“The Blessing of Moses on Israel” Deut. 33:13

“The Blessing of Moses on Israel” Deut. 33:13

“And this is the blessing wherewith Moses, the man of God, blessed the children of Israel before his death.  And he said, “The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them;  He shined forth from Mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints.  From His right hand went a fiery law for them.  Yea, He loved the people; all His saints are in Thy hand: and they sat down at Thy feet:  every one shall receive Thy Words.”  Dt. 33:1-3

What a blessing Moses puts upon each of the tribes of Israel except for Simeon.  Even Joseph is named in v. 13 and then Ephraim and Manasseh are mentioned in v. 17 but there is no mention of Simeon, the son of Leah.  He is mentioned ten times in Genesis and Numbers and three times in Exodus but only one time in Deut. 27:12, and there he is named with five other tribes on Mt. Gerizim blessing the people of Israel when they pass over the Jordan River, there he is listed with Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin.  On Mt. Ebal you have Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali to curse the people as they enter the promised land.  But Simeon is not mentioned in Moses’ blessing for the nation of Israel before he dies, why?  If you had 12  brothers and your father called 11 of them to his bedside and blessed them before he died, wouldn’t you wonder what Number 12 did, to warrant his disapproval?

The name Simeon means hearing; or hears and obeys; or hearing with acceptance; but that doesn’t bear out his life as we know it, even though we don’t know a great deal about his personal life with less then 50 references to Him in the Bible.  And even though his name means hearing with obedience, he was deaf on the day when he should have been paying attention and disobedient when his future hung in the balance.  He and his brother Levi slew all the male Shechemites who were just circumcised (ouch!)  They acted in their ‘Self-will’, Gen. 49:6 and took delight in their gross sin.  When Joseph tested his brothers in Egypt it was Simeon he put in prison, why?  Was he the one who really sold Joseph to the Midianites and not Reuben?  For some reason Joseph thew him in jail to test him, and separate him from his brother Levi.  When the two of them were together they were devious.

When separated at first Simeon did not multiply as seen in I Chron. 4:24-27.  During the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness the ‘decrease’ of the tribe of Simeon was remarkable.  Why?  Because of the idolatry in his tribe, thousands were slain, his “Self-Will” kept breeding from one family to the next.  However, when he entered the ‘Promised Land’ he joined the tribe of Judah, (Judges 1:1-3) and that marked a turning point in the history of the tribe of Simeon.  Even Ezekiel 48:24-25 mentions a portion of Simeon between Benjamin and Issachar.  Then in the book of ‘Revelation’ chapter 7:7 you have, “12,000 sealed” from the tribe of Simeon.  Because of their ‘Self-Will,’ God scattered and impoverished the Simionites; may that not be our curse, may we like Christ seek the “good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Imagine being one of the twelve tribes of Israel, the ‘apple of God’s eye’ and not even being mentioned in the final blessing of, “The Man of God” due to your own Self-Will.  But you are not guilty of any of that, right?  I didn’t think so!

From Deut. chapter 27 on, Moses is dealing with “Blessings and Curses.”  In Dt. 28:23 he says, “And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be as brass…”  Did it ever feel that way when you were praying and it seemed your prayers were just bouncing off the ceiling, because it was made out of brass or bronze?  Sometimes I feel like I need to go outside and pray and I might have a better chance of getting through to heaven.  Maybe the problem is not God or heaven but you, man and earth which has become like iron, (v. 23) due to ‘Self-Will.’  Webster defines ‘self-will’ as, “persistent carrying out of one’s own will or wishes; especially when in conflict with others; stubbornness; obstinacy.”  Is He hitting any keys on your piano, he is plucking a few of my strings.  I think I might have to get alone with God and deal with some of my “Simeon Syndrome,” how about you?  And that’s not even why I started out in this passage.  Funny how God’s Spirit takes you somewhere you had no intention of going.  I would have liked to have climbed Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal with you.  They are right near Shechem where Simeon and Levi slaughtered the Shechemites, quite a distance from Jericho but God didn’t lead us up that mountain.  Maybe He will take you mountain climbing, let me know what you find!

However, as far as this ‘Simeon Syndrome’ goes it can really affect your prayer life and your next generations and theirs too.  So, if you are having a ‘bronze ceiling’ problem you better check out your ‘Self-Will’ problem first.  The problem may not and usually is not God’s, it’s man’s and his iron earth.  Satan finds more than one way to invade our prayer closets, if he can’t break the door down he will slither in through stubbornness or obstinacy, with words like, “I can do it myself!”  So, keep your eyes open for the ‘Simeon Syndrome,’ it is rapid in the church today.  On another note, ‘The Blessing’ in Deut. 33, is an amazing gift from God.  We saw it with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and now Moses.  Orthodox Jewish fathers will go around their dinner table on the Sabbath and lay their hands on their children and pray a blessing over each one of them or they will stand at the table and pray it.  My father being an unbeliever, raised by a Jewish mother but no a Jewish father cursed me; He only got the Ebal side of the ‘Blessing & Cursing  Commandment.’ I trust you take time to bless your children, your grandchildren, and your great grandchildren if you are fortunate enough to have any and you let them hear the blessing.  It’s a powerful thing, instituted by God and it has never been revoked, eliminated or eradicated.  Pastor’s should pray a blessing over their congregations, small group leaders over their groups and so on and watch what God does.  He promised to bless His blessing and He can’t go back on a promise.  This is the head of the families responsibility or the leaders obligation, but if there is no father then the mother must do it until God gives that family a father.  But where was Simeon?  Off doing his own thing, gathering some manna, killing a snake, pitching a tent or something important I guess.

