Posted on Sep 17, 2018 | 0 comments

One more day. Just one. That is all we have left Dear Friends.

Just a matter of hours, with a few odd bundles of minutes and seconds thrown in. These are all that stands between us and the time appointed for us to walk with our Creator through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

A measured number of heartbeats. A limited number of opportunities for showing kindness. A closing window of chances to attempt to reconcile shattered relationships. Only the most poignant prayers of t’shuvah remain available to us. And then we will be called forward, one by one, to review the meaning and quality of the life we have lived thus far, to consider the reality of the judgment we deserve, and to marvel again – we earnestly hope and tentatively trust – at the incomparable wonder of Divine mercy.

This ninth day of Awe is dedicated to the reconnection of our Awestruck Hearts to the deeper levels of meaning of the ninth prophetic empowerment of Sinai. The Holy One proclaimed over us, in the Hebrew tongue:

לֹֽא־תַעֲנֶה בְרֵעֲךָ עֵד שָֽׁקֶר
transliteration: Lo-ta’aneh vere’acha ed shaker
approximate translation: You will not declare a deceptive testimony
concerning your neighbor

The phrase ‘Lo ta’aneh vere’acha ed shaker’ is traditionally translated into English as ‘Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor’. This, in turn, is often shortened in people’s minds to ‘Thou shalt not lie’.

Western mindsets thus seek to limit the application and meaning of the stunning lo ta’aneh . . . empowerment to a simple prohibition of intentionally declaring something one knows to be false. But the Hebrew verb anah, which lies at the root of this empowerment, is much broader and inclusive than either ‘bearing false witness’ or ‘lying’ connote.

Anah means to sing – i.e. to tell a story, create a mood, and influence the people around you, with not only carefully selected words but with an accompaniment of inflections of volume, pitch, and tone, as well as a corresponding display of emotions, facial expressions and body language.

Think of a singer performing an epic ballad on a stage. Everything the singer does on the stage – every movement, every gesture, every facial expression, every crescendo, every rest, every tone, every note – all are part of the presentation of the message of the song.

So it is with every human being. However well we carry a tune, or whether or not we enjoy musical accompaniment, we are all singers, and every sphere of influence we have been assigned is for us a stage. Our Wonderful Creator has gifted each of us with the precious gift of intelligent speech. This gift includes far more than just the capacity to formulate and pronounce words.

The gift of intelligent speech is actually a multi-faceted gift package. Along with the gift of intelligent words He has assigned us a wide variety of accessories to use in order to exercise the gift of intelligent speech in extremely powerful ways on behalf of Him and His Kingdom. We have also each been given an amazing story of hope, joy, and redemption to tell, assigned a series of spheres of influence, and empowered with unique ways to vocalize and express the elements of the story as and when and where and how He stirs them in our souls. The combination of the story of redemption, the spheres of influence assigned, and the methodology of expression forms the essence of our song.

The sole reason we have been given these precious gifts at such a time as this is to release that song.

We have not been given the precious gift of speech to declare the opinions formed in our fallen, fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil poisoned minds as to either the motives or the morality of other human beings.

We are not here at such a time as this to complain about the situations, circumstances, or people in our lives.

We are not here at such a time as this to tattle on, or to formulate, repeat, or nod in agreement with accusations against, our human neighbors – be they individual or corporate or governmental.

We are not given the gifts of life and speech to spout ideology, political philosophy, psychological, sociological or scientific theory. We are not here to spread religion, promulgate doctrine, or swear allegiance to creed.

We are here to sing the Creator’s song. We are here to use the gift of speech to tell the story of hope, of joy, and of redemption. We are here to speak of resolutions and restorations.

We are here to sing to the wells of potential in other human beings, not to rail against their mistakes of judgment and misbehaviors of flesh.

And so the most important question before us this day – before we step with our Creator into the Valley of the Shadow of Death – is ‘what have we been doing with the precious gifts of speech and communication?’.

Have we been singing the song of deliverance the Creator placed us here to sing – or have we been singing the Serpent’s song of negativity?

Have we been furthering the Serpent’s deception regarding any other human being?

Have we been speaking about any other human being’s motives or value to the world as if we had a clue what we were talking about?

Have we been giving our neighbor lip-service which our body language, facial expressions, emotions, and actions belie?

Have we been wasting precious time and influence talking about petty things, irritations, and aggravations that distract from and dilute the effectiveness of the grand song of redemption we are supposed to be releasing upon the earth?

Have we been misrepresenting ourselves as righteous?

Have we been criticizing and judging others as if that was our right, our responsibility, or our purpose?

Time is very, very short. The opportunity to sing the Creator’s song is fading quickly. All words and communications at this point are critical. Let us resolve to use the precious gift of speech and communication wisely, and only for the purposes for which it was given.

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