Hebrews 2:6-18: Things that stand out: man was made lower than the angels (Greek)/God (Hebrew). Crowned with glory. All things are put in subjection to him. Yeshua was made like man, lower than God, crowned with glory.
Was Yeshua really condescending to become a man? Was it a burden? Was it like becoming a worm? If it was, why does he say “… he is not ashamed to call them brethren…” Of course, we know that the heaven of heavens cannot contain God, and Yeshua is God. He is the one of whom and by all things are made. As such, for God to be made lower than God is a step down.
But didn’t God see this coming? Isn’t this his plan? The way we talk, God is basically stepping down from Heaven to crawl through the sewers, but didn’t he choose this for himself? Not to negate the sacrifice, but we imagine Yeshua with his lip curled, holding his nose, as he plunges into the life of man. And yet, “He is not ashamed.”
Note verse v10, “…it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things [that’s Yeshua, Col 1:16] . . . to perfect the captain of their salvation [Yeshua again] by sufferings.” The word became, prepo, means proper or suitable. It was “becoming”. The same word is the reason Yeshua lets himself be baptized by John in Matt 3:15, it is the reason not to fornicate for saints in Eph 5:3, it is what good works are to a godly woman in 1 Tim 2:10. The Hebrew equivalent could be naveh, as in Psalms 33:1 “praise is naveh/comely for the upright.” Or Psalm 93:5, “Holiness naah/becometh thine house”, naah means to be at home; “holiness is the homey feel of your house” you might translate. God doesn’t primarily judge an event or circumstance based on whether it is pleasant or miserable, but what it accomplishes. Suffering that brings a person to perfection is beautiful to Him.
So was God taking the plunge with his nose held, or despite the unpleasantness that he knew would come, was he actually looking forward to becoming a man?
How could God have wanted to become a man? He’s God; anything less than God must be unbearable! But isn’t God love? 1 John 4:8, says so. And didn’t Yeshua teach us that to love one another is to do unto others, what we would have done unto ourselves, Matt 7:12? If that is the case, and God greatly loves us . . . then doesn’t everything He’s ever done have to be what He would have done unto Himself? What I’m asking is, did God create for us a life and plan of redemption that He would not have wished upon Himself?
Go back to Genesis 1-2. In the beginning, God describes the work he did at creation, seven times, as good, v4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31. Seven, is the number of an oath, in essence he swears to the goodness of his creation.
But wasn’t there a fall since then? Man sinned and creation fell. Or did they? When exactly, did God reevaluate His work’s goodness? Isn’t the whole Earth full of His glory (Isa 6:3)? Is the curse(s) in Genesis 3, a switch that God threw, or is it something else? Take the curse on man, for example. It says that “in sorrow shalt thou eat of [the earth]…thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee . . .” Gen 3:17-18. Now let me ask you, does every garden produce thorns and thistles? Is every day working the earth, one of sorrow and worry?
I don’t find that true. There are hard days, but I really don’t have any actual thorns or thistles growing in the land where I work and occupy. My family’s presence and activity seems to keep them at bay. And don’t many people, even unbelievers, attest to the therapeutic refreshing found in working the earth? Don’t people long for the chance to put their hands in the soil and see something living come out? Isn’t the harvest a time of celebration?
Consider a couple other places that God has something to say about the land. Deu 7:12-14, bless the fruit of the womb, fruit of the land, corn, wine, oil, the herds, blessed above all peoples. 28:3-5, blessed everywhere and in everything. Now in English the word blessed is a synonym for happy, and while it doesn’t exactly mean that in Hebrew, we can see that the man who is blessed is also the one who is happy. Psalms 1:1-2 describes the happy man (asher) as one who meditates in the Torah, day and night, and doesn’t act ungodly. Well that is the conduct of a man who God promises to bless in Deu (baruch). Psalm 32, the happy man is the one whom is forgiven and not charged with sin (breaking Torah). Throughout scripture the righteous/forgiven man/the man who is seeking God and his Torah, is the “asher” man.
