Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Deuteronomy 1 / 1 John 3

Message preached on 16 July 2010
Bless Yahweh! Praise be to Yahweh our Elohim. Last week we looked at the responsibilities for possessing our inheritance and tonight I would like us to reflect on assessing our lives in light of what YHWH has done for us and what lays ahead for us as His Beloved children and how we are to live out His promises now. This weeks Torah reading is from Deuteronomy 1-3 and we will go through this tomorrow in a little more detail, but for tonight I wanted to just give you a summary or book review on this most amazing book and then understand and look at the need for us to assess our lives according to the Word of Elohim, in order that we may truly walk in great joy and victory in possessing all He has for us, amen! My message tonight is called ‘Assessing your position for possessing – it is time to go and possess’!
Moshe (Moses) gave His last words in addressing the whole Israelite nation before he died, and he reflects on the 40 year journey of the Israelites through the Wilderness, in relation to Yahweh’s teaching and instructions for them. He recalls the lingering effects of Egypt that was revealed in the rebellious behaviour of this set apart, chosen nation – to the miracles and mercy of Elohim, so underscoring and understanding the progressive work of redemption, foreshadowing Messiah Yahshua – our Redeemer. The Book of Deuteronomy (D’varim) summarises their desert wanderings, and in this way closes the life of Moses. It is a wonderful picture for us that shows us how Moses leads the Bride (that is those who walk in the holy ways of Messiah) to her betrothal. The Bride’s days in the Wilderness are now over once she understands and walks in the Torah, for then the Bride can proceed to her wedding. It is the teachings of Moses (Torah) that takes the Bride to her betrothal but it is the Spirit of Elijah that takes the Bride to her wedding. We worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth. The truth as set forth in the Torah (Instructions) of Yahweh, given through Moses, revealed in the flesh by Yahshua and now empowered by the Spirit having the Torah written on our hearts enabling us to transform our lives into becoming a ready Bride, taking possession of what he has given us in Yahshua daily in our lives now! Deuteronomy (D’varim) is sometimes called the ‘Mishnah ha Torah’ – a repetition of the Torah, for in it Moshe (Moses) reiterates much of what he has said in the rest of the Torah, speaking to a new generation what possibly was not taught to them by their parents. Deuteronomy (D’varim) is the most quoted book in the Renewed Covenant (N.T.); and in fact Yahshua Himself quotes from Deuteronomy (D’varim) 3 times in response to the temptation He faced by the devil in the Wilderness. Deuteronomy (D’varim) is the powerhouse, if you will, that holds the vision and the mandate that we have in Yahshua Messiah. Those who choose to walk in and obey the words of Yahweh find that it becomes a place of anointing, righteousness and empowerment. Those who listen to and take to heart the words of the Torah would be carried into victory, and that is what we all want, amen! The goal and purpose of Torah is Yahshua – for He is the very Torah made flesh. I would like us to read Deuteronomy 1 and then turn to 1 John3 that through the Word we may assess our position for possessing all He has for us, amen! He has a lot for us – are we positioned to take hold of it?
Read Deuteronomy (D’varim) 1
In your walk with Yahweh, what new things is He calling you to? What is Yahweh saying to you, in terms of taking ownership of what He has given you? Do you find yourself procrastinating and in essence stuck on the wrong side of the promises? As we briefly look at this introduction in Deuteronomy (D’varim), we find some great insight and truth in equipping us to step in and take hold of all that Yahweh has for us, given to us by grace through faith in Yahshua Messiah.
The theme of Moses’ message is simply that the possession of Canaan was dependant upon keeping the Law/ Torah – keeping the instructions of Yahweh. Possession demands purity in order that we do not defile what has been freely given to us. Yahweh will always prepare us for what He has prepared for us! He cares about our preparation because He doesn’t want us to just simply ‘visit’ places or things that we cannot possess. In other words, He does not want us to just ‘visit’ our promises – He wants us to possess our promises, amen! The Promised Land lay ahead for the Israelites and Moses recaps all they have been through up until this point, emphasising that it is Yahweh who had brought them this far, and it would be Yahweh who would take them forward, and in order to go forward and be victorious is possessing the Promises of Elohim they had to be obedient and trust Him!
So what do we take from Deuteronomy (D’varim) 1? Firstly, in verse one we see names of places that are profound in understanding the need to have the right motives in our heart in order to walk victoriously in Yahshua Messiah. I spoke on Wednesday night about this and just want to recap once again to help us understand that in order to be in a position to possess any promises from Yahweh we need to ensure that our hearts are rightly positioned and aligned in Him. The places in verse 1 that I want to highlight are: Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hatseroth and DiZahab. Moses spoke these words between these places – so this in essence can signify for us and assessment area – an area of making sure that the motive for stepping into the promises and possessing them is pure and not selfish! Let’s look at each one to get a better understanding of what I am saying:
1 – Paran – Paran is a wilderness situated in the East central region of the Sinai Peninsula, NE of Sinai and SSE of Kadesh. It is from the root word ‘pa’ar’ which means ‘to beautify, glorify, adorn’. Paran, giving reference to fruitfulness and so what we see from this is something that is ‘gleaning, adorned, and beautiful. Pretty much the kind of description you would give to a Bride adorned with great beauty. We are His Bride that is to be adorned by the beautifying of His Word, bearing much fruit, that lasts!
2 – Tophel – Is a place where Israel camped opposite the Jordan, east of the Dead Sea, and carries the meaning, ‘lime, unseasonable or white’. It comes form the same word ‘taphel’ used in Lamentations 2:14 describing, folly, deception or false, and so carries with it the idea used to refer to something false or make it something it is not!
3 – Laban – means ‘white’ or ‘brick’ or rather to ‘make white’ or ‘make brick’.
Grouping Tophel and Laban together can clearly speak of ‘plastering’ something – making it an unnatural white!
We all need to decide on what we follow and adhere to – be it the Word that makes us beautiful as a Bride should be, on the inside and out and nearing good fruit that produces after its kinds – seed bearing fruit, or the ‘plaster’ or ‘appearance’ of doing and saying the right things, but with no change on the inside. You see we can ‘do Torah’ out of a legalistic viewpoint and not ‘live Torah’ out of a reverence and love for Yahweh! The Ark of the Covenant was overlaid with gold inside and out. The question we need to ask ourselves in assessing whether we are truly in a position to possess the promises that are yes and amen in Yahshua is, “Am I covered inside and out, adorned and made beautiful by the Word or am I just ‘whitewashed’, having only appearance of righteousness?
There are many today, calling themselves followers of Messiah, who are simply going through the motions for appearance sake, yet their lives bear no good fruit that lasts, or they are bearing what has the appearance of fruit, yet it is ‘seedless’! Today we see that the fruit we are buying is becoming less and less able to reproduce after itself – no seeds or pips. We bought a whole bag of lemons from the Fruit and Veg and when we cut them open there are no pips! A Paw-Paw that is normally filled with hundreds of black seeds only had 3 in!!! Unfortunately that is the state of many Believers – seedless, carrying no nutritional value in the Word! We need the Word to produce from the inside, fruit that comes forth for many to eat of! So will we allow the Word to produce in us or are we merely ‘whitewashed in appearance?

The next two places also carry great meaning for us in understanding us having the right heart to enter in to possessing all Yahweh has for us:
4 – Hazeroth - Another place where they had camped and has the meaning of a settlement or fenced enclosure consisting of, “a low wall of stones in which thick bundles of thorny acacia are inserted, the tangled branches and long needle-like spikes forming a perfectly impenetrable hedge around the encampment” of tents and cattle which they sheltered or used for a sheep pen. It also means trumpet shape enclosure for sheep.
5 – Di’Zahab – was a region of gold and means ‘enough gold’.
Once again the question or the motive of our heart in taking possession is at stake. A decision is to be made before ‘crossing the Jordan’ into Promises before us so to speak and we need to decide as we assess our position and ask, “Will we be about gathering the lost sheep, making a pen that is impenetrable with breaches in the walls, or about amassing wealth, if the latter the land will only be defiled again?
Is it to be that strong knitted community looking out for each other and gathering other lost sheep into the safety of the Word or is it to amass for oneself great wealth? In other words – is the motive for blessing and promises self motivated or will you love one another as the commands tell us?

There is a principle of accelerated blessing here – the faster you trust and obey – the faster you will receive the blessing of Yahweh!!! On a journey that would normally take 11 days – took 40 years!!! Why? They were very slow in trusting and obeying, and even when they did – it didn’t last long? This must be a great lesson to us – the longer we procrastinate about trusting Yahweh and obeying Him wholeheartedly the longer it will take for us to get to where He has called us to! We need to learn to stop staying at certain mountains, where we had great provision and insight, I might add, and learn to go up and take possession of every promise he has prepared for us, amen! Kadesh Barnea was the threshold of promise – it was the entry point to the Promised Land, where they sent out the 12 spies from to spy out the land – 40 years earlier!!! Some of you today are at the threshold of entering into great promises, at the Kadesh Barnea so to speak, and so we can do well to learn from the mistakes of the Israelites. The fatal faith killing mistake they made was to stop trusting Yahweh and stopped relying on Yahweh to lead them and began to lean on their own understanding – Big Mistake.
Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in YHWH with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.isten, if you are trying to be in charge of your life, if you are relying on your own intellect, your own talent and strength to get through life, you are making a HUGE mistake! Yahweh loves it when you trust and obey Him! Yahweh loves it when you rely on Him to take you though life’s journey. He rewards faith, and the quicker you trust and obey, the sooner you’ll reap the benefit of His blessing. It’s the principle of “accelerated blessing.” We often become impatient and want Yahweh to do something for us right now, but we forget about His purposes and His timing. We don’t understand why it’s taking Yahweh our Elohim so long to answer our prayers. Catherine, my daughter, came to me the other day with a great illustration:

Yahweh was having conversation with a little boy, and the boy asked Yahweh, “How long is a million years to You?”, Yahweh answered, “like a second”, and the boy again inquired, “And much is a million dollars to you?”, to which Yahweh replied, “like a cent.” The little boy, very courageously, then asked Yahweh, “Can I please have a cent?”, and Yahweh replied, “Just wait a sec!”

