Recently, I was in a room full of believers praying, worshipping and sharing our hearts with one another when one of the men in the room asked the question that so many of us had thought but just didn't say out loud. How much more?
I am sure that every one of you reading this article this morning has had those same words come through your mind, even if you have not said them aloud. How much more division? How much more suffering? How much more sickness? How much more deception? The list of how much more goes on and on.
For most of us, the past few years have been somewhat overwhelming. Many of us have felt like the little boy trying to stop the water flowing through the dam by sticking our fingers into the holes. Someone dies; we plug the hole. Someone goes into the hospital; we plug the hole. It seems as if every day brings with it a newer challenge. Another variant arrives; we plug the hole. Someone loses their job; we plug the hole.
Like most faith leaders, I have prayed for the sick and searched for words of comfort for the families of those who have died. I have preached and taught that we need to continue to run our race, and that these events are obstacles along the way that we need to overcome through prayer and fasting. Then I read a verse from the Bible that I had read hundreds of times before, but this time it seemed to leap from the page.
I am sharing this today for two reasons: First, because the words of this verse were healing to me, and second, because unless you read the verse in Hebrew, you will miss the meaning of the words and the revelation within them. The verse I am speaking of is Exodus 6:9 (TLV):
"Moses spoke this way to Bnei-Yisrael, but they did not listen to him because of their broken spirit and cruel bondage."
This verse is within the Exodus narrative and is a statement made in the middle of a discussion between Moses and G-D. In this dialogue, G-D is telling Moses to speak words of victory and deliverance to the children of Israel. However, no matter what Moses says, the people will not listen to him. It isn't so much that they don't listen to him speak; they actually are hearing the words that Moses says. They just can't receive the words in their hearts and souls.
This is the exact way so many believers are today. The world around them is in turmoil. Their governments are in disarray. The pandemic is rising and falling like a roller coaster. Family and friends are suffering. Like the children of Israel in Egypt, cruel bondage is all around us. Also like the children of Israel, G-D has sent a deliverer to set us free from that cruel bondage, and like the children of Israel, too many believers have allowed their circumstances to become bondage.
The freedom from our bondage comes exactly the same way that the children of Israel were set free from their bondage. The key to our deliverance is found in Exodus 6:9.
The second half of the verse says, "but they did not listen to him because of their broken spirit and cruel bondage."
Before I go on, please understand that I know and understand that in this world we will have tribulation, and that we are in the world but are not supposed to be of the world. Bad things will continue to happen to good people. However, I also know that just as the apostle Paul was able to sing in prison though he was in bondage (he was never in "bondage"), we can live in a world surrounded by the problems of this life and never be overcome by those problems.
In order for us to understand the key to living free while being within this fallen world, we must take a closer look at the Hebrew words, which are translated as "broken spirit." The Hebrew word for broken is קֹצֶר kotzer, and the Hebrew word for spirit is רוּחַ ruach. The word kotzer directly translates to shortness, while the word ruach means breath.
So, while the children of Israel could hear Moses speak the words of G-D's deliverance, they could not receive those words because, literally, the children of Israel had shortness of breath.
Today, the body of Messiah is not struggling to hear G-D's words of deliverance; we hear His word clearly. We are struggling to be able to receive them. Just as the COVID virus causes shortness of breath physically, the spiritual bondage of COVID causes a spiritual shortness of breath.
Too many in the body of Messiah are living in cruel, spiritual bondage, unable to receive the words of deliverance because we have allowed a spiritual COVID virus to attack us alongside the physical COVID virus and rob us of our ability to breath in the Spirit. The healing for spiritual COVID is, and always will be, a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Rabbi Eric Tokajer has served the community of Brit Ahm Messianic Synagogue in Pensacola, Florida since 2006. In addition to serving at Brit Ahm, he also helped to establish six other Messianic synagogues along the United States, Gulf Coast. He is also a sought-after speaker for both national and international conferences and events, and has authored 12 books. In addition to his duties as a rabbi, he also serves on the board of several Messianic ministries and as the theology team facilitator for the Tree of Life Version Bible.
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