I’m sure it was important in his own mind and heart.  Important enough to miss out on,”The man of God’s” final blessing, just before he died.  I’m sure they blew a trumpet to call a solemn assembly, I’m sure the Simeonites heard it, I’m sure they knew it was important, I’m sure they saw the others gathering for the meeting, but they had something else to do, something more important.  More important than a sacred assembly; more important than a blessing; more important than God?  What could be more important?  “Self Will!”  Till next time, I’ll se you, “…Between The Lines…”

“The Blessing of Moses On Israel” Deut. 33:1-3  2/22/18

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“The Altar of Prayer” Deut. 27:5

“The Altar of Prayer’ Dt. 27:5

“And there shalt thou build (ba-nah; establish, make permanent) an altar (mis-ba-akh; from za-bach; the place to slaughter, kill, sacrifice) unto the LORD thy God, an altar of stones, (eben; large and small stones in their natural state, common stones) thou shalt not lift up (nuf; wave, brandish, swing) any iron tool (barzel; tool of iron) upon them.” Deut. 27:5.

The LORD instructed them to build Him an ‘Altar’ out of common stones, which presumably God created Himself. Don’t refinish them in anyway, just lay them on top of one another and prepare a place where you can come to meet Me! Remember Moses and Solomon built altars as well as Abraham the “Altar Builder.” There was an ‘Altar of Burnt Offerings’ in Exodus 30:28; A ‘Brazen Altar’ placed in the outer court in Exodus 39:39; The ‘Altar of Incense’ or the ‘Golden Altar’ placed within the ‘Holy Place’ before the Veil in, Exodus 30:27; I Kings 7:48. Then there are several verses that mention the altars of idols in the Scriptures  like Isaiah 17:8; 27:9; etc.

Moses goes on in Deut. 27:6 to instruct them to build their altars out of whole (sha-lem; whole, perfect, full, finished, safe) stones. In fact there are three Hebrew words for ‘Peace.’ “Sha-lam – Strong’s #7999, is a covenant of peace; Sha-lom – Strong’s #7965 is a state of peace; and “Sha-lam – Strong’s #8003 is an offering of peace.” (Shalam, Shalom, Shalem!” That pretty well sums it up, except for ‘Shalom, Shalom‘ which is ‘Perfect Peace’ found in Isaiah 26:3, peace on the inside and peace on the outside. So, they were to build an altar out of these perfect, peaceful stones, because they are going to be bringing their ‘Peace Offerings’ to their ‘LORD GOD’ to make restitution, repentance and restoration for their sins. Whole stones, stones of peace, ‘Shalem Stones;’ There v.6 says, they shall offer, ‘Burnt Offerings’ unto the LORD their God.

The ‘Burnt Offering’ typifies Christ offering Himself without spot unto His Father’s will even unto death, to make true atonement for our sin. Not to (ka-far; #3722, to cover it up, or purge it, or pacify it) but to completely reconcile man to GOD, by taking his place on the Cross of Calvary, (ka-ta-la-gay; an exchange of equivalent value, Christ took our Hell and gave us His Heaven, He took our filthy rags Isa. 64:6 and gave us His ‘Robes of Righteousness, Rom. 5:11; II Cor. 5:18-21; Heb. 2:17. That just does not seem fair, well you won’t find the word fair in the Bible except for a fair and beautiful maiden, or a fair young virgin, but not in the way you and I understand it. Or in the way Webster defines it, “just and honest, impartial, unprejudiced, specifically free from discrimination, clear and open.”If God was fair and impartial, everyone would go directly to Hell, but He is just, merciful and full of grace. Fair works at a baseball game but YeHoVaH is not an umpire, He is you GOD!

Interesting, In Deut 27:7, Moses instructs them to offer ‘Peace Offerings’ (sha-lem) offerings on their (sha-lem) stones v.6 and eat (a-kal; devour, consume with fire, slay with the sword, destroy). So, this word could have several meanings, it could be ‘You will offer a peace offering, and it will be consumed with fire, and you will rejoice (sa-mach; be glad, joyful, make merry, exalt the LORD) before of in the (paw-neem; the face of God).’ Not only that but He instructs them in v.8, “And thou shalt write (ka-thab; record, inscribe, engrave) upon the stones (eh-ben; large common stones) all the words (dabar; speech, utterance, commands, discourse) of this law (tow-rah; instruction, teaching, code of law, Mosaic law) very (yatav; good, well-pleasing, to make happy) plainly (ba-ar; distinct, clear, declare.)”

In Deut. 27:1-2, Moses tells the elders of Israel that when they cross over the Jordan into the ‘Promised Land’ they are to set up “Great Stones” (ga-dole-eh-ben; large in magnitude and extent), and plaster them with plaster (siyd; whitewash made from burning bones into lime) Amos 2:1.  Now what are the “words (da-bar)” they were to write on these stones?  The five books of Moses, I doubt it, that would have gone from Jericho to Damascus.  The 613 commandments, or the 1,521 commands, no those came thousands of years later through Rabbinic tradition.  We refer to the ‘Decalogue’ as the ‘Ten Commandments’ whereas our Jewish friends refer to them as the ‘Ten Words’ or the ‘Ten Da-bar’s of God!’  I believe what they wrote was the “Ten Commandments” to remind them of God and His laws and commands for them.  Something we should all have on the walls of our homes and our hearts.  But you say, ‘we are not under the law, we are under grace; even more so, all ten are repeated in the Newer Testament except number four dealing with the ‘Sabbath.’  However,  the Apostle John declares in Rev. 1:10, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet;” The Greek word for ‘Lord’s day’ is (kuriakos) and is found only one other time in the Bible in 1 Cor. 11:20 when dealing with the ‘Lord’s Table.”  The Greek word means this day belongs to the Lord lock, stock and barrel, which is a colonial phrase from the old flint lock rifle.  So, what day of the week is that?  I don’t know about you but I’ll take ‘Resurrection Sunday’ with a billion plus other Christians plus 2,000 years of historical tradition.  So, back to the “Ten Commandments,” do you have them on the wall in your house?  Do your children or grandchildren? That would make a great Christmas gift or birthday present.