Yahweh is not slow as we understand slowness, His timing is not our timing – His timing is perfect! We must trust and obey! Listen to me now, if you are completely trusting and obeying Yahweh, your prayers will have top priority and they will be answered in the fastest possible time according to His plan. That plan may require you to wait 4 years for an answer to prayer. But if you are not trusting and being obedient, then the answer might not come for 40 years. Which would you rather have a 4 year wait or a 40 year wait?
Yahweh is moving you – He is moving us into something new, a new, fresh and deeper relationship with Him - a more dynamic walk with Yahshua Messiah - a new adventure in His Holy Spirit. We are about to enter this promised land and capture souls for Messiah as we march under new orders from Elohim. Let’s not make the same mistakes that the Children of Israel did at Kadesh-Barnea.
It is time to truly assess your position for possessing all He has for you – it is time to go and possess. Are you ready to possess all he has for you?
Turn with me to 1 John 3, for this is the passage that I would like us to look at before presenting you will some points of assessment that need to take place in every Believers life and dealt with in order to fully embrace and joyfully take possession of the abundant life given freely to us. We need to come to the Kadesh-Barnea’s of our walk and assess our position for possessing every promise in Him!
Read with me 1 John 3
What an awesome way to start this passage – “See what love the Father has given us!” Do you see what he has given you? Do you realise and see what the Father has given you – do you recognise and appreciate the great love he has given you? Do you see it? The Israelites had seen, yet failed to take possession at first and waited 40 years for the next generation to take it!!! We are called children of Elohim!!! Do you realise who you are? You are a child of the Living Elohim – the Mighty One of Oaths! That is why the world hates you!!! Yes we only know and see in part but one day we shall see the fullness of what we shall be – being like Him and see him as He is!!! Now this is something to be excited about – wouldn’t you say? You see verse 3 tells us that we who have this expectation, this hope must cleanse ourselves in Him. Yahshua came in the flesh, knew no sin and took our sin upon Himself and if we live in Him we will sin no longer!!! It makes sense – if I am in Him, and there is no sin in Him, then there can no longer be sin in me! The Word also says that if we say we have no sin then we are liars and the truth is not in us. The point I want to make is this – if there is sin in my life then I need to question whether I am walking in Him – in Him in whom there is no sin? We must cleanse ourselves and throw off sin!
I want to give you 21 reasons not to sin – yes 21, although I think that we only need one reason not to sin – because the Father has told us not to and we are to hear His Words and obey them, amen – but for the sake of helping us understand just how terrible sin is and how it affects our walk in Yahshua, then let us look at 21 reasons not to sin! 1 John 3 is clear, it says that everyone sinning has neither seen Him nor known Him – not what many preach today is it!!!
We are to cleanse ourselves – to rid ourselves of sin – the problem is that most don’t get rid of sin, why? Because they like it! Remember sin will keep you from possessing all that He has prepared for you! Sin will keep you from possessing the very love that the Father has given you!
21 reasons not to sin:
Well firstly what is sin? Sin according to 1 John 3:4 is ‘lawlessness’ – ‘anomia’ in the Greek – ‘without nomos’ – ‘nomos’ means law and so ‘anomia’ is without law, ‘lawlessness’. Sin is the transgression of the Law / Torah!!! 1John 5:17 tells us that all unrighteousness is sin. James 4:17 tells us that he who knows to do good, and does not do it is sinning! We have no excuse, we know how we ought to live – time for pleading ignorance is over. We may have inherited lies, in fact we have inherited many lies that have been passed down from generation to generation for centuries, but Yahweh is calling everyone everywhere to repent. We need to rid our lives of sin (that is walking in disobedience to the Torah) and start walking in the right direction as we follow Messiah, the Living Torah – we are to walk in Torah, for that will be our righteousness – to guard and do all His commands as he has commanded us (Deuteronomy 6:25), leading us victoriously in to His Prepared Promises!
1 – Sin does not satisfy! Yes often sin may seem to bring pleasure and even Hebrews tells us that sin only pleasures for a season – it is temporal and only leaves us with an empty, unclean, hollow, discontent feeling inside.
2 – Sin leads to more sin! Proverbs 5:22 “The wrong one is entrapped in his own crookedness, and he is caught in the chords of his sin. Sin ties you up and giving in to it only fuels the fire for more destruction.
3 – Sin leads to worse sins – only a little yeast can destroy the whole batch – leave no room for those seemingly ‘little sins’
4 – Sin enslaves you – whatever you serve shall be your master and sin will demand more of you!
5 – Sin degrades and humiliatesEcclesiastes 10:1 tells us that dead flies make the perfume stink – you cannot hide the ‘smell’ of sin and it will degrade you! Sin will diminish your value, becoming worthless and ‘stinky’.
6 – Sin steals joy – The joy of Yahweh is our strength – when you sin your joy is stolen away. David in Psalm 51 cried out to have the joy of His deliverance restored – sin had taken away his joy in Yahweh!
7 – Sin steals your confidence before Yahweh – it steals your innocence, makes you uneasy with others and uncomfortable before Yahweh – that is why when many are in sin they cannot come into fellowship – it is too uncomfortable for them! When in sin there is no boldness to come to the Father!
8 – Sin’s wages are death!
9 – Sin does not go unpunished! Praise Yahshua that He took away the punishment for our sin, however we must repent and confess to Him our sin in order for Him to forgive!
10 – Sin hurts Yahshua every time – it is like we are spitting in His face, wounding Him and making a mockery of His love! This alone ought to rock you at the core!
11 – Sin hurts the sinner – there is no good that comes from sin!
12 – Sin hurts family and friends!
13 – Sin brings reproach to the sinner, to the body of Messiah and to the name of Yahweh
14 – Sin makes light the Blood of YahshuaHebrews 10:27-29 “For if we sin purposely after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a slaughter offering for sins, 27 but some fearsome anticipation of judgement, and a fierce fire which is about to consume the opponents. 28 Anyone who had disregarded the Torah of Moshe dies without compassion on the witness of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment do you think shall he deserve who has trampled the Son of Elohim underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was set apart as common, and insulted the Spirit of favour?
15 – Sin puts the sinner on the side of the devil1 John 3:8 “the one doing the sin is of the devil…
16 – Sin sets the sinner against YahshuaMatthew 12:30 “He who is not with Me is against Me… When you are sinning you are not with Yahshua – guess what that means…!!!
17 – Sin stops the anointing!
18 – Sin steals away time – what could you have done with all the time you spent sinning? What could you have done more productively in service to Yahweh? What could you have done more in relationships, be it in your marriage, family or friends? What projects never got completed because of sin?
19 – Sin has eternal consequences – your sin affects those around you – all of us influence people whether we realise it or not and those who look to you can be seriously affected in their relationship with the Messiah if you sin! Matthew 18: 6 tells us that whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in messiah to stumble, it would be better for them to have a millstone around their neck and thrown into the sea! An individual’s sin affects a family, and even a nation – Achan is a good example of this – when he took of the plunder from Jericho after being commanded not to! He hid it in his tent and what happened – go read about it in Yehoshua (Joshua) – when Israel went to battle against Ai, they lost and 36 were killed, because of Achan. Not only that, but his whole family – sons and daughters were killed too, along with his cattle and sheep etc. Why the sheep and cattle? Because his whole house had become defiled, so the animals would no longer be acceptable as offerings unto Yahweh!!!
20 – Sin always finds you out – Numbers 23:32 tells us that!!!
21 – Your sin could cost you your salvation
Enough reasons not to sin!!!

1 John 1:9-10 “If we confess our sins, He is trustworthy and righteous to forgive us the sins and cleanse us form all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have no sin, we are misleading ourselves, and the truth is not in us. Yahshua Messiah is the only One Righteous and Trustworthy to forgive – no man can forgive you – no priest or any man!!!
1 John 2:1-4 “My little children, I write this to you, so that you do not sin, and if anyone sins, we have an intercessor with the Father, Yahshua Messiah, a righteous One. 2 And He Himself is an atoning offering for our sins, and not for ours only but also for all the world. 3 And by this we know that we know Him, if we obey His commands. 4 The one who says, “I know Him”, and does not guard his commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

One thing is clear as we assess our position in possessing the promises of Elohim – there is no room for sin – we must cleanse ourselves of sin – rid ourselves of faulty and sinful traditions and begin to walk in the truth of Torah!
There is much to take from 1 John 3 in helping us assess where our lives are at and I would like to give you a 14 point test!!! Yes 14 areas that we should assess in our walk with Yahshua! This is assessment time!!!

1 – The Companionship test – Do I demonstrate that I love the fellowship of our Saviour living it out in fellowship with His body, able to consider others better than myself looking out not only for my own interests but the interests of others or am I living for self? (Philippians 2:3-4)
2 – The Comfort test – Am I sensitive to sin – do I recognise the effects of sin or do I find myself unable to break the ‘comfort zone’ of habitual sin – not realising that it is sin! Why would one not know or identify sin? For lack of Torah knowledge, for Paul tells us that Torah reveals sin in us, for he would not have known what coveting was if the Torah had not said, “Do not covet”. What we must ask ourselves is, “Am I comfortable in my ignorance or do I truly want to walk in total freedom to worship my Saviour, obeying his commands that will reveal in me any shortfall that requires his cleansing?”
3 – The Cleansing test – have I experienced and accepted His forgiveness and embraced being made whole and clean, in faith do I recognise and accept that He has washed me whiter than snow and removed my sins far from me and forgotten them!
4 – The Commandments test – Boy do we need this test in the ‘churches’ today!!! Am I keeping His Commands – Love for him is to keep his commands which are not burdensome!
5 – The Conformity test – Does my life conform to His will? Is my life being transformed by the renewing of my mind through the Word or am I simply going with the flow and conforming to the patterns and standards of the world?
6– The Conduct test – Am I doing righteousness or am I just speaking it and being whitewashed in all I do? – Deuteronomy 6:25 “And it is righteousness for us when we guard to do all this command before Yahweh our Elohim, as He has commanded us. Is my conduct in my daily walk righteous – How am I living?
7 – The Coming test – Am I looking forward to Yahshua coming again and am I living accordingly? (1 John 3:1-3)
8 – The Conquering test – Am I no longer marked by habitual sin? (1 John 3:4-9) I am done with sin!
9 – Charity test – Am I demonstrating by my actions and attitude a genuine love for my brothers and sisters in Messiah? (1 John 3:10-19) do I hate my brother, yet say I love Elohim?
10 – Conscience test – Am I free from the plague of moral guilt? (1 John 3:20-21), can I boldly come to Him as the Word tells me to, or is there stuff in my life that causes me to be unable to approach Him with gladness and joy?
11 – Communication test – Have I experienced true answers to prayer? (1 John 3:22) Are my prayers an abomination to Yahweh, because I am not guarding and doing his Torah?
12 – Counsellor test – Do I show evidence by my obedience to His Word that His Holy Spirit is present in my life? (1 John 3:24) Is it evident in my daily walk with Yahshua that I am being led by the Ruach (Spirit) of Elohim, or am I walking according to the desires of the flesh? Am I led by the Spirit or by the flesh?
13 – Compatibility test – Can I rightly divide the Truth, and recognising the lies, knowing the difference between the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of delusion and be able to hear from those who are of Elohim? (1 John 4:6)
14 – Constraint test – Do I love Yahweh? 1 John 4:19-21 “We love Him because He first loved us. 20 If anyone says. “I love Him,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For the one not loving his brother whom he has seen, how is he able to love Elohim who he has not seen? 21 And we have this command from Him, that the one loving Elohim should love his brother too.

