth that was “desolate and void” (Hebrew tohu va-vohu, תֹ֨הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ) with darkness on the “face of the murmuring deep,” a “wonder and astonishment”—that would leave us aghast at the sheer emptiness (bohu) of it , per author Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg (The Murmuring Deep, quoting Rashi and author Stephen Frosh).

 

God’s boundless power—reflected in the peals of thunder, lightning flashes, and deep rumblings around His throne (“the life source of the universe” as Dr. Ed Hindson had called it)—and the immeasurable weight of His glory move over the chaotic, the tehom, Hebrew for depths, subterranean waters, and even suggesting a deep soul-to-soul groaning.

 

It possibly is what Zornberg’s book suggests: God is cutting through the chaotic, the deep murmuring—”primal noise”—to form a “creative silence,” a clearing for His creation words to come forth.

 

We witness a similar process when all of creation groans under the chaotic darkness birthed from sin.

 

At the appointed time, God again arises, His presence now hovering over our souls’ darkness, its chaos, its captivity , to break through and silence our noisy, subterranean murmuring, our aching soul-deep calling unto deep—tehom to tehom, תְּהֽוֹם־אֶל־תְּה֣וֹם ק֖וֹרֵא (Psalm 42 ).

 

The silence He created was witnessed on a rocky hill outside of Jerusalem, two thousand years ago. His deep (His Word) transformed the silence into a glorious work and bore the weight of our chaotic sinful state to bring forth the way, the truth, and the life of God’s redemption plan.

 

#2
And the Genesis opening comes . . .

 

Before His kingship calls forth a curious mergence of darkness and light from His unique environment . . . and separates the two independent entities (darkness/light).

 

Neither elements are “dependent on the lights created on the fourth day” and yet they “exist in hidden places [of the heavens] dedicated to them (Job 39:19-20),” per biblical commentator Moshe Weinfeld.

 

#3
And it comes . . .

 

Before He commands water to separate from water—the puzzling upper and lower waters, placed above and below the sky (heavenly) and earth expanse—creating space and order . . . and before He places luminaries in the sky: sun, moon, stars. God’s light-source timekeepers for seasons, days, years, and signs for appointed times.

 

IT’S ABOUT HIS WORD

 

God created (ex nihilo) this dimension—this beginning of beginnings—with a WORD. Per rabbinical teaching, the WORD God spoke in the creative process performed the creation.

 

What or who is that WORD?

 

The next two posts explore more of the wording beneath Genesis 1:1 and the what/who WORD question.

 

READ THIS NEXT: Beginnings within Beginnings [Part 2]

 
 
PHOTO CREDITS for this three-part post:
CREDITS: Steam Punk Minister w/Bible by Nathan Bingle on Unsplash.com
CREDITS: Steps with child by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash.com
CREDITS: Follow the Line on asphalt photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash.com

CREDITS: Woman in jeans with Bible by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash.com
 
 
RESOURCES:
(1) The Stone Edition Chumash, the ArtScroll, Series, published by Messiah Publications, ltd, September 2005 edition, Parashas Bereishis/Genesis, p 3
(2) Sefaria.org
(3) The Murmuring Deep, Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg. Schocken Books, New York, 2009.
(4) Moshe Weinfeld quote: TheTorah.com

Soul Remodeling: A Wilderness Hero [Moses]

By SoulBreaths Author [ 6 years ago ]

MOSES (MOSHE)
fugitive prince turned bride guardian—who almost missed his calling

 

©SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

First—click this pop-up for a 1-2-3 recap of God's soul-wilderness tactic.

 

READING TIME: 6 MINUTES.

 

Ever since my younger years—later elementary school and decades forward—God has used Moses as a teacher and an example to awaken and stir my soul’s DNA (Judaic roots), guiding it into deeper understanding of God’s Word and His relationship with His people, His world.

 

Moses was a surrendered soul, truly in love with his God. But with all he was allowed to do under God’s hand, he was still a man.

