This week we continue with preparations for Lent, but will also deal with the Tanach of the week.
The lessons this week all focus on the transfigurations of our Adonai, Yeshua. The first lesson, deals with Moshe ascending the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments (Exodus 24:12-18), while the Prophet is about Eliyahu's experience on the mountain, when he receives his commission (I Kings 19:1-18). The writing (Job 38:1-41, 40:1-5) follows Job's complaint to God about his circumstances. God responds out of the whirlwind, and basically asks Job, "Where were you when I made the heavens and the earth?" God asks him where he was when God made the heavens and earth, when he set the boundaries of the sea, if he could order nature, if he had been to the bottom of the ocean, if he knew the places of light and darkness, if he knew where rain and snow and lighting come from, if he could control the stars, or could feed the wild animals. God in his questioning is demonstrating that He and He alone had created the Heavens and the Earth. God in essence is revealing to Iyov that he is Sovereign over all creation because he made it, and that since he is sovereign, it is necessary to obey him.
In the west today, we have troubles with words like sovereign, king, lord and kingdom. We think of a monarchy being something like Great Britain, Spain, Holland, Denmark, etc., where the monarchs are basically figure head monarchs, with very little say in how the country is run. In the time that the book of Job was written, there was no such thing as a constitutional monarch. The monarch was president, congress and supreme court all rolled into one. It is a concept that today we have a hard time understanding, partly because we think such a thing is wrong. We believe in voting, and kicking the guy out if we don't agree with him. We don't seem to understand that God is not an earthly king, but as Creator of the Universe, whose nature is love, Absolute Sovereign. We respond with a false God, the Great Santa Claus in the sky, who gives us what we want when we are good, and not when we are bad and who is too nice to ever punish us. We have lost the point of view, that God's laws are laid out, for us, to help us live a life of holiness that will help us to truly find our purpose in life. We have forgotten the virtues of prayer, fasting and alms giving and replaced them with a self righteousness which grieves God and leads to our own condemnation. We refuse to see punishment for sin as what it was in the Bible, and we refuse to think that the God who punished Israel and Yehuda will do the same for us. It is indeed a slippery slope, when we start ignoring God's commands. Yeshua tells us that the Sabbath was made for man (i.e. for our well being) yet we ignore it today. No Fault divorce (prohibited by Yeshua himself) was placed into practice to keep people from perjuring themselves to get divorced. (I was flabbergasted when I learned this). We have decided that the creator of the universe, who made us is not allowed to have any input into how we run our sexual lives. We forget that God's word tells us that many sins are caused by idolatry, yet we continue to worship the false gods of money and power, and materialism.
It is then time for the church to truly recognise that God is King and Sovereign, not only of the Universe, but of our lives. We need to line up our church, our lives, and our society with his word, and not act like it is optional. Our God is a consuming fire, and he is love. As Christians, we need to obey him and proclaim his word to all the world.
In addition this is the last Sunday before Lent begins. We have been talking about things to do with Lenten discipline, and have covered study and piety. Today, we will talk about action, to which there are several aspects, the first of which is Apostolic Action, which is proclaiming the Gospel. Before you proclaim the Gospel, you must be in prayer, and know God's word. Secondly we need to have a plan of action. Who are we going to evangelise. Once we know who, we start out praying and fasting for that person. We ask God to give us the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel to that person. Don't worry, he will. And if that person turns the Gospel down, keep praying, you might just be preparing the ground for someone else. Once through your efforts someone comes to Messiah, you need to teach them Christian Discipline, and stick with them at the very least until they are baptised.
Action also means holiness of life. If you are going to attract someone to Messiah, then people need to see Messiah in you. It is popular to ask, "What would Jesus do?" Well that is a good question. You, as a Christian may be the only sign of Jesus that some people will see.
Action also means stewardship, of money, time, resources. Do you use your time well. Do you frequently spend time with God in prayer and study? Do you regularly help those who need that help? Do you give at least 10% of your money to God, and spend the rest of it in ways that Messiah will approve? Do you share your time, your money, even your home with those in need. That my friends is also action.
I would like to invite you all to join us. The Great Service of Forgiveness will be Tuesday at 8:00 P.M. Out Ash Wednesday service will be Wednesday at 6:00 A.M. Hope to see you.