What is your motive behind wanting to possess all He has prepared for you, behind wanting to fully possess His love – is it love for Him – then Know that this is love for Him – to obey His commands. Ultimately the way for you to assess your position for possession is to assess your love for Him. Are you covered inside and out with His precious love or have parts of your life been merely a whitewash effect. See what love the Father has given you and love Him because He first loved you. There are great promises ahead – it is time to take possession – are you in a position to possess!!! May this word stir your faith to expel any fear or discouragement that may have kept you from entering in to all he has for you, as you by faith press on and step into His great love and his great promises for your life, walking in the assurance of that which He has promised to give. May we all be dedicated to him in giving ourselves over to Him as a daily living sacrifice, depending upon Him, delighting in Him as we rejoice in every victory He gives, attracting others to Him as we express His unending joy, being directed by Him on every step equipping us to be dynamic for Him as we become bold witnesses of His goodness and His love, amen!
Moses was getting Israel to assess themselves before taking possession and he is doing that today with you – let me ask you, “How are you positioned?”
Yahshua has gone before us and he has provided for us the life of abundance that is in Him, that we are to live out to the fullest right here, right now! As you come to that pace of assessment, that Kadesh-Barnea of your life so to speak, are you ready to fully embrace all He has ahead for you! I believe that Yahweh has made you ready – do you see it, do you see His great love that he has given you? Can you live it – then it is time to go and possess!!!

May Yahweh bless you and guard you, Yahweh make his face shine upon you, and show favour to you; Yahweh lift up His face upon you, and give you peace, now and forevermore, amen! Now go and possess!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Yehoshua / Joshua 24

sermon preached on Friday 9th July 2010 (Sabbath Evening)
Praise the Wonderful and glorious Name of our Sovereign and Mighty Maker, YHWH! It is such a blessing to be gathered together keeping this precious time set apart unto YHWH. This weeks Torah reading is Numbers (Bemidbar) 30-32, which we will be looking at tomorrow morning, however I just want to read one verse from the weekly reading that in essence will flow into the message for us tonight:
Numbers 30:2 “When a man makes a vow to YHWH, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he does not break his word, he does all that comes out of his mouth.
When a man makes a vow or swears to Yahweh – hmmm… I wonder how many of us actually realise the depth and responsibility we have for the words we speak and the choices we make! This verse in a nutshell simply means ‘keep your word’! In other words, ‘do what you say.’ Every single day we are faced with millions of choices, many of them we make without realising it and are not conscious or aware of them, as they have become so ingrained in who we are, in how we react and how we relate to everyday living.
Too many today think that they can coast on the middle ground of ‘maybe’ and play both sides of yes and no depending on what may suit them best at that moment thinking that they can keep their options open, or they just do not want to take up the responsibility for making choices – so they can blame someone else.
Illustration: Maybe “We Will”
Alben Barkley was asked at a dinner to explain the meaning of the diplomatic term “a qualified maybe.” He said the theory is best illustrated by the story of an Irish sergeant in World War I who decided to inspire the men with a pep talk. He outlined the job ahead and then said determinedly: “Boys, will yez fight or will yez run?” “We will!” they answered to a man. “Will what?” the sergeant barked. “Will not!” they chorused. “That’s the spirit, me hardies,” the sergeant beamed. “I knew yez would.
A qualified maybe – too many people today are certainly well qualified and have a degree in ‘maybe’. But what about ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and ‘keeping your word’ – it seems like that is not even taught anymore? We are what we say, we reap what we sow, all of this is Scriptural principles and it certainly relates to the words that precede form our mouth and the decisions we take.
Tonight I want us to look at the conscious choice we are to make daily; and that is to either follow YHWH or not. I say conscious choice, for we must be aware of whom we are choosing to follow and obey, or else we may find ourselves distracted by the past failures or present temptations and unknowingly or carelessly choose the wrong path. Tonight we are going to look at the last chapter of Yehoshua (Joshua) as he addressed the whole nation of Israel for the final time before his death and presented them with their need to earnestly make a conscious choice on which they would serve. My message is called, “The responsibilities of possessing our inheritance”, please turn with me to Yehoshua/Joshua 24 (Read).

This is Yehoshua’s (Joshua’s) final address to the entire nation at Sheḵem (Shechem), which was a town on the border of Manasseh and Ephraim. It was at this very place where YHWH had told Abraham that He would give this land to his offspring and renewed His Covenant promise and Abraham built an altar to YHWH at the great tree of Moreh at Sheḵem (Genesis 12:6-7).
Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, on his return from Hanan, came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, and pitched his tent on a piece of ground which he bought from Hamor, the Hivite prince of the region. When Shechem, the son of Hamor, defiled Dinah (Jacob’s daughter), Simeon and Levi killed the men of the region and the other sons of Jacob pillaged the town, though Jacob condemned the action. It was here, at Sheḵem, that Jacob buried the ‘strange gods’ under the oak and built an altar to YHWH. We also read that Joseph later sought his brothers near the rich pasture-lands round Sheḵem. Throughout history Sheḵem functioned as a base for worship and a base for political operations that ended in bloodbaths. Sheḵem was a place between the mountain of blessing and the mountain of curses, and Israel at this point would clearly understand the significance of the area where a renewal of the Covenant was about to take place. In a covenant there were typically always blessings and curses, and what a place to come and renew their covenant and commitment with the Almighty!!! Joshua had called the whole nation together because everyone was to be accountable for what each individual was about to say; and every Israelite was to live in a way appropriate for one who might one day become a leader. Israel was chosen by YHWH to be a holy nation, a royal priesthood, to be a light to the rest of the world. Today as we, by faith, have become grafted in and a part of YHWH’s treasured possession and royal priesthood, we too must live in a way that is appropriate and fitting for a leader, leading people to YHWH. Unity is of utmost importance, for when judgement comes, it comes on the whole household; however if each one is guarding Torah – in other words keeping YHWH’s commands, then no one would have an impossible burden to bear and each one would play their role in exercising their gifting and skills. It was vital for the nation to realise their responsibility as individuals as well as a nation living together in obedience to the Torah. We need to embrace this today – individual responsibility to obediently living in Torah – that is living in Messiah Yahshua for He is the incarnate Torah. 1 John 2:6 tells us that whoever claims to live in Him (that is Yahshua), must walk as He did!!! Many claim, and I say claim, for by the words of their mouths they speak as one who lives in and for Yahshua, however their lives do not reflect obedient living, walking as Yahshua did – for He lived Torah – He is the Living Torah! If Believers today would simply walk in obedience and lovingly choose whom they will serve and understand the responsibility for each individual to make this choice then as we would come together as a ‘priestly nation’, we would carry his presence with great power and joy. So why doesn’t it happen as easy as it sounds? Many are living in the ‘maybe’ valley; unable to choose who they will serve and then follow it through with their actions. Our individual choice affects the whole body!!!
What I find so special in this text about the location of Sheḵem is that there was a strong history of YHWH’s dealing with Israel at this place, from Abraham to those who Joshua was speaking to. Sheḵem in the Hebrew means ‘shoulder’ or rather the upper part of the back below the neck – that are between the shoulders, and so this place represented Israel renewing their covenant with YHWH and taking off their shoulders the yoke of idol worship and some of the accounts that took place here picture for us Yahshua Messiah who took upon His shoulders our burdens and sin as well as the position of all authority leading us in all Truth by becoming our High Priest and King. As Isaiah 9:6 says: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders, and He will be called, Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty El, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 22:22 “I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.
Sheḵem, in a spiritual sense, for me can represent to us the place where we can come and acknowledge the Authority of Yahshua Messiah and choose to follow His Word and direction, the very place where we can also come and renew our devotion to Him. Yahshua said that all who are weary and heavy laden should come to Him and He will give them rest. It is when we realise our need to choose Him daily that we can lay down our own lives and take up the joy of serving Him faithfully.
In the first half of this chapter, from verses 1-13, Joshua relays to them the words of YHWH reminding them of their past blessings. You will notice all the “I” statements where YHWH is reminding Israel what He has done for them.
The basis for any relationship with YHWH is found in what He has done for us and not in what we supposedly can do for Him. Notice all the verses that declare what YHWH had done – “I took Abraham”, “I gave Jacob”, “to Esau I gave”, “I sent Moses and Aaron”, “I did”, “I brought”, “I did”, “I brought”, “I gave”, “I destroyed”, “I refused”, “I delivered”, “I gave”, “I sent”, “I gave you a land for which you did not labour”!
This passage is very clear that our relationship with YHWH is founded on what He has done for us in Yahshua Messiah. It is not about you!!! As you reflect on what He has done for you, what “I” statements would YHWH make to you tonight as He speaks this message of Joshua to you?
After reminding them of His Mighty Outstretched Arm, Joshua then moved in to speaking about the responsibility of possessing what YHWH has given. In essence this chapter best describes Joshua’s farewell speech in outlining what YHWH has done, the conditions for worship, the choice that must be made and the responsibilities that come with choosing YHWH.
Verse 14 begins with the responsibilities and any responsibility begins with making a choice, but in order to make the right choice you need to know what you are choosing and what that really entails. They understood that all they had and all that the victories they had seen was by the hand of YHWH and as obedient chosen children of the Most High, as an obedient Bride, a Holy Nation the requirements were very straightforward:
1 – Fear YHWH
2 – Serve Him in perfection and in truth
3 – Put away idols and idols worship
In effect Joshua was presenting them with the responsibilities possessing the inheritance that YHWH has given them and the effectual results of choosing YHWH.
1 – Fear YHWH - It begins with a reverent fear of YHWH – the fear of YHWH is the beginning of wisdom. They were to have a reverence for the Elohim of such infinite power, fear to offend Him and to forfeit His goodness, to keep up an awe of His majesty, to have a respect and esteem unto His authority, a great fear of His displeasure and a continual regard for His ‘all-seeing’ eye upon you! I am not sure if most who claim to follow Yahshua actually fear displeasing Him and we are to have such a high and devoted reverence for Him that we would not even think about displeasing him in any way, that the reverence would cause us to make right choices in line with His Word.
2 – Serve Him in Perfection and in Truth – The Hebrew word for ‘perfection’ or in some translations ‘sincerity’ is ‘ta’mim’ and this can mean the following – ‘without defect, blameless, entire, full, whole, complete, honest, devout’.
In other words if we are to serve YHWH, the Most High El, then it requires us to live upright, holy, blameless lives that reflects a complete and honest wholehearted devoted living to please Him. This sounds a lot like what both Sha’ul (Paul) and Kepha (Peter) taught – live upright, holy, blameless lives!!! The word ‘serve’ carries with it the meaning to ‘expend considerable energy and intensity in a task or function’. What does this mean? We are to give our all in serving YHWH!!! How much energy and intensity do you put in to your daily walk with the One you call upon?
To the outworking of a reverent fear for YHWH and serving Him with our all, will and should result in the 3rd responsibility of possessing our inheritance:
3 – Put away strange gods – the term ‘put away’ means to ‘throw off’. We know Sha’ul (Paul) tells us to throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles us as we run with perseverance the race set before us! Throw off means throw off – YHWH is a jealous El, He desires total devotion. Ya’aqob (Jacob) told his household who were with him at Sheḵem to put away the foreign gods that were among them and cleanse themselves. This was necessary, for the Israelites had foreign idols with them, they may not have been worshipping them, but they were to destroy them lest they be tempted to serve them! The 2nd commandment was clear – “You shall have no other mighty ones (gods) against My face.” What that means is that they were not to even have in there possession any foreign god or thing that represented another god. He wants to look upon His chosen and does not want to see any defilement or distraction in our worship unto Him. Many today may have loads of artefacts and objects of stone, wood, images etc that are in effect idols and they can easily say, “Oh but I don’t worship it, it was just nice to buy and makes the home look pretty. I don’t know where it comes from?” You see it is not a matter of whether we think or don’t think any item is or is not an idol, it is about what is before the face of the Almighty. Many people have loads of junk in their homes and I call it junk because it is – and the worst part is that this ‘junk’ sometimes costs a fortune!!! I am not going to go too much in to this right now, but there is a great series called, “Maak skoon jou huis”, and is a great teaching on understanding what and where some of the things we have all had or still have in our homes – things we have acquired over the years – that are foreign idols before the face of YHWH and then we want Him to bless our homes and lives when we often are cluttered with ‘junk’ that He does not want us to have before or against His face!!! If anyone is interested in seeing this series please let us know. Put away foreign gods, throw off those things that have consumed you in worshipping them – it may be a physical object or even a hobby – even a cyber idol – that which consumes your time over the net!!! What do you have that YHWH is telling you to just stop but put away?
The other thing worth mentioning is that Joshua told them to put away those things which their fathers had worshipped beyond the river. They were now in the land promised and given to them, and they were to live by YHWH’s instructions – there was no room for following any of the things their fathers worshipped. I find this so true for us today, in light of what YHWH is doing in preparing His Bride and calling His people our of the harlot. Jeremiah tells us that in the last days that the nations will come from all over the earth and say that “Our fathers have inherited only falsehood, futility, and there is no value in them.” (Jeremiah 16:19). Today many have inherited traditions and lies that have been passed down from generation to generation and YHWH is calling out His Bride from the falsehood and worship that is futile and has no value in it! It is time for the Bride to put away idol worship and choose pure worship, amen!

