by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"...all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he, passing through the midst of them, went his way." Luke 4:14-30
"Yeshua answered, 'If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, 'I do not know Him,' I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His Word . Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.' Then the Jews said to Him, 'You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?' Yeshua said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM'. Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Yeshua hid Himself and went out of the temple going through the midst of them, and so passed by." John 8:54-59
This past month I was diagnosed with having a detached retina; a dear friend in her 50's, spry and full of life, who had given herself totally to serving YHVH, accidentally fell and hit her head, dying of a massive brain bleed; I also saw an interview with two couples living across the street from each other recounting having survived the effects of a disastrous tornado. One couple, whose home was unscathed, told of how God protected them because of their prayers during the tornado. The other couple, whose home was totally devastated, told of praying to the same God during the same tornado but that, "We don't always understand why things happen to us. God allows things to happen for a reason". Really? Did the Creator of the universe cause all those things to happen? Is He the capricious initiator of all events in the world, specifically, in our lives - saving some while destroying others - blessing some and ignoring others? Does He really keep us from harm if we pray ardently enough? Christian theology would have us to believe He does - but, what do the words of scripture say about it?
Matthew 10:29-31 (click on highlighted words to view content)) tells us that YHVH knows every bird that falls to the ground and that the hairs of our head are all numbered. But, does it say He made the bird fall from the sky? Words mean things. Do the words say He causes the head to go bald? Most who cling to this Christian theology point to the story of Job as the support text for their reasoning; but, as evidenced in the series Warfare, the real enemy that was the reason for Job's crisis was the adversarial opposition (the meaning of the Hebrew sa-tan) brought before the throne of YHVH by his brethren. As pointed out in that article, it was not until those brethren repented and Job forgave them that his misery subsided. But, beyond what circumstance we bring upon ourselves, there is a protection available to us - just not what we have been told it is.
|"...but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice , and I know them, and they follow me . I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My Hand ." John 10:26-28|
The Greek word translated "follow" in this passage is akoloutheo which comes from the root alpha having its origin in the Hebrew echad - "one". What we are promised is that, for those who have conformed their behavior to the Word of YHVH as Yeshua said He did in John 8 above, becoming "one" with Him as He is "one" with the Father (John 17:20-23), then "no one will snatch them out of My Hand" - not that we will never have adversity affect our lives. In fact, Yeshua said, "In the world, you will have tribulation" and the Father sends "...rain on the just and the unjust" equally. The promise we are given is that, regardless of what adversity afflicts us, if we have conformed ourselves to His Image, He will not let us be snatched away from the trust we have placed in Him. From a Hebrew perspective, that trust is called "faith".
Contrarily, what has been taught is that prayer protects us from harm. For many reading the two passages of scripture beginning this article, what becomes envisioned in the mind is Yeshua, seeing harm advancing on Him from the crowds, prayed hard to make Himself invisible and, thus, was able to pass through undetected. But here, as elsewhere in scripture, we are left to the imagination as to exactly how this feat was accomplished because it is not stated precisely what happened. Just how did He 'hide Himself'? Psalm 31:19-21 tells us that if a person trusts in YHVH before men, YHVH will, Himself, hide that person in the secret of His Presence. In other words, this scripture says the very ACT of literally placing the reality of our life, our circumstances, into the palm of His Hand, thereby making us vulnerable to the external forces of life - IT IS IN THAT VERY ACT that His Presence is caused to be loosed in this earthly realm on our behalf. As we step aside, as we become vulnerable, it gives YHVH our permission and allows Him the opportunity to BE (this statement presupposes we have already conformed our behavior to His Will which is how we follow Him).
When those men came for Yeshua, He was already standing in the Presence of the Almighty. If the Father did not make a way for Him to escape, He would have perished at their hands. But, because He had given Himself over to the Father's Purpose and because it was not His time (John 7:4-6), the Father caused Him to pass through those men. Whether He could be seen or not is immaterial - what matters is that the Father, exerting His Power, came to His rescue because of where He had positioned Himself in the Presence of YHVH. So, was Yeshua any LESS in the Presence of His Father when men ultimately came and took Him to the cross? No - He was in the same standing, but in the Garden, He was becoming willingly obedient to His Father's Purpose of being the Kinsman Redeemer to His family - regardless of the circumstances before Him.
The Power that everyone is seeking is surrounded by a tightly guarded wall. The gate to enter that compound, that kingdom, is very narrow and there are few that find it. YHVH is calling us into the narrow gate, the one contracted by pressure (Matthew 7:14), It is not the one we would normally desire to enter because it is not the one of comfort, convenience or security - but, it is the one that leads to Life. It is the one that opens to us the Power of the Father. Yeshua is very definitive about the parameters of that gate - take no thought for tomorrow, with food and clothing be content, he that would love his life will lose it, resist not evil. All of these measures cause us to become vulnerable to the externalities the world lays at our doorstep and it is we who 'make' ourselves to become vulnerable to those externalites. Isaiah 1:18-19 says "Come, now, and let us reason together, says YHVH...if you be willing AND obedient...then shall you eat of the good of the Land." There are two words that are almost always used whenever YHVH speaks - 'IF' and 'THEN'. 'If' WE will do thus and so, 'then' HE will do such and such. His eyes run to and fro across the earth looking for those who are willing to walk hand in hand with Him - to trust Him that He might show Himself strong on their behalf (2Chronicles 16:9), That is half the struggle. 'If' we put ourselves aside (our wants, our needs, our desires, our hopes, our dreams, our aspirations), 'then' we are truly in a position to say, "...not my will, but Yours be done, O Lord." It is one thing to say it - quite another to live it out before others.
