Lasting, bonded relationship of love
What is life all about? That is a question that incalculable numbers of people have asked over the course of human history. The Bible provides an answer. The meaning of life is primarily found through succeeding in establishing lasting, bonded relationships of love. That love also compels us to extend the circle of love in the Kingdom of God by serving others and introducing them to the liberation of the Gospel and discipleship so that they also might succeed in the great task of establishing bonded relationships of love. This is easier said than done, especially for people who were raised away from any context of seeing this lived out in before their eyes. However, through the power of God in Yeshua, we can all find healing and establish such relationships.
The first bonded and lasting relationship the power of the Gospel leads us into is with God, where we discover – as the Reformers taught – that the primary purpose of our lives is to love God and enjoy Him forever. This relationship is a key to learning to love and to overcome self-centeredness.
The next most important bonded relationship of love for most people, is with their spouse, with the potential for an amazing depth of joy. I am privileged to know that joy.
Then for most people, the next bonded relationship is with their children. We go through the struggles and, for the wife, the great pain of childbirth and raising young toddlers, for the joy set before us of the potential of a lasting relationship of intimacy with our children.
Those not called to marriage and family are still called to deep bonded relationships with others. We have relationships with relatives and friends. God more than makes up for the lack of marriage and children for those who are called to a single life. God also gives us a heart to love people with great differences of interest and in many different stations in life. He broadens us.
The patterns of our modern Hi-Tech culture are arranged for fleeting relationships, for shallowness and trivia. They replace real intimacy with superficial information. They encourage zero or low commitment engagements and prioritize the immediate over the important. Many books have been written on this. I want to encourage you to stand against this trend. Internet Church is not Church. Facebook may be good for minimally keeping in touch, but can never be the relational basis for our lives.
Many years ago, I asked the Lord to give me a contingent of leaders who would walk with me in covenant love (bonded relationships of love) that would last a lifetime. God fulfilled that prayer, and I think the Tikkun story is largely a ripple effect initiated by those bonded relationships. We appreciate your connection to the Tikkun story and pray that your life would increasingly be given to establishing lasting, bonded relationships of love.
This article originally appeared on Tikkun International, February 5, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Dr. Daniel Juster, founder and director of Tikkun International, has been involved in the Messianic Jewish movement since 1972 and currently resides in Jerusalem, Israel, from where he serves and supports the Messianic movement worldwide. Dan was the founding president and general secretary of the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations for 9 years, the senior pastor of Beth Messiah congregation for 22 years, and a co-founder of the Messiah Bible Institute in several nations. Dr. Juster serves on the board of Towards Jerusalem Council II, provides oversight to 15 congregations in the USA as well as overseeing emissaries in Israel and the Former Soviet Union. Daniel has authored about 20 books on topics ranging from theology, Israel and the Jewish people, eschatology, discipleship, and leadership.
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Taking the bull by the horns
LOVE is a word much spoken of, but most often as a noun. Love as a noun becomes an abstraction of little use other than as a tennis ball to be bantered back and forth across a court of speculation. But love as a verb is love indeed, manifest in action on the real stage of life, not only in Heaven.
Love is real and may be felt and seen. If ‘love’ is the word spoken but is experienced as ‘loathe’, something fundamental has been lost in translation. Love is dynamic, not passive: “God so loved the world that He gave,” expressing His will on earth as in Heaven. Love is transmitted, and if the beloved does not know that he or she is loved, it is not love at all, but something less. For love to live it cannot lie inert. If love is not expressed it is a mere personal sentiment lodged alone inside one individual.
For Love to live it must find a language, and to be communicated it must learn the language of the beloved. If I were to say to one who knows only Japanese ani ohev otach (‘I love you’ in Hebrew) it will not be understood. But if I cannot soon learn Japanese, I may express my love by offering a cup of coffee or a sandwich. Love requires the investment of time and the very minimum of a cup of coffee.
Faith is not sufficient to prove love, as one may believe he is loved, but if it is not experienced, it is futile. I knew a young man who believed he was not loved and, when I told his girlfriend that he had tragically taken his own life she exclaimed, “But I loved him.” To which I informed her, “He did not know that.”
