God is very specific about how He wants His people to worship Him. He clearly outlines His expectations of how this should and should not be done in His Word. If we want to be honorable servants to His Word, we will work hard to not twist and distort His Word and expectations to meet our own personal agendas, preferences, or gain. To do so otherwise brings into question our devotion to Christ.
In this world, we can easily succumb to the wiles (tricks and schemes) of the devil not simply because we are human. But because this world is filled with customs that we fail to take the steps to understand the origin of these different customs. It is easier for us to just accept them without questioning is this something I and my family should participate in? Or even more importantly, is this a practice not only would God approve, but would He Himself join in the celebration with us?
Most of us are so enticed by customs and celebrations because we simply want to fit in and not stand out. Because it is basically natural and easier to do what everyone else is doing. And simply because this is what has been passed down to us from our parents. We as a human race refuse to question or challenge some of the things that have been passed down to us. And that in itself can be the thing that can bring us to ruin. Our failure to question. Our failure to investigate and verify things for ourselves. (Compare to Acts 11:17). Even when these things are passed down to us by our parents.
DO NOT BE LIKE THE NATIONS
Let’s take Godly devotion and worship. As I mentioned before, God makes it clear through His Word how we should and should not worship Him. One explicit instruction He gave to His people was to not get involved in any forms of worship (this would include customs and celebrations) that the surrounding nations (worldly people) were doing.
At Leviticus chapter 18, verses 2 through 3 God said to His people. (This instruction was given to Moses). “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. I am the LORD your God. So DO NOT ACT LIKE the people in Egypt, where you use to live, or like the people of Canaan, where I am taking you. You MUST NOT IMITATE THEIR WAY OF LIFE” (NLT).
God was very clear. Whatever practices, celebrations, customs, rituals, festivals (which would be our holidays today) that the Egyptians and Canaanites (which would be similar to the nations around us today) – DO NOT BECOME LIKE THEM; DO NOT DO THE THINGS THAT THEY ARE DOING; DO NOT CELEBRATE THE THINGS THEY ARE CELEBRATING.
God calls His people to live a holy lifestyle. In doing so, He instructs His people at Deuteronomy chapter 18, verse 9. “When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO IMITATE THE DETESTABLE CUSTOMS of the nations living there (NLT). Now, in verse 10 of that same chapter, God provides a simple list of SOME of the things the people of that land were doing that were considered “detestable” to God. But He certainly did not list them all. There were a whole host of things the people of that land were doing that God did not approve that He did not want His people involved in. And the different type of festivals and celebrations the people of that land were participating in was definitely among that list of things that God was not pleased with.
GOD WILL NOT SHARE HIS WORSHIP
God was particular about how He wanted His people to worship Him. (See Luke 4:8). He was clear that He did not want His worship tainted by other man-made deities, practices, customs, or celebrations adopted and created by the surrounding nations. (See Exodus 20:3-5). He did not want to share His worship, His celebrations, His festivals that He granted His people to partake in with any other gods. Nor did He want His people to be divided on this matter. And yet, since the beginning of mankind’s history, man has ignored this warning.
The Scriptures warn, “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9, NKJV). The Greek word for “leavens” is zymoō, which means to mix leaven with dough so as to make it ferment. The Apostle Paul spoke of leaven this way. “Your glorying (boasting) is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven (yeast) leavens the whole lump? (1 Corinthians 5:6)
Here the Apostle Paul is CONDEMNING God’s people for tolerating any single small act of immorality that offends their God. It does not matter what the act is. God’s people should never tolerate any acts or behaviors or customs or celebrations or festivals that are displeasing to their God. PERIOD.
Hence why the LORD commands His people at Deuteronomy chapter 6, verses 3 through 4, “… fear the LORD your God… keep all His statutes and His commandments…. Be careful to observe it…. Hear… the LORD our God the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength."
There is no greater way to show God this kind of love than by adhering to His command to have “no other gods before” Him or “any likeness of anything” to resemble worship to Him (Exodus 20:3). For God is a jealous God and He is not willing to share His praise, worship, celebration, or devotion.
The APOSTLE PAUL COUNSEL
We as the people of God got to seriously consider the Words of the LORD deeply. Truly understanding what God means when He says, He is a jealous God and He will not tolerate the idolizing, the praising, the worshiping, nor the celebrating of any other kinds of worship. Especially those that are shared or incorporating worship that is from a pagan origin.
Here is where the problem lies for God’s people today when considering the Scriptures mentioned previously in this article. Christians today read them as if that verse only applies to God’s people during that time. They often fail to apply what they are reading to a modern time frame – according to the culture and time we are living in today. Whenever we fail to do this, then how can we fully benefit from Scriptural application in our lives today? How do we properly gain God’s heart and expectations on matters if we read His Word, particularly the Old Testament as if it is some fictional story? Especially when Paul wrote, “ALL Scripture is inspired by God and IS USEFUL TO TEACH US what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives….” (2 Timothy 3:17, NLT) Paul said that all Scripture is good for reproof (punishment, admonishment), correction, instruction (training, discipline) in righteousness….
Again, the Apostle Paul even addresses this manner at Romans chapter 15, verse 4. He said, “for whatever things were written before….” Here, this phrase, “was written before” is the Greek word prographō. This simply means to write before the eyes of all who can read. In other words, we are reading it (the Scriptures) today but these things took place before our time. Therefore, the things, the instructions, the prophesies, His laws and decrees “were written before” – notating what has taken place in the past but for our benefit today. For the Scriptures which was written before any of us were born was written for our understanding and application in the culture in which we live in today.
MODERN APPLICATION OF THE SCRIPTUREs
With that being said. We have to learn to apply the things that are spoken of in the past concerning God’s people and how they apply to us today. How do we apply them in our modern society? Failing to do so can mean not only not living up to God’s standards, expectations, will, and commands. But it can also mean the loss of our lives, our heavenly hope, for failing to live up to God’s righteous standard.
Now, before any of y’all flip and insert that I am saying something that I am not. Let me make it clear. I am not saying, people will not make it into heaven because they choose to celebrate certain pagan customs or holidays. That is not for me to judge or decide. But it does build a case against you and provides Satan the legal rights to make your life complicated and to challenged God concerning who you actually belong to – who has rights to you – him or God. It is that serious.
