Beit l’hem (Bethlehem) in Hebrew means house of bread. In the ancient world and even today, eating is a means of hospitality. “Come to my house,” is an invitation to relationship. The Bread of the Presence in the Holy Place is such an invitation. Lehem happanim; bread of the faces is the awkward direct translation; is an appeal for face to face intimacy with God in a holy house.
Jesus our redeemer was birthed in the house of bread, prophetically extending an invitation from his Father’s house to ours. In Mark 6:33-44, Jesus understood that the crowd that came out to see him was like a flock of sheep without a shepherd and he had compassion on them. The first thing he did was teach them from the invisible bread of life. Then he fed them miraculously from five loaves and two fishes. It was a model for things to come.
Jesus makes up for all that we lack. He’s provided it all. Isaiah 52:3 says, “You were sold for nothing, and you will be redeemed without money.” (NKJV) Isaiah 55:1-3 says, “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat.
“Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you—the sure mercies of David.”
Jesus is the answer to every need. He makes up for everything we lack. Out of his riches we have abundance. There is no reason to buy into anything else or make exception; he can be trusted. Like the best of Father God, he generously and lavishly supplies it all.
We of the redeemed have chosen a life of spiritual realities. It was a monumental exchange, putting to death our old nature and putting on the living and active Jesus. It’s like we exchanged power sources; dirty ungrounded power for clean power, a life of flesh for a life of spirit, an earth-based life for a heaven-based life.
Anyone remember the old new car advertisements that went like this? “Bring your old car, in any condition; drivable or not, tow it in if you have to; and we’ll put you in a new car.” Our old lives were wrecks in comparison to what we have today. What we received in exchange is a priceless custom vehicle with more power and accessories than anything we could imagine fueled by high octane love.
“Could it be any clearer that our former identity is now and forever deprived of its power? For we were co-crucified with him to dismantle the stronghold of sin within us, so that we would not continue to live one moment longer submitted to sin’s power.” (Rom. 6:6, TPT)
“By Jesus’ sacrifice he died to sin’s power once and for all, but he now lives continuously for the Father’s pleasure. So let it be the same with you! . . . continually view yourselves as dead and unresponsive to sin’s appeal while living daily for God’s pleasure in union with Jesus, the Anointed One.” (vss. 10-11)
“Since we are now joined to Christ, we have been given the treasures of redemption by his blood—the total cancellation of our sins—all because of the cascading riches of his grace. This superabundant grace is already working in us all forms of wisdom and practical understanding.” (Eph. 1:7-8, TPT)
Grace is not passive. It’s intensely active; causative. Perriseuo (superabundant) means excessive to a very great degree, to the point of causing increase. It’s part of the treasure of our redemption which forms in us wisdom and practical understanding. Whatever we face, whatever we need, wherever we go, what breakthroughs we require, these things are preceded by the cascading riches of Papa’s grace.
Twice in Romans eight it forges the idea that nothing can separate us from the love of God. The two lists represent both who and what of the idea of those things that could potentially separate us from that love. Within the context of our very constitutionally protected American lifestyle, most of those things appear very distant, even insular.
Yet within those same verses (28-39) is the overwhelming force that conquers the who and what of those influences; the gift of the love of God’s son.
“If God has determined to stand with us, tell me, who (or what) then could ever stand against us? (vs. 31, TPT)
“Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and his demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything!” (vs. 37)
Also see Eph. 3:14-21, Phil. 1:6-11
And you know how affectionately we treated each one of you, like a father cares for his own children. We comforted and encouraged you and challenged you to adopt a lifestyle worthy of God, who invites you into his kingdom and glory.” (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12, TPT)
This passage drew deep into my father’s heart this past Mother’s Day weekend when four of my five children flew in or drove in from various places on the west coast to surprise their mother with a visit. It has been twelve years since all of us have been in one place.
As fathers we have a privilege to comfort, encourage and challenge our children to adopt a lifestyle worthy of God’s invitation into his glorious kingdom. We are the written expression of that invitation in heart, word and deed. The eternal light of it shines brightly when all the temporal stuff is stripped away, and we simply enjoy being together.
The blessing of seeing the immense appreciation and satisfaction in my wife; who represents differing facets of the treasure of God’s heart; will remain for some time. I feel his delight about what earthly and spiritual family means.
But I also become aware of the ease in being a comfort, the intentionality of authentic encouragement and the necessity to challenge when needed. Unconditional love and acceptance is the mortar that allows us fathers to build day in and day out.