Words are not proof of prayer. Prayer is the conversation of G-d at work in us, or else how do we cry, “Abba”?
An examination of Romans 8:26-39
The beginning of this chapter has called us, “Sons, heirs and children,” through Messiah, who is the Son, heir and only begotten child of HaShem. It is G-d’s emunah (trust, firmness) in us that has birthed our emunah (trust, firmness) in Him, and it is upon this unseen but certain hope that we make our stand. This is why Paul/Shaul says in verse 26, “In the same way.” He means us to understand that the work of the Ruach ha-Kodesh is also purposed in an unseen but certain way. We have confidence not because we are strong but because He is strong in us, just as the prophet Daniel says:
“We do not make requests of You because we are righteous, but because of Your great chesed, mercy, grace and loving kindness.” –Daniel 9:8
8:26In the same way the Spirit (helps) holds us up and together with us helps our weakness;
The Greek text says so much more than simply, “Helps.” The Spirit, that is, He—a person, not an impersonal force—moves into position to strengthen and hold us. This brings to mind the struggle of Jacob which resulted in his overcoming in G-d, which is what the name Israel literally means: Yisra (to overcome) joined with El (Elohim) G-d. We also know Him as HaShem (YHVH) Elohim, our merciful Judge. The creator of the universe is strengthening us through His Spirit at work in our inner being. We lean into Him in our weakness and as we let go He takes hold, an immovable security.
for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with deep sighing that can’t be expressed in words;
By definition this is a form of prayer that doesn’t use vocalized words. This conversation is a deep sighing. Words are not proof of prayer. Prayer is the conversation of G-d at work in us, or else how do we cry, “Abba”?
It’s okay not to know how to pray. A good friend and hero of mine once said:
“I didn’t see the point in praying. I had asked G-d to heal and He hadn’t, so I thought, ‘why should I pray, You’re only going to do what You want anyway!’ Then a friend turned up in the hospital ward and asked if he could pray for us. I agreed and the moment he began to pray the Holy Spirit came and brought healing.”
What if when we say, “Why should I pray, You’ll just do what you want anyway,” it’s actually the Holy Spirit in us who is speaking? What if when Moses said, “If You’re going to wipe out this people then wipe my name out of You’re book,” that it was the Holy Spirit in Moses who was speaking? What if when Paul/Shaul says later in Romans, “I would willingly give up my own salvation for the sake of my people Israel,” that it’s the Holy Spirit speaking? What if you were to let go and recognize G-d at work in you rather than constantly beating yourself up.
Perhaps the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit is the gift of deep sighing. The suffering Messiah lives in us by His Spirit. When we don’t know what to say, when we’re overwhelmed and disillusioned, He aches and sighs, groans and cry’s out from within us. Just as it is written:
“HaShem (YHVH) will fight for you, you need only be still!” –Shemot/Exodus 14:14
27 and He (Elohim) who searches the core being (Psalm 44:21) knows what the purpose of the Spirit is, because He (Ruach ha-Kodesh) intercedes for us (all who belong to Messiah) according to the will of HaShem.
G-d knows the working of our inner being, He knows us intimately and has purposed His Spirit to advocate for us from within. This is His will, our reconciliation.
28 And we know that G-d causes all things to work together for good
There’s a colloquialism, “It’s all good.” What nonsense! Suffering teaches us the foolishness of this youthful delusion, it’s not all good folks, death isn’t good, it’s the result of sin, sin isn’t good, it’s the result of rebellion; cancer isn’t good, heart break isn’t good, evil isn’t good, on the contrary, all those things are bad. The Scripture doesn’t say, “And we know that G-d causes all things to be good,” it says, “all things work together for good,” that is for the eternal fulfillment of G-d’s Kingdom.
The point is clarified in the words of Yeshua, (this is a promise) “In this world you will have trouble, but fear not, for I have overcome the world.” –Yochanan/John 16:33
To those who love G-d, to those who are called according to His purpose.
These words are a promise to us as believers. All things will not work together for good for those who reject G-d’s gift, in fact they will work together for the ultimate in bad, eternal punishment.
29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the likeness of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
These are all past tense statements. Because G-d’s perspective is outside of time and space He sees the end from the beginning and therefore knows what we will decide. This doesn’t negate freewill, in fact it affirms its need to exist within the continuum of time.
Just as the first Adam was made in the likeness of G-d, so the children of the second Adam, Yeshua are made in the likeness of G-d’s Son.
The use of the verb, “called,” in verse 30 infers the need for response. Those called are justified through the sacrifice of Yeshua and have been glorified from G-d’s perspective. The completion of this glorification will occur outside of time in the Olam Haba (World to come).