This is why we all must take the standards of God seriously. We must understand that He does have expectations that He expects us to adhere and live up to. We as God’s people do not get to pick and choose which standards we get to adhere to and which we can dismiss because we personally believe that principle or law no longer applies. We must dig deep and really determine what is God’s heart concerning a manner. And allow God to reveal it to us and not our culture or even our flesh (our desire or personal preferences).
Now, this leads me to speak what God has placed on my heart today.
ITS ORIGIN DOES MATTER
Customs – man-made customs are such a dangerous thing. For our participation will often lead us astray from the Father’s will and desire for His people. Bible History has proven this time and time again. Go back to Paul’s words at Galatians 5:9. A little bit, “a little bit of leaven leavens the whole lump.” In verses 7 through 12 of that chapter, Paul severely condemns false teachings and any customs or practices associated with them. The source of such practices, no matter when they originated is essential and matters to God. You cannot discredit their origin no matter how you want to flip it.
Let me be a little clearer. Many Christians have adopted such practices into their Churches and homes such as Christmas, Easter, Halloween, birthday, Valentine's Day, etc. (I used the word adopted because these customs were not established by God, but by man). Most Christians have chosen to ignore the origin of these customs and how these customs were inserted into the Church. Most Christians have failed to acknowledge how God sees the connection with such celebrations are like sharing God’s worship with another. You are incorporating something God did not establish for His people and calling it a tool being used to honor (praise and worship) God. Something that God has forbidden for His people to do.
Let’s take Christmas for instance. Some Christians make this pagan celebration acceptable by declaring such things as –
Never mind that Jesus was not born in December. Never mind that this winter solstice holiday was set up to honor Saturn, the god of sowing. That this holiday was originally established to replace the worship of the Son (Jesus Christ) with the worship of the sun (an object that God has created). Is this not what Paul warned us against in Romans chapter 1? Paul called mankind foolish because they have exchanged the truth of God for a lie. Willingly to “… worship and serve the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise!” (Verse 25, NLT).
The sad reality is that Christians claim they are using this holiday to focus on Jesus. But is this not supposed to be something we are already doing DAILY? Being that is the case, then why do we need to accept a single pagan holiday such as Christmas, that honors another god, to aid us in focusing on Jesus? It just does not make sense. It does not add up.
Not one single Christian in the Bible celebrated anything remotely similar to Christmas. Even our legal system fully understands that Christmas has nothing to do with Christ. In 1990, in Cleveland, Ohio. A court case was held by a few outraged parents against their school board concerning the separation of church and state about the Christmas celebration in their school. The board lost their case based on these court case outcomes.
As a result, the school board’s attempt to ban the Christmas celebration in their school failed because it was determined by the court that Christmas was not a religious celebration nor did it have any Biblical roots. It was a pagan (worldly) in nature since its conception. In fact, its origin can be affiliated with Roman customs and religion (false gods) and not with God’s people or even Christ.
RECOUNTING pAUL'S WORDS
Two simple research can easily prove to any Christian God’s stance on such matters.
We have to go back to what Paul said at Romans 15:4, Galatians 5:9, and the writings of Moses at Exodus 20:3-4. This custom as well as others do not bring honor nor glory to God but only glories the hands and the imaginations of man through their gift-giving to one another and entertainments (gatherings for socializing and partying activities). We must ask ourselves, is God really gaining anything from such celebrations? The answer is a resounding nothing! Celebrating such holidays are being done in vain and has no use to God.
AGREE TO DISAGREE IS A CHOICE
We cannot have it both ways. Our fleshly customs, desires, and godly worship and celebrations and the LORD our God. God renounces such sharing of His worship with any other pagan god. In fact, the LORD declares if we refuse to turn away from such pagan practices, we will become like them. (See Psalm 115:1-8).
You can agree to disagree with me. Many of God's people often agree to disagree with God's prophets, apostles, and even His Son, Jesus Christ. The fact is, it really does not matter to me one way or another. My goal here was to only speak what the LORD has placed on my heart whether you receive it or not. (Compare to Ezekiel 2:4-7; 3:17-21).
This Nation's Fate
To be honest, I have not given much thought to the Ukraine-Russia war. I have followed a few news reports about it just to stay abreast of what is going on. But I really wasn’t concerned or showing much interest in it, until recently.
Recently, something started bubbling up in my spirit concerning this conflict but for days I was not sure why. This gnawing in my spirit became so dominant that I finally had to stop, after being awoken out of sleep around 11 p.m. last night, and prayed to God about this disturbance that was in my spirit concerning this war conflict. What is it that God wanted to speak?
For about an hour I tossed and turned in bed trying to go back to sleep. When I realized I was not going to get any sleep not unless I allowed God to speak to me concerning this matter and whatever was on His heart. So, I asked God, "what is it? What is it that you are trying to show me that I am not understanding or even ignoring?" It was then that I felt led to go read the next chapter in my Bible reading in the book of Judges. So, it was then that I got up, headed downstairs to my home office, and sat at my desk to read Judges chapter 11.
I usually do not take notes while I am reading my Bible, just for the purpose of reading. But the moment I sat down, I felt compelled to take notes while I read this chapter. As I read, the following was released in my spirit.
the son that was rejected
In verse one, we are introduced to Jephthah, the son of Gilead. In his community, Jephthah was known for two things. He was considered a mighty (great, valiant, brave) warrior within the nation of Israel. He was also known as an illegitimate child of his father because he was not the son of his father’s wife. Jephthah was the son of a prostitute (Judges 11:1). As a result of this illegitimate ancestry, when Jephthah and his brothers grew up, his brothers rejected Jephthah, to prevent him from inheriting their father’s inheritance and forced Jephthah to leave his family’s home (Judges 11:2). What a betrayal.
So, at the hands of Jephthah’s brothers and the leaders of Gilead, Jephthah flees his home and leaves his rightful post. Once he departed from his home, he ends up in a city called Tob. And there a caravan of men joined him and willing submitted themselves to the leadership and authority of Jephthah (Judges 11:3).
Some time passes and the nation of Ammon rose against the Israelites to fight against them (Judges 11:4). During the invasion, the Israelites did not have a worthy leader in command that was able to successfully lead them against the Ammonites. There was not one mighty warrior in their camp that was able to deal with and overthrow the Ammonites. So, the leaders of Gilead gathered among themselves and decided that they needed to send out a search party for Jephthah, in order to convince him to return to his homeland to fight and rescue them from the hands of the Ammonites (Judges 11:5).
Now, we have to remember a few months earlier, the people of Gilead and its leaders wanted Jephthah out of their region despite his giftings, calling, or abilities. At the time, the value of Jephthah’s brothers’ inheritance was more worthy to them, than the purpose of Jephthah’s position, role, and status in his family, in his city, or in God’s Kingdom. When the Gileadites failed Jephthah by rejecting him and forcing him to leave his post. The nation was rejecting the appointment of God that was serving a greater purpose for God’s nation and its people. By rejecting Jephthah and forcing him to flee, they could not see at that time the impact that decision would have on their future – the sudden attack by the Ammonites. It was not until later that they came to see and understand the value Jephthah actual was to their people and nation. Therefore, they were desperate for the return of this brave and mighty warrior to his proper place in his father’s home to fight for their nation and lead them to victory against the Ammonites.
jephthah's response to his nation
Now that God’s people were desperate. They needed a deliverer to deliver them from the hands of the Ammonites. But would Jephthah agree to return or would he leave God’s people to their own self-destructive fate?
So, we see in verse 6 of Judges chapter 11 that the leaders of Gilead plead with Jephthah to come back and lead his people against the Ammonites. Now, I find it interesting how the Gileadites had no use for Jephthah when it seemed to them that everything was going well for them. When it appeared they had no enemies – no major conflict before them. But at the moment, when their enemies rise against the nation of Israel and they had no fearless leader in place to stand up and lead the people against the brutal threats and attacks or a leader who could led them into war. They had no choice but to search for the one capable leader that they unitedly ran off because they felt that Jephthah was not worthy based on his
So, how did Jephthah respond to the Gilead’s leader's request? Verse 7 said that he asked the Gilead leaders
1. God remains and affirms His covenant with His people (Judges 2:2).
2. The Israelites’ leaders, whom God had appointed over them dies (Judges 2:8).
3. The death of God’s chosen leader results in a generation coming up that does not know God (Judges 2:10). Meaning, very few leaders, none or very few of the parents, and most of the adults among God’s people stopped teaching their children, the young people about their God. (Compare to Deuteronomy 6:7).
4. Yet, the leaders, parents, and adults adopt the practices and worship of the other pagan gods among the people of the land that God instructed them to destroy but they did not when they took over the Promised Land (Judges 2:11-13; compare to Exodus 20:3, Judges chapter 1).
5. This lack of obedience on God’s people's part leads to them provoking God’s anger against them. The people’s actions and lack of obedience and deficiency in faithfulness result in leaving God no choice but to discipline His people (Judges 2:12; compare to Hebrews 12:6-11). In such situations, God disciplines His people in three ways.
god will respond with justice and judgment
Therefore, God could not continue to protect, bless, and show His people favor due to their behavior, their sin. Whenever God removes Himself from the midst of His people, this always leads to God turning His face away from them, removing His protective hands from upon them. Resulting in their enemies coming in and plundering them. Verse 14 says it this way. “… Then the anger of the LORD turns against Israel, and He (God) gave them (God’s people – the Israelites) into the hands of the plunderers (God’s people enemies) …. Why? Because of their actions, their behaviors, their sins, their disobedience.
Like it or not. This is God’s way, His justice when we are completely in the wrong and refuses to repent, refuses to turn away from our, not His, but our wicked ways. When we refuse to listen to the voices of His chosen vessels. When we choose to outright disobey the commandments of the LORD – breaking our covenant individually, as a family, as a congregation, or as a nation with the LORD. God will respond with justice and judgment (Judges 2:14-15).
God raISes judges
Vicious cycle of sin
Let’s turn to Judges chapter 6, verse 6. As we read Judges chapter 6, we see God’s people, the Israelites, fall back into their vicious sin cycle. It says in verse 1, “… the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.” Of course, this eventually leads to God’s judgment upon His people, which leads to the Midian plundering everything they had for seven years (Judges 6:1-5). So, what did the Israelites do? After much persecution, they begin to cry out to the LORD to deliver them from the hands of their enemy the Midianites. But here is the problem with their outcry.
The reason why they keep recycling into old sinful habits, behaviors, customs, traditions, and practices – make sure you get this. THEIR CRIES WASN’T ONE OF REPENTANCE. No. They were not truly repenting from the heart to God. (Compare to Psalm 51:17). They just wanted the persecution, the oppression by their enemies to stop. Their cries to the LORD were due to their anguish toward the Midianites and what the Midian were doing to God’s people. They were not crying out to God because they truly realize they have sinned against a mighty and just God. (Compare to 2 Corinthians13:5). They were mad and fed up with their poverty-stricken state, their losses, their insecurities, and their life of normalcy being taking away. They wanted to go back to what was normal. Therefore, they wanted God to put an end to the Midianites' tyranny. Because the condition and the position of their hearts were not right, God had to remind them of why they were in the situation they were in the first place. Was it because He had failed them or because He was incapable of protecting and taking care of His people? Certainly not! Their condition, their plight was the way it was with the Midianites because of their own historical records, their own accounts, their own deeds, their own actions. (See Judges 6:8-10).
What can we learn
Yet, we the people, are choosing to mix the ways of the world with our worship of God, in order to fit in with a pagan society and call it exclusive worship. How cynical.
We have forsaken our first love and call evil good and good evil. And yet, God, out of His love, grace, and mercy, raises voices that speak about such matters from the throne of God – from His nature and His heart so that His people can be delivered. And yet, just like the Israelites in the book of Judges, God’s chosen people. Today, God’s people will not listen to His voices. Instead, they continue to do what is right in his or her own eyes. Resulting in God’s people sinning to a point of no return and provoking God’s anger. And therefore, in His righteous anger, He must respond. He must shake His house. And what does not or no longer belongs must fall out. But what is sorrowful from the heart, will remain.
