To love vehemently; wholly, speedily, especially when repeated; diligently, especially, exceedingly, greatly, louder and louder, mightily, utterly; to rake together; a poker for turning and gathering embers; a firebrand (i.e. torch). Doesn’t this Hebrew word for “strength” sound like passionate bridal love? I discovered this description for carrying a torch for the Lord as I was beginning to dive deeper into what it really meant to love my God. What did He have to say about it? I was drawn to the scripture that Jesus (i.e., Yeshua) calls the first and greatest commandment: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37).
I noticed that this was first articulated in Deuteronomy 6, which frankly held the strongest attraction for me: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:5). As my whole being cried, “Yes!” I was already asking questions. Strength? Why strength? I heard a Bible teacher on the radiosay that in the Bible the Hebrews usually listed items from easiest to hardest. Now I was really confused. This didn’t line up with the paradigm I had been taught. Isn’t loving God with all one’s heart the paramount demonstration of love? How could loving God with all my heart or soul be easier than loving Him with all my strength? I rolled up my sleeves and pulled out my concordance. This, coupled with some other resources I had on-hand, gave me the understanding that I needed.
The easiest way to love the Lord your God = “with all your heart.” The Hebrew word for heart is lev, and its ancient word picture tells us that the heart is what controls the family or what controls the inside. Your heart is known as the center of your being – the most interior organ. Your emotions and desires can be ways of transporting your love.
In the Bible, the heart is synonymous with the mind. Consider how our minds consist of our intellect, will, and emotions. When our brain processes information, many times our will is faced with a choice to make. Our decision results in an action, whether passive or active, and then that particular action creates an emotional memory or pathway. We all have experienced how other people’s decisions towards us affect our emotional memories too. Scientists tell us that the deepest imprints come from exceptionally painful or joyful moments.
Christmas has definitely been a time of extremes. We center in on the Joy to the World and Merry Christmas part; but sorrow, stress, and distress are its partner too. The mixture of Christmas is like an incessant ribbon that winds itself throughout our emotions, which causes us to be caught between two opinions. It’s time for God’s people to end mixture and become pure.
We literally have been double-minded over the Christmas issue. To come into the mind of Christ, we must subjugate our mindsets to the Spirit of the Living God. “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree… you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10 NASB). The “same mind” here speaks of being perfectly joined together in the mind of Christ. The “same judgment” equates to the appraisal that God puts on a situation. It’s his evaluation, his process. Any veiled hostility in our mind toward the character of Christ must shift/change to form a new order for the future – eventually the restoration of all things in the Messiah.
America’s bastion of idolatry has a captivating façade of innocence; but in reality, Christmas has caused the American Church to become ensconced in worldly ways. We should welcome all of the righteous boundaries set by God, so we can fully connect to express His glorious nature.
The next hardest way to love the Lord your God = “with all your soul.” The Hebrew word for soul nephesh (neh’-fesh) means a breathing creature. Its verb naphash (naw-fash) means to breathe or be refreshed. Therefore, to love God with all your soul means to love Him with your very life’s breathe. One may think of the authentic gift of martyrdom: “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death” (Rev. 12:11 NASB). Even though loving God with your very life’s breath is an extremely admirable characteristic, this form of love stays at a soulish level; hence, it’s description “loving the Lord your God with all your soul.” How can loving God with all your strength be harder than that? Let’s take a peek.
The hardest way to love the Lord your God = “with all your strength.” The word “strength” in Hebrew basically means your resources. Say what?! It’s harder to love God with all your resources than the very breath you take? Think about it. The windows in the high-rise hotels in Las Vegas only open 3 inches. Why? Because the casino owners don’t want their clientele jumping out the window when they lose all their money. That’s just one example of people valuing money or resources more than life itself. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21).
When all is said and done, it’s about being fully connected to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in love. You and I must love God with all our strength in its fullness or our love will remain entangled with soulish shackles. The carnal cares of this world will weigh us down.
I believe that God’s people demonstrate a bridal love for Him when all three of these areas of our lives are submitted to His lordship, especially our resources. My Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines the word “resource” as: a source of supply or support; a natural source of wealth; a source of information or expertise; an ability to meet and handle a situation. The word “resource” comes from the word resourdre, which means to relieve. It more importantly literally means to rise again, and my dictionary refers me to the word “resurrection.” I greatly value the cross of Jesus Christ, but sometimes I am grieved when the church stops at His death. We need to follow Yeshua in burying the dead, and walking in resurrected life. Now is the time for the spiritual resurrection of His corporate body. When we think of resurrection resources, we should search for clues by examining kingdom in God’s Word.
I believe that common sense shows us that the ultimate form of loving the Lord our God with all our strength is interchangeable with keeping the feasts of the Lord. Don’t we expend a tremendous amount of resources to celebrate any feast? Abundance is practically the definition of any celebration. Bridal love for the Lord our God is verified by how we spend our resources. It’s a godly submission of stewardship. It’s putting our money where our mouth is sort of speak. (Please refer to “Once a Year Giving Ritual?” http://wp.me/p158HG-m1 .)
