Shabbat Shalom everyone, it is always good for us to be together in fellowship as we celebrate the Goodness of YHWH our Elohim. You know we have all been invited – to what you may ask! No it is not a ‘braai’ or rugby match! It is to a wedding, in fact we have not only been invited, we have been sought out and proposed to – to be His Bride. And those who choose to accept this offer of marriage have in fact entered in to the marriage contract, which is now forever sealed in the Blood of the Bridegroom Himself, Yahshua Messiah. We have been invited to the Wedding Feast of all weddings, and I ask you all – ‘Have you given your RSVP?’ In other words have you accepted or declined? It is all about choices and it begins with a single choice. My message tonight is called ‘Thirsty choices’ and I would like us to look at our need to have our thirst satisfied in that alone which satisfies. Please turn with me to Isaiah 55. (Read)
I love this passage, this is an invitation to the thirsty – a call to anyone who thirsts. Now we know that we all thirst and when you are thirsty you go and drink something to try and quench your thirst, right! In actual fact it has been said that if you in fact get to the stage of being thirsty then you have already been too long without water and let yourself begin to dehydrate which is very unhealthy! But we all know that the thirst that is being spoken of here is more than just physical, it is speaking of a spiritual thirst. Today many people do not think or realise that they are spiritually thirsty simply because they have filled their lives up with so many false wells so to speak, keeping them so busy that they get consumed by a sense of satisfaction that is indeed false. When preparing this word, the song title of a Rolling Stone song, satisfaction, came to mind where Mick Jagger, the lead singer, sings, “I cant get no…satisfaction”. I am not sure of the rest and no I do not listen to the rolling stones!!! I find that the words of this song typify what the world is in reality singing along to, not realising the truth of what they are saying. They can have all the wealth, success and status the world loves to give yet still be thirsty!!! It is clear that Mick Jagger has never had his thirst quenched with what truly satisfies for the worldly things cannot satisfy the spiritual man.
Why is it that so many seek to satisfy that which is dying – the flesh? In the process of filling up the flesh with what does not satisfy, one is in serious danger of sentencing one’s spirit, as a result of wrong choices, to eternal death!!! You see everything we do is a result of a choice and so often we may ask ourselves, “Why am I doing this…?”, or “Why am I doing that…?”, when in fact we need to be looking behind our actions and ask, “What choice did I make?”
If you are thirsty, come and drink is the invitation! For most of us, and I like to believe that for all, there comes a time or various key moments in our lives where we recognise that there has got to be more to what and how we are living, in other words we recognise a thirst. All too often through the desire to satisfy that thirst, wrong choices are born, either, out of peer pressure, the culture or traditions we have been brought up in or even by the way a wrong choice has been commercialised or advertised. In today’s consumer driven world, people find that they just can’t get enough and so they devour food, pleasure, work, entertainment and even relationships as fast as they can just to get something out of it and then seek more, never being satisfied as they are constantly driven by a wanting, a needing , a longing and a thirsting! For what though?
We are all created with an appetite, and that is an appetite for Elohim. He has made us to praise Him – to hunger and thirst for Him.
Isaiah 43:19-21 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. 20 The wild animals honour me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, 21 the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”
You see it is YHWH who provides for us His Living water to equip us to praise Him!!!
Yahshua Himself, said in His sermon on the mount, that we are blessed when we hunger and thirst after righteousness, for we will be filled – He promises us that! He is in essence saying that you will be blessed when you truly make the choice to seek and follow that which you were designed to, for everything else is a counterfeit that will only drain you and not fill you.
The term thirsty is used frequently in Scriptures and is a metaphor for spiritual longing. We all want a sense of belonging and we know that the only thing that satisfies is from above. I would like to read a passage from the Book of Enoch for this helped me understand more clearly what Yahshua was telling us when we are to hunger and thirst for righteousness.
