Month 6:14, Week 2:6 (Sheshi/Kippur), Year:Day 5940:161 AM|
2Exodus 3/40, Yovel - Year 50/50 - Teshuvah 14/39
Gregorian Calendar: Thursday 15 September 2016
Christians Who Can't Settle
Who are the Wanderers?
During my 30 of so years of ministering I have come across a lot of believers who might aptly be called 'nomads' or 'wanderers'. They enjoy the spiritual journey and the fellowship along the way but they can never quite manage to settle anywhere. Their reasons for doing so may differ but a unifying factor in this behaviour of usually an unwillingness to commit and become accountable.
Those Wandering Against Their Will
Wanderers have always existed and will probably exist until Yah'shua (Jesus) returns. We're told to bless those forced into the nomadic lifestyle because of proverty and desperate circumstances:
The Honest Nomads
"...share your food with the hungry and ... provide the poor wanderer with shelter" (Isa.58:7, NIV).
The world is full of displaced people because of persecution, war, famine, natural disaster or economic catastrophe. We are to help them as and when we are able when Yahweh places them across our path - the bona fide refugees (as opposed to economic opportunists looking for something for nothing and jihadists who are practicing deception in order to wage war and kill), the homeless, and so on. There are plenty of persecuted Christians on the run whose natural choice would not be to wander. They would rather be at home, raising their families, earning an honest wage and building the Messianic Community (Church). Why Yahweh permits such to be displaced is not always clear to us but there are most certainly reasons. All that those in such circumstances can do is to pray for deliverance and to be directed where He wants them to go.
Nomadism for Cleansing and Punishment
There may be times when Yahweh forces His people into a nomadic way of life in order to achieve a higher purpose like spiritual cleansing. He did so with the Israelites for 40 years because they would not be obedient. He cursed Cain to be an unsettled bedouin after he had murdered his younger brother, saying:
Therefore some nomadism is a direct punishment from Yahweh.
"You will be a restless wanderer on the earth" (Gen.4:12, NIV).
An Oxford Wanderer
My message today is not for any of the aforementioned groups of believers but to those who refuse to settle down. I have often told the story of the man I met in Oxford who decided to get baptised into every church he could find in the hope that one of them might be the right one and that he would be saved thereby. His wrong theology aside, his real problem was an unwillingness to do any theological work or find out where Yahweh actually wanted him to be. I don't know what became of him but unless he was willing to make some life and attitude changes, it was clear to me then that he would be a perpetual wanderer like Cain.
The drifters from one church or messianic assembly to another may think of themselves as honest searchers but in my experience they are not listening to Yahweh and are making excuses. The most common excuse is that they are looking for the 'perfect congregation'. I promise you, you'll never find it, which deep down some of these spiritual nomads may actually know and are using it as an excuse not to commit to anyone. Everywhere you go you will find imperfect people and that's the 'problem' for the perfectionists - they're looking for the perfect people or perfect congregations, usually built in their own image because typically they fail to either realise or acknowledge that they are as imperfect as the ones they look down on and move on from.
I once went through the phase of asking Yahweh to lead me to His 'true Church' because I had been taught to think that way by several who claimed to be the 'one and only true church or organisation'. Each had different sets of criteria for being the 'one and only' and as I look back on what their claims actually were, I have to laugh at the ridiculousness of it. Certainly seeking true doctrine is important but as Tozer once remarked:
Alive and Happy
Though certainly not unimportant (in fact, it is very important), a right heart and soul attitude, which brings about heavenly approbation and Ruach/Spirit-filling, is more important than correct theology. But equally there are dangers for those seeking experience without the guiderails of correct theology. Just because people are 'alive' and 'happy' doesn't mean that the emet (truth) has been found or that Yahweh is even present in it.
Last night I watched the documentary, Holy Hell about the Buddhafield cult in America. It was extremely instructive and I recommend you view it to better understand what I am trying here to warn people against. In fact, as many of you know, we have been examining a new charistamtic Christian group called Last Reformation which pose these sorts of questions - they are 'alive' but also lawless and engaging in practices specifically condemned by Scripture. Yet the signs and wonders they are performing are converting once level-headed Scripture-based believers.