God's Next Move
Listen to the word of the Lord, O sons of Israel, For the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land, Because there is no faithfulness or kindness Or knowledge of God in the land. There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, And everyone who lives in it languishes (weakens, deteriorates, declines, suffers, decays) Along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky, And also the fish of the sea disappear. Yet let no one find fault, and let none offer reproof; For your people are like those who contend with the priest. So you will stumble by day, And the prophet also will stumble with you by night; And I will destroy your mother. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. The more they multiplied, the more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame.
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever…. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
God Requires genuine repentance
god is doing a new thing
But today’s leaders refuse to follow the example of Moses even when they see and understand the shift God is making in order to prepare and lead His people into the Promised Land. Moses swiftly took Joshua under his wings and guide and train Joshua to be the proper replacement for him in the next season. Moses was not concerned with his clout, position, power, authority, what he will do next, or his role. He was concerned with getting God’s people ready for what was next and that was entering into the Promised Land. And this required Moses to pass on what God had given him to the next young leader. And then Moses earned his eternal rewards.
god takes offence
“Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moses?” (Numbers 12:8)
Then God proceeded to call forward, Aaron and Miriam, so He could clearly identify who He was directly addressing. And then, speaking directly to Aaron and Miriam, God says.
“Hear now My words” (Numbers 12:6).
Why did God take such an aggressive step in dealing with Aaron and Miriam before Moses? Verse 8 reveals why God responded in this manner. It reads
“Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moses?
god takes offence
Before looking at how God dealt with such conspicuous and treasonous acts by Aaron and Miriam. Let’s look at what kind of complaint the two of them had against Moses.
At Numbers chapter 12, verse 1, the Bible shows us that Aaron and Miriam had an issue with Moses because of his wife who was of Cushite descent. Based on their grievances against Moses, this led to the two of them questioned who God appointed as an authority figure over them. (Compare to 1 Corinthians chapter 12). They questioned whether God was only speaking and giving instructions through Moses (Numbers 12:2). The two of them said
“… Has the LORD indeed SPOKE ONLY through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?”
“And the LORD heard it (Compare to Hebrews 4:14).
god responDS to the co-conspirators
Verse 9 says – so the anger of the LORD burned against them….
God was hot, mad with the behavior of Aaron and Miriam concerning His servant, Moses. And immediately after His Spirit departed from before the three, Miriam was struck with leprous [Numbers 12:9-10 (compare to Psalm 5:4)].
what can we learn from this event
1. We have to be mindful that God took such a strong and defensive position on Moses' behalf against Aaron and Miriam because (1) the position God Himself had placed Moses. We have to realize that Moses did not self-appoint himself in the role he had over God’s people. Go back to the book of Exodus and read the account at chapters 3 and 4. We clearly see that God personally selected Moses to be in the role he was in. A position Moses did not sort out for or was appointed by man or a role he self-appointed himself. His role, title, position, and authority were by divine providence and appointment. With that being said, God will certainly defend those He has appointed in their rightful roles. So, God was obligated to come to the aid of Moses when his authority, position, title, and role were being attacked. But keep this in mind. God was not necessarily defending Moses per se. God was defending His decision concerning Moses (Exodus chapters 3 and 4).
(2) We also have to take into account Moses’ nature. God did. God’s perspective of Moses persuaded Him even more so to come to Moses' aid when his character and authority were being questioned. At Numbers 12:3, this is what was said concerning Moses.
“Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was in the face of the earth.”
In God’s eyes, Moses was an honorable man that was worthy of defending. Here are some other points we can learn from this courting hearing against Aaron and Miriam.
2. It is never wise to complain and murmur against righteous leaders. Please hear me out. I am not talking about leaders who call themselves righteous. I am only referring to those leaders WHO GOD CALLS HUMBLE, AND MEEK, AND GOOD, AND RIGHTEOUS. There is a difference.
3. When we unrighteously speak against, murmur, complain, or gossip about others, GOD WILL HOLD IT (account it) AGAINST US. All unrepented backbiting, gossiping, or evil use of words spoken about another person without God instructing you to speak thus saith the LORD concerning a person, or group, or entity is a violation of the principle stated at Galatians 5:16-26. And therefore, is a sin. To which, God must account for and respond to. He did in the case of Miriam and Aaron. In fact, there must have been something in the heart of Miriam that was not present in Aaron’s heart based on how severely God decided to discipline Miriam. She was struck with leprous once God exited the court hearing concerning the two.
This definitely is a warning for us as we walk into this next season of Church history.
4. God could have dealt with Aaron and Miriam’s sin against Moses privately. But instead, God brought Aaron and Miriam before the presence of His Godship and Moses, His chosen authorized vessel. Why did God decide to handle this matter in this way? Well, He could have been simply following the principle stated at Matthew 18:15-17. But I think it goes even deeper than that. I believe God wanted to show and reveal to Moses what his brother and sister were doing, how they were plotting concerning him behind his back. While at the same time, God could have been testing Moses’ character. Maybe God wanted to see how Moses would respond to this form of betrayal and treasonous act. When someone as close as Aaron and Miriam are disloyal and deceitful toward him, can he still apply the godly principle stated at Matthew 5:44 – love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Or, would he boast about how God disciplines those who attempt to double-cross him? What kind of man would Moses show himself to be in such a challenging situation he found himself in?
5. Although we did not read this portion of Scriptures in this post. But I do think it is worth mentioning this next point here.
Notice how both Moses and Aaron responded after Miriam was struck with leprous.
After acknowledging his error, his wrong behavior. Aaron turns to Moses and says,
“I beg you, do not account this sin to us, in which we have acted foolishly and in which we have sinned. Oh, don’t let her be like one dead, whose flesh is halt eaten away when he comes from his mother’s womb!”
“O, God, heal her.
How did God respond? After Moses’ requests, God politely reminded Moses how sometimes a father (an earthy father) must discipline his child in accordance to their unrighteous act. As a result, the child must experience the full penalty of their sin. That is the consequence of his or her sinful actions. Therefore, even though God may forgive them of their sin and extend mercy and grace to a person. That person most likely will still feel the full efforts of the consequences of his or her sinful action (Number 12:14-15). We like to call it karma.
I strongly believe we are entering in the days of what has been illustrated for us in this situation between Aaron and Miriam and their brother Moses. I believe we are about to see an accounting for our actions and even words on a level that we have never seen in this generation, but only have read about in God's Word.
