A Jewish life was always meant to be a conversation and a conversation always needs more than one voice. God called Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to create a people; not so he could talk at them or that they would talk at him, but to have a conversation. This is why God gave words to the people at Sinai. He started by talking but that scared them half to death and they begged Moses not to let God speak to them. No, they said, God should speak to Moses and Moses could pass it along. This is probably why the words ended up on stone tablets. No one has to be frightened of a stone tablet.
It was understandable that the people would be frightened. Storm. Thunder. Earthquake. Smoke. Fire. I’d be scared too. And that was God on a good day. But God’s end goal was the conversation.
His instructions were instructions on how to approach him. To converse with him. And God continued to speak to the ones who would listen and respond. You see their stories throughout the Tanakh. Abraham. Isaac. Jacob. Moses. David. Isaiah. Daniel. Jeremiah. Hezekiah. The list is long. Not as long as the list of those who wouldn’t listen, but long nonetheless. After all, we are a stiff-necked people. God mentions that a few times. Okay. Okay. He mentions it a lot.
So are you Jewish and wondering why the conversation seems to have ended? Where are the prophets? Where are men and women like those we read about in Scripture? Where is the other end of your conversation? Are you trying to have a conversation?
It’s hard to have a conversation with a stone tablet. And God knew that. When he promised to send the Messiah, it was a promise to make the conversation real. Does a stone tablet know your problems? Can it empathize? Can you ask it questions? Will it answer? No, it takes a person. And how could God empathize unless he understood our lives? How could the conversation have meaning without two voices and shared experience? Why would anyone be surprised that God would join us in conversation? Here. On the earth. With us – Emmanuel.
Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”
See, the Lord God comes with strength, and His power establishes His rule.
He came. He was the Messiah. He was Yeshua. Talk. That’s what he came for. That’s what he’s waiting for. It’s a conversation and we’re Jewish. That’s what we do.