In presenting these responsibilities the people cheerfully responded – sounding ready as they were greatly moved and motivated by Joshua’s arguments and by the magnetism of his example when he said to them basically that if you are not willing to serve YHWH then choose today who you will serve, for now is decision time and he make this great statement, “But as for me and my house, we serve YHWH.”
The people were all excited and saying yes, we will too – however was there traces of insincerity? Joshua had possibly hoped that the instructions would have stirred them in their faith to bring forth their idols and destroy them. Jacob’s family had brought them and they were hidden under the tree centuries before – know would they bring their and destroy them. Well at first there was no response in this regard and Joshua tells them plainly that they were not able to serve YHWH!!! That sounds pretty harsh – but what is he saying here? He is saying that we must not think that it is easy to serve YHWH – He is jealous and would not forgive the rebellion of their sin. Joshua had given them instruction – they now had knowledge and could not plead ignorance – if they disobeyed now then YHWH would not forgive them. Look at what Hebrews says:
Hebrews 10: 26-29 “For if we sin purposely after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a slaughter offering for sins, 27 but some fearsome anticipation of judgement, an a fierce fire which is about to consume the opponents. 28 Anyone who had disregarded the Torah of Moshe dies without compassion on the witness of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment do you think shall he deserve who has trampled the Son of Elohim underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was set apart as common, and insulted the Spirit of favour?
We cannot take lightly the work Yahshua has done for us and that is what Joshua was saying here!!!
Joshua was impressing upon them the weight of the responsibility in choosing to follow and serve YHWH – YHWH will not be served ‘lightly’ and to forsake Him deliberately to serve idols would be a presumptuous wilful sin for which there was no forgiveness under the Torah (Numbers 15:30-31).
Joshua again reminds them after their positive response to serve YHWH that they need to realise the seriousness of their decision and they said yes they would serve YHWH. This choice then calls for devotion and he tells them to then put away or destroy the idols in their midst and incline their heart to YHWH. Put away the junk in your life and give your heart totally to YHWH!!!
We all have a will and we must exercise it. I must ‘will’ to obey and I must ‘will’ to receive the Spirit of Elohim. When YHWH gives us a vision of Truth, it is never a question of what He will do – for He is faithful – but rather what we will do. Choice is a deliberate calculation and not something you just drift in easily into – ‘go with the flow’ so to speak, no – you must decide! It is between you and Elohim so do not confer with flesh and blood. Each individual must work out their own salvation with fear and trembling!!! The responsibility to choose right not only affects your own life but also those around you! Each one must profess to Him that “I will be loyal” and immediately you become a witness against yourself – you can never blame anyone else – the choice is yours!
Courage and obedience are the graces that led to the conquest of Canaan and they are essential in our lives today.
Choice is never between serving YHWH and a personal freedom. The choice is between YHWH our Elohim or other masters or gods – whether they are pagan gods, sinful passions and lusts of the flesh, wealth, success or power – the choice is yours and ultimately it is between YHWH and Satan! We all have to choose someone to serve and when we choose YHWH as Joshua did, we shape not only our own future, but our families as well!
Choosing YHWH involves a total cleansing and that is why Joshua commanded this – it cannot simply be lip service only – they were now challenged to prove their sincerity by their works of faith in YHWH, for some were practising idolatry and the cleansing was necessary and still is today! In serving YHWH there can be no mixing of worship unto Him with worship unto any form of idolatry. To serve Him means to fear Him, obey Him and worship Him only – in other words truly love Him and fix your heart on Him because you choose to not because you are forced to.
We have been redeemed and the root form of redeemed literally refers to the one who is ‘called to service’!!! Yahshua is our Redeemer – He came to serve and not to be served and so to we the redeemed are called to serve, amen!

We need Joshua’s today who will confront us and challenge us! If there is somebody in your life, other than me each week, nagging you to do the right thing – praise YHWH! If there is someone who upsets you and confronts you about a change you need to make – sing HalleluYah! Because for most of us, if we are not pushed to choose, we may never get off our … and choose wisely! If someone is bugging you and probing you and challenging you about your walk with YHWH – be glad; be glad that someone cares enough about you! We also need to take up the responsibility of being a ‘Joshua’ to others!!!
Joshua 24 reminds us of the challenges that lie before those who will follow the leading of Yahshua Messiah in their lives. At the heart of this challenge to worship and service was the need to be rid of the idolatry of the past and to renew their commitment to worship and serve YHWH alone. Let me ask you tonight – what baggage are you carrying from the past?
Jacob hid the idols here at Sheḵem, Joshua was calling for them to not only hide but destroy the idols they had here at Sheḵem. What idols do you have in your life? What ‘junk’ from the past do you need to let go of? Do you have any foreign gods that have taken precedence over your relationship with Yahshua Messiah? Maybe you have, like Jacob, buried the sins of your past, but yet later find yourself digging them up on occasion because you didn’t bury them in Yahshua! Tonight is a call to put away and destroy those things from the past. Can you let go of ‘unforgiveness’, can you let go of ‘bitterness’, hatred, anger, lust etc – those things you have been serving? Yahshua died to forgive us from sin and He rose again to give us hope of eternal life that we may live the abundant life here and now. If there are any things that have continued to plague you in your life – be it a bad habit or problem or a secret sin that you haven’t been able to let go of – then tonight I ask you to choose whom you will serve and put away once and for all let it go. Maybe there are traditions that have been passed down that have been hard to let go of and have formed the basis of your worship unto YHWH only to discover they were inherited lies and pagan worship – Christmas, Easter etc – let go of them tonight as you choose to serve YHWH – His way! Joshua 24 was a reminder of what was still buried within the land of their own hearts and warned them to leave it untouched! What Yahshua has paid for – praise Him and move on in service to Him, not looking back at sin!!! It is good to remember what YHWH has done for us to equip us to choose Him daily!

