Sunday May 2 2021

TO BE LIKE HIM

Part SevenA Worship-Hungry Heart

We have fixed our eyes on Jesus and discovered that he had a spiritual heart, a compassionate heart, a listening heart, a forgiving heart and a continually surrendered heart.  It is the good eternal plan of God our Father that we become like Jesus in our hearts (in the thoughts, intents and purposes of our hearts).  The Father loves each one of us just as we are but He is intent on molding us and shaping us to be like Him.  The Lord is neither a tyrant nor a bully – He leads us gently, but firmly forward. There may be some ouches in store for us but the day will come when each one of us will look back and say: “Thank You Lord! I needed that!”  

People on a plane and people on a pew have a lot in common. All are on a journey. Most are well-behaved and presentable. Some doze, and others gaze out the window. Most, if not all, are satisfied with a predictable experience. For many, the mark of a good flight and the mark of a good worship assembly are the same. “Nice,” we like to say. “It was a nice flight/It was a nice worship service.” We exit the same way we enter, and we’re happy to return the next time.

“A few, however, are not content with nice. They long for something more. The boy who just passed me did. I heard him before I saw him. I was already in my seat when  he asked, “Will they really let me see the pilot?” He was either lucky or shrewd because he made the request just as he entered the plane. The question floated into the cockpit, causing the pilot to lean out. “Someone looking for me?” he asked.

“The boy’s hand shot up like he was answering his second grade teacher’s question. “I am!” “Well, come in.” With a nod from his mom, the youngster entered the cockpit’s world of controls and gauges and emerged minutes later with eyes wide. “Wow!” he exclaimed. “I’m so glad to be on this plane!”

“No one else’s face showed such wonder. I should know. I paid attention. The boy’s interest piqued mine, so I studied the faces of the other passengers but found no such enthusiasm. I mostly saw contentment: travelers content to be on the plane, content to be closer to their destination, content to be out of the airport, content to sit and stare and say little.

“There were a few exceptions. The five or so mid-age women wearing straw hats and carrying beach-bags weren’t content, they were exuberant. They giggled all the way down the aisle. My bet is they were moms set free from the kitchen and kids. The fellow in the blue suit across the aisle was not content; he was cranky. He opened his laptop and scowled at its screen the entire trip.  Most of us however were happier than he and more contained than the ladies. Most of us were content. Content with a predictable, uneventful flight. Content with a “nice” flight.

“And since that is what we sought, that is what we got. The boy, on the other hand, wanted more. He wanted to see the pilot. If asked to describe the flight, he wouldn’t say “nice”. He’d likely produce the plastic wings the pilot gave him and say, “I saw the man up front”.

“Do you see why I say that people on a plane and people in a pew have a lot in common? Enter a church sanctuary and look at the faces. A few are giggly, a couple are cranky, but by and large we are content. Content to be there. Content to sit and look straight ahead and leave when the service is over. Content with a “nice” service. “Seek and you will find”, Jesus promised.[1] And since a nice service is what we seek, a nice service is usually what we find.

“A few, however, seek more. A few come with the childlike enthusiasm of the boy. And those few leave as he did, wide-eyed with the wonder of having stood in the presence of the pilot himself.” [2]

The Bible doesn’t tell us about too many specific occasions when Jesus went to worship. We do know that He worshipped by visiting the synagogue regularly and learning the Scriptures; and we do know that He worshipped by frequently spending time in prayer. We also know that He worshipped by faithfully participating in all of the holy days, festivals and feasts of the Lord. All of these forms of worship lead us into a deeper personal worship experience or precipitate from it. In fact, prayer is always better and more powerful when it begins with worship. Let’s look at the one specific occasion that the Bible records for us when Jesus went up the mountain to worship with a few of His disciples. We find it in Matthew 17:1-5 NKJV:

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves;  and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.  And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.  Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”

Did Jesus decide on the spur of the moment to go up the mountain? When did the transfiguration happen? The gospels of Matthew and Mark both indicate that the revelation on the high mountain happened “after six days.” Six days after something or other, Yeshua took three of his disciples up a high mountain and was transfigured before them:

“Some scholars believe that the six days refer to a six-day period of ritual preparation, fasting, and ritual purification. Jewish holy men of the time underwent similar periods of preparation to enter a heightened spiritual state of awareness and obtain a vision or revelation. Likewise, the Master and His disciples may have spiritually prepared themselves by fasting and ritual purification for six days before their ascent up the high mountain.

