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Siege The Day


Are You in The Spirit or In The Flesh? by Flickr User BeggartoBeggar, CC License = Attribution, No Derivative Works

Are You in The Spirit or In The Flesh? by Flickr User BeggartoBeggar, CC License = Attribution, No Derivative Works
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

I’ve often wondered how a world that started out knowing the truth about God–who He is, what He is, what He does, etc., could end up in the state of chaos (and especially religious chaos) we’ve seen repeated time and time again throughout history. Did Adam fail to teach his children all he learned of God before the fall? Did Cain blame God and falsely teach that his marks and troubles were God’s fault, or did Cain feel unworthy to seek Yahveh Almighty, so he created some kind of a false deity just to have a god in his life? Or is it all brought about just by our desire to appease the flesh and its desires? Maybe it only takes a few great, great grandkids to be the last ones in the game of Telephone to twist the message around so far that the truth is no longer visible.

In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 20:10 through Deuteronomy 21:9, we complete another week and another portion. Shabbat Shalom to all. The passage begins with instructions to Israel about how to advance on a distant town to attack it, and the first thing God tells Israel to do is to offer terms for peace.

My note: There’s a big difference in offering peace just for the sake of calling it peace and offering “terms for peace,” so it can be the real thing. God tells us we are to be peace-MAKERS and not necessarily peace-KEEPERS. Now, just as back then, true peace can only be made when all parties involved come to an agreement, and it can only be kept when all parties keep their promises. (Don’t even get me started on how supposed peace agreements with Israel are rarely done in the favor of Israel–or how many of them were first violated by the enemies of Israel.)

Now, back to our reading: When a town agrees to the terms and opens its gates to Israel, the terms will include them working for Israel. But, when a town will not agree to the terms, God calls it an act of war and tells Israel to put the town under siege. At that point, God’s promise is to hand the town over to Israel, and their part is to put every male to the sword. The women, children, livestock, and all the spoils of the town will then be booty for Israel to live from.

For the nearby towns, the ones that are included in the inheritance God is giving to Israel, God says they are to completely destroy all the people to avoid them converting any Israelites to doctrines of false gods. God tells them that they should destroy the people with their abominable practices, but they should not destroy the trees because they are not humans. They can use the trees to build siege-works in longer periods of war, but they can only use the ones that do not bear fruit.

At the chapter change, we learn how God says to deal with an unsolved murder. In God’s eyes, a murder without proof of a perpetrator still carries guilt with it. God gives the priests a method of sacrifice and washing that will absolve Israel of the crime. It’s a promise from God that if they do as He instructs, they will be doing what is right in God’s eyes, and they will cleanse the guilt of murder from the community.

I know that reading some of these acts of war to give Israel her inheritance may sound a bit harsh, but we have to remember to consider perspective. We think from our own perspectives and how it might feel to be these people. But we live in sinful flesh, and it is fleshly decisions that got those who serve false gods in the positions they were in, and in the places they’re in now. We need to see things from God’s perspective. He is tired of seeing people worship themselves and their own personal comforts in the names of whatever they happen to be worshipping at the time. He gets extremely upset when he sees these people sacrifice their children to these false gods for the sake of appeasing them and keeping their own creature comforts.

Our world right now is under attack by the enemy of our souls who has no problem with putting us under siege by convincing us to sacrifice morals, ethics, and Godliness for the sake of what he calls peace. Our eyes are under siege with sex scenes and now even same-sex scenes. Our ears are under siege with foul language that often includes derogatory statements against Our Creator and God who loves us and saves us. Our freedom is under siege by those who want the servants of God to allow them license to kill, steal, and destroy while they take away even our rights to pray or bless others.

The enemy knows his time is short, so he is trying to “siege the day” against any and all who are made in the image of God. That means even those who don’t serve God are under attack because their image is like His, so they are fighting God for no reason. They cannot become evil enough to appease one who only cares about himself, but because he is “the father of lies,” he tries to convince them they can win his favor. They can’t, and they won’t. On the other hand, as long as they are in God’s image, His desire is to see them carrying that image in truth and holiness. It is not God’s desire for any to perish, but He wants all to come to His saving grace.

Believers, our job is simple but not easy. We need to lay the enemy under siege. We need to raise up a standard that uplifts The Savior above all our desires, comforts, needs, hurts, and ways of the flesh. We’re not told to rebuke the enemy to make him flee from us, we’re told to resist the enemy to make him flee. Our resistance is built of walls and gates. Our walls are God’s salvation. Our gates are praise. That’s why we’re told that before we resist, we must submit ourselves to God. We’re promised that The One within us is greater than he that is in the world. Let us praise Him in holiness and purity; not for what He does but for who He is. Let us praise Him in humility by being obedient to His word and by glorifying Him in our words and deeds. Let us praise Him in spirit and in truth, in and through all times and all things, from now until the end of eternity. HalleluYah!

August 22, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All In The Family


It used to be that naming shows from a specific era was a clear give-away to someone’s age. But now, with the advent of cable and satellite, and stations dedicated to classic television from days gone by, lots of people have the pleasure of enjoying television and movie entertainment from the past. Of course, the older I get, the more I change what I consider to be entertainment, but I do enjoy the stuff from the era when joking about a miniskirt was considered risqué instead of the out and out sexuality that’s pushed out of Hollywood now.