The sin of the assembly at Thyatira was compromise – they lacked commitment. There was too much world in them and not enough set apart living fro YHWH and today many are the same for they consider fellowship and assembly as secondary, inefficient and a hindrance. We cannot be Yahshua’s students if we set a lower standard than His Word. His standards for admission are very high as we die to self to live for Him. Yahshua basically told His disciples that if you cannot serve Him and give Him and His body the highest priority by love then they might as well go and serve someone else! No half hearted efforts need apply!!!
Israel was a chosen nation – but they still had to choose, and even if everyone chose to fall away, Joshua had made his choice! When we make the choice to follow YHWH and serve Him alone, we become witnesses against ourselves and we are to guard what we say, stay committed to the choices we make. Joshua cut covenant, foreshadowing the renewed covenant that Yahshua cut with those who too said, “We will follow you no matter what, we will even die for you.”
Based on what Yahshua Messiah has done for you – all His ‘I’ statements, can you make the decision to fear and serve Him daily and take up the responsibilities of possessing your inheritance in Him, putting away anything that takes your worship away from Him. Witness against yourself today and take up your responsibility to possess all He has given you – come to the ‘Sheḵem’ of today and see His shoulders, that they have taken it all upon them in order to give us the freedom to worship Him and follow Him according to His instructions and possess the inheritance of eternal life, for his plans for you are good, amen! We have a responsibility in possessing that inheritance in which we live daily and they are to fear Him, serve him in perfection and truth – serve Him His way and put away all idolatry and profane worship. Will you take up the responsibility of possessing the wonderful free gift of Salvation and abundant life by living his way and choosing daily YHWH as the One whom you will serve – the choice is yours!!!

What has YHWH done for you?
Will you choose to serve Him faithfully?
What idols or things do you have to put away?
Do you realise and recognise the responsibility of possessing your inheritance in Him? Will you take it up with great joy in courage and obedience to His Word?

YHWH bless you and guard you, YHWH make His face shine on you and show favour to you; YHWH lift up His face upon you, and give you peace.

Saturday, July 03, 2010


Numbers 25:1-15

sermon preached on 2 July 2010
How many of you are sick and tired of the blatant disregard for Yahweh in the world around us today? We see everything other than Yahweh being worshiped today, even within the body of Messiah! And what are we doing about it? In the light of the world that we live in, and the desperate need for us to walk consistently in our loving obedience to the commands of Yahweh, there is a call to those who truly fear Yahweh and are zealous for Him and His honour, to rise up and take a stand for the Truth! Tonight I want us to look at another great hero of the faith, one of those great heroes recorded of in Scripture. Some may not have heard of him, but after tonight you will never forget him! We are going to look at the account of Phineas, from Numbers 25 in a message called, “It is time to rise up and take a stand”.
Firstly though, to give you a little background before we read the text – the Israelites, as we know, had in entering the Wilderness, no longer trusted in Yahweh’s power, provision or promises, and in a sense felt that any victory that lay ahead depended entirely upon their own abilities; which after analysing themselves against their enemies they determined that they were no match for the people in the Promised Land and so rebelled against Yahweh in refusing to take the land, which got them 40 years sentence in the wilderness as a result. They had simply, very quickly, forgotten what Yahweh had done and so looking forward they saw no hope. This is so true for us today – if we forget what Yahweh has done for us we can so easily fall into the trap of trying to battle on in our own strength and quickly find ourselves at a weakened place of defeat. It is good for us to remember what Yahweh has done for us, for it strengthens our faith and hope for the secure promises that lie ahead for us in Yahshua Messiah. That ‘forgetful’ generation had died off and a new generation had grown up, and here in Numbers 25 we find the Israelites nearing the end of this 40 year journey. They were in fact completing their last year of their wilderness wanderings and were camped next to the Jordan River at Shittim. They would have known that they were in there last year for Yahweh had told them that they would be in the Wilderness for 40 years for their disobedience – 1 year for every day they spied out the land and brought back a bad report. It was from this very place that Joshua would lead them across the Jordan into the Promised Land and destroy Jericho and the surrounding nations. I want you to picture this for a moment as we look back in time – The journey in the Wilderness is nearly over – the land of Promise is just across the river which they can see – they were on the ‘home stretch’ so to speak. The Wilderness years were certainly not easy – over 1 million adults that had left Egypt were now dead. Moses’ brother and sister, Aaron and Miriam were now dead, and Moses didn’t have much longer to go, for he also knew that he would not go across as Yahweh told him after he hit the rock instead of speaking to it for water at Meribah. The years in the Wilderness were years of hardship and grumbling, plagues and battles - a result of their own disobedience I might add – yet through it all Yahweh was with them and He provided for them (food and water for over 2 million people for 40 years in the dessert!!!). Israel was now about to ‘cross over’ into the Promised Land – about to embrace the victory of the Promises of Yahweh. If you were to enter this camp site at this time, knowing all this, you kind of think that you would find great excitement, expectation and enthusiasm; people rejoicing, dancing, singing, giving thanks and worshipping before Yahweh of Hosts. Well that is what you would expect to see, yet here we find and discover that this great scene of thankfulness that we thought would be there is not at all what was going on…turn with me to Numbers 25:1-15 (read).

