Friday, July 29, 2022

Paddling in the Fog

"Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of YHVH has risen upon you.  For behold, darkness will cover the earth, and deep darkness the peoples; but YHVH will rise upon you, and His glory will appear upon you” (Isaiah 60:1-2). This is probably one of the most quoted scriptures from Isaiah. Having been put to music, many a believer in Yeshua sings these words with gusto, as the Messiah said of Himself: "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12 emphases added).  This light is eternal life, "it" is Yeshua the Word who in B'resheet (Genesis) chapter one was the Word that became Light. John wrote: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). 

In the above-quoted, the prophet uses two terms to denote “darkness”-   cho'shech in Hebrew - and "gross darkness" - a'ra'fel.  This last Hebrew word is used today to describe a dark cloud or if it is near the ground, fog.  If you have ever been driving in a dense fog, where you can’t even see the front of your car it obviously presents a very dangerous situation, especially at night as your headlights are mainly to let others know that you are near or close by.  Isaiah, along with many others, warns us about a spiritual reality of all-encompassing darkness.   A'ra'fel can be defined as water vapor that is made up of very small particles, and under certain atmospheric conditions will become fog, a cloud, or condense on different objects as dew.  We have all seen the beautiful rainbow colors that are reflected as the light passes through a water droplet, which reminds me of Micah 5:7: “Then the remnant of Jacob will be among many peoples like dew from YHVH, like showers on vegetation” (emphases added). The apostle Jacob (James) states that we are like a mist that appears for a time (4:14). But at the same time, we are also to be part of a great cloud of witnesses that will comprise YHVH’s glory cloud.

If we are living in the latter days, the darkest of darkness all around should not surprise us. So much so, that it is likely to take the form of the plague of darkness that beset the Egyptians before Israel’s exodus. “And YHVH said to Moses, stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even a darkness which may be felt (Exodus 10:21 emphasis added).  Have you ever frequented places where you could literally feel the presence of evil? I have.  Yes, we may have the light of lights - Yeshua - in our lives and inner-being but it doesn’t mean that we will not experience this surrounding darkness and its attempts to fog our minds and will.  But what do we do, or how do we respond, when we find ourselves encompassed by gross darkness, and when it seems like brothers and sisters are nowhere around (although in the foggy darkness they may be only a few steps away)? 

Let me share a personal experience that provided me with some insight. I was canoeing, one time, on a small lake nearby my parents' home, returning from duck hunting, when the fog rolled in and I couldn’t see the shoreline.  I thought I was paddling the canoe in the right direction but as time went on and I wasn’t reaching my destination, I found myself in a predicament.  Just then a thought came to mind; to listen, perhaps there would be a familiar sound that could help direct my course.  I knew that nearby our home there was a farm, so as I listened closely, I soon heard one of the farmer's cows moo.  That was helpful but cows don’t always continue to make that sound, so it was not a wholly reliable reference point.  After a few minutes, a rooster crowed which also was helpful to get me back on course, but again that did not last for long.  Every once in a while I would stop paddling and just listen.  A car was traveling down a country road that I knew was west of the farm, which was also helpful to re-orient the bow of the canoe.  One thing about fog is that sound carries quite easily.  The farmer’s dog was the most helpful because foggy conditions startled him and he would start barking at the tiniest unfamiliar movement or sound.  Needless to say, I found my way back to the shore near the farm and then followed the shoreline to get home.  

Many are waking up to their Hebrew root identity and are reciting or singing the “Shema,” from Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear, O Israel! YHVH is our Elohim, YHVH is one!”  Hearing of course has to do with listening, but that particular Hebrew word - "shema" - is also connected to obedience. In other words, when you hear His voice, start paddling in the direction that the sound is coming from, this is the only way to find your way back home to Zion. 

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