Rabbi Schneider - An Intimate God
I want to get right in to a brand new revelation that truly can produce light and freedom in your life. Paul said to the Lord, he said, "Lord, I'm struggling with something. There's this messenger of Satan that's tormenting me". And the Lord said to him, "My grace is sufficient for you. I'm not going to take this torment away from you. Paul, my power rather will be perfected as you struggle through this thing. My power is going to be perfected in your weakness". I'm going to read now from 2 Corinthians 12:9. Paul is crying out to the Lord. He said, "Lord, there's this messenger of Satan, take it away". Paul told us he kept praying about this three times. Eventually, the Lord spoke back to him.
Here's what happened. "He said to me," Paul speaking here, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me". I want to put this in perspective. I'm going to go back to the seventh verse of the same chapter. Listen what Paul said here. "...there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from exalting myself"!
So who was this one that was given to Paul? Listen, it was a messenger. Paul comes boldly straight out and says that this messenger was a messenger from Satan. And it's obvious that Paul said this messenger of Satan was sent to him from Hashem, from God. Because Paul tells us that this messenger of Satan was sent to him because the abundance of revelation that Paul had received in order to keep him from exalting himself. So it's obvious here that this is part of God's divine plan in Paul's life. To keep Paul from getting puffed up because of all his knowledge, God sent this messenger of Satan to bring Paul low to make Paul pray, to keep Paul humble, to keep Paul clinging.
So Paul is hurting. He's in pain. This messenger of Satan has attacked him and it's tormenting him. Paul says, "Take it away. Father, take it away. Lord, take this away". And then God says, "Paul, no, I'm not going to take it away. But my grace will get you through. And beyond that, Paul, listen, My power is going to be perfected as you cling to Me, as you cry to Me from this dependent place of weakness that you're in right now". Paul's response to that understanding was, "Wow, I'm going to, therefore, boast in my weakness rather than my strength".
Now, listen to this key of revelation. God used Satan in Paul's life in order to make Paul strong. Satan attacks, makes Paul weak. Now Paul can't depend on his own flesh, he can't depend on his own power, he can't continue on as usual. No more business as usual. Paul is on his knees, "Help me, God". He's on his knees, "Help me God". And God says, "Stay, Paul, right where you're at, clinging to me in this place of weakness because my power will be perfected in your soul as you cling to me".
Now, if God used this messenger of Satan as a tool to make Paul strong, is it possible that when Adam and Eve fell in the garden back in the book of Bereshit (Genesis) that was also part of God's plan? That God wanted Satan to deceive Adam and Eve because somehow God had something He was going to do in mankind that He could not have done unless mankind had fallen? Isn't that what we just saw happen in Paul's life? God could not make Paul strong without this messenger of Satan. God needed this tool, He needed this messenger of Satan to break Paul so that in Paul's brokenness, he could depend on the Lord. And in his dependency, God made Paul strong. The fact is Satan is God's tool. God is God. There's only one Lord.
I remember when I first started going to church as a young believer in Yeshua. And the way the preacher was preaching it was like God's over here, Satan's over here, there's this eternal struggle going on. And by God, we were praying and believing that God's going to win. And I thought, as a Jewish person, this is utter nonsense. There's one God. God is the only master of the universe. He's Adon Olam. He's the master of the world. Listen, before Satan could attack Job, Satan had to get permission from the Lord to attack Job. There is only one God. He is causing all of His creation, beloved ones, to move towards His eternal purpose. And the fall that took place in the Garden of Eden was actually part of God's plan for humanity. Because in the garden Adam and Eve were living souls.
But the Bible tells us that once Adam and Eve fell and sin entered the world and eventually God sent us a redeemer through His Son Yeshua, and through our relationship to God through Yeshua we actually receive God's Spirit, we go from being a living soul, which Adam was, to instead entering into a relationship with God where we're indwelt by the Holy Spirit. You see, Adam and Eve had the Holy Spirit with them but the Holy Spirit wasn't in them. It's only because of redemption, only because of the fall that we came to Messiah, received His gift of forgiveness and the gift of His Spirit. It's only because of the gift of His Spirit now that has come inside us that we now have a life giving Spirit.