I encourage you all to read the Book of Enoch; it is freely available on the net. This Book was in fact part of the canonized Scriptures up until around the 7th century C.E. and ‘disappeared’ for about 1000 years having been ‘rediscovered’ in the 17th century C.E. It gives greater detail on the accounts that we read of in Berěshith/Genesis 6.
Enoch 15:8-12 “And now, the giants, who are produced from the spirits and flesh, shall be called evil spirits upon the earth, and on the earth shall be their dwelling. Evil spirits have proceeded from their bodies; because they are born from men and from the holy Watchers is their beginning and primal origin; they shall be evil spirits on earth, and evil spirits shall they be called. [As for the spirits of heaven, in heaven shall be their dwelling, but as for the spirits of the earth which were born upon the earth, on the earth shall be their dwelling.] And the spirits of the giants afflict, oppress, destroy, attack, do battle, and work destruction on the earth, and cause trouble: they take no food, but nevertheless hunger and thirst, and cause offences. And these spirits shall rise up against the children of men and against the women, because they have proceeded from them.”
What is this passage saying? Without going too much into Enoch right now, the fact is that when the sons of Elohim came down and had sexual relations with the daughters of men, giants were born, the Nephilim – the cast out ones, half breeds if you will. This was a great abomination before YHWH, and as they began to rule and reign over the earth, YHWH declared HE was going to wipe out all mankind and that which has come from abominable acts. The Spirits from the heavens were bound up and Jude clearly gives us reference as quoting from Enoch that they are bound up until the Day of Judgment.
Yehuḏah/Jude 6 “And the messengers who did not keep their own principality, but left their own dwelling, He has kept in everlasting shackles under darkness for the judgment of the great day.”
Why am I telling you this? Well the messengers who came down have been bound until the Day of Judgment, but the spirits of the offspring of the messengers and the daughters of men are the evil spirits that roam the earth, the demons in other words. And the curse that YHWH pronounced over them was that they would cause offenses, cause trouble, afflict etc, but also that they would hunger and thirst, but never eat or drink!!! Think for a moment what that must be like to always be hungry and thirsty and never be able to eat or drink anything! That is why in Hindu temples and other pagan religions food will be put out for the ‘gods’, and the next day the food will still be there. When you ask why they put food out you will be told it is to appease the ‘gods’ for they want food, yet as we see they can never eat!!! This is the curse of abominable practices before YHWH!!!
Now when we see passages like what we are reading tonight, that carries an invitation to the thirsty, it is for me a wonderful declaration of the work of our Saviour, Yahshua Messiah, in that we through His work have access to the living waters of Life that we never have to thirst again!!!
This is exactly what Yahshua told the woman at the well in John 4.
You see once we taste of the Living Water, we will know our source and never have to look anywhere else and streams of living water will flow from within that we may offer it to others. The question is simply have we truly tasted the Living Water and if so then, are we drinking daily? Do you realise the privilege we have to come and drink!!!
In this chapter in Yeshayahu/Isaiah and flowing in to chapter 56 we see a threefold invitation: and that is – Come – Seek – Worship!
Come – the invitation that is extended to all who will call upon the Name of Yahweh. Isaiah was addressing a people who really had to work hard to dig wells, care for their flocks and plant seed and tend to their vineyards and it may be these verses that Yahshua had in mind after feeding the five thousand when he said in:
John 6:27 “Do not labour for the food that is perishing, but for the food that is remaining to everlasting life, which the Son of Aḏam shall give you, for the Father, Elohim, has set His seal on Him.”
This does not mean we are not to work, but rather we must not manifest anxiety over worldly things and make them the main or supreme object of our desire. The food of the flesh perishes and the strength you get from it soon disappears, but the food that supplies your spiritual needs, that is the Word, nourishes and strengthens your soul and does not waste away but endures, nourishing the soul to everlasting life! Yahshua offers everything that they were labouring so hard for – and it is free! It is a matter of us simply coming to Him and listening to His Word. In fact if people would but just listen to His Word they would be inclined to come, and so we who have His Word have the responsibility of making it known, making it heard that others would bee inclined to come, and there are many thirsty people out there, who are spiritually dehydrated!
