Category Archives: Obeying God

Open our eyes that we may behold the wonderful things of your law, O’God

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It is written originally in Hebrew in a literary style that begins one section after another, each with the next letter of the aleph bet (Hebrew alphabet). It is beautiful and passionate. It focuses on the law of God. It is only one place in scripture that speaks about the law of God, but it is a great place to start. Read and digest all that it claims about the law of God and then ask yourself, does describe the law as burdensome? difficult? harsh? or does it describe it as quite different than that? Does it describe something that we would want to be set free from? Is it bondage?

Take time and consider what was said about the law of God by New Testament writers like James. James calls on us to be doers of the word and then refers to the “perfect law, the law of liberty”. Those who abide by it will be blessed.

James 1:22-25

22But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

Paul is often misunderstood by many who take scripture out of context to claim he taught against the law. In truth, he calls on the law as holy and righteous and good. He teaches against following the law for salvation. He does not teach against following the law once we are saved through Yeshua.

Romans 7:12

12So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

Put aside what you think you know about the law from those who do not understand it and listen to how it is described by one who understood it well and loved our heavenly Father very deeply. Don’t worry for now about what is the full content of “the law” or if we can fully follow the law today, but instead let us just try to better understand if scripture reveals it to be burdensome or something else.

Pray that the Lord would open our eyes that we may behold the wonderful things of His law!

Is God’s Law a Burden?

For more Biblical examples of prayer, and for personal prayer requests, please visit our Prayer Requests page.

Fond Memories of Holiday Traditions

I have many fond memories of holiday traditions growing up. As a child my family participated in many common traditions such as hunting for Easter eggs. My family has celebrated this way for generations. It is quite difficult even to consider changing these ingrained generational traditions.

Is that reason enough for me to continue these traditions? What does God have to say about common holiday traditions? If we are honest with ourselves, most of us never even think about it. We just continue with what is “normal” and “traditional” based on how we have been raised on based on culture around us.

The truth is that if we have really decided to model our lives after Jesus, then we should take time to explore and study what He celebrated and also the origins of what we may be celebrating. Don’t assume traditions are pleasing to God just because “everyone else is doing it” or even because “everyone else at the church is doing it”. Test everything against the truth of God’s word. Challenge yourself to truly seek to honor Him without bias toward rationalizing and accepting certain traditions because they are associated with fond memories or because it would upset your family to change. After all,  what is more important… pleasing people or pleasing God?

I encourage each of you to take some time and really study the origins of the common traditions and celebrations you take part in. Many are based on pagan worship which have been adapted with “new meaning” whereby people basically have accepted copying and participating in what was once a pagan worship rituals, only now they just call it something else. If you put lipstick on a pig… it is still a pig.

Ask God for help and then challenge yourself to really seek the truth. You can start with any number of sources like online encyclopedias or web search. If there is conflicting information… seek out the truth objectively. Do not just seize upon the rationalization that supports your current practice.

God does not want us to worship Him in the way that the pagans worshiped their gods. Jehovah has provided specific information on how He wishes to be worshiped… we must study the Bible and pray to learn and understand.

Deuteronomy 12:1-8

1“These are the statutes and the judgments which you shall carefully observe in the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live on the earth. 2“You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3“You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place. 4“You shall not act like this toward the LORD your God. 5“But you shall seek the LORD at the place which the LORD your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come. 6“There you shall bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the contribution of your hand, your votive offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. 7“There also you and your households shall eat before the LORD your God, and rejoice in all your undertakings in which the LORD your God has blessed you.

8“You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes

 

Deuteronomy 12:28-32

28“Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.

29“When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, 30beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?’ 31“You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

32“Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.

We are to be set apart and holy, different from those that do not worship YHWH. We are not to follow after Him and worship Him in the way that others worship their gods. We are not to simply do what everyone else is doing or what our parents did… but rather what our Lord instructs us to do.

Pray for wisdom and discernment. Don’t ignore what scripture teaches because it is unfamiliar or uncomfortable at first. Explore it and seek to understand it. You can get more information to understand these holy days of YHWH fairly easily, but you need to test everything against scripture. Some aspects are not completely clear and people have varying opinions on them. I suggest starting with Leviticus 23, but I have also included some additional websites I have found helpful below.

Hebrew For Christians

119 Ministries

Set Apart People

The Moedim

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

Love Your Neighbor

We do well to pay close attention to the guidance in James.

James 2:1-13

The Sin of Partiality

      1My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. 2For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, 3and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” 4have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? 5Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? 7Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?

