Category Archives: Wise

The Writings of Paul Are Personal Correspondence

The closing of 2 Timothy contains a wealth of information and insight. I will highlight one key message and challenge you to dwell on the passabe longer and ask the Lord to give you further insight.

Let us remember that the writings of Paul are first and foremost, personal letters. They are not written to us. Paul did not write them intending them to be scripture or for a broad audience. The gospels were written for a broad audience and have a very different writing style. The letters of Paul are written to a very specific audience at a very specific time. There are many timeless truths and insights, but there are also some things that are simply personal correspondence that do not apply to us broadly or today. We must use discernment to tell the difference.

We should always take care where we think the guidance in Paul’s letters leads us to live differently than the example demonstrated by Yeshua or even Paul and the disciples themselves, who were living according to the example of Christ.

2 Timothy 4:9-22

Personal Concerns

     9Make every effort to come to me soon; 10for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. 12But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments. 14Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.

      16At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. 17But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. 18The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

      19Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus. 21Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, also Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren.

      22The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

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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.

There Are Times and People Who Will Not Accept Sound Doctrine

Paul has an important message for Timothy in 2 Timothy 4, and it is important for every believer. We must be ready to preach the word at all times, when we expect it and when we do not. We do not want to miss an opportunity. Further, we know there are times and people who will not accept sound doctrine. They prefer something which makes them feel good about themselves as they are or avoids conflict… Paul calls it “tickling their ears”.  People go and shop for teachers who tell them what they want to hear instead of teachers who tell them what YHWH desires of us.

Let us take the charge given to Timothy, and prepare ourselves to be ready and willing at all times to preach the gospel of Yeshua. Let us also challenge ourselves not to behave like those who change preachers and teachers rather than change their behavior to match what YHWH has said he desires. Let us challenge ourselves to seek to understand and live out YHWH’s word in the Bible, even when it calls for us to change and be set apart from other Christians. To truly live according to our Creator’s ways, we will be set apart even from most who call themselves Christians in some distinct ways. One example today is fairly obvious. Culture tells us we are to hold our faith private and not discuss it publicly. Many churches are more concerned with an agenda like a social club rather than instructing people in the ways of YHWH.  This is wrong. We are to reprove, rebuke, exhort and do so with patience and instruction. It will be hard and people will reject it. We must endure and pray for wisdom and patience.

2 Timothy 4:1-8

“Preach the Word”

     1I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

      6For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Paul talks about hardship in your ministry. We must ask ourselves, “If we endure no hardship, are we really challenging ourselves and others to change for YHWH?”

None of us should be so arrogant as to assume we have a perfect and full understanding of our Lord. Thus, if we love him and are praying and searching and studying his word we should expect to learn and develop a better understanding over time. This means we should be changing ourselves. Our lives and our understanding with YHWH today should not look the same as it did 10 years ago or will 10 years from now. If we find ourselves anchored in the same comfortable understanding of our Lord and in the same comfortable patterns of behavior, we should ask ourselves, “Am I really growing in my relationship with the Lord, or am I stagnant and no longer growing close to him?” Then we should take action, which will include change in our lives.

Do not be attached to the ways of men (not even traditions of our parents and grandparents), nor to the ways that men declare of YHWH, but rather diligently seek the truth through scripture, study, and prayer and then make changes to live it out more fully even when others come against you because your change makes them uncomfortable. Pray for patience, wisdom, and discernment but also for courage.

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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.

It Will Be Well For Those Who Fear God

Even a wise man can not discover what will happen and when. Even a wise man can not understand all things in this world. What we can understand, and clearly, is that will go well for us who fear YHWH openly and live righteously according to his ways.  We may see the wicked seemingly “getting away” with their evil deeds, but even if they do, we know it will go well for us who fear and obey the Father.

Ecclesiastes 8

      1Who is like the wise man and who knows the interpretation of a matter? A man’s wisdom illumines him and causes his stern face to beam.

      2I say, “Keep the command of the king because of the oath before God. 3“Do not be in a hurry to leave him. Do not join in an evil matter, for he will do whatever he pleases.” 4Since the word of the king is authoritative, who will say to him, “What are you doing?”

      5He who keeps a royal command experiences no trouble, for a wise heart knows the proper time and procedure. 6For there is a proper time and procedure for every delight, though a man’s trouble is heavy upon him. 7If no one knows what will happen, who can tell him when it will happen? 8No man has authority to restrain the wind with the wind, or authority over the day of death; and there is no discharge in the time of war, and evil will not deliver those who practice it. 9All this I have seen and applied my mind to every deed that has been done under the sun wherein a man has exercised authority over another man to his hurt.

