Month 2:29, Week 4:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5939:058 AM|
2Exodus 1/40, Omer Count Sabbath #6
Gregorian Calendar: Tuesday 27 May 2014
Gardens and Helpmeets
Repairing the Breaches in Messiah
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el. We assemble now to hear Yahweh's Davar (Word) to us.
My apologies before I start to Pastor Agoi of the Kenya Mission whom I promised I would today speak about the Fivefold Ministry. I will fulfil my promise to him tomorrow. I have been told instead to give you a different message today, a very hard message, yet a true message, and a very important message. I cannot tell you how stronly the Ruach (Spirit) burns in me as I deliver this message to you. On this occasion I ask you not to interrupt me with questions before I have finished, however hard that might be.
An Important Message
This message may hurt some at first but it will also set them free if they embrace it. I do have that assurance and can make that promise. If it hurts anyone it is because they have believed a lie of Satan, a lie, like all his other lies, that turns emet (truth) on its head and causes men and women to pursue not only unrealistic but also ultimately unattainable goals. I don't often choose to fast before writing and delivering a sermon but today's is so important, such a critical marker of emet (truth), that I am doing so today. It's message strikes at the heart of why we are all here, and I don't mean at this assembly, but why we are on this earth.
Not Sent to Be Loved - We Already Are
Yahweh did not send us here to be loved. He did not send us here to love us. The reason that he did not send us here to love us was because we were already loved by Him before we came. He sent us here to serve. It as we serve Him that the ahavah (love) that was already given to us, and is already, in fact, here becomes visible to us. Serving turns on the tap, the faucet, the spiggot - because it is the first of the mitzvot (commandments), that we love and serve Him, so as we do this, the fountain bursts upon our scene and waters our garden. This is not an emotional thing, another mistake commonly made, though emotions flow out of this emet (truth), but immensely practical.
We're Not in Control
If we miss this emet (truth) none of our dreams will play out the way we planned them. They quite simply can't. The ocean of life is far bigger than we are individually, as the One who created us is far bigger than the ocean of life. Like it or not, no matter what our circumstances, we don't in fact have very much control over anything. It is those who don't believe this, who refuse to believe this, who think that they are the masters of their own destiny, don't understand, or do so after it is too late. Will is not unimportant, but its use was designed for a purpose not our own. We choose to will our lives to be in Yahweh's service or our own. One of the most important realisations any man or woman can have in this life is that however much control we think we may have over life and our circumstances, we in actual fact don't.
Anyone who has sat down and tried to calculate the alternatives, to where he or she is currently, will admit that there aren't many alternatives, even for those people who have a lot of money and power. Look at where people with money and power have allowed their lives to be taken. Look at the people at the top. How many of them are serving Yahweh and doing His will? How many of them are truly satisfied and happy?
The Reality Behind the Comedian
Yesterday I started watching a documentarty on one of my favourite British comedians, Tommy Cooper. Many of you know him. He had a child-like innocence that made people laugh, and they loved him for it. You only had to look at him and people would be at ease and feel at home. I still do every time I watch or listen to him. But deep down he was a desperately unhappy and miserable man. He was an alcoholic. He beat his wife up. He loathed his manager. His stage act was just that - an act, a pretense. He did not know or find the way that leads to eternal life, and to peace and contentment. Indeed it was American comedian Bill Cosby who told a hard emet (truth) when he said "we tell jokes because we want to be accepted". I suppose that is better than those who tell no jokes at all because they have already decided they are unacceptable, but it's still an uncomfortable reality. Some of you may disagree with that but I am assuming a professional comedian like Cosby knows what he is talking about.