“The Gospel of Matthew does not specify, but it seems to imply that the six days took place beginning with Peter’s confession and the Master’s promise that some among the disciples would see the kingdom before they tasted death. The six days might be related to that idea. “After six days” is the seventh day. The seventh day has Sabbath connotations and end-times implications. The words “after six days” may offer an additional hint about Yeshua’s cryptic promise at the end of the previous chapter, “The Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels …” (Matthew 16:27). For Matthew and his readers, the term “after six days” might allude to the seventh millennium—the one-thousand-year rest of creation. The transfiguration allows the disciples a glimpse of the Son of Man coming in His Father’s glory—the Messiah in the Messianic Age.

“After six days” also alludes to an important story from the Torah: Moses’ ascent up Mount Sinai. When God gave the Torah, he invited Moses to ascend Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud of glory covered Mount Sinai. On the seventh day, the voice of the LORD called from within the cloud, and Moses went higher up the mountain to enter the cloud and stand in the presence of God . . . . (Exodus 24:15-18)

“After six days, Yeshua . . . . and three disciples climbed the high mountain. Like Moses, the disciples found themselves enveloped in a cloud of glory. Like Moses, they heard the voice of God speaking out of the cloud. Like Moses, the Master began to radiate the glory of God. And who should they encounter while on the Mountain but Moses himself.  Elijah — the only other character in the Bible to have also ascended Sinai and hear the voice of God speaking to him from on the top of Sinai — also appeared on the mountain.”[3]

This commentary offers a plausible account of the six day period. Jesus fulfilled the law, we know that. He followed Jewish tradition and celebrated feasts, festivals and holy days.  He often used the tradition or Feast to enlighten His followers to the Truth that He was teaching. In this case, Jesus made extensive preparations to go up the mountain to worship. He suspended ministry to the crowds for six days, using the time to prepare Himself and His disciples for the special journey. On the seventh day, He expected they would enter the presence of God. It was also a well-known and common tradition to go up a mountain to worship or pray, a place to be alone with the Lord.

Which mountain did they climb? There is no certainty but we do have some logical choices. If you are interested, you may read about this in Appendix A at the end of the lesson.

The point of including this commentary is to help us to realize that Jesus did not hastily go up the mountain to worship God, but rather spent time preparing His heart, and that of His disciples. Six days of fasting from other activities were set aside in order to prepare their hearts to be still and peaceful before the Lord. For each one of us, such periods of fasting may be minutes, hours, or days. We need to let the Lord guide our hearts. Max Lucado challenges the reader in his book about how much time we spend preparing for worship: “my hunch is, many of us simply wake up and show up. We’re sadly casual when it comes to meeting God.”[4]

Would we be so casual if we were invited (with a plus one) to meet Queen Elizabeth or our Prime Minister? I think most of us would prepare for days: what to wear (probably going shopping for something new);  how will we get to the meeting (should we hire a driver); making preparations to leave home early so we are on time (should we book a hotel); who should we invite to be our ‘plus one’; updating ourselves on recent news so we may converse intelligently if asked (hahaha); and so on.

If we prepared for worship over several days, as Jesus did in this example, (or even a few minutes or hours):

  • with prayer ® our hearts would be ready for immediate fellowship with the Lord when we arrived;
  • with adequate rest ® our minds, ears and hearts would remain alert;
  • with reading or confession of His Word ® our hearts would be soft and ready to pour love upon our Saviour and we would be able to focus on intimate worship.

“Come hungry. Come willing. Come expecting God to speak. Come asking, even as you walk through the door, “Can I see the pilot today?”[5] With this kind of preparation, even if it is short compared to the six days, we will definitely see “the pilot” and find ourselves in the manifest presence of God. Hallelujah!

As we do this, we will be amazed at ourselves, because our whole demeanor will change and we will not leave the same way in which we came. People will see something different in our faces, just as the disciples saw: “Jesus’ face changed, it shone brightly like the sun.” This is not just an emotional change but a deep abiding heart and soul change. As Bob and I have ministered in the Lord’s healing to various people over the years, we have always found it incredible to see the facial changes that occur: tightness caused by stress is wiped away; “shadows of shame and doubt become portraits of grace and trust”[6]; years of strain caused by debilitating disease fall away to be replaced by the sweetness of peace; the wear of grieving  gives way to brightness and joy. Some people change in their bodies as well: it is not unusual to see an insecure person who had previously been hunched over find that they are suddenly able to stand erect and look people in the eye. Such changes can also take place during worship.

