Saturday, December 27, 2008

Job 4.5: Temptation (Part 2)

The way to deal with lust is not to deny and pretend we don’t desire anything, but to realize that all desirable things come from God. Therefore how to get them is by the way the giver designates. It is God’s desire to give us our desires just as a good husband desires to provide for the desires of his wife.

Psa 21:1 The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!
2 Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.

The king rejoices in YHVH’s salvation because it was God that gave him his desire. This is just speculation on my part, but I wonder if when we read this “his heart’s desire” are we meant to read it “God gave him what his heart desired…” or are we meant to read it “God gave him that his heart desired…” I would argue that if it’s one then it’s the latter because the next phrase says that God gave him his request. Is David saying the same thing twice? Or is he saying that God both implants the desire and gives the fulfillment of the desire? Does God make the fruit of the tree only or does he make the hungering stomach also? Did God create woman only or did he first create a lonely man?

God is not trying to figure out how to get us to stop desiring, he put the desires there in the first place so that he could fill them. We need to stop thinking of the guy with the stolen Rolexes in the back alley as the supplier, and go to the WatchMaker.

So how do we do endure temptation, since Yeshua has shown us as New Adams that we can? We can’t stop the temptation because Yeshua himself was tempted, but without sin. This goes further into why we are tempted in the first place. We know the elements of temptation (not sin) are lust and trap, can we avoid either of those? No, even Yeshua had to have had lust and as we saw from Matthew he also had traps. How can I say that Yeshua had lust? Because he was tempted! You cannot temp the lustless. But as we’ve seen lust itself is not sin, it is the conception of desire (lust) and opportunity (trap). You can sidestep the trap when you see it or you can be ensared by it.

Gen 4:6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Cain had the blessing of YHVH pointing out the trap that lay at the door, but the temptation (lust and trap) were still there. Why didn’t God simply zap him with a bolt of perspective? This is the true nature of the bandwagon of freewill. I don’t say that to degrade it or criticize it, I’m saying we don’t understand it. People like freewill because they refuse the idea that some people cannot be saved because God has chosen them for destruction, and this is rightly so. The idea that God makes people who have no choice but to face eternal destruction can be rejected out of hand simply by the character of YHVH in scripture. If you study from the first five books alone and really understand the reasons for the commands, it becomes utterly impossible to believe that the same God who meticulously created, protected, and out of his lovingkindness instructed his people for their own good, would create people who had no ability to choose the course of life, when all of his commands are also based on his own character. It’s impossible without even looking at the rest of scripture.

The problem with freewill comes not from its validity, but from the ramifications that we choose to ignore. We would like to think that when we enter into a relationship with YHVH through the Messiah Yeshua, that God zaps us with everything we need. By that I mean, before I would get angry for unrighteous reasons, but now I simply don’t. When I would have been tempted, now I simply no longer have that desire. God simply opens up the program settings and flicks all the switches to the ‘overcomer’ position. Where is freewill then? In short, such people believe that their destiny is for God to strip away their freewill. God’s whole point with your life is for you to sin by your freewill then choose him once so that God can take it away and make you a robot for all eternity? That’s the ‘good news’? You cannot have free will one moment to let you choose God, and then God against your will rewrite who you are in your soul. You must continually cooperate, that is the double edge of freewill.

One of the upsides to true lust (biblically understood) is if/when we fully understand that all desire comes from God and therefore can only be met his way, then desire can always winnow out truth in the same sense that a healthy non-addicted person’s tastes will always crave what the body actually needs. By that I mean the bait for the trap is something real that God intended you to have by coming to him. In the real world, when you covet another man’s car it’s not the desire for a car that is wrong, it is the fact that you are choosing to desire someone else’s car. You’re choosing to make someone other than God the provider…isn’t that what Hosea was saying? Saying your lover provides? In other words, who you see as your provider is the one you see as God.

Why do we covet? The sense of the commandment is that we are choosing to desire, why? What good do we think to obtain by setting our hearts on something that we do not have? Either we believe that eventually we will be able to have this thing from its owner, or we believe it is the only thing that will meet our desire and even though it is unattainable this is the closest we can get to it. Why don’t we wait on God? Because we don’t believe he will provide for our desires…oh maybe, pie in the sky, he will eventually give us something, but it won’t be as good as if I have this thing right now. We believe that we know better what is good, and if it’s attainable then we have the power to provide it ourselves or no one has the power to provide it if it is unattainable. In other words, coveting makes myself into my own provider. I become my own god because either I will get it for me, or no one can. Who you see as your provider is the one you see as God.

So the upside to lust is that when you understand what you desire, it will always lead you to God. This applies to the issue of the misunderstanding freewill and many other false doctrines because in truth we don’t desire these things. No healthy soul can convincingly make a case “oh yes, I would like to not be able to choose.” We want structure and boundaries as all children do, and that are enforced in our lives, but no one wants to be a robot.

I know this seems a convoluted train of thought, I’ve been sitting here myself trying to figure out which parts are important and which are tangential. But what I’m trying to bring home is the reality that God wants us to desire, to long, to lust. And there will be temptation also because there will be traps in this life because we still have freewill and there are things that we want and have not. And since as Man we always will have freewill just as Yeshua still has freewill, I would argue that even in the resurrection we will have temptation. The difference will be that with spirits in communion with God’s Spirit, and souls in submission to the will of God coming down through the Spirit, we will always sidestep the traps. But the inescapable truth is that temptation will always be with us. We can’t say that we’ll have no desire because God gave us desire, what would be the point of living if there was no desire? Just to do things that you have no desire to do? We might as well be rocks just sitting. And we can’t say that we will always have our desires instantly met either, what would be the point of all God’s talk about rewarding if everyone would have everything they wanted as soon as they wanted it regardless of faithfulness? Are you telling me that saved-by-fire-Joe-Schmo will instantly have the same level of reward as on-fire-cross-bearing-Jane-Schmo?

God has never been one of instant gratification. Do you make children happy by giving them everything they want? No, there is a process to happiness. Making them work for things actually increases their gratitude and enjoyment of the things they are given. Contrary to modern thinking, you actually increase the value of something by being stingy with it!

Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Who is blessed? The man who doesn’t walk, stand, or sit with the ungodly, but instead delights in the torah…

Psa 40:4 Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

Who is blessed? He who trusts in YHVH. Sure there are obvious good things that befall the people in these two Psalms. In 1, the man is planted and all his works are established. In the second it doesn’t say, but obviously whose trust will be rewarded more than the one who trusts in the giver of all good? I’m saying that the blessing is not the being established, it’s the abstaining and the delighting. The man is blessed because of the process he is undergoing, not because of the collateral good. We think of blessing as being given something, “Oh I’m rich so I am blessed.” But how many rich people can we think of who are not happy? And that is what this use of blessing means, it is not the word barak like when we are told to bless God, it is the word esher for happiness. Happiness comes by a process of delighting and trusting in YHVH.

So unless in the resurrection happiness will come for the first time in the form of a lightning bolt of prozac, there has to be process and growth. And where there is process and growth there is something desirable that is not yet obtained. Or would we say that unlike now, we will not have the ability to see what we lack? Is our contentness in the resurrection based on ignorance of what we lack? A lack or desire for God's goodness we lack? Or is our contentness based on our focus, communion, and trust in the one who will provide in the best timing for what we desire?

There will be people more grown and people less, people more blessed and people less blessed…but it will all be without sin, pain, death, or sorrow. Therefore, temptation is a good thing because it is the means of growth. It is by desiring and now having that we are driven to process. Let’s add one more thought to our analogy of the baited trap. We know that the trap is laid with stolen goods which we rightly desire, and placed in a place to tempt us to take the quick and easy path of satisfaction on our own terms. But as we realized earlier the same lust that draws us to do evil, draws us towards good. Consider the trap, once spotted as a trap. Realizing the truth that the food is desirable, but that here it has been laid to my destruction, by an enemy…instead of despairing, my God-designed hunger (lust) now draws me away to seek the life-giving sustenance of my maker.

Pro 16:26 The appetite of the laboring man laboreth for him; For his mouth urgeth him thereto. (ASV)

Again the upside of lust is that once we have understood what we are actually lusting after (the goodness of God) then the bait will not satisfy…it’s like looking at a twinky and going… “naw…that won’t really hit the spot.” Now the hunger pulls you away from the trap, to seek the source of goodness. How does that work? Because the hunger pushes you to labor! The hunger pushed you to the process! God gave us lust to drive us to the process, bringing us closer to him!

Pro 27:7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

This is why temptation is good! Why is the honeycomb loathsome? Because the man is full, his hunger is satisfied so even the enticing thing has a negative value. On the other hand, even the bitter thing is sweet to the hungry, why? Because it satisfies hunger. The temptation is good because even though it is bitter, the hunger (lust) drives us to the labour (process of happiness) that bearing the temptation will bring us closer to God and satisfy our hunger. The hunger can be mastered, like Cain we can rule over it and make it work for us. Side step the trap and press on to the source. Let’s go back to James.

Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Blessed or happy is the man who endures…because when he is tried—the word means acceptable because what comes through the fire (the silver or gold) is the part that is acceptable what is consumed or burned out is the dross. It is the process of trying that makes the material acceptable—he shall be given life that God promised to those that love him (if we love him we keep his commandments).

Temptation is a good thing because it is the lust driven process that brings us to acceptability when we love him.

Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

If we are made acceptable by the temptation, then we must master the element of lust and refuse the traps to become that acceptable vessel.

Jas 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Finally, he gives this warning or instruction on how not to be lead to a trap by your lust, “Don’t err…every good gift…comes from the Father…” What is more desirable than the good and perfect gift?

Temptation makes us acceptable, we must have it that is why…

Jas 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Temptation (lust meeting a trap) works towards your completion!

1Pe 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Temptations maybe bitter but they make your faith precious, in fact they perfect it…even the salvation of your souls. That is why they are to be rejoiced in! You’re in temptation? Guess what, God is making you perfect! You could go on and on in scripture and see how this is true. Check for yourself and see the positive way scripture speaks of temptation remembering that temptation, trial, and tribulation are all used synonymously.

There is one more thing to note though. The epistles all speak of trial as something to be met with joy because of what it does to your faith and how it makes you acceptable. However, if you look at the gospels you find that Yeshua had a seemingly contradictory view.

Mat 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Mar 14:38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.

Luk 22:46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

All the references to temptation are of something to be prayed to be avoided. So how does this work? It’s short and sweet, it’s good to learn to sidestep the traps, but it’s better to desire the unbaited food.

Luk 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

The trap brings with it a danger of falling into the trap. Certainly God will keep us from a trap that is too hard, 1 Cor 10:13. But God knows we have limits to our strength, why? Because he didn’t open us up and flip all our switches to ‘overcomer.’ It’s a process of learning to overcome, of being remade into the image of Messiah, of being renewed in mind…it’s a process. As God burns out the dross through temptation, he makes more room to fill us with good stuff. We grow to fill the areas that were previously filled with weakness.

So we pray not to enter into temptation, but be delivered…but just as sometimes God knows its best to not give us our daily bread; and just as Yeshua, who was closer to God than any of us, still faced temptations we too will face temptations despite our prayers. Pray that you do not enter temptation, so that you will not be beaten down and your faith be destroyed; but when you do, know that it is perfecting your faith and saving your soul so rejoice for the glory that is coming.

Job 4.4 Temptation (1 of 2)

Job 4:17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?
18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:

We’ve discovered the identity or at least allegiance of the messenger to Eliphaz, yet, what do we do with the message? Remember the serpent in Genesis. He was a liar, but he told truth in his lie, even a truth that was not previously disclosed (“You shall become as gods knowing good and evil…”). Yet he also lied, in his denial of the certainty of their deaths.

We have established solidly, I believe, that spirit speaking was not of God. So if this spirit is not of God then its message is suspect. Not necessarily untrue, as the devil also used truth, though, to deceive (or lead astray). Of course, the deception doesn’t lie in whether the statement is true, but the intent of the thing. When did the deception of Eve begin? With what could have been an innocent question “Is it true that God hath said, Ye do not eat of every tree of the garden?” (YLT) because from the beginning he being subtle was intending to lead her astray meaning that even in a question which has no truth or falsity, there can be deception.

The mere fact that this spirit is not of God means whatever is said whether true or false is intending to discredit God. We could just skip over the statement, after all what good is it to study a possibly false and certainly malicious statement? It would seem none. But we must remember the principle from earlier concerning the filmmaker…no frame is wasted. What does God want us to see in this temptation?

Mat 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

When in doubt about what something looks like we should always look to our example. That’s why he’s called the example. First thing that stands out, is why was Yeshua tempted? Memory would say that the first temptation being of bread means that he was tempted because he was hungry. But the truth in verse 1 is striking, he was tempted because he was lead “to be tempted.”

How can this be? It would be easy to say “oh that was so that we could know he was tempted.” But, I don’t have to see someone tempted to know they were. I’ve never needed the devil to meet me at the end of forty days of fasting to tempt me with bread, I’ve been tempted in the first five minutes of a day. Every time I go to the grocery store, or see someone who has what I want, I know temptation. The point could not have been to show us that he was tempted, because we have the rest of the gospels to show us his temptation. Didn’t the Pharasees tempt him (Matthew 16:1, 19:3)? Wasn’t he tempted to let the cup pass from him? Of course why else would he pray for it? Or do we think that he didn’t have the freewill to refuse the cup? If that were true then in what way would he be a high priest touched with our infirmities?

I think there were two reasons. The first, was unlike you and I before our redemption, he did not have what is understood as the sin nature. A huge topic in and of itself, but suffice to say that his spirit was in constant communion with God’s spirit—with the brief exception of an eternity on the cross. And since he was in constant submission, his soul never decided on it’s own to sin. He was the second Adam (1 Cor 15:45), and like the first Adam he was not compelled by an inner sentiment to do wrong. Or perhaps a better understanding would be, unlike the unredeemed man he did not lack the power to do right. Apart from God, man is incapable of doing right and by default he sins, it is not a compulsion but an inability that is the ‘sin nature.’ That is why we have to be freed from sin.

So in one sense it is to show us that Yeshua was tempted, because unlike unredeemed man tempted from his own internal inaptitude, Yeshua was tempted from the outside in. Just as we who are dead with Messiah are also. Thus like Adam, Yeshua and ourselves, are tempted by the serpent or other external sources. If—like post-fall man—Adam was unable to do right, what was the need for the serpent? He would have walked by the tree and snatched the fruit immediately.

Not to degress further, but imagine a child. A fallen child in our world when told not to do something being a new sinner just like the rest of us, has no compunction at all to violate any command he’s been given. He learns obedience through the rod of discipline. Internally he has no spirit telling him how to live right through it’s communion with God. Eventually we learn even apart from God not to do certain things because we will be punished by other men and maybe even by God, but there is no internal fortitude against wrong doing.

