Category Archives: Discipline / Guidance From God

Do Not Harden Your Hearts Against YHWH

Unbelief is a serious thing and it is often misunderstood. Even the demons believe Yeshua is God, but that does not mean they are saved. No, they are the enemy. They believe Yeshua is God but do not submit to his authority.

James 2:19-20

19You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?

Our belief is not one of recognizing that Yeshua is God, but rather submitting to and living according to his instruction and example. In that way we demonstrate our belief.

Think of it this way. If I believe in gravity, my actions show it. I hold the handrail going up stairs. I don’t walk off a roof or over a cliff. My behaviors and attitudes reflect what I believe. It affects my life.

Hebrews 3:12-19

The Peril of Unbelief

      12Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,

15while it is said,
“TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,
DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME.”

16For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? 17And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.

James points out that many who identified with his name were rebellious against him and were held accountable for not submitting to his authority. The warning is clear. Do not harden your hearts because of our desires for sin. Turn from sin and obey the Father. Pursue relationship with the Father through Yeshua.

John 14:6

6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

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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.

Obedience Leads to a Blessing; Disobedience to a Curse

The pattern in Judges is very plain to see. The Israelites turned from the LORD and did evil and he turned them over to the hand of others to rule over them as judgment. Through a period of pain being ruled by cruel neighbors who knew not the LORD, the people of YHWH repented and cried out for help. The suffering brought them back to YHWH. Once the repented and cried out for help, the LORD raised up leaders within Israel and led them to victory. Then the cycle repeats.

Try not to fall into this cycle personally, but rather continue to seek the LORD and submit even when things are good. However, if you do find yourself suffering and feeling distant from the LORD, take it as an invitation to return to him and repent from your own ways or the ways of culture around you. His is a forgiving Father, full of grace and mercy.

Judges 4

Deborah and Barak Deliver from Canaanites

      1Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, after Ehud died. 2And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; and the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-hagoyim. 3The sons of Israel cried to the LORD; for he had nine hundred iron chariots, and he oppressed the sons of Israel severely for twenty years.

      4Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. 5She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment. 6Now she sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, “Behold, the LORD, the God of Israel, has commanded, ‘Go and march to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men from the sons of Naphtali and from the sons of Zebulun. 7‘I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his many troops to the river Kishon, and I will give him into your hand.’” 8Then Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” 9She said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the honor shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali together to Kedesh, and ten thousand men went up with him; Deborah also went up with him.

      11Now Heber the Kenite had separated himself from the Kenites, from the sons of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the oak in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh.

      12Then they told Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. 13Sisera called together all his chariots, nine hundred iron chariots, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon. 14Deborah said to Barak, “Arise! For this is the day in which the LORD has given Sisera into your hands; behold, the LORD has gone out before you.” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. 15The LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot. 16But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth-hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not even one was left.

      17Now Sisera fled away on foot to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn aside, my master, turn aside to me! Do not be afraid.” And he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19He said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a bottle of milk and gave him a drink; then she covered him. 20He said to her, “Stand in the doorway of the tent, and it shall be if anyone comes and inquires of you, and says, ‘Is there anyone here?’ that you shall say, ‘No.’” 21But Jael, Heber’s wife, took a tent peg and seized a hammer in her hand, and went secretly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went through into the ground; for he was sound asleep and exhausted. So he died. 22And behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” And he entered with her, and behold Sisera was lying dead with the tent peg in his temple.

      23So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the sons of Israel. 24The hand of the sons of Israel pressed heavier and heavier upon Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin the king of Canaan.

Let us not miss the opportunity to pray for and influence our nation to turn back to the LORD either, for this pattern certainly applies to nations and groups of people who claim to serve him, or used to claim to serve him. This applies to the USA. We were founded a Christian nation on Christian principles and beliefs. Now the people turn away from him and his ways and he will turn us over to the depravity of our own minds.

Romans 1:18-32

     18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

      24Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

      26For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

      28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

However, if we would humble ourselves and pray, and turn from our wicked ways, he may heal our land.

2 Chronicles 7:13-14

13“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

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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.

