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Rhema (May 22, 2013) by Jim Crosby
Jesus answered, “It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4
I remember once hearing evangelist John Riley say that he could be reading a passage of Scripture from the Bible and even though he might have read it 90-times before; he would get something new from it. There would be some message that had been hidden from him in previous readings that would be revealed in the current reading.
That’s why the Bible is such a marvelous book. That’s one reason it is the Best Seller of All Times!
I have experienced what Riley was saying many times. That’s one of the reasons I keep on reading the Bible every day. As you may recall, I’ve written before about doing my SOAP journaling daily. That’s reading Scripture (S); thinking about it’s objective (O), just what is the purpose and meaning of that scripture; (A) analyzing how it can be applied to my life---hopefully that day; (P) praying about it and whatever else I need to pray about.
Today was my 1,172nd day of being blessed by SOAP journaling. One thousand one-hundred and seventy-two days of blessings from God’s word. That’s a lot of blessings! Many of those blessings have been shared with you through these weekly devotions. That’s just one way God’s word is spread.
This week, reading in Richard Foster’s book- “Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home” I learned about “Rhema”. So what is Rhema? Wikipedia says on the internet: “Some modern usage distinguishes Rhema from Logos in Christian Theology with Rhema at times being called ‘a Word from the Word’ i.e. an utterance of Jesus Christ.
Here’s what Foster says and in some part explains how we receive new blessings from the same scripture. “When reading the Bible, people commonly experience a special “word in the Word,” in which a particular passage seems to apply to an individual situation in a new way. Sometimes I wonder if in such experiences God is working through the creative factor of the brain to bring to the conscious mind wonderful new combinations of ideas and insights. At any rate, this ‘quickening of the Word’ encourages us that God is near and deeply interested in the particular circumstances of our lives.”
What it boils down to for me is I think that God reveals new things to us as we reach a point where we are able to handle them or a point where we need them. Of course, God is not limited in how He works in our lives. He certainly isn’t boring as we constantly are discovering new and exciting experiences through which He is working, if we make ourselves available to Him.
One of the ways he works is through other people. Foster says: “A special Rhema also comes to us frequently from other people, in which a divine revelation from God is applied to the specifics of our lives. The result of these experiences is to draw our hearts more and more deeply into the heart of God.” Foster’s revelations about Rhema are couched in a chapter of his book on The Prayer of the Heart.” This is a “prayer of intimacy. It is the prayer of love and tenderness of a child to Father God.”
This tenderness and love for His people is described in Luke 13:34 when God says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how often I have longed to gather your children together as a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” Is that a beautiful analogy or what? I can certainly identify with it when I just want to give my lovely little granddaughter a hug and she is not in a hugging mood. Like the children of Israel she is not willing. I have the best of intentions. Feelings of love and protection, but at the moment she might not want to have anything to do with them.
Prayer of the Heart is sometimes called the “Abba Prayer” because it “may help us remember that we are to receive our understanding of how a human father (parent) is supposed to function by learning what God (Abba---our Heavenly Father) is like.”
Our scripture today comes from Matthew and the setting is the desert where Jesus had fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. Obviously he would have become very hungry, so the Devil saw what he thought was a good opportunity to tempt Him. So often when we are tempted to do wrong, it is something that appeals to our ego. That’s not a new trick of the Devil. He has been using it for a long, long time. Unfortunately he has had a lot of success with this tactic. But, in the wilderness he met his match; when he tried to appeal to the ego of Jesus by saying “Hey you are hungry. No need for that to continue. If you are the Son of God just command those stones to be turned into bread.”
But, Jesus didn’t fall for it. He said that bread is not what sustains us, but the Word of God does. He was referring to an Old Testament passage---Deuteronomy 8:1-3—when the Israelites were admonished, as they prepared to leave the wilderness and enter the land “promised to their forefathers,” to not forget some things.
“Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today so that you may live and increase…Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. He humbled you causing you to hunger then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
QSB says this testing of God’s people is allowed not for Him to see if they pass the test. He already knows the outcome. It is to enable the people, through these tests, to see their own nature. It reveals to them what is actually in their own hearts.
I think that’s why we sometimes get a new understanding of a familiar scripture. Our hearts are ready for it. Then it is up to us as to what we will do with this newfound Rhema as the “Word in the Word” speaks to us.
Prayer: Lord thank you for the Rhema that has the power to change us, reform us and mold us in your way. Amen!
***Author’s note: God is good. All the time!