For His Glory!
When Will We Ever Learn?
What can we say?
Are we doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over? When will we learn from our own mistakes, the mistakes of others, and from the loving instruction of YHVH?
Reading from the book of Ezra we find some of the people, leaders included, had gone astray. They had returned from Babylonian captivity to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem, when they started the same evil practices that lead to their captivity in the first place.
Ezra 9:1-2 (NJB) …the officials approached me to say, ‘The people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, have not renounced the disgusting practices of the people of the country-the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Moabites, the Egyptians and the Amorites- since they and their sons have married some of their women, as a result of which the holy race has been contaminated by the people of the country. The officials and leaders have been the worst offenders in this act of infidelity.’
V: 3 On hearing this, I tore my clothes and my cloak; I pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down in horror…
Ezra repents of sin and recalls Yahweh’s favor:
V: 5-9 At the evening sacrifice … falling on my knees in my torn clothes and cloak, stretched out my hands to Yahweh my God, and said: ‘My God, I am ashamed; I blush to lift my face to you, my God. For our iniquities have increased, until they are higher than our heads, and our guilt has risen as high as heaven. From the days of our ancestors until now we have been deeply guilty and, because of our iniquities, we, our kings and our priests, have been handed over to the kings of other countries, to the sword, to captivity, to pillage, to shame, as is the case today. And now, for a brief moment, the favour of Yahweh our God has allowed a remnant of us to escape and given us a stable home in his holy place, so that our God can raise our spirits and revive us a little in our slavery. For we are slaves; but God has not forgotten us in our slavery; he has extended his faithful love to us even under the kings of Persia and revived us to rebuild the Temple of our God, restore its ruins and provide us with a refuge in Judah and in Jerusalem.
What can we say?
V: 10-14 But now, our God, what can we say after this? For we have abandoned your commandments, which you gave through your servants the prophets in these terms, "The country which you are about to possess is a polluted country, polluted by the people of the country and their disgusting practices, which have filled it with their filth from end to end. Hence you are not to give your daughters in marriage to their sons, or let their daughters marry your sons, or ever concern yourselves about peace or good relations with them, if you want to grow stronger, to live off the fat of the land and bequeath it to your sons for ever." ‘After all that has befallen us because of our evil deeds and our deep guilt-though you, our God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have allowed us to escape like this- are we to break your commandments again and intermarry with people with these disgusting practices? Would you not be enraged with us to the point of destroying us, leaving neither remnant nor survivor?
V: 15 Yahweh, God of Israel, you are upright. We survive only as the remnant we are today. We come before you in our guilt; because of it we cannot stand in your presence.’
The result of true confession:
Ezra 10:1 While Ezra, weeping and prostrating himself in front of the Temple of God, was praying and making confession, a very large crowd of men, women and children of Israel gathered round him, the people weeping bitterly.
The people of God repent: (True repentance requires action.)
V: 2-5 Then Shechaniah son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, spoke up and said to Ezra, ‘We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the people of the country. But, in spite of this, there is still some hope for Israel. We will make a covenant with our God to send away all the foreign wives and their children in obedience to the advice of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God. Let us act in accordance with the Law. Go ahead, do your duty; we support you. Be brave, take action!’
Then Ezra stood up and put the leading priests and Levites and all Israel on oath to do what had been said. They took the oath.
Are there any brave priests that will stand up and cry out as Ezra did? Will our church leaders come forth to acknowledge we have been disobedient to the Words of YHVH? Will the people come forth and acknowledge their error, confess their sin, and turn in repentance to the Word of Life? How else can we dwell in His presence? How else can we experience the blessings our Father wants to bestow upon us? How well do we know His Word? When will we ever learn to "Seek first the Kingdom of God"?
Our tendency is to reason around what is clearly revealed in Elohim’s Word.
Paul also gives us simple instruction; similar to the Ezra account.
- 2Co 6:14 (NAS) Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
- Ro 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?
- Ro 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET.
- Ro 9:14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!
The Almighty gave His instruction book to us, to instruct us. He gave us His Son to Redeem us. He gave us His Spirit to guide us in all truth (John 16:13).
What is the solution to our tendency to sin?
Romans 8:10-11 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
V: 12-13 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh-for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
V: 14-16 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God…
As we approach the Passover season, it is our hearts desire that you will examine your walk with your Creator and see if you are adhering to His instruction. All Scripture is for our instruction. The book of Ezra is clear, we need to acknowledge when we stray from His Word, confess, and return to the One that redeems us. How? By following His instructions - His Word.
How will you know when you are obedient to His Word?
Yeshua says: Matthew 7:20 "So then, you will know them by their fruits.
Paul tells us: Galatians 5:19-26 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
May YHVH bless your time in His Word and your walk in the Spirit Matthew 3:8 "Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;
Proverbs 14:9 Fools mock at sin, But among the upright there is good will.
Proverbs 13:13 The one who despises the word will be in debt to it, But the one who fears the commandment will be rewarded.
Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
"Yet this I well remember, that though I could myself sin with the greatest delight and ease, and also take pleasure in the vileness of my companions; yet, even then, if I have at any time seen wicked things, by those who professed goodness, it would make my spirit tremble. As once, above all the rest, when I was in my height of vanity, yet hearing one to swear that was reckoned for a religious man, it had so great a stroke upon my spirit, that it made my heart to ache." (Grace Abounding - John Bunyan)
What a travesty; those professing redemption setting a wicked example. Can others tell we walk differently than the rest of the world?
1Timothy 5:15 for some have already turned aside to follow Satan.