Real love when reciprocated from both sides with Heaven’s blessing forges bonds that are not fragile, but is a strong threefold cord not easily broken. If it quickly unravels like a single thread that is unable to bear any weight, it was not love, but its counterfeit. Love requited renders one naked and vulnerable to both pleasure and pain, but it weathers the storms that threaten to quell it and, forgiving, rekindles love from the coals. Love is not for the fearful but the brave, nor for snowflakes, who melt at the first unpleasant heat.
Love is not a mere ceremony of abstract symbols, but the reality to which the symbols point. Love is a voyage of adventure through rough seas and dangers as well as placid lakes and sunrises, through pleasures and pains, fully expressed and fully lived. It is taking the bull by the horns, nothing less.
‘Little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue, but in deed and truth.’ – 1 John 3:18
Elhanan ben-Avraham, born in 1945, is a professional artist, poet, writer and father of two, grandfather of four, living in Israel since 1979. He has served in the IDF, taught the Bible internationally, published two illustrated books of poetry, and painted two large Biblical murals in public buildings in Jerusalem, among many other works. He and his wife live in a quiet village in the Mountains of Judah.
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Sonship with our loving Father, Almighty God (Part 1)
God is Love. God commanded us to love our God and also our fellow man. Therefore our first step towards sonship with Almighty God is in our obedience to love God and also to love one another. God commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves, and also to love the stranger in our land as ourselves. (Leviticus 19:18, 34)
Yeshua also commanded us, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, & pray for those who spitefully use you & persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)
Matthew 22:37 Yeshua said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 22:38 This is the first and great Command. 22:39 And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 22:40 On these two Commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
To the degree that we disobey God and do not love one of our brothers or sisters in Yeshua’s Body, & are critical, or judgmental, or unforgiving toward anyone in Messiah’s Body by closing down our hearts towards anyone, or thinking we are better than another, then to that degree we are stopping the flow of God’s love from coming through us to others. The result is that as members of Yeshua’s Body, to that degree we are dying. We must repent and forgive each person and love them, in order for us to be able to live and to have Yeshua’s Life flowing again through us. This applies to us if we do not also love and forgive, & pray for all our enemies.
Matthew 6:15 “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Luke 23:34 Yeshua said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
1 John 4:20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him (Yeshua), that he who loves God must love his brother also!
Matthew 23:8, “But you, do not be called ‘rabbi’; for one is your Teacher, the Messiah, and you are all brethren. 23:9 Do not call anyone on earth father; for one is your Father, who is in Heaven. 23:11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.
Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors, and teachers: different areas of servanthood. Yeshua clearly showed us by example what is really important.
Luke 22:26 “On the contrary, he who is greater among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. Luke 22:27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves!”
Yeshua, and Paul, and also Peter warned us about our pride, and our important titles, even what our teachings from God might do to us, anything that would seem to make us important, to puff us up, if we were not walking in humility and surrendered before God and to each other, by first obeying Yeshua, by denying ourself and by taking up our cross daily, and following Him?
Be on guard that your titles and your teachings do not become a snare. For each of us has been given special and different works from God in order to serve others to help build up Messiah’s Body in love, so that His Body will be able to come into full maturity.
Yeshua came to earth to restore mankind back into true sonship with His Father, Almighty God, through man’s born-again spirit. Sonship with his Father was lost when Adam sinned and fell in the Garden of Eden. When Adam’s spirit-man fell, then his soul took the control. (Luke 3:38 … Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.)
Yeshua is both the Son of God and also the Son of Man. He came to earth as the Son of Man to redeem mankind from all their sins, and to restore sonship with His Father back into mankind, the Almighty God, through man’s spirit being born-again. He also came to redeem the earth from the curse of God. Genesis 3:17
Yeshua will soon be returning to earth as the Son of God!
Luke 3:21 When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Yeshua also was baptized; and while He prayed, the Heaven was opened. 3:22 And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a Voice came from Heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” 3:23 Now Yeshua Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age …
There is only one Way and one Path for us as Yeshua’s true disciples to attain to real sonship with our Father God in Heaven.
John 14:6 Yeshua said to him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to My Father except through Me.” That Way is the walk of the Cross! In order to obey Yeshua and to be able to follow Him into right relationship with His Father and our Father, we must daily crucify our flesh. For those of us who decide to be His disciples, we can only do this through the walk of the Cross.