      10So then, I have seen the wicked buried, those who used to go in and out from the holy place, and they are soon forgotten in the city where they did thus. This too is futility. 11Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil. 12Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may lengthen his life, still I know that it will be well for those who fear God, who fear Him openly. 13But it will not be well for the evil man and he will not lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God.

      14There is futility which is done on the earth, that is, there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked. On the other hand, there are evil men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I say that this too is futility. 15So I commended pleasure, for there is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.

      16When I gave my heart to know wisdom and to see the task which has been done on the earth (even though one should never sleep day or night), 17and I saw every work of God, I concluded that man cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun. Even though man should seek laboriously, he will not discover; and though the wise man should say, “I know,” he cannot discover.

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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.

Let Us Sanctify Ourselves To Be Useful To The Master

Let us sanctify ourselves to be useful to the master, to be prepared for every good work. Let us make ready to be the vessels of honor rather than dishonor. We do not set our standard based on those around us, but based on the holy word of YHWH.

2 Timothy 2:14-26

An Unashamed Workman

     14Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. 15Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 16But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, 17and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. 19Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”

      20Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. 21Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. 22Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. 24The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

We are not to wait around for YHWH to change us. We are to seek him and to study his word and live according to his ways so that we will be sanctified and ready for his use.

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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.

Reflections on Wisdom and Folly

Reading and fully digesting Ecclesiastes can be challenging for sure. It appears on the surface a very cynical look back by a wise king on a long life in which he has pursued purpose and meaning. In the end of the whole matter he concludes in Ecclesiastes 12 that the only thing which has real purpose is to fear YHWH and obey his commandments.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

      13The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

I have found it important to keep this conclusion in mind when I am sifting through the book of Ecclesiastes. I encourage you to read it searching for valuable treasure in bits of wisdom that can help you still in your life  today. Some of it seems counter to what we would expect… dwell on it. Ask the Lord to open your eyes and grant you understanding. Do not just breeze through it and expect to harvest the full value.

Ecclesiastes 7

Wisdom and Folly Contrasted

      1A good name is better than a good ointment,
And the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.

      2It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.

      3Sorrow is better than laughter,
For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.

      4The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning,
While the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.

      5It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man
Than for one to listen to the song of fools.

      6For as the crackling of thorn bushes under a pot,
So is the laughter of the fool;
And this too is futility.

      7For oppression makes a wise man mad,
And a bribe corrupts the heart.

      8The end of a matter is better than its beginning;
Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.

      9Do not be eager in your heart to be angry,
For anger resides in the bosom of fools.

      10Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.

      11Wisdom along with an inheritance is good
And an advantage to those who see the sun.

      12For wisdom is protection just as money is protection,
But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.

      13Consider the work of God,
For who is able to straighten what He has bent?

      14In the day of prosperity be happy,
But in the day of adversity consider—
God has made the one as well as the other
So that man will not discover anything that will be after him.

      15I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness. 16Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? 17Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time? 18It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them.

      19Wisdom strengthens a wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city. 20Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins. 21Also, do not take seriously all words which are spoken, so that you will not hear your servant cursing you. 22For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others.

      23I tested all this with wisdom, and I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me. 24What has been is remote and exceedingly mysterious. Who can discover it? 25I directed my mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness. 26And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her.

      27“Behold, I have discovered this,” says the Preacher, “adding one thing to another to find an explanation, 28which I am still seeking but have not found. I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these. 29“Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices.”

I find much wisdom to think on in this chapter. I find also some hard verses that require more consideration.

16Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? 17Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time?

How can one be excessively righteous or wise? and why would this be a bad thing? Righteousness and wisdom are good things to pursue. I can imagine that pursuit of righteousness through our own deeds can lead to legalism, but he does not specifically say that is what he means. We are left to speculate and reflect and ask the LORD to show us.

Why say do not be excessively wicked? Why not simply say do not be wicked?  I think for this one perhaps he is referring to a lifestyle that will result in your premature death as a possible result of your wickedness, but it is an interesting statement.

He is genuinely reflecting on life more than simply identifying a moral path for us to follow in life. We do well to both reflect on life and put our faith and trust in the LORD and his written word in the Bible to guide us in how we should live.

