Psalm 146: 5a
Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, (www.mechon-mamre.org)
The first Hebrew word of this verse is ‘Ashrei’, it is translated into the English as, happy, praiseworthy or praises.
When I read this verse the other day, it has been in my thoughts now for days. I knew from that time that I wanted to write and share what this verse was speaking to me, my own understanding as I pondered it.
What does ‘happy’ mean?
The definition of ‘happy’ at http://www.dictionary.com is,
1. delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing.
2. characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy.
3. favored by fortune; fortunate or lucky.
There is a lot that can be learned from the few words of this passage.
The Psalmist chose to use “The God of Jacob” in this passage. The psalm as whole can be related as speaking to the Jewish people; but when you single out the words of this passage, the words “God of Jacob” can and has a universal meaning for all mankind.
Jacob was one of the sons of Abraham before the covenant of Mount Sinai, before he took on the name of Israel.
What we find in the passage, is that Jacob had made the Creator his God, he had a personal relationship with the Creator and there was no mediator between them, not even his father or grandfather.
When I came to know and understand that there is only but one Creator and God and that I do not need a mediator between Him and I, I became the most fulfilled and happiest in my soul than I had ever been.
I know that there are areas in my life that needs improvement and repentance, but all of that takes a second place to me. Choosing the Creator as my God has become first place for me in my life.
I can walk out on my balcony, look up into the sky or look out my windshield while driving and tell Him “thank you for being my Creator and God” and I could not be any happier than I am at that moment.
Why I chose the Seven Universal Commandments and not convert
The Artscroll Tanach Series Tehillim commentary on the above passage is, “The Psalmist describes the Almighty as the God of Jacob because He promised Jacob special assistance (Genesis 28:15) : “Behold, I am with you; I will guard you whereever you go, and I will return yu to this soil.” (Rashi)
In my spiritual journey I was born into Christianity and while there I experienced what I call, three flavors of it. I also studied and prepared to convert to Orthodox Judaism and then chose the Seven Commandments of the Creator found in Genesis 9. It is not the purpose of this blog to go into those commandments but the reason I chose them.
Judaism is a non-missionary religion. It does not seek out converts; matter of fact they try their best to turn you away. The Creator gave them His word on the mountain and spoke to millions at one time. When one dives into the Hebrew Scriptures and studies the words of their famed scholars you can see why they do not seek out converts; they will tell you that you do not have to convert to have a relationship with the Creator.
The whole time I was studying you are constantly asked by rabbis and others, “Why do you want to convert?” And to be honest, this is a question in which the more you learn the answer will change.
We had put our house up for sale and had to hoped to move into a Jewish community in Texas. It was at this time during one of my pondering and pray times that my mind had thought on a passage in the Psalms. So I got out my book on the Psalms and looked up that passage; it was this passage that caused me to start a line of personal questions that led me to take a deeper look into the Seven Commandments found in Genesis 9.
The passages that caused me question,
Only for God wait thou in stillness, my soul; for from Him cometh my hope. He only is my rock and my salvation, my high tower, I shall not be moved. Upon God resteth my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. (www.mechon-mamre.org)
For me, and the way my mind works one of the first things I noticed about this passage was the fact the Hebrew word translated as ‘God’, was the Name Noah knew and the Name used at Creation, Elo-him.
So I began asking myself, “If I had confessed that He/Elo-him was the only Creator and God, and in that verse, if God was already those things (Psalm62;6-8) for me; then what would conversion to Judaism add for me and my relationship with the Creator that I already didn’t have?”
So I began to take a deeper look into the book of Genesis and in particular, Genesis 9. To this day I find something new and exciting. In my studies of the book of Genesis, I am learning to live according to His rules.
I am happy to know that the one Creator/Elo-him is my God and that He is very active in my everyday life. When I chose Him, His assistance came along.
I am very happy that the God of Jacob is my God and that He helps me in every single detail in life.
Terry W. Hayes
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash