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The Hundred-Thirty-First (Learning)

Shabbat Shalom, [[data:firstname:"family"]]!

No matter how old you are or how many pieces of paper you have from educational institutions, at some point you've had to learn something. It could have been anything from tying your shoe to addition and subtraction to memorizing the periodic table. Whatever it was, there was some method you used to learn it. You could have used repetition, maybe a mnemonic, or perhaps it just came naturally to you and you only had to look at it or do it once and you never forgot it.

Now, the majority of the things you learned were probably forced on you for some reason or another. In the case of tying shoes, maybe your parents told you they weren't going to tie them anymore so in order for you to not step on your laces all the time you had to learn how to tie. Or, perhaps you were required to learn whatever it was so you could finish school and get a diploma or degree.

If there was something you learned that you took upon yourself to figure out, I'm sure you got more satisfaction out of learning it than whatever was forced on you. You might even have found that it was much easier to learn it as well. With so many educational organizations out there, the research on methods of learning and best techniques abound. We'll get into that a little later, but have you ever wondered what it was like back at the beginning of the world?

How do you think Adam and Eve learned to speak with YHWH, for example? Was it something He just put in them when He created them? Or did He teach it to them? And whatever language it was (my belief is it was the original version of Hebrew), did they already know how to write it? Or did that come later? Were they able to pass down written accounts between generations, or did they all have to be orally communicated?

Obviously, Adam and Eve were created perfect, so we can only imagine what it was like for them to learn something. Perhaps everyone back then was able to learn and remember vast amounts of information, so it was much easier for them to memorize and pass down everything that happened throughout history. It also was not a very long history at that point! And of course, sin having entered the world, man was degenerating with each passing generation, so capability likely reduced over time.

Over the course of scripture though, you can see a record of many individuals that learned things throughout their lives. For some it seems it was a little harder to pick up things than others! Also for some, sometimes what they learned, or thought they knew, led to an arrogance of believing they knew better. Even to the point of persecuting others because they believed what they learned was the truth, when in reality it was either completely from Satan, the father of lies, or had been twisted by him into a perverted shadow of the truth.

That may seem like a simplistic view, but it's entirely biblical. It's also the same phenomenon we can see in the world today. Yeshua Himself told us that if we are not with Him we are against Him (Matthew 12:30). He also told us Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), and we know that everything good comes from YHWH (James 1:17). So, we can see that while we may think there's a third path of indifference, a middle ground so to speak, in which we can think, act or speak independently of being on the side of good or evil, the truth is no matter what we're either on one side or the other.

In some cases, we can unknowingly set into motion something Satan uses for deceit and control. You may be aware that there are prominent scientists throughout history that were believers. While it's clear to me Mr. Charles Darwin was flawed in his opinion of the compatibility of a belief in YHWH and the theory of evolution, he nevertheless is quoted as saying,

"I have never denied the existence of God. I think the theory of evolution is fully compatible with faith in God. I think the greatest argument for the existence of God is the impossibility of demonstrating and understanding that the immense universe, sublime above all measure, and man were the result of chance."

Clearly Mr. Darwin was a believer, but despite this, his thesis of the theory of evolution through natural selection has become the cornerstone of many non-believers as a proof that there is no God. Whether he created this maliciously or unknowingly, I don't know. Obviously though, the evolutionists ignore the fact that Darwin himself was a believer, but even believers now get deceived with the line of logic that is founded with the faulty assumption that natural selection is one of the evidences of proof for evolution. In fact, I think a pretty solid case can be made that when evolution began being taught in schools as fact, vice simply a theory some scientist came up with, is when our society began to more rapidly separate from YHWH and degenerate to the state it's in today.

Millions of people have learned the theory of evolution in school, and as we recognized earlier there are many studies done and papers written on the most effective methods of learning. There are companies whose goal is to help people learn, so it's in their best interest to do that effectively if they want to retain their customers. One of those is brainscape.com, and they have a list of things they've learned about....learning!