We went from being living souls, as the first Adam was, to now not only having a living soul before our Creator, but literally having a zoe Spirit-His Spirit of life dwelling on the inside of us. God uses evil for His own purposes. There's one Lord, there's one God. This is what we mean as Jewish people and we declare the Shema, as I said in an earlier broadcast. Shema Yisrael, Adonai eloheinu, Adonai echad. We sing, Sh'ma Yis-ra-el, a-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu, A-do-nai E-chad. It means Hear, O Israel! The LORD our God, the LORD is one! Meaning there's only one master of the world. We don't fear of Satan over here and worship God over here. We worship one God, and we realize that everything in His creation, including the powers of darkness are subject to Him.
I'm bringing this up now because I ended last week's broadcast by saying this. Don't reject yourself because you fall short. Don't reject yourself because of your imperfections. Because it's your imperfections and your brokenness that become your potential quality for greatness. God gave Paul this thorn in the flesh in order that Paul could overcome it through depending on the Spirit. Adam and Eve fell in the garden because God had a purpose in their fall. God intended it to happen, beloved, so that you and I could overcome sin, so we could overcome our evil inclination, so that we could overcome the flesh by depending on Him. Your imperfection is your starting point.
Now you've got a place to begin to overcome from. And he that overcomes, beloved, is made great to the degree that you and I overcome. Maybe it's your bad temper you have to overcome. Maybe you have a tendency to gossip you have to overcome. Some people habitually lie, they have to overcome it. Some people are addicted to drugs and sensuality. Whatever your imperfection is, whatever your natural disposition is that's in bondage to darkness, don't reject yourself because of it. Come to Hashem, come to God with it, and know that your mission is to overcome it. You see, whether you're from Africa, India, America, or Israel, our journey is all the same. Our mission is to be transformed. And to the degree that we follow the Lord in this world and overcome to that degree we'll be rewarded.
So don't reject yourself, beloved, because you fall short. Rather recognize that's your starting point and you've got a mountain to overcome. And because you're going to overcome that mountain, because we can do all things through Messiah that strengthens us, you're going to have a great reward when you get to that mountaintop. Beloved, once again, the revelation that I'm depositing in your soul right now is this: your imperfection is what qualifies you for greatness. Now you've got something to work on. Now you've got Now you've got something to overcome. And through Yeshua, praise God, you're going to master it.
One of my friends was just saying to me that sometimes we look at the process of recovery as simply going from black to white. You know, one day we've got a problem, the next day we're completely healed. But most people's journey of overcoming is not suddenly from here to over here. It's more of a spiral, where we begin down here and we slowly ascend out of that cycle till we get into the life further and further. I know a man that's a good friend of mine. He was raised in such a hard environment. His parents, his mother, when he cried as an infant would put him in the dark basement and lock the door and just let him cry down there and cry down there and cry down there. She couldn't deal with the crying. Her way of dealing with the crying was to put her child in a dark basement.
So this friend of mine grew up in isolationism and he has a passionate love for Jesus. But yet because his formative years took place in that kind of an environment where there was no relationship, he has to struggle and struggle and strive to feel connected, to feel good about himself. There was so much negativity and rejection that were heaped upon him as a young person. And sometimes now he'll do really great. But then because that formative thing that he received from his mom, that rejection is so deep in him, he'll find himself being setback. One day he'll be living in victory and the next day he'll feel real down about himself.
That he's not worthy, like he's a third wheel. But you know what? He keeps moving forward. And even though it seems like he's doing good one day and the next day he's not doing good, it's not like it's black to white, white to black. But rather slowly, slowly, surely. More and more of his days are being lived in the light. More and more he's cycling up, believing up, starting to believe good things about himself. And he's coming more and more into the light. And that's realistic, beloved ones. Don't beat yourself up. Just keep praying, keep praying, keep talking to God, keep crying out. Even as Paul, when that messenger of Satan was sent to him to break him. And what's going to happen? You will overcome. You will be made strong.
God's power will be made perfect in your weakness and you're going to have, beloved ones, a great reward. Baruch Hashem, blessed be the name of the Lord. What's really interesting, as we move on to a new focus in revelation, is that we're speaking of this love that God has for us, how He designed the whole world for man. That even the fall of man was part of God's plan, so that man could overcome and receive a reward and choose Him and choose light and choose to love Him. What's really interesting in relationship to this is that God doesn't need us, right? He's self-existent. He was the beginning. He is the beginning. He's before all things. He's eternal. He's always been. He doesn't need anything. But somehow God has chosen to love us. And in some way, He's chosen to need us.