YHWH draws sinners unto Himself through his Word and we who carry His very Word are to sow the seeds and water through love and prayer. There is an emphasis here on listening or hearing, why? Because faith comes by hearing! We need to hear and eat what is good for us and delight in the fatness of the Word. I love this expression, ‘the fatness’ for it clearly speaks that as we discover the richness of the Word, there is a feast that is greater than any worldly expression could offer. We have an all access pass to a buffet of the richest of delicacies that never spoils, and one of the results of the choice to come and eat and drink is that we get to delight in His Good Food! For this abundant food will lead us in all truth, bringing peace and rest to our soul, and deliverance from the stress of trying to satisfy a thirst that we cannot do by means of the flesh!
Seek - Seek Him while He may be found! Verse 6 is a plea to Israel to seek YHWH with urgency and without delay, for the opportunity may pass. We cannot sit around saying, “Oh I’ll get to it some time soon!” That may be too late. All too often most are seeking their own ways and desires and trying to accomplish their goals before attending to the need of making YHWH and His Word priority in their lives. Yahshua tells us not to worry about tomorrow, not to worry about what we will eat, what we will drink or what we will wear, for that is what the pagans run after; we are to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to us as well! Hunger and thirst for righteousness and we will be filled.
Part of seeking Him is the ability to forsake that which is of no value. Verse 7 says it clearly – let the wrong forsake his way, and the unrighteous his thoughts – what does this mean? We need to learn to forsake our ways and forsake our thoughts for His, let us look at these two:
1 - Forsake your way –
This weeks Torah portion that is from Deḇarim/ Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17 has the meaning or title ‘re’eh’ which means ‘look’ or ‘see’, for it starts with the words,
“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse.” - Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 11:26
We are going to go through this portion together tomorrow in more depth, and in essence it is all about choices and so tonight I am hoping to stir your hearts to allow the Torah portion for this week to test you, encourage you and equip you and train you in righteousness, amen! So the question is, “How do wee ‘see’ His Word?” Do we see it His way or do we see it our way or another?
Often you will hear the expressions and may even have used them yourself, “This is the way I ‘see’ it”, or “I don’t ‘see’ it that way”, and we easily get led into living our lives solely by the way “we” ‘see’ things, which sounds pretty normal, but is it?
Firstly we must be open to acknowledge that we may not always be right and this is not that easy for most! The action of choosing to come to Yahshua and to drink of His Living Water is the acceptance to hear His Word and ‘see’ things His way. His Word is very clear – His ways are higher than our ways, and we must be willing to forsake our way, no matter how sincere it may be for we can be sincerely wrong and so we must choose His way as He has given us in His Word. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so are His ways higher and far better for us. His Word always accomplishes what He has sent if for and never returns to Him empty.
Much of our man made ways accomplish absolutely nothing, and all too often so much energy and time and effort is wasted for nothing! If we have to think just how man has changed YHWH’s ways and substituted it with other ways, we can clearly see the effect it has and the loss of intimacy and growth it has in walking in a fruitful relationship with YHWH. Changing His ways to another becomes fruitless, even though it may have the appearance of fruit.
Sabbath is a prime example; so much has been lost as a result of man following his own ways as opposed to simply being obedient to the way of YHWH, and it all has to do with choice – will we forsake our way and follow His?
The more we begin to hear His Word the more we will realise that our ways or rather man’s ways are wrong and if we want to walk in the fullness of His goodness and blessings of an abundant spirit filled life we must choose the only way that satisfies – and that is to hear, and do His Torah, that is to obey and follow Yahshua our Messiah.