Find Peace and Victory By Turning Back to the Father

We begin to see a pattern develop in Judges, one to which we should pay attention. The people turn from YHWH and mix and mingle their practices with those of the pagans. Then YHWH removes his hand of blessing and even raises up enemies against them to discipline them. The people suffer and ultimately cry out to YHWH and he raises up a leader to set them free and lead them to repent. It is only then that the people experience peace.

There is no reason to believe this pattern does not still apply in our relationship with YHWH and for our nations today. We need to humble ourselves and pray that he would have mercy on us and raise up righteous leaders and that his people would turn from sin and return to him and his ways.

Judges 3:9-30

The First Judge Delivers Israel

      9When the sons of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the sons of Israel to deliver them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the LORD gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand, so that he prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. 11Then the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

      12Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD. 13And he gathered to himself the sons of Ammon and Amalek; and he went and defeated Israel, and they possessed the city of the palm trees. 14The sons of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.

Ehud Delivers from Moab

      15But when the sons of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for them, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. And the sons of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab. 16Ehud made himself a sword which had two edges, a cubit in length, and he bound it on his right thigh under his cloak. 17He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man. 18It came about when he had finished presenting the tribute, that he sent away the people who had carried the tribute. 19But he himself turned back from the idols which were at Gilgal, and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” And he said, “Keep silence.” And all who attended him left him. 20Ehud came to him while he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And he arose from his seat. 21Ehud stretched out his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh and thrust it into his belly. 22The handle also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the sword out of his belly; and the refuse came out. 23Then Ehud went out into the vestibule and shut the doors of the roof chamber behind him, and locked them.

      24When he had gone out, his servants came and looked, and behold, the doors of the roof chamber were locked; and they said, “He is only relieving himself in the cool room.” 25They waited until they became anxious; but behold, he did not open the doors of the roof chamber. Therefore they took the key and opened them, and behold, their master had fallen to the floor dead.

      26Now Ehud escaped while they were delaying, and he passed by the idols and escaped to Seirah. 27It came about when he had arrived, that he blew the trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel went down with him from the hill country, and he was in front of them. 28He said to them, “Pursue them, for the LORD has given your enemies the Moabites into your hands.” So they went down after him and seized the fords of the Jordan opposite Moab, and did not allow anyone to cross. 29They struck down at that time about ten thousand Moabites, all robust and valiant men; and no one escaped. 30So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land was undisturbed for eighty years.

Shamgar Delivers from Philistines

      31After him came Shamgar the son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad; and he also saved Israel.

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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.

Rebellion Against God Leads to Servitude

After all the miracles that YHWH performed to deliver Israel to the promised land, they still disobeyed. They intermarried with people of different faiths who they were supposed to drive from the land. In time they served false gods and the Lord’s anger was kindled up against them. He turned them over to enemies as a result.

Let us remain humble enough to remember that YHWH does not change and we are not somehow better than the Israelites. YHWH has delivered to the USA a great nation, but we have turned in large part against him. We should not doubt for a moment that he will ultimately remove his hand of blessing and perhaps turn us over to destruction or servitude as judgment against us and to help drive us to repent as a people. The USA largely remains very proud and independent and does not depend even on YHWH, which is unfortunate.

As his people, we should humble ourselves and pray, and turn from our wicked ways and ask forgiveness (2 Chronicles 7:14). Do not confuse this with waiting for the wicked to humble themselves. The message to repent is for YHWH’s people.

Judges 3:1-8

Idolatry Leads to Servitude

      1Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to test Israel by them (that is, all who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan; 2only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war, those who had not experienced it formerly). 3These nations are: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. 4They were for testing Israel, to find out if they would obey the commandments of the LORD, which He had commanded their fathers through Moses. 5The sons of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; 6and they took their daughters for themselves as wives, and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.

      7The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth. 8Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, so that He sold them into the hands of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the sons of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years.

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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.

Israel Turns From YHWH

We are always one generation away from potentially turning our backs on YHWH and going our own way. One generation away from mixing and mingling his ways with the ways of other gods or traditions of men. Who and how we teach and raise our children matters. Even if we have experienced the power of YHWH first hand, the next generation may go another way if not raised right. Of course, prayer on their behalf to follow YHWH’s ways and also for him to provide strong leaders that would guide the people is helpful.

