When Yeshua sent his Talmudim (Disciples) out into the world to preach the Good News, he told them to be as wise as serpents and gentle as doves (Matthew 10:16). He also told them that if people in any town rejected their message, to shake the dust off their sandals as a warning to them (Luke 9:5).
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It seems to me that Yeshua was telling them they have the best and most important thing in the world to say to people, but still, they shouldn’t ram it down their throats (gentle as doves), and if they are rejected they should make sure the people know that their fate is now on their own heads (shake the dust).
But what about the part where he says be wise as serpents?
Aren’t serpents sneaky? I mean, they slide along on their belly in the deep grass hidden from view as they stalk their prey, or they camouflage themselves and stay perfectly still, for days or even weeks, until some innocent animal comes along and then they STRIKE!!!
That doesn’t sound very “holy”, if you ask me. It doesn’t even sound fair. But that isn’t what Yeshua was talking about.
Did you know that some venomous snakes can deliver a dry bite? That’s a bite where they do not inject their venom. Venom takes time to replace and energy to make, and reptiles do not have an abundance of energy, so to waste venom on a bite to a creature that isn’t food is not a wise thing for a snake to do.
When we are talking to someone about God, Yeshua, and salvation, we are injecting them; not with poisonous venom, but with a vaccine against death and destruction of their soul. We are giving them life eternal in our words, and they have the option to accept what we say or reject it.
Now, this is where we need to be wise as serpents, in that when we are in a discussion about the Bible, God, or Yeshua, and a confrontation begins to rear its ugly head, we need to step back and decide if we will continue to talk or shake the dust from our sandals. In other words, did we just deliver a dry bite?
We need to pick our fights: are we really just wasting our time or is the person still open to hearing the truth? If we find ourselves getting frustrated with someone, that is the signal we are no longer gentle or wise because frustration is the result of pridefulness.
Yes, when you are so fed up with this idiot who has no idea what he or she is talking about, spewing out traditional rhetoric that is just SO wrong that you want to wring their neck, well, this is the time to step back. You’ve delivered a dry bite, you have been rejected, and now it is time to shake off the dust.
You do NOT, and should NOT, tell that person anything else. Don’t tell them they aren’t really saved; don’t tell them they do not know God or Yeshua; do not tell them they are going to burn forever in hellfire. Even if all that is true, it is not for you or me or anyone to say.
Yeshua never told his Talmudim that they should verbally chop those who reject them into little pieces and insult their beliefs or tell them what will happen to them. He said to be gentle as doves, and only to shake the dust off their sandals. Truth be told, if someone won’t listen to the Good News of Messiah, then shaking off the dust won’t make them feel any different, but it isn’t really for their sakes as much as it demonstrates those bringing salvation, who have been rejected, have done their jobs.
You’re like the Lone Ranger saying, “Well, Tonto, we’ve done what we came here to do and it’s time to move on.”
I want to make one more point, and this is the one that I believe is most important: when you are in a discussion with other Believers, you need to be twice as diligent. How important this topic is to non-Believers is generally much less than it is to those who have accepted Yeshua because we are, in general, more certain (actually, I should say passionate) about our beliefs. So when we are discussing something with another Believer, we need to remember that they can reject us just as anyone else can, and we might be rejecting them, as well. No one knows everything, and another part of being wise is to be open to the fact that YOU might be the one with the wrong understanding.
Here’s a real-life example: I was adamant that I would never take one of the COVID vaccines that use mRNA. I was proud to announce that no one is going to screw around with my genome. I thought I was right, and I had many friends who agreed with me until one friend told me geneticists she knew debunked this rumor, and after doing the research I should have done from the start, I had to recognize and admit that I was wrong. In fact, mRNA vaccines have been used and researched for decades and after the mRNA teaches cells how to recognize and fight the COVID virus, it is destroyed; our DNA is protected inside the nucleus which the mRNA never enters.
Getting back to today’s message, we want to help those who don’t understand the truth about Yeshua’s teachings, who have been misled by the traditional misinterpretation of the letters Shaul (Paul) wrote, and especially those who think that the Torah is no longer valid because Yeshua did away with the need to follow God’s laws. We also want to lead the Jewish people to understand that Yeshua is NOT the Jesus Christ they have been told about, that he did not create a new religion, and that he never taught anything but to obey the Torah not just by doing as it says, but by spiritually letting it be written on one’s heart, which is the true New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31.)
So practice your delivery in order to be wise as serpents, and when you are feeling frustrated and rejected, pick your fight. If you have to ram it down their throats, stop! Now is the time to be as gentle as doves and shake the dust. Do NOT get into an argument, because once the discussion become an argument you have lost, and when you lose, they lose, too.
Salvation is available to everyone, but everyone won’t take it. In truth, most will reject it but what is even worse, if you ask me, is that many will accept Yeshua but because of wrong teachings, at the end they will find they never really had it right.
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That’s it for today so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!