You know those Rube Goldberg complicated contraptions that employ a long chain of mechanical levers and other devices to do something mundane like striking a match? We love watching them, partially I think because so much in life tends to camouflage cause and effect. When we watch a three minute process of rolling balls, falling weights, revolving wheels and tumbling dominos, it’s not only fun but also a little bit reassuring. Hey, the world does make sense.
Well, on a far larger scale and in far more meaningful ways, the world does make sense. However, it is very worthwhile knowing and following the principles even before we understand the chain of cause and effect that explains the benefit.
Let me explain. Have you ever wondered why little kids learn their ABCs? Why don’t they learn their DTSs or their BMPs? In other words, who decreed the sequence of letters in the alphabet?
Other than convention accepted over hundreds of years, there is no reason why M should follow L, or why B should precede C. The only reason is that the English alphabet is closely based on the Greek alphabet or perhaps I should say the Greek alpha-beta. There is also no reason intrinsic to the Greek alphabet as to why lambda should precede mu or why gamma should follow beta other than that it is closely based on the Hebrew alphabet or the Hebrew Alef-bet.
You won’t be shocked to hear that in the Lord’s language, Hebrew, crucial data is conveyed by the letter sequence. Do you remember the simplest ciphers you played with as a child?
EFBS UPN IPX BSF ZPV stands for DEAR TOM HOW ARE YOU by a simple one letter upshift. D becomes E, E becomes F and so on.
Similarly, in Hebrew many key words reveal their meaning when we examine the underlying word that upshifts, or leads, to our word. In English it is very difficult to find words that upshift in a significant way. However, in Hebrew we find that mother, A-M upshifts to B-N, child. In other words, a mother is someone who is followed by a child.
Today, I want to tell you about one amazing example.
Had the Torah been written by human authors, we would think that they would surely not include the fourth commandment. At the very start of its history, human authors trying to establish a nation would encourage a formerly enslaved people to work seven days a week. “You can’t yet afford to take off any time, let alone an entire day every week,” they would say. Yet, details of honoring and observing the Sabbath are found repeatedly in Scripture: Exodus 16:29-30; Exodus 34:21; Exodus 35:2-3; Numbers 15:32-36 and even in Nehemiah 13:15-18. The Hebrews are not to engage in economically productive work on the Lord’s day. Furthermore, we are not even to handle money on the Shabbat.
Yet, notwithstanding this seemingly illogical rule, God repeatedly promises the Hebrews wealth and financial abundance. History has revealed the fulfillment of this promise.
Clearly, Shabbat brings about its results not directly, or even by deliberate intent but through the invisibly complex system of spiritual levers and latches in God’s cosmos. For instance, not making or carrying money on this one special day each week mitigates against obsession with money, focusing instead on human interaction among those with varying degrees of wealth. It eliminates the hierarchies of money and power that once fatally embedded in our consciousness can paralyze us with a sense of unchangeable inevitability. In this way, and in hundreds of others both big and small, observing the Sabbath frees us to prosper.
Consequently, instead of being an illogical construct of man, the Shabbat turns out to be a superbly logical command of God who wishes his people to escape poverty. Perhaps the logic that observing the Shabbat enhances our wealth creating potential is not easily discernible to each and every one of us; after all, it is an institution of God rather than a Rube Goldberg device. Seeing the connection means looking beyond one person or one instance in time. Yet, embedded in the language of the word, using the tool of upshift, we see that this blessing isn’t only a supernatural gift, but that God expects people to analyze and learn from the connection. What is the important word that by means of a one letter upshift leads to the Shabbat? Simple: It is the Hebrew word for head. The Shabbat makes wondrous and wise sense.
Reish-Alef-Shin (head) leads to Shin—Bet–Tav (Shabbat)
We have just released volume 3 in our Thought Tools series and I think you’re going to want it in your library of inspiration, motivation, and encouragement. It contains 52 examples of God’s patterns, any one of which could save you plenty of pain. Each week in Thought Tools, I try to share from my knowledge and experience. This new book is full of excellent examples with practical conclusions. I know you’ll enjoy and benefit from it.