We should seek to understand YHWH’s ways ever more clearly through study and prayer. We should not compromise in accepting things which we can identify are contrary to his teaching, but should address them.

We see in Joshua 2 that Joshua dies and he is acknowledged by all those who have experienced YHWH’s miracles in delivering the promised land, but then the next generation begins to mix and mingle with the people whom the Israelites failed to drive out of the land. If they would have obeyed in the first place, theses people would not even have been there to corrupt their children.

Joshua 2:6-23

Joshua Dies

      6When Joshua had dismissed the people, the sons of Israel went each to his inheritance to possess the land. 7The people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua, who had seen all the great work of the LORD which He had done for Israel. 8Then Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of one hundred and ten. 9And they buried him in the territory of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.

Israel Serves Baals

      11Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals, 12and they forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the LORD to anger. 13So they forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtaroth. 14The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. 15Wherever they went, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had spoken and as the LORD had sworn to them, so that they were severely distressed.

      16Then the LORD raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them. 17Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them. They turned aside quickly from the way in which their fathers had walked in obeying the commandments of the LORD; they did not do as their fathers. 18When the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them. 19But it came about when the judge died, that they would turn back and act more corruptly than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them and bow down to them; they did not abandon their practices or their stubborn ways. 20So the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He said, “Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers and has not listened to My voice, 21I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, 22in order to test Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk in it as their fathers did, or not.” 23So the LORD allowed those nations to remain, not driving them out quickly; and He did not give them into the hand of Joshua.

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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.

We Do Well To Fully Obey The LORD

Israel was instructed by YHWH to make no covenant with the people living in the promised land. They were to displace them all. We don’t have a full record of the reasons why Israel failed to do this, but they failed. One could say they obeyed him in taking promised land, but they did not fully obey him in not making covenant with the people who lived there and they were supposed to tear down the altars to false gods. YHWH was not pleased.

We see in the beginning of chapter 2 a strong rebuke from YHWH to the people of Israel. They did not fully obey the LORD and there will be consequences. In this case, it is actually what I refer to with my children as a natural consequence. If you don’t clear out the people as instructed and tear down their altars, then their gods and their presence will give you trouble.

At this point the people wept, but it was too late. They had disobeyed.

Judges 1:27-2:5

Places Not Conquered

      27But Manasseh did not take possession of Beth-shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; so the Canaanites persisted in living in that land. 28It came about when Israel became strong, that they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely.

      29Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who were living in Gezer; so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them.

      30Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants of Nahalol; so the Canaanites lived among them and became subject to forced labor.

      31Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, or of Achzib, or of Helbah, or of Aphik, or of Rehob. 32So the Asherites lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out.

      33Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, or the inhabitants of Beth-anath, but lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; and the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath became forced labor for them.

      34Then the Amorites forced the sons of Dan into the hill country, for they did not allow them to come down to the valley; 35yet the Amorites persisted in living in Mount Heres, in Aijalon and in Shaalbim; but when the power of the house of Joseph grew strong, they became forced labor. 36The border of the Amorites ran from the ascent of Akrabbim, from Sela and upward.

Israel Rebuked

      1Now the angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you, 2and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done? 3“Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.’” 4When the angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, the people lifted up their voices and wept. 5So they named that place Bochim; and there they sacrificed to the LORD.

Let us take care to understand the importance of obeying YHWH fully and completely when he calls us to do something. Not everything we are called to do is written in his word. The Israelites had the Torah to instruct them, but YHWH had also spoken to them through Moses and through Joshua about specific guidance they were to take in regards to the promised land.  It was not enough to simply obey the Torah. They were also to obey the specific guidance that YHWH had given them for their current situation as well. The guidance was for their benefit.

It is important to develop our personal relationship with YHWH through prayer, study, and worship. Through this we continue to hear with more clarity from the Holy Spirit who dwells within followers of Yeshua. We should also check everything against the written word as well. We must obey YHWH in spirit and in truth.