What exactly is the kind of worship we are looking at in this lesson? Most people will answer this question by quoting from Psalm 34:3 NKJV:

Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.

To magnify means to look closely at something. We may use a magnifying glass in order to study every detail. The thing looks bigger under the glass, it isn’t really bigger but it “looks bigger”. It’s a change in perspective.  Think of a Giant Redwood tree. As we approach the tree from a distance,  it appears as a match stick and we expect it to be no different than any other tree. But the closer we get, the more we realize that it is no ordinary tree.  We find that it is absolutely massive, with its branches reaching heights over 400 feet and its trunk having a girth of 125 feet.  Did the tree change as we got closer? No. But our perspective changed. Suddenly we feel like ants by comparison to this majestic tree. The same is true of the God of the Bible. As we get closer to Him, we are able to see Him more accurately, observing more closely His power, His majesty, His beauty, His love, and His holiness. James 4:8a TPT:

Move your heart closer and closer to God, and He will come even closer to you.

When we magnify the Lord and draw closer to God, we will see Him as He truly is. We will experience His manifest presence, our eyes and ears  will be open to His divine revelation – this causes transformation in our hearts and our faces and even in our body language. His glory  and His love spill over into every area of our lives – filling us with joy; cleansing our sins; healing our hearts and our bodies; bringing salvation and deliverance wherever needed.

Whenever we come to God in prayer with our petitions, we come because our problems seem “big”. But when we spend time drawing closer to the Lord, magnifying Him in worship first, our confidence in God to solve our problems gets “bigger”.  Doubt and unbelief fall away.  Our love and praise grow as we feel God’s love being poured out upon us. God Himself becomes “bigger” in our eyes. We see Him now as He truly is.

How do we magnify the Lord in worship? We have a wonderful record of Mary’s prayer after she was visited by the angel in Luke 1:46-55. Mary magnified the Lord (verse 46). To magnify also means to honour highly, extol, make great, esteem greatly and celebrate in praise. This was no ignorant girl, but a learned girl who was already practiced in worship. “My spirit bursts with joy over my life-giving God” (Luke 1:47 TPT). Wow!

“She expands her magnification by expressing wonder at the thought that God would look on her in her lowly position. . . . Her words move beyond the realm of earth to the heavenlies. There, we find the source of her praise and the motivation for her song. She speaks of God and his majestic attributes. First, she delights in his strength. He is the mighty one who has done “great things” for her. You can imagine why she calls God mighty. No one else could conceive of such a miraculous thing, that a woman who never had a physical relationship could give birth to a son; but God did. At the announcement of her pregnancy, the angel Gabriel told her, “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37). In the hands of the Almighty, the impossible becomes possible, even a virgin birth. Mary believed that.

“She also ascribes holiness to the God who has blessed her with this once-in-a-lifetime privilege. Not only is he holy, but his name is holy. . . . As a being, he is on a level totally distinct from all other beings; nothing else is like him.

“Mary viewed Yahweh as the mighty and holy God, but she also saw him as accessible. He knows our frail frame, so he condescends to us. In his mercy, he withholds his righteous wrath against us and instead bestows blessing. Mary understood that blessing in its OT context. The word “mercy” that she uses is the Greek word often used for chesed in the Greek translation of the OT, the Septuagint. We studied this word over the summer. It’s a difficult one to define, but a good definition is “God’s loyal, merciful, faithful, covenant love.” Many English translations use the word “loving-kindness. . . . .”

“We see in this song how Mary exalts three essential characteristics of God. But she did not originate these concepts about him. Rather, she drew from her vast knowledge and deep understanding of the OT Scriptures. Her Jewish ancestors, carried along by the Holy Spirit, thought deeply about the awesome nature of God. They recorded their meditations for God’s people to have for all time. Mary benefited from them by adopting the language of the OT that communicates the power, holiness, and loving loyalty of God. By doing so, she shows us that these divine traits are timeless and ever applicable to God’s people, no matter their situation. . . .

“Mary magnified God by fearing him. She understood what he had done for her, and she gave him praise in return. While our circumstances are different than Mary’s, our response should be the same. When God delivers us from a difficult trial, when he provides in a time of need, when our life situation changes for the better, we should magnify him by expressing our gratitude and praise to him.