Are we following our Savior?
Revelation 14:4 These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes…
In our pursuit of humility:
"Are you clothed with humility? Look at your daily life. Ask your friends about it. Begin to praise God that there is opened to you in Jesus a heavenly humility that you have hardly known..." Andrew Murray
Andrew Murray sees the absolute need for professing saints to walk in all humility. That humility is only found in Yeshua. The saints of YHVH will not look and act like the rest of the world. We must enter the narrow gate and walk the narrow way; it is only in and through Yeshua that one can be truly humble.
Soft drinks are also called pop because the bottle caps used prior to the 1890’s made a popping noise when removed from the bottle.
In the middle of fault is ‘U’
Charm is a way of getting the answer "yes" without asking a clear question. Albert Camus
Words are the small change of thought. Jules Renard
When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. Kikuyu proverb
Money is a good servant but a bad master. French proverb
If everything would be permitted to me, I would feel lost in this abyss of freedom. Igor Stravinsky
Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now-always. Albert Schweitzer
Faith is like radar that sees through the fog-the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see. Corrie Ten Boom
A few words from visionary Steven Wright:
- All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand
- I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met
- Ok, so what’s the speed of dark?
- Shin: a device for finding furniture in the dark
- Many people quit looking for work when they find a job
- I intend to live forever - so far, so good
- Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines
- When I’m not in my right mind, my left mind gets pretty crowded
- What happens if you get scared half to death twice?
- The hardness of the butter is proportional to the softness of the bread
- The severity of the itch is proportional to the reach
- The sooner you fall behind the more time you will have to catch up
- A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory
Making a Right Choice
Getting up early every morning was not difficult for John. He was usually the first one at work and one of the last to leave. Having no family, his job and co-workers were like family to him.
John was a nominal Christian. He attended church and claimed to have quoted the sinners prayer and accepted Jesus into his life. Yet there was little to distinguish between him and the rest of his co-workers, Christian or not.
Not having many other friends he worked hard to impress those at the office. His early arrival would allow him to get the coffee started and put out the cookies he made or had purchased. Of course this would bring Ooh’s and Aah’s from the others as they gathered around the coffee pot when work began.
John would bone up on all the latest sport events, TV programs and the latest news to spark conversation with his fellow employees. At heart John was a decent fellow but was lonely for companionship; so he tried his best to please others even when they would criticize or belittle him.
John never seemed to catch on that several fellow workers were giving him work they did not want to do or send him off on errands to make it easier on themselves. Taking advantage of John was an office practice that was wearing on John. He had a tough time telling others no because it was difficult for him to make right decisions or choices.
It was late one evening as John was picking up some dry-cleaning for a co-worker when he passed a church having an evening service. There was the joyful sound of singing coming from the open door as he walked past. The words about ‘Peace’ penetrated his heart. He had no real peace as he was so uncertain about most everything; above all he was very lonely.
Turning around John walked up the steps and entered the church. He slipped into a back pew with his bundle of goods. They were just finishing a song about the ‘Joy of Thy Salvation’. As he seated himself he wondered about the joy of his salvation. There were only about two dozen people there, mostly adults, in the front rows. The leader invited John to join the group as they were about to discuss the attributes of the saints of God. John moved up to the second row and tried not to be too obvious; it was relaxing just to stop for a while and be seated.
The leader took a chair and seated himself on the main floor near the first row. There was a prayer. Then the question was asked how would one recognize a fellow Christian. John was content just to listen and did not offer an answer. There were statements about dress and conduct; about love and associations; about coping with life during good times and bad; about prayer life and Bible study.
The one thing John could not help but notice was the response of this group; their joy, assuredness, confidence and their tranquility. They had open Bibles and used Scripture to back up their comments. "I don’t think my life represents what they are saying." John thought. "So maybe I am not bearing true spiritual fruit, like they are describing here."
Under the careful direction of the leader, it was made clear that a true saint of God would walk as Messiah walked; they would be humble and the life and light of the Savior would be evident in the saint’s life. It would be the power of His Spirit that would bear the fruit of righteousness. That through a prayerful relationship with Him there would be the peace and the wisdom to make wise and right choices.
That was what John wanted. He was soon on the edge of the pew giving his full attention. After the closing prayer the others gathered around John to introduce themselves, wanting to meet him. Their genuine interest encouraged John to ask about their next meeting and if he could join them.
It was not long until a real change was evident in John’s life. It was not the sports and the TV that he boned up on for the office, but Scripture. He spent time in prayer. He began to tell his fellow co-workers ‘no’, when they were taking up his time for their advantage. Oh, he was at work early yet, because he wanted to put in a full days work for his employer, not to impress his fellow workers.
But he did impress his co-workers. His dedication, hard work, his confidence and sense of purpose was evident and they wanted to know why. This gave John the opportunity to tell them about the grace of God and what it could do for them as well.
All of this did not happen overnight. It takes time to build a true relationship. It all starts with a desire, a desire so great that it is everything in your life. Want to find the true purpose in life? To find the comfort and peace that things cannot bring? Turn to the source of eternal life, Yeshua the Messiah, who can turn your life around.
"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33
1. Encourage each another with these words - 1 Thessalonians 4:18
2. Judges - Judges 21:25
3. Ai - Joshua 7:4-5
4. Those who hunger now - Luke 6:21
5. To hold the stone tablets bearing the Ten Commandments - Deuteronomy 10:1-5
6. Josiah - 2 Kings 23:29
7. Yeshua (Jesus) - Luke 18:16
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