This passage we read is part of last weeks and this weeks Torah reading, and today I want us to look at this man Phineas – Yahweh’s faithful servant and soldier – a man who truly loved Yahweh and hated sin!
2 John: 6 'And this is the love, that we walk according to His commands. This is the command, that you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.'
Phineas loved Yahweh and as we see from this account, he was a man that walked in Yahweh’s commands. As we look at this heroic moment in his life, let us be encouraged to follow his example, amen!
Well, what is really going on here – it certainly isn’t worship and celebration unto Yahweh, what was happening that angered Yahweh so much? The Israelites began to whore with the daughters of Moab, they sacrificed to their ‘gods’ through their sexual acts of sin, they ate and drank with them and so were ‘joined’ to Ba’al Peor. What does that mean? What is Ba’al Peor? What is Ba’al worship?
Ba’al Peor was a Moabite ‘god’, which service included sexually immoral acts. The name Ba’al means husband, land owner and its general meaning and term as used in pagan idolatry and worship is ‘lord’, which may be a little shocking to you if you have never realised this – the term lord is an inherited term from pagan worship used for thousands of years. Peor was the name of a mountain in Moab. This name comes from the word ‘pa’ar’ which is a verb meaning ‘open wide’ and so in essence Ba’al Peor can be accurately rendered as ‘lord of the opening’ or the ‘lord that opens wide’. We know that Yahshua says that wide is the way that leads to destruction and many find it!!! The occurrences of this verb ‘pa’ar’, to ‘open wide’, indicate adjunction with the strong passion or feeling, usually not very positive and described the wide opening of the mouth, hence alluding to other body cavities! Hosea remarks on the Ba’al Peor event (Hosea 9:10) and it is clear that the Israelites defiled themselves with abundant fornication and sexual perversion as the Ba’al worship rites were celebrated by the grossest obscenity. So here we can translate that being joined to Ba’al Peor meant being led on the wide path of destruction. We are to be the joined body of Messiah – joined to Messiah Yahshua – being led in His narrow way!
In essence Ba’al worship is giving free reign to the carnal nature, which is the flesh, and is expressed in gluttony, drunkenness and sexual acts. This form of pagan worship comes from ancient Babylon as the worship of Nimrod was started by Semiramis, known as the Queen of heaven or Ishtar, today known as ‘Easter’ – who was the pagan goddess of fertility and mother of Tammuz, the worshipped son of Ba’al who would be reborn every year on December 25th. You see celebrating these pagan festivals, under the misguided lie of worship unto Yahshua, is in fact a way people today are engaging in Ba’al worship!!!
Back to Numbers, Balaq couldn’t get Bil‘am to curse the Israelites and so the only way they knew they could infiltrate them and possibly beat them was to seduce them with the women of Moab, enticing them to worship Ba’al – the very thing that Yahweh had commanded the Israelites not to do. As we look at our generation today, we can clearly see Ba’al worship going on, right before our very eyes – the question is how do we respond to what we see? Let us learn from the heroic acts of Phineas – the faithful and obedient servant of the Most high.
Ever since the Israelites had left Mitsrayim (Egypt), her enemy was in hot pursuit. Pharaoh’s army immediately pursued them and drowned. Right through Numbers we can read of the direct attacks that came upon Israel from their enemies. Arad, kind of the Canaanites, Sihon the Amorite king and Og the king of Bashan to name a few who employed large armies to engage in battle against Israel. Balaq king of Moab employed a corrupt prophet to curse Israel, which he couldn’t do, and so we see how Israel encountered many direct attacks; but by the grace of Elohim all Israel’s enemies were defeated and the curses spoken against them were turned into blessings. However the enemy as we know does not give up that easy and employed a new strategy which was very cunning and shrewd. Let me remind you the enemy, the devil, is devious and sly. The plan now was to seemingly be nice to Yahweh’s people – invite them to parties, weaken them with fleshly indulgences and then seduce them with their women and so have them worship their god, Ba’al, through sexually immoral acts with the enemy. What the mighty armies and the hired prophet were unable to do, the Israelites did themselves by giving in to their own lusts. They had been in the Wilderness for nearly 40 years! Now they get invited to feasts, all you can eat buffets – I am sure there was pig on the menu too! Wine, beer, all the alcohol you could want, and of course the beautiful women. The enemy had attacked with direct assaults at first, which is also true in our case today. From the time we received the free gift of Salvation by grace through faith and accepted Yahshua Messiah as Master and Sovereign over our lives, our enemy, Satan, has been in hot pursuit with the goal of turning us back to Mitsrayim (Egypt) – back to the bondage and shackles of sin! He will not give up at this either. He will change his strategy to a more cunning and crafty approach – as he tries to lure us by appealing to ones desires of the flesh. As James puts it – we should never say that we are enticed or tempted by Elohim, but that each one is enticed when he is drawn away by his own desires and trapped, and when the desire is conceived it gives birth to sin, which when accomplished brings forth death (James 1:13-15).
The enemy wants to kill you, and he will do it slowly, sucking you dry – using any tactic to do so – luring you by the desires of the flesh. I must remind you that the enemy knows where our weak spots are and we would do well to know too and so guard ourselves in those areas. Weak spots are often areas where you have been defeated before or areas where you have not yet been victorious in – he will hit you in your weak spots – he doesn’t play fair. Perhaps we may find we have a kink in our armour when it comes to things such as: pride, lust, envy, bitterness, rage, compromise of the truth, jealousy, greed, hate, selfishness, slander or deceit to name a few. He will entice you with your weakness and attempt to get you to fall into the deadly trap of sin, and try to get you to turn away from Yahweh, turning back to sin and in effect worship Ba’al as you satisfy the desires of the flesh!
Now Phineas was there too, when all this was going on – he also faced the same enticing from the beautiful women, to the food and wine and other pleasures of the flesh – perhaps even massages, hot steam baths etc; yet he withstood and did not allow himself to be defeated by them. We too must withstand the pull of sin – and let me tell you, sin is constantly at the door trying to pull one away from pure worship unto Yahweh. The crowds may say come on and you may be the only one who says no – so what – be the only one and do not give in and be pulled because others have! Don’t be pulled away from pure and total obedience unto Yahweh, not even for a second, not for that little moment and say – “Oh but I will worship next time, I just got to do this, I have been invited…” Don’t fall prey to the pulling into sin, even when it doesn’t look like sin, yet it pulls you away from obedience! Draw near to Yahweh in ardent worship. Many friends and family may be indulging in what the world calls the ‘good life’ and make you think and feel that serving Yahweh is ‘boring’ and ‘legalistic’ – they will engage in wild parties, drinking, drugs, loose living – and they are enticing you to go along for the fun of it – do not be pulled in but stand firm in your faith! Let me remind you that serving and living for Yahweh is far from ‘boring’ and ‘legalistic’, in fact it is the greatest fun and joy filled life you can have – because when you love somebody – living to please them is certainly not boring and is ‘neve’ legalistic!!! People who say that obeying the commands of Elohim is just legalistic living obviously do not love Elohim and do not understand what loving Him entails!!!
What does that mean? Well we must weigh up what the cost of not caring enough! Where were the leaders in this when these gross acts of sin were taking place? Some were most probably joining in for we know that Zimri, son of the tribal leader of the Simeonites, was involved. But what about the other leaders, why didn’t any of them attempt to stop what was going on? Instead, those who were not involved must have just watched and kept silent, thinking it is not their business. It seems as if they did not care enough to act otherwise they would have. We must remember that the sin of one affected the whole camp – we saw that after the victory of Jericho when Achan sinned and caused Israel to be defeated by Ai. So keeping quiet while you know what is going on is also sin! For some of these leaders it obviously was not important enough for them to take a stand against the evil in the camp, it wasn’t important enough to take a risk in speaking the truth. The majority were indifferent to the sin that was all around them – they were not doing it so why so why get involved? Well we know that this sin certainly did not go unnoticed – in fact a high price was paid for this indifference. Yahweh commanded Moses to take all the leaders and hang them before Yahweh in the sun – at the heat of the day – in front of all to see. To hang them in the text can also mean to ‘impale’ them – this would be a warning for all to see the price for sin and indifference. And right through the camp thousands were dying of a plague and Moses and some of the people were weeping at the door of the Tent of Meeting,
What about indifference of Yahweh’s people today? What do you think Sha’ul (Paul) and Kepha (Peter) would say if they were around today? If they saw what was on television or listened to the chart topping music of today accompanied by suggestive videos which are all symbolic if Ba’al and Asherah worship – just see any of the latest video’s of Beyonce, Rihanna, or Lady Gaga (or rather don’t watch them…!!!) – it is Ba’al worship period! What would they say about the movies that people are racing to see – “Oh but the graphics are great” yes and so is the deception! What about magazines, newspapers, billboards? What would they say if they visited an abortion clinic, or even go and sit in some church meetings where men get to vote to change the Word of Elohim? What do you think would be raging through their minds? Perhaps it would be something like, “Where are all the Believers, where are the appointed leaders, pastors, teachers, prophets, evangelists? Where are all the messengers of the Good News? Don’t they even care what is going on around them as the world and so many churches are paying homage to false gods and calling it worship unto Yahweh – it is an abomination!” For far too long too many believers have been indifferent to what is really going on right around them – and let me tell you it is closer to home than you think!!!
Most today are too afraid of ‘stepping on toes’ because we must love and accept each other! Yes love, but do not accept sin, that is true love!!! When we can walk in love and show a brother his fault when he sins and vice versa. Some may say, “Who am I to tell others they are doing something wrong?” That is indifference, and we are not to be indifferent about the sin in the lives of those we care about and know in the body. We are ambassadors of Messiah – and we must speak out! As we look at our world today, we can certainly see the price of indifference:
• A baby is killed in the womb at least every 20 seconds
• Prayer and the Word of Elohim has been removed from most institutions and establishments, having been replaced by humanism, condoms and safe sex education.
• False doctrines are being preached from pulpits – what is false teaching? That which promotes lawlessness! That which teaches you do not have to follow Torah! Yahshua didn’t abolish the Law and the Prophets, but many doctrines have! And thousands are following these lies because it tickles their ears – they can ‘live loose’ and say they are ‘saved’ and can do whatever they want because ‘Jesus’ loves them! That is arrogance and rebellion against Yahshua Messiah who has shown us they Way.
• Scripturally immoral values and lifestyles are being sanctioned as acceptable – by the modern church, tolerating Jezebel! Listen, it was Jezebel who brought Ba’al worship back into Israel and she has done it again – Ba’al worship is running rampant in the ‘body’ today and it is time to rise up and stop being indifferent.
• A godless world without hope is continually being sucked into the worldly scum of sex, drugs, violence, greed and hate!

And today many believers sit by indifferent to what is going on!
Well the pull of sin that tried to wrap its evil fingers around Phineas didn’t succeed for he withstood, he overcame! And then when he, with fire in his heart and tears in his eyes, saw the peoples consequences of their sin and that people were dying around him, and saw that the Name of Yahweh was being trampled upon and mocked, Phineas weighed the price of indifference and saw that it was too great to remain silent and not act. As a faithful soldier of Elohim Most High he rose to the occasion and picked up his spear and took action as he:
Phineas was ardent for the righteous standards of Yahweh. Ardent means, “being characterised by warmth of feeling typically expressed in eager zealous support or activity”. This is an active doing word! It also means, “Fiery, hot, shining or glowing.” Here was a man ‘on fire’ for Yahweh – a man that could not sit any longer and simply not take notice of what was going on within the community of Yahweh. When he saw all the sexual immorality going on, all the drunkenness, all the orgies and debauchery, all the sins of the flesh – he was angered and then the arrogance of Zimri to simply just walk into the camp past the eyes of Moses and the whole congregation with a Midianite women and go into his tent. It is thought by some that Zimri and Kozbi were married as she was the daughter of a leader from Moab and Zimri was the son of the leader of the tribe of the Simoenites. Even if this were so – this was forbidden – no marriages to foreigners were allowed and no Moabite was permitted in the assembly of Israel. As you may remember, that the Moabites were a result if the incestuous relationship of Lot and his daughter. What Zimri did was an abomination in the eyes of Yahweh. Phineas’ anger and zeal for the honour of Yahweh reached its boiling point and so he took a spear and followed them into the tent and catching them in the act of sexual sin drove the spear right through them both into the ground. Now listen, this was some act – it was not just a little jab or stab at the sin – this was a forceful act that went through two bodies and into the ground!!! Immediately the plague stopped, by then 24,000 had died and so this brave ardent act made atonement for Israel. Yahweh then honours Phineas and makes a covenant of peace with him and an everlasting covenant of priesthood for him and his family. I love this for this is another picture of the work of Yahshua, who has made atonement by dying for our sins and has become our high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.
Phineas was ardent, had zeal for Yahweh. The Word for ardent or zeal in the Hebrew is ‘qa-na’, which means, ‘to burn with zeal for a person or a thing’ and also means, ‘the intense love and emotion that involves a high level of commitment.
How zealous are you for Yahweh? How intense is your love for Yahweh – do you obey Him and heed and obey His very Word? How committed are you? Phineas had a concern for the honour of Yahweh and this commitment moved him to rid the Israelite camp of sin in order to restore and maintain the holiness of Yahweh’s people.
This is a great example of ardent love for Yahweh. This guy had passion for Yahweh like none other, his zeal was ‘as the zeal of Yahweh’, and so should ours be too! Phineas was not going to simply sit by and shut up when others were too afraid to take a stand. Phineas stood up, not for himself, but for Yahweh! As we see in this account – the path of zeal for Yahweh’s honour is not easy, it requires everything of you and is often a lonely path – yet we who claim to live in Yahshua must walk this very zealous path that he walked and declare the truth.
I also believe that Phineas was well trained and skilled in the use of weaponry and could with precision use the spear – which he did with a very sharp spear. This speaks to me about our being trained and skilled in the Word. We must become skilled in the very Word that is sharper than a doubled edged sword and being ardent to use it for the honour of Yahweh. Let me tell you, when you take a stand and with precision use the Word that cuts – you will not necessarily be popular, so do not expect any applause – expect mockery, slander, course laughter, and bitterness. But know this – your reward is not with men – it is with Yahweh – He will applaud you and reward you for defending His honour. Wouldn’t it be something to hear the Father say, “You are as zealous as I am for My honour!”
Yahweh is waiting for his chosen to arise and have the courage to love Him and hate sin. Obedience to his very Living Word is the highest expression of our love for Him. I am asking you today, “Will you arise and burn with zeal for Yahweh’s honour and be bold and courageous to declare His Truth as you see sin around you, as you see Ba’al worship going on in the lives of believers?” Will you take up a stand for His Torah – to live it, declare it and teach it, as you zealously expose the lies of the enemy and draw people back unto true worship? May we not sit by at the false teachings and watered down doctrines!
Will you, in your own life kill and put to death the misdeeds of the flesh and help others to as well? This is an ‘Elijah message’ tonight – why do I say that? What is the Elijah message? It is a call to forsake the worship of Ba’al and return to the commandments of Yahweh. On the physical level the Elijah message denounces sexual sin and all lusts of the flesh and on the spiritual level it denounces the observance of pagan festivals – such as Christmas, Easter, Halloween to name a few. The majority will continue to worship Ba’al (whether they realise it or not), yet there will be many ‘overcomers’, many like Phineas – true believers who keep the commandments of Yahweh and put their faith in Yahshua Messiah. Endeavour to be amongst the few – amongst the remnant as you walk the path of zeal! It is time to rise up and take a stand and live, eat, hear and do the Truth! Do not let sin pull you away; do not be afraid to rise up and take a stand – walk in zeal for Yahweh. Come on there is people out there dying – what are you going to do – be zealous for Yahweh – rise up and take a stand!
Isaiah 60: 1-2 “Arise, shine, for your light has come, the esteem of Yahweh has risen upon you. For look, darkness covers the earth, and thick darkness the peoples. But Yahweh arises over you and His esteem is upon you.
As you may know ‘light’ in the Hebrew also carries with it the meaning of ‘knowledge’ and ‘darkness’ means ‘ignorance’. You see darkness/ignorance is over the earth, yet ‘thick darkness/ignorance’ is over many people. But you, you have the light, the light and knowledge of Messiah Yahshua – His honour is upon you – will you arise and stand up and defend the honour of Yahweh and take a stand for the Truth!!!


