Tree of Life Messianic Congregation

A Fellowship of Jewish and non-Jewish Believers in Yeshua

Month: April 2018

When God Says No

20180421 Parsha 128

When God says no.

I have to admit, today’s topic is a tough one. Can you imagine praying to God, pointing out all the good reasons you need this or that, only to discover that it’s not going to happen. You don’t have to look too hard to find a preacher out there online or at your local megachurch that will tell you differently. You deserve whatever you ask for. Well we need to look a little closer into that concept.
Let’s look at three fellows that didn’t get what they wanted.

Moses and the Promised Land. His Request

Deuteronomy 3:24-25 ‘O Lord Adonai, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your strong hand—for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do deeds and mighty acts like Yours? (25) Please! Let me cross over and see the good land across the Jordan—that good hill country and the Lebanon.’
This sounds like a reasonable request. Moses had put up with the most unruly, ungrateful, uneverythingful people for 40 years. They had tested his patience at every corner. There were even revolts against his authority. I would think Moses would have no problem with this request. But I would be wrong. He was rejected.

Moses. His Rejection

Deuteronomy 3:26-28 “But Adonai was angry with me because of you, so He would not listen to me. ‘Enough!’ Adonai said to me, ‘Do not speak to Me anymore about this matter. (27) Go up to the top of Pisgah, look around to the west and the north and the south and the east, and see with your eyes—for you will not cross over this Jordan.

(28) But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will cross over before this people, and he will enable them to inherit the land that you will see.’
Hashem was pretty adamant about this matter. Seems like Moses wasn’t the only one whose patience was being stretched thin.

Moses. The Reason

We read about this a few weeks ago.
Numbers 20:10-13 Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly in front of the rock. He said, “Listen now, you rebels! Must we bring you water from this rock?” (11) Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with the staff. Water gushed out and the community and its livestock drank. (12) But Adonai said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in Me so as to esteem Me as holy in the eyes of Bnei-Yisrael, therefore you will not bring this assembly into the land that I have given to them.” (13) These are the waters of Meribah where Bnei-Yisrael contended with Moses, and where Adonai showed Himself holy among them.
With the Promised Land in sight, Moses made a critical error. After all the years of being the go-between between God and the Israelites he got angry with them and instead of giving God the glory, he took it upon himself to strike the rock. Big Mistake.

Moses. The Reaction

Moses’ reaction was one of humility, seasoned grace and obedience.
Deuteronomy 4:1-8 “Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and ordinances that I am teaching you to do, so that you may live and go in and possess the land that Adonai the God of your fathers is giving you. (2) You must not add to the word that I am commanding you or take away from it—in order to keep the mitzvot of Adonai your God that I am commanding you. (3) Your eyes have seen what Adonai did at Baal Peor, for Adonai your God has destroyed from among you everyone who followed Baal Peor. (4) But you who held tight to Adonai your God are alive today—all of you. (5) “See, just as Adonai my God commanded me, I have taught you statutes and ordinances to do in the land that you are about to enter to possess. (6) You must keep and do them, for it is your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the peoples, who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ (7) For what great nation is there that has gods so near to them, as Adonai our God is whenever we call on Him? (8) What great nation is there that has statutes and ordinances that are righteous—like all of this Torah that I am setting before you today?
Instead of whining and complaining, writing a book, going on tour with it all the while blaming everyone under the sun for his inability to cross over, Moses pulled up his big boy britches and did the right thing. He instructed the people to obey God. No excuses. No more complaints. Just obedience.
We could learn lesson from this. Instead of trying to figure out a hundred different ways to get around what the Bible says, just do it. Remember that obedience is better than sacrifice. In other words, do it right the first time.

Moses. The Reward

Matthew 17:1-3 After six days, Yeshua takes with Him Peter and Jacob and John his brother, and brings them up a high mountain by themselves. (2) Now He was transfigured before them; His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. (3) And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Yeshua.

Moses eventually made it to the Promised Land. No he didn’t sneak across after Joshua and the people crossed the Jordan. Moses came back in style. He appeared with Yeshua and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. Possibly Mount Hermon or Mount Tabor.

King David and Building the Temple. His Request

1 Chronicles 17:1-4 After David settled in his place, David said to Nathan the prophet, “Look! I am living in a house of cedar, while the Ark of the Covenant of Adonai is under a tent.” (2) Then Nathan said to David, “Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.”
David had a deep-down desire to build a temple and permanent dwelling for the Ark of the Covenant. According to Talmudic sources, the Tabernacle had been at Shiloh for 369 years before being captured by the Philistines at Aphek (probably Antipatris). Great Idea, right? Maybe, but God had other plans.

