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Tikkun Olam – Repairing of the World

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Rediscovering Israel Online Biblical Study
Reading Assignment – Pg. 221-245
Reading Time: 7 minutes

I get my looks from my Momma. If there ever was a mini-me, I am hers! To this day, I still look at the black-and-white image of her four-year-old self standing next to her best friend, and I see me! Now, as an adult, I sometimes catch a glimpse of her in the mirror when it’s actually me walking past.ย  There’s just no denying it. I’m hers.

Left - Carol (my Momma) | Right - Bree
Left – Carol | Right – Bree

There’s also no denying that I belong to my Dad. My Mom still talks about how similar our hair color was when we were both younger and how she could have combed my hair into his and not know the difference. He and I have geeked out over Biblical history documentaries, and we both have a deep love and appreciation of music and trying new and different cuisines.  We also share those little red “strawberries” dotting our skin. Lucky me, I’ve also inherited his psoriasis.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to manage my skin troubles on my own for years, but when my boyfriend found a dermatologist we both like and trust, I figured it was time to make myself an appointment. Though my initial appointment had to be rescheduled, God knew I’d need those extra two months.

When the time came, I looked forward to getting a pesky mole on my temple removed that had been bothering me for some time, plus an assessment of my psoriasis. Little did I know how much would change due to that one appointment.

In addition to that pesky mole, Dr. Campbell removed another near the center part of my hairline out of an abundance of caution. A week later, when I got a voicemail from her rather than one of her staff members, I knew she had found something out of the ordinary.

Melanoma in situ. Skin Cancer (Stage 0).
Though it was caught very early, I needed surgery, and soon.

The first surgery occurred just a month and a day after my first dermatology appointment. The area surrounding the biopsy site was removed in hopes of finding clear margins, and it left me with a quarter-sized hole in my forehead below my hairline. PRAISE GOD, clear margins were found, and the second surgery occurred 13 days later.

In less than two months, my world has turned upside down. I was cut apart and put back together. PRAISE GOD, my recovery is going well, and I’m on my way to complete healing.

Thank you for your prayers + support!

I couldn’t have (and wouldn’t have wanted to) made it through without YOU.

God is in the business of restoration

The irony, or better yet, God’s perfect timing, wasn’t lost on me that the Intentional Filling community was scheduled to read the chapter of Rediscovering Israel by Kristi McLelland entitled, Tikkun Olam, the Hebrew phrase for “the repair of the world” in the midst of my “refining process” as I’m choosing to call the above ordeal.

You may have heard of this phrase, as it has been adopted into the mainstream ideology of pursuing social justice.  [Watch this incredible video to learn more about the roots of this movement.]  But if we look at the Biblical narrative, it is easy to see that this has been Godโ€™s pursuit from the beginning of time.  Our God is in the business of restoration.

  • Genesis 1:28 – giving man dominion of the earth
  • Genesis 6 – Noah and the flood
  • Genesis 15 – Godโ€™s covenant with Abraham
  • Exodus 19 – giving of the ten commandments
  • Exodus 25-31ย  – instructions to build the Tabernacle

Our God is in the business of restoration.

โ€œGod meets His people exactly where they are; He never leaves them there.โ€

Kristi McLelland, Rediscovering Israel, Pg. 21

In fact, He not only doesnโ€™t want to leave them there; He wants them to match Him, step for step in the act of restoration.  In all of the stories above:

  • God partnered with man – giving him dominion over creation,ย 
  • God gave Noah and his family safe passage through the cleansing of the earth,
  • God made the promises to Abraham and inviting Him into the covenantal relationship,ย 
  • God accepted Moses into His presence and gave the tablets signifying Godโ€™s union with His people,
  • God gave instructions in the Tabernacle building, which was the place for God to live amongst His people.ย 

With each chapter of Scripture we read, God is inviting His people closer and closer and welcomes a united effort in the restoration of the world.

And weโ€™re not left out, either!

“In what Christians often refer to as the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus prays, ‘Your kingdom come… on earth as it is in heaven.’ Jewish people rarely talk about heaven. Rather, they talk about bringing heaven to earth. We don’t have to wait to experience eternal life… the good (tov) life. We can experience the fullness of walking with Jesus now in this lift.”

Kristi McLelland, Rediscovering Israel, Pg. 224

This is what tikkun olam is… joining Jesus, step for step in repairing the world.