God's prophetic word
1. Because we the people are so drawn to a person’s outer beauty despite the counsel given at 1 Samuel 16:7.
2. Also, we the people are so drawn to the charm a person displays that we based a person's value purely on whether we believe or if others agree that a person is likable or not.
3. And if a person possesses both outer beauty and charm, then, we the people idolize them. Often time, whether consciously or unconsciously, to a point where we place these individuals on such a high pedestal that these individuals are given God-like status in our hearts, in our churches, and in our communities.
This is dangerous because when these individuals misrepresent the One True Living God in some way. Whether this is done purposely or not, we the people often time refuse to deal with their failure (or sin) based on Biblical protocols or principles. (Compare to Matthew 18:15-17). As a result, we the people become enablers and give birth to corrupt leaders. Because when we allow leaders to make mistakes without holding them accountable, too often, that one mistake manifests in that leader and takes root. And as that root strengthens, grows, and expands, more corrupted behavior begins to exhibit in that leader's behavior and nature. Until it gives birth to such men like the prophet Hananiah.
The removal of hananiah the prophet
Hananiah the prophet had become so corrupted that he spoke false prophecy to God’s people. He spoke lies and the people choose to believe the words of Hananiah instead of what Jeremiah, God’s prophet was speaking.
Despite the failures of the people to judge righteously between the prophet Hananiah and the Prophet Jeremiah. God still is a righteous God, and He judged between Jeremiah and Hananiah righteously. As a result, God had Jeremiah say to Hananiah, “… thus says the LORD, behold, I am about to remove you from the face of the earth. THIS YEAR you are going to die….” (Jeremiah 28:16)
Why such a harsh judgment? Jeremiah explains why in that same verse. “… Because you have counseled rebellion against the LORD” (Jeremiah 28:16).
Rebellion. Hananiah the prophet was preaching and teaching rebellion. Hananiah the prophet was declaring the opposite of God’s plan and direction for His people. At that time, God instructs His people that He was allowing them (the nation of Israel – God’s people) to go into captivity (slavery) by the Babylonians because of the people (God’s people) unrepentant spirit and acts of rebellion against God. So, through God’s prophet, like Jeremiah, He instructed them to tell His people to submit (surrender) to the Babylonians. (Compare to Amos 3:7; Jeremiah chapters 25 and 27). But prophets like Hananiah were proclaiming the opposite of what God was actually saying. THIS IS REBELLION! AKA, A SIN.
A rebellion, or should I say, unrepentant rebellion deserves such a harsh judgment as stated by God’s prophet Jeremiah at Jeremiah 28:16 – “… THIS YEAR you are going to die….” Hananiah NEVER REPENTED for his misrepresentation of God’s direction for His people. Hananiah kept preaching his own opinion instead of what God actually was saying. So, God passed judgment on Hananiah through His prophet Jeremiah. Therefore, what Jeremiah declared concerning the prophet Hananiah, was fulfilled that year. “… Hananiah, the prophet died on the same year in the 7th month” (Jeremiah 28:17).
We all need to heed the counsel and insight provided here in Jeremiah chapter 28. For the Bible is written for us as a warning, insight to what can happen to us if we preach and teach the opposite of what God is actually saying and declaring. Here, the insight given at Jeremiah chapter 28 is a clear indication that there is nothing new under the sun, for God is the same today as He was yesterday and will be forever. (Compare to 1 Corinthians 10:11-12; Ecclesiastes 1:9; Hebrews 13:7-9).
Abraham once asked the LORD. “Suppose there are fifty… forty-five… forty… thirty… twenty… ten… righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for…” the righteous? (Genesis 18:24,28-32). Now, God gave Abraham His word IN THAT SITUATION, UNDER THAT CIRCUMSTANCE, He would NOT destroy them. God said in verse 26 of Genesis chapter 18. “… I will spare the whole place on their account...” if He found at least 10 righteous people in Sodom or Gomorrah. Indeed, that’s mercy. An entire nation in that situation could be spared from God’s judgment and wrath, if God could find at least 10 righteous people. But we need to understand two things here in that situation.
At some point, God reveals His plans to Abraham, which prompts Abraham to ask. LORD! Will You destroy the righteous with the wicked? And that’s the point! Abraham wasn’t really concerned about whether God will destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. For Abraham knew that God is a just God. He does nothing out of unrighteousness. Therefore, if God has planned to destroy these two cities and all the people in it. Then, as sad as it is to say this, THEY EARNED IT.
Now, you can go back through the previous chapters in Genesis to learn why Sodom and Gomorrah had reached a point of deserving God’s judgment poured out on these two cities. But to make this easy, I want to compare the waywardness of these cities – how sinful and rebellious they had become and how far they have moved away from God by looking at Hosea chapter 4. Now, I won’t read that chapter here because I have spoken of the verses in this chapter far too many times in the past to rehash its significance. But I will quote this from that chapter, which is some of the same things that Sodom and Gomorrah were doing that made God’s judgment warranted. They (the people of Sodom and Gomorrah) were
- Lack kindness
- Swearing (cussing)
- Deception was everywhere
- Performing all kinds of sexual perversions – adultery, homosexuality, fornication (sex outside of marriage), bestiality, etc.
These two cities had reached a point of no return as far as God was concerned. Therefore, due to the prayers of God’s people. God sent two angels from His heavenly courts to go investigate the claims that were being made (Genesis 18:20-22; Also, Genesis 19:1-29).
As we go on and read chapter 19, which we won’t read here, we see that the two angels determined the claims (the outcries through prayer) of God’s people were true. AS A RESULT, God enforced His judgment upon these two cities and destroyed everything in them except for 3 souls – Lot (Abraham’s nephew) and Lot’s two daughters.
2. WE GOT TO UNDERSTAND THIS! Two things occurred here. God’s mercy and God’s justice.
No, Jesus' exact words were that we will have the same experiences as Christ. In fact, he warns us by prepping us for what is to come. At Matthew chapter 10 he indicates there is a hard road before us. We that are a part of Christ’s rib will be driven to courts for his name’s sake (v17). We will be handed over and dragged before governors and kings for his name’s sake (vv18-19). Family members will betray us to the point that it will lead some of us to our death for his name’s sake (v21). We will be hated by ALL for his name’s sake (v22). Many of us will have to flee from one city to the next for his name’s sake (v23). As a result of these sufferings as well as others that are not listed here, we must endure. That is the keyword - endure. We have to endure suffering. Let me say it the way the Apostle Matthew says it, who is credited for writing the book of Matthew. “… It is the one who HAS ENDURED TO THE END who will be saved” (v22).