The Poor Case of the Will: In Ashes
If it is true that we don't actually have control over our lives other than to make the usual micro decisions to get up at such and such a time, or do this task or that task each day, then it means the really big decisions we made were either willed by Yahweh for our good or pressed by the Enemy for our evil yet permitted by Yahweh as correctives. And if that is true, what is left for us to do? What is our purpose? Hitler and those who he converted threw their energy into building a Thousand Year Reich. He commissioned the making of a famous propaganda film called Triumph of the Will. Was he in control of that? Not if we believe his own testimonies to confidants. He was driven, and his will did not, in any case, lead to triumph, did it? The works of man always end up in ashes. What happened to the Soviet dream? Gone, in ashes. What happened to the British Enmpire? Gone, in ashes. What is about to happen to the American Empire? In a few years, people will be saying the same thing. Gone, in ashes. Look at the careers of the celebrities - great rock stars like Elvis Presley who was adored by millions. Where is his popularity today even after his death?. Aside from a handful of devotees, gone, in ashes.
The Tragedy of Suicide
People have not understood, have they? They have not realised by we are here. And if we are not ultimately in control, even seen from the most pessimistic point-of-view, what is there realistically left to do? Commit suicide? No, because even the planned result of that is not under our control. Those who do so make huge assumptions as to what the final end of suicide is, but it isn't at all what they supposed. Though some may succeed in taking their lives, they do not control what follows on the other side of mortality.
The Two Choices
No, brethren and sisters, we do not have control. We only have one two choices to make. The first choice is to follow self, and self does not, I am unhappy to say, lead to good things. It's simply slavery to the flesh which ultimately is slavery to the enemy of our souls. The other choice, simply stated by the great sage of Israel while he remained wise, which he came to understand by at first pursuing self, was as follows:
What is a Life Span?
"Fear Elohim (God) and obey His mitzvot (commandments); there is no more to man than this. For Elohim (God) brings everything we do to judgement, and every secret, whether good or bad" (Eccl.11:13-14, NEB).
To the cynic, to the one who lacks emunah (faith), to the one who finds it hard to trust anyone or anything, let alone a Being he finds hard to interact with and actually concretely experience, this may not seem a very appealing option, especially if life has overall gone pretty well for him. That's part of the problem, because if you define life in terms of only what you see, or in terms of a fixed timespan called mortality, then you are not going to have a true perspective of things anyway. That's a bit like someone serving a stint in the army who believes that life began when he joined and that life will end when he leaves. But as all soldiers know, we are not born into the army and neither do we die in it (at least not in peace time). We are recruited (or conscripted) and then we are discharged (or die in battle). Leaving aside the one who dies on the battlefield, when an old soldier is discharged, and finds himself back in the world from where he originally came, for whatever reason, he at once finds life very, very different to the one he knew as a soldier. He both hates and misses the discipline and orderliness, the apparent certainties that come from yielding yourself to higher command. Many can't cope. It's the same for long-term prisoners who are released having served their time. Many find it hard to readjust.
What is Our Purpose Here?
Those who mentally construct a worldview based on the claim that life begins at birth and ends at death with nothing on either side will naturally be shocked to discover that their worldview was far too narrow. Yahweh says that this world not only isn't the beginning and end of everything there is to know and experience, but He also days that it isn't even the main thing. In fact, the purpose of our being here is not at all unlike serving in the army - it's simply a block of time in eternity, and actually a compartitively small one at that. Perhaps my own experience is a better illustration for my service in the army was a matter of weeks only. I was in and out like a flash as a cadet trying out the 'real thing' in Germany. That tiny flash in my life is a distant memory. It's almost as though it didn't exist. From the perspective of eternity, that's a bit like this life too, but with one major difference: the choices we make down here, and particularly the fundamental choice to follow or not follow Yah'shua (Jesus), determines the quality of our life for the rest of eternity.
Never Too Late
And if that is true - which is something every individidual must find out for him- or herself - then clearly understanding more about the purpose of this life is of paramount importance. It's never too late, moreover, even if you believe you have wasted your life. You can still do what needs to be done, and must be done.
