HE WHO QUICKENS THE DEAD
For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all the descendants,
not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,
(as it is written, "A father of many nations have I made you") in the sight of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. Romans 4:16-17
You may have read the above passage many times before. It is a very encouraging statement made by Paul. Yet that statement “who gives life to the dead” is recited every Shabbat in Jewish congregations worldwide. There is a prayer called the Amidah which is silently recited while standing, facing east towards Jerusalem. The Amidah is a prayer that includes eighteen benedictions called the Sh'moneh Esrey. The second benediction is "Blessed are You, O God, who revives the dead."
Long before I was a believer, I recited this prayer every Saturday at shul (Orthodox synagogue) but I had no idea what it meant, nor did I care. But faith in Messiah Yeshua Jesus changed all of that. The phrase who quickens the dead is hah-no-tayn chayeem lah-may-teem, and in Greek the root word is zo-o-po-eh-o, and its meanings include to cause to live, to give life, by spiritual power to arouse and invigorate, it is like seeds germinating into life.
Similar verses are:
The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. I Sam. 2:6
See now that I am He, and there is no God besides Me; it is I who put to death and give life. Deut. 32:39
God is in the business of misfortune reversals.
He restored Abraham's potency.
God restored Sarah's womb to bring life.
God cleanses lepers.
God causes the blind to see, the deaf to hear and the lame to walk, the mute to speak.
God causes the unsaved to become new creations,
God causes orphans to become heirs,
God causes the Gentiles to become His people.
We serve a God who is exciting. God says in Hosea:
And I will say to those who were not My people,
You are My people!
and her who was not beloved, Beloved.
And it shall be in the place where it was said to them,
'You are not My people', there they shall be called sons of the living God. Hosea 1:10, 2:23
We have a God who works 'outside of the box' (21st century translation). God delights in responding to our faith. Even though we see the religious and traditional aspect of this verse in the Sh'moneh Esrey, the meaning far surpasses any rabbinical prayer. This verse counters any 'positive spin' or 'affirmation theology' of our day. This verse testifies to our faith in the Risen Messiah, Jesus, Yeshua.
God wants us not only to have head knowledge of this verse, He wants us to experientially individually personalize this verse. He wants us to get this verse down into our innards, our 'kishka's', our guts. And the only way that He can do that is through our death to self. God's way of promotion is through death. Death to self here on earth as well as when we pass into eternity. It is by faith that we enter in. God takes everything from us, so that we may have the Beloved. There is no other way.
In hope against hope, Abraham believed, even though he was 100 years old. Imagine what faith that must have taken!
And with respect to the promise of God,
Abraham did not waver in unbelief
Abraham grew strong in faith
Abraham gave glory to God
Abraham was fully assured that what God had promised, He was able to perform. Rom. 4:18-21.
Has God given you a promise that He has not yet brought forth? Are you 100 years old? If Abraham can do it, so can you and so can I. If the unsaved Jews can recite a prayer week after week, about God who gives life from the dead, how much more should you and I believe that He will do what He says He will do?
Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works within us,
to Him be the glory in the church and in Messiah Yeshua, Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.