John 4:23-24

23“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

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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 Consequences When A Nation Turns From YHWH

This is a message our nation and our world need to hear even today, as they continue to distance themselves from God, worship other gods, and live according to their own ways instead of those of YHWH. He gave us the law as instruction for us in how to live and relate to Him. He sent Yeshua to make a way for us to be forgiven and reconciled to Him. However, when we as a nation continue to reject His instruction in how we live we can be sure to expect the same response that YHWH had toward Israel. He will be angry. His blessing will be removed. We will get to live with the results of our own wickedness and He will bring punishment. Let those who have ears to hear, hear and apply our lives today. Let us humble ourselves and repent before Him, praying for our nation and for His grace to deliver our people back to following Him… not according to the teachings of the church, but according to His instruction in the Bible.

Deuteronomy 31:23-30

      23Then He commissioned Joshua the son of Nun, and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the sons of Israel into the land which I swore to them, and I will be with you.”

      24It came about, when Moses finished writing the words of this law in a book until they were complete, 25that Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, 26“Take this book of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may remain there as a witness against you. 27“For I know your rebellion and your stubbornness; behold, while I am still alive with you today, you have been rebellious against the LORD; how much more, then, after my death? 28“Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to witness against them. 29“For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands.”

      30Then Moses spoke in the hearing of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song, until they were complete:

Deuteronomy 32

The Song of Moses

     1“Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak;
And let the earth hear the words of my mouth.

      2“Let my teaching drop as the rain,
My speech distill as the dew,
As the droplets on the fresh grass
And as the showers on the herb.

      3“For I proclaim the name of the LORD;
Ascribe greatness to our God!

      4“The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.

      5“They have acted corruptly toward Him,
They are not His children, because of their defect;
But are a perverse and crooked generation.

      6“Do you thus repay the LORD,
O foolish and unwise people?
Is not He your Father who has bought you?
He has made you and established you.

      7“Remember the days of old,
Consider the years of all generations.
Ask your father, and he will inform you,
Your elders, and they will tell you.

      8“When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance,
When He separated the sons of man,
He set the boundaries of the peoples
According to the number of the sons of Israel.

      9“For the LORD’S portion is His people;
Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance.

      10“He found him in a desert land,
And in the howling waste of a wilderness;
He encircled him, He cared for him,
He guarded him as the pupil of His eye.

      11“Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
That hovers over its young,
He spread His wings and caught them,
He carried them on His pinions.

      12“The LORD alone guided him,
And there was no foreign god with him.

      13“He made him ride on the high places of the earth,
And he ate the produce of the field;
And He made him suck honey from the rock,
And oil from the flinty rock,

      14Curds of cows, and milk of the flock,
With fat of lambs,
And rams, the breed of Bashan, and goats,
With the finest of the wheat—
And of the blood of grapes you drank wine.

      15“But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked—
You are grown fat, thick, and sleek—
Then he forsook God who made him,
And scorned the Rock of his salvation.

      16“They made Him jealous with strange gods;
With abominations they provoked Him to anger.

      17“They sacrificed to demons who were not God,
To gods whom they have not known,
New gods who came lately,
Whom your fathers did not dread.

      18“You neglected the Rock who begot you,
And forgot the God who gave you birth.

      19“The LORD saw this, and spurned them
Because of the provocation of His sons and daughters.

      20“Then He said, ‘I will hide My face from them,
I will see what their end shall be;
For they are a perverse generation,
Sons in whom is no faithfulness.

      21‘They have made Me jealous with what is not God;
They have provoked Me to anger with their idols.
So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people;
I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation,

      22For a fire is kindled in My anger,
And burns to the lowest part of Sheol,
And consumes the earth with its yield,
And sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.

      23‘I will heap misfortunes on them;
I will use My arrows on them.

      24They will be wasted by famine, and consumed by plague
And bitter destruction;
And the teeth of beasts I will send upon them,
With the venom of crawling things of the dust.

      25‘Outside the sword will bereave,
And inside terror—
Both young man and virgin,
The nursling with the man of gray hair.