Now, don't misunderstand me. God doesn't need anything. But yet God has chosen to need us. Listen, if we weren't important to Him, if God didn't need us because of His choice to love us, would He have sent His Son to come to the earth to be whipped, to have His beard pulled out, to have nails put through His hands and His feet, to have a spear thrust in His side, to be spit on, mocked and blasphemed? If God didn't choose to need us because of His choice to love us, would He have put His Son through such horrendous torment? No. God chose Him. That is how much, beloved one, He loves us. Baruch Hashem. God loves you. Bless the name, hallelujah, of the Lord.
I want to move on now to another revelation. It's deep. It's powerful. It's cutting edge. It's too much to contain. All we can do is we can work on entering in more and more to these deep truths. A lot of times you and I, as we move on to another revelation to set us free, we struggle. We think, "Where's God"? And we pray to God and we envision Him up in heaven somewhere. But you know, the real problem for many is not that God is so far away that He doesn't hear you. Your real problem is He's so close you won't let Him in.
I remember years ago as a brand new believer, and I had been praying to encounter the Lord. I'd already come to faith in Yeshua. Jesus had revealed Himself to me in 1978 through a vision in the middle of the night. And I started reading the Scripture shortly after that, read about the Holy Spirit. I started praying for the Holy Spirit to come for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, to experience the Holy Spirit. And beloved ones, I remember this. It was 40 years ago. I still remember it to this day. And I cringe to even have to tell you this. But I was laying on my bed one day and I was praying for the Holy Spirit and I literally felt the presence of the Ruach HaKodesh, the breath of God, the Holy Spirit.
I literally, as I was laying on my bed in the afternoon, I literally felt His person come to me as I was lying in my bed. It was in the middle of the afternoon. I mean, I literally felt the person, the presence, the manifest power of the Holy Spirit. I literally felt Him spatially, if you will, come to me. But you know what happened? Even though I was praying for Him to come, when He came, something in me pushed Him away. He came. He answered my prayers and came. But when He came and He got so close to me, involuntarily something in me rose up and rejected Him and pushed Him out. Why? Because He was too close. You see, we're afraid to let God in as close as He wants to come in because we feel so vulnerable. We're not used to that type of intimacy. It scares us.
You see, we want a relationship with God. But the relationship that we want with Him is that we want Him to be somebody that lives a few doors down from us on the street that we're living on. We don't want Him moving in to our own bedroom. We don't want Him moving in to our own life, so close, so intimate. We say we want Him. But the truth is if you would discover the reality, you want Him but you don't want Him into you as close as He wants to be because it makes you too vulnerable and the intimacy scares us.
You see, again, a lot of people think, "Where's God"? And they envision Him as being up in heaven somewhere. But listen what the Scripture says. We read about this in the book of Romans. And the same Scripture is repeated, beloved ones, in the book of Deuteronomy from where Paul was quoting. Hear the word of God. "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven or who will descend into the abyss?' the word is near you, it's in your mouth and in your heart".
In other words, the Lord is saying here, "Don't say that you've got to go to heaven to meet Me. And don't imagine that I'm somewhere deep at the bottom of the sea that you can't get to Me. I'm in your heart. I'm right here". We have to recognize, by the grace and the mercy of God, how close He is to you and I. It's not that He's too far away, He said He's too close and we're afraid to open up and let them in. We don't want to be that vulnerable. We're afraid to be that accountable. We want our own freedom. And to let Him in to the very center of our being would be a deeper relationship, truth be told, than you or I want. Now, don't misunderstand. I want it. But there's something in our nature that's afraid of it.
Father, right now, in Yeshua's name, I just pray that you would soften our hearts, that we could create a place of intimacy for you within us that's deeper than we've ever known before. Father, I pray that you would open our hearts and direct our hearts into the love of God. Father, that we would recognize that you're not someplace else, you're right here in Yeshua's name. Father, I'm asking you right now to open our hearts. Jesus, you said that you stand at the door of our heart and are knocking. And if any man opens the door, Jesus, you said you would come in and have fellowship with him. Father, I ask you to open up my heart. I ask you to open up every heart from every viewer of those that are listening right now that wants You to come in in a deeper way. Help us, Father God, we pray right now, to let you in. Father, we ask You for the grace that we need to not be afraid of You, to open the door of our heart wider, to not fear the intimacy, to not push You back, Father God, but to receive You to the depths that You want to dwell within us. In Yeshua's name and for Yeshua's fame, we pray.