“One way we can do this is by exalting his attributes. We can tell God just how amazing he is. In our prayer lives, we may not do this enough. But this was the pattern for prayer and praise that Mary followed. She filled her song with expressions of worship and adoration. Today, we looked at how she magnified God’s power, holiness, and chesed love. When his goodness reached into her life in a special way, what came out were descriptions of God influenced by Scripture.”[7]

And we do can do the same, we can use our knowledge of Bible stories and the Psalms to focus on God’s many wonderful attributes as we worship with praise and thanksgiving. (Please see ‘For Further Study’ after the Prayer and Songs). We can also use music. We have hundreds and thousands of wonderful hymns that help us magnify the Lord. They ascribe to Him holiness, power and mercy just as Mary did. Many of these hymns also contain references to Old Testament stories and scriptures that help us to remember God’s mighty deeds on behalf of His people and other wonderful attributes that belong only to our amazing Lord God. More modern day worship songs seem to focus on our love relationship with the Lord, helping us to pour our love upon Him. Both hymns and worship songs have great value. They are an important part of worship whether we are alone or with others. I think we can safely assume that part of the reason why Mary was chosen to mother the Son of God is that she was educated in the Holy Scriptures and she knew how to worship God intimately. We can safely assume that Jesus learned well from her example.

With this in mind, what do we think Jesus, Peter, James and John did together when they went up the mountain to worship? We know it is the tradition of our Jewish brothers and sisters to sing the Psalms (of David and others). When we read the Psalms we will find that God is always being magnified, exalted and extolled with much praise and thanksgiving. Perhaps they sang some select Psalms together. It is also traditional to read and remember the Lord’s mighty acts of deliverance and salvation for His people. Perhaps they read some scriptures together or simply delighted in the telling of the stories to each other. Perhaps they discussed some Old Testament stories that highlighted God’s attributes or power as Creator; Healer; Restorer; Miracle Worker; Provider; etc. Whatever the case may be, they took time to draw closer to Father God – and the beautiful result was that a glory cloud came down, and the face of Jesus changed so that it shone like the sun. Maybe the disciples faces changed too. I would not be surprised. The Bible doesn’t say. Doesn’t mean it did not happen.  J

And then suddenly, revelation came: Moses and Elijah appeared and talked with Jesus; Peter (being a humble fisherman) wanted to honour all of them; but the Lord said ‘no’ as out of the glory cloud the Father spoke these words,  “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” How truly incredible! They had prepared well for worship, they had drawn closer to God, and He revealed something new and wonderful about Jesus that they needed to know:  

  • that Jesus was greater than either Moses or Elijah and
  • that Jesus was more than a man. Peter had already said that he believed Jesus was the Messiah. This revelation confirmed it.

Also, they needed something to hold onto as Jesus was beginning to reveal to them that He was going to suffer and die. Logic and reason shouted “No – this cannot be.” — The words of Father God from the glory cloud are timely. He knows that they are in a struggle, and will continue to be for some time. So, He pushes back the veil of heaven and provides them with a glimpse of His glory and a reminder of His eternal purposes. 

So how does this apply to us?  –  you may ask. We are not Jesus, nor even Peter, James or John. But the truth remains that when we come to God worship-hungry, as we draw closer to Him, He promises to draw closer to us. We will experience amazing joy, love, peace, revelation and/or a miracle. The Lord may answer a question for which we have been seeking the answer for days, months or years. He may suddenly reveal an understanding for a Bible verse we have been struggling with. He may suddenly tell us how to deal with a difficult employee or neighbour. He may heal our hip and remove the pain. He may reveal a plan to escape a temptation that has been haunting us. He may deliver us from an oppressive lying spirit. There is great potential in worship – great potential. Anything can happen as we remember that all things are possible with God and we stand (or sit) in His manifest presence. Selah. Hallelujah!

In addition, as we worship we need to remember that others are watching us. Our worship should reveal that God is among us and lead others to salvation (says Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:24-25).  When people see us giving heartfelt praise to God, they are intrigued. Like the boy on the plane, they want to see “the pilot”. Sparks from the fire within our worship-hungry hearts can ignite dry hearts. People know genuine joy when they see it. It’s not something we need to work up or pretend, we just need to come to the Lord with prepared worship-hungry hearts, and let Him have His way with us.

It’s good for us to remember what Peter says in 1 Peter 2:9 ESV, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” The whole duty of the Christian can be summed up in this: feel, think, and act in a way that will make God look as great as He really is. If we have taken the time and made the effort to look closely at the Lord, He will be magnified in our worship, in our speech and in our lives. Others will see it in our faces and be blessed by it.