In today’s reading from Numbers 36:1 through Numbers 36:13 (the entire chapter), we complete another weekly portion, and we finish the book of Numbers. And Moses is finishing up his ministry as the leader of Israel by taking care of a few loose ends. In this case, a clan member from the tribe of Joseph has just realized that an earlier ruling requested by the five daughters of Zelophehad could turn out to create an imbalance in the inheritance of the tribes. The ruling was simply that if a man had no sons, his daughters would receive the inheritance from their father as if they were sons.

The problem, as pointed out by the clansman, is that if these girls marry into another tribe, they would take their inheritance with them, taking away part of what rightfully belonged to one tribe and giving it to another. In addition, they would then have a new inheritance with their husband’s family. At the year of Jubilee, when all properties return to their original owners, the tribes these daughters married into would have more than their fair share, and the tribe from which they came would be short some of its inheritance.

Moses decreed a new law that stated these daughters, and any daughters in the same position, would be required to marry within their own tribe to prevent any imbalance in the portions of inheritance. The tribes and the daughters seemed receptive to the law, and in obedience, the girls married from the sons of the brothers of their father. (In other words, they married their cousins.) In doing this, they fulfilled the command that no inheritance would be shared tribe to tribe, and each person would cling to the inheritance that belonged to the tribe of his or her ancestors.

I know there are lots of jokes about intrafamily marriage relationships and inbreeding, but I’m certain God wouldn’t have told them to do something like that if it was actually considered incest and would cause problems like birth defects. I’m happier that we consider that off-limits now, at least in the U.S., but for the purposes of keeping the purity in the tribes, it made sense for their situation. At the same time, I have a feeling that those tribal lines did eventually get blurred, and they may have led to some pretty heated conflicts in the future of Israel. Maybe they still do.

Now, I wonder how God sees the tribes and His family as it is scattered all over the world. Wouldn’t it be funny to find out that by way of ancestral bloodline, your next-door neighbor is actually related to you? Or, what if you found out that you and your cousin had ancestry from Israel but from different tribes? Thankfully, God does have it all sorted out, and He knows who is who right down to the DNA in each strand of hair. And we can be even more thankful that no matter how many families are on the face of the earth now, God has a plan to turn the multiple flocks into one flock under One Shepherd, and we will spend eternity worshiping the One Father we all share equally. Those will be the days.

July 18, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Devil Went Down to Jordan


This title is from one of my favorite parodies by ApologetiX. Yeah, I know, I probably say that about almost all their videos I share, but they really are one of my favorite bands. I mean, where else can you hear the tunes you grew up with, Bible messages, praises to God, and have an altar call all in the same concert? I really respect their ministry, and my love for their music is just icing on the cake.

Today’s reading comes from Numbers 32:1 through Numbers 32:19, and begins with the descendants of Reuben and Gad speaking with Moses and Eleazar about their great quantities of livestock. They gather the community leaders together to present a proposition to them about the land The Lord conquered on the side of the Jordan River across from that which God has promised to Israel. They have noticed the land is perfect for all their cattle, so they are asking if it would be okay if they just took that land instead of having to cross over.

Moses gets pretty frustrated with these guys and begins to tell them the stories of their forefathers and why they wandered in the desert for forty years instead of inheriting their promise. He explains that what the men are asking right now is akin to the sins of their fathers that stirred up the anger of The Lord. He also explains how it is not right for them to just want their own provision and comfort in a land where the enemy has already been defeated only to let the rest of the tribes go across Jordan and have to fight for the land in which they will dwell.

The sons of Gad and Reuben get the message and present an alternate idea. They say they will go ahead and build stalls for their cattle and fortified cities for their women and children since they are not part of the armies anyway. All the fighting men will then join their brothers on the other side of the Jordan River and help them fight for their promise. They say they will not only march at the front of their armies, but they will continue to fight until the rest of Israel has taken possession of their inheritance. They claim, however, that their inheritance has fallen on the east side of the river.

At my first read-through of this, I couldn’t figure out why Moses would have gotten so angry at these men for wanting to stay across the river from their brothers. I was thinking it wasn’t very nice of them to want to split themselves off, but at the same time, if it made sense for their cattle, and it was an area they had fought for, I thought maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea. It took me reading again to realize the problem wasn’t with the land as much as it was with the fact that their brothers helped them to fight for the land they now wanted. How dare they leave their brothers to fight alone just because they were now comfortable?

I guess it would be like being saved and only staying in touch with your church family and other Christians and leaving the lost to find their own way. Oh wait, too many people actually do that don’t they? I believe we call them “rabbit hole Christians” because they just go from one Christian rabbit hole to the next with no stops (in the “world”) in between. But we overcome the enemy by the word of our testimony because our testimony is what can win others to Our Savior. Don’t forget that your example in Yeshua (WWYD) is that He shared meals with tax collectors (known for their dishonesty) and sinners. Be willing to fight for the souls of others, and don’t let the devil walk into your “Jordan” (promise on this earth) and convince you to sit comfortably while the rest of the world goes to Hell.

P.S. I’m not certain how all the lands fall today, but I found an interesting site that talks of the boundaries of the promised land from God’s promise to today. Take a look at http://www.differentspirit.org/articles/boundaries.php and comment what you think about the Scripture reference from Joel at the bottom of the page. I think it means God is not very happy with those currently in charge of our country.

July 10, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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