In contrast, Adam and Eve knew neither fear nor shame, nor were there any other people besides themselves. The fact that they did not immediately eat of the fruit, shows they had to learn unrighteousness. They had inner ability to not sin. But wait, what about the threat of death? How could they be effectively threatened with something they have never known in a perfect world? Everything in their lives is harmless! They have no experience with it.

You tell someone “Don’t do this or you’ll be killed,” and it’ll be hard to get them to do it because they do fear. I would argue that in reality, Eve simply took God at his word (or possibly Adam) that whatever death was, it was bad. There was no emotion attached to it, simply an acknowledgment of the truth just as we often talk about the death of Yeshua without it touching off any emotion when if we really understand it, it should be quiet different. Once the Serpent then challenged the truth, there was nothing stopping her. And once she had fallen, the threat of death was clearly not enough to keep Adam from following. If you had warned someone of death, and then someone said “you won’t get killed,” the person to whom they spoke would probably say “you try it first!” Why? Because they do fear death, it has weight in their minds. To someone who knew no pain or death, the ‘threat of death’ could be no more than an idea.

So the first thing we understand from the temptation of Yeshua is that he and we (because of his example) are not tempted from within, but from without and we have the ability to refuse. Since we know in truth that we still sin (not that we have to, or that it is inevitable, but simply that we do), this holds a huge promise of how we can submit to that inner spirit that keeps us from sin.

This leads us into Yeshua’s response to temptation.

Mat 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

We’ve heard this message before, Yeshua replies with the word of God. The principle, reply with the word of God to temptation. Ask yourself, now why did Adam and Eve fail? These two accounts are perfect contrasts; First Adam (which is also the name of the species so Eve is included) and Last Adam. Eve (as half of the First Adam) was deceived and thus transgressed. Why was she deceived? This is key! How did she respond to the Serpent? It wasn’t with the Word of God, it was with the word of Man. “Nor touch it…” she said.

Well the first part was God’s Word, we might defend. But I would argue it’s the same as a lie. It is still a lie even if it contains truth because the intent is to deceive; can it still be the Word of God if we presume to add our own to it? If I quote scripture and add my own twist, attributing it to God then isn’t the entire statement not God’s? Truth does not come in words. Any word alone is not a truth; it is the statements, the assertions that convey truth, if one part lies the whole statement lies. The only difference between her lie and the serpent’s, was he intended to deceive, she accidentally deceived herself.

This of course makes Adam’s responsibility all the more severe because he was not deceived and from Yeshua’s example what he needed to do was simply answer with the Word of God. But there in comes his failing, he let Eve proceed instead of intervening to save her; and then when she had eaten he followed. Why? Again look to Yeshua, how did Yeshua deal with a bride separated by sin? He sacrificed himself trusting in the will of the Father to bring her back. What should Adam have done? Trusted God. In a sense, you could switch Job for Adam and Eliphaz for Eve.

This seems like a good dialogue, rather it is, Yeshua was tempted so that we like him could see how to overcome temptation as new creations, as New Adams. However, this only explains one reason why we are told of Yeshua’s temptation. It doesn’t answer the underlying, question why are we tempted? God doesn’t want us to sin, so why does God let us be tempted? For whatever reason, he is unwilling to stop it. We could be quick to jump on the freewill means temptation bandwagon, and freewill may be the mechanism of our temptation, and this would not be false.

Jas 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Temptation is the combination of lust meeting a trap, in other words opportunity. Traps are baited with what they offer, even one that does not use bait is positioned around some natural bait. No one sets a bear trap in the middle of a desert and hopes to catch a bear. The point is temptation happens when our lust comes across bait, the thing it lusts after being offered to it. There are many beautiful women in the world, both in terms of personality and form, but not every married man commits adultery. There has to be the lust inside before it ‘conceives’ and brings out sin. Remember that the word lust does not mean necessarily a sexual desire, literally it means a longing. We also have the connotation that lust is necessarily bad, but scripture doesn’t see it that way.

Mat 13:16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

They were blessed because they get to see and hear the things that prophets and righteous men desired (lusted) after. This is also reflected in the aged scriptures.

Deu 5:21 Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Lusting and coveting are often used interchangeably by people, but they are not the same. The command here is actually two-fold, don’t desire (chamad meaning to delight in) your neighbor’s wife, the first use is Gen 2:9 referring to the trees that God made desirable. Desiring is not, wrong clearly God wanted us to desire his creation. The command then is not to make your neighbor’s wife pleasant to you. Does this mean that noticing the desirability of your neighbors wife is a sin? What if you saw a woman and found her desirable (which scripture does not condemn, Deu 21:11) but didn’t know she was married?

Gen 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Chamad here is the “desired” part. Notice that it wasn’t when she saw that the tree was good…nor when it was pleasant to the eyes. She recognized that there was something pleasant (ta’avah meaning to long for), but in addition to that she saw it as a tree to be desired in the sense that God commanded we should not desire, not everything, but our neighbor’s things. The commandment is not against recognition of something desirable, it is against choosing to set your desire on it. The difference being “That is good and desirable,” and “I will desire to have that good.”

The second part of the command to not covet supports this. Covet avah meaning to wish for something. The first use of it by itself is in Numbers 11:34 when the now covenanted Israel tempts God to provide quail. A very interesting account when you look at it from the beginning. This is just after an incident of complaining which brought judgment. Notice how this begins…

Num 11:4 And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?
5 We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:
6 But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.

Who is lusting here? The mixed multitude started it and the natural Israelites continued it. The mixed multitude is mentioned first? There is an importance in this, as if God is saying how bindingly he takes their joining to his covenant. These gentiles aren’t just along for the ride, God says they’re driving the bus too, there is one law for both stranger and natural born. Now what are they lusting after, the goods. What goods? Is Egypt the only place with fish and cucumbers? The point of the desire is not the thing, it was the place. They’re lusting for what the world offers instead of what God promised. This is definitely forbidden things, it’s the equivalent of Lot’s wife looking back to Soddom. If you think about the analogy God continually makes between his people and a harlot; God’s problem is never what they desire, but whom they desire it from!

Hos 1:2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.

Hos 2:5 For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.
6 Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.
7 And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.
8 For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.

Providing a living picture of Israel, by YHVH’s direction Hosea marries a harlot to represent Israel. Notice in the second passage, why does their mother (Israel) chase after lovers (the Baalim)? To provide bread, water, wool, flax, oil and drink…which of those did God not promise to provide? None, according to the covenant if Israel followed him they would have all of those things. In fact according to Hosea God was providing all those things and they were attributing them to other gods. Her lovers were robbing her husband to give the harlot her hire.

A fundamental picture should be emerging now. God not Satan made all desirable things. That blows my mind! We are often mislead to believe that there are things we should not want as if the Devil could make something that is desirable and God is a killjoy trying to keep us from having fun with anyone else. God forbid that we should think that! Satan is stealing what God has made and offering it in a trap, but he didn't make the desirable thing! Everything we desire is of God.

“Wait, wait!” We say. “Temptation is desiring something we shouldn’t have!” But that’s not what the scripture says, temptation is when the desire meets the baited trap (enticement). What is the trap baited with? Something desirable. The desire isn’t the trap, it’s what is drawing you to the trap! What is desired is never the issue, it’s who is offering the desire. God didn’t tell fish not to eat bugs, but a fish should not take worm dangling on a string. Candy isn’t bad, but the stranger offering it to your child is! Desiring the beauty of a woman is not wrong, but don’t go to the adulteress; go to your wife!

If you think about it, really all lust is the same. The same lust that drives men to evil (sleeping with another man’s wife, stealing another man’s car) is the same lust that drives men to do good (protecting and serving your own wife or the unmarried woman in your community, protecting your investments or the investments of another man). The issue always comes down to who is offering it. As we saw earlier God called the tree of knowledge good, not evil. God didn’t want to refuse man knowledge God wanted man to come to God for knowledge; Satan is the offerer of the short cut. He’s the stranger with candy, the salesman with the free lunch. God is saying you need to take this path for your own good to find this thing you desire; Satan stole something God made to be desired and said “No, you don’t have to wait and work, come get it right here; now; on your terms!”

Now we can understand, lust is not sin. The sin is in trying to have that legitimate desire met by something on our terms in opposition to God’s which are for our own good. Now back to Numbers 11.

Interestingly here, the word for lusting is two words, Avah and Ta’avah. It’s as if they lust greatly or are longing to lust. They choose to desire it! The very next use is the command to not desire your neighbor’s wife or covet his stuff. The idea is not a command to not recognize desirable things, indeed how could God command us to not recognize his handiwork? How could one recognize the qualities of a good wife without evaluating the wives around him? How could God implant a longing for good, put good all around us, and then tell us not to long for it?

Clearly, lust as recognition is not the problem. The trap is not the problem. Even where the two meet is not the problem, it is when we decide to desire, long to lust, that is when we look at the bait and go “mmm…I would like to have that…in fact I will have that…or at least get as close as I can…maybe a little closer I’m safe here…one more step, I’m not springing the trap…” SNAP!!! Lust conceives and springs the trap thus there is sin.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Job 4:3 Test the spirit

Job 4:12 Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof. 
13 In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, 
14 Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. 
15 Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: 

Its interesting to me how many abrupt, unexpected events and people walk through the scripture, and often times what is happening or who is there remains a mystery. Was it really Samuel who appeared at the summoning of the witch of Endor? Was it really God who wrestled with Jacob, and whether it was God or one of his angels, how could he lose? 

  So when I looked at this passage, it intrigued me. In fact I can’t ever remember reading this part before. And what do I make of it now that I’ve read it? Is this a vision from God? From the Adversary? Perhaps it was made up entirely?

  I take it as having been an actual vision. Firstly, there’s a thing about godly men like Job. They attract other godly men and repel ungodly men. Think about the truly godly men and women you have met in your life, what kind of people congregate around them? Certainly there are different levels of maturity, understanding, and wisdom, but usually I don’t think you’ll find people who are contrary to them around them? There are exceptions, but generally… I don’t think these men are the exception because they’re not just listed as just any people, these are Job’s friends; the same ones who set time and energy aside to come and mourn with him for seven days without speaking a word! 

  And if we fast forward to the end:

Job 42:7 And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: 'My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends; for ye have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job hath. 
8 Now therefore, take unto you seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt- offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you; for him will I accept, that I do not unto you aught unseemly; for ye have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.'

When God finds fault with the three friends, it is for not saying the right things not for being hypocrites, fools, uncaring, etc…These are not villains. These are seemingly otherwise Godly men who came to see their friend through a hard time, even though they kind of bungled it.

  So if these are not evil men, and have some kindred spirit with Job, then it would seem that if Eliphaz says that he had a vision, presumably he did have a vision. And his emotional reaction to the vision adds authenticity to that supposition. As you will recall, the fear of God is not some ‘God is awesome, amen’ kind, but more akin to the fear of fire. The fear is real fear, but it is not displacing of everything else. So then as Eliphaz says it makes him tremble, this would seem to be a legitimate reaction to a vision he sincerely has. 

  But who is the vision from? We would suppose that a vision that a godly man has is in fact from God, but is this true? 

2Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 
6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. 

1Th 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good

1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 

The source of a vision can only be one of three; God, a spirit, or oneself. If we are to test every spirit, then we will determine if it is of God or of the Enemy, and if it is of ourselves then it is a thought or an imagination and must be brought captive into obedience to Messiah. Either way, a vision can come from three different sources or there would be no need to take it captive or prove it—why would you need to prove a vision if it could only come from God? Hence the enemy or at least a will not obedient to God can produce a vision.

  So then what is the source of Eliphaz’s vision? In 4:12 the word ‘secretly’ is the sense of thieving or stealing. When you steal, you are moving in such a way as not to be seen by a greater power or authority. Rachel stole false gods from her father; Jacob stole away from Laban; the prophets steal God’s word from the people; soldiers stealing into a city as if ashamed. 

  However, God does send his angels to individuals or speak to them individually so that others do not hear. 1 Samuel 3, tells of God calling to Samuel, but no one else. Angels have appeared to women without their husbands, as did Messiah; arch angels to Daniel; Gabriel to Mary; Yeshua even appeared and spoke to Paul without those standing by being able to make out the words or see the speaker. However, if you read those accounts you get the impression that God is not hiding, rather that his message is firstly to one person or another. 

1Sa 3:8 And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child. 
9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 

Samuel doesn’t recognize the voice of the Lord yet God speaks to him knowing this. Samuel goes to Eli three times before Eli realizes God is speaking to the child and instructs him to answer the Lord. Why didn’t God speak to Eli first and tell him to get Samuel’s attention? Why didn’t God introduce himself as he did to Moses? God has a message specifically for Samuel, but he is not hiding that he has a message from anyone else.

Jdg 6:18 Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again. 
19 And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it. 
20 And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so. 
21 Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight. 

An Angel appears from God and when asked to stay for a moment he does. He’s not scurrying off to hide.

Jdg 13:3 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. 

The angel appeared to the woman, not to her husband. I’m fascinated when people say the bible has a degrading view of women. Certainly, men have failed all through scripture to treat women as they deserve, however God and those being lead of the Spirit of God are always showing women esteem as much as men. 

Jdg 13:6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name: 

The woman goes and tells her husband about the conversation, obviously God knew this was going to happen and what would follow, yet he still chose to send his Angel to the woman.

Jdg 13:8 Then Manoah intreated the LORD, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born. 
9 And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her. 
10 And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day. 
11 And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am. 

The husband than asks for the Angel to come back and God ‘listens’ to him, but sends the angel again to the woman. So who does it seem this message is most for? The woman, yet the Angel is sent because of the man’s prayer, and the angel stays while the woman goes to get her husband! We see clearly that God has messages for individual people, but he does not sneak around.

Gen 32:1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 
2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim. 

Jacob has left Laban and is heading to see Esau and along the way, for no explicit reason Angels meet him. He says this is God’s army and calls the place ‘double camp.’ Apparently there’s a lot of angels, and scripture makes no implication that Jacob is the only one who sees them, yet no message is reported from them. While at this place he sends his messengers to Esau and in fear for his life and the lives of his wives and children he divides the camp several times and sends gifts to meet Esau. 

 At the end he has sent them all away.

Gen 32:24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 
25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. 
26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 
27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 
28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 
29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. 
30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. 

This is odd because he’s wrestling with a man after he was ‘left alone.’ The word alone comes from a word meaning ‘divide.’ In other words a part divided from its whole. He’s alone from his family, his company; not necessarily the only person present; remember he is at the ‘double camp.’ Then a ‘man’ wrestles with him and somehow Jacob knows this man is greater than him. I say greater, because blessings flow from the greater to the lesser.

Heb 7:4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. 
5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: 
6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. 
7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. 

The proofs of the superiority of the priesthood of Melchisedec are that he received tithes from Abraham (and Levi was in Abraham) and Melchisedec blessed Abraham and therefore Levi in Abraham. Verse seven explains that the greater blesses the lesser. 

  Thusly, Jacob has sent away his people and is assaulted by some man, but he automatically assumes the man is greater than he. Why? Because he’s in the double camp. He wins the match even though the man miraculously loosens his hip from it’s socket; the man prophesies Jacob’s name change; and when asked for his own name does not answer but blesses him, yet Jacob (now Israel) recognizes that this was God. “I have seen God face to face…” 

  The point of this is that though God does come individually without allowing for other witnesses, he makes himself known. When he appears to someone, they eventually know that it’s him. But why then do we have to test every Spirit if God makes himself known? Well first we must understand that God expects us to test. This may seem foreign, when we are told so often to “just have faith” and are pretty much told if we test we’re in sin. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Reason it out, if God tells us to test prophets and spirits, and then sends prophets and spirits then he certainly knows that his prophets and his spirits will be tested by his own commandment. But where then do we get this idea of not testing?

Deu 6:16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.

Mat 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

The commandment is to not test God, but a prophet or a spirit is not God even if he is from God. And even if it was God we may have to test to determine that it is God (think of how many times someone suddenly falls on their face because only after a miraculous exit did they realize they were dealing with God). 

  We are not to test the one true God, we are to test whether the person or spirit speaking to us is from God. And it is in the test that God will make himself known. 

  Think of Eli and Samuel again. 

1Sa 3:9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 
10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth. 
11 And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. 

Eli didn’t hear the voice, but ‘perceived’ that it was the Lord. Eli can’t test the spirit, but he believes its God. He doesn’t tell Samuel this but what he does say is that when called again he is to respond “Speak, LORD…” He tells him to reply to this Spirit by addressing him by God’s name. What happens when Samuel does this? God speaks to him. If this was an enemy of God, why would he wait to be addressed by God’s name? And if it wasn’t God than why would Eli tell Samuel to call on His name if any spirit could be speaking? 

Psa 83:18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth. 

There is only one carrying the name of YHVH. And we know from countless scriptures that God’s name is to be reverenced, such that many have gone so far as to simply never say his name (an error for another time). If then I was Satan, I would certainly masquerade by that name all the time to discredit him and profane his name.

But he doesn’t.

2Co 11:12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 

We know that Satan can speak to people, we know he can even transform into an angel of light just as his servants can masquerade as God’s servants. But I would put to you that no spirit can answer to God’s name. If you go back to Eve’s encounter with Satan in the Garden of Eden, you will notice something interesting.

Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 

Gen 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 

The scripture refers to God by the combination of one of his titles “Eloheim” and by his name YHVH, but the serpent never refers to God by his name. If you remember also in Job when Satan spoke with God he said that Job would “bless God.” Euphemistically we understand it is not blessing, but notice again he would not use God’s name. 

Mar 1:23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 
24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. 

Mat 8:28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. 
29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? 

Again notice the spirits address in more ‘distant terms,’ never calling him by God’s name though obviously they knew better than his disciples that he was God himself. I would challenge you to search the scripture for any exception where a spirit masquerades by God’s name.

Impersonating a servant perhaps, but never as God himself. But from the evidence we have only shown a lack of a contradicting evidence, is there any positive?

1Co 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 
2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. 
3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

No man calls Yeshua cursed if they are speaking by the Spirit of God, that makes sense, God won’t lead anyone to say such a thing. But the next is a restriction. “…and no man say that Yeshua is THE Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” The Lord is “kurios” meaning supreme authority, it is the same word used by Yeshua when quoting the shema “Hear O Israel, the LORD…” So we see a curious thing that Man in God’s image is able to misuse God’s name (though not blamelessly), but it seems that at least in some scenario’s the enemy’s spirits may not even speak his name. And if they can, there is no evidence that they can. Men cannot attribute his name to Yeshua unless God’s Spirit leads them to do so, it would seem then that no other spirit can put the thought into man or at least if they can they cannot bring them to speak the thought.

  Not airtight, but our salvation isn’t based on it. There is certainly a strong case to be made that the enemies of God cannot masquerade as him. If this is so, than it makes sense that Eli tells Samuel to address him by name because only God could respond to his own name. 

  To bring us back to where we were, the question is how to know one spirit from another? Well for Eli, if you call to God by his name, than only he will respond. Again this makes sense. Study how many times God does not answer a person, and then ask the question, why does Satan not answer for him? I read an account once of C.S. Lewis' broadcasts of Mere Christianity. The producers were constantly concerned with length because any lengthy gap in transmission could be used by the enemy to broadcast over the gap to masquerade as the voice of England. If Satan could pretend to actually be God, then why is there ever a time that God appears not to answer or not to speak into our lives? Satan would be chomping at the bit to speak in God's name if he could.

  We also know from the torah that a man speaking by God’s Word cannot be wrong. 

Deu 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. 
21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? 
22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

If God is speaking by a someone than what they say must come to pass…the one exception of in scripture that I know of is Jonah who prophecied destruction which did not happen. However, from scripture we know that God says it would have happened except for their repentance. So the Word was true, but the repentance of man changed God’s actions

  However, this is one instance, yet I am constantly seeing people who say they have a Word from the Lord, and they prophesy something and it does not come to pass. And yet people keep listening! If we tolerate people speaking presumptuously then what does that say about our view of the God in whose name they speak? What audacity, a person must have to speak in a manner that even the enemy will not?

  So following along with Eli and Samuel we should expect that if this voice that responded to God’s name, is truly God then what he says should come to pass.

1Sa 3:15 And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision. 
16 Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I. 
17 And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee. 
18 And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good. 
19 And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. 
20 And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD. 

Firstly, Eli confirms afterwards that the Word is from the LORD. It’s interesting that he rightly discerns God’s Word even though it is the destruction of his own family. Do you see the contrast with Eliphaz in Job? Eliphaz sees no sin and pronounces Job guilty and judged. Eli knows his family has great sin (v13) and he didn’t restrain it, and God tells him (and also told him) that because of that iniquity his family was going to be destroyed. 

  Then we see the clencher, “…the LORD was with him, and did let NONE OF HIS WORDS FALL TO THE GROUND.” Samuel was a prophet and when he spoke, things happened because God spoke to him. Not because he was great, not because he felt he had some insight or ‘felt’ like God was telling him something. God spoke, he listened and relayed, and all Israel knew it because his word came to pass. 

  So what have we learned? Among spirits, God and only God responds to his name YHVH. God is never described as ‘stealing’ to tell someone something; though he does appear privately he doesn’t try to conceal his visit. God’s Words are always true, though he may change the future and thus give another word. 

  Back to Job, what are the characteristics of Eliphaz’s vision?

Job 4:12 Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof. 
13 In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, 
14 Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. 
15 Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: 

The vision comes in secret, God is never described as coming secretly. 

  The man’s ear ‘received a little thereof.’ Can you think of anywhere in scripture, where God speaks to someone and the person then says “I’m sorry, I didn’t get all that. Could you repeat it?” Even when he appears to Elijah in the still small voice, his every word is heard and recorded. God doesn’t get static on his radio.

  Yes, fear comes on the man and trembling, but it doesn’t really sound like what we hear of elsewhere. Abraham experienced a dread fright or horror at the beginning of the covenant and many people fall on their faces and fear for their lives, but this fear sounds more akin to what I feel watching a supernatural horror flick. This is just my thought from the sounds of the words, but I get a sense of creepiness rather than of holy fear. Judge for yourself.

  Finally though…

Job 4:16 It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, 
17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? 