Jesusโ€™ chosen partner – you & me

In first-century Judaism, talmidim, or students of the law (disciples), selected their rabbi, taking on their teaching and seeking to become just like them. But Jesus broke tradition by choosing His talmidim (students or disciples).

“Now we better understand Jesus’ words in John 15:16, when He said to His disciples, ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last.’

… Jesus invited His disciples to partner with Him in the repair of the world. To follow Him. To walk with Him. To be like Him. Practicing the way of Jesus means partnering with Him.”

Kristi McLelland, Rediscovering Israel, Pg. 226-227

Jesus invited his disciples to halakah, to walk in His ways throughout the Gospels:

  • Mark 6:6-13 – The disciples perform miracles
  • Matthew 14:13-21 – The feeding of the 5,000
  • Matthew 15:32-39 – The feeding of the 4,000
  • Luke 10:1-24 – The sending out of the 72

Don’t feel worthy? Don’t feel equipped to handle what He’s called you to?
First offโ€”join the club. But also take heart in Kristi’s words from page 229 in Rediscovering Israel, “If you want to know who Jesus is and what He is like, He calls sons of thunder, tax collectors, and Zealots to follow Him because He knows that in close proximity to Him comes real-life change and transformation. He chooses them just as they are; and He chooses us in like manner.”

Day 41 is coming!

In the final chapter of this faith-grounding and transforming book, Kristi asks us a question that I hope you’ll really ponder and spend some time praying over.

“What if the seed of the kingdom lies in your wound, not in your strength?”

I have found this to be true in my own story.  This blog is a testament to that.  

What began as an online journal to work through my journey in therapy in my 30s grew as I sought to be more authentic through the name, The Imperfect Vessel: Seeking Beauty in the Brokenness of Life, as I shared about living a life of faith while battling anxiety and depression.  

A decade ago, a spark was lit when I accepted the challenge to begin leading women in their faith by offering online studies, to offer an Intentional Filling to those seeking to fill the God-shaped hole within them within anything and everything else. Now in my 40s, I have been blessed to witness story after story of women who have found clarity and confidence as they pursue a more intimate relationship with the Living God as they read and study His Word through its context.

To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the LORD has planted for his own glory.

Isaiah 61:3, NLT

Late last fall, I came across a post on social media about the significance of day 41 in the Biblical narrative.ย  It resonated with me as I was living my 40th year, another challenging year, and was hopeful for year 41 to arrive.ย  Yesterday, the day I got my stitches out, I came across this post again.ย  Oh, God, Your timing is so good!

In the Bible, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights.
Day 41 came, and the rain stopped.

Moses committed murder and hid in the desert for 40 years.
Year 41 came, and God called him to help rescue Israel.

Moses went up on the mountain for 40 days.
On day 41, he received the Ten Commandments.

The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.
Year 41, they walked into the Promised Land.

Goliath taunted Israel for 40 days.
Day 41 came, and David slew him.

Jonah preached a message of repentance to Ninevah for 40 days.
On day 41, God stopped His plan to destroy them.

Jesus fasted and was tempted for 40 days.
Day 41, and the devil fled.

After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples for 40 days.
On day 41, He ascended into Heaven.

All this to sayโ€ฆ donโ€™t quit.ย 
The rain will stop, the giant will fall, and you will enter your โ€œpromised land.โ€ย 

Donโ€™t give up at 40.
41 is coming.

CREDIT: McKenzie Miller

“We mature from being believers to followers. We don’t want to merely know about Jesus, we want to walk with Him. We want to receive His repair and be part of the agency of it in our day and time. We practice the way of Jesus in order to partner with Him in the tikkun olam, the repair of the world. Our best days lie before us.

Kristi McLelland, Rediscovering Israel, Pg. 232

What is God calling you to in partnership with Him in tikkun olam, the repair of the world?
Who will you share this with in your circle for accountability and intercession on your behalf?

Shop this study

Rediscovering Israel | Kristi McLelland

A 7-week study to experience Scripture as a timeless, transformational Story demonstrating Godโ€™s love and faithfulness. String the Biblical pearls to encounter the Bible as one cohesive storyline, rather than a book of stand-alone accounts.

Rediscovering Israel by Kristi McLelland - Exclusive Spring Study for Annual Members Only | Intentionalfilling.com

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