      8If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well. 9But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. 11For He who said, “DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,” also said, “DO NOT COMMIT MURDER.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

The first warning we get from James 2 is not to show partiality based on economic status. More generally, he is getting at not showing partiality in others based on our own selfish motives. It may be to get the benefit of someone’s wealth, but it could be for other reasons as well.

The second part is important to take in context. James says that those who are guilty of one thing are guilty of breaking the whole law. The context is that we should not be content to only do some of what YHWH commands. Do not take this to mean we should not try to obey any of the law as if it is pointless to try. James is specifically instructing to obey as fully as possible.

Recognizing that we are guilty, however, James reminds us we are judged by the law of liberty. The law of liberty refers to freedom from the punishment due us for sin because of our submission to Yeshua. This is not an excuse to disobey or disregard YHWH’s law. It is an opportunity to be truly thankful for his grace and mercy.

Keeping in mind we are receiving YHWH’s mercy, we are reminded that we must be merciful to others. Be merciful to receive mercy. A good reminder.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Be Doers of the Word Rather Than Just Hearers

As I mentioned while covering the first half of James 1, there is much to cover and we should be sure to go through it slowly and thoughtfully, careful not to skip over important points.

James 1:19-27

    19This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. 21Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. 22But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

      26If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. 27Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Listen first, genuinely, before speaking. This is tough for a lot of folks, including myself at times. Avoid anger. Put aside wickedness. Receive the word with humility, avoiding defensiveness and avoiding the arrogance of assuming we already know everything, but really receiving the word and letting it transform us. YHWH does not want simply hearers of the word though, but doers of the word. In doing the word of YHWH, in abiding in his perfect law, we will be blessed.  Let us recognize also that when James refers to the perfect law of God, the law of liberty, he is talking about the Tanakh (the Torah and the writings of the prophets). The New Testament was not written yet. Clearly James did not find the law obsolete.

Control our tongue lest we hurt others and distract from YHWHs glory as we represent him. Let us help orphans and widows in their distress and remain set apart from the world, unstained by its wickedness, ready to be used by the LORD.

Prayerfully reflect on these and be sure to focus on a few for your life today. This guidance will help bring you closer to walking the way the LORD wants.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

Seek and Obey The LORD

We should pay close attention to the ups and downs in the book of Judges. Typically before the cycle down into difficult times, there is a clue for us as to why… such as in Judges 13, “Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, so that the LORD gave them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.”

When we as YHWH’s people turn from him and do evil in his sight, he will discipline us to help lead us back to him. Let us not be so hard hearted as to require such discipline before we humble ourselves and pray and ask for forgiveness and turn from our wicked ways. Let us look around us today and pray and seek righteousness. Our culture is in a significant spiritual war for the future of our nation. We must stand up for YHWH’s values and against the ways of men which continually draw us away from him toward depravity.

We can also see the LORD desires to bring us back to him because of his grace, mercy, and abundant lovingkindness. If we are so fortunate as to hear from his messengers directly then let us pay close attention. We can ask for him to repeat the message or to verify and he may accommodate as with Manoah below and with Gideon earlier in Judges. He may not choose to tell us all we want to know, but he will tell us what he wants us to know and we should accept and obey.

Judges 13

Philistines Oppress Again

      1Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, so that the LORD gave them into the hands of the Philistines forty years.

      2There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had borne no children. 3Then the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son. 4“Now therefore, be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing. 5“For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” 6Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, “A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. And I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. 7“But he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”

      8Then Manoah entreated the LORD and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom You have sent come to us again that he may teach us what to do for the boy who is to be born.” 9God listened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again to the woman as she was sitting in the field, but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the man who came the other day has appeared to me.” 11Then Manoah arose and followed his wife, and when he came to the man he said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to the woman?” And he said, “I am.” 12Manoah said, “Now when your words come to pass, what shall be the boy’s mode of life and his vocation?” 13So the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “Let the woman pay attention to all that I said. 14“She should not eat anything that comes from the vine nor drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing; let her observe all that I commanded.”

      15Then Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “Please let us detain you so that we may prepare a young goat for you.” 16The angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “Though you detain me, I will not eat your food, but if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the LORD.” For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the LORD. 17Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “What is your name, so that when your words come to pass, we may honor you?” 18But the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” 19So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to the LORD, and He performed wonders while Manoah and his wife looked on. 20For it came about when the flame went up from the altar toward heaven, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground.

      21Now the angel of the LORD did not appear to Manoah or his wife again. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the LORD. 22So Manoah said to his wife, “We will surely die, for we have seen God.” 23But his wife said to him, “If the LORD had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have let us hear things like this at this time.”