Again, there is no static on God’s radio, nor on his television set. “I could not discern the form…” is a phrase unique to this vision. Certainly, kings had visions and couldn’t remember them or couldn’t understand them, but a prophet was given discernment. You never heard Ezekiel say “And there was some kind of glowing thing…maybe it looked like a bird…or a maybe a clown.” 

  It seems clear that however generally a just man that Job’s friend might be, he received into himself a messenger that was not of God. We must learn from this. We live in age, where there is a great deal of ignorance about what God’s scriptures say…and yet there are many people presuming to speak on his behalf. Pastors taking scriptures out of their contexts to support a tradition of the church…well meaning, spiritual men and women who act as cheerleaders to tell their congregations things and then parenthetically note it as a ‘Word from Lord’ only to find that what they said came from the Holy One, fell flat on it’s face.

  This is not to say that there aren’t modern day prophets. I have no doubt there are. God foretold through prophets long ago that he would pour out his spirit on people that they would dream dreams and have visions. And his apostle Paul said not to quench the spirit and not to despise prophesying. Such things do happen. And it’s even possible that a prophet could speak something one minute and then presumptuously speak something another. I’m glad I’m not one because I’d be constantly afraid of speaking from myself. But there’s one simple fact.  

  A prophet speaking from God is never wrong. The moment we accept a prophet who prophesies something false, we are saying that it doesn’t matter if God’s Word is false or not. Would we take our hope of salvation as hit or miss? “Oh we might spend eternity with God on a redeemed Earth…or maybe we’re all going to the lake of fire? It depends on how close John and the other apostles were.”
  We must be zealous for God’s Word. If Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth from the mouth of God, how then can we suffer poison on our tables? 

1Th 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 

Friday, September 19, 2008

Job 4.2: Judgment

The book of Job is rich in unspoken meaning. The book seems mostly emptiness otherwise. God picks a fight for a guy he’s proud of and takes everything he values from him. Then his three friends show up and spend most of the book arguing with him with the book itself providing little explicit commentary. Which makes little sense considering this is essentially the longest recorded discussion in scripture.

Job 4:6 Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways? 
7 Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? 
8 Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. 

  What is our experience as believers when we suffer among other believers? In my experience there are two reactions that are prominent and a third somewhere in between. For the most part I’d say because of a misunderstanding of admonishment, judgment, and God’s forgiveness, many will see someone suffering from an obvious cause (sexual sin, addiction, foolishness,…) and tell them that God will “pull you through,” while leaving completely unsaid the truth that puts their situation in context. “You are sinning; this is because of that.” On a national scale this is easy to see. Right now our economy is going down the tubes; California is facing the worst fires in thirty years; the midwest’s cash crop of corn has taken serious losses; we’ve substantially put out one fire in Iraq only to have Afghanistan flare up; we reel from one food scare to another; and yet people claiming to believe in God and his justice see America’s arrogance and mockery of God and don’t see what’s happening as judgment. 


“Oh natural disasters have always happened, we shouldn’t take this as God’s judgment otherwise people will think of God as the angry vengeful God of the ‘old testament’.” But do you know what scripture says?

Deu 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 
2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. 
3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. 
4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. 
5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. 
6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. 
7 The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. 
8 The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 
9 The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways. 
10 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee. 
11 And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee. 
12 The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. 

Now there are some, even of messianic understanding, that have said this only applies to Israel and that it was a special promise to them in that specific context. But that is a doctrine that denies what Paul said in Romans and Ephesians that we are grafted in and become part of Israel; it denies what Moses said that there will be one Torah for natural born and sojourner; and it again denies God’s word when he said that his commandments are for our good.

  God’s commands are for all who love him.

Joh 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Joh 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Joh 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

Yeshua is God, the same timeless God who said “I change not,” which means “my commandments” are every commandment God has given. It’s impossible to understand how we miss the most intuitive link that God shows us. Since Eden every command God has given has brought goodness into our lives, yet we think of his commands from the beginning as arbitrary and pointless. Well if you think of God’s older commands as pointless then of course Israel being blessed for keeping them is a special thing. It would be the equivalent of God saying “Go jump through some hoops and I will give you a treat.” Jumping is pointless and distasteful, even repugnant, to someone who recognizes that they are in the image of a God with dignity who bestows dignity on his creation.

  On the other hand, if we believe that God’s commandment are for our good (as he said). Then naturally if it was a blessing to Israel to obey the commands, then it will be a blessing for us to do the same. For people who say that the wall of partition has been broken down, we see m to be stuck on putting it back up. 

  Instead of God’s pets performing tricks for treats, we should see God as a good father (as we know he is) and teacher (torah means instruction) who tells his children to do things that bring them benefits. “Don’t touch the stove you’ll burn yourself! Work hard at your math so you’ll do well at your profession. Be kind to your sister!” 

  The blessings are to obedience as effect is to cause. This is all a long way to say that if we’re not receiving the blessings that God promised would happen in consequence to obedience, then we probably aren’t be obedient. Watch the news for half an hour and you should be asking yourself not why is our country facing ‘natural disasters,’ but why aren’t we facing more. Why is it even a question that we are facing judgment?

  Paradoxically though, this leads us to the other extreme and incorrect supposition. If there is suffering it must be as a result of sin, yet we are studying the book that is the exception to this rule. God himself said that there was no cause for the evil he brought down on Job’s life. Joseph did not earn how his brothers treated him. David didn’t earn Saul’s enmity. Daniel didn’t deserve the captivity and persecution that he received, nor did his friends Azariah, Mishael, and Hananiah. Yeshua certainly didn’t deserve the way he was treated. 

  Scripture is full of the righteous suffering while doing the right thing. This generally does not hold true on the national level though. If Israel was being obedient then they couldn’t be touched. When they were in sin, no alliance could save them. However, even on the national level there were exceptions. In Judges 20 the scriptures tells of when Israel went to war against the tribe of Benjamin because one of its cities had raped and murdered a woman and attempted to rape a man. Benjamin had refused to give up the individuals who were guilty so Israel assembled an army of 400,000 men who drew swords against the 26,000 of Benjamin (7,000 of which were exceptionally skilled with the sling). This is a very disturbing account for graphicness, but also when you consider the difference between the nation at that time after the death of Joshua and before the death of Eleazor and our own mindset. The perpetrators were seemingly a small group, but apparently representative of a larger presence, but it was for one incident that the nation was willing to go to war for the sake of justice. Yet we have 15,000 murders and about as many reported rapes every year and we barely notice, but say the cops should do something. 

  Anyway, the nation goes up to get the men and they are refused. They ask counsel from God and he says attack. In the first day they lose 22,000 men, that’s just short of the number of Marines lost at Iwo Jima in the first three days. They ask counsel from God again and again he says attack. They lose another 18,000. Two times God sends Israel to attack a smaller force, and in obedience to him they lose 40,000 men because of a single woman who was raped to death. We clearly have no idea how sinful sin is. Finally they ask God again, and this time he says attack and tells them that he will deliver the Benjamites into their hands. They slay 25,100 of the infantry and in addition annihilate the inhabitants of every Benjamini city they come to and burn them to the ground. Only 600 men are recorded as surviving from the tribe, whether that includes women or not is unknown, but there aren’t enough women to preserve the tribe which leads Israel to a stranger predicament when they try to salvage the remnant of the tribe. 

  The point is firstly that we don’t take sin nearly seriously enough in our ‘justice.’ Secondly, a nation can suffer even if as a whole it is not wicked because of the wickedness of a part. This is all to say suffering in an individual’s life does not mean sin in an individual’s life. 