Well, how can these blessings be true if the curse is? Blessed in the ground and in the womb, and the man himself is happy not in sorrow? Or do we misunderstand the curse?
If you go back to the curse, you find God says the earth shall bring forth “to you”. If you look at each of the curses, I think you find that God does not say what he is going to do to man, but rather what will happen. Because women will sometimes be afraid and other factors, they will experience more pain and sorrow in child birth. Because of distrust, because man and woman blamed each other, man will end up ruling over woman. Now back to the thorns. I said, I don’t find thorns in my garden, but I do find them outside the garden. Where I’m not working.
See, man wasn’t deceived when he ate the fruit, that means he did it on purpose, consciously. Regardless of why he did it, he was saying to God, “You’re not good enough. I need this other thing too.” Each curse responds to the failure in the person. Man said, God’s not enough. So man goes out and works. And he works a piece and gets the thorns out and makes produce and has something for which he could be glad, but because God is not enough, certainly a small garden isn’t either. So man expands out, and what does he find? Thorns and thistles. Notice that like me Adam had to leave the garden to find thorns and thistles and sorrow. We don’t see thorns in thistles when we stay and work and are satisfied with one place, we see them when we expand out. Our dissastisfaction, our discontent is what brings forth the thorns. Likewise our sorrow because we are dissatisfied with what we have and where we are, and the times we live in.
That is why it says, “To you,” it will bring forth… The people experiencing God’s blessing in their fields are not experiencing it because the land is yielding up better things, to them, but because it is yielding them to God. The person who is keeping God’s covenant is dependent on Him. To Him, the people say “You are enough.” And to God, the land does not bring forth thorns, and thistles; and rather than working in sorrow, man does it in happiness.
So, I ask you is there anything really wrong with the creation? Has it actually fallen? In scripture we even have people who because of faith, never died. Of course, Paul tells us that the creation groans waiting for the appearing of the children of God (Rom 8:19-21). That’s true, but he goes on to say that the creation was made slave. He does not say that it is corrupt, but that it is slave to corruption. Let me put it this way, if everyone were righteous, do you think death would still happen? Would the animal world be full of violence, or would the lion lay down with the lamb?
So what does this have to do with Yeshua? I think I can say that he was not ashamed to become one of us, and he did not think it was an indignity. Less than his fullness, but still good and very good. I put to you that he came into a creation that he knew as very good. One that had not fallen, only its rulers had become corrupt and dragged it down with them.
Why is this important? In reality, aren’t we still dying? Isn’t the world still miserable with chaos and death?
I say that thought is part of the problem. What did the Serpent say to Eve? “God doth know that . . .” He slandered the goodness of God. And if so, if God had been evil, then could God be trusted on what he swore was good? If God were corrupt, heaven forbid, then could you trust that the creation was really good? Eve didn’t think so. And Adam also said, “You’re not enough.” What does God do? Kicks them out of the garden that God planted, and lets them fend for themselves and be insatiably finding new weeds and sorrow.
Fast forward to Moses. God wants to take his people out of Egypt, where to? A large land, a good land, flowing with milk and honey. What do the people do, after they leave Egypt? Grumble about the journey. Say how much better life in Egypt was. Doubt God’s motives for taking them out. God brings them to his good land, providing the whole way, and after at first seeing that it was a good land, they start saying how it’s a bad land. It can’t be conquered, even if they did it would eat them up. Again, after seeing God’s goodness, they malign his motives and slander what he has provided. No, it’s not good!
Do you see, why God may have been so angry? God does all this good, and the people grumble. They’re still looking for thorns! And what does he do? He kicks out that generation from the promise, they get their own self-fulfilling prophecy of death in an evil land.
Over and over, we see God provides and people grumble, then God gets angry. It makes perfect sense because in the beginning God said “it is very good.” When we doubt the goodness of his provision, we are doubting him. If pride is not the original sin, than grumbling is.