2 - Forsake our unrighteous thoughts
What is righteousness? Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:25 is fast becoming one of my favourite verses. It says clearly that it is righteousness for us when we guard to do all that YHWH has commanded us! So clearly then righteousness is to guard and do, listen and obey. Abraham listened and obeyed and it was credited to him as righteousness. In other words, he acted on the Word of Elohim (that which he heard, that which was spoken to him and given to him as instruction by the Almighty) that brought faith that was acted upon – that is righteousness – faith in action – responding correctly to the given instruction. So what is unrighteousness? It is the opposite – well that is not difficult to figure out!!! So if righteousness is the expression of obedience then unrighteousness is clearly the expression of disobedience – or better termed as lawlessness which we are warned about in many of the Renewed Covenant writings! Kepha/Peter warns us not to be led away by the teaching of lawlessness! And Sha’ul/Paul tells us in writing to the Thessalonians that the man of lawlessness was already at work among them back then – that means he is still very much at work today! Those who practice unrighteousness (that is to walk in disobedience to the instructions or Torah of Elohim) must forsake their thoughts in coming to Yahshua, why? Because we know that the Scripture tells us that as a man thinks so he is – we live out what we think, so what we think or what fills our minds and thought is of vital importance, because whatever we fill our minds with will shape our thinking and so determine our walk. That is why we are told not to set out eyes on any ‘vile’ thing. Listen if you set your eyes on pornographic material, you will end up engaging in lustful practices and sexual sin. If you set your eyes on junk you will end up living out that junk which you have filled your thoughts with! Have any of you noticed at how when you started filling your mind with the Word and more specifically with His Torah, that your walk has changed and many have much to say about it? Do not worry what others say; be filled with what matters, amen! If we fill our minds with all kinds of junk and lawless teaching – that is to say we do not have to walk in Torah or that YHWH’s commands have been done away with, then we will end up walking in unrighteousness which is a destructive path. It is of vital importance that we forsake any thought pattern of man that is in contradiction to his Word and must not be conformed to a worldly system that rots but rather be transformed daily by renewing our thought life, renewing our minds through His very life giving Word. His Word must saturate our thoughts which will indeed cause us to hear His voice and return to Him who pardons us for trying to satisfy our thirst in places that simply do not.
His Word becomes Bread for the eater and seed for the sower to sow. As sower’s of His seed we cannot be dehydrated or thirsty for we will faint and lose heart, but if we drink and eat that which satisfies we will be strengthened with His joy that will cause us to go out and be brought back in peace.
What I am trying to point out tonight is that Yahshua has opened up His fountain of Living Water for us to freely drink from – that is His Word, and we need to understand the reality of the choices we make in response to His Word. If we choose the way YHWH sees it then we will walk in the right way – His way. If we choose the way we see it, we may just find ourselves on an unrighteous path. There is only One Good way, whereas there are many evil ways.
The outline of this weeks Torah reading, is about choices and I just briefly want to highlight 5 areas which we need to make very clear choices in, which we will look at in more depth tomorrow, but briefly let us look at what choices we are to make based on how we see His Word - they are:
Worship – 5 choices sums up our worship
1 – CHOICE ABOUT ELOHIM
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 12 speaks clearly about choosing who will be your Elohim. Yehoshua/Joshua made it very clear to the nation when he addressed them in his last speech that they were choose whom they would serve, but as for him and his house they serve – not that they would but they do – they always have and would continue to. It is a clear cut choice that all need to make. It is interesting to note that the Ten Commandments begin clearly with YHWH declaring to a people who said they would obey, that He is their Elohim! This has to be a clear cut choice for us. Your behaviour in following YHWH must not be after the pattern of what other men have said and done but after what YHWH has said in His Word. This is hard for some for when confronted with the truth they may say things like, “But that is not the way we did it there!” Moses says to the Israelites that they were not to do as they were doing then – each one doing whatever is right in his own eyes, but were to follow YHWH’s ways. Each denomination may have different ways and often hear things like, “The Methodists do it this way” or “the Baptists do it this way” etc. We are to do it YHWH’s way, amen If any way is contradictory to YHWH’s way do not follow it. YHWH tells us He wants us to do it His way, which may be difficult, especially if you have been accustomed to man’s ways of worship, but choosing YHWH’s way is good for you! Many do not want to hear that the way they have been doing things is wrong, “Are you telling me that what I have been doing is wrong?” they may often burst out with and simply the answer is, “No, I am not telling you, YHWH is telling you through His Word!” Will you choose the way YHWH says or the way man has said? It is a very hard choice but it needs to be made. Changing from Sunday observance to Sabbath keeping is one of those hard choices, and in fact it is not about Sabbath – it is about what YHWH says – and He says remember His Sabbath, so then the question comes down to, “what are you going to do?” - listen to YHWH or listen to man!!! Who is going to be your Elohim, who will you listen to?