We won't go through all of them, but I found it interesting that we can see some of these with individuals recorded in scripture. In fact, we can see almost all of these in how Yeshua worked with His disciples to teach them about His kingdom and all the things they needed to teach others in order to share the gospel and bring people to Him.

When we look at how Yeshua taught, we can see some themes that He used to help instill His message into people. Perhaps the most obvious is novelty. Yeshua used new and unusual illustrations throughout His teaching that showed the ideas and described the principles of His kingdom and how it operates. While there was an aspect of obfuscation intended by this method (Mark 4:11-12, Matthew 13:10-13), for the disciples, the novelty surely enabled them to remember Yeshua's message. However, one of the most novel things obviously, was all the healings and deliverances He did!

This brings us to another aspect of effective learning demonstrated by Yeshua's method. At one point during His ministry, He sent the disciples out to deliver, heal and preach the gospel (Matthew 10:5-8, Luke 9:1-2) and one of the best ways to learn something is by teaching it to others! Ultimately, after He rose from the dead His last instruction was to have the disciples teach all nations what He taught them (Matthew 28:18-20). Termed "The Great Commission," while we were not specifically the subject of Yeshua's "commission," my belief is we should all still take it on as our own. Not only does it spread His message, it helps us learn it even better!

The only other aspect of effective learning from brainscape.com we'll point out for now is one that we can see over and over in scripture: making mistakes. According to brainscape.com, they are an essential part of learning, and I'm sure you've also heard that it's ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. There are two major people in scripture we can focus on for this aspect: Paul and Peter.

We alluded to individuals believing their knowledge as truth to the point of persecuting those that disagree with it, and Paul was one of the most prominent individuals exhibiting this characteristic. He sought out believers in Yeshua (under his former name of Saul) to imprison believers, even approving Stephen's stoning, until he was visited by Yeshua Himself and converted (Acts 8:1-3). I think we can all agree his failure to see the truth in Yeshua and His message, and the resultant persecution of believers, was a huge mistake. He definitely learned though, as he spread the gospel of Yeshua to countless individuals through his ministry and his letters.

Peter also made some pretty crucial mistakes in his time. From cutting off an ear as a result of acting first and thinking later (John 18:10), to denying his relationship to Yeshua...three times (Matthew 26:69-75), he made some big mistakes but he certainly learned from them. His focus on love (1 Peter 1:8, 22), submission to authority (1 Peter 2:13-14), and ultimately his strength in holding fast to Yeshua without denial even to the point of his crucifixion, is a testament to how well he learned these lessons. As a side note, and a reminder, his reference to submitting to authority was not an exhortation to blindly follow whatever that authority orders. He was simply saying that if you were to be persecuted or imprisoned for doing what is good and right, submit to that (1 Peter 2:19) (obviously a lesson he learned the night of Yeshua's arrest). He would never condone violating Yeshua or YHWH's commandments just to "submit to authority."

We all have learning to do, myself included. Some things I have learned since Yeshua brought me back to Him, but I know that He is still teaching me all the time. For instance, do you know what makes trees bud in the springtime? Me either, but I am almost positive that even the most prominent and knowledgeable arborist in the world can't give you a straight answer on that either. I can tell you that our son has a peach tree that he got for his birthday and though we have kept it indoors essentially the whole time we've had it, it has not started budding until just now (it's actually the picture for this week. I apologize for the quality as my camera had a smudge on it!). So even though the tree was in a 70 degree environment, with a grow light and all the required watering, it still didn't start budding until the trees and bushes in our yard started.

There are a lot of things we do not know, but in order for us to actually learn it's important for us to be humble enough to recognize when we don't have a clue, or especially when we've got it wrong. For a lot of people, that's an almost impossible task. Believe me though, if you ask YHWH for help in this He will give it to you. And whatever He does, it will be very humbling!

Shabbat shalom and God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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