James 1:1-12

sermon preached on 25 June 2010
Blessed be Yahweh our Elohim who we can joyfully praise and declare His majesty as we come together once again to remember His Sabbath. How many of you have been through or are going through some kinds of trials? One of the best tests of our maturity as believers is trials and tribulations that we go through. When Yahweh’s people go through personal trials, they quickly discover what kind of faith they really possess. Trials not only reveal our faith but they also develop our faith and character in Messiah. Now I know that most of us, in fact I am sure all would easily agree that we do not like trials; I mean they are never easy, some may be easier than others, but we would most probably all agree that it would be better to not have any trials and many teach today that we don’t have to go through any trials and suffering because it has all been taken away and they sadly miss the essence of the necessity for trials to help us grow. As fine as that sounds to not have trials, there would only be one problem though; without any trials we would never mature – now for some that would be great for they just love being like little spoilt naughty children without responsibility and many do not want to take up the responsibility of growing in Messiah, but that is not the goal of our faith – Yahweh wants us to mature and grow up in Him. Tonight I want to talk about turning those seemingly miserable trials that we face in to joyous occasions for growth. My message is called, “Turning trials into triumphs”. How many of you want to do just that?
“There are three kinds of people in the world, the wills, the wont’s and the cant’s. The first accomplish everything; the second oppose everything; the third fail in everything.”
Which one are you? In Messiah we are called to be the ‘wills’, for we will follow Him no matter what, amen!
Turn with me to the book of James, we are going to read chapter 1 (Read James1)

