Rabbi Schneider - God Is Your Friend
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I'm gonna take you, beloved, today to a beautiful, deep, rich portion of the Word of God from the Hebrew Bible called the Tanakh. We're gonna go to the 41st chapter of the book of Isaiah. As I begin to meditate here with you beginning in the eighth verse, I pray that these words pierce your soul with a fiery flame. And that in being pierced by the word of God, you will be strengthened, encouraged, and built up in your faith and in your ability to walk in Jesus. Let's begin. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of the Lord abides forever.
"But you, Israel, My servant..." The Lord is speaking directly here. "But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, descendant of Abraham My friend..." I want to take this apart for a moment because it might be easy for some of you to think, "Well, that was God speaking to Israel, that was God speaking about Jacob, that was God speaking about Abraham. But what does that have to do with me"? So I want to talk to you now, beloved ones, about what this has to do with you. So let's go back to the beginning. "But you, Israel, My servant..."
Did you know in the 11th chapter of the book of Romans the Lord says through Paul, that if you are a Gentile believer that has come to Him through the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Messiah, you have been grafted into the commonwealth of Israel? Paul speaks about this in Ephesians and Romans 11. So when we read of God's blessing on Israel in the Hebrew Bible, I want you to know, as a Gentile believer, you've been grafted into a relationship with the God of Israel. And the scripture actually refers to you as spiritual Israel. And so this promise, this blessing, this word of encouragement that God is speaking over Israel right now, this is for you as well, whether you're a Jew or a Gentile if you're truly in passionate love with Him through Messiah Jesus.
So once again, "But you, Israel", that means you, "My servant". And I love thinking about the first thing that the Lord says about Israel when He identifies Israel's relationship with Him. He says, "You, Israel, My servant..." What is a servant? A servant is somebody that exist to do the will of somebody else. And so in other words, very wealthy people, if they have servants in their home, what is the role of the servant? What is the identity of the servant? Well, in the capacity that they are being employed, their role is to serve whoever is employing them. And of course, if we go into the ancient world, servants even in the Torah we see that there were servants of Israel, and their whole purpose was to serve their master.
So God is calling you a servant. And that should bring some real force for breakthrough into your mind and heart, beloved, to know who you are. Because in the American culture today we think that God exists for us. Some of us look at God like a magic genie. Like if we do the right formula, if we apply the right formula that we read in a book somewhere that God is going to somehow bless us, make us happy, healthy, wise, rich, prosperous, successful, you know, all the things that people want as part of the American dream. And many people approach God as if He exists, first of all, for them. They look at Him like a magic genie. They just say the right prayer, they just apply the right formula, and then suddenly God is going to give them the American dream. But beloved, that is so, so wrong.
Notice what the Lord said here. "But you, Israel," listen, "My servant..." God doesn't exist for us first, beloved one; we exist for Him first. And we need to get our mind on correctly. We need the mind of Christ. What was the mind of Yeshua displayed to us as He walked on the planet? He did nothing, Jesus said, "except that which He saw the Father doing". Jesus was here on earth to do the Father's will. He is the ultimate servant of the Father. Before Jesus went to the cross, how did Jesus pray? He said, "Father, if it's possible let this cup pass from me. But not my will," Yeshua said, "but Thy will be done". So I wonder how much of us need to be renewed in our mind and sanctified so that we begin to think as servants.
God said, "You, Israel..." That's you and I, those that are born of the Spirit of Jesus who is Father's ultimate servant. Yeshua refers to over and over and over again in the Hebrew Bible as Yahweh's servant. We need to start looking at our lives as those that are servants of the Father. We need to become more like Smith Wigglesworth, that when he woke up in the morning he didn't ask himself how he felt because life wasn't about him. He woke up in the morning and just started praising Hashem, praising God because he realized that it wasn't first about him. It was first about the master. Beloved, if you'll step into this reality, it sounds hard. It sounds cutthroat, you know, to deny your own feelings, deny your own emotions to step into the role of simply realizing that you exist, first of all, for Him.
We deny our emotions. It's not about what we feel like. The question is, Is God worthy? Is God faithful all the time? Is God the master of all creation all the time? Is God a God of love, God of splendor all the time? He is and we're His servants. So it's not about what's going on in our little universe sometimes, it's about praising Him and serving Him first. Beloved, I'm really hoping you're getting this because we have tried to just make God so comfortable with ourselves. You know, we go to our churches, you know, many are sipping their cappuccinos in their pew in the sanctuary, trying to be as comfortable as possible. You know, everybody's dressed so cool. Everybody's dressed so hip.
And then sometimes, you know, there's the fellowship area afterwards where people... I mean, being part of the body and fellowshipping, that's all good. But I wonder if we missed it in all that, if we missed something, if we're not looking, first of all, towards the reality that we exist to serve Him. Jesus said, When we pray, pray this way: Our Father thou art in heaven, hallowed be what? Thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And whenever I pray that prayer, I begin by saying, "Father, let your will be done in me first". We exist, first of all, to serve Him, not He us. Beloved, we need to deny our flesh. We need to live above our emotions. We need to live above our own wants and pleasures to realize we are here on this earth to, first of all, serve Him.
"But you, Israel, My servant..." It's an awesome blessing, beloved one, to know that you are actually the servant of the living God. And when you take on that mantle, when you take on that mindset, you're gonna get strong, you're gonna cut right through life in victory. It's not going to be about being controlled by your emotions anymore. You're going to walk as a warrior that's trained to live under the authority of Father God. The Lord continues here. "But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen..." Now we know Jacob is just another name for Israel. Because remember the Lord changed Jacob's name to Israel after Jacob wrestled with God. And so God is still speaking to you because you've been grafted into the commonwealth of Israel.