      26‘I would have said, “I will cut them to pieces,
I will remove the memory of them from men,”

      27Had I not feared the provocation by the enemy,
That their adversaries would misjudge,
That they would say, “Our hand is triumphant,
And the LORD has not done all this.”’

      28“For they are a nation lacking in counsel,
And there is no understanding in them.

      29“Would that they were wise, that they understood this,
That they would discern their future!

      30“How could one chase a thousand,
And two put ten thousand to flight,
Unless their Rock had sold them,
And the LORD had given them up?

      31“Indeed their rock is not like our Rock,
Even our enemies themselves judge this.

      32“For their vine is from the vine of Sodom,
And from the fields of Gomorrah;
Their grapes are grapes of poison,
Their clusters, bitter.

      33“Their wine is the venom of serpents,
And the deadly poison of cobras.

      34‘Is it not laid up in store with Me,
Sealed up in My treasuries?

      35‘Vengeance is Mine, and retribution,
In due time their foot will slip;
For the day of their calamity is near,
And the impending things are hastening upon them.’

      36“For the LORD will vindicate His people,
And will have compassion on His servants,
When He sees that their strength is gone,
And there is none remaining, bond or free.

      37“And He will say, ‘Where are their gods,
The rock in which they sought refuge?

      38‘Who ate the fat of their sacrifices,
And drank the wine of their drink offering?
Let them rise up and help you,
Let them be your hiding place!

      39‘See now that I, I am He,
And there is no god besides Me;
It is I who put to death and give life.
I have wounded and it is I who heal,
And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.

      40‘Indeed, I lift up My hand to heaven,
And say, as I live forever,

      41If I sharpen My flashing sword,
And My hand takes hold on justice,
I will render vengeance on My adversaries,
And I will repay those who hate Me.

      42‘I will make My arrows drunk with blood,
And My sword will devour flesh,
With the blood of the slain and the captives,
From the long-haired leaders of the enemy.’

      43“Rejoice, O nations, with His people;
For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
And will render vengeance on His adversaries,
And will atone for His land and His people.”

      44Then Moses came and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he, with Joshua the son of Nun. 45When Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, 46he said to them, “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law. 47“For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. And by this word you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.”

      48The LORD spoke to Moses that very same day, saying, 49“Go up to this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab opposite Jericho, and look at the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the sons of Israel for a possession. 50“Then die on the mountain where you ascend, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, 51because you broke faith with Me in the midst of the sons of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, because you did not treat Me as holy in the midst of the sons of Israel.52“For you shall see the land at a distance, but you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving the sons of Israel.”

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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.

Choose Life

We have the same offer today from YHWH, the same choice. He has set before us each a choice. It is up to us to choose life and blessing over the curse. However this means we must choose Him, we must choose to love Him, walk in His ways, and keep His commandments, His statutes, His judgments… rather than our own or those devised by man. The source of truth is not what is taught in churches. The source of truth is God, Himself and He has provided to us a written record of His instruction in the Bible, which is available to all.

Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Choose Life

     15“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; 16in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. 17“But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, 18I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. 19“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

To choose God and the ways of man is not to truly choose God. We can each have only one master. Choose and choose wisely. There are eternal consequences in addition to the trials and / or joy we can experience in this world. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. To do so, we realize that we must be open to change our understanding of His instructions as we study further the Bible and learn more of the ways in which the instruction found in churches today does not line up in many cases with the Bible itself and God’s instruction. Praise the Lord, we find His instructions are not burdensome, but draw us nearer to 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.

A Blessing or A Curse… Which Will You Decide To Choose?

YHWH repeatedly emphasizes that we have a choice. We can choose blessing by following all of His commands faithfully, or we can choose curse by living our own way or redefining His instructions to our own making… changing some, ignoring some, claiming others are obsolete.

The bad news is that this does not work like a menu where you pick and choose what you will obey. It works like a choose-you-own-adventure book where you choose to submit to Him, seek Him, and obey the fullness of His law / instruction… or you don’t.

Though some of the commandments can not be completed due to the lack of a temple and priesthood, we are to obey to the extent we can the rest of the commandments and instructions.

