Friday, March 24, 2017

Stepping into the Wilderness

 "Thus Israel saw the great work which YHVH had done in Egypt; so the people feared [Yir’at YHVH], and believed YHVH and His servant Moses” (Exodus 14:31).

Everything that the Israelites experienced from the moment YHVH began to pour out his judgments (plagues), all the way to the drowning of the Egyptian army, had to do with His Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread.  The Hebrews’ faith now rested on the great work that YHVH accomplished before their very eyes.  In that moment in time, they feared YHVH the Elohim of their fathers, and now also believed in Him AND in His servant Moses. Yeshua, from a historical perspective, says the following: "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"  (John 5:46-47). 

In the future YHVH would remind Israel many times of their slavery in Egypt and of His mighty outstretched Arm of deliverance.  But as we know one cannot live by signs and wonders alone, as was proven out by our forefathers after they turned away from the Reed Sea and stepped into the wilderness. As was already pointed out, one has to have personal face to face interaction with YHVH in the context of everyday life’s circumstances in order to develop a relationship with Him, a relationship which will reveal one’s heart condition.

Up to this point the People of Israel experienced Elohim’s power and authority over an enemy that enslaved them, and the protection by the blood of a lamb when “death” passed over their homes. We too, as we continue along our journey, need to remember what our Heavenly Deliverer wrought for us through His Pesach offering - Yeshua - and the resultant defeat of the spiritual enemy who up until then kept us in slavery to sin!  While, unlike our forebears, we cannot see the enemy’s army floating in the waters of our immersion, we have received the same grace as they did, although in a different form; through the death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua who is YHVH’s mighty Right Arm.  And so, although we did not cross the sea dry-shod, we had our own great launching - embracing by faith the New Covenant message, which is the gospel and apostolic teachings. And so, like the Israelites of old, we too are ready to take the next step into the desert by “believing in YHVH” and in His servants: Moses, the Prophets, Yeshua and the Apostles. 

Let us recall YHVH’s purpose for taking the Children of Israel through a hot and dry land: "And you shall remember that YHVH your Elohim led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not” (Deuteronomy 8:2).  Our journey is, and will be no different. Going through this wilderness wasteland is a learning experience of trust and faithfulness which will eventually take us to our inheritance and rest.  But in order for this to happen, the remembrance of YHVH’s first feast of the month of Aviv must accompany us all the way to our destination. Significantly (and not coincidentally), it was the first feast that our forefathers celebrated after crossing the Jordan.  Writing to the Colossians, Paul points out that YHVH’s feasts are “shadows of things yet to come” (2:17), meaning that they are prophetic and hence are still being fulfilled now and will be in the future; in us personally, and for us corporately as a nation.

A close examination through the lens of faith, at the great work that Elohim accomplished through Yeshua, will reveal to us that we are able to turn away from our (Reed Sea) immersion and face the wilderness with confidence that He will take us to our destiny and destination. Our Heavenly Father’s judicial act in reconciling us to Himself through the flesh body of His Son, the Passover Lamb, set us free from slavery to the dark powers of this world (see Colossians 1:21-22). “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).  This all took place before we ever crossed over into the wilderness experience, while we were still slaves to sin in our proverbial Egypt. “But Elohim demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Messiah died for us” (Romans 5:8).  When the Messiah died we died, and as a matter of judicial law - all men died (ref. +Corinthians+%A1416&version=NKJV"2 Corinthians 5:14-16).  Amazingly, had the “spiritual” rulers of this age known what Elohim was going to do, “they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:8). By the same token, had Pharaoh known that his army’s chariots would drown in the sea, would he have still dispatched them?    

The Israelites are now going to embark on their journey with only a memory of what was behind them, but with a word of hope and promise regarding a “land of milk and honey”.  Will YHVH’s ‘Passover Performance’ be sufficient to carry them through? Or is there much more to “believing in YHVH and His servant Moses” than what they had known up to this point by the shores of the Reed Sea?  If we take a look at the Hebrew word for “believe” - “aman” (alef, mem, noon) - we find it is more than just seeing and believing signs and wonders. “Aman” has living and active connotations that have to be worked into us through trials (testing), tribulations, and blessings (grace).  These hidden characteristics of “aman” are part of the equipment needed for the journey through a dry and thirsty land. 
To be continued

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