YHWH has set before us His way, and it is there for us to choose - His way or another! Choices will cost you – especially when you choose to faithfully follow His way, because let us be honest here, in most cases His way contradicts the way man chooses to live!
2 – CHOICE ABOUT OTHERS
Deḇarim/ Deuteronomy 13 speaks about making a choice about others. Once we make the choice to serve and follow Yahweh and declare Him to be our Elohim, other choices follow, and that relates to others we engage with in our daily lives. There are basically 3 types of people who will have an effect on your life:
1 – Religious/Spiritual – Who do you choose to allow speaking in to your life and walking with in regards to equipping you spiritually with the Word? Chapter 13 is clear that we must be careful of the hype of signs and wonders. Loads of people followed Yahshua, especially when there were great miracles, yet only 120 were in the upper room who received the Ruach HaQodesh (Holy Spirit). Many follow the manifestations, which if not tested may be a false prophet. Yes true prophets perform signs and wonders, but the key we need to ask ourselves in making the choice on who we follow or listen to is simply about where they are leading you to – is it to the Torah or away from the Torah? If a leader in any way leads you away from YHWH and His Word in any way – do not follow, now matter how charismatic and great is his abilities to hold a crowd! So how do you know what to look for in a spiritual leader that is not leading you away from the Truth? Ask at least these 7 questions: Does he teach and do the following:
A – Love YHWH – How? John tells us that if you love Him you will obey his commands and they are not burdensome – So do those that you receive your instruction from love YHWH? Do they obey His Commands and teach other to do so?
B – Follow YHWH – Secondly, do they follow Him. 1 John2:6 tells us that whoever claims to live in Him (that is in Messiah) then they must walk as He (Yahshua) did! How did Yahshua walk? In total obedience to the Torah!!! Does the leaders you follow, follow Yahshua? Sha’ul said clearly to those he wrote, to follow him as he followed Messiah. This is very important because you do not want to be led down the wrong road – are they following the Word and teaching others to do so?
C – Fear YHWH – Do those you listen to fear YHWH? The fear of YHWH is the beginning of wisdom! Do they have a reverence for YHWH and to they teach the fear of YHWH and what it means?
D – Keep His Commandments (Big factor) – as you will notice – all of these check points or questions simply lead to his Torah – His instructions – does the one is instructing you keep and do the Commands of Elohim, and teach obedience?
E – Listen to His voice – the very voice that spoke on Mount Sinai – what was spoken there? The Ten Commandments! Often you will hear people say that they struggle to hear the voice of the Almighty. In effect they might as well be saying that they do not know or listen to His commands!
F – Serve YHWH – is the one who is leading you – serving or waiting to be served. When Yahshua washed His disciple’s feet at the last supper, He was giving them a great lesson. Their feet must have been tired and smelly!!! Imagine all the guys sitting around after walking all over and now resting and reclining and all there feet in those leather sandals must have been as bad if not worse than an army bungalow after a root march and all boots come off – for those who have been to the army would know what I am talking about!!! Yahshua gets up, takes off His outer garments, wraps a towel around Himself and gest some water and washes all their stinky feet!!! They did not understand at first what He was doing but He told them that He did not come to be served but to serve. What does this act symbolise for us today? Many have ‘washed feet’ before an audience trying to show their humility but it is so much more than trying to re-enact this very act. What this could mean fro us today is service, no matter your position. In a large congregation, do you think that the senior pastor would go and clean the dirty toilet if and when it was needed to be done? Probably not, it would be above them – and this is what Yahshua was teaching – don’t let anything become too low for you to do – if it needs to be done – you be the first to do it – and serve with gladness!!! Do those you are listening to serve and teach service?
