** 40 Days of Repentance – 2019 – Day 30
Thanksgiving For a Genuine Friend
Most of us have imagined being a king or queen, ruling over a country, living in a palace and being attended to by servants. We may have watched some Medieval period movie or a Queen Elizabeth documentary and become intrigued with the life of royalty. Reading the words of King David reveals a different picture as he often speaks of being encircled by unscrupulous men like ravening dogs, by those who seek to bring him down to the depths and to the grave. It doesn’t seem as if the ministers in his court were to be trusted.
David had at least one genuine friend and brother in Yehonatan/Jonathan. When David first went into King Shaul’s employ, he may have been inferior in his dress for the king’s court. Yehonatan loved David as his own soul and gave him his own robe, sword, and bow. [1 Shemu’el/Samuel 18:3-4] It was Yehonatan that warned David to flee from the king who meant to kill him at first opportunity. To have someone in your life who only seeks your good, to promote and protect you is a rare and wonderful gift. For that precious relationship we should be most thankful.
One aspect of this level of friendship is offering reproof and correction. Mishlei/ Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” In verse 17 we read, “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of a friend.” How many times has Yah sent a trusted friend to us to gift us with reproof and correction, allowing us to see that we are missing the mark in some area, but instead of heeding their words, we reject or even cast aside our friend? When we approach someone we love seeking to help them understand their need of walking at a higher level or of taking corrective steps, we put our friendship at risk. However, to say nothing is to allow them to continue in a hurtful path; for themselves and for those around them.
I suggest that we take time in our seeking Him to express thanksgiving to the Father for loving us so much as to grant to us those that we can trust as genuine friends. I also suggest that we repent for those times that we failed to heed their words that may have wounded but then also granted us healing. If we have rejected such a one, may the Ruach haKodesh/Holy Spirit prompt us to seek reconciliation and the restoration of friendship.
Honoring our elders is the continuing theme in the first half of this show. We continue our visit to the Ebenezer Home in Haifa, Israel, the only retirement home in Israel for elderly disciples of Yeshua. David Phillips begins the segment by telling us about the project to build a nursing ward to expand the home’s capabilities. Then we hear from Samantha Lagoy, a volunteer at the home who shares a powerful testimony of how this ministry of love changes the lives of these older saints and those around them.
David Jones and Barry Philips investigate another aspect of love in the midrash portion as they dig into a puzzling portion of the Torah. Love is fundamental in the calling and identity of God’s people, as we hear in the music of Miriam Houtz and Solomon Lopez.
To learn more about the Ebenezer Home, including how you can help in such important work as the Nursing Ward project, visit their website at https://www.ebenezer.co.il/.
** 40 Days of Repentance – 2019 – Day 29
Seeking Our True Identity
The 40 days prior to Yom Kippur furnish a valuable time for introspection leading to deep repentance. Understanding our Kingdom identity provides strong tools for this time of prayer and seeking. What and who I think I am powerfully impacts my actions and ultimate destiny. It is crucial to our walk to line up our thoughts on who we are with whom the Father says we are. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:5 “we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of the Messiah.”
In Judges 6:12 Gideon is hiding in a wine press threshing grain to avoid detection by the invading Midianites. A casual observer might see Gideon as weak and cowardly. However, an angel appears to him and says “Yahweh is with you, courageous warrior!” As the story unfolds it becomes obvious that Gideon is transformed by adopting Yahweh’s version of his identity. The man timidly hiding in a wine press leads Israel to a miraculous victory over the Midianites and frees them from their oppressor.
A powerful aid in building our identity in the Kingdom is rehearsing what God has said about us. We are no longer outside the boundary of the covenant. Through the blood of Yeshua we have been brought near to the covenants of God and have joined the commonwealth of Israel. This means we are included in the New Covenant. Jeremiah 31:31 “Indeed, a time is coming,” says Yahweh, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah.” Indeed we are now “in” and not “out,” we are “near” and not “far away.”
When Paul and Silas were illegally beaten and thrown into jail in Philippi, Paul refused to leave quietly. He required the magistrates to come and usher them out of the prison because they were Roman citizens who had been denied the rights and privileges due to them as citizens. Paul refused to allow them to ignore his identity.
A mega-hit sung by Lauren Daigle also reminds us of this truth. In the words of the chorus:
“You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And you say I am held when I am falling short
And when I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours
And I believe.”
As we pray and prepare for Yom Kippur on these 40 days never forget who you are and what has been done for you by your Messiah Yeshua. Ephesians 1: 3 Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in the Messiah. This is not a matter of arrogance or pride but simply agreeing with your heavenly Father about who you are in Him.
