Oh, That You Had Hearkened
To My Commandments
“Then your peace would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” (Is 48:18)
The Prophet Isaiah, in the above verse offers a contrast view, combining the peace of heart that is like serenity of river, with the power of righteousness as the undefeatable agitated sea waves. This view describes the effectiveness of the word of God in His congregation. He starts in a sorry tone talking about Israel who would be defeated and exiled to Babylon because he failed to hearken to God’s word. These words are not only given to Israel but also to the Church “the Assembly of God”.
The head of all commandments is, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deut 6:4), Hearkening and Observing His commandments is the true evidence showing our love to God, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” (1 Jn. 5:3
With No doubt the effectiveness of the word of God, are manifested in the people of God as external shield and internal peace. The outside shield is a real power generated from the deeds of God’s rightness in His Assembly, as individuals and as communities. The word of God calls for meekness but not for weakness; calls for humbleness but not for frailty. Also, it doesn’t allow the use of self-power because it is a power in itself. Hence, the word of God is against all forms of aggression, deception, partiality, fanaticism, and discontent. But, it is the power of God that silently works. Whenever there is weakness or fear there is a transgression against the commandments of God.
The surrounding world is very cruel and dreadful, but in such circumstances Christians can hear the voice of Christ saying, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Lu 12: 32), and St. Paul saying, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Ro 8:37).
We feel fear and we get confused and panic only when we neglect to hearken to God’s Word. It will be beneficial for us, if these dreadful feelings motivate us to see ourselves in the light of God’s word. Through the courage of truthfulness our souls can find their way to real repentance. Let us listen to St. Paul’s advice, “boast of youis not good. Do not you know that a little yeast all the lump permeates? Purge out Then the old yeast, so that you be a new lump, as you are without yeast. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” (1 Co 5: 6-7).
What is the value of being Christians if we are not living in truth and spirit? What is the meaning of being Orthodox if our faith is not working through love? “If then, the light in you is darkness the darkness how great!”(Mt 6: 23)
“Oh, That You Had Hearkened to My Commandments then your peace would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” (Is 48:18)
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The English Section:
Based on “The First Epistle to the Thessalonians”,Fr. Matta El-Meskeenpresents the origin of the Church Tradition, then he offers a spiritual and moral application to the understanding of holiness from the Epistle. It urges for repentance.
A Message to Embittered Souls also by Fr. Matta El-Meskeen,translated By Fayez Ateya, gives hope to sinners in their struggle. Its message for repentance is complementary to the message in the first article.
The third article is, “The Table of the Messiah in the OT, Heavenly Banquet (3)”, by Rodolph Yanney, MD. In the light of the patristic studies the writer presents his study of the Eucharist in the Old Testament (OT).There are five essential OT types that refer to the main rites of the Sacrament. In previous issues we presented the first four types, “The Tree of Life, Offering of Melchizedek, the Manna and the Table of the covenant”. The fifth type, “the Passover” is published in this issue.
Jimmy M. Helmy is a Deacon from St. Mary’s Coptic Church of Florida. His article, “Biblical Criticism”, includes a brief study to different Biblical critical approaches that have developed during the past two centuries. He gives two examples of biblical criticism, one from the OT and the other from the NT. His logical view based on scientific analysis, reveals the authenticity, genuineness and supremacy of the Orthodoxy understanding to the Holy Bible.
The last English article is, “Saint Mary in the Coptic Lectionary”, by Fouad N. Youssef. This study is based on the readings of the four Sundays of the month of “Kiahk”, which portray three analogies. We offered in previous issues the analogy of “Mary & Abraham” and “Mary & Moses”. The last part of this study, “Mary & David” is published in this issue. It presents Mary as the resting place of the Lord.
The Arabic Section:
“The Church & Israel- In St. Mathew’s Gospel (4)” by Fouad N. Youssef " has offered, “The Temple” and “The Messiah” in previous Issues. “The Law” is the third topic in this study and it is divided to three articles. In this issue we post the second article of “The Law”.
“The Transfiguration of Jesus on the Mount”, by Michael Sasien, Church of Antioch, ANNourMagazine. The article has the same theme of the first article on St. Mathew’s Gospel.
In “Questions of the Readers”, we respond to three questions from Mr. Nashie abdel-Shaheed, Ontario, Canada. Two of the questions are concerning the mercy and the Justice of God. The third one is questioning the two stories of St. Paul’s vision in the Book of Acts.
The last Arabic article is, “The Main Divisions of The Coptic Lectionary” by Fouad N. Youssef. This subject is very important and vital to preachers and teachers.
We thank every person who offered help in publishing and distributing the magazine, asking the Lord to reward them with His heavenly blessings. Also, we ask for your continued prayers for the success of this work serving the“Word of Life.”