Come to Understanding

They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding,

and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. ó Isaiah 29:24

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense,

and caused them to understand the reading. ó Nehemiah 8:8

March 1, 2009

Volume 8 Number 5


Beauty for Ashes

In one of the great prophesies concerning the coming of the Messiah, Isaiah said:

1 The Spirit of the Lord Yahweh is upon me; because Yahweh has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

2 To proclaim the acceptable year of Yahweh, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; -Isaiah 61

This was the passage of Scripture that Yahshua (Jesus) read upon His return to Nazareth following His temptation by Satan:

17 And there was delivered to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

18 The Spirit of the Lord Yahweh is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord Yahweh. -Luke 4

The meek and the poor are the humble. They, along with the brokenhearted and captives, are those who know they can do nothing on their own. They know they need a Savior.

Those who are not humble are said to be proud. While the world holds pride in high esteem, it is the human characteristic that God hates most (see Proverbs 6:17). It was pride that caused Satan to fall from his position as the "anointed cherub" in the presence of God. He lifted himself up because of his beauty:

17 Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness: I will cast you to the ground, I will lay you before kings, that they may behold you. -Ezekiel 28

In his pride, Satan, typified as the Prince of Tyrus, declared that he was a God, even sitting in the seat of God:

2 Son of man, say to the prince of Tyrus, Thus says the Lord Yahweh; Because your heart is lifted up, and you have said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet you are a man, and not God, though you set your heart as the heart of God: -Ezekiel 28

It is when we feel proud that God allows Satan to tempt and try us to help us see what is in our hearts. God allowed Satan, in the form of a serpent, to tempt the newly created woman in the Garden of Eden. The serpent appealed to her pride, saying she would be "as gods:"

5 For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. -Genesis 3

Soon after Yahshua was baptized in water, anointed with the Holy Ghost, and declared by God to be His beloved Son (see Luke 4:22), He was led by the Spirit of God into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil (Satan) for forty days!

1 And Yahshua being full of the Holy Ghost returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they had ended, he afterward hungered. -Luke 4

After living thirty years as the humble son of a carpenter, He was now being revealed as the "Son of God." The Devil tried to appeal to His physical weakness of hunger to get Him to lift Himself up in pride. Satan said in effect, "Do something to show me that you really are the Son of God. Turn this stone into bread:"

3 And the devil said to him, If you are the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. -Luke 4

Our natural reaction might be to flex our muscles, saying, "Iíll show you how strong I am," revealing our prideful heart. Knowing the Scriptures, however, Yahshua turned the tables on the Devil:

4 And Yahshua answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God Yahweh. -Luke 4

With this Scripture, Yahshua was saying much more than is readily comprehended. He was showing a flashback to the time when Israel was waiting near the Jordan River getting ready to enter into the Promised Land. While Yahshua was tempted for forty days, Israel was tested for forty years in the wilderness. The purpose of their testing was to humble them and to see whether it was in their hearts to believe and keep the Word of God:

2 And you shall remember all the way which Yahweh your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments, or not. -Deuteronomy 8

During those forty years, Yahweh humbled Israel by allowing them to hunger. They could not make their own bread. He gave them bread from heaven, which was called "manna." The real bread is not that made with hands. The Bread required for life is that which comes out of the mouth of God:

3 And he humbled you, and allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of Yahweh does man live. -Deuteronomy 8

Yahweh warned Israel against the danger of prosperity. After you enter into the Promised Land, you will begin to prosper. That is when you need to remember your source and bless Yahweh for the gift He has given to you:

7 For Yahweh your God brings you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;

8 A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of olive oil, and honey;

9 A land wherein you shall eat bread without scarceness, you shall not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you may dig brass.

10 When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless Yahweh your God for the good land which he has given you. -Deuteronomy 8

He warned them that, when their heart is lifted up in pride, they must not forget their total dependence upon Him:

17 And you say in your heart, My power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth.

18 But you shall remember Yahweh your God: for it is he that gives you power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

19 And it shall be, if you do at all forget Yahweh your God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. -Deuteronomy 8

They did forget and were eventually destroyed and taken into captivity by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Their captivity was a humbling experience. Yahweh calls it the "furnace of affliction," which He had used to refine them:

10 Behold, I have refined you, but not with silver; I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction. -Isaiah 48

Those who have gone through the "furnace of affliction" have been purified, much like gold or silver, with the impurities of their hearts melted away:

9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, Yahweh is my God. -Zechariah 13

Through the refining process, His people see sin in their hearts that they had previously ignored. Seeing their sin, their hearts are broken and they are brought to humble repentance. God says He will dwell with such people, those who have a contrite (crushed) and humble spirit:

15 For thus says the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. -Isaiah 57

James writes that God gives grace to the humble. As we humbly repent of the sins we have found in our hearts and submit ourselves completely to God, we have resisted the Devil. As we draw nearer to God with complete humility, He fills our hearts with His Spirit. The Devil no longer has a place in us where he can hide (see Ephesians 4:27). Therefore, he will flee from us:

6 But he gives more grace. Therefore he says, God Yahweh resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.

9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. -James 4

Those who humble themselves in the sight of God have the promise that He will lift them up. Their ashes will be changed to beauty, their mourning to joy, and their spirit of heaviness to garments of praise. They are called "trees of righteousness," as Yahweh alone is glorified:

3 To appoint to them that mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Yahweh, that he might be glorified. -Isaiah 61

 

 

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