Bible Languages, Bible Study, Biblical Hebrew, Book of Isaiah, Earthen Vessels, Image of God, Indwelling Spirit, Isaiah 45:7, Joined to the Lord, Life in Christ, Life in the Spirit, Unity
This week I am taking a look at the third Hebrew letter of which yatsar is comprised; yatsar being the word translated “form” in my study passage Isaiah 45:7. This third letter is Resh and it was this letter that captivated me the moment I looked it up in the Table of Contents of The Inner Meaning of the Hebrew Letters by Robert M. Haralick. I have already shared how I began to see a picture of Jesus-One with the Father, Creator, Logos-being squeezed into the form of a man when I began to study “I form the light”. With this picture already in my mind, of course I was struck when I saw that Resh means “The Cosmic Container”. I was so overwhelmed with excitement I had to stop my study for that night and come back to it later. When I did return I was struck anew with wonder at our God.
ר Resh = The Cosmic Container
I can only think about God becoming flesh and wonder at it. Some 2,000 years ago now, the man Jesus walked the earth. He was a man and yet at the same time He was the one who made the very earth He walked upon. This same Jesus, a man yet God, He who was dead but now lives forever more, He who ascended above all the heavens, He who sits at the right hand of The Father; “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:15-17). Such a God is beyond my comprehension. How is it possible to know Him? Because He wills it so and because He is humble.
The book by Mr. Haralick says that Resh means both poverty and head or principal. Here, I see a picture of Jesus: both as the humble servant of The Father and as the One on the throne. When I read a little further in Colossians 1 I find, “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence” (verse 18). Holding this in mind, I think of Philippians 2: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name…” (verses 5-9). To these two scriptures, I add: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
1 John 4:17 says, “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world”. I will be spending the rest of my life and no doubt eternity as well, coming to understand the love that God is. In the sense of Resh being The Cosmic Container and considering the words of the Apostle John-“as He is, so are we in this world”-who am I? What exactly is my identity in Jesus Christ? Well, I have been created through Him and for Him and I consist in Him. In His great love, He emptied Himself, humbled Himself, and obeyed the voice of His Father and through His poverty I am become rich. Beyond all comprehension, really. He pours His Spirit in me. Everything He has he gives to me. He is conforming me into His very image so that, every day, I become more and more like Him. If all of this isn’t enough to give me a swelled head, I don’t know what is. And yet, this is where I am humble because I know all of this is mine because of who Jesus is and not because of anything I do or don’t do.
I return to Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians and read: “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:6-7). Everything I am I am because Jesus Christ lives in me. I have no life nor light of my own. It’s all Him and He shines in me and through me.
What is beautiful though is that I’m not just a container for Jesus to manifest through. There is a mountain in Rome called Monte Testaccio. It is an entirely artificial mountain composed of smashed and discarded Ancient Roman pottery. Clay pots called amphorae were the shipping containers of that day. They were also the single use containers of the day and, once the wine or oil or whatever the Empire imported had been cleared out of the container, the container was smashed and cast aside. While Paul does compare us to earthen vessels, we are not single use containers. The Spirit of the Living God comes to live in these earthen vessels that we are and then transforms us.
There is a parable of Jesus found in Matthew 9:14-17, Mark 2:18-22 and Luke 5:33-39 where Jesus says a new piece of cloth cannot be sewn to an old item of clothing and new wine cannot be put into old wineskins. The new will destroy the old and both will be ruined. So it would be with this new creation we are in Jesus Christ, if we were left as we were when He first opened our eyes to see Him and brought us to Himself. But, He does not. His Spirit moves in and begins to remake us. We are renewed by the transformation of our minds as we are taught by the Holy Spirit to exchange our thoughts for His thoughts. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says “we are changed into the same image from glory to glory” but I like how the Phillips translation puts it: “We are transfigured in ever-increasing splendor into his own image, and the transformation comes from the Lord who is the Spirit”.
In John’s great vision of Jesus Christ, the One who sits on the throne says, “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). I recently read or heard something by one of my Bible teachers who pointed out it doesn’t say “I make all new things” but “I make all things new”. I like that. He forms the light. He forms the light that is the life of Jesus in us. It is a process and one that can be terribly painful. As the Spirit opens our eyes to a place where the flesh has ruled and where He is now working, we can feel we are worth nothing more but to be smashed and tossed onto the refuse heap. That is not how God sees us. We are His beloved children and He is gentle with us. Firm and determined in His purpose, but gentle.
“Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him” (Isaiah 43:7). He forms us as vessels and, more than this; in His incredible love for us calls us His children. “And that is not just what we are called, but what we are. Our heredity on the Godward side is no mere figure of speech…Here and now we are God’s children! We don’t know what we shall become in the future. We only know that, if reality were to break through, we should reflect his likeness, for we should see him as he really is!” (1 John 3:1-3, Phillips).
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Unless noted otherwise, all scriptures are quoted from The New King James Version of The Holy Bible, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee, 1982
Haralik, Robert M., The Inner Meaning of the Hebrew Letters, Jason Aronson, Inc., Northvale, New Jersey, 1995
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