If you're a natural-born Jewish person like myself and you have faith in Jesus, He's speaking to you. If you're a Gentile naturally born, but have come to the living God of Israel through Yeshua HaMashiach, the Jewish Messiah, God is speaking to you. You're part of spiritual Israel. So what does the Lord say about Jacob? "...Jacob, whom I have chosen... But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen..." You're chosen. Know that you're chosen out of this world to serve Him. Jesus said, "If you were of the world, the world would love you. But because I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you". And Jesus said what we've been chosen for. "To bear," He said, "much fruit, and that our fruit would remain".
So you've been chosen. You're part of the spiritual Jacob to bear much fruit. We're talking about identity. Do you know who you are? Do you know why you're here on earth? Do you, beloved one, know what your purpose is? You're chosen to be the servant of Yahweh God, the God of Israel, through Yeshua here on earth. You see, if we knew that in a deeper way, our life would be so much more grounded. But so many of us we're still trying to live in this world in such a way that our primary ambition is to fulfill the desires of our flesh. We're trying to eat all the things of the world, all the spirits of the age, we're trying to fill ourselves with the things on this planet and completely missing the boat. That we're not here to try to fulfill ourselves with the things of the earth.
The Bible says this. "All that is in the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life," the Scripture says, "is not from the Father, but is from the world". And yet I'm wondering, those that I'm speaking to right now, you and me, if we examine our hearts, how much of our life direction, how much of our focus, how much of our inclination, how much of the way that we walk is really in such a way that we're outwards focused on the things of the world trying to fill our heart with those things thinking they're gonna make us happy. I'm trying to help us understand that when you know who you are and when you know what your purpose is, you're gonna be set free from that futility.
Why is it futile? Because you can never make yourself fulfilled by eating the things of the world. That's why Jesus said, "He that eats My flesh and drinks my blood has life indeed". This is why the Lord said to the Hebrew prophet in the Hebrew Bible to the Hebrew people, He said, "Why have you dug out for yourself cisterns that hold no water"? In other words, they were trying to fulfill their lives by digging for themselves cisterns that held no water, just like many of us are, thinking the world has an answer for us. So He said to Israel, "Why are you trying to dig for yourself cisterns that hold no water and you've forsaken Me, Yahweh," the God of Israel said, "the fountain of living waters".
You know, we think that, again, getting a new car will make us happy. You know, we're eating this particular food. I could go on and it will make us happy. But you know what really makes us happy? Knowing God, listen, and knowing who we are in Him and to Him. We could have everything that the world has to offer. But if we don't know who we are and if we don't feel good about who we are, we're gonna be miserable. And so the scripture that I'm reading right now helps us to understand in a deeper way who we are. We're servants of Yahweh the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we are chosen.
So let me read it again and then we'll go on to the next part of the verse. "But you, Israel," that's you and me, "My servant..." We are servants, first of all. We exist to do the will of the Father. And we need to continue to pray for revelation, continue to seek Him, continue to read Christian spiritual literature to understand what it means to serve God, how to walk in such a way that we live for Him. "But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen..." You're chosen in His love. And then he says this about us, "descendant of Abraham My friend". Let me read it all through again. "But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, descendant of Abraham My friend".
Now you're called a friend. First you're called a servant, then you're called the chosen one, and now, beloved ones, we are called the God of Israel's friend. "Abraham," the Lord says here, "My friend. You're a descendant of Abraham," the Lord says, "My Friend". You know, the Bible tells us in the book of Galatians 3, that through our relationship with Messiah Jesus, we have inherited, listen, the blessing of Abraham. You are part of the spiritual lineage now of Avraham, of Abraham. And you know what the banner of God's love over Avraham was? Avraham was Father God's friend. That's tender. I mean, let our hearts open to this reality. God is calling you His friend. God is calling you His friend.
I remember one time, about five years ago, there was something that happened. And it was something that was really big news in my life. I mean, it was something that the Lord gave me in a very unusual, big opportunity to do something. And it was big news. It was big time. And it was something that would have really advanced Discovering the Jewish Jesus if I would have promoted it. But I didn't necessarily want to promote it right away because I didn't know if it would please God.
So here was this huge opportunity to advance the ministry, my ministry Discovering the Jewish Jesus. But I said, "Lord, I don't know if you want me to make this known what you allow me to do here and the way that you use me in this situation because I'm not sure if it would please You to do that". So I was really struggling. "Lord, should I publicize this because this is a big event, this is big news, or should I just keep it quiet, Lord, between you and I"? And so I got out of my car, and I was just pacing and I was walking, I said, "Father God, you know that I want to do this but I don't want to do it if it will offend you because I love you first".
And I literally heard the Holy Spirit call me little buddy. The Father said to me... When I said, "Daddy, I don't want to do this, if it's not what you want me to do," I heard the Lord say over me with great affection He called me His little buddy. It was amazing. I mean, I never dreamed that the Lord would call me His little buddy. But this is what the scripture says here. God looks at us as His friends. And when we humble ourselves to live childlike before Him, putting Him first, loving Him first, existing to do His will, just as a little boy or little girl wants to do the will their father, we are walking in right relationship with God. So beloved, we're going to continue here next time. But there is great insight into who we are and what our purpose is in this 41st chapter of the book of Isaiah. I've got some more good news for you. Make sure to join me next time on Discovering the Jewish Jesus.