August 3, 2020, 12:00 AM

As we read through Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament), we see the pervasiveness of sin in humanity over and over again. We see it reck Adam and Eve's relationship with God in Eden; we watch it drive Cain to murder his brother; we find it incites God to flood the earth; we find it causes Pharaoh to enslave the Jews... inspire Israel to grumble, complain, exploit, worship idols, demand a king, and even sacrifice their own children to false gods.

Because of this depravity unto sin, God tells Jeremiah the prophet to warn Israel of impending doom. The nation of Babylon will come as an instrument of God's wrath and justice upon rebellious Israel. But Babylon is far from innocent. God's wrath and justice will consequently be poured out upon Babylon for their cruelty, sin, and rejection of God.

In Jeremiah 50:14 we read, "Battle formations against Babylon! Unleash upon her all you archers! Spare no arrows! For against Yahweh she has sinned!"

The Hebrew verb translated "unleash" above is יָדָה which in English is pronounced "yadah." It means to cast, throw, unleash, abandon wholeheartedly with absolute commitment.

Picture Babylon surrounded by God's people in battle formations, and the Commander exclaiming, "Unleash upon her all you archers! Spare no arrows!" Suddenly the sky turns black with a seemily unending volly of judgment and destruction! That's a picture of YADAH! Unleash! Abandon! Fire Everything!

The first occurrence of "yadah" is in Genesis 29. Jacob (aka Israel) has stolen his brother Esau's birthright and blessing. Jacob is running for his life and comes upon a beautiful young woman, Rachel. Jacob agrees to work for Rachel's father for seven years in order to pay the bride-price. After the seven years Rachel's dad, Laban, deceives Jacob, giving his daughter Leah instead. By morning it's too late, so Jacob agrees to work another seven years to purchase Rachel as his bride.

Leah was never Jacob's choice. Her father, Laban, put her in a bad situation. Leah is neglected and unloved by Jacob. She calls out to God to give her Jacob's son so that he will notice/see her. God answers and Leah names her first son Reuben, "seen." Leah cries out to God again because she's still not loved by Jacob. God hears and gives her another son, Simeon, "heard." Leah still feels unloved by Jacob and desires another son so that Jacob will be bonded/attached to her. She conceives and names her third son Levi, "joined."

Between son number three and four something truly profound happens. The Bible gives no details, but it clearly happens. Leah is transformed from a codependent, insecure, self-absorbed, pity-party throwing, "woe-is-me" victim... into a woman abandon unto God! We know this because the Bible says so. In Genesis 29:35 we read that Leah says, "I will yadah (cast, throw, unleash, abandon) unto the Lord; and she conceived a son again and called him Yehudah (Judah), and finished conceiving."

In Genesis 49 we find out that Jacob has "seen" his son Reuben sleeping with Jacob's concubine in Jacob's bed. Therefore, Jacob tells Reuben that he has forfeited all rights as firstborn. Jacob has "heard" about Simeon and Levi's "attachment" to violence, causing them to be cast out. Then in 49:8-10 we read about Yehuda (Judah), and how his brothers, all of Jacob's sons, in fact all of humanity, will bow down in obedience to "Shiloh" (Messiah) who will eventually come out of Judah because the scepter (all power) and staff (absolute sovereignty) belong exclusively and inherently to Him!

Come the New Testament, we meet this descendant of Judah in the God-man, Immanuel, Jesus the Anointed One. Jesus is abandon, committed, unleashed in love, grace, truth, and hope completely unto humanity to redeem us from our sin! The King of Heaven, the Lamb slain before the foundation of the cosmos, abandons Himself to be born in an animal pen... abandons Himself to arrest when spotless, sinless, and perfect... abandons Himself unto trial, flogging, nailed hands and feet, and enduring the torture of the Cross, the burden of sin and shame for all humanity... abandons Himself unto death... 

When we come to Revelation 4, we find the only appropriate and worthy response to Jesus' love and sacrifice. The Gospel has gone out into the world and redeemed the children of God unto salvation. In verses 10-11 we read, "the twenty-four elders fall down before the One seated on the throne, and they worship Him who lives forever and ever. They cast (abandon) their crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things; by Your will they exist and came to be!"

Jesus, the Risen King, the Lamb of God, didn't abandon Himself for us to go to church on Sunday or check religious boxes. He abandon Himself so that we would abandon ourselves unto Him for everlasting life! The question is this: Are you cast, thrown, unleashed, abandon completely unto Christ with your entire life for His kingdom and glory? Or do you treat God as Leah did initially... selfishly praying to Him as a cosmic delivery system for stuff, for happiness, for uplifting emotional experiences, or for improved circumstances all for your personal benefit?

Are you abandon unto The Lord?

Kevin M. Kelley
Pastor, PBC