I believe every word in the Word is meaningful and holds secrets/mysteries of God we are to seek out. Even tiny words: if, for, and, but, or, then, etc. have special meaning. Another word would have been used in its place otherwise.
Therefore (that’s another one), any time I read the Word I look for words that stand out, seem strangely placed, or repeated. I ask a lot of “why” questions: Why is the word “therefore” there? What do I need to know/read before reading this (as Pastor Jon mentioned in Thursday service)?
Early this morning, I was re-reading Jude and noticed something I didn’t notice before (I love when this happens). The word “keep” is mentioned twice, “kept” three times, and its synonym “reserved” is also included. That’s six mentions of the same word but used in a different fashion. In a book as tiny as Jude, having only twenty-five verses, that tells me there is likely some importance in that little word. There are three kept/keep mentions I’m focusing on today. Jude 1:1, 1:21, and 1: 24.
As I’m typing, the Lord is reminding me of this: I was married for a time. For a time, I was a “kept” woman (in the eyes of the world). To be “kept” means to be guarded, taken care of, loved, protected, cherished, not thrown away. I am so grateful for the love of Christ because although I was not truly loved, protected, cherished or guarded by my husband, I am and forever will be kept by my Lord. All the pain of my past with my ex-husband cannot compare to the love I now have in Jesus Christ. He will never deny me, never desert me, never hurt me or cause me to be in even a potentially harmful situation. He will never throw me away or break my heart.
1. Jude starts with an introduction and a purpose. “Jude, the servant of Christ” (rather than the half-brother which he was – this shows humility, great respect and love). Written “to those in God the Father, having been loved and having been kept in Christ Jesus.” This word in the Greek means to guard, observe, watch over, preserve, properly maintain, keep intact. I always think of a car with “properly maintained” (oil, gas, clean, thorough and periodic diagnostics, tire changes and rotations, etc.). He maintains us by providing for us: The Word, food, water, spiritual and physical health, protection, growth, and emotional stability (yes, we are called to have a sound mind).
2. In verse 21, Jude tells us to keep ourselves in the love of God, waiting (patiently and preparedly) for His mercy unto eternal life in Christ. This word in the Greek means to guard, to detain, to withhold. We are to partner with God in keeping us in His care, under His wing, close to His watchful eye. Mind you, His arm is never too short to save, but if we live our lives according to what we desire in our flesh, we are walking away, slapping His hand away from saving us in our own free will. We are called to keep ourselves as He keeps us.
3. In verse 24 we end with the beautiful truth that He is “able to keep you from stumbling and present you blameless in the presence of His glory with exultation.” This keep is different from the rest. In the Greek it means to personally be on one’s guard to keep customs and regulations and protect from harm, loss, or being snatched away. It is the same idea as military guard. God Himself is personally keeping watch over us and protecting us, lest anything tries to snatch us away. John 10:28 speaks of this same thing (His Word will never contradict itself): “I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand…”
What a wonderful thing to consider, to be kept by the Lord.
(Taken from my Facebook page, Posted December, 2018