** 40 Days of Repentance – 2019 – Day 28
The Spirit of Edom
Lack of repentance oftentimes is due to a prideful spirit. This prideful spirit can be associated with the Spirit of Edom. When reading Obadiah 1:3, Elohim is telling Edom that “The arrogance (pride) “zedon” of your heart has deceived you.” Elohim is going to bring judgement upon Edom (Esau) because of his violence as it says, “Because of violence “chamas” to your brother Jacob, you will be covered with shame, and you will be cut off forever.”
People are at times offended or wronged by another or perhaps they have been the one doing the offending. Edom was not interested in self-examination or in consideration of others. Being caught up in reflecting on our own hurt or our own justice, not the justice of God, positions us to self-define justice. Had Edom repented like Nineveh he would have been spared. His pride and violence prevented it.
The Hebrew word for violence is “chamas” and at its core means lack of justice and righteousness. If we are to prevent the spirit of Edom from rising up within us, we must subdue it and cut it off. For the spirit of Edom wants nothing to do with righteous justice.
Repenting for our sins and seeking righteous justice with our brother leads to repairing broken relationships with all those we have sinned against or offended. The justice and righteousness of God will cause us to seek reconciliation.
May we be a people continually seeking to overturn “chamas” that destroys relationships. If we are willing to examine ourselves and cut off a prideful spirit, God’s word can then establish righteous justice.
** 40 Days of Repentance – 2019 – Day 27
The Blood of Atonement
In V’yikrah/Leviticus 16 we read of the Yom haKippurim protocols to effect an atonement and cleansing for Am Yisrael. The instructions include the taking of two goats, one as a sin offering and one to bear Yisrael’s crookednesses into the wilderness. The Kohen haGadol/High Priest is to take the blood of the sin offering, which is for the people according to 16:15, and sprinkle it upon the Lid of Atonement. This sprinkling is “…because of the uncleanness of the children of Yisrael and because of their transgressions in all their sins.” In verse 18 we read, “And he shall go out to the slaughter-place that is before YHWH and make atonement for it.” Read that verse again. The atonement is stated to be for the Altar or Slaughter-Place, not the people.
A careful reading of these most set apart procedures and protocols will reveal that blood is not placed upon people, but upon sacred objects that are a part of the Mishkan or Tabernacle. While we were trained to pray, “Wash me in your blood” or “I plead the blood of Messiah”, this particular text reveals that it is the Altar and the Mercy Seat that is tainted and in need of cleansing. Actually, it is only a few occasions that the blood of offerings are placed on people. See Shemot/Exodus 24:8, V’yikrah/Leviticus 8:23-24, and 14:14 as examples of the rare occasions of humans having blood place on them.
What is the Torah trying to teach us?
The sins that you and I commit are included among those of the corporate body of Messiah, of Am Yisrael. We have sinned corporately as well as individually and our sins have the result of tainting the very altar that brings atonement. In Daniel 9 the prophet confesses “…we have sinned…And all Yisrael have transgressed Your Torah and turned aside…” As a people, all of our collective sins stain and defile the very altar that should be effectual for our cleansing and atonement. In other words, when we transgress Yah’s commands, individually and corporately, we cause our offerings of worship, of prayers, and of giving to have little or no value as the altar is defiled and now unclean. However, we yet have hope of being heard and being forgiven because of Y’shua’s blood!
Consider that there are significant differences in the realm of the Ruach/Spirit and the realm of the physical. The concept and reality of time stand among those differences, being experienced in the physical realm but not necessarily in the spiritual. Yah does not wear a wrist watch and has already declared the end from the beginning. It is the effect of time that causes us to age and physically deteriorate. Spilled blood will dry up and darken because of time causing it to be exposed to air. The blood of Y’shua however was not presented in an earthly realm physical temple but rather in the heavenly spiritual realm. Being placed upon the Altar of Slaughtering in that realm, a place not affected by time, should result in blood that is eternally wet, filled with continuing life and cleansing.
My point is that our individual and corporate sins may defile the earthly copy of the Altar but in the spiritual realm above, the blood of Messiah continually offers cleansing and purifying. Therefore we should cry out with boldness and fervent hearts that His blood provide access to the Father for us, that He continually hear us and find our offerings acceptable. Further, let us repent and turn from our corporate sins as well as our individual sins, that we may find acceptance in Yah’s sight as a people and that He might restore us as His people; a nation set apart unto Him. May He cleanse and forgive our sins that all Yisrael may be saved. Blessed be Y’shua our Messiah for presenting His blood once and for all on behalf of a fallen and wayward people. Blessed be YHWH the Father Who forgives our sins and cleanses our iniquities. Amen.