However, that is not the focus of our passage in Deut. 27:5, the altar is.  My question is, ‘Do you have a personal altar where you do your quiet time, read the Bible, pray, meditate and seek His face?  Deut. 27:7 says, “before the LORD” the Hebrew word is (pa-niym; face).  He is waiting to meet you in your secret chamber; don’t disappoint Him.  Remember an altar is for ‘sacrifice, prayer and worship.’  Abraham was the altar builder, everywhere he went, God had an altar, and you wonder why he lived so long and was blessed so much.  Also don’t forget to put the “Ten Commandments” up in your secret chamber to remind you of God’s meeting with mankind on Mt. Sinai.  These commandments were not meant just for the Jewish people, there was a mixed multitude in that desert too, and Jesus died for the (halos kosmos) the whole world, 1 John 2:2.  It’s time for Christians to establish their prayer closets again and enter their “war rooms” and hang up the “Decalogue.”  They may tear them out of the ‘Court House’ and the ‘White House’ but they won’t tear the one out of ‘My House.’  Till next time, I’ll see you, “…Between The Lines…”

“The Altar of Prayer”  Deut. 27:5  2/7/18


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“Prayer To Our Father’s God” Deut. 26:7-8

“Prayer To Our Father’s God” Dt. 26:7-8

“And when we cried unto the LORD God of our fathers, the LORD heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labor, and our oppression.” Deut. 26:7

This prayer is a reminder of Exodus 2:23-25; 3:9; and 4:31, when they were captives in Egypt and under the taskmasters. There God heard their groaning and and remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and He looked down upon the children of Israel and He had respect (yada; became acquainted with it, to become intimate with it, to enter into it, to become one with it). He didn’t just become aware of their plight, He personally entered into it and experienced it. How? I don’t know, but His word says He did and that is good enough for me. He felt their pain, and He feels yours too! Every bit of it, every tear, every lonely dark moment, every sharp, piercing pain, every cry in the night! When Christ said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you!” He meant that too, with every fiber of His being. You too can bow your head and worship Him and like they did in Exodus 4:31 because, He will hear your cry, your prayer, your petitions too!

So, Moses reminds them, that they are descendants of “A.I.J.” not “A.I.G.”  A.I.G. stands for “American International Group” and they employ over 60,000 people and are the 87th largest public company in the world. “A.I.J.” has about 6 million members in their nation and 15 million worldwide and they make up only about .002% of the worlds population, but they are the, “apple of God’s eye.” (Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob) and they are the ones that really count. This passage is talking about, ‘The Law of The Offering of First Fruits” which belong to God, but since we are not all farmers, Moses discusses ‘tithing‘ in vv. 12-15 and that includes all of us. Especially v.13 where you are praying to the ‘LORD thy God’ and telling Him you have brought Him the hallowed things (ko-desh; holy, sacred, separated, set apart things) this ‘tithe’ is holy and belongs to God, not you or the church. It comes out of your house or your possessions, to give it to God, for the widow, the orphan or the stranger/sojourner. Then Moses tells God to look down from heaven, His holy habitation (ko-desh; ma-ohn) from the heavens (sha-mayim) and bless Your people.”

If we are obedient to God and His word, keep His commandments, give Him what is due to Him, honor Him, bless Him, praise Him, turn from our sin, then we can expect Him to bless our land, our people and our families; II Chron. 7:14. However, it all starts with us, and it starts with obedience, and with trust, and with love and with mountain moving faith. It doesn’t get any more basic then Dt. 26:7, “And when we cried (tsa-ak; cry out for help, to summon, to cry aloud) unto the LORD God…. the LORD heard our voice, and looked on our affliction.”  What part of, “Summon the LORD” don’t you understand?  If you are anything like my daughter Rebekah, her first words were, “I do myself!”  Thankfully, she outgrew that phase, now that she is married to a pastor, with three children of her own, her favorite phrase now is, “Zack will do it.”  Seriously though, He is your heavenly Father for a reason, and He is waiting for you to call on Him.  In fact He has given you an 800 number to use anytime you need it, 1-800-JER-3323.  You see prayer does not release some mere form of man or nature, it releases the immeasurable power and wealth of Almighty God. Remember, God is Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnificent! That means He is here, He knows, He can fix it, or He can make a new one!