True sonship with Yeshua’s Father only comes through being a disciple of Yeshua, which begins with the walk of the Cross!
Also the first step toward being a member of Yeshua’s mystery Bride is to be His disciple. To be Yeshua’s disciple you must deny yourself and take up your cross daily, and follow Him. After Yeshua died and rose again, having purchased for us Life & Sonship through His death & Resurrection, He said the following to Miriam while He was still in the garden.
John 20:17 Yeshua said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father. But go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”
We are truly all part of One Body, Messiah Yeshua’s Body!
John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 1:13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
If you only believe in Yeshua, and have not begun the walk of a true believer, make sure you are not playing a religious game with God. For you will remain a child before God. Yes, you may be saved, but you will stay as a child, and will not grow in God.
Matthew 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 7:14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
It is only because our God actually lives in us, the Holy Spirit is always with us in our spirit, as He daily helps us, that we have the possibility to be able to overcome in this walk of the Cross.
Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the Blood of the Messiah, who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
John 14:17 “Spirit of Truth: dwells with you and will be in you.”
Colossians 1:27 Messiah in you, the hope of Glory!
Matthew 16:24 Then Yeshua said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, & follow Me. 16:25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 16:26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Matthew 10:38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 10:39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”
Matthew 20:26 “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 20:27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave. 20:28 Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Mark 8:34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 8:35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it.”
Mark 10:43-45 “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 10:44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 9:24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”
Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and hate his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 14:27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple! 14:33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
Luke 17:33 “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”
John 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives Life; the flesh profits nothing. The Words that I speak to you are Spirit, and they are Life.”
If we are still trying to please men, to get man’s attention and man’s recognition, we are in the flesh! We are seeking the crumbs that fall from our Father’s table. To seek honor from one another is just glorifying our flesh. This is not the walk of the Cross; this is a work of the flesh. We must put God first in every area of our lives. For we truly no longer have any time to waste.
Read John 5:44, “How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?”
Ephesians 4:15 but, speaking the Truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head, Messiah, 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the Body, for the edifying of itself in love.
We are all brethren, called by Yeshua to serve God and each other; hoping that one day soon we will hear the Lord say to us, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’ (Matthew 25:21)
Revelation 21:7 “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son!”
Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 2:4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Messiah Jesus, 2:6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 2:7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross!
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you. But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
1 Samuel 15:22 So Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
1 Peter 5:5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 5:7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Matthew 23:12 “And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 8:17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Messiah, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 4:7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through the Messiah.
Galatians 6:3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
If you are a pastor or minister, and if you have not been living the walk of the Cross in your congregation, or your ministry, and also in your personal life as well, to help teach your congregational members, or your staff to be disciples of Yeshua, than now is the time to begin learning, and also teaching the walk of the Cross to your congregational members and the people under your covering. For this is also a major part of building up Messiah’s Body in love.
Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their Salvation perfect through sufferings.
Hebrews 5:8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
Ephesians 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 4:2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 4:3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 5:21 … submitting to one another in the fear of God.
1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells;
Galatians 5:16 I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 5:21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 5:23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 5:24 And those who are Messiah’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with the Messiah; it is no longer I who live, but the Messiah lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in (by the faith of) the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
John 12:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”
Isaiah 4:2 In that Day the Branch of the LORD (Yeshua) shall be Beautiful and Glorious; and the fruit (sons of God) of the earth shall be excellent and appealing …
Hosea 1:10 “where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ there it shall be said to them, ‘You are sons of the Living God!’ ”
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 10:25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 7:2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
John 7:24 “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 11:29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, & you will find rest for your souls. 11:30 For My yoke is easy & My burden is light.”
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world.
John 15:5 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing!”
John 14:23 Yeshua answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 14:24 He who does not love Me does not keep My Words; and the Word which you hear is not Mine but My Father’s who sent Me.”
1 Corinthians 13:4 Love suffers long & is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 13:5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 18:12 before honor is humility.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Luke 22:42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done!”
Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first Resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of His Messiah, and they shall reign with Him for a thousand years.
Our King and Great High Priest Yeshua walked as the most humble and lowly of all men, as the Lamb of God. He is truly our example of the walk of the Cross. Because of Father’s great Grace and Mercy towards us, our walk of sonship and overcoming must also be the walk of the Cross!
