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Reciprocity of the Heart...
Marc Chagall - Jeremiah

    B"H  23 Nisan, 5771

Reciprocity of the Heart

Our Search for God...

by John J. Parsons

Proverbs 21:21 BHS

"Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
will find life, righteousness, and honor."
 (Prov. 21:21)

If you were ask to God for just one thing, what would it be? Our deepest yearnings are like prayers. Whatever the heart genuinely seeks, it will find. The person who pursues righteousness will find it, just as evil comes to the person who searches for it (Prov. 11:27). Therefore the voice of wisdom cries out, "I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me" (Prov. 8:17), and the prophet shouts, "Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near" (Isa. 55:6). God is near to us in Yeshua, who said, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened." As you believe, so you will receive (Matt. 21:22).

This is the "like for like" principle of faith. Forgive us as we forgive; judge us as we judge; love us as we love; make us righteous as we take hold of righteousness, give us courage as we believe, and so on. As Isaiah said to fearful king Ahaz: "If you will not be firm in faith, you will not be firm at all" (Isa. 7:9). Your "amen" echoes the "amen" of heaven: "Let it be done for you according to your faith" (Matt. 9:29).

The subject of our verse is a participle that comes from the verb radaf (רָדַף), which means to follow after, or to pursue, as in a chase or a hunt. This same verb is used when King David exclaimed, "surely goodness and love will pursue me (יִרְדְּפוּנִי) all the days of my life" (Psalm 23:6). David understood that as he pursued God, so God's love would pursue him! In other words, as we seek, so we are sought by God; as we draw near to God, so He will draw near to us (James 4:8).

Notice the repeated use of the word "righteousness" (i.e., tzedakah: צְדָקָה) in this verse. When we pursue God's righteousness, we will find it, and we will be declared righteous (i.e., tzaddik: צַדִּיק) and given life (i.e., chayim: חַיִּים) and honor (i.e., kavod: כָּבוֹד). "In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death" (Prov. 12:28). Therefore Yeshua calls us to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matt 6:33).

The prophet expresses hope: "Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth" (Hos. 6:3). Salvation is "of the LORD." May God help us pursue him b'khol levavkha - with all our heart - because the He has promised, "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13).

Hebrew-English Transliteration:

Hebrew-English transliteration

rodef tzedakah va-chased, yimtza chayim tzedakah v'khavod

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