A.B. Simpson said, “Prayer is the hand of the child, touching the arm of the Father, moving the wheels of the universe.” Simple, yet very true! In fact our highest form of service is the ministry of intercessory prayer, dealing with the souls of mankind for the glory of God and we are joined by God The Son and God The Holy Spirit in that ministry.  His promise in John 14:12-14, is that if we will pray, He will work, and we have His Word on it.  So, why don’t we spend more time in prayer?  If I  had to choose one area that Satan fights the most in the Christian’s life, I would say it is, ‘Prayer!’  Not music, preaching, evangelism, youth work but prayer meeting, quiet time, family altars, personal prayer time, etc.  It has been said, “Satan trembles at the weakest Christian on their knees!”  And I for one believe it.  When you pray Satan stops in his tracks, and listens, so pray out loud, and then start to praise God and so he will flee because he can’t stand a joyful Christian.  Isa. 61:3 says, “To appoint unto those who mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, (Listen) and the oil (shemen; anointing oil) of joy (sa-sown; gladness, exultation, rejoicing) for mourning the garment (or mantle) of praise (tihil-lah; song of praise) for the spirit of heaviness (ka-heh; darkness, dimness, dullness, demonic)” The fastest way to drive away Satan and his little imps is to put on some praise music, and sing some hymns and he will set his GPS for a new location, mark my word on that.  Remember, he can’t stand a spirit filled Christian, he will run looking for a new mug-wump immediately.  What did Paul mean when he wrote the shortest Greek verse in the New Testament, (Proseuchomai Adialeiptos;  “Pray Unceasingly or Assiduously?” He meant, if you don’t ‘Pray without Ceasing’ you will, ‘Cease without Praying!’  And that is the end result of most churches that close up shop.  According to the latest statistics, 4,000 churches shut down every year.  Why?  Because they stopped praying and stopped trusting in God.  Till next time, I’ll see you, “… Between The Lines…”

“Prayer To Our Father’s God” Deut. 26:7-8 – 2/1/18

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“Prayer of The Oppressed Hired Hand” Deut. 24:15

“Prayer of The Oppressed Hired Hand” Deut. 24:14-15

Thou shalt not, (sounds like one of the Ten Commandments) oppress (ashak – violate, defraud, deceive, cheat, extort, or exploit – that pretty well covers it) an hired servant (sa-kar – laborer, hierling) that is poor (ane – humble, meek, lowly, not necessarily penniless) and needy (eb-yown – in want, needing help, a needy person, the Ebionites adopted this name) whether he be of thy brethren (the nation of Israel) or of thy strangers (gar – sojourners, foreigners, temporary inhabitants, immigrants, nomads) that are in thy land or within thy gates (sha-ar – boundaries, borders, territories).” Deut. 24:15

How does that verse apply to us today? Every one of us in this country, if you trace your lineage back far enough is an alien.  I was born in CT and my father was born in NJ but his parents were born in Poland and came over on a ship to Ellis Island, how about yours?  One of my wife’s descendant’s was an American Indian but where did they come from and how did they get here?  ‘Strangers in the Land,’ sounds like a title for a book, especially today with all the illegal immigration laws going on.  But our verse is talking about hiring a person, any person, legal or illegal for an agreed upon wage and then not paying them, cheating them, or withholding it from them.  If they then cry out or pray unto the LORD then you are in big trouble and hot water.  It doesn’t mention whether they or you have to be a born-again Christian, an Orthodox Jew, a Muslim, or even a religious person. This is a principle for all people because He is the LORD of lords.

In fact, Deut. 24:15 says, “At his day (yom; working day, I take it to be his pay-day) thou shalt give (na-than; bestow, pay wages, give over) to him, his hire (sa-kar; wages, pay, fee, reward, price for which he was hired) neither shall the sun (sheh-mesh) go down (bo; go in, or set) upon it; for he is poor (ane; humble, meek, lowly, afflicted, pious) and setteth (nasa; lifted up, raised up) his heart (neh-fesh; his soul, life, desire, living breath) upon it; (his life and maybe the lives of his wife and children depend on that small pay check; watch this) lest he cry (ka-ra; call out, cry out, in the name of GOD, with a loud voice, to shed tears) against thee (his employer, his boss)  unto the LORD (YHVH; The Self Existent One, YeHoVaH!  The GOD of redemption, the Creator of the universes and all things mortal and immortal, the GOD of life and death and eternity, the GOD of yesterday today and forever, the GOD who owns every shekel in your pocket and put it there) and it be sin (chet; missing the mark, to fall short of GOD’s glory and standard, like a tight-rope walker making a false step, or a mis-step) unto thee.”

Some verse wouldn’t you say? Let’s read it without the extras, “At his day, you shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor and sets his heart upon it; lest he cry against you unto the LORD, and it be sin unto you.”  So, maybe, just maybe we go to the wrong person when we feel cheated on a raise at work or passed over on that promotion.  Maybe complaining to our co-workers over a cup of Joe is the wrong place to be when we need to be on our knees crying out to our real ‘Boss’ and telling Him all about it and letting Him handle the cheater or liar, if there really is one.  Or maybe GOD has something better for us than that raise or that promotion and we just can’t see it through the clouds yet and He is using our employer to get us to the pinnacle of faith He wants for us.  What we need to make sure of is that we are NEVER that unjust employer who cheats, defrauds, or exploits our employees whether we own a corporation or it is just the neighbor’s son cutting our grass or the paper-boy.  That is probably the toughest job of all and I did it for several years and it is amazing how many people will cheat a paper-boy out of 50 cents or even a quarter.  To them it is just pocket change, but to that boy it is half of his weekly wages, especially when a couple of people do it to him.