I was wrestling through many passages of Scripture this week and even looked at the life of Bil’am in Numbers 22, which we went through briefly on Wednesday night and will do so tomorrow, but I felt led to share about living through the trials we face almost on a daily basis. We have faced some new trials of late – I say new because as I am sure you can all agree there are always new trials coming our way – one trial seemingly finishes and a new one is quick on the heels. This is a passage I am sure we are all very familiar with, however it is always good to be reminded and refreshed through the Word in order that we may learn to have a fruitful life of joyful praise unto Yahweh, amen! James main theme throughout his letter is ‘faith’ – and a practical faith that equips us to live daily in a very practical way, emphasising the life of faith that followers of Yahshua are encouraged to live. Throughout Scripture we read of many great men and women of faith who turned defeat into victory and trials into triumphs; so instead of becoming the victims they became the victors. James explains to us that we too can experience victorious living as we grow spiritually mature. For we walk from a place of victory in Messiah, we are not walking to victory but from victory for He has overcome therefore we too overcome as we walk in Him. In essence as we look at what we have just read; if we are going to learn to turn trials into triumphs then we must follow 4 essentials needed in trials and they are: 1 – A Joyful Attitude; 2 – An Understanding Mind; 3 – A Surrendered Will; 4 – A Believing Heart.
Four imperatives that we can pick up on in the fist 5 verses in 4 key words – CountKnowLetAsk.
Wow – how often do we hear this and find it a little hard? Well as I have said on many occasions the saying, “Outlook determines outcome and attitude determines action” – we are called to actually welcome trials!!! The way we view our trials is critical and the attitude we face them with is of vital importance. Yahweh tells us through James’ letter that we are to expect trials! In fact James writes ‘when’ you fall into various trials, not ‘if’ you fall into various trials. The one thing we can be sure of – and that is trials will come. Now many today want to believe that they never have to face trials – this is a false teaching, for Scripture is very clear – we will face them! Yahshua told His disciples in John 16:33 that in this world we will have pressure/trials, but we should take courage for He has overcome the world, and so we by faith in Him are, too, able to be overcomers! Let me ask you – “How do you welcome trials and difficulties?” We can read in Acts 14 about the account of Sha’ul (Paul) when he was stoned in Lustra and dragged out of the city for dead, yet the next day, while the believers were praying around him, he got up and went into the city!!! Story goes something like this: Sha’ul (Paul) and Barnabas on their travels came to Lystra, and they healed a cripple and everyone thought that the ‘gods’ have come down to visit! What ‘gods’? Well the myth of that area that everyone grew up being told and believed was that centuries before Zeus and Hermes came down to Lustra and went from door to door where they were not welcomed. The whole town refused to welcome them and entertain them, all except the very last home they went to where an elderly couple lived. This couple opened their home and were very hospitable giving them a great meal etc. Zeus and Hermes asked each other whether they should tell this folk what they were about to do and they took the couple outside and told them to look at the town for they were about to destroy it and asked what the couple wanted from them for their kindness. The couple replied they wanted to grow old together. And so after destroying Lustra, the ‘gods’ left and this old couple being the only ones left grew old and one day as they were sitting around leaves began to grow out of their arms and legs etc and they turned into two ‘linden’ trees!!! The linden tree is unique to that part of the country and was believed to remind the people of Lustra of how they were once destroyed for not welcoming Zeus and Hermes – again this is all mythology of course – but they believed it! So when Sha’ul (Paul) and Barnabas came and Sha’ul (Paul) healed the cripple the people were convinced that Zeus an Hermes had come back and they had better welcome them this time for they did not want to make the same mistake that was made before. Of course Sha’ul (Paul) and Barnabas responded to this nonsense by tearing their clothes and telling them they were just men like they were. This caused them to turn against them – one minute they were worshipping them as ‘gods’ and the next they are against them and they stone Paul – left for dead!
I mean the How many of you would, after being stoned, get up and go back perhaps for more – Paul in his joy of serving Yahweh welcomed trials!!! He went to Derbe and then came back again a third time to Lustra to encourage the believers in their faith that they would have to face hardships to enter the Kingdom of Elohim. It was in his third visit that a young man by the name of Timothy, who had certainly witnessed all that Sha’ul (Paul) had been through, had responded to the call of Elohim and followed Paul. Timothy became head of the Assembly in Ephesus and was a great and mighty man of faith who understood by the example of Paul that even though one may suffer for the Kingdom, it is worth suffering for. Timothy was the only one we know of from Lustra that responded to the call – the res were kind of what we see today – too comfortable to count the cost of following Yahshua and counting it all joy when they face trials of many kinds! Peter tells us in his first letter not to think it strange or be surprised by the trials we may be suffering – we are in this world but not of this world and Satan constantly stands against us, however Yahweh is in control and He sends us the trials to test our faith. In the Torah Yahweh makes it clear that if a prophet comes and leads you away from Torah then he is a false profit – exactly was Peter warns us against in both his letters – those who teach lawlessness are false teachers – telling you that you do not have to obey Yahweh’s commands! We are told that if a prophet comes and performs all kinds of miracles and signs and leads you away from the Torah – know that Yahweh has sent them to test our hearts!!! We must be very quick to discern a false teacher or prophet – for they will tell you that it is ok not to keep Torah – which is a lie!
It is also interesting to note that the words ‘fall into’ does not mean by accident but rather when it comes across your path or rather when you encounter them. Often we believe the lie that the trial we are facing is because we have stepped out of line. Trials come across your path to mature you – it is not because you are in error – you can be walking in total obedience – trials will come so that your faith may be proved genuine and you may grow on to maturity not lacking anything! Trials of many kinds indicate that they come in many ways – unique, if you will, to every individual, and the final product of the trials that are faced through patient endurance is a beautiful thing for Yahweh’s glory! To ‘count’ is a financial term meaning to evaluate and is used several times in Philippians. Paul upon having the scales fall from his eyes was now able to evaluate his life and set new goals and priorities – things that were once important to him were now considered as rubbish in light of his experience with the Messiah. When we go through trials we too must evaluate them in light of what Yahweh is doing for us, and as a believer we can and should have joy in the midst of trials – for we live for the things that matter most in Him and not the things of this world. Trials will always help us evaluate our walk and remain humbled in worship unto Yahweh, recognising constantly our dependence upon Him. The term ‘all joy’ is also critically important to us as it speaks of ‘all joy’, ‘all’ being the key to the amount of joy – it means whole joy – filled with joy leaving no room for doubt or worry! Yahshua could endure the stake because of the joy that was set before Him – the joy of returning to heaven and the joy of one day sharing his full glory with His body of believers.
Our values determine our evaluation. I mean it is like this: if we value comfort over character then trials will upset us; if we value the material and physical over the spiritual then we will not be able to ‘count it all joy’. If we live our lives for the present and we forget the future then trials will make you bitter and not better. Job had the right attitude toward trials:
Job 23:10 “For He knows the way that I take. When he has tried me, I would come forth as gold.
So when trials come – give thanks to Yahweh and adopt a joyful attitude, for he allows such trials as a test that is intended to show the validity, not the weakness, of our faith. We must look at trials through the eyes of faith – remember outlook determines outcome – if we begin with joy we will end with joy! But How – it sounds easier than what it is – how do we rejoice in the midst of trials and difficulties? That brings us to number 2:
What is it that believers know that makes it easier or rather should make it easier for them to face trials and actually benefit from them?
Well there are a few things that we know through the Word of Truth and firstly:
A – Faith is always tested!
We know that faith is tested – in fact faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted! Ok so you say you believe and trust for ‘xyz…’ well how do you know – has your faith been tested in that area? Yahweh tests our faith to bring out the best in us. Satan certainly tries to tempt us to bring out the worst in us, but the testing of our faith proves that we are of Elohim and that we are born again! If we are able to look beyond the present and see the product that Yahweh intends to produce through our suffering and trials, we will experience joy. This is often impossible with most people for they value pleasure over character and the present over eternity! We know that faith is tested so as your faith grows expect the tests!
B – Testing works for us and not against us!
The word testing or proving can also be translated as ‘approval’. Peter tells us that the ‘trial of our faith’ is worth more than gold! When a miner brings in some ore to be tested – the sample of ore in itself is not worth much, but the approval – in other words the official statement after the testing, if approved, is worth millions as it assures the prospector that he has a gold mine! Yahweh’s approval of our faith is precious for it assures us and Him that our faith is genuine! Trials work for a believer and not against.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all matters work together for good to those who love Elohim, to those who are called according to his purpose.
2 Corinthians 4:17 “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
C – Trials rightly used – help us to mature!
Trials can and will mature us if rightly used. What is it that Yahweh wants to produce in our lives? It is patience, endurance and the ability to keep going when things get tough!
Romans 5:3-5 “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that the suffering produces perseverance, 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because Elohim has poured out His love into our hearts by the Set-Apart Spirit, whom He has given us.
Patience is not a passive acceptance of circumstances – it is a courageous perseverance in the face of suffering and difficulty!
Immature people are always impatient! Let me ask you when last were you impatient? A sign of immaturity and that maturing is required which will happen through trials! Impatience is immaturity as it is always about self, where maturity leads to thinking about others above self. The mature are patient and persistent under trials! Impatience and unbelief or doubt always goes together, just as faith and patience do. We need to learn patience, for when we learn to wait on Yahweh we will then see how Yahweh will do great things for us! We must be careful not to run ahead of Yahweh and we can learn from those who have gone before us. Abraham ran ahead of Yahweh when he slept with Hagar, which brought sorrow into his home; Moses ran ahead of Yahweh by killing an Egyptian and he then learned patience attending sheep for 40 years. The only way that Yahweh can develop patience and character in our lives is through trials. Patience cannot be obtained by simply reading a book or listening to a good message or even by a simple prayer in haste – it is through the difficulties in life, which as we trust Yahweh, read His Book and pray persistently through and walk in obedience to his Word always rejoicing that patience can be produced in us. The end result of trials that produce patience and character is glory to Yahweh.
That is why studying Scripture helps us to grow in patience.
Romans 15: 4 “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of Scriptures we might have hope.
Yahweh has a purpose in trials and he fulfils His purposes as we place our trust in Him. There is no substitute for and understanding mind. Scripture tells us in Hosea that people are dying because of lack of knowledge. If people would but just dig into the wonder of His word, then they would gain great understanding and insight in how to face trials and turn them into triumphs. Satan can easily defeat an ignorant believer, but the believer who knows and lives the Word of Yahweh, the one who walks in His Torah, who walks in Yahshua Messiah gains understanding and overcomes the wicked schemes of the enemy and can endure trials with great joy. To know is a key and understanding this helps us realise why so many believers are living in defeat and are not joyful– for they lack the knowledge that equips them to rejoice. We are to be a joyful people, making a joyful noise- because of Who and what we know!
Yahweh cannot build our character if we do not cooperate and surrender our will. If we resist him He will discipline us into surrender – which we can be sure of – why because He loves us and disciplines those He loves. If we submit to Him – we allow him to accomplish His work in us – and His goal for us is maturity, so that we lack nothing. He has given us every spiritual blessing and for us to appropriate that by faith we need to grow in maturity and we must surrender our will for His. Maturing happens through the refining process of fiery trials, and sadly too many today shelter themselves from trials and therefore never ‘grow up’. Paul outlined for us 3 works that are involved in a complete life of a believer:
1 – The work Yahweh does for us - that is salvation through the Blood of Yahshua Messiah on the stake that has bought us at a price and redeemed us for himself, cleansing us from sin. He has worked Salvation for us as a gift that no man can boast in his works.
2 – The work Yahweh does in us – That is through sanctification – for we are His workmanship, and we are daily being conformed to His likeness – to the likeness of the Son.
3 – The work Yahweh does through us – that is through service – created in Yahshua Messiah unto good works. We are made to serve through the gifts He works in and through us.
Yahweh builds character in us before He calls us to service. He must work in us before he can work through us. 25 years He worked in Abraham before He gave him his promised son. 13 years Yahweh worked in Joseph through various trials before promoting him to being in charge of the affairs of Egypt bringing about deliverance for Jacob and his family. 80 years He worked in Moses for 40 years of service!!! Yahweh will work through those who submit and surrender their will to Him.
The maturing accepts and willingly submits joyfully doing the will of Elohim from the heart. If we go through trials without a surrendered will, without knowing Him and without having counted it all joy then we will end up like an immature child rather than a mature adult. There are a lot of immature adults out there!!! Jonah is a great example of one who wouldn’t surrender his will, was disciplined then obeyed yet at the end he sits and is upset that Yahweh didn’t send judgement on Nineveh – he acted like a spoilt kid who didn’t get his way!!! Another thing we can learn from Jonah is that if we surrender and obey joyfully then we have the opportunity to witness to cities that can be saved and cause Yahweh to not sending His judgement as people repent and respond to our joyful witness. We have an opportunity as children of the Most High Elohim to be a true witness, calling people to repentance and so cause the judgement of Yahweh to be halted over cities!!! What are you doing? Have you surrendered your life to His will?
James was writing to a people who had trouble praying, as they were asking with wrong motives and he encourages them to ask for wisdom. When we are going through tough trials of any kind we would do well to ask for wisdom. For wisdom is the right use of knowledge – if we have all the knowledge but no wisdom – how will we use the knowledge? There are many well educated people with brilliant academic qualifications yet they cannot make simple decisions. Why do we need wisdom in trials, why not rather strength or something else? Well we need wisdom so that we will not waste the opportunities he is giving us to mature! Wisdom helps us understand how to use the circumstances for our good and for His glory! Wisdom helps us approach the throne of grace with confidence. James tells us what to ask for – that is wisdom – as well as how to ask for it – that is by faith. We must not be afraid to ask and we must not doubt like the waves of the sea – that is up one minute and down the next! How many of you have found yourself in that situation – up one minute, down the next – so much so you feel sick? As most of you I am sure have been to the beach and swam in the sea – well you know that you cannot turn your back on the sea – for you cannot trust the waves – it will hit you! This is like a double minded man – they say yes but inwardly they are saying no! Faith yes and doubt says no or vice versa depending upon the circumstance! Yes one minute and no the next. Peter when walking on the sea to Yahshua started out with faith and allowed doubt to cause him to sink. He was double minded and nearly drowned! Too many believers live like a cork on the waves – head above the waters yet up one minute and down the next, being tossed back and forth. I am sure most of us have all experienced this more than we would want to and the Good news is we do not need to! Double mindedness is evidence of immaturity. Paul used a similar example in saying we who are becoming mature will not be doubled minded in our walk:
Ephesians 4:14 “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
If we have believing and united hearts – in unity with the Spirit and the Truth, then we can ask in faith and Yahweh will give the wisdom we need.
We are blessed when we endure through trials – this is a great encouragement and beatitude James gives us – there is in it the promise of the crown of life to those who patiently endure trials! He is not saying that a sinner is saved by enduring trials, no for salvation is not of works but a gift by grace through faith, but he is saying that a believers is rewarded by enduring trials. How? Well firstly by growth in character bringing glory to Yahweh and receiving the crown of life when Yahshua returns. First the suffering then the glory! Before Honour comes humility! We must humble ourselves, submit, and ask. Yahweh makes tests work for us, whereas the enemy will try to use them to tear us down – praise Yahweh for HE uses tests to build us up in Him!
Going through trials is never easy, and in verse 12 James uses a key word – ‘love’. You see, love is the spiritual motivation behind every imperative action we have just spoken about – love is the motive behind our trust and obedience in Yahweh. Love for Yahweh equips us to count and have a joyful attitude as we face trials – because we know he loves us and demonstrated that love by dying for us and taking away the penalty of our sin, washing us white as snow and He will never harm us – he will prove us not harm us. Out of a love for Him we can know and gain an understanding mind – for HE has shared His Truth with us and our love for Him will compel us to know Him and study his Word. Where there is no love there is no surrender or obedience and so we let Him work in and through us as we surrender to Him out of a love for Him. Asking then becomes easy for us and the believing heart is strengthened through love for faith and love goes together. When you love someone you trust them and do not hesitate to ask for help. If we truly love Yahweh we will have no problem counting, knowing, letting and asking and love will keep us faithful in rejoicing in Him. The believer who loves Yahweh knows that Yahweh loves them and will not fall apart when trials come for they are secure in Yahweh’s love!
Attitude toward trials is certainly key, for love for Yahweh helps us have the right attitude and that is to rejoice and praise His name. As his children we can be sure of his purposes to mature us and perfect us in Yahshua Messiah, we can be sure of the good ness of Yahweh and we can be sure of his Word that stands forever. Understanding how to respond to trials will help us overcome temptations, as we learn to be swift to hear, which means hear and obey, not just hear. We in seeking growth unto maturity must hear and do his Word as we look into the perfect Torah. Not simply glance at it but look intently into His torah that we may do His Torah with great joy and passion for Him. For we can be expectant of Elohim’s aid in all circumstances and can be secure of our identity in Him and evaluate our lives as we look into his perfect Torah and accept our responsibility for our choices we make and calling He has for us. We must embrace our responsibility to walk His way no matter what we face and we can expect only good gifts from Him

Perhaps you have gone through or are going through trials – welcome to the club of the maturing – His purpose in trials is maturing – and if that is what you want – to become mature lacking nothing – and you want to turn your trials into triumphs then in a continual response to His Love for you, in love unto Him – countknowlet and ask! And may we truly use our breath to bring him praise, amen!