The Fear or Nomadists
I mentioned this in the context of settling down in a congregation (which is absolutely necessary for a certain kind of spiritual growth which nomadism never provides) because I think a lot of people - with some justification - are scared of being deceived and ending up in a cult. And whilst there are certainly a lot of such dangerous (and some less dangerous) groups around, such an attitude really demonstrates a lack of emunah (faith) - it's saying that Yahweh can't lead you to the place He wants you to be in.
A Place For Everyone
I have been in all sorts of Christian and Messianic groups throughout my early days and I can look back in reprospect and see there was purpose in the midst of such imperfection. The coming forth of the Remnant in purity and emet (truth) is always by degrees. The day will come when it is gathered and 'right-er' than the Body of Messiah has been since the New Testament fellowship but until then there is a place we are supposed to be - all of us.
Two Things to Do
Two things stand out for me as far as believers settling down are concerned:
- 1. Ask Yahweh where He wants you to be now and go there;
- 2. Assume, until you know better, that it's permanent, but don't live with your luggage packed under your bed ready to leave at a moment's notice.
I guarantee Yahweh will tell you where He wants you to be at this very moment of time if you honestly ask Him, listen carefully, and obey the Ruach (Spirit). He may tell you it is only temporary (though I have never in all my life heard anyone testify of that) and if you believe that you need to tell the assembly you attach yourself to that that's what you believe. Anything else would be dishonest. A congregation is a family and if it's a good one, it will be willing to invest time, resources, etc.. in you. But because it is a family THEY WILL RIGHTLY EXPECT RECIPROCITY. No family wants a camp-follower, someone who's just there to 'get' something without doing any real giving in return.
One of the reasons the Western Church is disintegrating is because there is no longer much of a sense of commitment because there is no covenant relationship. And wanderers love that...obviously. The Remnant is not, and cannot, ever be like that. The desire and willingness to enter to into a permanent covenant relationship with imperfect people eager and willing to change their lives is one of the hallmarks of the Remnant. For now the Remnant is a kaleidoscope of people in different places and with different carnal proclivities (often born of cultural traditions). One thing is for sure, if you are of the Remant Yahweh will call you to one of its parts and tell you to stay there (unless, of course, it falls) and share in the working-out of daily salvation. If you're not willing to do that, you are most certainly not part of the Remnant. You belong, to one degree of another, to that spiritual seed infected with wanderlust.
The Converging Cluster
I am, I hope you realise, not saying that you have to be a part of us - of this ministry and covenant fellowship - because we're not the 'one and only' but are a part of a cluster of groups converging. You simply have to know which one you are to be of unless you have specifically been called to start another. If the latter, you had better be sure it is Yahweh calling you and not your own flesh, whatever its reasons may be. If you don't commit, then you can never grow beyond a Yom haBikkurim anointing. You are doomed to remain a 'solo Christian' .
With time getting very, very short for the wandering Remnant to gather somewhere, I would urge those who have not found the place Yahweh wants them to be to get on their knees and ask earnestly where their home is and then to act on that revelation.
 See The Parable of the Wheel: A Short Carpentry Lesson, The Fence: A Parable About Government and Church Oppression, Commitment to the Body of Messiah and Chag haMatzah 2005: Feast of Unleavened Bread
Comments From Readers
 "I used to think that wandering was the result of a spiritual disconnectedness ... I've since found that it can be kosher for those who have been called to function outside of church-compartmentalization. Certainly, there is a great [that] comes over people when they try to imagine an existence outside of those compartments, dangers of lawlessness, cultism, etc.. I'm not sure where or what our purpose is as a family outside of the unity itself ... even where we're living now. Neither of us feel like we're in more than a holiday home for a season!" (SP, Ireland, 15 September 2016).
 "'Wandering' or not having a rooted place to stay can either be a judgment from Yahweh or a mark you belong to Him - the big issue is context" (DP, South Africa, 15 September 2016).