Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
"The LORD Fights Our Battles"
When trials and troubles come up, and people fight against you, and close friends betray you and begin to attack, vilify and slander you, what should you do? Where should you turn? Is there a God in heaven who REALLY will fight our battles for us? Is it really possible for us to "stand still, and SEE the salvation of the LORD"?
by HOIM Staff
From time to time, it happens every year, people become offended, begin to listen to the wiles and seductive influence of Satan the devil, and gossip and tall tales from former brethren and associates, and take things at "face value," without proving the accusation, and begin to develop a bitter, hostile, vindictive spirit and attitude.
It happened to the Messiah, who was betrayed by his close disciple, Judas, one who had been called of YEHOVAH God to become a very apostle, and to rule over one of the twelve tribes of Israel. David had those who betrayed him, including his very own son Absalom, and his chief counselor, whose word was considered the "wisdom of God" and whose counsel never failed, a confidant by the name of Ahithophel.
So betrayal is nothing new. As Solomon wrote, "That which has been is what will be. That which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun" (Eccl. 1:9).
We must face the facts, and live within the bounds of reality, and not "kid" ourselves. Not everybody is going to make it into the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. Not everybody is going to be willing to humble themselves, and endure trials and afflictions, and forgive the sins of others, and endure to the END, as Yeshua commanded (Matt. 24: 13).
Why do people become "offended"? We often do not know. They seldom, if ever, admit the real reasons. Maybe they don't even understand it themselves. Maybe they had a certain "hidden agenda," and their expectations were not met, and so they became bitter like Judas, who smarted under the rebuke of the Messiah (Matt. 26:6-16), the "last straw," as far as he was concerned, and agreed to betray the very son of YEHOVAH God to his enemies (Mark 14:311; see esp. John 12:38).
Why do former "brethren" at times attack the Work of YEHOVAH God? Of course, maybe they no longer "see" it as the Work of YEHOVAH God, but as the work of a "man." As the old saying goes, maybe they are "so close to a tree that they can't see the forest!"
YEHOVAH God's Work Will Not Be Overthrown!
Of course, I am very sorry when some people have become "burned out," as the saying goes, and have left the Work, and no longer consider themselves part of it. But it is even worse when such people begin to ATTACK the very Work of the Living GOD ! Whether they realize it or admit it or not, they are heaping judgment and condemnation upon their own heads. Even Gamaliel, a Pharisee of the House of Hillel, had more sense than that! In the Sanhedrin, he counseled his fellow Pharisees, "Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men . . . And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it -- lest you even be found to FIGHT AGAINST GOD" (Acts 5:35-39, NKJV).
As we approach the end of this age, we can expect more and more people to become offended. Yeshua said, "Woe to the world because of offenses ! for offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!" (Matt. 18:7).
The Pharisees rebuked the Messiah for allowing the people of Jerusalem to shout out his name with acclaim, when he entered the city, and later the Temple, shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! Hosanna in the highest!" (Matt. 21:9,15). The Pharisees were "indignant" -- or angry, as my Bible margin says (v. 15). They rebuked Yeshua saying, "Do You hear what these are saying?" But Yeshua answered them, retorting, "Yes. Have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise'?" (v.16).
"The Elijah Work"
When challenged by the Pharisees, who asked him point-blank, "Are you Elijah?" John the Baptist told them, "I am not" (John 1:21). Yet we know that he did come in the power and spirit of Elijah (Matt. 11:7-14; Luke 1:13-17, 76-79).
I do not claim I am equal to Moses. Nor Elijah. Nor do I claim anything great for myself. But I refuse to be intimidated by the self-righteousness of people. I refuse to allow carnal-minded men or women to tell me what to print or what not to print.
You see, I do not seek to please people -- for then I would be a "people pleaser," which YEHOVAH God Almighty condemns! As Paul wrote, "For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Gal. 1:10).
I do not compare myself with any other servant of YEHOVAH God, although I do pray often to YEHOVAH that I may be like them -- that is, like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Enoch, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Elijah, John the Baptist, Peter, James, John, and Paul, etc. -- I most surely do. But especially I pray to be and become like THE MESSIAH, in every way! Is that a sin? Nonsense! We should ALL pray that way, and not be intimidated or fearful of men and women, and their self-righteous judgment! YEHOVAH God will reward them according to their own proud, stubborn, wicked hearts.