Job 4:9 By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed. 
Job 4:10 The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken. 
Job 4:11 The old lion perisheth for lack of prey, and the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad. 

Eliphaz never lays a charge upon Job, in fact he started by speaking of how good and righteous Job had been, but like many of us he saw suffering and inferred sin. Take this in contrast to many of the saints of scripture:

Jos 7:11 Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. 
12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. 

Eze 8:17 Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. 
18 Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them. 

When evil comes because of a sin, there is a sin to be known. Eliphaz has not seen a sin, he only assumes there is one. This is in violation of the most fundamental elements of sound judgment:

Lev 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour. 

A righteous judge doesn’t consider the stature of the person. Judging the poor and lowly is the same as judging the highest of society.

Deu 1:16 And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. 

You must hear each side; listen intelligently. This is the word hear from the shema “Hear O Israel…” It is not a casual, but an intent listening. 

  Here Eliphaz has begun to listen seemingly, but has he really? What has Job really said? “I’m hurting, why is this happening?” There has been no accusation from him, there has been no pleading of guilt or innocence against a charge; but already Eliphaz is condemning him. He has established no fault and not listened to the cause of Job; this is very poor judgment.

  However, this is not a warning against judging. The body of Yeshua becomes very nervous when they hear talking of judging. Didn’t Yeshua say not to judge? Certainly we shouldn’t judge…right? Didn’t James say also so? But first, we must remember to look at the scriptures always from an earlier-to-later method, rather than as the body of Messiah has become prone to do, interpreting the later by itself and then condemning the earlier writings.

  We have already seen from the passage in Leviticus and Deuteronomy that God had commanded judgment of people by people. The basis of these judges authority was God himself:

Deu 1:17 Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.
  So there is a biblical method of judgment, however not just anyone could judge, they had to be appointed…

Deu 16:18 Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment. 
19 Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. 

  This for example is the most simple explanation of what transpired with the adulteress in John 8. Yeshua could not condemn her because he was not a judge, and even if such a judge had been present Yeshua was not a witness. 

  Nevertheless, this has to do with formal judging by such an appointed judge. Job and Eliphaz as far as we know are not judges. However, they are all treated as elders:

Job 32:6 And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion. 
7 I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. 
8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. 
9 Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.

  Job and the others are clearly seen as elders. And while elders were not necessarily judges, in the sense that their judgments were not legally binding (for lack of a better phrase): 

Deu 19:11 But if any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die, and fleeth into one of these cities: 
12 Then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.

Deu 21:1 If one be found slain in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who hath slain him: 
2 Then thy elders and thy judges shall come forth, and they shall measure unto the cities which are round about him that is slain…
6 And all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley: 
7 And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. 
8 Be merciful, O LORD, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel's charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them. 

Deu 21:18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 
19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 
20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 
21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. 

Deu 22:13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, 
14 And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: 
15 Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: 
16 And the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; 
17 And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. 
18 And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him; 
19 And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days. 

Deu 25:7 And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother. 
8 Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her; 
9 Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house. 

  The difference between a judge and elder appears to be that a judge is senior to the elders in terms of rank. Or rather in modern vernacular, elders were trial judges and judges were appellate judges. That is to say, if you read over the texts above elders are seen speaking for the people to declare innocence, establishing presented facts such as whether a woman was a virgin; or whether a man was refusing to marry his brother’s wife; or enforcing a sentence. A judge on the other hand, was one who decided in controversies. When it was not clear who was right in a matter then it went to the judge.

  An elder had to therefore be able to judge facts, ie is this the woman’s tokens of virginity? Is this son really rebelling even after correction? Is this man refusing to build up his brother’s house. And at this level they could dish out a beating or in the case of a murderer, deliver him to the avenger of blood. Those may seem a vast spectrum of issues to deal with for a ‘lower court’ but really they all hinge on establishing the facts. If this man is a cold blooded murder then a judge doesn’t need to get involved because for murderers there is a clear sentence, unless there was some rare extenuating circumstance in which case it could be delivered to the judge.

  The point here is that while not appointed judges, the elders still had to make judgments and unlike judges, elders were not appointed, they were simply elder. So we can see that there is a time and place for judgment. There are to be courts and ranks of authority that judge in matters between people. Now, understanding this we must seek to understand the words of Yeshua and Apostles because they have been at times said to be against judgment.

Mat 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

Remembering always to look at the context, he is speaking to his disciples, none of whom we know to have been judges or elders. So it would seem that they don’t have a responsibility to judge so then they shouldn’t be, however, this doesn’t make sense because if you read the full passage he says “first cast out the beam out of thine own eye…then shalt though see clearly to cast out…” 

  7:5 is directed at the hypocrite, who cannot see clearly, which means 1-5 also do. 

Luk 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. 
39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 
40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. 
41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

The context is similar and this parallel is immediately preceded by the command to be merciful that we may receive mercy. We need to remember a few key phrases from earlier concerning what a judge was supposed to do:

Deu 1:16 …Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man… 
:17…for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.

Deu 17:8 If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment…being matters of controversy… 

Deu 19:17 Then both the men, between whom the controversy is…

Deu 25:1 If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment…

A judge was to judge between people, he was to judge controversies. When scripture speaks of the judge, judging the people, it isn’t referring to him going around “you’re a bad person! God can’t love you! God hates people like you!” The judge judged matters of Torah, deciding issues/matters. An example: if a judge says “You’re a murderer and can never be saved.” That’s judging a person. If he says, “I have diligently enquired in the matter and find that you have transgressed the torah and have committed murder, you shall be put to death.” He has judged the issue. 

  Let’s look at Luke again:

Luk 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 

  If you were never to judge issues/actions/matters then there could be no ‘forgiveness.’ Can you forgive someone who has done you no wrong? Why would God forgive us for forgiving things that weren’t sins? If you hurt your wife then you need to be forgiven. Is God going to forgive you if you forgive someone for giving you charity? No. Clearly there has to be a fault to be forgiven, there has to be the ‘sliver’ in your brother’s eye so that you can forgive it.   In fact this also explains that when he says ‘condemn not’ he is not talking about declaring someone as guilty, because again you have to be guilty of a crime to be forgiven for it. So he is clearly not talking about judging issues/actions; so what is he talking about? It’s as simple as reading the context.

Luk 6:32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 
33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 
34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

  We are supposed to be the light and the salt and to do God’s will so that men will see our good works and glorify God, but what glory is there for God if we do the same as everyone else. If you help someone else out, they’ll help you out. Now it isn’t always true, but in general people will ‘hook you up’ if you ‘hook them up.’ But the truth is that when they do these things there’s an expectation of return/of gain. During my time in the Marine Corps I saw this all the time where one person would cheat to help someone else get a higher score on the rifle range (the famed skill of the basic rifleman is much exaggerated), then when the relays switched and the second shooter didn’t do as well, you would often here “Man, I didn’t get any pit love even though I was giving out…” And this is logical, if you don’t believe in God then you will always try to secure your own advantage here. What else are you waiting for?
Luk 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 

  The standard God gives as always, is himself. We of course have nothing to give God. What is the meaning of my tithe? God made all the resources that I used to make the resources that I am now giving only a tenth back for. The only thing that I can actually make for God is my choices and it is the only thing he truly desires from us. 

  So the only thing that we can then deny God is also our choices. This is why it means everything that God is kind to the unthankful (who don’t acknowledge him) and to the evil. And the standard is the God who certainly knows that they will not return his favor, still is kind. The word kind here can also mean employed or useful towards. In other words he makes their lives better. We are to be well-doers and make people’s lives better by our resources because of the example set by God just as he makes people’s live better even when they do not acknowledge him. 