RIchard has served the Lord full-time from Jerusalem since 1998, having made Aliyah to Israel in 1995. He been a writer for the Lord Yeshua since 1982. All of his books, including the newest one, ‘King Priest Yeshua from the Seed of David and Aaron’, along with other writings are free to read and download from his website.
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Love compelling effective intercession
SUMMARY: This week’s parasha, Ki Tisa, explodes with the fire of love that ignites and compels effective intercession. As we read and engage with Moses’ prayers of passion for Israel, we are escorted to the inner chambers of God’s heart. There we discover depths of friendship with Him that drive history shaping intercession.
The parasha opens in Exodus 30:11 with God giving Moses details pertaining to liturgical worship. A census of the Israelites is to be taken for the purpose of funding and outfitting the Tabernacle. From this instruction comes the name Ki Tisa, meaning “When you take” [the census].
The parasha goes on to prescribe sacred elements and furnishings for the Tabernacle, as well as Sabbath observance. Then, as God finishes speaking with Moses, He gives him two stone tablets engraved with His holy commands. (Exodus 31:18) At this, Moses is presumably awestruck with joyful expectation for the future of his people. But any joy he may feel is short lived.
“Go down,” God tells him, “for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have become debased. They quickly turned aside from the path that I commanded for them. They have made a molten calf, worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you up out of the land of Egypt.’…I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore, leave Me alone, so My wrath may burn hot against them, and so I may consume them and make from you a great nation!” (Exodus 32:7-10)
The Hebrew word used for “leave Me alone” in verse 10 means “let me be” or “let me be pacified.” God is deeply grieved and angered. But He is not losing his temper or discharging rage as we might understand such emotions. Rather, the fire of holy righteousness, mixed with passionate, jealous fervor for His people, compels a radical response in order for Him to have a people fit to be His people. The expression of His wrath would be a merciful execution of justice fueled by the sanctity of love.
In this rubicon moment, Moses does not leave God alone. In a certain real sense, he dares disobey the Almighty.
“O Lord,” Moses replies, “why should Your anger burn against Your people, whom You brought out of Egypt…? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that He brought them out … to wipe them off the face of the earth?’ Turn from Your fierce anger; relent….Remember Your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom You swore by Your own self: I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them and it will be their inheritance forever.” (Exodus 32:11-13, NIV)
In a related encounter, Moses further pleads, “Please forgive their sin. But if not, please blot me out of Your book that You have written.” (Exodus 32:32) In history shaping intercession, Moses gives tangible expression to the command of Deuteronomy 6:5: “Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength.” Many years later, Messiah Yeshua would highlight this command as the greatest. (Matthew 22:37)
Moses loves according to the greatest command because YHVH has opened to him the innermost chambers of His own heart. There Moses has embraced and shared the Father’s bittersweet grieving and anguished, passionate longing for intimate fellowship with His “firstborn son.” (Exodus 4:22) The ancient leader of Israel has engaged in an unprecedented, personal sharing of divine anguish over sin. In this holy communion, he appears as jealous and zealous for God’s reputation and glory as God Himself.
Nevertheless, Moses can rightly appeal to YHVH on only one basis. In bold humility and faith, he presents to God the terms of His own unconditional, everlasting covenant—made for His own sake. He “reminds” God, so to speak, that He swore by His Name to fulfill His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In the process, Moses sacrifices the opportunity and blessing of fathering a new nation consecrated to YHVH.
The man known through history as Israel’s deliverer goes still further. If God will not or cannot forgive Israel’s sin any other way, Moses will lay down his own calling and destiny—even his life—for that of Israel. Consider this in context of Yeshua’s teaching: “No one has greater love than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
In the compelling power of covenant love, Moses moves the heart of sovereign God. “And so Adonai relented from the destruction that He said He would do to His people.” (Exodus 32:14)
Now, God knew from the beginning that Moses would ask Him to relent from destroying Israel and that He would indeed relent. But that does not mean He would have relented without Moses standing in the gap in prayer. It is much the same today. God seeks intercessors who will stand in the gap for His people, driven by Messiah-like love, for the fulfillment of His covenant purposes—for His Name’s sake.
Like Moses, the apostle Paul excruciatingly embraced God’s heart for His people. In and by Messiah Yeshua, he writes, “I would pray that I myself were cursed, banished from Messiah for the sake of my people—my own flesh and blood, who are Israelites.” * (Romans 9:3-4) Are you perhaps called to the same?