Now, the mercy God extends here is that He helps us endure this suffering we will experience on some level. To endure to the end. He helps us to finish our race despite the suffering we will undergo. (Compare 2 Timothy 4:7; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27). So, I have to say this. To those who think God is going to continue to extend mercy to a rebellious nation without any accountability for their rebellious condition, they simply don’t want to suffer like Christ has. They don’t want to drink from the cup that Jesus was willing to drink from for each one of us – that is the cup of suffering (Compare to Matthew 20:22; Luke 22:42). Instead, they want only peace. They want only security. They want only prosperity. They want it easy. And this is the reason why God will extend His mercy once again, for the sake of His righteous servants by cutting the perilous (our suffering) days short. Otherwise, even His righteous servants will not be able to survive it (v22). THAT is His mercy!
Today, there are false teachers twisting the Scriptures; false prophets proclaiming they are speaking truth; and false Christs claiming they are He and have returned but they have no power, no authority, nor can they take any of God’s people home in a twinkle of an eye (Matthew 24:23-27, 29-31; compare to John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:52).
Let’s close this out with this. America has reached its peak in its rebellion. God has heard the outcries of His servants through their prayers asking not only for God’s mercy but also His justice. To make this nation and its leaders, this nation’s Church who profess to belong to God – right. To bring about His justice throughout this nation. God a God of justice who cannot ignore the cries of His people – His chosen nation. So, what is left for God to do? To continue to extend mercy to a nation of people who have not drawn closer to Him but have fallen ever far away from Him out of rebellion and disobedience as time continues to pass us by? Is God supposed to sit around and wait for His people to establish His Kingdom on the earth? An assignment God has never assigned to His people – that is to establish God’s Kingdom here on this earth. God has given us the responsibility to preach and teach the Good News to all the nations with the goal of baptizing them so that they will become true disciples of Christ. So that, the Kingdom of God will be established in their hearts (Matthew 28:18-20; compare to Deuteronomy 30:6; Romans 2:29; Jeremiah 4:4).
This is God’s justice. Allowing each one of us to be a part of His Kingdom and His Body of servants. His mercy is the time He has allowed humans to live out our lives over the years, decades, centuries, in order to make the right choice to live and not die. (Compare to Deuteronomy chapter 28).
I have yet to find anywhere in the Bible where a man was needed to vet God's chosen vessel. Those He has handpicked for a purpose.
The prophet Jeremiah was alone when God called him out and said, before you were born I consecrated you, I have appointed you a prophet to the nations. Wherever I send you, you shall go. All where I commanded you, you shall speak. Then. THEN the LORD stretched out His hand and touched Jeremiah's mouth and put His words in a boy's mouth. And then God said to Jeremiah in the absence of an another man. It is I. Let me repeat that. IT IS I who appointed you over the nations and kingdoms for the sole purpose to break, destroy, and tear down any and everything that is not of God and then turn around to build and plant for God's glory.
My God! My God! My God! The shame of man who thinks He can do any planning, building, planting, uprooting, establishing, and appointing without or in the place of God.
And we see this standard or protocol with other men and women throughout the Bible. God hand picks His servants, His leaders, those who have a certain destiny or purpose, for God's glory.
Now, there are instances where God would use His prophets to lay their hands on an anointed vessel. Such is the case where God used the prophet, Samuel, to lay his hands and pour oil on the head of David as a sign of God's appointment and selection (1 Samuel 16:12-13). But note! The prophet Samuel did not selected, chose, handpicked, appointed, nor vetted David as the king. If that was the case and if Samuel would have selected the king himself without the guidance of God, he would have certainly chosen the wrong king. (Compare to 1 Samuel 16:1-11). For Samuel was prone to the habits of man and was leaning to select a king that looked the part. But God corrected Samuel's way of thinking and selection process by saying, "do not look at his appearance... nor the height of his stature...." (1 Samuel 16:7). For the man Samuel would have chosen, God rejected. Every one of the men that Samuel thought looked the part and was suited for the role, God rejected.
It is God who vets a man or woman into their role, position, and or calling upon their life. And men, those who are currently in the position of leaders - whether that be a prophet, apostle, priest, bishop, or pastor. Their responsibility is to accept and receive those God has called. Samuel was God's prophet, a leader over God's people. And when God gave Samuel instructions that He was going to appoint a new king and He needed Samuel to go and lay his hands on him to confirm God's selection. What did Samuel do? Questioned? Hesitated? Sat back and watched to see if he heard right? Avoid David? Waited? NO! Immediately, Samuel got up, went to the house of Jesse under God's direction and guidance, and inquired about Jesse's sons. And as soon as God said, "arise, anoint him, for this is he" whom God has chosen! Samuel the prophet did exactly as God had said without delay (1 Samuel 16:13).
Oh, there is a distinct difference in the way men, leaders, vet, men and women in the Bible compare to the way it is done today. We are extremely far away from the council that is stated concerning the appointment of spiritual gifts that are in God's house. For 1 Corinthians chapter 12 states, it is God who wills our gifts. It is God who has placed the members, each one of us where He desires within His body. It is God who appoints (or may I say vets) individuals in the church. For He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, who knows all things and in Him whom we should trust His appointment that He has chosen (Vv. 11-14; 18; 21; 25; 28-30). Amen and Amen.
We, the people today
So, I really need people to understand this and Lord knows I'm not trying to be insensitive. Because there is not one insensitive bone in my body. But when God places a calling on your life and you can see it and understand it clearly. Your obligation, your first priority is the things God has given you to say and or do. Nothing and no one takes precedence. You cannot be overly concerned about how people will respond or not respond to how God is moving in and through you. You must do as the LORD says, in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2). Serving the LORD is not a popularity contest. Ask the prophet Jeremiah, Daniel, Moses, Paul, and even Jesus can attest to this. They all were mocked, picked on, persecuted, shunned, isolated, etc (Matthew 10:22-24; 5:10-16; 24:9). All for the purpose of doing and saying the things that God placed in their hearts to do and say. With that being said, listen.
