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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Hundred-Thirty-Seventh (Stand Up)

To start for this week, it's necessary to address something written last week in order to provide some clarification. I wrote about purchasing precious metals like gold and silver, and you may or may not have purchased such things in response to the uncertainty we're seeing not only in the world generally, but also in our country specifically. Perhaps you were even just thinking about buying it. It was not my intention to criticize or question anyone for doing any of that. There's nothing wrong with trying to prepare for possibilities of the future, so I'm sorry for any miscommunication, confusion or ill feelings that I may have caused. I pray that you forgive me if I did cause them.

Those were my personal thoughts, and if I gave you an impression that I was settled on the topic, I'm definitely not. I've been revisiting it frequently in my mind for years now, and I just haven't felt led one way or the other. Perhaps it's because I don't need to be. I believe that the Holy Spirit leads individuals to, and through, their role in the body of Yeshua, and I also believe YHWH gave us skills or made us to be predisposed to certain things in life that correspond to our role.

Actually, I've never been very skilled at money-related things like budgeting and sticking to it, or understanding financial ideas like future net present then-year value dollars....or whatever it is! So, perhaps my role is not as a treasurer in the Kingdom of Heaven! Although, now that I think about it, I was the treasurer of my class in elementary school, which is kinda funny looking back at it.

Anyway, the point is everyone has different gifts, or roles. Paul even told us that (Romans 12:6-8, Ephesians 4:11-13). It's human nature to just want to be the best at everything, isn't it? Pride gives us that nature. There are few things more humbling though, than working for years on something, practicing and dedicating time and effort to get better, only to see someone come along and do the same thing effortlessly with little to no practice. Now, that's not to say you shouldn't do anything that doesn't come naturally to you, of course. But, perhaps we should be more focused on the things that come spiritually to us.

Even with things that come spiritually, man as a whole has a habit of messing them up. If we don't acknowledge when we do mess it up, we're letting pride get in the way and we have a potential of leading people astray. A good example of this is when we look at King Solomon.

Solomon asked for, and was granted, wisdom above everyone else (1 Kings 3:5-12). Yet, as time went on, he seemed to ignore the wisdom YHWH provided him. Despite the beginning of wisdom being fearing YHWH, and despite rich understanding being gained from following His commandments (Psalm 111:10), Solomon chose to have multiple wives and store up riches, contrary to the commandments (Deuternomy 7:14-20). At some point, he realized he was in error, writing that "the whole duty of man is to fear YHWH and keep His commandments" (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

But still, he had 1000 wives and concubines, and even was convinced to commit adultery on his relationship to YHWH by turning to false gods (1 Kings 11:7-8). The effects of which propagated in YHWH's people for thousands of years.

One of the things he brought into Israel as a result of his adultery is something called the star of Rephan (Acts 7:43). However, you may know this star better as the star of David. You can still see this star in Jewish culture today, as prominent as it being on the Israeli national flag. The process by which this symbol entered into Israel is no different than the way in which pagan holidays entered into Christianity: a leader under the influence of evil incorporated it. You can even find the star of Rephan on ceremonial garments in Catholicism!

Rephan was a god the Babylonians worshipped. The name meant "wandering star" because it was one of the stars in the sky that moved compared to almost all of the rest of them which were essentially fixed. The real reason it was "wandering" is because it was actually the planet Saturn. In fact, the word "planet" comes from a shortened version of the Greek asteres planetai which means wandering stars.

Clearly, even if YHWH places someone in a position of authority, or gives them a predisposition to certain roles, every act those individuals perform still needs to be tested against His word. If they are found in error, they need to be held to account. We cannot blindly follow or accept anyone. Not just because Satan's tares can be in a position of authority as anyone else can, but also because even well-meaning individuals can be influenced by evil. I'm sure not all of the pastors and priests that have been uncovered as adulterers, child molesters or embezzlers went into their roles as such individuals.

But why, you might ask, would YHWH allow that? Why would He allow wolves among the sheep, even letting them devour, figuratively speaking? We are in a battle of good versus evil and YHWH expects us to stand up for Him and speak out with His word when evil rears its head. Especially when it shows up among His people.

I guarantee you that there is at least one person, likely even more, in every congregation of the world that He knows has the capability to rise up and speak against any evil among them. Every one of the congregations with pastors and denomination leaders that are leading the children of YHWH, the children He has entrusted to them, into promoting homosexuality to the point of division, or whatever other evil, has at least one person with 1) the knowledge that it is wrong, and 2) the fortitude to do something about it. Every one of the cases of child molestation or adultery had someone who either knew about it or just felt that something didn't sit right. Something was a little off.

Yes, we have a choice to take action. YHWH doesn't force us to do anything just like He didn't force Solomon to have only one wife or prevent leading His people into idol worship. The question is, will we take action? No one will be held accountable for our choices in life but us. And inaction is just as much a choice as action. And yes, leaving a church, congregation, or group of believers is taking action, but what about that person next to you? What about the one that is blinded, and the only way the scales on their eyes can be lifted is if they see someone else stand up and rebuke the evil? Leaving without saying anything is leaving those people to continue to be deceived, and we know that to whom much is given (including knowledge), much will be required (Luke 12:48).

Just like Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (the Hebrew names of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego), YHWH wants, no, He expects us to stand up and do something (Daniel 3:8-27). And just like them and Daniel (Daniel 6), He expects us to do it for Him and in accordance with His word. What army around the world teaches and trains their members to sit back and do nothing? It is very much a possibility for someone in the military to be tried and convicted for doing something they know is wrong, even if they were ordered to.

There is no such thing as "just following orders," in the military, and why should the LORD's army be any different? Why do we expect that from the petty officer to the admiral, and the private to the general, but not from the congregation member to the lay leader to the pastor? Just like speaking up against unlawful orders in the military, we should speak up against something in Yeshua's body that goes against YHWH's word.

The question is, do we have the courage, bravery and boldness to say something? Or do something? Are we strong enough and confident enough in His word to stand up and speak up? With the Holy Spirit, everyone is! And the only way to be more in tune with Him is to read and study His word.

Make no mistake, what we are seeing now in the world and in Yeshua's body will get worse. The separating of the sheep and goats is not over. Esther stood up and gave her people deliverance (Esther 4:14), and just like Esther, YHWH put each and every one of us in this time and place for a purpose (Acts 17:26). Let's be on the side of the sheep! (John 10:27)

Shabbat shalom and God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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