Paul wrote, "But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise" (II Cor. 10:12). Rather than sit in judgment of me, or one another, each one of us should compare our own selves to the Messiah, and be humbled as a result, and then seek to be like him!
Why People Get into a Wrong Spirit
Why do people bother to take offense at me? I am just a servant of YEHOVAH God, trying to do his level best to serve YEHOVAH, and it is to YEHOVAH God whom I must answer, or acquit myself. The real reason some are so hell-bent on criticizing me, I feel, is dual -- or twofold: First, Satan the devil gets a hold of their attitudes, and emotions, and minds, and sows seeds of discontent, anger, resentment, hostility, negativism, etc. He is very good at that. He has had thousands of years of practice! He was so good, in fact, that he got one third of the angels in heaven to follow him (Rev. 12:3-4).
The second reason people become offended is lack of simple and pure faith. Paul wrote, "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works [not evil works and criticism!], not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some [not superciliously withdrawing ourselves from true fellowship with other brethren when we have the opportunity to do so!], but EXHORTING ONE ANOTHER, and so much the MORE as you see the Day approaching" (Heb. 10:24-25).
But some are like the young boy paying baseball with his friends, who gets offended because he is called out at first base, and pouts, and grabs his bat or baseball (which are needed to play the game!) and goes home -- thus breaking up the game.
Such selfishness! Such childishness! Yet even adults in YEHOVAH's Church sometimes get in that smirky, self-righteous, hostile attitude, and decide to "take their bat and ball and go home!"
Paul went on, "For if we sin WILLFULLY after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will DEVOUR the adversaries [those who attack and make themselves the "adversaries" and enemies of YEHOVAH's Work!]. Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. And again, 'The Lord will judge His people.' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb. 10:26-31).
Why do some people grow weary with well doing, and stumble?
I personally think that their major problem is that they really lack "faith" and "appreciation" for YEHOVAH's Work, and for YEHOVAH's TRUTH, and like so many others have a false idea of what the "work" is supposed to be. They lack faith in YEHOVAH GOD, who leads and directs and guides this Work! And they lack appreciation for the wonderful TRUTH which they have learned from this Work! They have forgotten the miserable state of affairs their lives were in BEFORE they learned the TRUTH, which delivered them from bondage and slavery to some cult or off-shoot of Worldwide, or the new "daughter of Babylon" itself!
The Scripture in Ephesians 4:11-16 comes to mind. YEHOVAH God "gave" some various offices and abilities for the sake of the Church (v. 11). This was "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry," etc. (v. 12) -- "TILL we all come in the UNITY of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God . . ." (v. 13). Some want and expect perfection right now, and condemn me if I don't look the spitting image of what they expect, or if I don't jump up and dance to the tune they want to play on their fiddle!
As Yeshua said to His wicked, perverse generation of vipers, so I say to the wicked, perverse snakes in the grass today, who take it upon themselves to stand in judgment of YEHOVAH God and His Work:
"But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, and saying, 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance. We mourned to you, and you did not lament.' For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners !' But wisdom is justified by her children" (Matt. 11:16-18).
Some apparently would like me to write about flying saucers, and space men, and various conspiracy theories, and angelic mutants -- forgetting the admonition of Paul to Timothy that in the last days some people "will not endure sound doctrine," but will "turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables" (II Tim. 4:3-4).
To steer clear of such fables and myths and ideas of men, and theories concocted by Satan to deceive and mislead people, is why YEHOVAH God set ministers, shepherds, and pastors over His flock! It is why He put offices in His Church! "And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?" (I Cor. 12:28-29).
Offices in YEHOVAH's Church Should Be Respected
Why does YEHOVAH God set leaders in His Church? For the preaching of the true gospel! For the protection of the flock of YEHOVAH God! "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!' . . . So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:14-17).
Some despise the Church of YEHOVAH God, and despise the ministry. They have been "burned" in the past. And now they refuse any and all "authority" over them in the faith! They refuse to be submissive to Church government -- even GODLY CHURCH government! As Paul wrote, "And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are OVER you in the Lord and ADMONISH you, and to ESTEEM them very HIGHLY IN LOVE for their work's sakes" (I Thess. 5:12-13).
Paul also wrote to the Hebrews, "Remember those who RULE [Greek, LEAD] over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose FAITH FOLLOW, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about [or, "away"] with various and strange doctrines" (Heb. 13:7-9).
Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every WIND of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive . . ." (Eph. 4:14). There are still many people stuck in Worldwide -- who are sincere and who are confused, slow to take action, slow to move out, stuck with family, confused by the new changes in doctrines, waiting for YEHOVAH to intervene and straighten out the situation. I feel they STILL need a witness, from time to time. And so do the people in Global, and Flurry's group. Therefore, I write and speak of the things which I feel YEHOVAH God inspires me to write and talk about.
Yehovah God commands, "Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil" (I Thess. 5:19-22, NKJV).
What about you, dear reader? Do you think this is just a work of men? Do you think that I am just another human being, no more right or wrong than any other?
If this is YEHOVAH's Work, and He gave me the talents to do this unique work, with His help, and His spirit -- for surely I could not do it by myself -- then YEHOVAH's true people should see the "fruits," and recognize His Work, and get behind it, and support it, and help it, and pray for it, and put their "all" -- their whole effort -- into it.
But if this is not YEHOVAH's Work, then like Peter said, we should all just fold up our tents -- me included -- and go our own ways. After Yeshua's resurrection, Peter said to some of the other disciples, "I am going fishing" (John 21:3). That would sound like a good idea to me. Let's get with it! A sign in a local restaurant says, "Three quarters of the earth is covered by water, and one fourth is land. This shows that the good Lord wants every man to spend three quarters of his time fishing, and only one quarter working." Sounds good to me!
At that time Peter, of course, knew the Messiah was arisen (see chapter 20). But he didn't have any "vision" of YEHOVAH's "work." He didn't see his part in it! So he thought apparently that understanding the Messiah was arisen was enough. But there was no "work" to be done. So he was going to go back to fishing, which had been his livelihood (Matt. 4:18-20). But Yeshua had called him to be a "fisher of men" (v. 19). Yeshua later told Peter, "Feed my lambs" (John 21:15). He repeated this admonition three times (John 21:1517). In other words, Peter was no longer to fish for fish, but to FISH FOR MEN -- TO PREACH THE GOSPEL! Yeshua said to the disciples, "But you shall receive POWER when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be WITNESSES to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
Is This Really YEHOVAH's Work?
Are you doing YOUR PART in YEHOVAH's great Work? No matter how "small" it is, it is a GREAT work, because it is YEHOVAH GOD'S own Work! That makes it great in Spirit, if not great in size!
I have SEEN the truth of YEHOVAH God! I have had a deep, penetrating AWARENESS of YEHOVAH, and His Word! Like Isaiah, then, I am responsible for what I have seen and heard and learned!
"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?' Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me"' (Isaiah 6:8).
The spirit of Satan the devil says, "Give up, quit. Throw in the towel. People don't like you. You're not doing anybody any good. It's a waste of time. Go fishing, while you still have time. Get out the tackle box, and your spinning rod and reel, and head for the mountains. Forget the work you are doing -- it is too thankless, a thankless job. Nobody appreciates it, and the flak is enormous. Why put up with it?"
That is the counsel of "faithlessness." But the counsel of FAITH says, "Do the work" (John 9:4; Luke 10:23). YEHOVAH God doesn't give us His truth for our own self-edification and self glorification. Rather, Yeshua said, "Ye shall be WITNESSES UNTO ME" (Acts 1:8) -- witnesses to the TRUTH of YEHOVAH God.
The counsel of Faith says, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Phil. 4:13). The counsel of Faith does not say, "Let's give up and throw in the towel." Rather, the voice of Faith says, "ENDURE TO THE END" (Matt. 24:13). Faith will not give up or quit -- even if close friends and associates, who once "entered the house of God with us," in our company, later turn their backs on us. I knew it would happen. I know it will happen again -- and again. And probably more frequently as the END approaches, and trials and tests intensify, and increase in magnitude!
When Yeshua the Messiah one time gave a particularly strong sermon, or rebuke, "the Jews then murmured at him" (John 6:41). They did not like what he said. They wanted him to preach something else. Their pet theories were not getting enough attention. So we read, "Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?" (John 6:60). And so, "From that time many of his disciples WENT BACK, and walked no more with him" (v. 66). Only the disciples, and a few others, remained faithful -- remembered where they HEARD the Truth -- and appreciated it, and clung to it, and cleaved to the one or ones who brought it! ! !