 

Egypt proved a blessing for the twelve tribes of Israel during the famine years when Joseph held a high position. Then the shift emerged and Israel experienced over 400 years of oppressive enslavement.

 

But God’s precision timing was about to unfold—not only Moses’s soul, but also for Israel’s.
 

God begins by separating Moses from the common—his birth tribe and his adopted, privileged position in Egypt—for a series of deconstructing-reconstructing encounters—meetups with God to beat all others.

 

God’s lightning revelations flashed through Moses’s soul
time and time again.
Moses was humbled at the burning bush,
silenced at the sight of God’s glory,
illuminated at God’s giving of the Torah.

 

It was a process of discovering who he was in God.

 

Lightning cracked through Moses’s soul when he first encountered the Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. His response was a natural one. He brought down the Egyptian to help raise up that slave.

 

Moses’ destiny burst forth for a moment, like a firefly flash . . . a hint of what was to come, what would be birthed . . . a foretaste of the servant redeemer that his soul was meant to be.

 

From that major lightning crack across the sky at the burning bush, his soul’s relationship with the living God rose to such a magnitude that the flashes of lightning became his new norm.

 

Times on the mountain, glory times in the tent. It all was part and parcel of what it would mean—for him and us—to flow in God’s presence, spirit, and the prophetic.

 
ricardo-arce-cY_TCKr5bek-unsplash
 

BUT MOSES ALMOST MISSED IT

 

Torah scholar/commentator/author Avivah Zornberg gave some insight about “The Transformation of Pharoah, Moses, and God,” during an interview she gave to OnBeing.com’s Krista Tippet.

 

Moses argued with God for seven days no less when he was first called to lead Israel. His thinking was rooted in earthly, physical standards, not in a heavenly perspective.

 

Internal resistance was stirring in his soul.

 

Psychologically, Zornberg says, Moses—like Pharoah and the Hebrews—has an unwillingness to open himself to an alternative reality.

 

He blames it on his speech—in the Hebrew the wording is heavy (kaved, kah-vehd,כָּבֵד). Moses says he’s got a heavy/impeding mouth and heavy/impeding tongue: כְבַד-פֶּה וּכְבַד לָשׁוֹן. Clearly, a negative connotation.

 

There’s another word association, per Zornberg.

 

The Hebrew word for heavy (kaved) is the same word used to describe Pharoah’s hardness of heart during the ten plagues—with the negative connotation of being closed in/off, impervious, resistant.

 

[Note: Kaved is not kavod—ka-vohd (כָּבוד) means glory or honor. Same shoresh (root), so there’s a link. Yet, as we’re seeing, kaved often reflects a negative usage; kavod, a positive one.]

 

Was the heavy (kaved) tongue of Moses also closed off, resistant to God?

 

Moses, per Zornberg, appears willing to forego the whole opportunity to redeem Israel, seeing himself as not the right person for the job. He does recognize, she posits, that an “operation” of sorts is needed—since Moses is like a babe in need of a circumcision and refers to himself as a man of uncircumcised lips.

 

However, this “heaviness,” an inability to open up to God and His word—psychologically, spiritually, emotionally, or otherwise—appears to go well beyond Moses, Israel’s exodus years, and Pharoah.

 

The Cambridge Bible commentary states the “closed in” or “impervious to good impressions” wording in regards to a “heavy, uncircumcised heart” appears elsewhere in the Tanach: Leviticus 26:41, Jeremiah 9:25(26), and Ezekiel 44:7,9.

 

The wording also is used similarly when speaking of the ear, in Jeremiah 6:10, revealing that the nation heard imperfectly.

 

I dare say this “heaviness” is a human condition. One that only a spiritual surgery in God’s wilderness venues can heal. Turning a no into a . . . teetering if-you-say-so.

