Something I Have Learned

Before I even start, let me say that this is what I have learned for myself- it may not be right for you. If, after reading this, you disagree with what I am saying because you feel differently, that’s OK. I am not telling anyone what they should do or how they should feel, I am simply sharing what is right for me and if it seems right for you, that’s great.

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

Let me give you a little background: I have had a lot of experience in the Financial world, from retail banking to processing securities to insurance and even to estate planning. When I was selling Revocable Living Trusts, I used to tell this to my customers after they had purchased a trust as a way to prepare them for when their children tell them they have to cancel it. I would say:

…when your children were very young, they thought that you both knew everything about everything; when they became teenagers, they thought they knew everything about everything, and now that they are adults and you are senior citizens they think you don’t know anything about anything. But you do know what you are doing, and you have just made a good decision based on knowledge of what you have purchased, so hold fast to your decision.

This is what we in the Sales world call the “Cool Down”- it is absolutely necessary after a sale, especially for a big ticket item. It helps people to avoid making a real mistake, which is to cancel the deal simply because someone who doesn’t have any idea of what they are talking about only saw the dollar signs.

What’s all this got to do with God, the Bible, Yeshua or salvation? It lays the foundation for my message today, which is that most of the times what we believe about God and the Messiah is based on what someone tells us. And because this is about our eternal soul and where it will be, we need to discern what is good information and what information doesn’t help us at all.

Too many times I see people asking questions that lead us to nowhere, such as these actual conversations I have seen in discussion groups:

Who really wrote one of the Psalms?
What tribe am I from?
How do we pronounce the Tetragrammaton?
Is tithing only for a farmer?
When does the Sabbath really begin?
Why are pigs unclean and cows are not?

and other such questions.

I ask you- will knowing the answer to any of these questions save you from death? Will knowing the answers make you more “saved” than someone who doesn’t know the answer? Is anyone saved by knowledge alone?

Here is what I have learned from my 20+ years as a Believer: faith is not caring why something is the way it is but just accepting that it is that way. Knowledge is a two-edged sword: it can help us to better understand God, but the pursuit of in-depth knowledge to prove why something is what we are told will lead us away from faithful acceptance because “proof” is the antithesis of faith.

Here are the answers I have for the questions posed above:

It doesn’t matter who wrote the psalms, they are still beautiful, and those that are Messianic prophecies are still valid.

No one can really know what tribe they are from, and it doesn’t matter because salvation is not based on heritage.

It doesn’t matter how to pronounce God’s Holy Name because we are saved by faith, not pronunciation. Besides, God knows who we are talking to when we pray.

Tithing is giving back to God, no matter what type of income you have.

The Sabbath begins on Friday night, and the moon phase in Israel doesn’t matter so long as on Friday evening you rest until Saturday evening.

Pigs are unclean and cows are not because God said they were…period.

I don’t care to know every single little detail about the Bible or to know Paleo-Hebrew or to be an expert in biblical exegesis. I only want to know what I need to know, and when other people start to tell me I should learn more, I respectfully say, “Thank you for your concern, but I know enough: I know who God is, I know who Yeshua is, and I know that my salvation is secured because of my faith in them and my obedience to their instructions.”

For the record, I am not always obedient, but that is an entirely different topic.

I am not saying we shouldn’t study the Bible- we must! We need to know God’s word and God’s instructions so that we can do as he tells us we should and also to be able to recognize the Enemy when he comes. These are important things to know!

Everything else is, to me, just fluff. It won’t make me any more “saved” than you, special knowledge won’t make me more important in heaven (this is part of what Gnosticism teaches), but what it will do (and I have seen this happen too often) is lead people into arguments that result in pridefulness, sinful attacks against brothers and sisters in the Lord, and confusion.

Read the Bible, stay away from extra-biblical works, unless they are specifically useful in helping to understand the Bible, such as commentaries or reference materials like the Interlinear Bible or Strong’s Concordance. And talk with people about salvation-related topics, but only those things that edify and teach people what they need to know.

How will we know which topics are useful and which are not? Only by discernment, and that comes from God. So when you pray, ask for discernment, for wisdom, and for patience when dealing with those who just have to know everything. I often see topics on Facebook that in my opinion are just ridiculous, so I ignore them. I also have seen people start conversations just to be able to argue with others- they don’t even care what is true or valid or important, they just want to argue.

