We are Chosen, Sometimes in the Furnace of Affliction!

English: Matzah Bread (unleavened flatbread fo...

English: Matzah Bread (unleavened flatbread for Passover/Pesach). Français : Pain Azyme (pain non-levé pour la Pâque juive : Pessah) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“See, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.  For My own sake…” [Isaiah 48:10-11a]“.

We are called and chosen to be His people, refined in the furnace of affliction, to become His praise and priests of His Royal priesthood!

  • Refine: to make fine or pure; free from impurities, from courseness!  Imbue with culture, polish, and delicate sensibilities! We are refined or made free of impurities in the furnace of Affliction, to become pure gold! This is why we become stressed at times, to become more refined or free of impurities, for His sake!
  • Silver: soft, lustrous metal, used as catalyst, conductor, and to coat mirrors, to reflect us and GOD in us ;or pale money, keceph; greed!
  • Gold:the heaviest but soft lustrous metal,  good conductor, refined only in the furnace!
  • Conduct: way of acting; direct or lead; guide; serve as a medium for or transmit such as heat, electricity and sound; from  Latin, to lead to or bring together!  May we act reflecting Y’shua Jesus, directing and leading people to Him, bringing His Bride together, to glorify Him!
  • Furnace: an extremely hot place, structure containing a chamber for production of intense heat! In the heat, 7 times hotter, is Y’shua with us, if we believe in Him and His Word!

“…eat unleavenedbread with it, bread of affliction, because you came out of the land of Mitsrayim [Egypt] …remember the day in which you came out of …Egypt, all the days of your life.” [Deuteronomy 16:3]

  • Unleavened bread has no leaven [yeast nor baking soda/powder] , is flat, pressed down & baked as is
  • No yeast = no rise~no haughtiness; only  humility, submission, abasement;  opposite of self-exalt!
  • We are to eat, to chew, to meditate this flat bread
  • As we eat, we are to abase self, humble and submit to Yahweh Elohim , Almighty GOD
  • This bread is the Bread of Life~ Jesus Y’shua Messiah
  • See in this flat bread the One who humbled Himself for us and raises us up to new life in Him and at the last day: He is our rise in Life! Matzah, the flat bread of Passover, has pierced marks and stripes, reflecting the torture of Christ for us!
  • So , we are to eat this bread of affliction…and remember our own days of slavery to sin and remember the day we came out, set free by the blood of Jesus Y’shua the Christ Messiah!
  • But…what does it mean, ”bread of affliction”?

Affliction: from the Hebrew, “oniy“: depression! from aw-nah: to depress, abase self, afflict self, submit self, humble self. Christ Messiah submitted Himself for us, was afflicted to provide atonement for our sins, as the Lamb of Yahweh GOD of Isaiah 53!

  • “Yahweh has heard your affliction…[Genesis 16:11]“!
  • “Yahweh has looked upon my affliction…[Genesis 29:32]“!
  • “Yahweh has seen my affliction…[31:42]“! See also Exodus 3:7, 17, 4:31, & Deuteronomy 16:3,  26:7; 1 Samuel 1:11 [Hannah’s affliction ] & Nehemiah 9:9!
  • Job, ” held in the cords of affliction” [36:8], prayed ” therefore see my affliction” [10:15], as the ” days of affliction have taken hold” [30:16], yet to be ”chosen rather than afflicted” [36:21]!
  • Psalmists sang ”…abhorred the affliction of the afflicted…” [22:24] and cried, ” Look upon my affliction and my pain…[25:18]” ! ” …my eye mourns by reason of affliction…[88:9]!

Nevertheless He regarded their affliction or trouble, tsar in Hebrew, a narrow tight place, as in Zechariah 8:10 and Hosea 5:15 !

I shall go, I shall return to My place, until they confess their guilt and seek My face, in their distress diligently search for Me.

There is trouble or anguish, tightness, tribulation or tsa-rah!  And there is tsaw-rar, to cramp , adversary, besiege, or bind , as in Amos 5:12,

For I know your transgressions are many and your sins are great, afflicting the righteous…

Then there is ra’, evil and bad,  from ra’a, to spoil by breaking to pieces and make ‘good for nothing’ ! Ra’ is adversity, calamity, distress, harm, ill mischief, misery, sorrow, trouble, vex, and wickedness!

” [And you should not have ]…nor have entered the gate of My people in the day of their calamity, nor looked down on their evil in the day of their calamity, nor have seized their wealth in the day of their calamity … (Obadiah 12-13)”!

Out of affliction , fracture, or ruin can be birthed a solution! The Hebrew word sheber, for ruin , breach, breaking, crashing comes from shabar, to burst, break down, crush , destroy but also ‘bring to birth’ ! Amos 6:6 had this ‘in mind’ mentioning  Yosef, [Joseph], a shepherd boy thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, who rose to be Prince of Egypt:

Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: Tom Paton)

“[ You]… who are drinking wine from bowls, and anoint with the finest ointments, yet they have not grieved over the breach [affliction] of Yosef!”

Psalm 102 is ” a prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed and pours out his complaint before Yahweh “!

” O Yahweh, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to You! Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress; incline Your ear to me…”! [v. 1-2]

Psalm 140:12 affirms that Yahweh maintains the cause of the afflicted:

I have known that YaHWeH maintains the cause of the afflicted, the right ruling of the poor.

