PARASHAT KI TISA (WHEN YOU LIFT UP)
SHEMOT (EXODUS) 30:11–34:35
This week, we read of one of the most well-known, yet tragic accounts in the history of the people of Israel. It begins with Moses on Mt. Sinai, receiving the stone tablets, which were written with God’s finger. During that time, the people grew impatient because they thought Moses was “late” in coming down from the mountain. They gathered against Aaron and told him to make them a god that would walk before them since they did not know what happened to Moses.
The people’s impatience was rooted in selfishness, which caused them to take matters in their own hands. Often times we are also impatient! We don’t want to wait upon the Lord, and take matters into our own hands. And the results are the same as those of the children of Israel i.e. we make for ourselves a different “god” that we trust in and follow.
Aaron feared the people more than he feared God. This fear caused him to surrender to the people, and therefore, he collected all the golden earrings and turned them into a molten calf. He then blasphemously declared, “This is your god, Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!” (Exodus 32:4)
The blasphemy against the one and only true God did not stop there; Aaron built an altar and said to the people that, “tomorrow will be a festival to the lord”. The next day the people rose up to offer “burnt” offerings, to bring “peace” offerings and they sat down to eat, drink and to make “merry”. Most Bible translations translate the word “לְצַחֵֽק” Letzachek as “to make merry”, but a more accurate meaning would be the sound resulting from a licentious kind of debauchery. In other words, the children of Israel were engaging in a form of lewd idol worship!
God wanted to destroy Israel and rightly so! However, we once again see that despite their human selfishness, God was moved to compassion because of His love and His faithfulness. Moses “reminded” Him of His unconditional covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel).
As Moses was coming down from the mountain he met Joshua, who reported to him in verse 17 “the voice of war (battle) in the camp.” Moses’ reply has a very significant meaning in the Hebrew, which gives us the key to understanding what was truly happening in the camp. Moses responds in verse 18, “It is neither the voice of signing (response) of victory (“עֲנ֣וֹת גְּבוּרָ֔ה” anot gevura) and not the voice of singing (response) of weakness (“עֲנ֣וֹת חֲלוּשָׁ֑ה” anot chlusha), but the voice of selfishness (“אָנֹכִ֖י” anochi) that I hear.”
I find interesting that Joshua heard the sound of war and Moses heard the sound of selfishness. I believe that both are true as what was happening was one big spiritual battle, due to the blasphemy that took place in the camp of Israel. Moses’ rage and anger caused him to throw the tablets that he was holding, causing them to break. He then burned the golden calf. Moses had no tolerance for idol worship, and neither should we followers of Messiah.
As I reflect upon this story, I am reminded of the words of exhortation from 2 Peter 3:3–8:
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
God is never late! Don’t allow your selfishness to cause you to take matters in your own hands — which will result in sin — but rather, remember all that He has done for you! He is faithful — take hold of His promises so that you can follow Him and walk with Him today. Do not grow weary in waiting for Him!
This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel and is reposted with permission.
Moran is the Founder and Executive Director of Hope for Israel, which is a service and resource-providing ministry that aims to bring the hope of the Messiah back to Israel. It is also a resource center for current and timely news updates concerning Israel that provides daily prayer alerts, Bible teachings, and weekly blogs in order to help believers across the world understand what God is doing in the Land, how to pray for Israel and filter everything through the Word of God.
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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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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!