Now, let’s get back to Yeshua. He thought it was comely/seemly/fitting/beautiful to be made a human and to suffer unto perfection. He showed in example that even in a sin-mired state, this life, the path to redemption, itself, is good. If he is the example of our faith, then why do we act as if this life is a prison and a punishment? We are living as people whose God only will be good; with a future that will be good; with a kingdom that’s coming; instead of a God who is already good, in a present that is still good, with a kingdom that, for us, is already here. Realize, by faith, that this world is good. That Yeshua thought it beautiful to come down here and become one of us to bring us to perfection. This life is good. Think about it, if everything works to the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose. Than everything in this life, no matter how terrible, is for your good. It is an act of lovingkindness to us.
Think about it. Out of all the options available to God, he chose to become a man, born through the same process as most humans. He would get sweaty, tired, use the bathroom, bathe, bleed, touch lepers. And that whole process, was something a holy God saw without shame.
And if God saw it without shame, as a process for perfecting the savior of all those who would be brought to glory, shouldn’t we see it that way to? What if we saw morning sickness, as something God is not ashamed of, something that is perfecting us? That the transmission blowing out on the highway, is all part of God’s plan, not just that we endure it, but that he chose for us to go through it as a “very good” thing. If the thorns come from dissatisfaction and grumbling, then none of these things are truly bad. Difficult and challenging, but…
Let me put it this way. Think about your favorite game. What came to mind is Zelda. You’re a guy looking to save a princess, typical stuff. And throughout the games you have to get new equipment, which sometimes means going fishing to make some money or win a prize, or wander all over the place trying to make a good trade, or help some guy catch his chickens that ran away. As the player you do it freely and willingly, without grumbling (unless its getting late). Even though you’re doing mundane things, you see it as serving a purpose and epic; you don’t feel like anything is being wasted in your character’s life. Even though you’re doing ordinary things working up to extraordinary ones. Think about baseball. “Alright Joe, today, I want you to run around and touch all of those four white things, after you hit that little white ball with your bat.” Later people in the stands will have paid good money so they can stand up and shout for a couple of hours while a guy paid, way more than them, runs around being chased by a guy with a ball. Think about a “good” story. We want the hero to face terrible odds, and endure hardship. Somehow we enjoy their trials, and the story would seem to be meaningless without them, and our feelings become invested in them because of it, and we believe in the characters and root for them because of what they’re going through.
Context is everything. If you, looked at your life and said. This is what God had for me to do and it is good, and the world is good, and no matter what happens right now, I have enough. And this leaky roof or this cancer, is just one of those mini-games on the way to saving the princess or just the sprint from second to third. Don’t we see it is all good? It is all holy? The world never fell, only we did. And all of God’s goodness, right now is available to you because this is exactly where God wanted you right now. What you are going through right now is part of the plan that perfects you and that is always good no matter where you are in it.
That is why, David could say even where he was having to act a madman to Abimalech (Psalm 34): “O taste and see that YHVH is good. Blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”
Perhaps that’s why God’s people developed a tradition of blessing continually throughout the day? The Talmud extrapolates from a verse in Deuteronomy, that we ought to bless God 100 times in a day because the word “what” is sounds close to the word for 100. That could be legalistic if you did it just because, but if grumbling causes so much trouble and slanders God, then the antidote has to be speaking gratitude. And that’s what the traditional blessings are. They pretty much all begin “Blessed (worthy of adoration, and also by implication happy) are you, YHVH, who . . .” Each blessing is en effect describing God; describing Him as worthy, describing Him as happy, and telling us what a good and happy and worthy person is.
It is certainly harder to think of life as bad and depressing, if every time we are turning around, we are bringing to mind God’s goodness. So let’s be challenged. Every time you notice something. Good or “bad”, take a moment to realize it’s a very good thing (in reality) and that Yeshua thought it was beautiful to go through, and therefore bless God for it. Testify that he is good, and this is good. Every time something reaches the level that you would call it good or bad, take the time to bless God for it.
Out loud (if only a whisper) is even better.