Seeking Abba
Given By: "Glenn D. Blank" On Saturday, August 4, 2012

 

Deuteronomy 4:29–31, “But you will seek from there Adonai your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. When you are in distress and find all these things have happening to you, in the latter days you will return to Adonai your God and listen to His voice.

For Adonai your God is a compassionate God; He will never abandon you nor ruin you, nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.” An awesome word! V’eemru? (And let us say!)

This week I had two dreams about my Dad. In the first one, I saw him walking towards me on a field. He was young, lean, vibrant and visibly happy to see me. When he came up to me, he greeted me with a gentle smile, said he liked the poetic line that I had written for him about “stony cold earth”), and then embraced me. Then I realized he was much taller than me. As I looked up to him, I joked, I thought I was \as a tall as you (or nearly)! (I was alluding to his joke that I would not grow tallerthan him—which I didn't, though nearly.) Later that morning, I had a second dream, in which I was seeking my father. For some reason, I thought I might find him in a church—Pamela and I entered a large Episcopalian cathedral, filled with many people and crystal chandelier lights. The opening organ hymn was playing. But I needed to use a rest room before going in, so I went down a long flight of stairs looking. When I reached the bottom, I saw a boy, stocky and with dark hair, apparently preparing for a class, so I asked him for directions. He told me that I would find the men's room at the top stairs (apparently there were only classrooms for children downstairs). So I turned to head back up the long flight of stairs—and the second dream ended.

When I went out that morning, to pray about a theme for this week worship service among other things, the Spirit of the Lord reminded me about the dreams. So I told them to him and then he quickly gave me the key to the interpretation: "You are searching for your father. There are two levels of this search—for your earthly father and your spiritual Father."

Turning this key in turn opened up more revelation about the search that is going on within my soul. I wondered in seeing Dad in the first dream appearing in the field looking so vibrant and full of love, was further assurance that he was with the Lord in heaven.  The Spirit said he would return to this question later, but first wanted me to consider the level of seeking my spiritual Father. I realized that though I prayed to the Father intellectually, I wasn't relating to Him as intimately as to Yeshua—who was the One who had revealed Himself to me on the tree of suffering before I even knew God was real—or to the Ruach HaKodesh—who is the One who so often has moved me to tears in worship and given so much valuable counsel. When I pray, I would remember that I should also pray to Abba, and would do so almost out of obligation, yet it often seemed like an afterthought, praying through Yeshua, as if I needed Yeshua to bring me before His Father.

So the Spirit of the Lord was showing me that my soul is indeed seeking my spiritual Father, and that my soul needs to draw near to Him, even experiencing His embrace, as in the first dream. The Episcopalian cathedral of the second dream recalls the early days of my walk with the Lord, when I attended the Newman center in Madison and Trinity Episcopal in Bethlehem, and before that, when I was searching for God in the glorious cathedrals in Europe & Westminster Abbey in London, which I connected with T. S. Eliot and his search for the meaning of life in the modern world.

So, this search for my Abba has been going on for a long time. I see now that is He who keeps provoking me to search, drawing to Himself. The crystal chandeliers--I recall seeing them glisten with shimmering light and color--and the hymn rising up to welcome Him with praise--are a glimpse of the glory of olam haba.  The long flight of stairs leading down and then back up allude to Jacob's dream of the stairway between stony earth and angelic heaven, in which he saw God both at the top and at the bottom of the stairs, assuring the young man hat He would always be with him and would never abandon him. (The basement of the cathedral was like stony, cold earth while the upper level was angelic heaven.)

Then the Spirit of the Lord revealed to me that the boy at the bottom of the steps was myself, just before my own bar mitzvah (since I wasn’t ready to come upstairs yet). I used to think I was then as tall as my Dad, but seeing a picture of myself with my parents recently in the slides that my Mom had transferred to a DVD, at my bar mitzvah, confirms that I was actually several inches shorter than Dad then.  So in the first dream, I was that bar mitzvah boy! 

That was a difficult time for me, emotionally—moving from Hawaii to Philadelphia, from a polyglot culture where I could run around in flip-flops to an intensely Jewish culture that cared much more about how you dressed, what you smelled like, and what you knew about sex. I hardly knew anyone at my own bar mitzvah party. Then my Dad had to finish his Coast Guard duty in North Carolina for four or five more months. I missed him during this difficult time of transition. Then the Spirit of the Lord pointed out that my earthly Dad—indeed no human being—could possibly be there for me every time I needed him. For no earthly person could meet all my physical needs, my emotional needs, or my spiritual needs. Only Abba can do that.

Only Abba can be there for me (or anyone) at all times.

Only Abba can provide for all my physical needs, both in this world as well as the world to come.

Only Abba can meet all my emotional needs--for noone else can even know everything hidden within a person's soul. Only Abba can fulfill my spiritual needs, for He alone is pure Spirit & pure Love.

So the dashing figure in my dream was not just my earthly Dad, but an image of my Abba, fulfilling all my needs in His embrace. Then I realized that I truly do need to seek Abba more in my prayer life. When Yeshua said, "No one comes to the Father except through Me," it was an invitation. For Yeshua describes Himself not as a blockade but as a gate. He opens Himself to lead me (and all of us) to Abba Father. Abba, I come to You, seeking Your presence, seeking Your face, seeking Your embrace. After I understood the interpretation, the Holy Spirit assured me (again) that my Dad was with Him.

What a wonderful gift, this assurance of faith, from my wonderful Abba!