In Ki Tisa, after God responds to Moses’ plea not to destroy the nation, He re-commissions him to lead the Israelites to their promised land. “But,” He says, “I will not go with you.” (Exodus 33:3) Though forgiven for their sin of the golden calf, the people remain grievously disposed toward sin. If God were to go with them, He might destroy them before they ever reach the land.
Again Moses intercedes, prevailing on God not to withdraw His personal presence from Israel. He speaks with YHVH “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” (Exodus 33:11) And again God agrees to Moses’ request. Specifically for Moses’ sake, He blesses the entire nation. (Exodus 33:5, 15-17) But Moses is still not satisfied. The more he engages with YHVH, the more it seems he must know Him. Boldly he asks, “Please, show me Your glory.” (Exodus 33:18)
In stunning response without hesitation, God agrees. He says He will cause all His “goodness” to pass by Moses in a manner Moses can humanly endure. In this unparalleled encounter, YHVH declares to Moses His Name: “Adonai, Adonai, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth, showing mercy to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means leaving the guilty unpunished, but bringing the iniquity of the fathers upon the children…to the third and fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7)
The divine attributes of God revealed here are regarded as His fundamental disposition toward humankind. Accordingly, recital of these so-called “Thirteen Attributes” is extolled within traditional Judaism and remains an important element of liturgical worship.
Ki Tisa continues with various commands, including the celebration of God’s feasts. The covenant tablets of stone which Moses breaks in Exodus 32:19 are replaced in 34:1-4. In the ancient Near East, breaking a tablet on which a contract was engraved served to legally void the contract. But God graciously forgives and reinstates the contract, now referred to as the Mosaic Covenant.
Ki Tisa concludes with Moses’ face shining so brightly, reflecting the glory of God’s presence, that he must veil it before the people. (Exodus 34:29-35) This week, may your face shine brightly from His intimate presence—as an unveiled testimony of His goodness. May you be blessed with the incomparable joy of loving the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, compelling effective intercession.
*Most Bible scholars agree that neither Moses nor Paul consciously intended to relinquish eternal life with YHVH or consign themselves to eternal separation from Him.
Scripture quotes and references are from the Tree of Life Version unless otherwise indicated.
This article originally appeared on Light of Zion, February 17, 2019, and reposted with permission.
Sandra is co-founder and director, along with her husband Kerry, of Light of Zion Ministries. Light of Zion is an Israeli Messianic Jewish, prophetic intercessory prayer ministry in Jerusalem with humanitarian outreach. Sandra is a prayer mobilizer and network leader, international speaker, prophetic liaison, professionally published author, Bible teacher, and retired attorney.
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Fear of God and spiritual warfare
Dear brothers and sisters, the moment we came to faith in Yeshua and were born again, we entered into spiritual warfare with Satan. The enemy of our souls is looking for every way to make us fail, to take us away from God, to take us back to our past or he uses believers to hurt one another and to destroy our unity. He knows the fleshly weaknesses we have and he uses them against us.
We need spiritual discernment in order to recognize the conspiracies of the enemy of our souls. It helps us to discern between good and evil, between the works of the spirit and the acts of the flash.
Spiritual discernment is necessary for us to be effective in spiritual warfare, it is God’s wisdom and it is given to those who fear God.
“The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom; all practicing it, have good understanding…” (Psalms 111:10). When we are acting in the fear of God, the angel of God stands beside us and saves us from the attack of satan.
“The Angel of Jehovah camps round about those who fear Him, and delivers them.” (Psalms 34:7).
God-fearing believers – are those who are walking in a way of meekness –
“By humility the fear of Jehovah brings wealth and honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4). They depend on God and not on their own strength or wisdom. “…He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. Jehovah takes pleasure in those who fear Him, who hope in His mercy.” (Psalms 147:10,11). God fearing people are those who are easily convicted in meekness – because they love God and don’t want to grieve His Spirit. “Do not reprove a scorner (proud one), lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man (God-fearing), and he will love you.” (Proverbs 9:8). The God-fearing – are those who are walking in the light of God, who love
His truth without compromise, and the result is that they obey His word.