Loving God with all our strength is fulfilled by spending our resources in Christ – as He perfectly desires. Anything and everything will be expended as worshipful acts of submission to our King. In the kingdom of God, we will adore the King diligently spending ourselves for His good pleasure, which will be our greatest pleasure too.
Every day with the King is a celebration! Literally, there is a holiday or celebration each day on earth’s calendar somewhere in the world. Celebrations set significant parts of the culture for both a pagan and a holy nation. The Bible shows us that any ungodly compromise will not be allowed in His dwelling place – the holy city called the New Jerusalem or in His holy nation consisting of the royal priesthood of believers. Mankind has been made in God’s image, and we all enjoy a good celebration. The Lord put the drive to celebrate within us. Many of us will go to great lengths to break a fun barrier. But will we go the greatest length by celebrating the Lord His way? The feasts of the Lord are God’s occasions for celebrating where we spend our resources His glorious ways. Remember that God’s feasts are fixed by Him in His Word. (Please refer to “Winter One-der-land” http://wp.me/p158HG-aH and “Walking in a Winter One-der-land” http://wp.me/p158HG-gN .) At His biblical feasts, the Lord our God is summoning His people to meet with Him, so we can be directed by Him into a certain place, situation or arrangement that are conducive for marriage. All people have been made to be spent on Him.
“For the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10 NASB). Over and over again in the Bible, the Lord articulates one theme more than any other in regards to the feasts of the Lord, and that theme is joy: “They observed the Feast of the Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the LORD had caused them to rejoice” (Ezra 6:22 NASB). Yeshua loves to have a good time, especially with His queen!
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” And it was given to her to cloth herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” (Revelation 19:7-8 NASB)
(“Here Comes the Bride” article will continue tomorrow)
Copyright Dec. 28, 2012 – Author: Robin Main.
The information in this article and more details can be found in Chapter 10 “Here Comes the Bride” in my book: SANTA-TIZING: What’s wrong with Christmas and how to clean it up (available on amazon http://www.amazon.com/SANTA-TIZING-Whats-wrong-Christmas-clean/dp/1607911159/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353692179&sr=1-1&keywords=SANTA_TIZING).
 “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deut. 6:5) The Hebrew word for strength has the root idea of “very much.” Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, 3966: “dcoom. me’od[pronounced meh-ode’ or ma-od or ma-ode too since the ‘e’ on the end in English makes for a long ‘o’ and in Hebrew this is a long ‘o’]; from the same as 181; properly vehemence, i.e. (with or without preposition) vehemently; by implication wholly, speedily, etc. (often with other words as an intensive or superlative; especially when repeated):– diligently, especially, exceeding (-ly), far, fast, good, great (-ly), x louder and louder, might (-ily, -y), (so) much, quickly, (so) sore, utterly, very (+much, sore), well. 188: dwa uwd [These letters are backwards] [pronounced ood]; from an unused root meaning to rake together; a poker (for turning or gathering embers) :– (fire-) brand. [I’m forgetting the reference for this (Deut. 6:5). Send it back and I’ll get the words right.]
 Commenting on Deut 6:5, J. McBride noted: “The three parts of Deuteronomy 6:5; lēbāb bb’le (heart), nepheš vp,n< (soul or life), and me˒ōd daom. (muchness) rather than signifying different spheres of biblical psychology seem to be semantically concentric. They were chosen to reinforce the absolute singularity of personal devotion to God. Thus, lēbāb denotes the intention or will of the whole man; nepeš means the whole self, a unity of flesh, will and vitality; and mĕ˒ōd accents the superlative degree of total commitment to Yahweh.” Please note that the idea of the “soul” of a person being one’s mind/will/emotion is a Western idea. It’s not an Eastern idea ala foreign to the Hebrew mind.
 While I distinctly remember the message, I unfortunately cannot give the right person the credit, because I didn’t catch his name.
 Hebrew Word Pictures, How Does The Hebrew Alphabet Reveal Prophetic Truths? by Frank T. Seekins, Heart, p. 18
 Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994.
 Coupled with your previous experiences, genetic make-up, belief systems, etc.
 Nephesh is a noun created from the root consonants: n-p-sh. Nephesh is a word that the sound of the word is the same as what happens. This is an ancient Akkadian or Babylonian word. When you inhale the sound is ‘neph’ and when you exhale the sound is ‘phesh’. The ‘ph’ sound is the transition sound from inhaling and exhaling. Try it. The Ancients knew that there was a part of you that they could not see and without it you were dead. That would be your ‘nephesh’ which one could tell if you had it or not. Thus when David states in Psalms 25:1 “Unto you oh LORD do I lift up my soul,” he was using nephesh. Thus he was lifting that part of his being that if he did not have it he was dead. Nephesh is your very life!
 Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994.