Deuteronomy 28 is a bit long, but don’t dismiss it as repetitive or redundant without taking time to contemplate and reflect on why YHWH takes to much time to emphasize this point. This is not the first chapter focused on the blessing of obedience or curse of disobedience. He repeats it, and with dramatic emphasis, for the same reason we would do so… to make an important point… so that people would really hear and understand this is important. Treat it as such.

Deuteronomy 28

Blessings at Gerizim

      1“Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2“All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God:

      3“Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.

      4“Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.

      5“Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.

      6“Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

      7“The LORD shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways. 8“The LORD will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God gives you. 9“The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. 10“So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will be afraid of you.11“The LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. 12“The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 13“The LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, 14and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

Consequences of Disobedience

15“But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:

      16“Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country.

      17“Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.

      18“Cursed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.

      19“Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.

      20“The LORD will send upon you curses, confusion, and rebuke, in all you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken Me. 21“The LORD will make the pestilence cling to you until He has consumed you from the land where you are entering to possess it. 22“The LORD will smite you with consumption and with fever and with inflammation and with fiery heat and with the sword and with blight and with mildew, and they will pursue you until you perish. 23“The heaven which is over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you, iron. 24“The LORD will make the rain of your land powder and dust; from heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed.

      25“The LORD shall cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you will go out one way against them, but you will flee seven ways before them, and you will be an example of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 26“Your carcasses will be food to all birds of the sky and to the beasts of the earth, and there will be no one to frighten them away.

      27“The LORD will smite you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors and with the scab and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed. 28“The LORD will smite you with madness and with blindness and with bewilderment of heart; 29and you will grope at noon, as the blind man gropes in darkness, and you will not prosper in your ways; but you shall only be oppressed and robbed continually, with none to save you. 30“You shall betroth a wife, but another man will violate her; you shall build a house, but you will not live in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but you will not use its fruit. 31“Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat of it; your donkey shall be torn away from you, and will not be restored to you; your sheep shall be given to your enemies, and you will have none to save you. 32“Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, while your eyes look on and yearn for them continually; but there will be nothing you can do. 33“A people whom you do not know shall eat up the produce of your ground and all your labors, and you will never be anything but oppressed and crushed continually. 34“You shall be driven mad by the sight of what you see. 35“The LORD will strike you on the knees and legs with sore boils, from which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head. 36“The LORD will bring you and your king, whom you set over you, to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone. 37“You shall become a horror, a proverb, and a taunt among all the people where the LORD drives you.

      38“You shall bring out much seed to the field but you will gather in little, for the locust will consume it. 39“You shall plant and cultivate vineyards, but you will neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes, for the worm will devour them. 40“You shall have olive trees throughout your territory but you will not anoint yourself with the oil, for your olives will drop off. 41“You shall have sons and daughters but they will not be yours, for they will go into captivity. 42“The cricket shall possess all your trees and the produce of your ground. 43“The alien who is among you shall rise above you higher and higher, but you will go down lower and lower. 44“He shall lend to you, but you will not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you will be the tail.

      45“So all these curses shall come on you and pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you would not obey the LORD your God by keeping His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. 46“They shall become a sign and a wonder on you and your descendants forever.

      47“Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things; 48therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in the lack of all things; and He will put an iron yoke on your neck until He has destroyed you.

      49“The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand, 50a nation of fierce countenance who will have no respect for the old, nor show favor to the young. 51“Moreover, it shall eat the offspring of your herd and the produce of your ground until you are destroyed, who also leaves you no grain, new wine, or oil, nor the increase of your herd or the young of your flock until they have caused you to perish. 52“It shall besiege you in all your towns until your high and fortified walls in which you trusted come down throughout your land, and it shall besiege you in all your towns throughout your land which the LORD your God has given you. 53“Then you shall eat the offspring of your own body, the flesh of your sons and of your daughters whom the LORD your God has given you, during the siege and the distress by which your enemy will oppress you. 54“The man who is refined and very delicate among you shall be hostile toward his brother and toward the wife he cherishes and toward the rest of his children who remain, 55so that he will not give even one of them any of the flesh of his children which he will eat, since he has nothing else left, during the siege and the distress by which your enemy will oppress you in all your towns. 56“The refined and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground for delicateness and refinement, shall be hostile toward the husband she cherishes and toward her son and daughter, 57and toward her afterbirth which issues from between her legs and toward her children whom she bears; for she will eat them secretly for lack of anything else, during the siege and the distress by which your enemy will oppress you in your towns.