We the people must acknowledge “the why”. Why and how we as the people, as a nation, have gotten here. Now, I don't know, just based on the things we (my ministry partner and I) have been seeing lately in dreams and visions, can we the people turn things around through prayer and repentance? Because with God, He is always fair and just. He will warn and warn, and send His prophets, giving us the people, plenty enough time to turn things around BEFORE He acts out His judgment on the people. (Compare to 1 Peter 3:9; Amos 3:7; and Jonah chapters 1-4). But far too often, we the people refuse to turn around and repent. To stop doing the evil works we practice. And when we the people failed to do so, God has to respond in judgment, i.e. the Garden of Eden, Noah's flood, the Israelites being placed in bondage and slavery over their disobedience time after time, the death of King David' son, King Saul's fall from his throne, etc. Our acts of wickedness and disobedience have led we the people to destruction over and over again.
we, the people today
During this season of grace. I have time and time again prayed and even said on this platform many times over. “LORD! HAVE MERCY ON US!” Crying out with much fervent because God has shown me and members in this ministry the destruction that is ahead if we the people don't change our ways. But like the prophets before, who pleaded with the people before them. We too preach and warn to a deaf crowd. And we are here. Where the sand in the hourglass has almost run out. And we are about to see what real divine justice looks like when we have failed and continue to ignore the warnings of God through His servants (Amos 3:7). And I say this with a heavy heart. More so because we all had plenty of time to repent, stop what we are doing, and change our outcome before a merciful God. But we didn't! We didn't.
So, this will be my final words concerning this case against, we the people, in these United States that are being judged concerning the following. For I have, and this ministry has, giving a thorough witness and spoke the will of God before the people time and time again. And now the day has come where the verdict has been prepared. And this is the case My LORD has against you, the people.
God's case against the people
This is why the land mourns. Let me say that again. This is why the land mourns. Because of your sins, your disobedience. There is death everywhere. Everyone is wasting away from pestilence, diseases, sickness, and death. Did you not think I would not honor My word?
I said, IF YOU, IF YOU FULLY obey Me, the LORD your God, and carefully follow ALL My commands that I have given you through My word. IF YOU set Me above ALL things on the earth. Then, THEN I will bless you beyond your wilderness imagination. But you have twisted My words. Placing your blessings before obedience. As a result, of your disobedience, you, mankind have placed a curse upon this land and its people. Is this not what I said as well? Do you not think I will not be true to My word? (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). For I promised you from generation to generation that I thy LORD will keep you free, FREE from EVERY DISEASE or PESTILENCE. No infliction will come upon you as the people of this world have known if you are obedient. Do you not recalled Goshen? Do you!
Instead, destruction has fallen upon you and this land because of your lack of obedience. Everyone is wasting away because of your lack of obedience. Even the wild animals, the birds of the sky, the fish of the sea are disappearing because of YOUR DISOBEDIENCE.
And yet, you want to point the finger on anything or anyone but your disobedience. Your heart is full of sin and you refuse to accept the responsibility for your evil works. Instead, you try to pass the blame.
How many times I have tried to gather you up like a mother hen. But you refused my wings of protection and prefer the lying voices of the false prophets and false teachers. O, My people, My people are being destroyed because you don’t know me. You don’t know me nor My ways. Your priests, your holy men – they are more against Me than are for Me. They have exchanged My glory for the shame of their own fame and prosperity. The priests rejoice when you sin because when you sin you bring forth your sin offerings. Thinking the paying of tithe will solidify your place in heaven. Oh, what sin! They rejoice when you sin because what the priests do, the people do too. You both are practicing wicked deeds. And then raise your hands in praise and song to a merciful God. Oh, what sin!
My people are stubborn and refuse to understand. (Compare to Hosea chapter 4).
The One That Wandered OFF
Here’s the parable. There are 100 sheep in an open field along with their shepherd. With all the things that are occurring within the boundaries of this field, one sheep is separated from the group. Initially, unknowingly to the shepherd. Some time passes, and the shepherd noticed one of the sheep is missing. Now, what do you think is the shepherd’s reaction?
- He continues to tend to the 99 that stays within the boundaries of the open field
- Or he leaves the 99 sheep and goes after the one that has strayed from the group
Even if you are not familiar with your Bible, most are aware of the answer to this story. But let’s take a closer look at this parable so that we don’t miss what is really being pointed out to us here.
Sheep needs a good shepherd
At Luke chapter 15 in verses one and two, all the tax collectors gathered to hear Jesus, who is the true shepherd, speak. Alongside, the tax collectors, both the Pharisees and the scribes, the religious elite leaders, begin to gather as well. These two groups of men begin to complain among themselves about Jesus, the true shepherd. Overhearing their complaint, Jesus begins to tell a story, a parable that directly reflects the true heart condition of the scribes and the Pharisees.
Now, it is important to note that these men are the religious leaders of that time. These are the men that the people should be able to look to for pure and accurate Godly counsel and direction, for encouragement and correction, for Scriptural education and moral direction and examples. (Compare to 2 Timothy 3:13-17; 1 Peter 5:2-3; 1 Timothy 3:1-13). These are the men that should always point the people to Christ and not to men.
As Jesus listens to the Pharisees and scribes complain, Jesus begins with this parable.
Among you, great spiritual leaders, which of you who have 100 sheep and lost one of them will not leave the 99 in an open pasture to go retrieve the one who is lost? Would you not search, and search, and search until you find the one that is lost? (Luke 15:4-6)
What was Jesus' point here? Now, remember who is in the crowd listening. All the tax collectors came and gathered to hear Jesus speak. In the eyes of many, the tax collectors were the scum of the earth. For many in this profession were known for their unjust deeds – charging extremely high taxes, taking bribes, stealing from the people, and just downright greedy individuals. And yet, in this illustration, Jesus received these ones while teaching them Biblical truths. In response to this, the Pharisees and the scribes scoffed by saying, “This man (meaning Jesus) receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2).
In the eyes of the religious elite, they believe that these men, the tax collectors, were unworthy. Unworthy of what?
