July 6, 2011
My Buddy Paul
My Buddy?? Sheesh, how dare I be so irreverent towards the one who is featured heavily in the Apostolic Scriptures and held as the high watermark of the Christian believer? Well, I may be a bit cheeky, I concede. However, Paul, aka Saul the Pharisee, had some pretty interesting and challenging things to say. I can't say that I disagree with what he says, but I do struggle with the interpretation of his words at times.
Paul was indeed a Hebrew of Hebrews, Torah-observant (even after 'conversion') and given to midrash...quite a bit of it, actually. I often wonder what his reaction would be to knowing that the thoughts, pleas and rebukes he diligently gave his flock(s) and talmidim were now taken as sacred Scripture by every soul called to faith in Mashiach. I like to think he'd be rather stunned. I also wonder if he would have worded things a little differently, he had been privy to that most important tidbit. Guess the LORD chose to keep him in the dark on that, huh?
So, the absolute master of the run-on, complex sentence penned some of the very things I dearly hold onto as a lifeline of faith. I'm pretty sure most believers would agree, as it has been my experience that Paul is the one most frequently quoted from the canon of 66...except for Yeshua, perhaps.
Anyone need a lifeline?
Who will bring any charge against those whom G-d has chosen? It is G-d who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Messiah Yeshua who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of G-d and is also interceding for us. (Romans 8:33-34)
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of G-d in Yeshua haMashiach, our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)
[The Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness'. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Messiah. (Gal 6:2)
In [Messiah] who is the source of my strength I have strength for everything. (Phil 4:13)
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. (1 Cor 13:4-6)
Y'know, I can relate to Paul; how he viewed his world and how he obviously bore a great burden of compassion and pain which caused him to cry out to our LORD unceasingly, and exhort others to do the same. I'm sure he felt a kinship with the psalmist and echoed the words below:
O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me;
many are saying to me, "There is no help for you in G-d." (Selah)
But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory,
and the one who lifts up my head.
I cry aloud to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy hill. (Selah)
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, for the Lord sustains me.
I am not afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
Rise up, O Lord! Deliver me, O my G-d!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
Deliverance belongs to the Lord;
may your blessing be on your people! (Selah)