      24Then the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson; and the child grew up and the LORD blessed him. 25And the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

One Sacrifice of Yeshua Is Sufficient, But We Must Stop Willfully Sinning

 

As we read on in Hebrews 10, it is important to remember the context clearly articulated from earlier chapters in Hebrews. There is much emphasis that Yeshua is greater than the angels and a priest greater than the Levites. He is nothing less than God himself. Chapter 8 references a “new covenant”, which specifically refers to YHWH writing his laws in our hearts. Writing his laws in our hearts does not imply changing his laws as so many take it to mean. If I write a law down, it is straight forward from context that I did not change it, or I would have said so. Chapter 9 goes on to say the old covenant is being replaced, but the specific context articulated in the chapter identifies and focuses only on Yeshua’s sacrifice for our sins replacing that of animals. It does not imply the whole of the law and the prophets being made obsolete, which Yeshua himself declared would not happen until the end of the age in Matthew 5.

Matthew 5:17-19

     17“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

It is with this context in mind that we should continue into Hebrews 10.

Hebrews 10

One Sacrifice of Christ Is Sufficient

     1For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. 2Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? 3But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. 4For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

5Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says,
“SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED,
BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME;

      6IN WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE TAKEN NO PLEASURE.

      7“THEN I SAID, ‘BEHOLD, I HAVE COME
(IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME)
TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.’”

8After saying above, “SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, NOR HAVE YOU TAKEN PLEASURE in them” (which are offered according to the Law), 9then He said, “BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. 10By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

      11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, 13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. 14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. 15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,

      16“THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM
AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD:
I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART,
AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,”
He then says,

      17“AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS
I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.”

18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

     19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

     26For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. 28Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” 31It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

      32But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, 33partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. 35Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

      37FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE,
HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY.

      38BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH;
AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM.

39But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

I think very often people misunderstand Hebrews to be saying the whole of the Law is abolished and irrelevant, which directly contradicts what Yeshua said in Matthew 5. They then assume we should do whatever we feel like as if that is the new standard because we are forgiven of sin and the Law is written on our heart. This is a dangerous misunderstanding and false teaching. Even within this same chapter in Hebrews we can see a warning that is often overlooked by the same people.

     26For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.

Let us take great care in testing what is taught in churches and by man in general against what the Bible actually says. Pray and ask the LORD to help you. Test everything and hold on to what is good.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

What Does Hebrews Really Say About “A New Covenant”?

I believe Hebrews has been misunderstood to a great extent, and in particular Hebrews 8. We are taught in most Christian churches that “the new covenant” means that all the law was laid down and replaced with Yeshua’s death on the cross. However, in contradiction to that, we are also taught that some elements of the law still apply while others do not. Sabbath need not be kept, but we should not murder as one example. One that always amazes me is Christians that teach all of the law is done away with and we have freedom to do what we will, but somehow the tithe is still in effect (despite the temple and the Levitical priesthood being eliminated). There are inherent contradictions in most Christian teaching, not because God’s word is wrong, but because Christians do not understand it and really test what they are told by men against what God’s word really says.

The context of Hebrews 8 is best understood if we look back into Hebrews 7 first. Hebrews 7 speaks about the new covenant, but focuses clearly on articulating it in regards to Yeshua replacing the Levitical priests. More specifically, the focus is on the role of the priest in offering sacrifices on our behalf for atonement of sin. That is the entirety of the scope of the letter in Hebrews 7 and 8.

Hebrews 7:18-28

18For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness 19(for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 20And inasmuch as it was not without an oath

21(for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him,
“THE LORD HAS SWORN
AND WILL NOT CHANGE HIS MIND,
‘YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER’”);

22so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

      23The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, 24but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. 25Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

      26For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.

When we start reading Hebrews 8, about a new covenant replacing an old one, remember the context of Hebrews 7 leading into Hebrews 8. It is focused specifically on sacrifices offered for atonement of sin and on the priest who offers it. This is the element which is being transitioned from the old covenant to the new covenant, not a laying down of all things in the law.

He even says in verse 10 that he will write his laws into their hearts and minds. He does not say he is writing new laws. He does not say he is laying down all the old laws. He is (through the Holy Spirit) helping us by giving us more of a mind and heart to know and follow his laws. If I write a law on a piece of paper, it does not imply I changed it, but quite the opposite that I copied what already existed somewhere else. It is the same in this verse. This letter does not declare that the law has changed with exception to the specifics around the priest and the sacrifice for atonement to sin.

Hebrews 8

A Better Ministry

      1Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. 3For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; so it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. 4Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; 5who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, “SEE,” He says, “THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN.” 6But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.