Then the Spirit of the Lord told me I had the theme of my Shabbat drash on the verses that I would read from the Torah—Devarim (Deuteronomy) 4:29-31. It’s an awesome word. How much our God & Father wants us His children to seek Him, search for Him! He repeats this word about seeking many times through the prophets and the Messiah Himself. Isaiah 55:6, “Seek the LORD while He may be found; call to Him while He is near.” So Isaiah beckons us in a passage about how God offers His people the water of life freely, Offering to renew an everlasting covenant with us, though David (the Messiah), and urging the wicked to turn back from his evil thoughts to HaShem.

So seeking Abba is an expression of genuine teshuvah, returning to God—then He is near. V’eemru? Jeremiah 29:11–13, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah offered this hope to those who were taken away from Jerusalem to exile in Babylon, assuring them that this banishment would last only 70 years. They would return—because people like Daniel, Ezekiel, Ezra & Nehemiah would call upon Him and pray to Him and seek Him. It is an everlasting promise -“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” V’eemru?

And in Matthew 7:7, Yeshua taught us, “Keep asking, and it will be given to you; keep seeking, and you will find; keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” So He urges us to keep seeking—HaShem wants His children who persevere in prayer. I don’t think it’s because He is trying to hide from us, or make things difficult for us. Rather, I think He wants to provoke us to thirst for Him. For the thirsty appreciate the water of life. When you seek with a thirst, you learn to savor. V’eemru?

Moreover, there is always more of Him to find! You can never reach the end of finding God, Because He is bigger than the universe He created, which modern physics says is expanding at an ever accelerating rate! If that is how the physical universe is, how much more the spiritual universe, which can never contain the love of God our Abba!

Perhaps that’s why Yeshua said to keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking, V’eemru? In Deuteronomy 4:29, the Hebrew words for ‘seek’ and ‘search’ are different. First, veekashtem means “and you will seek”—seeking with an expectation to find , with a desire, and in particular seeking to find the face of a ruler.

Are you seeking with an expectation to find? Do you recognize this desire within your soul to find the only One who will satisfy your desire? (For Eccl. 3:11 says, “He has set eternity in their heart.”) Are you seeking to find the face of the Ruler, the King over kings? If you seek Him, you will find Him—as Esther found the King willing to extend the scepter to her. On the other hand, teed’rashenu means “you search for him”—it’s in the imperfect, so it could be translated, “if you keep searching for him”—just as Matthew 7:7 can be translated “keep seeking.”

The Hebrew root of this word should sound familiar to you—it’s derash. It can mean to consult or inquire of God, or seek in prayer and worship, ask or demand, or study, discuss, search out a meaning, or seek with care. Are you inquiring of God for counsel or wisdom? If you keep asking, you will receive. Are you seeking Abba in prayer and worship? If you keep seeking, you will find. Are you asking God for the desires you know He has put in Your heart? If you keep knocking, He will open a door for you. Are you studying and searching out the meaning of His word? If you keep studying, you will learn. Are you seeking with care? If you care for Abba, you will find that He cares for you, more!

 

Abby and I have this little game of love, which we’ve been playing since she was a little girl. I say, “I love you!” and she says, “I love you more!” I say, “I love you infinitely more!” and she says, “I love you infinitely times infinitely more!” Lately, though, I’ve trumped her, because I say, “I loved you before you loved me!” Then I point out that I loved her when she was still a baby in Korea, and Pamela and I first saw her pictures from the adoption agency and we immediately knew she was a wonderful gift of God, and loved her and prayed for her months before she arrived and we met her at BWI airport. How much more so does God love us more—infinitely times infinitely more!

For as 1 John 4:19 says, “We love, because He first loved us.” From eternity past to eternity present, He loved us, He loves us, He always will love us. Before we were born, before we were conceived, He loved us. While we were yet sinners, He loved us—from before the foundation of the universe resolved to become human and die for us. How great is the love of God for us!

It is infinite, ever expanding, everlasting love of Abba for His children—for you, as well as for me. V’eemru?


Questions for Breakout Discussion

 

How many of you pray, find you are relating more to Yeshua?

More to the Ruach HaKodesh? More to the Father?

What's the difference in how you relate to God?

When you pray to God the Father, is it more abstract or moor intimate?

Does the image of God as Abba embracing you change things for you?

What does the image of the cathedral with is chandeliers of shimmering light and color evoke for you? Is there a longing for this place in your soul?

What does the image of the cathedral basement, with its scent of "stony, cold earth," evoke for you?

Why are there children in the basement?

Do you long to climb back up the stairway? Even though they are many stairs?

Can any human being meet all your physical needs? Why not?

Can any human being meet all your emotional needs? Why not?

Can any human being meet all your spiritual needs? Why not?

Who can meet all these needs? Why?

Yeshua says He is "the gate" or "the way" to the Father. What does that mean to you?

 

How do you go through this gate? Do you need to go through this gate (again)?

Why is it important to keep seeking, keep asking, keep knocking?

How do you do that?

What does the Hebrew word d'rash mean?

What does this word inspire or motivate you to do?

How about preparing a drash for a Torah service?

In Deuteronomy 29:30, “when you are in distress,” the Hebrew word tzar means a tight, cramped place.

From this Hebrew word comes the Yiddish word tsouris, meaning heartburn, stressful situation, trouble.

Why does God our Father allow us to come into places of stress, distress or tsouris?

Why can you be sure that Abba loves you infinitely times infinitely more?