Finally, let’s all remember what we are told in Proverbs 6: 16-19. The writer (and No!-I don’t care who wrote it) is saying there are 7 things that the Lord detests, and the last one (in 6:19) is this:

“…and him who sows strife among brothers.”

I don’t want to be someone the Lord detests because I have caused strife among my brothers and sisters.

I am open to discuss anything, but if the topic won’t help to save anyone or leads into an argument, I will simply state the answer doesn’t matter to me. God gave us each free will to decide what we will believe and what we will do, and we all will be held accountable for our decisions, no matter why we made them.

And that is my number one reason for basing my faith on the KISS rule.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe and share this message with others.

I am also running a campaign to send Bibles and Bible study materials to three Messianic synagogues in rural Uganda- please check out my Gofundme campaign at this address:

Help Ugandan Synagogues.

Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

 

 

 

Parashah Ekev 2018 (Because) Deuteronomy 7:12 – 12:25

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Moses continues his Third Discourse reminding the Children of Israel all the things that God has done for them, from freeing them out of Egyptian slavery to feeding them, to protecting them from peoples greater and stronger than they are, even to chastising them to test their faith and resolve.  He adds how many times they have failed to do as God commanded, how stiff-necked and undeserving they are of God’s gift of the land, and how if they refuse to obey God once they are in the land, then they will be treated as they are to treat the people living there now- they will be dispersed and destroyed.

Moses reviews their travels and how at each place the people rebelled against God- the Golden Calf, the waters of Meribah, the revolt of Korach, and their refusal to go into the land the first time they arrived. Despite their constant rebellion, God still wants to mightily bless them if they obey God and keep his commandments. Moses goes on to again say they are to remember all the wonderful acts that God did before them and the miracles he performed for their good.

Of all there is to talk about, I was somewhat surprised when I came across Deuteronomy 10:12-13:

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?

I immediately recognized it as something I had read elsewhere in the Bible. Do you know where I am talking about? It’s Micah 6:8:

He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

I thought” Aha! So that’s where Micah got it from!”  Then I realized it wasn’t, or most probably wasn’t, from there. Micah got it straight from God, who also gave it to Moses for the same reasons- to remind the people what they were to do.

Now, Moses was sometime around 1500 BCE and Micah was in the time period from 750 BCE to about 686 BCE. So there were some 750 plus years between Moses telling the people what God wants of them, and Micah having to remind them of the same, exact thing. God never changes, and, sadly enough, it seems neither do we.

OY! When will we ever learn?

Are we any better today than the people back in Moses’ day? Or Micah’s time? Do we thank God for the wonderful things he has done, or do we try to explain it away as some scientific event that is not supernatural? Why would we do that? I’ll tell you why- if we can explain why something happens then we don’t believe it to be a miracle. If it isn’t a miracle, then it can’t be supernatural, i.e. from God. Therefore, if it isn’t from God it isn’t something we have to deal with or worry about.

Too many of the real miracles of life are ignored as miracles because we can explain how they happen. Some we can almost replicate in a lab, so if we can make it happen it can’t be a miracle, right?

Wrong. We can fertilize a human ovum in a test tube and implant it in a woman, who then can carry to birth. We can do that, so some might say we can create life. But where did we get the egg? Did we create the sperm? Did we manufacture the womb?

From the very moment, after the people saw God’s Shekinah glory, they forgot all about him. Out of sight, out of mind.  And that’s a problem because our God is invisible! Maybe that’s why idol worship was (and is, to this day) so popular- you can see and feel the idol, whereas we can’t with God. And if we can’t see, or smell or feel it, then we convince ourselves it isn’t really there.

But there are things we know exist, even though we can’t see or smell or feel it. What about oxygen? We may not see it or feel it or smell it, but if there is a lot of pure oxygen around and you should light a match…BOOM! You’ll know oxygen was there, all right! And what about radon? No smell or feel but if we breathe too much…dum-de-dum-dum!

Maybe this is how we can know an invisible God, the same way we know other invisible things- by the effect they have on our environment. That is how we can “see” and “feel” God- not by looking at him but by looking at the result of his presence. We can see him in his creation:

A bee can fly when the human study of aeronautics say it is impossible;

A plant drops all its purple flowers every night, but by the next mid-morning it has all new flowers (we have one of these on our porch, but Donna is the botanist, not me, so I don’t know the species name);

The universe continues to operate with billions and billions of stars in it that don’t crash into each other;

Consider the miracle of digestion; of respiration; of birth.