The Fisherman and the Fish
The thing about being here in mortality and making that critical decision to follow Yah'shua (Jesus), is that we do it His way or not at all. You cannot resist Yahweh - whether as a professed believer or an actual unbeliever - and ever hope to win. You can enlist with the Enemy, usually unknowingly by choosing self (because that's how 99% of his enlistment strategy works), but in the end the Most High reels us in like a fish on the end of a fishing line, and He reels us in for judgment. There's no escaping it. That we have freedom to do whatever we want in the ultimate sense is total illusion. We may not like that, and perhaps even resent it, but the fish being reeled in with a hook in his mouth and facing an irresistable pull on the line taking him where he does not want to go, does not make the slightest bit of difference and only prolomgs the agony. Of course the fish doesn't know whether the fisherman is going to bash him on the head and then cook and eat him or not, or whether he is going to be released again, as some are. The analogy is admittedly limited but in the general sense it makes an important point - Yahweh will reel us in no matter how much control we believe we have over our destiny, for as so many people will tell you, even if their lives have been going wonderfully for years or even decades, things can suddenly change overnight, and then the big questions start flowing, don't they. Why? Why me? What did I do to deserve this?
The Outrage of the Flesh
Maybe why you were being reeled in was because the river you were so happily swimming in carefree was heading for dangerous rapids. There are many reasons we are reeled in and the progress of our lives abruptly ended. You'll in most cases not get the answers you are begging Him for because you're asking the wrong questions. The fact is, we only have freedom up to a point - we can philosophise ad infinitum whether that is good or not but get nowhere. Only the fisherman has that perspective. We may think it outrageous that we do not have the freedom we expect and not a few judge Elohim (God) for being capricious for not allowing us to have it. But that is foolishness in the extreme. The ant can no more understand why I burned out his anthill than we can understand why Yahweh allows this or that to happen. There are reasons, and they are loving reasons even if a lot of pain may be involved for us. And part of the reason we resent the pain is because we have forgotten why we agreed to come down here in the first place. The deal was not that we were to be sent on a wonderful vaccation. The deal was that we are here to make important choices that affect our destiny in the eternities. We may not like that arrangement, particularly while we are in our ignorance, but that does not change - and will never change - the way the universe was created to work.
Let us deal with sober realities, and you can take what I say or you can leave it. You can go and experiment if you want, as many do, and regret it. Actually, we all experiment to some extent, but the wise don't do too much of that because they observe negative consequences on those who do. We are in the vast world and we are set in a field. The field is what we are to labout in - to till, plant, water and harvest. We're not here to go cruising around the world for our pleasure - it's just a temporary stay. We may be called to move to another field once we have done what we were supposed to have done in the first field. Yahweh has shown me personally that I have three fields. I am just starting in my third and last one. Nothing else, for me, matters. If I go outside that field and 'do my own thing' I know it will not go well. Indeed, I might not even be allowed to return to that field, for my own good and the good of others! If I leave it I might even go to destruction. So I stay in my field because I know this is where I have been called. Yahweh has given be companions, helpers, helpmeets in this field. Likewise their calling is in this field and if they choose to leave it, they must answer to the consequences over which I have no control whatsoever. No one is forced into the field - they are either led by Yahweh into it and can choose to stay or they are led by Satan into it in order to destroy. But it's His field, not mine. I am just a gardener with a stewardship. Whether people choose to come and stay or come and then go is a matter of inviolable free will which no sane man or woman of Elohim (God) dares to interfere with.
Satisfied With Our Lot
Now we can choose to be very happy with the field Yahweh has placed us in or we can choose to resent it and want something 'better' or indeed just something different. We can choose to accept or resent, we can choose to be pleased with His choice for us or to resent it and demand something else. We have all had discussions about this in many different ways over the years. We have all dreamed of being 'somewhere else' at least once in our lives! We have to trust Him in this, that He knows what is best for us, for those we are responsible for, and for the others coming to dine at our table long- or short-term. Yahweh has already ordered everything for our maximum benefit and to complain that we are lacking in this or that is simply a lack of emunah (faith) and gratitude. Nothing is ever 'ideal' in terms of creature comforts anyway and wasn't supposed to be. The abundance and surplus as well as the limitations and deficiencies are equally designed for our good. Pauline thorns are permitted to keep us humble because once given a surplus, humans have a tendency to go overboard and break through all the boundaries of carefully exercised self-restraint that once served them so well in the days of their lack. We're all potentially stupid, once we yield to the flesh and its temptations, so the fences and the occasional lack are for our own welfare ultimately. We are wise if we recognise that.