31 What then shall we say to these things? If G-d is for us, who is against us?
The answer is, “All who oppose G-d are against us,” but the rhetorical question intends us to understand that no one has a chance against us if G-d is for us—that includes ha-Satan and his demons.
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him (Messiah) freely give us all things?
This is a very clear and logical progression. “For G-d so loved the world…”
33 Who will bring a charge against G-d’s elect?
We know the answer to this, it is the same one who brought the charge against Job, ha-Satan the accuser. Again, the intended rhetorical understanding is that the Devil has no chance of bringing a charge against us.
G-d is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns?
G-d both justifies and condemns. He has justified us already, as seen in verse 30. Those who reject His gift of eternal life will be condemned. In fact Yeshua says, “He who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Yochanan/John 3:18
The point is that G-d our judge has already justified us (past tense) so that we cannot be condemned.
Messiah Yeshua is He Who died, yes, rather Who was raised, Who is at the right hand of G-d, Who also intercedes for us.
Unlike others who have been resurrected and subsequently died again, Yeshua not only died but also rose eternal and is (not metaphorically or allegorically as some foolish scholars have suggested) seated at the right hand of G-d, circumcised penis and all. Yes, He is still a Jew, why? Because He has yet to fulfill His role as the reigning King of Israel and the nations, prophesied in the Tanakh. So yes, Messiah the Jew King and G-d the Son is seated outside the third heaven at the right hand of G-d. He intercedes for us. Therefore, Messiah in us, the Spirit intercedes with Messiah outside of us, the coming King and all this happens in G-d, because, “in Him all things exist and have their being.”
35 Who will separate us from the love of Messiah?
It’s rhetorical, nothing and no one can. And to prove his point, Paul/Shaul reminds the Jewish believers of psalm 40 and the Gentile believers are directed to it for the strengthening of their growing understanding.
Will trials, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,
“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” –Tehillim/Psalm 44:22
Insert Tehillim/Psalm 44:
44:1 O Elohim, we have heard with our ears,
Our fathers have told us
The work that You did in their days,
In the days of old.
2 You with Your own hand drove out the nations;
Then You planted them;
You afflicted the peoples,
Then You spread them abroad.
3 For by their own sword they did not possess the land,
And their own arm did not save them,
But Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence,
For You favored them.
4 You are my King, O Elohim;
Command victories for Jacob.
5 Through You we will push back our adversaries;
Through Your name we will trample down those who rise up against us.
6 For I will not trust in my bow,
Nor will my sword save me.
7 But You have saved us from our adversaries,
And You have put to shame those who hate us.
8 In Elohim we have boasted all day long,
And we will give thanks to Your name forever. Selah.
9 Yet You have rejected us and brought us to dishonor,
And do not go out with our armies.
10 You cause us to turn back from the adversary;
And those who hate us have taken spoil for themselves.
11 You give us as sheep to be eaten
And have scattered us among the nations.
12 You sell Your people cheaply,
And have not profited by their sale.
13 You make us a reproach to our neighbors,
A scoffing and a derision to those around us.
14 You make us a byword among the nations,
A laughingstock among the peoples.
15 All day long my dishonor is before me
And my humiliation has overwhelmed me,
16 Because of the voice of him who reproaches and reviles,
Because of the presence of the enemy and the avenger.
17 All this has come upon us, but we have not forgotten You,
And we have not dealt falsely with Your covenant.
18 Our heart has not turned back,
And our steps have not deviated from Your way,
19 Yet You have crushed us in a place of jackals
And covered us with the shadow of death.
20 If we had forgotten the name of our Elohim
Or extended our hands to a strange el,
21 Would not Elohim find this out?
For He knows the secrets of the heart.
22 But for Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
23 Arouse Yourself, why do You sleep, O Adonai (Master, not YHVH)?
Awake, do not reject us forever.
24 Why do You hide Your face
And forget our affliction and our oppression?
25 For our soul has sunk down into the dust;
Our body cleaves to the earth.
26 Rise up, be our help,
And redeem us for the sake of Your purposed chesed—loving kindness.
How does the Ruach ha-Kodesh answer the psalmist? With the following words, spoken by Paul/Shaul and penned by his scribe:
37 But in all these things we vanquish beyond measure (a decisive victory) through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of G-d, which is in Messiah Yeshua our Lord.
We are absolutely and utterly secure in the love of G-d which is in Messiah Yeshua our lord.
© 2014 Yaakov Brown
Spiritual leader of Beth Melekh Community, Auckland, Aotearoa, N.Z.