Why would GOD have to take the space to include this commandment if He did not think it was necessary and relevant for His people about to enter His “Promised Land” populated with strangers and foreigners, that they would need to employ? There are so many verses in His Holy Book, dealing with a laborer and his employer and his wages.  Even Jesus had to deal with it in some of His parables, but just remember if and when it happens to you, and it will happen to you as sure as the sparks fly upwards, go to your Boss in heaven and cry unto Him, before the sun sets and let Him deal with that unjust employer.  You don’t need to go postal, that isn’t the answer to anything except rage and always involves the wrong people. Listen to James 5:4, “Behold the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud crieth; and the cries of them who have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.” (The LORD of Warrior Hosts!) Is this the GOD you want fighting against you or fighting for you? I don’t know about you, but I want Him on my side, as my Boss!   If GOD is talking to you today, pick up your phone, say hello, and talk to Him; He is waiting to hear from you.  Till next time, I’ll see you, “…..Between The Lines…..”

“Prayer of The Oppressed Hired Hand” Dt. 24:15  1/30/18

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“The Prayer For Innocent Blood” Deut. 21:8-9

“The Prayer For Innocent Blood” Deut. 21. 8-9

“Be merciful, O LORD, unto Thy people Israel whom Thou has redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto Thy people Israel’s charge.  And the blood shall be forgiven them.  So shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the LORD.”  Dt. 21:8-9

Moses is giving the new generation about to enter the ‘Promised Land’ some laws from God.  This one regards finding a slain man in your field and no one knows who killed him. (nakah) to violently strike, attacked.  They were to gather the elders (za-kan) and judges from the neighboring city; the leaders; they didn’t have pharisees and sadducees yet.  Get a heifer (eg-lah) female calf, which had not plowed or been yoked yet, and bring it to a valley that has not been plowed or sown and strike off it’s head, vs. 4 or break it’s neck. (araf).  The Levities or Priests (ko-hen) are to come near and bear testimony, the priests because the LORD has chosen them to minister for Him and to bless in His name, Num. 6:24-27; and by their word (peh) mouth, shall every controversy (riyb) dispute, strife, quarrel, and every stroke (nega) wound, plague, be tried or settled.  Isaiah 53:4, “He was stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.” (nega, naka) “and we hid as it were our faces from Him.” These words are used in reference to the Messiah.

Then all the elders of that city next to the slain man shall wash their hands in fresh water (ra-khats) to wash off or away, to bathe, not just a quick rinse with a few drops.  This is a picture of washing your hands in innocency, plunging your hands into water, ie, to declare oneself innocent; (baptidzo) immersing them!  Ps. 26:6, “I will wash my hands in innocence; so will I compass thine altar, O LORD.”  Ps. 73:13, “Verily, I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence.”  So, King David was very familiar with this principle and practice as were the Jewish people, priests, pharisees and leaders.  During Passover they wash their hands several times before eating as this is a ceremonial practice which Jesus was accused of defying by the Pharisees, for eating without washing His hands first, Mark 7:1-13:  Matt. 15:1-9.  They are each to wash their hands over the heifer with the broken neck in the valley as a sign of innocence and they shall testify (a-nah) audibly, “Our hands have not shed (sha-fak; spilled, poured out) this blood, (dam) neither have our eyes (ayin) seen it (ra-ah).”

Now comes the prayer, in vv. 8-9, “Be merciful (ka-far; cover, purge, make atonement, reconciliation, or cover over with pitch, pacify, propitiate).  (This word in Hebrew was more of a covering, or covering over, overspreading, then removal).  O LORD, unto Thy people Israel, (God prevails) whom Thou has redeemed (pa-da; ransomed, rescued, delivered, set free) and lay not innocent (na-ke; clean, free from, clear, exempt) blood, unto thy people Israel’s charge (keh-rev; innermost being).  And the blood shall be forgiven (ka-far; cover, purge, etc.) them.”  V. 9, “So shall Thou put away (ba-ar; burn up, consume, kindle) the guilt of  innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right (ya-shar; upright, correct, fitting, pleasing) in the sight (ayin; eyes) of the LORD (YHVH).”

Let’s take this Older Testament principle and see it applied in the Newer Testament in the Lord Jesus Christ’s life, at His crucifixion trial.  In Luke 23:1-4 you have His first meeting with Pilate and he says, “I find no fault in this man!”  In Luke 23:14 after he sends Him to Herod, Pilate says, “I have found no fault in this man as touching those things which you accuse Him of;  No, nor yet Herod; for I sent you to him, and lo, nothing worthy of death is done by Him,”  vv. 14-15. (Second time).  Luke 23:22 says, “And he (Pilate) said unto them a third time, “Why, what evil has He done? I have found no fault in Him.  I will therefore chastise Him, and let Him go.”  But they kept crying, “Crucify Him!”  Even Pilate’s wife, Claudia came to him in Matt. 27:19 and said, “Have thou nothing to do with this righteous man, for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of Him.”  Tradition tells us that Pilate’s wife left him after the crucifixion and went down to Egypt and started a church. (Could that be the Coptic Church today?)

