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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Those Who Weep and Those Who Mock

I do not have attention deficit, I have time deficit. Between filming the truth in a nutshell videos, the thirty minute tv program, writing and speaking, there aren't many hours left in a day. I haven't forgotten about the fruit of the Spirit, as soon as I get a moment's respite, I will finish up the teaching. I've never been a perfectioninst, but I do hold myself up to a certain standard, so I won't do a patchwork job just to say it was done. I hope you understand. Please keep me in your prayers, time is short and life is busy.

The history of Israel offers us countless lessons and teachable moments. In some cases it teaches us what we ought to do to be pleasing in the sight of God, but in most cases it teaches us what not to do.
If one does a thorough study of the people of Israel, we realize that for hundreds of years they cycled from being faithful to God, to God blessing them, to Israel rebelling against God and sinning, to God punishing them, to Israel repenting.
The problem with this cycle, is that each time Israel sinned, it became harder and harder for them to pull out of the tailspin as a nation.
When I was younger I used to love watching air shows on television. Some of you already know what I’m talking about, the teams like the Thunderbirds, and the Blue Angels who do some amazing air acrobatics that leave people in awe. One of the most dangerous things these pilots do is take their planes up, then stall out, letting it fall to the ground, only to pull up at the last possible second. It is a spectacular thing to watch, at least when it works properly. Throughout the years, there have been instances when whether due to human error, or mechanical malfunction, some were never able to recover, and crashed to the earth in a fireball of twisted metal.
Many people today, who see flirting with sin as an acceptable practice, are like these daredevil pilots, who get as close to the earth as they can, then right themselves, soaring back toward the clouds. The only problem is that some never get the chance to level their walk, to start climbing again, to repent and return to God, and crash back into the mire of sin from which they had been freed.
Israel had sinned again! They had gone into another tailspin, due to the duplicity of Balaam, a prophet divided in his heart between obeying the Lord and making a small fortune by giving into Balak’s demands to curse the people of God. Although Balaam did not disobey God outright by cursing God’s people, for God had told him to bless them, he did teach Balak what to do in order to arouse God’s anger against His own people.
Revelation 2:14, “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.”
Although this scripture is in the context of the message to the church in Pergamos, it reveals what Balaam’s sin was, and why the name of this man has throughout history been associated with disobedience.
Balak at the time was the ruler of the Moabites, and he found himself between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand he knew that he could not defeat Israel as long as their God was with them, he had already seen the deathblow the children of God had dealt to the Amorites. Realizing that they only way he had a hope of defeating Israel was to somehow remove the hedge of protection from around them, and to get their God to stop fighting on their behalf, he sought out Balaam in the hopes that Balaam would curse the people, but instead of cursing them, Balaam blessed them.
Although it is not specifically stated in the book of Numbers where this entire drama plays out, by the words that Jesus spoke in Revelation, it seems that as a parting gift to Balak for all the oxen and sheep he had given him, Balaam whispered something in Balak’s ear.
I do not know what was said, but as I imagine this encounter play out, I can see Balaam leaning over to Balak and simply whispering “if you can’t get God to abandon them, maybe you can get them to abandon God.”
And so, the Moabites started playing nice with the people of Israel, inviting them to the sacrifice of their gods, offering up their women, and instead of refusing their advances, the people of Israel ate and bowed down to the gods of the Moabites.
God did not abandon Israel; Israel forfeited the providence, protection and blessing of God, by bowing down to the gods of the Moabites, and committing harlotry with the women of Moab.
Contrary to what you may have heard, we serve a jealous God. We serve a God who demands, and rightly so, that we have no other gods before Him, we serve a God who demands, and rightly so that our hearts not be divided between Him and the world.
Deuteronomy 4:24, “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”
The elders of Israel knew that they had sinned, Moses and the congregation of the children of Israel were gathered together weeping at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, realizing that they had aroused the anger of the Lord against them. As this was going on, as the elders and the children of Israel wept at the door of the tabernacle, as they cried out to God for forgiveness, one of the children of Israel came and presented a Midianite woman to his brethren, in full view of those who were prostrate before the Lord.
This wasn’t just bad timing, this was outright mockery of the elders and the children of Israel, for as they wept, this man reveled in his sin and disobedience as though attempting to say, ‘see, I have transgressed and God has not struck me, I have sinned and God has not judged me.’
Among those who wept there was a man by the name of Phinehas who was the grandson of Aaron the priest. Phinehas saw the open mockery, rose from among the congregation and took a javelin in his hand, followed the man of Israel into his tent, and thrust both the man and the woman through with the javelin.
Because of his actions, the plague was stopped among the people of Israel, but not before twenty-four thousand people perished in the plague.
There have always been, and there will always be consequences to sin. There have always been and there will always be mockers within the house of God, who look upon those who weep in repentance with disdain and open disgust. Sin kills, and disobedience is a sure road to sin.
It is a far better thing to be counted among those who weep, to be counted among those who are zealous for the things of God, than to be counted among those who mock.
Mockery against the children of God and those who strive for righteousness will only grow and intensify in our present age. You will be hated, you will be ridiculed, you will be labeled colorfully vile adjectives for your faithfulness, but through it all you must keep your eyes firmly affixed to Christ and the cross.
Because of his faithfulness, because he was zealous for his God, God gave Phinehas His covenant of peace, and a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, and not only to him but also his descendants.
Jude 1:17-21, “But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
These mockers, these worldly persons who cause divisions that Jude is referring to are not in the world, but within the house of God. Not having the Spirit, they walk according to their ungodly lusts, abusing and trampling upon the grace and blood of Christ, attempting to pervert the way of truth.
If we love Jesus, then we will be faithful to Him. If we love Christ than we will build ourselves up on our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping ourselves in the love of God, and looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus unto eternal life.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

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