Let us choose to be like Him and allow our hearts to soften to the Lord, that they may become worship-hungry hearts. In the words of Max Lucado: “May I urge you to be just like Jesus? Prepare your heart for worship. Let God change your face through worship. Demonstrate the power of worship. Above all, seek the face of the pilot. The boy did. Because he sought the pilot, he left with a changed face and a set of wings. The same can happen to you.”[8]  . . . . and to me. May God be glorified in and through our lives. Amen

 

Worship Songs  – on YouTube (noted below) or your Hymnal

Open the Eyes of My Heart by Marantha Music (Lyric Video)

This is My Father’s World by Fernando Ortega (Lyric Video)

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty by The Hymns Project (Lyrics Video)

Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah Lyrics (Forest Hill Presbyterian)

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee by Carrie Underwood (Lyrics)

There is a Name I Love to Hear by CRC Worship

Jehovah Jireh, My Provider by Kerala Gospel TV (with dancing and actions).

Pastoral Prayer

Almighty God, what a joy it is to learn more about Jesus. Thank you Lord for all of the commentaries and Bible study helps we have available to us today to enlarge our hearts (increase our understanding). Lord, the greatest desire of each of our hearts is to be like Him.   Let’s read Psalm 103:1-5 NIV (personalized) together:

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
I will not forget not all of Your benefits:
 You forgive all my iniquities,
You heal all of my diseases,
You redeem my life from the pit,
You crown me with love and compassion,
You satisfy my desires with good things,
So that  my youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

We magnify You O Lord, the earth is Yours, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for You founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. We open our hearts (in humility) and lift up our heads (hiding nothing), and our gates (our reservations); we lift up our ancient doors (hindrances from the past), offering welcome, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. We open our hearts (in humility) and lift up our heads (hiding nothing), and our gates (our reservations); we lift up our ancient doors (hindrances from the past), offering welcome, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord Almighty – He is the King of glory. (from Psalm 24 NIV personalized).

Father, there is none like You among the angels of heaven or the gods of this world  or the mighty men of this earth. You alone are the God of history. You alone are the living and true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Thank You Lord that as we believe You, trust in You and make You our refuge that we too are children of Abraham. Thank You Lord that the promises of Your Word are ours today also. Thank You for the promise to protect us from plague and pestilence, from famine and the terror of the night or the arrow that flies by day. Thank You for the promise that no evil shall befall us nor any calamity come near our homes because we make You our refuge. Thank You that You give Your angels especial charge over each one of us, to accompany, defend and preserve us in all of our ways. (from Psalm 91 AMPC personalized) Hallelujah!

Father You know what is happening around the world with COVID-19, 20, and 21. You know what is happening with the experimental RNA therapy ‘vaccines’ that people are being given. I pray Father that You will keep Your promises to protect Your people from the virus and from the injections people have received in good faith believing it will help them. Empower and strengthen Your people Lord, making us more than conquerors, according to Your word.

We pray for individuals within our fellowship who have various health issues. Almost every person, young or old, has challenges in one area or another. Lord You know in detail each and every need and we ask You now to meet that need. Lord You are our Healer, we look to You for help and healing. By the stripes of Jesus, we are healed.

Father there are many in our midst who are suffering financially because of the lockdowns. We pray for freedom from financial worry for each and every person in the mighty name of Jesus. Lord, You promise to work all things together for good to those who love You. Let it be so, right now, in each person’s life who needs a financial blessing. Glory to God!

Thank You Lord that nothing can separate us from Your love, not even a pandemic or a lockdown. Hallelujah! Amen.

 

For Further Study – The Bible reveals God’s character and nature.

Below are just a few Bible verses that highlight some of God’s attributes. (From A-Z.  Borrowed from thepreachersword.com)  Look at these during the week, find them in your own Bible and offer the Lord praise and worship using the assigned attribute. Exalt, extol, lift high, esteem greatly, worship and magnify Him. He deserves every word we could every say and every song we could ever sing. Hallelujah!