The voice of doubt says, "Let's go away. He's not all that great. This Work isn't doing much. Its infinitesimal -- puny -- unworthy of our support. Let's quit, and go do something else."
The voice of Faith counters, "No, let's remain faithful to the end -- for YEHOVAH says, 'Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life' (Rev. 2:10). Let's hang in there and NEVER SURRENDER!" A famous U.S. General of the American Civil War was named Ulysses S. Grant. His initials stood for "Unconditional Surrender." That is, he would keep on doggedly fighting and fighting until the enemy raised the white flag, and "unconditionally surrendered" to him. He fought to the end -- he never surrendered. Casualties were very heavy. Scores of thousands were injured, maimed, killed and wounded. But he fought on -- to victory -- and finally General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate Army surrendered to him at Appomattox Court House, in Virginia.
What kind of spiritual warrior -- fighter -- are you?
Teddy Roosevelt wrote in his Autobiography:
"The Doer of Deeds"
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds: Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy 'cause; who at the best knows in the end the TRIUMPH OF HIGH ACHIEVEMENT; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails WHILE DARING GREATLY, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
Believe it or not, this IS the Work of YEHOVAH God!
Believe it or not, I know that YEHOVAH God fights my battles. I also know that I am very human, and undeserving of the least of His mercies and blessings. So with open heart, and tremendous feeling, I praise and worship Him, and trust Him with my life, my family, my children, and the work He has called and given me to do -- the charge to feed His sheep and to witness to the world and to the erring church. My faith is in Him. When adversaries attack and enemies begin to persecute this work, or to demean it and to try to lead YEHOVAH's people astray, and away, then I pray like king Asa of ancient Judah:
"Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You. In Your name we go against this multitude. O LORD, you are our God; do not let man prevail against You!" (I Chron. 14:11).
YEHOVAH's prophet said to Asa, "But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!" (I Chron. 15:7).
At another time, YEHOVAH's prophet said to king Asa,
"For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him" (I Chron. 16:9).
Let YEHOVAH Fight Your Battles!
Another time, a vast army of Moabites, Ammonites, and the children of Seir, came against Judah and king Jehoshaphat, a righteous king, who feared YEHOVAH God. Jehoshaphat assembled all the leaders and the people in Jerusalem, and led them in a mighty prayer, seeking YEHOVAH's intervention and deliverance. Jehoshaphat prayed to YEHOVAH, and committed the entire nation and people to YEHOVAH's hands. He declared, in part:
"O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You" (II Chron. 20:12).
YEHOVAH God raised up a prophet from among the people to encourage the king and the people of Judah. He declared to them:
"Thus says the LORD to you: 'Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's . . . You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, STAND STILL AND SEE THE SALVATION OF THE LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!' Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you" (II Chron. 20:15-17).
The king and the people bowed their faces to the ground, and worshipped the LORD, and the Levite singers stood up to sing praises to YEHOVAH. Early the next morning they all rose up and went out to the Wilderness of Tekoa. The king admonished them, "Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper" (v. 20). So they went forth, with the singers of the Levites in front of the army, singing lustily, bravely, heartedly, with gusto! (v. 21-22). They were singing praises to YEHOVAH God, even before He intervened and saved them, or took any action, or manifested Himself in any direct way !
Now I ask you is that any way to lead an army into battle? With singers and musicians?
This reminds me of the story that is told of Monty and the British Third Army at El Alamein, in North Africa, when they fought Rommel's Desert Corps. Rommel had never seen defeat. He was known far and wide as Hitler's top general, nicknamed "The Desert Fox." But when the battle for El Alamein started, Monty sent into the front lines, at night, ahead of the regular army, the SCOTTISH BAGPIPERS, who piped mightily, and lustily, and as the German soldiers heard the wailing drone and banshee-like quavering notes of the bagpipers, and the Scots Guard in the kilts, they reacted with horror and terror, and trembled before "the ladies from Hell." Many fled into the night, in panic and commotion. Once again YEHOVAH GOD delivered His people Israel !
Most generals would quake in their boots at the very thought of letting the pipers, and tuba players, and flutists, and trombone players, and trumpeters, and drums, and other musicians -- the whole Marine Corps Band -- leading the troops into battle in the front lines !
Later, the fearsome armies of the king of Assyria, the counterpart of Hitler and the Third Reich, came and attacked Judah, after conquering all the other nations of the Middle East. Hezekiah, the king of Judah, assembled the military captains of the people, and gathered them in he open square of the city gate, and spoke to them, saying:
"Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him: for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles" (II Chron. 32:7-8).