And that is what the core of this walk is about - more than what we 'do for God', more than where we are planted or who we come in contact with. At every step, at every juncture, bringing His Kingdom from within (Luke 17:20-21) into this earthly realm by our choices is our Purpose. That is where the authority He has given us lies. The word 'authority' in the Greek is ecksousia and means (ready for this?) 'power of choice'. Of the 131 times it is used, it is translated 'power' 69 times. When we CHOOSE His Way over our way, it unleashes the power of rauch hakodesh (Hebrew for the spirit of holiness) to work on our behalf and on the behalf of others in our midst. That is the authority He has entrusted to us - and it begins with a willing heart. It was when I quit 'trying' to find my place that He took me to it - and it was right where I was. It has taken me the better part of 30 years to discover that we carry the Kingdom within us. It goes where we go. We don't have to go hunt for our 'place' in it - we ARE it!
If we don't try to Pre-Determine what goes on in our life, He will position us alongside those who are to be instrumental in helping us get to where we need to be - we won't need to try to find them. He will cause events to occur that will MOVE us to be positioned so that we are in a place to receive what we need for the next step - we won't need to try to figure out where He is taking us. As long as you are willing, you have given Him the permission to move on your behalf - and to move you. Stay willing, stay humble, stay contrite and you will see the awesome Power of the Living Elohim (original Hebrew translated as "God") bring into existence those things which are not - to PUT you where He has called you to be. Look for His Hand and He will be found of you.
|"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105|
When David wrote this passage, it was a literal reality. There was a small plate attached to the top of the sandals they wore that allowed a candle to be positioned so that it would light the path ahead - a "lamp unto my feet." However, it only provided enough light to show where to place the next step. That is still the same way He illuminates our path today - just enough light for our next step.
As you seek Him for your Light today and when you come to the place where you need to move, trust Him to provide the illumination in that hour for your next step. It is not a place where you can draw security from your circumstance, but because He is the Elohim of Circumstance, you can trust Him that He loves you to show you when and where to take that next step when the time comes. Know also that He is bigger than our mistakes - if we leave it all in His Hands. So, be at peace, you are a child of the Living King, a person of Royalty who carries the Father's Kingdom within, charged with bringing that Kingdom into this earthly realm.
The other part of this walk is obedience. Having waited on Him, once your path becomes illumined, walk in it - trusting that you will be borne aloft by the Wings of His Spirit as He comes beneath you to bear you up. This is the exercise of faith (Hebrews 11:6) - believing that what He has illumined is His Voice. He speaks as Light. It is within this environment of faith that we see Romans 8:28 begin to happen. Faith is believing that once He has spoken - no matter what we see, no matter what we hear, no matter what we feel, no matter what we think - YHVH is Good and will do everything He has said He will do. This is Holy Ground and He has allowed us the privilege to walk on it.
This walk in the Spirit can be simplistically summed up into three categories - Knowing the Father (John 17:3), Hearing His Voice (John 10:27), and, having heard, Becoming Obedient (Philippians 2:8). The times we are in, more than ever, are going to require us to become proficient in all three categories if we are to survive this onslaught with our faith intact. If we succumb to or try to manipulate the externalities this life brings to our spiritual doorstep, we will find ourselves on the outside looking in with the rest of the world and wondering how we got there. If we are to find distinction from the enemy presenting himself as an angel of light, placing thoughts in our mind and masquerading as sheep we will have need of being exercised in the Way of Yeshua.
Every step, however, is our choice, just as it was His. When He was in the Garden, scripture says He could have called 10 thousand LEGIONS of angels to rescue Him (a legion was the principal unit of the Roman army comprising 3000 to 6000 foot soldiers with cavalry) - He had that authority, that power available to Him. But, instead, He still chose the Way of the Father rather than separation. He is our example. By His Life, He showed us how to walk in this realm. If we are to walk in this Power, we must deny ourselves, take up whatever cross we must bear daily and follow Him - His Way (Luke 9:23) from that Purpose. Denying ourselves and crucifying our flesh are two separate and distinct acts of our will. These are our choices to become vulnerable to the world around us - not to try to conform the world to our desire through prayer which was the cause of separation in the beginning.
|"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with YHVH through our Lord Yeshua haMashiach, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of YHVH. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance ; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of YHVH has been poured out in our hearts by His spirit of holiness who was given to us." Romans 5:1-5|
Please feel free to email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to share with you what the Spirit is uncovering.