GOD IS……

Awesome. “Out of the North he comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty.” – Job. 37:22

Beautiful. “Behold the beauty of the Lord” –Ps 27:4

Compassionate. “The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.” – Ps. 145:9

Dependable. “God is not a human being that he should lie, or a mortal, that he should change his mind. Has he promised, and will he not do it? Has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” —Numbers 23:19, NRSV

Eternal. “The eternal God is your Refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms.” —Deut. 33:27, TLB

Faithful. “The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he had made.” —Ps. 145:13, NIV

Good. “For the Lord is good, and his mercy is never-ending; his faith is unchanging through all generations.” —Ps. 110:5

Holy. “Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His holy hill; For the Lord our God is holy.” —Ps. 99:9, NKJV

Impartial. “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” —Ac. 10:34-35, NIV

Just. “For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God! The Rock, His work is perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God, without deceit, just and upright is He.” —Deut. 32:3-4, NRSV

Kind. “Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” —Rom. 2:4, NRSV

Love. “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him.” —Ps. 103:11, RSV

Merciful. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” —Isa. 55:7-8, KJV

Near. “The Lord is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth.”– Ps 145:18 (NKJV)

Omnipotent. “It is He (God) who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.” –Jer. 10:12

Patient. “The Lord is slow to anger and abounding steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression.” –Ps 145:8

Quickens. “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (give life to) your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” –Rom 8:11

Refuge. “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed. A refuge in times of trouble.” – Ps. 9:9,10 (NKJV)

Sovereign. “Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it now I, the Lord? There is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is no one besides me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” —Isa. 45:21-22, NRSV

Trustworthy. “In You our fathers put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. They cried to You and were saved; in You they trusted and were not disappointed.” (Ps 22:4-5,  NIV)

Unchanging. “You Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands; they will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.” (Heb 1:10-12, NKJV)

Victorious. “I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but You give us victory over our enemies, You put our adversaries to shame.” (Ps 44:60-7, NIV)

Wonderful. “This also comes from the Lord of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom”(Isa 28:19, ESV).

Xristos. (Greek for Christ) “He is the Christ, the chosen of God.” (Lk. 23:35)

Yearning (For Us). “Listen I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in you and eat with and you with me” (Rev. 3:20, NRSV)

Zealous. “His authority shall grow continually and there shall be endless peace…He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness and from this onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” (Isa 9:7, NRSV)

Appendix A – Which Mountain? Borrowed from www.torahportions.ffoz.org:

The gospels do not indicate the location of the high mountain that the Master chose. Early church tradition places the transfiguration on Mount Tabor, a prominent hill at the eastern end of the Jezreel valley, not far from Nazareth. During the Byzantine period, Christians began to make pilgrimage to Mount Tabor to remember the miracle. Byzantine Christians erected churches and monasteries atop the hill.

Despite the strong tradition, the location seems unlikely. In the days of the Master, Mount Tabor was populated and fortified by military installations. The Sanhedrin used Tabor as part of their network of hills on which they lit signal fires to announce the sighting of the new moon. Occupied Mount Tabor does not seem like an appropriate place for the private, mystical revelation of the transfiguration. Even during the Byzantine Era, Eusebius, the bishop of Caesarea and church historian, suggested that the transfiguration should be associated with Mount Hermon near Caesarea Philippi.

The gospels place the story of Peter’s confession some forty-five miles northwest of Mount Tabor, in the region of Caesarea Philippi. The city of Caesarea Philippi sat at the base of lofty Mount Hermon, the highest peak in Israel. Mount Tabor stands some fifty miles away, back in the territory of Herod Antipas. The geography of the story suggests the heights of Mount Hermon as the most likely candidate for the location. This does not imply that the Master brought His disciples to the peaks of Mount Hermon. To climb to the top of Hermon would be a serious Alpine ascent, occupying an entire day, scrambling up the slopes like mountain climbers. More likely, Yeshua merely took His disciples onto one of the surrounding ridges or partially up one of the slopes of Hermon.

Mount Hermon already had mystical associations in Jewish literature and lore. It had messianic associations as well. Psalm 133 connected the “dew of Hermon” with the anointing oil. The mountain’s remote location afforded the Master a private location to bring His disciples; its magnificent grandeur and awe-inspiring heights provided the appropriate, heavenly-Sinai environment. Ultimately, it does not matter where the transfiguration occurred. The important thing is that it testified to the coming kingdom and the splendor of King Messiah.

[1] Matthew 7:7 NIV

[2] Max Lucado, Just Like Jesus p. 77-79

[3] Borrowed from www.torahportions.ffoz.org

[4] Max Lucado, Just Like Jesus p. 80

[5] Ibid p. 81

[6] Ibid p. 82

[7] Borrowed from www.shepherdthoughts.com – Magnify the Lord Part 2

[8] Max Lucado, Just Like Jesus p. 85

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