However, in Matt. 27:24, “When Pilate saw that he could prevail/profit nothing, but that rather a tumult/riot/uproar was made, he took water and washed (a-po-nep-to; to wash off) his hands before (a-pen-ante: in opposition to) the multitude saying, “I am innocent (a-tho-es; not guilty) of the blood (hima) of this righteous, (dikaios; just, virtuous, innocent, faultless) person, See ye to it! or ‘You see to it!'”  Then answered all (apo-kri-no-mai; to give an answer to a question proposed) the people (laos; people group, tribe, nation, all of the same stock or language) (This apo-kri-no-mai is quite devastating when you think of it’s implications going back to this principle in Dt. 21:8-9, it almost, in fact it does make me tremble inside).  “His blood (hima) be upon, (epi; against, across) us and on (epi) our children (tek-non; offspring).”  So, like the elders and judges of the city they were saying they were guilty of the innocent blood shed of God’s only begotten Son and willing to endure the punishment and may it be laid on them and their children, but release Barabbas and crucify Jesus.  Matt. 27:26, “The Pilate released Barabbas unto them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.”  Luke 23:24 says, “And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.”  Who are the ‘they?’  The chief priests and the Jewish crowds; the Romans sought to release Him. v.24, “And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.”  Then in Matt. 23:25 it says, “but he/Pilate delivered Jesus to their will.”  Even Judas Iscariot, in Matt. 27:4, referred to Christ’s blood as, “innocent blood,” saying, “I have sinned, in that I have betrayed innocent blood!”  And he went out and hung himself.  However, be careful here; the Jewish people did not kill Jesus, neither did the Romans nor the Greeks nor the Pagans.  He said in John 10:17-18, “Therefore does My Father love Me because I lay down My life that I might take it again.  No man takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This commandment have I received of My Father,”  In reality it was you and I who nailed Him to that Cross, at least it was our Sin, Col. 2:14.  Till next time, I’ll see you, “…..Between The Lines…..”

“The Prayer For Innocent Blood” Deut. 21:8-9  1/29/18


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“The Cry Against The Evil Eye” Deut. 15:9

“The Cry Against The Evil Eye” Deut. 15:9

“Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart saying; The seventh year, the year of release is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou give him nothing; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be a sin unto thee.” Dt. 15:9

The ‘evil eye;‘ We hear a lot about that today and yesterday but usually in the wrong context. If you are Jewish or a Christian than of course you want to understand it’s meaning in the Biblical context. The first time you have this phrase used in the Bible is here in Deuteronomy as the Jewish Nation is about to enter the ‘Promised Land.’  It is used eight times in the Scriptures; four times in the Older Testament and four times in the Newer Testament.   The first time it is used is here in Deut. 15:9, so we have what is called, “The Law of first Mention” or for you science buffs we’ll refer to it as “The Science of Etymology.”  You find where something is said or used for the first time in a certain piece of literature and you study it out, search it out in that piece of literature to ascertain it’s true meaning throughout.

Here Moses is setting up the “Sabbatical Year.”  He gives them instructions from the LORD how it is to work, at the end of every seven years they are to release their debtors or creditors.  In Deut. 15:2 he says, “Every creditor who lends anything unto his neighbor shall release it, he shall  not exact it of his neighbor, or of his brother, because it is called the LORD’s release.”  Interesting in v. 6 the LORD says of Israel, “Thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow, and thou shalt reign over many nations but they shall not reign over you.”  That was America until the 1980’s, we were the lenders, now we are the borrowers and 20 Trillion in debt; actually a lot more than that if you check the debt clock.

However, v. 9 says, “If your poor brother cries unto the LORD against thee, because you have an ‘evil eye’ – stingy eye – greedy eye – enough is not enough.  I can’t help but think of Rockefeller when asked, “what would make  him happy?”  And he replied, “Just a little bit more!”  So this has nothing to do with a demonic eye or the devil’s eye, just a stingy person, who holds their purse strings tight and won’t share with the poor and needy, especially those of his own clan.

This same word ‘Cry’ is found in Ex. 22:23 speaking of widows and orphans who ‘cry’ unto the LORD and He will send a sword and kill you and make your wives widows and your children orphans.  So, I take it when this poor man cries because you have withheld his wages or his reward or stipend, you are dead meat, to put it bluntly. James 5:4 comes in here and those laborers have cried unto the LORD and the land owners or business owners are in big trouble.  So, if you are being cheated at work, I guess your union representative should not be your first line of defense should it?

Moses illustrates this thought again in Deut. 28:54 & 56.  Chapter 28 is his third discourse and he is explaining blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience, and in v. 49-62 he speaks of a nation from afar, from the end of the earth who will destroy them and eat all their produce and cattle and they will have to eat their own children to survive, vv. 53-58.  There he says a man who is tender among you and delicate v. 54, his eye will be evil toward his brother, his wife and his children, because he won’t share the flesh of his remaining children to eat.  The same is true of a tender, delicate woman who will  have an evil eye as she eats her children and won’t share the flesh with her neighbors, her husband or her other children.  It’s not that she is evil herself, she is just stingy!  The fact is, that she will not share her children with her starving neighbors for dinner.  What a horrible dilemma to be in regardless, Amen?

In Prov. 23:6, Solomon is referring to the same concept as he talks of sitting and eating with a ruler.  Don’t be desirous of his dainties (matam) tasty, savory food, delectable food, while those around him go hungry.  In fact he says in v. 2, “Put a knife to your throat, if you are a man given to appetite.”  “And not to be desirous of his dainties, for they are deceitful food.”  Then in v. 6 he says, “Eat not the bread of him who has an (ayin rah) evil eye;”  This man is laboring to be rich, to get more and more and more.  He is never content with what God has given him like Paul said and therefore always held the poor, the widow, the orphan in contempt.  “Riches certainly make themselves wings, they fly away like an eagle toward heaven.”  As the old saying goes, “Easy come, easy go!”  As you examine this context you will see the rich gold digger many times is a crooked man, moving landmarks, stealing from widows and orphans and even their parents.  In Prov. 28:22, Solomon says, “he that hastens to be rich has an (ayin rah) evil eye and considers not that poverty shall come upon him.”  Quick riches most of the time leads to quick poverty or quick destruction.  In I Tim. 6:10, Paul says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil; “not money itself, but the love of it (fe-lar-gu-re-a) avarice, greed for riches, great desire to be rich.  As Paul says it’s the root (rhe-za) the offspring, the progeny, the sprout or shoot – of all evil (kakos) bad, wicked, wrong, destructive, depraved, worthless, harmful lifestyle.  Remember, it’s not the money, it’s the love of it, the avarice, the (fe-lar-gu-re-a).