“But to this one I will look, to the afflicted and contrite spirit, and the one who trembles at My Word.” (Isaiah 66:2). They recognize satan’s conspiracies and stand against them by the grace of God.
By contrast, those who fear man, are those who walk in the ways of the world, in their pride: they cannot be convicted easily, they walk in darkness, hiding things from people and think God doesn’t see them, they compromise with the truth of God’s Word and do not obey Him. They might be attacked by the devil in spiritual warfare. In such a case, the devil who caused the attack can not be blamed. It is their responsibility to keep themselves humble, a position in which satan can not attack them. “Therefore submit yourselves to God
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). We will overcome satan’s attacks only with meekness and with submission before Him. (Fear of God). We should learn from King David who proclaimed: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts, and see if any wicked way is in me; and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalms 139:23-24).
One of satan’s traps for the believers is to tempt them to walk in the fear of man. He tempts them to hide their weaknesses and disadvantages, in order to appear perfect. They pretend to be “nice” on the outside in the presence of others, but this is hypocrisy. (Yeshua rebuked the Pharisees who were hypocrites). Sometimes there is a hidden sin in their lives and they want to cover it up by trying to impress people and to please them. All of this is in order to receive appreciation, admiration, honor and respect from others.
Their focus is on people and not on God who sees, hears and knows everything. “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight, but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:13).
Whoever claims to be a believer and behaves as if God does not see him, and conceals things in himself – in other words walks around with a mask on his face – doesn’t know God and God doesn’t know him. (The same principle applies to works with “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” or with “I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine”). If God doesn’t know us, our situation is bleak ! “…I never knew you…” (Matt. 7:23) How sad and terrible!
God is light and when we are walking in darkness we don’t have fellowship with Him. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” (1 John 1:6).
There are people who hide things from others but they forget that from God they cannot hide anything. God sees and knows the thoughts of our hearts even before we expressed them verbally. “… For Jehovah searches all hearts and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts…” (1 Chro. 28:9).
The basis for our fellowship with God is: walking in light! Then Satan doesn’t have power over us, then Yeshua’s blood protects us. We read: “…that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all… But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:5,7). God wants us to be honest and sincere with Him. That is a necessary and critical condition for a healthy relationship between us and Him and also between us and other believers.
I met a lady in a conference abroad. She wanted to come closer to me through flattery. I sensed that she was hiding something in her life. I talked to her about her past, and she began to share about it, but suddenly she stopped and closed the conversation. I could not help her, and I could not be in touch with her, because I sensed that she was hiding things in darkness. It is hard for me to be in contact with believers who are not honest and open with me..
Dear brothers and sisters, let us humble ourselves and be honest and sincere with ourselves and also one with another, like children. Yeshua gave the example of a little child and said: “… truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Therefore whoever shall humble himself like this little child, this one is the greater in the kingdom of Heaven. And whoever shall receive one such little child in My name receives Me.” (Matt. 18:2-5). And why should we be like children? Because the features of children are: innocence, simplicity, honesty, transparency, truthfulness, direct openness and these are the qualities that God demands of us, His children. We find these qualities in the life of the Apostle Peter throughout the New Testament.
In the book of Luke 9:33, we learn something about his character. He said: “…And let us make three tabernacles, one for You and one for Moses and one for Elijah; not knowing what he said.” We understand that he said it out of the embarrassment, simplicity, spontaneity, sensitivity, and innocence, of a child, and especially out of his will to serve. He felt so small before this awesome sight of the Transfiguration, that he wanted immediately to serve them. Peter always said what he thought without thinking twice. He also failed several times through his own words. He did not care what people thought of him when he opened his mouth. Actually, he was the mouthpiece of the other apostles, who may have been afraid to open their mouth in public. He was genuine and without any mask, like a child – he was himself, just as God had created him. We also are called to be genuine without masks, to be ourselves as God had created us.
We are not perfect, we need to bring to Him all of our burdens (difficulties, failures, sins, etc). “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”(Matt. 11:28-30). The key to be Yeshua’s real disciples, is to be meek and lowly in heart. He came to earth to teach us these qualities through His life. When we want to disciple new believers, we have to teach them first to be like Yeshua – meek and lowly in heart, (by confessing their sins) because we all were born with the sin of pride, since Adam and Eve failed into this sin by satan. Today satan wants to fail us into the same sin of pride that he himself failed and to separate us from God.