G – Cling to YHWH – Are they living in wholehearted devotion to YHWH? You will know them by their fruit – so see the outcome of their lives and see if they in fact do cling to YHWH – even when the going gets tough!
If he doesn’t do these things do not follow him! If a saviour is being portrayed as one who is leading you away from the Word in that you do not have to follow the Torah, then he is against Scripture and is a false prophet! Yahshua did not teach and do what was contrary to the Word but fulfilled it in every way and now we too, as we walk in Him, must be perfect as YHWH is perfect as we walk in His Torah! Make a choice where you get your spiritual instruction from
2 – Family – what if your family are against you serving YHWH His way? Now that you keep Sabbath and forsake pagan festivals and keep YHWH appointed feasts, will you choose to stand up for the Word or back down in compromise because they are on your case – it is a choice, and yes a very hard one at that, but unless you stand up for the truth, how will they ever be able to be witnessed to? Let your testimony in choosing YHWH be clear – stand up for the Truth of His way, the way He sees it and not the way they see it! Yahshua said that unless you hate your mother or brother or sister you are not worthy of being His disciple! Now Yahshua is certainly not saying we hate our family, but in contrast to the devotion of choosing to follow Him there can be no question in choosing Him over your family!
3 – Community – what if all those around you choose to follow the customs and traditions of the world and you are the only one that wants to choose His way? What choice will you make? Even if an entire church does not choose to obey YHWH’s Word by keeping all His commands – what will you do? Choose the way of Truth! Quit fooling around, get out – even if there are good things going on there, yet they are opposed to seeing His Commands His way – then don’t hang around – get out lest you be ensnared by their profane worship! The whole world can be against you, yet if YHWH is for you who can be against you – with Him you are the majority and remember just how BIG is YHWH – so with Him on your side you are the majority!
3 – CHOICE ABOUT FOOD
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 14 speaks about what is food acceptable to eat and what is not, and here we are once again presented a choice on our diet – will it be His way or the way I choose or the way I see it. If the way you see it is contrary to the Word then change your view and see it His way – it is that simple. So many people get so hung up over a pig! I mean it is crazy, the Scripture is clear not to eat detestable things and to eat pig is detestable to YHWH! If you were back in the days of the Temple, do you think you could even take your pig, on a leash, into the Temple with you – absolutely not, well it is the same today – why then would you want to lead pig into His temple today? Do you not now you are the Temple of the Holy Spirit! Some think that Yahshua did away with all dietary laws and now it is a free for all! It is about choice – you can eat whatever you choose – but the question is will you choose His way and his dietary instructions or your own way or some false doctrine that has suddenly called food that which never was nor ever will be in the eyes of YHWH? When Kepha/Peter had the vision of all the unclean animals coming down on a tallit, it was not about what you may or may not eat – it was a clear way of YHWH showing Kepha/Peter that he was not to call any man unclean who YHWH makes clean and so he obediently responded to this vision and went to the house of Cornelius, the first gentile to get saved, 15 years after Shavuot/Pentecost! YHWH is the same forever, He has not changed His mind on food and many need to realise that – it is a choice – His way or another way!
Some think ‘detestables’ are ‘delicacies’. Listen what is detestable does not become a delicacy just because you spice it up – it remains detestable! Choosing to see it His way and walk in it is good for us, good for our health and well being! A choice must be made – choose what is clean for you – for you are chosen, royal and set apart for service unto Him – keep the temple clean! Choice in food has many that are thirsty and are not drinking from the Living Water but trying to satisfy their thirst in this regard their way – how about you? I know we have spoken a lot about food lately and I want you to realise – it is a choice!