      58“If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, to fear this honored and awesome name, the LORD your God, 59then the LORD will bring extraordinary plagues on you and your descendants, even severe and lasting plagues, and miserable and chronic sicknesses. 60“He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt of which you were afraid, and they will cling to you. 61“Also every sickness and every plague which, not written in the book of this law, the LORD will bring on you until you are destroyed. 62“Then you shall be left few in number, whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, because you did not obey the LORD your God. 63“It shall come about that as the LORD delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the LORD will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it. 64“Moreover, the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known. 65“Among those nations you shall find no rest, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul. 66“So your life shall hang in doubt before you; and you will be in dread night and day, and shall have no assurance of your life. 67“In the morning you shall say, ‘Would that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, ‘Would that it were morning!’ because of the dread of your heart which you dread, and for the sight of your eyes which you will see. 68“The LORD will bring you back to Egypt in ships, by the way about which I spoke to you, ‘You will never see it again!’ And there you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.”

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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.

Delight Yourself In The Lord

It is very easy to focus on how much evil there is in our nation and our world… there are plenty who reject YHWH and His ways. We can get so wrapped up in that sometimes that we can start to miss out on the joy of the Lord. YHWH reminded me recently to delight in Him. I hope Psalm 37 can encourage you as well. We should be living joyful lives in relationship with our Creator and Father. Not only will this make our lives more enjoyable, but it is consistent with scripture and will actually help us be a light to draw others to the truth.

Psalm 37

Security of Those Who Trust in the LORD, and Insecurity of the Wicked. 

A Psalm of David.

     1Do not fret because of evildoers,
Be not envious toward wrongdoers.

      2For they will wither quickly like the grass
And fade like the green herb.

      3Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

      4Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.

      5Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

      6He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday.

      7Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

      8Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.

      9For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.

      10Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more;
And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.

      11But the humble will inherit the land
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.

      12The wicked plots against the righteous
And gnashes at him with his teeth.

      13The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees his day is coming.

      14The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow
To cast down the afflicted and the needy,
To slay those who are upright in conduct.

      15Their sword will enter their own heart,
And their bows will be broken.

      16Better is the little of the righteous
Than the abundance of many wicked.

      17For the arms of the wicked will be broken,
But the LORD sustains the righteous.

      18The LORD knows the days of the blameless,
And their inheritance will be forever.

      19They will not be ashamed in the time of evil,
And in the days of famine they will have abundance.

      20But the wicked will perish;
And the enemies of the LORD will be like the glory of the pastures,
They vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

      21The wicked borrows and does not pay back,
But the righteous is gracious and gives.

      22For those blessed by Him will inherit the land,
But those cursed by Him will be cut off.

      23The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
And He delights in his way.

      24When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.

      25I have been young and now I am old,
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
Or his descendants begging bread.

      26All day long he is gracious and lends,
And his descendants are a blessing.

      27Depart from evil and do good,
So you will abide forever.

      28For the LORD loves justice
And does not forsake His godly ones;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked will be cut off.

      29The righteous will inherit the land
And dwell in it forever.

      30The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
And his tongue speaks justice.

      31The law of his God is in his heart;
His steps do not slip.

      32The wicked spies upon the righteous
And seeks to kill him.

      33The LORD will not leave him in his hand
Or let him be condemned when he is judged.

      34Wait for the LORD and keep His way,
And He will exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you will see it.

      35I have seen a wicked, violent man
Spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil.

      36Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more;
I sought for him, but he could not be found.

      37Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright;
For the man of peace will have a posterity.

      38But transgressors will be altogether destroyed;
The posterity of the wicked will be cut off.

      39But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;
He is their strength in time of trouble.

      40The LORD helps them and delivers them;
He delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
Because they take refuge in 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.