In Matt. 6:23 Jesus said, “If thine eye be evil,” – eye (of-thal-mos), that’s where we get ophthalmology; evil (po-na-ros) physical; bad, disease, blind,) Ethical; wicked, bad.  However, the context is ‘Treasure in Heaven,” vv. 9-24.  In fact v. 24 tells us that we can’t serve God and ‘Mamonas,’ mammon/money.  Here it is personified and opposed to God.  Here again God is talking about a stingy giver when it comes to God and His ministries.  Can you out give God? Never!  But if you are not careful v. 24, you will become a servant to your 401-K and not your 401-Kingdom.  10% is just the starting point, not the end result; God gave His all, should you do less?

Jesus uses this phrase ‘evil eye‘ again in Matt. 20:15 when He is dealing with the Parable of the laborers and their pay-checks and some think they should be paid more because they worked longer, but they were all given what was agreed upon and He said in v. 15 “Is it not lawful for Me to do what I will with mine own?  Is thine eye evil, because I am good?”  Again this phrase is used in the context of money and finances and wages, and stingy attitudes.

In Mark chapter seven Jesus is dealing with a diagnosis of the heart, however money is involved in v. 9-13, where Moses gave them the 5th Commandment to honor your father and mother.  However, the Pharisees said if you pledged your wealth to God, “Korban” v. 11, a sacred treasury, you were free from caring for your parents, making the word of God of no effect, v. 13.  Then He presents in logical order the three forms in which sin appears; in vv. 21-23; In human nature, “out of the heart;”  In the human mind, “evil thoughts;”  Then in human action, “adultery, fornication, murder, theft, evil eye, etc.”  There it is again, along with covetousness, and lasciviousness, theft, and pride, right in the middle of wealth.  An “Evil Eye” is a stingy, greedy, eye.  One that darkens your whole body so that no light can shine in you or out of you.  In fact you would make Scrooge look like an angel lighting up a Christmas tree.  Till next time, I’ll see you, “…..Between the Lines…..”

“The Cry Against The Evil Eye” Deut. 15:9  1/24/18

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Moses Takes Joshua On His 40 Day Fast” Dt. 10:10 & Ex. 24:13-14

“Moses Takes Joshua On His 40 day Fast” Dt. 10:10 & Ex. 24:13-14

“And Moses rose up, and his servant Joshua; and Moses went up into the mount of God. And he said unto the (70) elders, Tarry here for us, until we come again unto you; and behold, Aaron and Hur are with you, if you have any matters to do, let him come unto them.” (Where was Hur during all this golden calf nonsense and broken tablets?) Ex. 24:13-14.

Exodus 24:18 says, “Moses went into the midst of the cloud and got up into the mount, and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.” Getting instructions from God and the ‘Ten Commandments.’ However, Joshua would not leave the Tabernacle, nor the presence of God, Ex. 33:11 showing us that he was most likely with Moses both times when he fasted and prayed 40 days and nights. He couldn’t get enough of God, can you? The power and the presence of God that is manifested to us in prolonged fasting is somewhat miraculous, if not divine. So, when we talk about Moses, Elijah, or Jesus fasting for forty days and nights we must remember not to leave out Joshua, the servant of the LORD’s servant. After the victory of Jericho and the Passover in the ‘Promised Land’ for the first time, Joshua meets the ‘Captain of The LORD’s Host’ with His sword drawn, ready for battle, and Joshua says, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” Then He revealed who He was and Joshua fell on his face prostrate and worshiped Him. Then the ‘Captain of The LORD’s Host’ told Joshua to remove his shoes from off his feet because he was standing on holy ground in the presence of Almighty God, The Great I AM! This is the One Moses met in Ex. 3:5 and now Joshua gets to meet Him in person. What exactly transpires at this holy meeting, we don’t know. If you had an encounter like this would you want to talk about it or publish it in a book? I didn’t think so. But all that fasting and prayer prepared him for this particular holy meeting.

As we have been discussing the subject of fasting, the forgotten practice and principle of the Christian community today, we have looked at several things it produces like, a humble soul, Ps. 35:13; a chastened spirit, Ps. 69:10, and a contrite heart, helping to conquer our pride. We said it also weakens the knees or flesh, Ps. 109:24, it helps to turn the whole heart to God and produces a humble, contrite, broken spirit that God can and will revive! You do want to be revived, don’t you? We saw some results of fasting, regeneration of the lost, repentance of the saved, reliance and strong faith in believers, remittance and forgiveness of offenses, and most of all ‘Revival!’

We saw that fasting is the voluntary, self-sacrifice of the will, that gives to fasting all of its power with God; and its primary purpose is to give ourselves, ‘Holy and Wholly’ to God, so He can have complete freedom to use us as He sees fit. Andrew Murray said, “Prayer is reaching out after the unseen, fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal.” Fasting says Murray, “Helps express, deepen and confirm the relationship that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we are seeking from God.” John Wesley said, “Is not the neglect of fasting which is ranked by our Lord with alms giving and prayer, one general occasion of deadness among Christians? Can anyone neglect fasting and be guiltless?”