Oil and Water
Does anyone really seriously believe they can reorganise the universe for their benefit? How about the world as a whole? How about our country? Or local community? Perhaps one or two, but not the most of us. Our own benefit isn't even the issue. To charge off like an untamed bull out of the field and into a neighbouring one is not only going to leave a deficiency in the field thus abandoned (forcing someone else to increase their load) but cause over-crowding and discontent in the field the bulls wasn't supposed to be in in the first place. Look at the chaos one man in the White House has caused the United States and the world! Like oil trying to make its home with water, it simply cannot be. We can shake ourselves around in the hope that we will coalesce with the water but it is a project in vain. It cannot work. If a combining of two unlikely substances like oil and water is to take place, only Yahweh can do it. He has yet to bring Judah and Ephraim together - that should be fun given their polarities! But He will do it in His way and it will work, as it was always ordained to work, provided the two remember whose interests they are serving. Leah and Rachel could not have been more different, but Yahweh planned to make twelve tribes through them and their maids. Whatever is Yahweh's plan, however seemingly hopeless and impossible in human terms it may appear to us, it will happen but we are not to dictate the terms or the methods. Only at that point of real surrender to Him does the impossible become possible, only when we do things His way and in His divine tavnith do things begin to work for us.
The Gardener and Helpmeet
So what does Yahweh expect? What does He want? He wants Adam to be the gardner and Eve to be the helpmeet. We in our turn are Yahweh's allegorical 'helpmeets', not the team leaders. Unless Adam jealously guards his Yahweh-appointed rôle as gardener and unless Eve jealously guards her Yahweh' appointed rôle as helpmeet, chaos and misery will burst into Paradise and they will be driven out of it - once more Yahweh made the gardener first, the helpmeet after.
First Things First
These two things come first - the gardener and the helpmeet. The realisation that the two were soulmates did not come until later. If you try to do it the other way round, you're following Hollywood's agenda and Satan's plan. "Seek first the kingdom of Elohim (God) and His righteousness" (Matt.6:33, NKJV). Kingdom gardening and helpmeeting first, soulmatery after.
Isaac and Rebekah
Isaac did not head off to Haran for a whirlwind romance though he would have had Hollywood scripted it. And neither was Rebekah waiting for Prince Charming to come cantering in on his camel. So how did it work? What is Yahweh's tavnith (pattern)? Isaac accepted that Yahweh would pick his bride for him through his father Abraham, and Abraham entrusted his servant Eliezer with the task. When Rebekah made her choice she looked for the hand of Yahweh, not for the whirlwind romance. The two had never seen one another, they had no clue whose faces they would be looking into when they met. But one thing they did know was that Yahweh was in charge.
Jacob and Wives
When Jacob got Leah before Rachel, he got the shock of his life, but does anyone doubt that Yahweh permitted his father-in-law to cheat him? Jacob had the Hollywood bug - soulmatery with Rachel came first - and he wheeled and dealed until Yahweh beat the fleshy way out of him. And finally, at Peniel, he decided that Yahweh's blessing was more important than anything else. He didn't know it, but he was laying his name, Jacob, on the altar of sacrifice - his reputation, his possessions, his character, his perceptions, his hopes, his all - not knowing he would be getting a new name, Israel, or what that might imply.
Contracts Afar Off
When we wait as Isaac for the result, and as we wait as Rebekah waited, neither knowing that the choice would be made for them, yet accepting it in trust, then amazing things happen. Isaac accepted his father's arrangements and Rebekah made her choice far, far away without the benefit of an I-phone to check the prospective groom out. There was no courtship. There was only trust. The contract - the lifelong betrothal contract which could not be dissolved - was made while they were yet far away from one another.