- Unworthy of beginning taught God’s word.
- Unworthy of having an encounter with Christ.
- Unworthy of being in the presence of the LORD.
- Unworthy of forgiveness and repentance.
- Unworthy of a Savior.
- Unworthy of the benefits and promises of what Christ has done for all of mankind on the cross.
Hence, why Jesus introduces this parable before the crowd as he speaks about and directly to the Pharisees and the scribes. Let’s walk through that parable together. Jesus says in verse 4.
What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?
We have to understand the true value of sheep in Jesus’ day to fully benefit from what Jesus is saying here. During Jesus’ day, sheep, especially a herd of sheep were very valuable. Sheep provided his owner meat, milk, and fabrics as well as an increase in his herd through producing other offspring. Hence, why shepherds went through great extremes to protect their flock as well as to retrieve any one of them if they got lost. Sheep, especially a herd of sheep were priceless to their owner. In fact, if a man owns a large herd of sheep, it was a status symbol that he was a wealthy man. So, during Jesus’ day, sheep were extremely important to the Hebrew economy and a sign of wealth.
a good shepherd must retrieve the one that is lost
Now, picture for a moment, that in this illustration that Jesus is the good Shepherd and God is the owner of this large pasture. The sheep, of course, is us. Those who have CHOSEN to be under the guiding hands of Christ our Good Shepherd and chosen to follow Christ. As the Shepherd over this field, Christ is not only watching over and caring for all of us, it is his job to make sure none of us wander off from the pasture – from among the group of the other sheep. It does not matter how or why we wander off. Whether we are belligerent or not. IT IS THE SHEPHERD (pastor and elders) JOB TO GO AFTER AND RETURN THE ONE WHO HAS WANDER OFF. There is no exception to this rule as Jesus has clearly illustrated in this parable at Luke chapter 15. A sheep, even a sheep who has wandered off on his or her own accord is valuable to the owner and therefore, is of the concern of the shepherd. And therefore, the one lost sheep should be the shepherd's greatest concern than the 99 that remains within the boundaries of the owner’s pasture. Or is it? Well, let’s explore that.
If a shepherd in Jesus’ day had to leave behind his remaining sheep to seek out the one who had gotten lost, how did the shepherd manage through this problem? Did he leave the 99 uncared for and unprotected? Not exactly. Before going off to search for the lost missing sheep, the shepherd put some provisions in place to ensure the remaining sheep will stay put until he returns with the one that was lost.
Around his pasture’s boundaries, the shepherd builds a pile of sticks and rocks around the herd to make them feel as if there is a sense of borders around them. And then he goes off to find the one who has strayed.
This is the point that Jesus is making to the Pharisees and scribes who are murmuring about Jesus receiving sinners and eating with them. That is, Jesus was doing exactly what a good shepherd is supposed to do. And he pointing this out clearly to the Pharisees and scribes who were not attending to the needs of the people. In verse 5, Jesus says to the crowd concerning the lost sheep that was found.
When he (the shepherd) has found it (the sheep), he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
caring for what belongs to god
Now, back in 2013, Tim Challies, a popular Christian blogger, and author shared this famous story. In Eastern Turkey, a shepherd left his herd of 1,500 sheep unattended. One of the sheep begins to stray away from the pasture where the shepherd had left them unattended and the 1,499 other sheep begins to follow the sheep that was leading the herd. The sheep that was leading the herd fell over a cliff to its death. Instead of the remaining sheep stopping, after observing what had happened to the lead sheep, they too fell over the cliff to their death. Of the 1,500 sheep, 400 immediately died from the injury of their fall. But the remaining 1,100 were saved ONLY because the 400 that fell over the cliff before them provided a fluffy cushion that broke their fall from the cliff.
Sheep needs a good leader that attends to them at all times. Unfortunately, we the people, are no different. We are in need of good leaders, good shepherds to guard us because we all are hardwired to follow. Hence, why many of us will even continue to follow bad leaders or bad shepherds to our destruction. We are like the Eastern Turkey sheep that will follow any leader if left unattended.
2. Have you ever seen a sheep when it gets knocked over? Whenever a sheep falls over on its side and ends up on its back, it cannot get up without help. If they are left on their back too long, gas begins to build up in their stomachs, which causes it to harden. Resulting in cutting off their air supply, and then the sheep eventually suffocates. This is called a “cast down” position.
When a shepherd comes along to rescue the sheep, he massages the sheep's legs to restore circulation. Then he gently turns over the sheep, lifts it, and then holds the sheep until it regains its equilibrium. This is one of many tasks a shepherd must do, time and time again to care for and protect his sheep.
The word I want you to get out of that description is “restore”. When a sheep experiences a medical emergency, such as a “cast down,” the shepherd is right there to immediately pick them up or restore them to an upright position.
This is the point Jesus is making to the Pharisees and scribes who are grumbling about Jesus’ willingness to care for the needs of the crown of tax collectors. In Jesus’ illustration, the shepherd in verse 5 finds his wandering sheep, places the sheep on his shoulders, and carries it safely back home. And the shepherd does not just stop there, according to Jesus. In verse 6, when the shepherd arrives home with the sheep that have been found, he calls everyone to gather to celebrate. For the one sheep that was lost, is now found.
This is the job of pastors, Bible teachers, and elders who should all work together, to retrieve these wandering sheep. Upon retrieving anyone that was once lost, they all should come together to celebrate the one who has been found. In fact, Jesus closes out this particular parable this way.
… there will be more joy in heaven over one….
… there will be more joy in heaven over ONE sinner who REPENTS THAN over ninety-nine righteous person who need no repentance.
Go and learn what this means and do. (Also compare to Matthew 28:18-20).
The word of the lord
When the LORD God gives a word, it is for the sole purpose to teach, reproof, correct, or train His servants - His Body, so that every member within the Body of Christ may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). For the LORD has given the Body of Christ apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip the Saints for the work of service, to encourage one another, and to build up the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Thessalonians 5:11).
This page will focus on providing the Body of Christ words of the LORD, that He has spoken through Deaidre. Regardless of the nature of the words of the LORD below - whether there is a word that teaches, reproofs, corrects, or trains, it is all for the purpose to build up the Body of Christ so that each one of us is made righteous, adequate, equipped for every good work.