Elijah after his great miracles on Mt. Carmel and calling fire down from heaven and slaying 850 false prophets, crawls under a juniper tree, depressed and wants to die, I Kings 19. In v. 8, it says he spent 40 days and nights in Mt. Horeb on the strength of the (ougah) food, the angel gave him under that tree. There are many Old Testament examples of fasting and prayer, Daniel, David, Joel, Zechariah, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc. Jesus fasted for forty days and nights in Matt. 4:1-2 and, “Afterward He was hungry.” Now it doesn’t say, He didn’t drink, but I personally don’t think He did! There is not much water in that desert area anyway, I have been there, more than once. It is true all these men had to be super-naturally sustained, because our bodies can’t go without moisture that long. Dr. Herbert Sheldon studied fasting and said, “Under ideal conditions a human has fasted for 90 days and survived.” (Ideal conditions) On long fasts hunger usually subsides after three days and returns after 40 days, when the stored food reserves in the body tissues are used up. (Interesting!) Only then he says, “Does starvation begin, usually around the 41st day.” An interesting comparison was done by the USAF for survival and they concluded that a man can live without food for 40 days, without water for 3 days, without air for 8 minutes, but without hope for only 30 seconds, so hope is very important. They also have found that men under ideal conditions have been known to go without water for up to 12 days.

In Luke 12:36-38 Anna served God with, “fastings and prayers night and day,” and she had been doing it for 84 years and then some. So, don’t say, “I’m to old, to make a difference!” How old was Moses? Note the link in Anna’s ministry, “fastings and prayers;” Fasting is a way to worship God, you become more spiritually in tune with God, His will, His word, His wishes, His plans, and His commands when you fast! She was one of only two people in the Temple that recognized Jesus when He was brought into the Temple. Fasting allows us to discern His Scriptures and to perceive spiritual realities. In Acts 9:9 right after Paul’s encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus, he is fasting and praying for spiritual discernment, “Lord what would You have me to do?” Fasting is a way to seek God’s will in a specific matter, Like Cornelius on a roof-top in Joppa in Acts 10:30, he fasted and prayed and God sent him an angel to tell him his prayers were heard. Has God sent you an angel lately? How would you know? Maybe He is telling you something right now!

The New Testament Church used this technique in choosing missionaries and church leaders, Acts 13:2-3; 14:23. In Acts 13:2-3 it says, “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, separate me Barnabas and Saul/Paul for the work unto which I have called them.” They were ministering to the Lord by fasting, how beautiful is that? You don’t need another reason other than that one! However, v. 3 says, “And when they had fasted and prayed and laid hands on them, they sent them out.” Fasting was a part of their being, part of their worship, part of their ministry to Jesus, Matt. 6, (when you pray, when you give, when you fast). Why is it not part of our moral fiber and fabric today? Acts 13:23 says, they ordained elders/pastors in every church after they prayed and fasted. We just pick 3 or 4 candidates, eat some chicken and pie, listen to them preach, check out their wives and children and vote for the most likely to succeed. I don’t ever remember our church setting aside three days or seven days to fast and pray for wisdom and guidance to choose the right candidate or missionary to support. The Bible is filled with examples of fasting and praying, our Lord Jesus Christ being the foremost of all!

The key factor is motive, just read Isaiah chapter 58 for a comparison of man’s fast vs God’s fast. Motive is always the key to praying. giving, serving and fasting. Here in Isaiah 58, man is seeking himself, he is doing it for religion and God hates religion, He hates it with a holy hatred. Man even fasts for physical benefits, the disciples of Satan even fast for evil reasons to defeat Christians, and religious people fast for purely religious reasons like Lent, Ramadan, etc, and born-again Christians fast or should fast for spiritual reasons as well. The pharisees fasted every Monday and Thursday for their religion and the Orthodox Jews still do it today, Luke 18:9-14; Read Isaiah 58:6-7. Motive is the key to fasting and seeking God’s heart. Pure motives are extremely important! Make sure your motive is right or you will be wasting your time and God’s! Jer. 14:12, He won’t hear you; Zech. 7:4-13, If your heart is not right with God, you need confession not fasting first!

Phillip Brooks said, “Fasting is the voluntary disuse of anything innocent in and of itself, with a view to spiritual culture.” Andrew Bonar said, “Fasting is abstaining from all that interferes with prayer.” J. G. Morrison said, “Every great leader who moved his age mightily for God, fasted!” Charles Finney said, “After humbling myself with prayer and fasting and crying out to God, His power would return to me with all its fullness. This has been my experience all my life.” John Wesley said, “Is not the neglect of this plain duty, I mean fasting, ranked by our Lord, with alms-giving, and prayer, one general occasion of deadness among Christians? Can anyone willingly neglect it and be guiltless?” David Brainerd said, “Being sensible of the great want of divine influences and the out pouring of God’s Spirit, I spent the day in fasting and prayer to seek so great a mercy for myself, my poor people in particular, and the church of God in general.” 

Oh, my friend, I trust you will no longer make this God given, Christ ordained, principle for living, an experiment, but a practice in your life for His Almighty power and presence in your life and ministry for His glory and honor. So, you too can loose the bands of wickedness, undo heavy burdens, let the oppressed go free, break every yoke and bind the powers of hell. Moses knew and availed himself of this power, so did Joshua and Elijah and Paul and of course your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If God Himself availed Himself of this power, why won’t we? Till next time, I’ll see you, “… Between The Lines…” 

“Moses Takes Joshua On His 40 day fast” Ex. 24:13-14 – 1/25/18

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