God is everywhere, and the proof of his existence is everywhere- all we need to do is look for it. And all we need to do to stay in God’s Grace and receive his blessings is remember that he is here, what he has done for us, that he wants us to love him and each other, and to obey his commandments. That’s all, just do as he says and we will have nothing to fear or ever be in want.

Moses tells us it isn’t all that hard, Micah tells us we only have to love God be merciful and fair, and Yeshua said all we really need to do is love God and love each other. None of these things mean we don’t have to obey God’s Torah, but the point is that when we love God and each other, what is in the Torah will be not just easy for us, but will come naturally.

Remember what God has done for you in your life, appreciate it and show that appreciation to God through obedience that comes as a love response.  If you truly love someone, you always want to please them, don’t you? Well, obedience is pleasing to God.

Think about that next time someone tells you the Son of God did away with all his father’s rules.

Parashah Ekev (because) Deuteronomy 7:12 – 11:25

This parashah has Moses delivering the same message to the Israelites repeated three times; essentially, Moses is telling them that “God has your back!”

He retells about the 40 years in the desert, the way God handled the Egyptians (and will be able to handle the Canaanites, just the same way), about how God gave the tablets to Moses, about how God fed them in the desert (in 8:3 Moses tells us we do not live by bread alone) and provided water from the rocks. He reminds them how God punished them for their rebellions, but only to test them and make their faith stronger. Moses reminds them of the sin of the Golden Calf, and how he often had to beg God not to destroy the people.

This message- God protected you, God fed you, God brought you to this land, yet you have constantly rebelled against Him, causing you to suffer. And, despite all this, God has always forgiven you and as long as you obey Him He will continue to watch over you, as He has for the past 40 years- is repeated three times throughout this parashah. But do you think they remembered?

Moses also warns them not to fall into worshiping the idols of the people they are to soon conquer or they will be forsaken by God and ejected from the land.

Moses also tells them, in no uncertain way, to never get so comfortable with the wonderful things they will have when they are settled in the land that they start to think they actually deserve it- not so. They are to remember that they are there only because God loved their fathers and keeps His promises.

Throughout this book Moses pounds into their skulls, over and over and over, that God will take care of them so long as they obey Him. Over, and over, and over….and over!

It didn’t seem to do any good, did it?

And have we learned from this? Every bible-based religion that has come after the Jewish people, from Catholicism to Protestantism to Methodism to whatever: every single one of these religions that profess to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have not only made all the same mistakes that the Israelites made, but have made worse ones, yet! They have not just ignored the Torah, they have taught that the very living Torah, Jesus (Yeshua) told them to ignore it! They teach that the Torah is only for Jews, and they only need the blood of Christ to give them freedom from sin.

Yo, Bro- hate to tell ‘ya, but that blood was shed so that you could be free from sin; it wasn’t shed so you could be free from Torah. Yeshua taught from, of, and about the essence of Torah, and His Talmudim (Disciples) after Him did nothing but confirm Torah. The only difference is that the Gentile converts to Judaism (that is what you were in the First Century when you accepted Yeshua as your Messiah) ) were not held as strictly accountable to every law in Torah AT FIRST when they accepted Messiah Yeshua. AT FIRST– that means they were given 4 restrictions (Acts 15:19-21) only as a start to learn all the laws in Torah. It is clear in the bible that the Elders expected these converts to Judaism to pick up the rest as they heard the Torah preached and taught in the temple.

We have heard from God, we have seen His wonders, we have known His punishment and we have received His love and forgiveness. Everything that we ever needed, need now or ever will need, God has taken care of for us. Yet, we still rebel, we still forget, we still do wrong.

OY! Was Mashuganas!

It’s all really simple- God gave the Torah to the children of the Patriarchs so that they could learn from it how to live, and as such, be an example to the rest of the world. When that didn’t work, He gave up His only son to provide the ultimate Get Out of Jail card for us, but that did NOT overrule Torah. It simply provided another means of salvation that the Torah couldn’t- not because Torah is unable to do so, but because we are unable to follow Torah.

This parashah holds the same message for us that it held for the children of Israel before they entered the land God promised them- do what is right in God’s eyes, remember how He cares for you, remember how unworthy you are of that care, be grateful and show your gratefulness through obedience.

God’s got our back and we should be humbly grateful to Him. Our gratitude should be demonstrated every minute of every day by following, as best as we can, the instructions He gave us about how to worship Him and treat each other.

Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? So, then, why can’t we do it?