It's the same way with us, for we made our contracts in heaven before we came here like Isaac and Rebekah - contracts with Yahweh, contracts with spouses, and doubtless contracts with those with whom we would serve in the mission fields of Yah's choosing. We are living out and confirming - or turning our backs on and rejecting - choices made long before mortality.
The Result of Following Tavnith
How, then, are we to do it? We are to curl up at Boaz's feet like Ruth in search of a kinsman-redeemer so save us from our emptiness and loneliness. We are to fall at David's feet like Abigail and ask for his shem tov or good name (Isa.4:1). When Isaac and Rebekah did it Yahweh's way and in Yahweh's tavnith (pattern), what was the result? Everything that either could have ever wanted, and especially Rebekah. For it is written:
Guard Your Turf, Guard Your Wives
"Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her" (Gen.24:67, NKJV).
A true man of Yah guards his garden fiercely, and he guards his helpmeet the same way. Satan did not attempt to separate Adam from his garden, did he? He attempted to separate Adam from his helpmeet. He stole his helpmeet by deceiving her and becoming a substitute authority figure for both Adam and Yahweh. Then Adam faced a terrible choice - to stay with the garden and with Yahweh or stay with the helpmeet whom he had earlier so much longed for while alone in the garden. Woe unto anyone, human or demon, who steals a man's helpmeet! His fate is that as spoken by Micah:
"They shall lick the dust like a serpent; they shall crawl from their holes like snakes of the earth. They shall be afraid of Yahweh our Elohim (God), and shall fear..." (Mic.7:17, NKJV).
Those who steal helpmeets (adulterers) lick the dust like a serpent and live in fear. They are dead men or condemned malakim (angels) - demons. Adam made the wrong choice because he loved Eve more than Yahweh - he was not deceived by the serpent as Eve was (1 Tim.2:14), we willfully chose to be disobedient. Arguably he should have been keeping a closer eye on Eve, knowing she was vulnerable. Perhaps that was a fault of his too, for the woman is the weaker of the two genders (1 Pet.3:7) and the man's responsibility is to guard and protect her. Of all the failings we have, these are probably the greatest - not defending our gardens - our marriages, our congregations - and the worst that believers can do is to steal the affections of one another from Yahweh to whom alone all worship is due. Marriages and congregations have been destroyed because of these things.
Messing Up and Repairing the Breach
Yes, Adam and Eve messed up, but Yahweh provided a way out for them - and for the whole human face that would follow - by providing a Kinsman-Redeemer, one of their own human stock, yet Divine. That's how you mix oil and water, a Judahite Boaz with a Moabite Ruth! To repair the breach because Eve was deceived and because Adam failed to protect her and disobeyed the mitzvah (commandment) not to partake of forbidden fruit, Yahweh provided His Son - his One and Only - to die for us and restore us upon repenting, surrendering and casting ourselves at his feet like Abigail, curling up at Boaz's feet like Ruth or going with Eliezer like Rebekah. Yahweh has made a way if we will but choose to accept it, in emunah (faith), nothing doubting, not trying to modify his ways to suit our carnal lusts or fears. But first we must become sumbitted servants to King and Kingdom, helpmeets to husbands - serving Him and one another, and then we become or realise that we were always soulmates - friends. We have forgotten so much and must simply trust.
"As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My ahavah (love). If you keep My mitzvot (commandments), you will abide in My ahavah (love), just as I have kept My Father's mitzvot (commandments) and abide in His ahavah (love). These things I have spoken to you, that My simcha (joy) may remain in you, and that your simcha (joy) may be full. This is My mitzvah (commandment), that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater ahavah (love) has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another" (John 15:9-17, NKJV).
Now make things right, acknowledge the breaches, and fix them through Yah'shua (Jesus) the Redeemer. Amen.