Rabbi Schneider - God's Gift of Faith (Emunah)
I want to talk with you about principles of emunah. Now emunah is the Hebrew word for faith and those of us that are familiar with the Word of God, know that faith is one of the primary foundations of our relationship with our Creator, Hashem. The Word of God actually teaches us that by grace we have been saved through faith. Listen to the Word of God as I read from the book of Ephesians chapter number 2 verse number 8. We read that, "For by grace you have been saved," listen now, "through faith". So by grace we've been saved, but the way that grace saved us beloved one, was through, Paul teaches here, faith. And that faith that we've received, the scripture tells us, is not of ourselves, but it was a very gift that was given to us by our Creator, by Hashem, by God.
When we go into the Torah we read in the book of Bereshit, in the book of Genesis, that Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteous. And that word there believe is related to this word emunah. In fact every time that we say amen, we're actually speaking about emunah. We're proclaiming that we believe that. Let it be, amen, once again from the Hebrew word emunah. So we've said that emunah is faith, it's belief, but let's try to better understand what this means and how we can apply it to our life. First of all let me say this, through understanding the Hebrew scriptures we find that emunah, or faith, is not just believing certain doctrines. In other words, Biblical emunah, Biblical faith is not just believing certain facts. Faith is not just believing for example, that God exists. In fact the scriptures tell us that even the devil believes that God exists. So when we speak about Biblical emunah, when we speak about the faith that saves us, we're not talking about giving mental or intellectual assent to certain doctrines. But what we're actually talking about beloved ones, is trust.
Children of Hashem listen. I'm talking about trust. What do we actually trust? Let me share with you something that happened to me. You may have heard me share it in one of my earlier broadcasts, but it's worth repeating here. When we speak about trust, when we speak about emunah, we're speaking again, more than certainly believing certain things. We're speaking of something else. Here's what happened. Years ago I was ministering in a church. It was a very cold winter night and I had brought a dance team with me, they were doing Hebraic dance as I, you know before I ministered the Word of God. And so these dancers came and it was again, this frigid, cold night. We were ministering there to close to nine thirty at night.
After the time of ministry I was getting all my things together, the others had begun to go to their cars. And all of a sudden somebody had run back into the building from the parking lot and they said, "My wife just fell on the ice in the parking lot. Come and pray for her. She's in a lot of pain". And so they all went outside and prayed for her, but I began to think to myself, "Lord this woman believes in You. She came here to dance for You. I mean You could have prevented this from happening. Why did You not prevent this from happening"? I said, "Lord I know that You, you know can cause all things to work for good, but I don't see how this would have been for good. Why did this happen"? And I was really struggling with this. How could this be? I was even to the place, "Lord how could I believe You for myself, when I see that so many other people seem to be believing you and yet they're falling and failing in life so often"?
And so I said, "I need an answer God. In order to move forward in my relationship with You, I need to understand why so many people that say they believe in You seem to be failing in life". I'm not talking about falling, everybody falls now and then. I'm talking about, not talking about fall that the woman had in the parking lot. But I'm just meaning we all fail at times at things and we grow from those experiences. So I'm not talking about occasionally falling or failing at something, but I'm talking about people that claim to believe in God and yet everything in their life almost continuously seems to be really falling apart. And I had such a hard time. I said, "How can this be Lord, when Your Word says that through faith we can reign in life, yet here there's so many people that say they believe in You. And rather than reigning in life they seem to be living in continual defeat. How can this be explained"? And I said, "Lord I can't go forward with You until I have an answer".
So I just decided I was going to wait on God. I was very sad in my heart, but I had faith He would answer me. So several days later I was in a parking lot coming out of an appointment, I was in my vehicle and suddenly beloved ones, the Holy Spirit spoke to me. I didn't hear Him audibly, but in my heart it was so clear, I knew exactly what He was saying and I knew for a fact that the Holy Spirit was speaking to me. And this is what He said. He said, "The reason that you're seeing so many of My people falling and failing in life is because," He said, "they're not trusting Me".
Now when we hear that word trust, you know we hear it so often that it almost rolls of our back like water off a duck's back. Forgive me for saying it, but frankly that's what it is. Sometimes we become so familiar with the word that it fails to move us anymore. We hear "trust God" so often. It can almost become cliché to us because it's too familiar. But when the Holy Spirit said to me that day as I was in my vehicle in the parking lot struggling with, "How can it be that so many of God's people are failing in life and yet they say they believe"? The Holy Spirit said, "The reason that you're seeing what you're seeing is because My people are not trusting Me".
But beloved when He said the word trust to me, I didn't just hear it in my spirit, but I knew exactly what He meant. The word was filled with revelation. I understood what the Spirit was saying. In other words, I understood the fullness of the word trust. And what He was saying to me was, "They're not clinging to Me". In other words, He said the word trust, but when He said the word trust I knew that the meaning of it He was giving me was the word clinging. "That My people are not clinging to Me. They're not holding on to Me. They're not firm in their walk with Me. They're letting go of Me". And so when we speak about believing in God, or even trusting God, we're not just talking about giving intellectual assent to certain doctrines, but we're talking about trusting in certain aspects of God's character or trusting in His promises in such a way that we're clinging to His character and we're clinging to His promises.
So knowing then that emunah, that Biblical faith is not just about intellectually agreeing with something, but it's about clinging to the nature of God, clinging to His promises, aggressively believing and aggressively actively trusting. Let's now ask ourselves, what are three aspects that we should cling to? What are three truths concerning God's nature and make up and His dealings in the world that we should believe in and cling to? Here's number one, true emunah, true Biblical faith is believing that God rules the world. Now often times we see things happen in life, we see tragedies, we see earthquakes, we see tsunamis, we see train wrecks, we see plane crashes, we see things happen; and it causes us to wonder if God is really reigning, why do these things happen? But we have to step out beloved, of our temporal, surface, vision of things and look beyond to what the Word of God says.