 

REDUCED SMALLER - iStock_000009489613XLarge

 

QUESTIONABLE BRIDE—REDEEMING BRIDE GUARDIAN

 

Fortunately for us, Moses surrendered to God’s soul deconstructing-reconstructing process and embraced his soul’s calling—as Israel’s leader, intercessor, shepherd, bride guardian.

 

So much so that the Torah’s final words in Deuteronomy (Devarim) 34 say that “no prophet in Israel has since arose whom God knew face to face” and that Moses “evoked great terror before the eyes of all Israel.”

 

Rabbinic commentary says this great terror is none other than Moses’ shattering of the first set of tablets—which is linked to a midrash that goes something like this.

 

So there was a king, a bride-to-be, and her maidservants.

 

The king heads out of town on some business, putting the maidservants in care of his bride. But their character was lacking, big time. They engaged in harlotry, consequently smudging the betrothed bride’s character.

 

That pushed the king’s anger into overdrive. To the point where he wanted his betrothed killed and out of his life. Clean and tidy.

 

But the bride’s guardian was quick on his feet. As soon as he learned of the king’s intentions, he swooped in and destroyed the marriage contract: “Even if she was found wanting, she wasn’t your wife yet. So all’s good. She’s not accountable to the contract.”

 

Presto. No need to kill her. That appeased the king, which was a good thing because he later discovered his bride’s behavior really hadn’t been awry—just her maidservants’.

 

The bride’s guardian stepped in and suggested the king write a new marriage contract.

 

The king agrees. “Fine. But since you tore up the first one, you provide the paper and I’ll write it in my own hand.”

 

kelly-sikkema-E8H76nY1v6Q-unsplash

 

SOUND FAMILIAR?

 
Israel is found wanting—though not all of them. Moses protects her covenant with God by destroying the first marriage agreement, the first set of tablets that God had carved and written on.

 

Then when God is willing to redo the marriage contract, He has Moses co-labor with him by carving out the tablets that God will write on.

 

But the Ramban—Nachmanides, a Spanish Sephardic rabbi and noted medieval Jewish scholar—adds another component. He says Moses had a temper, i.e. killing the Egyptian and striking the rock incidents. So it wasn’t all about his acting as defender of the bride.

 

I tend to merge the two thoughts. When you have a critical position that has to be assigned to someone—maybe a person who will handle significant aspects of your business or oversee your health directive or your will—you need to choose someone who won’t be intimidated in making tough, wise decisions. Someone who can do that in a split moment, if needed.

 

That’s why I think God chose Moses. Yes, he had passion, a temper even. For Moses, when something was wrong, it was wrong. He acted on it. The excessive actions of the Egyptian, the excessive rebellion of Israel at the rock.

 

In his talmudic commentary Shabbat 87a, French medieval rabbi Rashi played with the reading of “ashur” (meaning “that” or “which”) for “ishur” (meaning “affirm” or “praise”) to basically suggest that when it comes to the shattered tablets, it’s as if God thanked or praised Moses for his actions.[1]

 

Was God saying this? “Thank you, bride guardian, for having the passion, wisdom, boldness, and courage to make the hard decision when needed to defend Israel and allow me to still make covenant with her via a new contract.”

 

Quite possibly.

 

One thing’s for certain. Through all his soul’s wilderness travails with Israel and within himself, Moses humbly steadies the course at all costs—relinquishing any rights to a personal life or family legacy . . . God’s people became his legacy.

 

Read all the Soul Remodeling stories:

 

I’ve had my God- designed wilderness journeys to deconstruct-reconstruct my soul. How about you? These posts can shed some light and encouragement: Soul Remodeling Series: The Wilderness Call, Part 1 and Soul Remodeling Series: The Wilderness Call, Part 2.

 

[1] Rashi’s comment per an article called “The Marriage Contract,” appearing on www.meaningfullife.com

CREDIT: Blurred Arrow Target photo by Ricardo Arce on Unsplash

CREDIT:Broken Heart photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

 

Article created August 17, 2015.

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