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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 Futility of Life Without YHWH

Reading a chapter at a time from Ecclesiastes can lose some of the focus and clarity compared to reading the whole book start to finish. The context is important. A wise man, likely Solomon, reflects on his life and observations toward the end of his life. He shares this wisdom. The key conclusion is found in chapter 12. It helps keep the rest of the book in context for us.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

 13The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

It is difficult to find any true and lasting significance in life without consideration of our Creator and our relationship with him. With that in mind, let’s explore chapter 6.

Ecclesiastes 6

The Futility of Life

     1There is an evil which I have seen under the sun and it is prevalent among men— 2a man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor so that his soul lacks nothing of all that he desires; yet God has not empowered him to eat from them, for a foreigner enjoys them. This is vanity and a severe affliction. 3If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things and he does not even have a proper burial, then I say, “Better the miscarriage than he, 4for it comes in futility and goes into obscurity; and its name is covered in obscurity. 5“It never sees the sun and it never knows anything; it is better off than he. 6“Even if the other man lives a thousand years twice and does not enjoy good things—do not all go to one place?”

      7All a man’s labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied. 8For what advantage does the wise man have over the fool? What advantage does the poor man have, knowing how to walk before the living? 9What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires. This too is futility and a striving after wind.

      10Whatever exists has already been named, and it is known what man is; for he cannot dispute with him who is stronger than he is. 11For there are many words which increase futility. What then is the advantage to a man? 12For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?

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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.

Speak, For Your Servant Is Listening

Samuel was a great prophet of the Lord. What can we learn from how he connected with the Lord when he was still a child?

  • He listened to the advice of one elder than himself, even though that person was far from perfect.
  • He responded to YHWH’s call with utmost simplicity… no complicated prayer needed. “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
  • Then… he did something amazing that most of us don’t do… he stopped talking to YHWH and started listening.
  • He shared the word that the Lord gave him even though he was scared to do so.

We should do likewise.

1 Samuel 3:1-14

The Prophetic Call to Samuel

     1Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent.

      2It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), 3and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was, 4that the LORD called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” 5Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6The LORD called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.” 7Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him. 8So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy. 9And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

      10Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” 11The LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12“In that day I will carry out against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13“For I have told him that I am about to judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them. 14“Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

      15So Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. But Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” 17He said, “What is the word that He spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. May God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the words that He spoke to you.” 18So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the LORD; let Him do what seems good to Him.”

      19Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail. 20All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD. 21And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, because the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.

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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.

Falling Away From The Faith

Paul warns Timothy that there will be a falling away from the faith as people pay attention to doctrines of demons and turn away from God’s instruction. We do well to hold tight to the written instructions of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and the Brit Hadasha (New Testament). Let us study them and seek the Spirit to have understanding. Let us take caution not to accept teaching from those who change their meaning, even if the teaching is commonly accepted by churches that identify as Christian.

1 Timothy 4:1-5

Apostasy

     1But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

One could take the specifics of this passage to mean many different things. Examples could include our focus today as a culture on abortion, homosexuality, transgender. It could include many things.

Some will claim this means we are to eat whatever we want, but ironically we all still cling to some dietary code we have learned, whether it was devised by man or by God. Some eat crawfish, some eat cat. Some abstain from pig, some from cow, some from meat altogether, some from red meat on Fridays in lent. None of us consider everything we could eat to be “food”.  We should reflect not on what we or our local culture identify as food, but what the Lord calls food. This would have been the context in which Paul was writing.

As a silly example, we are not to accept poison or something that would do us harm! So clearly he is not meaning everything but rather all food… and it should be God’s definition of what is food.

Seek the Lord and study the word. Ask him to increase your knowledge and wisdom in these things. Be patient with other followers of Christ, even in the midst of some disagreement.

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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.

Reflecting On Our Attitude Toward the LORD

The writer of Ecclesiastes, commonly accepted as Solomon, has much wisdom to share. We do well to take our time and digest it fully rather than quickly scan over it in our hurry to get on with our day. In chapter 5, he addresses several elements of our attitude toward YHWH.

If we reflect on his first example, we probably realize we have a lot to learn and change in our walk with YHWH. Typically today most of us come to YHWH with a list of things we want to talk to him about or ask for him to help us. We often jump right in. Solomon cautions us to remember who is the LORD and who is the servant. Let us approach the LORD with an attitude to listen and learn, to submit and obey. Let us take care to have few words and listen more.

Ecclesiastes 5:1-9

Your Attitude Toward God

     1Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. 2Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. 3For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words.