When we study the Torah, when we study the Hebrew Bible, we find that God takes responsibility not just for the good things that happen, but we see Hashem, we see our Creator also taking responsibility for the bad things that happen. For example, when Israel lost a war, God took responsibility. He said they lost the war, "because they weren't being faithful to Me. Therefore I judged them". When the children of Israel were not being faithful to Hashem, when they were not being faithful to their God, what did God do? He sent the fiery serpents to bite them and thousands and thousands died in the wilderness. Why did those serpents bite them? Not because it was just an act of nature or a freak coincidence, but it was literally a judgment of Hashem.
We find often times in scripture that when someone was unfaithful to the Lord they died. The point is, is that the Hebrew scriptures teach us that God is adon olam, He's master of the world. We may not be able to understand everything He's doing, but we have to believe if we're gonna have true, Biblical faith, that God rules the world. The problem is, we think that we understand what's going on, because we see something in the moment and on the surface. And we can't possibly really understand what's going on, if we're trying to evaluate life and circumstances simply by the temporal moment that we view them in and through the surface that we're seeing.
Let me give you an example. You might look at another human being, you see the color of their skin, you see the color of their eyes, you see the color of their hair, you see how tall or short, fat or skinny they are. Do you know them? You might think you know them. Some people have even fallen in love with somebody at first sight, because they look at them and they love the way they look. But you know what? When we look at somebody and think we know them, because we see what their flesh looks like, we are totally deceived. Put it this way, do you know what's going on underneath their skin? Do you understand what is behind the eyes' ability to see? Do you understand what they're thinking about? Do you understand the invisible force that keeps their heart beating on time, every second of every day? Do you understand just by seeing a person's flesh, the deep nature of their physical make up? Are you able to see inside their flesh? Are you able to see their kidneys and their organs and their lungs? Are you able to see how their brain is working?
No and yet we see somebody in the flesh and somebody says, "That person's my type". You don't know anything about the person. All you see is the surface and you don't have any insight at all into who that person really is. And it's the same thing beloved, with evaluating most things in life. We don't see God's eternal purpose. We only see the temporary. We only see the now. We can't understand what's going on. I know this is a hard message, but I'm trying to help us understand beloved, that we need to have Biblical emunah and believe that God rules the world and not be deceived, because we're evaluating something by our own puny, limited, human understanding. The book of Isaiah tells us, the Lord is speaking there; He says, "I am God and there is no other. I cause well being and I create calamity". He said, "I am light and I create the darkness". God is taking responsibility for everything. He is God and there is no other. We need to come out of the natural and out of our humanness and small mindedness and begin to declare with faith that God rules the world.
Now I know that there are many questions that some are asking. Will God cause me, just now for example, to pick up my glasses? Did God make me do that? Did He cause that to happen? If God's ruling the world, is He ruling and causing every little thing to happen? Did He make me turn the page? Let me put it to you this way, take a step out of the forest. We can't see the whole forest when we're in the middle of the forest. We get blinded, because all we can see in front of us is the trees in front of our face. We need to come out of the forest to see the big picture, so we can look down on the forest and see what's really going on. At the end of the day we're gonna see that God reigns and He rules the world.
Now, principle number two as we move on from here, if God rules the world where do I go with that? Where do you go with that is this, that God causes everything to happen, listen now, for the best. Again, you have to step out of the now to be able to understand what I'm saying. God rules the world and He causes everything to happen for the best. Here's an example of what we get stuck in. Let's say for example that you have an air flight to go and you've got a party somewhere that you need to be, you know in a few hours, the family reunion. You get to the airport and you get in line to get your ticket. When you get to the ticket counter, the airline clerk says to you, "I'm sorry the flight has been overbooked. We don't have a seat for you on this plane". And you get angry, you start screaming, you get frustrated. "What do you mean you don't have a seat for me on this plane"? And they can't do anything for you.
You walk away steaming. Your mind is a hundred miles away from God. Your mind is a hundred miles away from believing that God rules the world and that He does everything for the good. You're just mad. You think something went wrong, this ought not to be. But imagine this, what happens if five hours later you're watching the news and you see that, that flight that you were supposed to be on crashed and everybody in the airplane was killed. Would you then say that God didn't rule the world, or would you instead say, "Wow, God You saved me. Thank You that I didn't get on that flight. I see Your hand in my life". You see what I mean my friends. We should not be so prideful to think that we understand, because we can only see such a small part of what is going on.
So I want you to join me next broadcast here, the next episode in this series, as we look at Biblical principles of emunah. If we're gonna walk with God we must have faith. We must believe that there's a loving Creator that rules the world and that He's got a great plan; that God's plan is good. We look in the world and sometimes because of fear, we can be overwhelmed with the negative things that happen in the world. If you watch the news every night you would come to the conclusion that 90% of what happens in life is negative, because all they show us is the killings and the bombings and the gossip. But the reality is, beloved, over 90% of what is happening in the world is good. There's so much more good in the world then bad in the world.
God is ruling the world, listen, and it's all for the good. Just look at creation, you'll see His beauty. Beloved, God wants you to trust Him. He wants you to cling to Him. He wants you not to be afraid and when you know that He's ruling the world and that He's working it all out for the good, as you look to Him you know what will happen? Fear will be removed from your life and you're gonna enter into a freedom that you've not known before. By grace we live our lives and our relationship with God and it's through faith. So let's take ahold of faith beloved and enjoy the gift of relationship that Father has given us through Jesus Yeshua Hamashiach, His Son.