David. His Rejection

1 Chronicles 17:3-4 But that same night the word of God came to Nathan, saying: (4) “Go and tell David My servant, thus says Adonai, ‘You are not to build Me a house in which to dwell.
Slide 11: David. The Reason (Dusk)
1 Chronicles 22:8 But the word of Adonai came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and fought many battles. You will not build a House for My Name because you have shed much blood before Me on the earth.
David was a warrior and had killed many men on the battlefield and there was also that affair with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah, the Hittite, Bathsheba’s husband. No, God had good reason to reject David’s prayer.

David. His Reaction

1 Chronicles 29:1-3 Then King David said to the entire assembly: “My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced and the task is great, for the palace is not for man but for Adonai Elohim.

1 Chronicles 29:2-3 Now I have made every effort to prepare for the House of my God gold for the golden objects, silver for silver, copper for copper, iron for iron, and wood for wood; onyx stones and inlay stones, stones of antimony and variegated colors—every kind of precious stones and marble in abundance. (3) Moreover, in my devotion to the House of my God, I have given over my private treasure of gold and silver to the House of my God, in addition to all that I have already supplied for the holy House:
David spent the last years of his reign staging all the materials that would be needed to build the Temple. It was all he could do given the fact that he was not to build the temple and David was certainly smart enough at that point to not go against God’s commands.

David. His Reward

1 Chronicles 17:11-14 It will be that when your days are fulfilled to go with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. (12) He will build a house for Me and I will establish his throne forever. (13) I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me, I will not withdraw My lovingkindness from him, as I withdrew it from the one who ruled before you. (14) I will appoint him over My House and My kingdom forever, and his throne will be established forever.’”
David got his reward. God promised him that one of his Descendants would rule Israel forever. His Messianic Kingdom would be without end.

Paul and a physical affliction

Paul. His Request (Dawn)

2 Corinthians 12:8 I pleaded with the Lord three times about this, that it might leave me.

Paul. His Rejection

2 Corinthians 12:9a But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”

Paul. G-d’s Reason

2 Corinthians 12:7 ESV So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,[a] a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.

Paul was around some of the most holy, powerful men of all time, and yet God did not heal Paul by the hands of the apostles. We don’t know if they ever prayed for Paul, but we know that whatever his physical problem was, Paul took it with him to the grave.

Paul. His Reaction

Paul’s response was one of maturity.
12:9b Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Messiah may dwell in me. 10 For Messiah’s sake, then, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in distresses, in persecutions, in calamities.

Paul. His Reward

2 Corinthians 12:10b For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Timothy 4:4-6 And they will turn away from hearing the truth and wander off to myths. (5) You, however, keep a clear mind in all things, withstand hardship, do the work of proclaiming the Good News, and fulfill your service. (6) For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.
Paul traded physical weakness for spiritual strength. He traded a temporary fix for a reward for eternity.

Has God told you no recently? Don’t be discouraged. You are in good company. When we pray, God ALWAYS hears our prayers and ALWAYS answers them. He doesn’t always answer them in the way we think He should. If He did, then He wouldn’t be God. He would be a heavenly messenger.
It’s time to accept the fact that we don’t always get what we want when we want it. But you can rest assured. God always answers your prayers and His answer is always in your best interest whether you want to accept it or not. Trust Him. You won’t be sorry.

Out of Egypt

I hope all of you enjoyed the Pesach last night. We appreciate all the work that everyone put into making it a successful celebration of God’s Redemption. Passover is a celebration of freedom from bondage. Our people were freed from the slavery of the Pharaoh of Egypt some 3500 years ago. Passover is also a time to rejoice in the redemption for the slavery of sin.
Yeshua HaMashiach gave up his sinless life that we, both Jew and Gentile might be free from the curse of sin. Because of his sacrifice we can be free from the modern day Pharaoh.

Sad to say, but mankind today is still living a life of subjugation. We are slaves to many things. Yes, without Yeshua, we are in bondage.
You might ask what bondage are you talking about? I live in America. I’m free. Haven’t you heard of the Bill of Rights? All that might be true, but we still struggle with all kinds of issues that weigh us down and prevent us from achieving the best God has for us.

