Saturday, April 16, 2016

Lessons from the Wilderness - Vol. 1 - Let's take a walk...

…Lessons from the Wilderness… [1] [2] [3] [4]
Volume one
…Life Begins Again…
Deuteronomy 8:1-3 (NET)
8:1 You must keep carefully all these commandments
1 I am giving2 you today so that you may live, increase in number,3 and go in and occupy the land that the Lord promised to your ancestors.4 8:2 Remember the whole way by which he5 has brought you these forty years through the desert6 so that he might, by humbling you, test you to see if you have it within you to keep his commandments or not. 8:3 So he humbled you by making you hungry and then feeding you with unfamiliar manna.7 He did this to teach you8 that humankind9 cannot live by bread10 alone, but also by everything that comes from the Lord’s mouth.11 ([5])
Deuteronomy 8:1-3 (KJV)
1 All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers. 2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

We start a new thing today – short (no kidding, I actually am going to try to keep them short!) lessons gleamed from the wilderness – the forty years I wandered outside the camp of G-d. For those who don’t know my story, you can find it here: Since I’ve already gone into detail in that post about myself, my vision, and what Yahveh has done for me (and the Son – Yeshua truly set me free…), I won’t repeat it here. What I will do, in these posts titled “Lessons from the Wilderness”, is give you the perspective of one who has been set free – and what that means to you also my beloved.
                Forty years in the wilderness. Most won’t get out of that alive. Only by the grace of the Almighty did I. My “imprisonment” in the wilderness involved drug abuse, violence, prison and homelessness, just to name a few of the consequences. There have been issues that accompany each circumstance, but by and large, since Father Yahveh rescued me through the resurrected Son and Machiach Yeshua, those issues are insignificant compared to the great commission He has set me upon.
Oh no, not by a long shot.
Committed to Him and His ways?
My heart says yes, but at times my actions say no…
Do all my words edify, and encourage?
To my shame, no.
So what does it mean, if I have all these shortcomings?
What have I accomplished out of the wilderness?
                I have seen restoration. Not completely, yet enough that I know the hand of G-d guides it. I have seen and experienced forgiveness – and know enough about it to know how much work I have to do to show it. I have felt His Presence – and its absence when I do wrong. I have seen His Glory – in His written word, in His Torah - through the Son. I have been set free – to sin I can finally say no. I have learned what holiness truly is – to be set apart; I have learn what sanctification truly is – to learn to be obedient; I have experienced justification – not in the traditional Luthern sense, as “imputed righteousness” but as in “made righteous”.
 In the LXX, the δικαιόω(Greek for justified/justification) almost always corresponds to the Hebrew tsadaq (צָדַק).
 Both mean essentially mean “to recognize as good/right”.[7]         
Being justified has two aspects to it – one being a judicial and the other, covenantal. Judicially, it is a ruling, a declaration. Covenantal, it is given by G-d for an example to His faithfulness for the covenants He has established, as well as an example of His grace and mercy. Being justified has to include both views, because we, as finite human beings, need to recognize Father as Supreme Judge and Ruler as well as beneficent Creator.
While there may be those who disagree with my conclusions, so be it. After all – my walk through and out of the wilderness isn’t yours – or is it?
We all face the same challenges. G-d’s realities are the actual realities for each and every one of us, the realities of how to approach a holy G-d and live, and how to love one another. We all search for the right way to pray, for the things we need to survive each day. We look for the right way to worship – most of us don’t even know what that means, yet we are searching anyway. Others run as far and as fast as they can away from G-d, only to find there is no place they can go – inevitably they must make a decision and live with the consequences, for good or evil.
The wilderness teaches us many things – mostly that Yahveh is in control, no matter whether we like it or not, no matter whether we acknowledge it or not. Since my surrender in the wilderness to His sovereign way, I have seen His hand and His grace in my life. My walk may not have taken the same steps as yours, but if we were to look at the footprints, we’d see that to the left or to the right, we veered off the narrow path of G-d. Recall what Yeshua said:
Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV)
k“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 3Because narrow is the gate and 4difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. [8]
“Strait” is the Greek word “stenos” which means “narrow, with obstacles”.  That means it isn’t easy, it is a long, lonely hard road that leads to life.  The passage just read wasn’t then or now meant for non-believers, for the road that they are on is well known.  These words that Messiah spoke were within the context of what we call the “Beatitudes” or the “Sermon on the Mount”.   What Yeshua was doing here was correcting the hearer’s interpretation of His Torah, of Him speaking Truth back into the Words of God, and shedding the traditions of man.  Let’s be clear: the lost, those that are for now condemned, they know what road they are on – it may be a road of religion, or of humanism, but they know that they are on a road of no law, they walk in “lawlessness”, of disobedience, of the way of the flesh.  They know what road they are on.  It is the believer who is unaware of the road he treads.  Matthew 7 is for those who think they are on the right path – believing yet, broad is this way they go, wide is its streets and only to the city of religion does it lead.  The strait gate leads through rocky hillsides, thorns and wilderness.  For those who travel it though, who persevere, at the end of their journey awaits their reward: our Messiah, Yeshua Ha’Machiach. Salvation comes only by the blood of Messiah, by the regenerative power of the Spirit of God that awakens a dead sinner from the ashes of their lives into the newness of the second birth.  After that comes the hard part: we must obey and follow Him, no matter the cost.
Yes, there are many lessons to be learned from the wilderness; walk with me awhile, and let us follow the Masters footprints as we join Him on this journey.
Till next time, May God richly bless you, His beloved, Amein.