Yahweh deserves and receives praise in Psalm 66: 1-2,

” Shout with joy to Elohim, All the earth! Sing out the splendor of His Name; Make His praise esteemed”!

Yahweh deserves praise always, even as, in verses 10 & 11, we read, using the Hebrew for affliction,  mu-aqah: pressure, distress, as in ‘packed’ :

“For You, O Elohim, have proved us;    You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our loins”!

Even in the time of evil and affliction, we give praise, for He is there with us:

“Yahweh said, Did I not direct you for good? Did I not intercede for you in a time of evil and in a time of distress (tsarah) against the enemy? [Jeremiah 15: 11]“

“O Yahweh, my strength and my stronghold and my refuge, in the day of distress…[16:19]“.

So, should we give thanks for affliction? Does it  bring us closer to Him?

“Yahudah (Judah) has gone into exile, because of affliction and because of the harsh labor…[Lamentations 1:3 ] “.

“In the days of her affliction and wandering, Jerusalem remembered all her pleasantries she had in the days of old [v.7]“.

“See, O Yahweh, my affliction, for the enemy has made himself great! [v. 9b]“

Early third century depiction of eucharistic b...

Early third century depiction of eucharistic bread and fish, Catacomb of San Callisto, Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“This is why I weep. My eye, my eye is running down with water, because the Comforter, who could bring back my life, has been far from me. [v. 16]“.

“See, O Yahweh, that I am in distress. My inward parts are boiling up, my heart is overturned within me, for I have been very rebellious [v. 20a]“.

“I am a man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath [3:1]“

  • darkness and not light [v.2]
  • His hand against , His back turned [v.3]
  • flesh and bones worn and broken [v.4]
  • surrounded by bitterness and hardship
  • hedged in, not going out [v. 7]
  • cry and shout but prayers ‘not heard’ [v. 8]
  • own way blocked, paths crooked [v.9]
  • as if a lion or bear lie in wait to attack [v. 10]
  • “He has bent His bow and stood me up as a target for the arrow. He made the arrows of His quiver pierce my kidneys. [v. 12-13] “.

Yet, Yahweh indeed ”remembers” and bows down to us! [ Lamentations 3 : 20]

” 21 This I recall to my mind, therefore I wait:   22 The kindnesses of Yahweh!    For we have not been consumed, for His compassions have not ended.   23  They are new every morning, great is Your trustworthiness.  24  ‘Yahweh is my Portion ‘ , says my being, ‘ Therefore I wait for Him! ‘

25 Yahweh is good to those waiting for Him, to the being who seeks Him.”

We can cry out to Yahweh just as Yonah [Jonah] prayed to Yahweh his Elohim from the stomach of the fish!

“And he said, ‘ I called to Yahweh because of my distress, and He answered me…[Jonah 2:2]“!

Affliction is lachats: to press, distress, crush, force, oppress, as used also in Nahum 1:9 & 12, and Isaiah 63: 9:

In all their distress He was distressed, and the Messenger of His Presence [Y’shua] saved them.  In His love and in His compassion He redeemed them, and He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.”

Yahweh is distressed when we are! If we have no root in the Branch, the root of Jesse, Y’shua,  we are “short-lived” and

” 17 b Then when pressure or persecution arises because of the Word, immediately they stumble.

20 And those sown on good soil, are those who hear the Word and accept it, and bear fruit, some 30fold, and some 60, and some a 100 [Mark 4]“.

Thlipsis is Greek for pressure : affliction, burdened, persecution, tribulation!

“19 For in those days there shall be distress, such as has not been from the beginning of creation which Elohim created until this time , nor ever shall be.

20 And if the Master had not shortened those days, no flesh would have been saved; but because of the chosen ones, whom He chose, He shortened the days. [ Y’shua speaking , Mark 13]

Stephanos, a chosen one of  Y’shua preached about  distress [Acts 7:11] and salvation through Y’shua and  was persecuted and stoned to death [v. 54-60]!

Sha’ul, Paul the Apostle, saw much affliction in his ministry:

“For out of much pressure and distress of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be sad, but that you might know the love I so richly have for you [2 Corinthians 2:4]“.

“Some indeed proclaim Messiah even from envy and strife, but some also out of pleasure- the former announce Messiah from selfish ambition, not sincerely, thinking to add distress to my chains…[Philippians 1:15-16]“.

Paul encouraged us to become “imitators” of him and Messiah, having received the Word ”in much pressure“, with joy of the Holy Spirit [1 Thessalonians 1: 6]!

“…therefore, brothers, in all our pressure and distress we were encouraged concerning you by your belief. Because we now live, if you stand fast in the Master [3:7-8]“!

Moshe by belief, became great in Yahweh, refusing to be called the son of the daughter of Pharaoh,

“…choosing rather to be afflicted with the people of Elohim than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time, deeming the reproach of Messiah greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, for he was looking for the reward [ Hebrews 11: 24-26]“.

James encouraged his brethren and us to “take the prophets” as an “example of suffering and patience”, “who spoke in the Name of Yahweh” [James 5:10]!

Yahweh does not willingly afflict [Lamentations 3:33] and undoes in time all that does afflict us [Zephaniah 3:19], as we call upon His Name. Then in time we may say, as the Psalmist, in Psalm 116:10, “…good for me to have been afflicted…”! [also Psalms 119: 67, 71, 75, & 107] Shalom….

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