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167 Hours of the "Weak"

Some numbers are common in our day-to-day lives which readily have significance to each of us. Take for example, "8 hours". For most, this is the workday and the recommended number of hours of sleep. Of course "24" is a very common and well known number - the number of hours of the day. Another often seen in the popular press is "86,400" - the number of seconds in a day. And only if you lived under a rock in recent years, "525,600" is well known as the number of minutes in a year, popularized in the 1994 Broadway play "RENT".

But here is a number you've likely never heard before. The number is: "168". Go on...Admit it. You have no idea what "168" refers to. Though you have no clue, it is an important number in your lives! OK, to end the suspense...168 is the number of hours in one week. "Oh" you say? "Why is that so important?"

To state the obvious, 168 is 7 x 24. Seven days in the week, 24 hours per day, totals 168 hours. Big deal? It is a big deal! Because in that 168 hours, you spend 56 sleeping, 40 working (typically), 21 watching TV (3 hours each night), approximately 12 during meal times (about 34 min per meal), 3 hours (more or less) in your commute to and from work, and 4 hours either getting ready for work, or getting ready for bed. That leaves only 32 hours each week of "free" time. Just when is there time for YHWH?

Let's talk about this a minute. "When is there time for YHWH?"

The typical Christian will spend 1 of those unclaimed 32 hours at Church. In perspective that's a lot isn't it? After all, with only 32 hours "free" all week, one hour at church is a large part of that! Well, in reality, 1 hour is only 3.1% of 32 hours, and only a paltry 0.6% of the 168 hours of the whole week. In perspective, 21 hours of TV watching is 12.5% of the week. One could look at it this way: The typical church-goer spends 21 times more each week watching TV than in communion with the Word. So, no, 1 hour a week at church is not much.

Let's look at what YHWH asks for.

First, He asks us to keep his Sabbath. Go look it up. There are at least 12 verses in the Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy) where YHWH directly commands us to keep the Sabbath. Many more scriptures address the importance of the Sabbath with an implied command that it be kept. The Sabbath is sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, so simply keeping the Sabbath gains us approximately 12 hours of the 168 with YHWH! (We can't count the Sabbath as "24 hours" because we still eat and sleep over the course of the Sabbath day.)

Second, He asks us to think about and study His teachings all the time! All the time? Yes!

Deuteronomy 6: 1 "Now this is the mitzvah, the laws and rulings which YHWH your God ordered me to teach you for you to obey in the land you are crossing over to possess, 2 so that you will fear YHWH your God and observe all his regulations and mitzvot that I am giving you - you, your child and your grandchild - as long as you live, and so that you will have long life. 3 Therefore listen, Isra'el, and take care to obey, so that things will go well with you, and so that you will increase greatly, as YHWH, the God of your ancestors, promised you by giving you a land flowing with milk and honey. 4 "שמע (Sh'ma), Yisra'el! YHWH Eloheinu, YHWH echad [Hear, Isra'el! YHWH our God, YHWH is one]; 5 and you are to love YHWH your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources. 6 These words, which I am ordering you today, are to be on your heart; 7 and you are to teach them carefully to your children. You are to talk about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them on your hand as a sign, put them at the front of a headband around your forehead, 9 and write them on the door-frames of your house and on your gates.

What is He saying in these verses? He is telling us all to live by His rules - His Torah. He is telling us that this is the way it is - forever. He is adamant about this saying "take care to obey", and to "to love YHWH your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources". This is so important to YHWH that He goes on, clarifying just what He means: "These words, which I am ordering you today, are to be on your heart; and you are to teach them carefully to your children. You are to talk about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

We cannot "love YHWH your God with all our heart, all our being and all our resources" if we are not taking the time to think about Him, His Word, and His desires. Above, I've bolded some key words. Let's look at these in order:

Words: "These words..." are not just common "words" as you would receive from your boss, spouse, friend or teacher. These are "THE" Words - the Torah. These words are from YHWH himself - His teachings and instruction.

Ordering: Here the word "ordering" is a commandment. He is mandating His words as rules and regulations to live by. They are not "suggestions".

On your heart: With His words on your heart, you will be inclined to obey them. If His words "live" only in the Bible sitting on your shelf at home only to be carried back and forth, once a week to church, then they are not going to be "on your heart".

Teach them: You can't teach what you don't know, so to "teach" His words, you must be studying them!

Talk: Lot's of room for improvement here! To talk about His Words, is to speak to others about them. Today, we have such fantastic conveniences to do this, people of old would be astounded what we can do. Today we have land-line telephones, cell phones, "Twitter", "Facebook", "blogs", e-mail, "SMS" (that's what you do when you send text from your cell phone) as well as good ol' face-to-face.

When you sit at home: Embarrassing isn't it? YHWH asks you, no, actually commands you, to talk about His words when you sit at home. That 3 hours a night in front of the TV does not count!

Traveling on the road: Here again we have many advantages over days of old. Today, we have all the modern electronic conveniences we want to listen to and study His Word while travelling. You already know these convenience electronics, you use them all the time! Start putting them to use to obey YHWH while "traveling on the road"! And be grateful that while doing so you have the comfort and blessing of air conditioning and heating!

Lie down: Yes, just before you go to bed is another opportunity to delve into the Word. Whether that is reading some scripture or talking to your spouse, just before "lights out" is plenty of time for a quick study.

Get up: What better way to start your day than to begin with studying the Word! Turning to the scriptures for a few minutes before venturing out or to work will make for a most pleasant day that goes well! (Remember, one of the reasons YHWH declares for obeying Him is so that things will go well with you!)

One more thing. In Deuteronomy 6, verse 4 (above), "Sh'ma, Yisra'el" has a special meaning. First, you are Yisra'el. This is not the country of Israel, nor the "Hebrews" nor the "Jews" - it is the "people" - anyone who is "grafted in" through Messiah Yeshua! Yisra'el is anyone who follows the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - natural born or "foreigner" - anyone who has chosen YHWH as their one and only God. Let no one tell you this is not true! You are Yisra'el!

Second, the Hebrew word שמע ("Sh'ma", sometimes written as "Shema"), most often translated simply as "hear" which does not do the word justice! "Sh'ma" actually means "hear and do". So the phrase "Sh'ma, Yisra'el" means to "hear these words, these instructions, and DO THEM." The importance of these two, simple words cannot be overstressed! As a follower of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, YHWH commands you to hear and obey His commands - to do as He asks. He's certainly not asking for "lip service", i.e., calling yourself a "believer" yet doing nothing to show it!

So all together, simply surrounding yourself with the Word each day of the week, you have the opportunity to vastly improve upon the number of hours you spend with YHWH! Of the 168 hours each week we have for our precious lives on earth, making the effort to talk about them when we sit at home, when we are traveling on the road, when we lie down and when we get up, we can all come closer to YHWH's desire.

Who knows? If we could accumulate just 16.8 hours each week with YHWH, we would be giving 10% of our time to Him! A "tithe" of ourselves to YHWH!

And 10% would be a far better number than the 0.6% each week (remember, that's only 1 hour!) that many are presently giving their respective church or synagogue. To be fair, many attend "Bible Studies" in their churches, synagogues and homes, so for them, the number of hours they spend with YHWH is greater than the average 0.6%, maybe even double!

But for most, 1 hour simply leaves "167 in the weak."