Monday, October 26, 2009
The Cycles of Hebrew Living
One of the first mental transistions that has to be faced for many people in learning to think and live Hebraically is cyclic vs. linear thinking. The Scriptures are written from a Hebraic perspective and reading and trying to understand it from a Greek perspective causes many misunderstandings and failures in our walk before YHVH.
In Greek thinking, we try to learn all about something and then we do it. After we've studied something "long enough" (in our own minds), we often feel that we've somehow become experts in that subject and eventually we try to convince others of our "expertise". Our studies soon become less about gaining knowledge to pursue wisdom, but become more about the defense of "being right". Then we go about trying to share our "rightness" with others in order to broaden our base with the support of other people's opinions. This thinking can be loosely defined as "linear thinking" as it leads to an end of sorts.
In Hebraic thinking, the process is turned upside down in a way. YHVH tells us that first we must learn to "hear AND obey". Our obedience to HIM brings understanding and wisdom. This message is repeated often throughout the Scriptures and yet, to this day people sit and do nothing as they wait for understanding to come through their own mind. Learning to live and walk Hebraically is challenging, but the rewards come through our obedience because the Scriptures also teach us that obedience brings blessing. Hebraic thinking doesn't ever really lead us to any kind of definative "end". The best summary of it that I know of is summed up in this quote: "The more I think I know, the less I know and the more there is to be learned". (paraphrase according to me)
I was led to meditate on this idea of cycles this Shabbat as we're now back at the beginning (well, two weeks in at this time) of a new Torah cycle. We study Torah on a one year cycle that takes us through the Tanach (the first five Books written by Moses) and includes the writings of the Prophets and the Brit Chadeshah (Matthew-Revelation). Some people have completed many, many cycles of Torah while others are just beginning. This should not be a stumbling block for anyone as each new Torah cycle brings fresh revelation and new understandings for each person engaged in this cycle and there is no specific number of cycles that guarantees wisdom for anyone. We're all just "works in progress".
In Greek thinking, repeating the cycles of Torah may seem boring or pointless and people with that mindset soon find themselves considering another way. Those people move on to some other kind of study or leave the Scriptures in search of new ideas. In Hebraic thinking, the beginning of the new cycle is exciting as there are new discoveries ahead of us as YHVH longs to reveal more and more of HIMSELF to HIS people. It's my prayer that my heart and mind will stay in one accord throughout my life and I will always feel this excitement.
During our travels, I found myself thinking back to the days when the first day of school was before me. I remembered the smell of new pencils, notebooks and school bags with longing to experience that once again. I saw children across the country heading back to school. Some were perhaps sad and others were excited about this new beginning. I was one of the excited ones.
Once again, HIS grace is before me as HE has brought us through to another "first day of school" experience with this new Torah cycle. I can't wait to see what will come this time. Blessings!!