We all know that God is capable of doing anything he wants to. It’s not even hard for him- he created the entire universe with a word, so making things happen in your life isn’t much more than a fleeting thought.
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But does that mean that he is the only one in control?
Or, let’s put it a different way…because God is in control, does that mean you have none? Does God’s control over events in your life make it impossible for you to have your own way?
Now we’re getting into something deep- free will vs. predestination. These have historically been considered mutually exclusive, but not for Jews.
I heard, a long time ago, that Judaism has been able to explain how predestination and free will can be mutually inclusive. This is how I remember it:
God is the captain of a ship that is going to a specific port. This trip is a long one, and there are reefs and storms and such that cause it to sometimes take a detour, but eventually it will make the desired port, exactly when the captain wants it to land.
In the meantime, it makes many stops along the way, and people can freely get on or off, as they choose.
If they get off at a certain port, because the ship is not turning back, they won’t be able to get back on. When they get on, they are expected to do their share of the work (i.e., obey the captains orders). If they constantly refuse to obey, the captain will have them placed in jail and they won’t be freed to disembark when the ship lands at the final port.
The idea is that what God wants to accomplish he will, and we have the choice to either work with him (obey his commandments) or refuse to comply and end up in jail, which we call “hell”.
What many don’t realize is that by following man-made traditions, rites, ceremonies, and holidays, none of which are the ones God told us to celebrate, they are, in reality, rejecting God’s commandments.
Christianity has taught that when you accept Yeshua (Jesus) as your Messiah you are exempt from the “Jewish” laws and commandments, but that is simply not true. Yeshua never once said anyone is exempt from obedience to the Torah- never! Those lies have been promulgated by men- men who created their own religions.
And these man-made religions have separated themselves from the Jews, both by creating their own system of worship and lifestyle.
Here’s the scary part…because God appointed the Jewish people to be his cohanim (priests) to the world (Exodus 19:5-6), when these man-made religions taught their people to reject the Jewish system of worship and lifestyle, they taught them to reject God.
You do have control over your life- you can get on the ship which has God as captain, or you can get on a ship with a different captain. I chose to get on God’s ship about 25 years ago, and have worked my way up through the ranks (I am proud to say) to the level of teacher, which God has anointed (or, since we’re using a naval metaphor, I should probably say commissioned) me with.
And today’s lesson is that you should get on the ship that has God as the captain because it is the only one that will make that far-away port. And, while on the ship, obey the captain to receive his blessings and be allowed to enter the port when we get there.
God is in total control of everything, but you are still in control of yourself, so you can choose to board the ship God is steering, or a ship someone else is steering; but remember this- whichever ship you sail on, you will be expected to obey the captain or you’ll end up in the brig.
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I would appreciate your prayers today as I am having back surgery done this afternoon.
That’s it for today, so L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!