4 – CHOICE ABOUT MONEY
Wow, I actually thought money would be possibly the hardest choice to make in seeing things YHWH’s way, but perhaps the bacon issue has many gripped in a real thirsty choice!!! Money… what we must see, is to see it His way and His way is clear – there are 3 areas that are spoken of in this week’s portion: In terms of tithes an offerings and vows etc, are for the common storehouse for public worship, the Levite – that is the one who teaches you the Word and the widows, orphans. The heart is that as a fellowshipping community the needs are to be met in all areas! In fact Scripture in Deḇarim/Deuteronomy makes it clear not to neglect our brothers that are in need – it clearly states that our hands are to open to them and not closed – and only when they say they have sufficient then we can take back our open hand! We will discuss this more tomorrow, but it comes down to a choice of stewarding the way YHWH has set it out or the way we choose to when we feel like it!
In caring for community His way we must be willing to forgive and release the debts of our brothers, and the parable of the unmerciful servant is a good lesson in this regard. Scripture is clear that our hands must be open to help a brother in need. Often YHWH’s ways on finances do not make sense in the world to day – but remember His ways are higher than ours – who’s ways will we follow? It is a choice on stewardship.
5 – CHOICE ABOUT WORSHIP – HOW DO WE PRACTICE OUR FAITH
The fifth area that speaks of making clear choice is our worship, which in essence sums up all the choices on how and who we worship – but how will we worship – will it be the way He has set forth or the way we choose for ourselves? This choice is a choice of how we practice our faith. He has given us His appointed feasts and we must choose how we will worship Him – will we follow a paganised system of worship and follow the world or follow His detailed instructions on worship? Making this choice is critical – because we can also ask why we are here tonight. Why do we keep Shabbat and all the feasts – is it to tick of a ‘to do’ list and yearly planner or is it to see it His way and truly come to worship YHWH with all our heart. Many people are simply following the crowd and do not understand or see that keeping His feasts is a time to rest in Him and rejoice together in Him celebrating His appointed times as we rehearse His created order of time and not just a routine we fall into but one we live and love walking in as pure devoted worship to Him. In Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 16:16-17 it ends this weeks portion with the instruction not to come empty handed before YHWH but to come and give to Him in proportion to the way He has blessed you! Here the phrase ‘empty hand’ also carries with it the meaning ‘empty heart’ for it is out of your heart that you give Him your worship. Empty hand means an empty heart – it is all about a choice – do I come to worship in order to criticize and find fault and find the splinter in another’s eye to steer away from the fact that there is a log in my own eye, or is my heart filled with a desire to worship Him! Sha’ul/Paul did not change the teaching on giving or do away with tithes and offerings, he was teaching Torah – that you give according to your heart and not under compulsion. The outward action reveals the heart and an empty heart represents a life where no definite choice to follow and worship YHWH has been made.
As we hear the call of YHWH telling us to Come and drink, Come and eat, may we choose His way of seeing things. Choose Him as our Elohim whom we will serve, Choose to stand up for Him and follow His ways over the choices others have made that are contrary to His Word, Choose to eat what He says is clean and so keep His temple clean, Choose to steward well what He has blessed you with His way and finally Choose to rejoice and celebrate His love in wholehearted worship.
Where are you at today? Are there some thirsty choices to be made? Perhaps you have made your choices and have chosen His way – great keep doing it everyday. Maybe some areas you quite haven’t made the right choice for you simply have not seen it His way – allow the Word to open your eyes and see His Truth and choose wisely. If there are areas that you have been thirsting in – come and drink from the Living Water and allow His Springs of Living Water to begin to well up to overflowing in you that others may taste and see that YHWH is Good.
Thirsty choices – do you have any to make – choose that which will satisfy – drinking His way!
May YHWH Bless you and guard you, May YHWH make His face shine upon you, and show favour to you, YHWH lift up His face upon you and give you peace and may His Name be upon you!