YEHOVAH God gave Judah a tremendous victory over those heathen, pagan armies. Sennacherib's troops were all killed in one night by a supernatural plague of devastating proportions. Some 185,000 of his best troops were slain by the angel of the LORD!
"And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel [or, "Angel"] of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses -- all dead" (II Kings 19:35).
Can YEHOVAH God save His people? Can the Almighty GOD save His Work, today? Can YEHOVAH STILL. perform miracles of deliverance and salvation?
Or is the LORD's hand shortened, weakened, unable to effectively deal with adversaries and those who attack YEHOVAH's Work, and His spiritual "nation," and His people who love and who serve Him?
Declared Isaiah the prophet,
"Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God: And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear" (Isaiah 59:12).
As we approach the End of this age, there is no doubt that more and more of YEHOVAH's people will lose faith, lose heart, see the growing power of the Enemy, and become fearful, afraid, and dismayed. Some who know the truth will nevertheless forsake the Truth. They will go their own ways.
The apostle Paul had this same problem of people forsaking him, too. He wrote to Timothy, his son in the faith, in the latter days of his ministry, "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me" (II Tim. 4:10-11). He told Timothy, "This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me" (II Tim. 1:15). What a horrible thing! Could all the people in a given region, today, also forsake the Truth of YEHOVAH God? It is possible!
Over the years a few have already withdrawn themselves. Yet YEHOVAH's Word admonishes: "Let us HOLD FAST the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) and let us consider one another to PROVOKE UNTO LOVE and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Heb. 10:23-25).
On the Very Verge of Victory...
It has always amazed me, that right on the VERGE of entering into the Promised Land, the children of Israel stumbled in faith -- and rebelled against YEHOVAH God, right when they were at the very border of Canaan! On the very verge of victory, they capitulated to their fears, and caved in before their doubts, and cursed YEHOVAH and Moses, who had brought them to this "awful predicament"! They listened to the "bad news" of the faithless spies who told them the land was heavily fortified, and the people were GIANTS in stature! Instead of having faith in the God who fed them in the desert, and brought them through the Red Sea, and drowned Pharaoh and all his army, these spineless jelly-fish wimped out, and moaned and whined and groaned.
"So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, 'If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness!' . . . So they said to one another, 'Let us select a leader and return to Egypt"' (Num. 14:14).
On the very verge of victory, they rebelled against YEHOVAH God, and sought to stone Joshua and Caleb, the only two spies who denied the majority report!
Rather than quail, and flinch, and shake in terror, Joshua and Caleb, in their minority report, said, "If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them" (vs. 8-9).
The carcasses of that faithless generation fell in the wilderness. They came up to the last moment, and then their faith forsook them, and they succumbed at the very edge of victory -- and lost everything.
What about you? What about us, today?
The holy spirit says to us, "Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years" (Heb. 3:7-9).
Paul tells us, therefore, "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you AN EVIL HEART OF UNBELIEF in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called 'Today,' lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end" (Hebrews 3:12-14).
Faith -- the "Bottom Line"
"Faith" is the bottom line. But faith in what? Faith in YEHOVAH God, in His Word, and in His truth! Can we deceive ourselves that we have "faith"? Of course we can. You cannot have true faith, a gift of YEHOVAH's spirit, and go around bitterly attacking a true man of YEHOVAH God from whom you received the truth of YEHOVAH God, no matter now weak or insignificant you may judge him to be!
You cannot manifest faith and out of the same heart manifest bitterness, hatred, which is in the Greek language "loving less by comparison." Faith without true love is not true faith. True faith and true love for each other are reverse sides of the same Truth -- of the same reality -- of the same essence. The Seal of Faith is the other side of the Seal of Love. So any who profess they have faith, but don't have love, make a mockery of their "faith."
The apostle James said, "Faith without works [of love] is DEAD, being alone" (James 2:17, 26). Paul wrote:
"Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have NO PLEASURE in him. But we are NOT of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul" (Hebrews 10:38-39).
I pray for those who forsake the Work of YEHOVAH God, and His Truth, and hope YEHOVAH will give them mercy to see their sins, and folly and foolishness, and repent, and overcome the "burnt out" feelings which have led them to depart from and to deny this Work. I do feel, however, as such people have been a part of this Work, and have known the truth, that their blood is upon their own hands (Heb. 10:27-31; Ezek. 18). I hope and pray such people will repent, and will not totally fall away (Heb. 6:1-6).
