He sees the sparrow fall
bârak to bless, kneel
“Speak to Aaron and to his sons saying: Thus you are to bless Bnei-Yisrael, by saying to them” Numbers 6:23 (be sure to have your Bible open to what follows and read the whole blessing)
The entire Bible begins with the Creator, Elohim in Hebrew, blessing his creation. In Genesis 1:22 he blesses his creation and when completed he blesses the seventh day.
In our natural learned Western way of thinking we tend to draw distinctions between the physical and the spiritual. Elohim does not, and the physical is not lower than the spiritual, they are fully integrated and it is in Aaron’s blessing over Israel that this can be seen.
Abraham Maslow was a Jewish psychologist, his parents having fled what is now the Ukraine for New York City to get away from persecution. For Abraham that did not work, he was picked on badly for being Jewish but that did not effect his caring heart towards others.
You may have recognized his name from something he constructed that we now call Maslow’s hierarchy, it is usually pictured as a pyramid in five levels which build on each other. The five levels beginning at the base from lowest to highest are:
- Physiological: things like food, water, sleep, shelter, warmth
- Safety: personal security, resources, health, property
- Love and belonging: friendship, community, intimacy, connection, family
- Esteem: respect, recognition, strength, freedom
- Actualization: becoming all you were created to be
Where Maslow erred is he saw this as coming solely through human effort. But where he got his levels of needs – fulfilled in blessings no matter where they are attributed – relates directly to the Aaronic blessing. “Thus you are to bless the children of Israel. . .” which starts with the satisfaction of bodily needs and peaks with shalom – overall well being.
Level one: “The LORD bless you. . .” begins with what we need for life, which in Deuteronomy 28 (the blessings) begins with children, food, cooking and eating (Deut 28:4-6).
Level two: “and keep you” which is translated from the word shamar which in Hebrew means to guard. Deut 28: 7 says that the LORD “will cause your enemies . . .to be struck down before you.”
Level 3: Love and belonging and the need for community and relationship is found in the plural “you” throughout this blessing. It is a blessing to family and community, the children of Israel and not the individual. Deut 28:9 says the LORD will establish this through you “as a holy people for Himself. . .”
Level 4: Esteem and respect: “ the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.” That esteem starts with our relationship with him, the giver of all of these blessings. Having his face turned and shining towards us is another way of saying we are living in such a way that he looks upon us with favor, we are not his enemies. Deut 28: 10 says “Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of Adonai and they will stand in awe of you.”
Level five: actualization “the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Peace, shalom is having everything you need, complete, whole, sound – being all that you can be with all that you have which fulfills all that you need. Deut. 28:10 says he will make them “the head and not the tail, and you will be only above and not below. . .”
There is no separation here between the physical and the spiritual. They are knit together completely because both were created by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and they were not created separately. The creation account in Genesis 1 begins with the Spirit of Elohim hovering upon the surface of the water (v. 2) and the physical appearing out of the spiritual.
Yeshua, Jesus summed all of this up throughout his ministry.
He healed the sick provided food: the feeding of the multitudes where he called himself the bread of life – the foundation for the rest of our needs.
These are Level one needs that he does not separate out from spiritual needs. He is here to meet them all and asking and praying for needs on any of these tiers is equal to any of the other levels.
“For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you invited Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” (Mat 25:35-36) are a collection of Level one and Level three needs. Equal in his sight and important.
Seeing no separation between the physical and spiritual is why he could also say:
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them shall fall to the ground apart from your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head are numbered. So do not fear; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Mat 10:29-31
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