A New Covenant

      7For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.

8For finding fault with them, He says,
“BEHOLD, DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD,
WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT
WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH;

      9NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS
ON THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND
TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT;
FOR THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT,
AND I DID NOT CARE FOR THEM, SAYS THE LORD.

      10“FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL
AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD:
I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS,
AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS.
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD,
AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.

      11“AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN,
AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ‘KNOW THE LORD,’
FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME,
FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM.

      12“FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES,
AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE.”

13When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

Reflect carefully on what Hebrews actually says and what it does not. Many take this out of context and use it as cause to lay down God’s laws and instructions rather than indeed writing them further into our minds and hearts so we would obey more completely and joyfully.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Don’t Drift From YHWH When He Brings You Peace

We tend to be very aware of the hazards we face when at war or in conflict. It tends to actually draw us nearer to the LORD as we know we need him. We must also take great care that when he brings peace into our lives we do not drift away from him. Often it is when things are going well that we get complacent or feel self sufficient. We can become distant from YHWH.

 

Judges 8:28-35

Forty Years of Peace

     28So Midian was subdued before the sons of Israel, and they did not lift up their heads anymore. And the land was undisturbed for forty years in the days of Gideon.

      29Then Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and lived in his own house. 30Now Gideon had seventy sons who were his direct descendants, for he had many wives. 31His concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech. 32And Gideon the son of Joash died at a ripe old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

      33Then it came about, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the sons of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-berith their god. 34Thus the sons of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side; 35nor did they show kindness to the household of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in accord with all the good that he had done to Israel.

As a group or culture, people tend to have short memories for what YHWH has done for them. They just start to get lost in every day life and drift away from him. Let us be intentional and remain focused to continue walking with him, praying, worshipping, studying, and obeying. Let us remember to anchor ourselves in the singular truth that there is one God and it is YHWH. Yeshua and the Holy Spirit are one with YHWH. Let us teach our children to follow him and remember and celebrate what he has done for us in the past.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Hope and Trust In The LORD

In the beginning of Hebrews 6, we read about those who have experienced and accepted YHWH, experiencing the Holy Spirit, and then have fallen away. It is a good reminder that we should not grow complacent in our faith and relationship in YHWH.

As we continue in Hebrews 6, we see the writer address his audience with a call and encouragement for hope in Yeshua as our high priest, for hope in the promises of YHWH. One can easily conclude that the reference is that they may have been facing difficult times and the writer is encouraging them not to fall away from their faith in YHWH, but rather to hope in Yeshua and remain faithful. They are also encouraged that their good works are pleasing to YHWH and they should continue. They are reminded in verse 9, that our relationship with YHWH is about so much more than just salvation.

These are good reminders for us still today.

Hebrews 6:9-20

Better Things for You

      9But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. 10For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. 11And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

      13For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14saying, “I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU.” 15And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. 16For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. 17In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. 19This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

The Fleece of Gideon and The Patience of YHWH

It seems YHWH knew that was really stretching Gideon in this assignment. He was very patient to show him signs multiple times. I think that this partly was due to YHWH understanding that Gideon was not used to this kind of direction from and relationship with the LORD. Clearly, if Gideon was afraid of the men of his father’s household when he took down the altar to Baal and the Ashera pole, YHWH knew he would benefit from the signs with the fleece to set him up for success going against the Midianites.

I think we can also conclude that as YHWH’s relationship communicating with someone matures, so do his expectations for obedience without signs and wonders. I think Moses is a good example of this idea. He started with many signs and wonders and much reassurance from YHWH. Later, YHWH was displeased when he struck the rock instead of speaking to it in the wilderness to bring forth water.

We can ask for signs, but we do want to develop our relationship with the LORD so that we need not have signs every time he gives us direction, even if it is challenging.

Judges 6:33-40

    33Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the sons of the east assembled themselves; and they crossed over and camped in the valley of Jezreel. 34So the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him. 35He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, and they also were called together to follow him; and he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came up to meet them.

Sign of the Fleece

      36Then Gideon said to God, “If You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken, 37behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken.” 38And it was so. When he arose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he drained the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water. 39Then Gideon said to God, “Do not let Your anger burn against me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test once more with the fleece, let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground.” 40God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and dew was on all the ground.

I am very grateful our Father is patient and kind and understanding of his children’s doubts and fears. When we are new to accepting his specific instruction or when he asks us for something that seems really challenging, he knows it is hard for us.  I also understand that he wants us to mature over time in our relationship with him so we overcome those doubts and trust him, even without signs like the fleece.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.