[1] Authors note: Use of information from Jewish-themed websites should not be construed as these sites endorsing or confirming any thesis introduced by the author of this epistle. I present the information from their respective sites for instructional purposes only and/or to aid in the readers understanding of the subjects discussed. The inverse is also true – by using these sites in no way confirms or denies that this author holds to all things found on these sites – but brethren, we all can learn from one another, Jew and Gentile; may it be so in shalom and love and respect.
[2]  Author’s note:  Throughout this study I’ll be using the Net® Bible and  the Net® Notes: within the notes you’ll see symbols like this: ( א B Ψ 892* 2427 sys). These are abbreviations used by the NetBible© for identifying the principal manuscript evidence that they (authors and translators of the NetBible©)  used in translating the New Testament. Please go to and see their section labeled “NET Bible Principals of Translation” for a more complete explanation on these symbols and other items pertinent to the way the NET Bible uses them.
[3] Author’s Note: In these studies I have used the notes that come along with the passages I cite from the sources that I cite: these need a bit of a disclaimer though. As in all things, not everything that is footnoted is something that I necessarily agree with, especially if it contradicts what I believe pertains to any matters of the Torah or the commandments of G-d. I give you the notes as they are written by the authors of the material I cite from, so that you can see the information contained within them. It truly is not my place to edit or correct them; if they state anything that is in opposition to what I teach, then so be it. I will address these issues if requested, but for the sake of brevity (as if any of these posts of mine are brief ) I insert them and let them stand as they are. If I don’t agree with them, why do I include them you might ask? I don’t believe in censuring anyone’s opinions or scholarship; as I would not want mine censured, so I will not do to that to another. As Rabbi Hillel once stated, “What is hateful to you, do not do to another. That is the whole Torah. Go and learn it.” Torah leads me to respect others, even if I disagree; it leads me to present both sides of the coin, even if it could mean I’d lose part of the argument. That is not to say I should not challenge something I believe contradicts the truth of G-d’s word; that I will do in the main body of my epistles; that is where my gentle dissent belongs. Most (but not all) of the differences will come when I quote from the NET® Bible (but not exclusively); it has a decidedly Western/Greek mindset to it, but as a wise man once said “How do you eat chicken? Swallow the meat and spit out the bones…” I do though want to present the NET® notes because there is a wealth of information and research contained within them that I hope you find helpful.
[4] One may wonder why I omit the “o” when I write the title “G-d”. While there are many who say that to leave out the “o” is a sign of being under the influence of the Rabbis who forbid saying the name of Yahveh, I say, one must come to a conclusion on their own, and do as their heart convicts them (within the bounds of G-d’s word of course). I believe in the power of the name of the Most High – the name of Yahveh – and in uttering it in awe and reverence, yet find no contradiction in my soul for the hyphenated title “G-d”. I have written it both ways – stopped doing it, and now I have returned to the practice – as I said, one must follow the conviction of their heart. I do not disrespect anyone else’s opinion on this matter, and regardless if you think it wrong or right, I ask for the same respect. Let each be fully persuaded in their own mind and heart – and let G-d sort it out with each believer. For now, this is right for me, till the Father corrects - or confirms; I am after all, a work in progress. Shalom. 
1 tn The singular term (מִצְוָה, mitsvah) includes the whole corpus of covenant stipulations, certainly the book of Deuteronomy at least (cf. Deut 5:28; 6:1, 25; 7:11; 11:8, 22; 15:5; 17:20; 19:9; 27:1; 30:11; 31:5). The plural (מִצְוֹת, mitsot) refers to individual stipulations (as in vv. 2, 6).
2 tn Heb “commanding” (so NASB). For stylistic reasons, to avoid redundancy, “giving” has been used in the translation (likewise in v. 11).
3 tn Heb “multiply” (so KJV, NASB, NLT); NIV, NRSV “increase.”
4 tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 16, 18).
5 tn Heb “the Lord your God.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons.
6 tn Or “wilderness” (so KJV, NRSV, NLT); likewise in v. 15.
7 tn Heb “manna which you and your ancestors did not know.” By popular etymology the word “manna” comes from the Hebrew phrase מָן הוּא (man hu’), i.e., “What is it?” (Exod 16:15). The question remains unanswered to this very day. Elsewhere the material is said to be “white like coriander seed” with “a taste like honey cakes” (Exod 16:31; cf. Num 11:7). Modern attempts to associate it with various desert plants are unsuccessful for the text says it was a new thing and, furthermore, one that appeared and disappeared miraculously (Exod 16:21–27).
8 tn Heb “in order to make known to you.” In the Hebrew text this statement is subordinated to what precedes, resulting in a very long sentence in English. The translation makes this statement a separate sentence for stylistic reasons.
9 tn Heb “the man,” but in a generic sense, referring to the whole human race (“mankind” or “humankind”).
10 tn The Hebrew term may refer to “food” in a more general sense (cf. CEV).
11 sn Jesus quoted this text to the devil in the midst of his forty-day fast to make the point that spiritual nourishment is incomparably more important than mere physical bread (Matt 4:4; cf. Luke 4:4).
·         End NET® Bible Notes
[5]  Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
[6]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
k  Luke 13:24
3  NU, M How narrow …!
4  confined
[8]  The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982.

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