YEHOVAH God says to all who have a part in His Work:
"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned" (Heb. 6:4-8, NKJV).
Paul goes on, "But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister" (Heb. 6:10).
For those who depart from YEHOVAH's Work, and who bitterly attack it, I only feel deep sorrow and sadness. They have lost so much. Like Judas Iscariot, they could have been KINGS in the World Tomorrow! They could have been sons of YEHOVAH God, part of the divine ruling GOD FAMILY (Ephesians 3:15). But alas, the truth of YEHOVAH God in some cases, together with the Spirit of YEHOVAH God, did not take root, and last, and grow, and continue growing, and producing good fruit. I wish such people no ill. I only desire and pray for their repentance. But once people are bitten by the bug of bitterness, and resentment, it is incredibly difficult for them to pull out the root, and neutralize the poison, and to regain their spiritual health. As Paul warned, we must "Pursue peace [shalom!] with all people, and holiness, without which no man will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled" (Heb. 12:14-15).
I pray for all those who are being tested, and tried, and especially for those who have so far remained faithful and loyal to YEHOVAH's Work! I pray for those who have not succumbed to Satan's wiles and dirty tricks and deceitful devices and stratagems (II Cor. 2:11). As Paul also wrote, "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will" (II Tim. 2:24-26).
We are a precious "little flock" which YEHOVAH God has called, and chosen (Luke 12:36). We are, I believe, among the "very elect" (Matt. 24:24). Let us remember Yeshua's words:
"As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you: abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things have I spoken to you that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:9-13, NKJV).
If we love one another, we will not bitterly attack one another, or believe evil of one another, or listen to baseless rumors or unproven and unfounded accusations and gossip! Yeshua went on, saying:
"These things I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:17-19).
It saddens me to see even one poor straggling "sheep" go over the cliff, or get tangled in the brush, helpless, or lost, and who doesn't even realize it yet. How easy it seems it is for Satan's vultures to circle in the sky, and to spy forlorn and distressed straying sheep, and to begin picking at their flesh! How easy it seems it is for his jackals to locate and find the "bodies" of some of YEHOVAH's sheep, and to begin pouncing on them, attacking the weak, crippled, and infirm, until they succumb.
I saw a horrible scene in a PBS movie on television of a young, careless zebra caught in the jaws of a crocodile, in an African river, thrashing about, for its very life, bleating and bawling. The other crocodiles began moving toward it, and eventually it was dragged into deeper water, and drowned, and became crocodile food. How piteous the poor animal seemed as it bleated, and fought desperately to save itself -- only to lose the struggle.
So I am afraid it is and will be with some of YEHOVAH's people. I pray you will all be wary, and on guard, and vigilant, and act with concern, and not welcome deceptive and devious messages from "the enemy" into your homes -- that you will not allow anything to separate you from the TRUTH of YEHOVAH God, and the WORK of YEHOVAH God -- no matter how insidious or cunning or how clever Satan the devil is in his attempts to get his message across -- even if it is by gentle whispers, and soft words of apparent concern, love and affection. Isn't that the very method he used to tell Eve in the Garden that YEHOVAH had lied, and that the forbidden fruit was really very good for her, after all, and that YEHOVAH was keeping it from her and Adam, because He was afraid they would become like Him -- God -- and might become "competition"?
Oh, how Satan, disguised as an "angel of light," with warmth, empathy, sensitivity, played upon her emotions like a violin virtuoso! He strongly appealed to her emotions! And in confusion, she fell for it (Gen. 3:1-7). Well, I pray that YEHOVAH God's people today, the very elect, will NOT fall for Satan's beguiling wiles, and silky arguments, and clever delusions, and adroit devices -- not for one single, solitary second!
What about you? When you are facing terrible trials, and tests, are you calling on YEHOVAH to come to your rescue, to save you, as mighty men of YEHOVAH God in the Bible did -- like Moses, and Joshua, and Gideon, and Samson, and Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah, did?
Is YEHOVAH God fighting your battles?
"For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work; I will TRIUMPH in the works of Your hands" (Psa. 92:4).
"Now thanks be to God who always leads us in TRIUMPH IN CHRIST" (II Cor.2:14).
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God!
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