      4When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! 5It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands? 7For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God.

      8If you see oppression of the poor and denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be shocked at the sight; for one official watches over another official, and there are higher officials over them. 9After all, a king who cultivates the field is an advantage to the land.

I definitely would do well to put more focus on listening to my LORD before even asking him for those things with which I am seeking his help.

The second matter is also very important. We should be careful in making vows to the LORD and if we do, we should fulfill them. We should not make excuses. We should take care and fear YHWH. Their is often a tendency to overlook this instruction in the Bible. We tend to characterize YHWH as “love” as if that means we should not revere and in some ways fear him. We should recognize and respect that he is the one who is over our life and our life after death. We should take seriously the desire to please him as a loyal servant would their master.

Verses 8-9 are interesting. I need to dig a little deeper to fully chase that meaning. That is one thing I love about God’s written word… there is always more depth we can search for (like treasure) if we have the will to do so!

My first impression leans into a comparison of the LORD as the king. It is good to have the king who desires to cultivate the land, to be involved in our lives. However, there are clearly examples of oppression and denial of justice because of the people who have authority under him in certain areas. Witnessing unrighteousness does not mean there is not a righteous LORD who is in charge of all. It simply means that there are some wicked people who do not truly submit to and follow him.

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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.

Do Not Expect The World to Be Honest With You

Do not expect the world to be honest with you. Even if they fear you, they may still try to deceive and mislead you to pull you off the path that YHWH has established for you. Often they do so for their own interest. Sometimes, it may be simply to try to make you stumble and fall and be separated from the things YHWH wants for you. As YHWH’s people, we must be wise and pray for discernment.

Joshua 9

Guile of the Gibeonites

     1Now it came about when all the kings who were beyond the Jordan, in the hill country and in the lowland and on all the coast of the Great Sea toward Lebanon, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, heard of it, 2that they gathered themselves together with one accord to fight with Joshua and with Israel.

      3When the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, 4they also acted craftily and set out as envoys, and took worn-out sacks on their donkeys, and wineskins worn-out and torn and mended, 5and worn-out and patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and had become crumbled. 6They went to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us.” 7The men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you are living within our land; how then shall we make a covenant with you?” 8But they said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” Then Joshua said to them, “Who are you and where do you come from?” 9They said to him, “Your servants have come from a very far country because of the fame of the LORD your God; for we have heard the report of Him and all that He did in Egypt, 10and all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon and to Og king of Bashan who was at Ashtaroth. 11“So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying, ‘Take provisions in your hand for the journey, and go to meet them and say to them, “We are your servants; now then, make a covenant with us.”’ 12“This our bread was warm when we took it for our provisions out of our houses on the day that we left to come to you; but now behold, it is dry and has become crumbled. 13“These wineskins which we filled were new, and behold, they are torn; and these our clothes and our sandals are worn out because of the very long journey.” 14So the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not ask for the counsel of the LORD. 15Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them.

      16It came about at the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were neighbors and that they were living within their land. 17Then the sons of Israel set out and came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon and Chephirah and Beeroth and Kiriath-jearim. 18The sons of Israel did not strike them because the leaders of the congregation had sworn to them by the LORD the God of Israel. And the whole congregation grumbled against the leaders. 19But all the leaders said to the whole congregation, “We have sworn to them by the LORD, the God of Israel, and now we cannot touch them. 20“This we will do to them, even let them live, so that wrath will not be upon us for the oath which we swore to them.” 21The leaders said to them, “Let them live.” So they became hewers of wood and drawers of water for the whole congregation, just as the leaders had spoken to them.

      22Then Joshua called for them and spoke to them, saying, “Why have you deceived us, saying, ‘We are very far from you,’ when you are living within our land? 23“Now therefore, you are cursed, and you shall never cease being slaves, both hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.” 24So they answered Joshua and said, “Because it was certainly told your servants that the LORD your God had commanded His servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land before you; therefore we feared greatly for our lives because of you, and have done this thing. 25“Now behold, we are in your hands; do as it seems good and right in your sight to do to us.” 26Thus he did to them, and delivered them from the hands of the sons of Israel, and they did not kill them. 27But Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the LORD, to this day, in the place which He would choose.

Just because you may be following the instructions YHWH has set out for you does not mean that you can just go blindly and assume everything will go well and easily. Many will come against you and deceive you for their own benefit or just to lead you away from what they know YHWH wants for you. Pray for wisdom and discernment and consider carefully your actions as you move ahead.

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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.