  On a side note, this is interesting in it’s correlation to Job’s situation. God is kind to those who are not kind to him; Job is in a situation where he is trying to find out why he should be kind to God when he is not being kind to Job. 

Luk 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

  He’s talking about doing good to all people regardless of their actions to you, in short returning good for evil. Then he says because God is kind to the unthankful and evil, therefore be merciful, or compassionate; have pity…pity on who? Those who are guilty; those who are not thankful; those who are evil. In other words, yes recognize that people do wrong and obviously judge the action/issue as right or wrong, but have pity on the person. So does this mean we say that a person is guilty, but do not hold them accountable for their actions?

  Well, we always fall short of God’s standard of himself, which seems like a terrible situation to be in because no one can fill God’s shoes except God. However, believe it or not there is an upside to this. God says be merciful, as he is merciful, so to know what that means we need to look at how God is merciful.

Exo 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 
7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. 

Here the LORD is pronouncing his own name and proclaiming his attributes. There is so much richness in these two verses alone about who God is. But here we are looking at his mercy so that we can learn to be merciful. Firstly, understand the greek word oiktirmōn when it appears in the septuigent is the Hebrew word found here in verse 6 is “rachum” (H7349) meaning compassionate. This is word compassionate with one possible exception is only applied to God and it comes from a word meaning that can be translated fondle but is never done so. Even if it were, despite the stigma that is not a bad thing. If a man fondles his wife, or vice-versa it is a good thing. It is most often rendered either compassionate, merciful, or pity. 

  However, I’m going to disagree with that simplicity though I am not a scholar of foreign languages, but I don’t think alone it captures the correct sense. I say this because of the following Psalm:

Psa 18:1 I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.

This is one of my favorite Psalms because it came at the point that I was considering the holiness of God’s name and whether it should be spoken and I realized this Psalm loses so much if you don’t use his name as it is written. But the point from this verse, is the last line. “I will love thee…” If you render this as compassion or mercy, what does that mean? David can’t have mercy on God; no one can have mercy in God. Can anyone have compassion on God? Can we ‘feel sorry’ or commiserate with the one who has all strength and more compassion than anyone is capable of? 

  It is meaningless if not rendered love. If on the other hand you go to everyplace where it is rendered mercy or compassion and you put love in there, it makes perfect sense. It enhances what is already there. If you have love for someone then of course you commiserate with them, and of course you want to be merciful to them. 

  So the subject word Rachum (H7349) comes from Racham and means to be merciful/loving. So how does God show this ‘lovingkindness’ (which is how this word is elsewhere rendered). By keeping mercy (different word meaning kindness, favour, or goodness) for thousands. In otherwords, he saves up goodness to give people by the thousands. Forgiving three different kinds of infractions; contrary to popular belief all sin is not the same. There is iniquity, literally perversity or crookedness, wrong doing; this would be known fault, conscious sin. Transgression means to revolt, to apostasize, or break away; an active defiance towards God. Sin means an offence, a miss; you were probably aiming in the right direction, but you just fell short. Our God is willing to forgive all of those.  

  However, then he says the next line “…and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children…” This phrase could be literally translated “clean, but not exhaustively clean.” Elsewhere the individual word form “nâqâh” (H5352) is rendered ‘unpunished.’ So it could be rendered “unpunished, but not exhaustively unpunished.” So even though he will forgive the trespass, making atonement for it, he will not entirely remove the consequences of it. An example could be Moses when he struck the rock the second time in disobedience to God, he was forgiven but as a consequence he could not enter the promised land. David was forgiven his sin with Bethsheba, but the baby still died.

  So what do we know about God’s mercy? Firstly, not everyone gets it. 

Exo 33:17 And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. 
18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. 
19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. 

Remembering that Racham here rendered mercy can also be love, which then makes sense of Moses has found grace/favor in God’s sight and asks to be shown the glory. God says he will and ends it with a phrase that could be rendered “…and will shew love on whom I will shew love.” 

  God does not have to extend his lovingkindness on everyone. We know that God loves the whole world, but we also know that not everyone receives his mercy, so not everyone receives his loving kindness. 

Isa 9:17 Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

Isa 27:11 When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, and set them on fire: for it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour.

Jer 13:14 And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them. 

God has mercy/lovingkindness to bestow on everyone, but he will have it on whom he will have it and the disobedient will not have it in many cases (though as we’ve seen he still sends gifts to the unthankful). Secondly, we saw back in Exodus 34, that even though he is full of mercy and does forgive rebellion, conscious sin, and missing the mark, he does not hold back all the consequences and punishment for their actions. 

  That may seem like a contradiction because how can God punish us for something we have been forgiven for? Well this is the flipside of obedience. Remember earlier we saw that if you believe God’s commands are arbitrary than any blessing that results from obedience is simply God throwing us a treat. On the other hand, if you believe that as God said, his commands are for our good then obedience will result in blessing. The inverse is that if God’s commands are for out good then disobedience will result in punishment as a natural consequence if left unchecked by God’s supernatural power. This is further proof of the premise of cause and effect because if punishment is not the natural consequence of our disobedient action than despite our forgiveness, God is still punishing arbitrarily since there is no actual correlation between our disobedience and our punishment.

  So then, in response to Yeshua’s teachings that we be merciful as our Father is merciful. This means again that we do not pretend that no wrong has been committed, mercy (or rather as we saw compassion or lovingkindness) is dependent on there being a fault to have mercy or compassion over. We must be ready to extend compassion to everyone…I would feel like I was on dangerous ground to say there is anyone you should not have compassion for. However, our compassion does not negate the consequences of their actions. 

  Therefore, when we move in this context into the subject in Luke and Matthew of not judging, it is perfectly consistent with the view that Yeshua is not talking about a prohibition on evaluating good from evil and right from wrong. But rather using the proper, non-hypocritical method of righteous judgment of issues, not people; being ready to forgive offenses that you determine have taken place; and being compassionate in consequences. 

  If this were not the conclusion than no one could be expected to follow Yeshua because he constantly judged; remember the seven woes? And he told his Apostles to judge; Matthew 18:15-22? Nor could you listen to Paul, who was certain not blameless, in fact he submitted his doctrine to the Apostles at Jerusalem and yet still had the guts to rebuke Peter. 
  Remember this passage?

1Co 6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 
2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 
3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 
4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. 
5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? 
6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. 

  Not only are there to be judgments made, we are to submit to the judgment of the saints rather than go to the courts of the world…though of course that was in Corinth where they did not have a system of courts that submitted to God (you will recall that the Apostles on occasions did submit to the Sanhedrin except when they were prohibited for speaking in Yeshua’s name). 

  The point is that we are to judge, but we are to judge righteously and compassionately. And again, yes, most of these passages spoke of judging in the formal binding sense. However, since we have determined that the seeming prohibitions against judging are in fact targeted at the uncompassionate and the hypocritical, there remains nothing that even slightly indicates that we are not individually supposed to judge the issues in our lives. We cannot forgive anyone if we don’t determine they have trespassed against us. We cannot know good doctrine from bad doctrine if we do not judge it. We cannot choose leaders if we cannot determine what men and women are sober, humble, grave and the many other qualities. 

  The people who are against judgment in any form have no idea what they’re saying, especially since it is their judgment that says we cannot judge. While it is possible that some are simply ignorant, I think it really goes to a misunderstanding of unity where it is pursued above truth. Rather we should have unity in love and truth. Judgment protects the community from false doctrine, and from evil. We must put away evil from our midst or we will all be unifed in our own destruction.