When we hide our sins, (because of pride or fear of man) the burden stays with us, it is terribly heavy and not Pleasant. But when we bring to Yeshua our burdens out of meekness and also confess our sins, we will have rest and peace in our hearts, because He will help us to deal with them.
All of us are struggling or should be struggling against sin, which works in us and against us through our sinful flesh. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8).
When we know who we really are, with all of our weaknesses and inabilities, and we bring them to the light, then we are free (like children), because we don’t have to make an effort and be somebody else (wear a mask). It is not easy to live as two personalities, because all the time we have to be on guard, so that our real faces will not be revealed. The mask brings a bondage while to walk sincerely and honestly brings freedom. Walking frankness is walking in the Spirit of the Lord. “And the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Cor. 3:17). Out of that freedom in the Lord we will be able to be transparent, which means we will be who we truly are (Like children). If we are stumble and fall down, we will openly ask for prayer and help from our brothers. When we hurt our brothers, we will come to them and humbly, confess it and ask for forgiveness and will fulfil God’s Word that says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).
We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, while he convict us.We are in a spiritual war! If we are not right with God in walking in the light, in loving the truth, in integrity, in honesty, and in transparency, we cannot claim Yeshua’s victory.
When we walk in darkness – satan has power over us. We act out of fear of man, pride, self-righteousness, lying, a desire to control others, manipulation, condemnation etc. Then satan controls us. But on the other hand, when we walk in light, he doesn’t have any right over us, because the Lord is on our side. “…If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).
He helps us to fight with His weapons as are stated in Eph. 6:13-17 – with truth, with righteousness, with peace, with faith, with the confidence in our salvation and with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Without all of these we cannot be victorious (holding onto Yeshua’s victory) in spiritual warfare.
When we walk rightly before Him, He fills us with His joy and peace and that strengthens us and helps us stand firm against the enemy’s attempt to attack.
“Beloved, if our heart does not accuse us, we have confidence toward God.” (1 John 3:21).
I went through a situation, in which a sister blamed me about something that was not my fault. I refused to receive the accusation and I declared this verse from 1 John 3:21, In doing so, I held up the shield of faith, so that the arrows of the evil one could not penetrate. The Lord filled me with His joy and peace. If I had received her accusation, the enemy would have used it to control me through her, and it would have caused me to be weak and defeated. I had the victory of the Lord, because I used the armor of God. Hallelujah!
Dear brothers and sisters, we need one another. We need a brother or a sister to convict us when we fail, to stop us from falling into satan’s trap. “Open rebuke is better than secret love.” (Prov. 27:5). When there is a hidden sin in our lives like the lack of forgiveness, bitterness, pride, which we haven’t confessed – satan will trip us up and will also use us to hurt our brothers and sisters. In the case of this sister she failed (pride) and the enemy tried to use her to hurt me, but I chose not to be hurt, because I was sure that it was not my fault. I convicted her that she was not right about me and finally she asked for forgiveness and I forgave her.
We have to be open to receive correction – it is to our benefit! If we really love God, then we will accept the conviction willingly, through His Word, through fellow believers or through events which happen to us. “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:6). God convicts us because He loves us. Therefore we too have to convict our brothers, out of love and care and concern for them. The other person has to accept it with the understanding that it is for his goodness, in order to confess and to repent to God in the right way.
Sometimes brothers reject the rebuke claiming that it is judging or criticizing them. This is a fatal mistake – it is said out of pride or unwillingness to be convicted and then they stay in their sins and are cut off from connected with God. How sad and terrible it is!
James, in his epistle, encourages us to reprove one another: “Brothers, if anyone among you err from the truth, and if anyone turns him back, know that he who turns back the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19,20). The conviction should come always with both truth and love together.
Every one of us could fall and fail because of our sinful flesh. Even those who convict a brother or sister, who had fallen into sin and try to help them, should be careful not to fall themselves because of pride. “Brothers, if a man is overtaken in a fault, you the spiritual ones restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted.” (Gal. 6:1).
Let us be united together in Yeshua, who is the right Way, the absolute truth and the abundant Life.
“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in full knowledge and in all perception; that you may distinguish between things that differ, that you may be sincere and without offense until the day of Jesus Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:9-11).
Glory to God!