Here are a few. There are undoubtedly several others.
1. Addictions – alcohol, tobacco, porn, video gaming, gambling. These things rob you of your time, your health and your resources. They usually start out as little threads that can easily be broken when they are small, but the more you get into the addiction the stronger the chords until you are trapped.
2. Emotions – anger issues, codependence, depression. These bonds are especially dangerous to us because many of them are too embarrassing, shameful, socially taboo. It’s one of those things you hear growing up “We just don’t talk about those things”. But they need to be addressed. Emotional problems are real and they are deadly. Don’t ignore depression in yourself or in others. Again, it can be deadly.
3. Relationships – with parents, spouses, children, coworkers. Of all the bonds that hold us, perhaps our relations with people are the messiest, most misunderstood and hardest to fix. But these are the bonds that Yeshua mentioned specifically, when laying your gift on the altar, if you have something between you and your brother, then leave the gift and go fix the broken relationship. This is vital to your wellbeing. Sometimes it is difficult to separate emotional land relational bonds.
4. Finances – overwhelming debt, out of work, underemployed. I have read that the number one cause of the failure of a marriage are financial issues. Unfortunately for many people, they are never taught how to manage their finances in high school. Most HS graduates don’t know how to balance a checkbook or even write a check. You have heard the blonde jokes about the blonde girl who was arrested for writing hot checks. When she had her hearing, she told the judge, that she did not write bad checks because she still had perfectly good checks in here checkbook.
Until we got a president that understood and promoted capitalism the job market was horrible. Unemployment was way up. There were more unemployed people in the US than ever before. Things have turned around a bit, but many have not caught up with their bills from when they were unemployed.
Credit cards are a mixed blessing. As long as you can keep track of your charges and don’t charge more than what you can pay each month, then you will not have problems. However, many people do not keep track of their purchases and end up getting further and further behind in their debt. That means bondage.
5. Health – physical limitations, mental issues. Sometimes health issues will limit what we can do. Some are born with limitations while others limit themselves with poor health choices. I strongly believe that childhood vaccinations are a major cause of autism.

In Egypt, the Israelites were kept in bondage by force of arms. The Egyptians were armed and the Israelites were not. Our bonds are kept in place by much more subtle means.

Choose Victory
1. Fear of the unknown or fear of change. Many of us are held in place because we are fearful of launching out and making the changes we need to break through.
2. Personalities – how often are we held in check by people of overwhelming personal power or perceived power? We are afraid to speak up for fear of retribution.
3. Our own personal desires and perceived needs. There are those that don’t change because they don’t want to change. The concept of “but I want it” has a devastating effect on our ability to advance.
4. Health Issues. Here again we come to health. Some cannot make a change because they physically cannot overcome their physical limitations.
5. Environmental Issues. Often we cannot achieve breakthrough because we are born on the wrong side of the tracks. I was told by a medical school entrance office that I could not expect to get into medical school even though my grades were exceptional. He told me I was too old, too white, too male and too poor. Remember that this was in the late 70’s.
6. Spiritual Forces can hold us back. Paul the Apostle said it this way.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worldly forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

1. Slide 8: The first step is to recognize that you have a problem. Some of you may be familiar with the 12 step program utilized by Alcoholics anonymous. This is their first step. Hi, my name is Steve and I’m an alcoholic. The first step toward repentance is to recognize that we are sinners and need a Savior.

2. Slide 9: Know from where our help comes. The Israelites would make the trek up to Jerusalem every year for Pesach. As they were climbing the mountainous paths they would often sing what we call Songs of Ascents. This helped pass the time and was an encouragement of to the traveler.

One of the Psalms of Ascents is 121:1-2

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains—from where does my help come? (2) My help comes from Adonai, Maker of heaven and earth.

We have to realize who is the author and finisher of our faith. As believers in Yeshua HaMashiach we cannot buy into the false premise of the self-made man. Without God in our lives we are nothing.

3. Understand the weapons available to you. If any of you have played many video games you know that during the quest to get from A to B, you can take on more weapons. This allows you to stay active in the game.

It is the same with our spiritual warfare. We need to know our weapons. Remember that we are not fighting a conventional battle with AR-15’s or Ak-47’s or the like. No, we are fighting in a spiritual arena. An just as we are not battling against flesh and blood, but against powers and spiritual entities, our weapons are suitable for the task.

Study the Bible constantly. Invoke the word of God when you pray.

2Co 10:4
For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly but powerful through God for the tearing down of strongholds.

2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity but of power and love and self-discipline.

4. Take Action. Get up, get off the pew and do things. The Israelites had to take action in order to escape from Egypt. They had to prepare and pack. They had to go to their Egyptian neighbors and ask for things like God told them to do. They had to slaughter the lamb and put the blood on the door posts.

Not all the Israelites left Egypt. Ancient writing and midrash postulates that only 20% of the Israelite population in Egypt left with Moses.
a. Pay your tithes – the surest way to work yourself out of financial difficulties.
b. Take control of your health. Quit eating junk food. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Don’t make the Holy Spirit live in a cardboard shack.
c. Mend those relationships. Get rid of your anger.

James 1:19-20
Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger— (20) for human anger doesn’t produce the righteousness of God.

The story of the Exodus is a good guide for us today. It is a story of hardship and struggle. It is a story of failure brought on by unbelief. But it is also a story of triumph. It is the story of what can happen when a people cries out to God and then has the courage to step out in faith against overwhelming odds. It is a story of redemption.