Life demands a series of decisions. That is a fact. God gave us choice, the first and foremost gift to mankind. You cannot change it. You have to choose. You have to accept or reject. To stay neutral to most of life’s core issues is a peculiar position and most often than not boils down to rejection.
Decisions are powerful. We have discussed it in the past. Job 22:28: [Amplified]
“You will also decide and decree a thing, and it will be established for you; and the light [of God’s favor] will shine upon your ways.
To decide is to be special. You are unique to the measure of your decisions. Every day is a consequence of your decisions. You develop talents and gifts, open and close doors for yourself as well as others, build relationships, decide to lie or to live truthfully, be gracious, be angry, be encouraging – I can go on for a long, long time to name the decisions of just one day.
God mad us special. We are a trinity like Him: spirit, soul and body. The ideal pecking order for our lives should be as follows:
My soul – will, mind and emotions
The body will follow the soul. When you decide with your mind your body will follow through. You decide to eat, to go to a concert, to shop….etc. Your decisions should bring about the best results for your body and spirit. You protect yourself, watch your diet, take medicine and so forth.
The devil will do anything to thwart this order and apply it upside down. Secular philosophy screams for the satisfaction of the body as first priority. The body dictates to the mind for fulfillment. This disorder is perpetuated by special-syndrome. I am so special, I feel with my body and emotions and therefore I am the most important. It is so ironic that when you and your body are elevated to this level of demand, you are often deeply unhappy. Selfishness can never satisfy.
In this confusion the pos modern society shuns the writings of old. How can an ancient book direct my ways to my benefit? How can a god I cannot see or feel know what is best for me?
Come to think of it, the ancient Romans also followed this hedonistic, instant bodily satisfaction in their society. The complete breakdown of moral values is often cited as one of the chief reasons for the fall of the great Roman Empire. Today violence and erotic passion are at the core of entertainment. The Circus Maximus is on the screen in the lounge.
In real terms, short-term pleasure has long-term implications. The results of body dictation are mostly brokenness and hurt.
The New Year demands its usual decisions – sometimes in rapid succession. A decision can be a reaction of a response. Reaction is necessary when the situation demands lightning action, but mostly relationships demand response, rather than reaction. We need to exercise ourselves in godliness to be able to live graciously, gracefully and gratefully. Will I discipline or cover up a child’s mistake? Will I love unconditionally over blatant sin, seek Word guidance in complicated issues or react in legalism and judgment?
1 Timothy 4:7,8:
But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
Walk with me the ancient paths to view the lives of three characters that made extraordinary decisions. All of them grossly broke the law. They crossed a border that affected the outcome most spectacularly.
Moses erected the dessert tabernacle according to the strict prescription of God. It was a holy place – set apart for worship to a holy God, special and incomparable in every way to anything else on earth. Every member of the people of Israel knew temple procedures. It was taught and impressed upon their hearts as “mistakes” had punishment of death. Only the priests, specially anointed, could enter the Holy part of the Tabernacle where the Lamp stand, the Table of Show breads and the Bowl of Incense were. Only the high priest entered the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement. On that day he wore a robe with bells on the hem so that those outside could hear if he is struck down and died because of unworthy entry. Wow! Strictly regulated. They used a hook to get him out. Nobody could enter, whatever the circumstances. God is Holy, they knew it.
In 2 Chronicles 26 we read about a king of Judah called Uzziah. He was one of the few good kings of Judah. (There were 19 kings in Israel – all bad and 20 kings in Judah – only eight were good.)
A full record of all his good deeds is followed by this disturbing verse.
2 Chronicles 26:16:
But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.
The priests rushed to keep him from doing it and he was furious. He went in and they witnessed how leprosy broke out in his body. He died a leper! God is Holy and not to be mocked in pride.
But now – David. David lived long before Uzziah. The high priest in the days of Samuel before David was the king, Eli, had two godless and corrupt sons. In a fight against the Philistines they fetched the Ark of the Covenant as a good luck charm. Big mistake. The Philistines won the fight and took the Ark. Read some Bible comedy in 1 Samuel 5 to see what happened to the Ark amongst the Philistines.
The Ark is stored in the house of an ordinary man in Israel, specially anointed to look after it for the next twenty years, through the reign of Saul and into the reign of David. [1 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 6.] With an astonishing process, where people died of unworthiness, David brings the Ark back to Jerusalem – a life dream for him. The procession is meticulously described in 1 Chronicles 15, 16 and 17 with the magnificent song of David. It reads like a thriller.
David is overjoyed. He sets up the musicians and dance into the city ahead of the Ark. He was a musician himself – just think how he planned this event with worship and song – specially written and composed. 1 Chronicles 15:16, 28:
Then David spoke to the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers accompanied by instruments of music, stringed instruments, harps, and cymbals, by raising the voice with resounding joy. Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn, with trumpets and with cymbals, making music with stringed instruments and harps.
He is dressed in fine linen and wears the priestly linen vest (ephod).
A feast, most spectacular and joyful, meat, raisin cakes and bread for all the people, song and dance, with prayer and prose to touch your heart in glory.
He sets the Ark in a tent (remember there is no temple – Solomon, David’s son built the temple) with constant – 24/7 – worship and music and writes in Psalm 84:11:
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God…
And in Psalm 27:4:
One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.
This is the heart of David. He “visits” God and desires the Presence of his Father more than anything. He is allowed into that Holy of Holies because his heart is pure. He is not proud like Uzziah. Peter preaches in Acts 15:16 and states that the coming of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is the restoration of the Tabernacle of David – sweet communion in the Presence of our Lord. How magnificent is the golden thread of God’s heart in His Word. We can enter into the Holy of Holies with a humble and contrite heart.
All doctrine of man must yield to true worship.
Let’s fast forward to the New Testament and the woman with an issue of blood who touched the hem of His garment. [Matthew 9]
According to the regulations set in the Law of Moses she was not allowed to leave her house, let alone touch anybody.
‘If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, other than at the time of her customary impurity, or if it runs beyond her usual time of impurity, all the days of her unclean discharge shall be as the days of her customary impurity. She shall be unclean.
All three synoptic Gospels tell the story. Luke, who was a medical doctor himself, adds how she sought the help of many physicians and spent a lot of money on it, without avail. Twelve years she lives with this curse of uncleanness over her. She is desperate and decides to do something out of the ordinary. She must have come to the conclusion that if she could not touch Jesus and had to be caught in public, that would be the day of her death.
She reaches out in reckless rejection of the law and her theology and touches Jesus with her life on the line. A miraculous encounter follows with spectacular results plus public recognition of her healing. She is crowned in glory and could live a life previously only imagined.
She acted out of the ordinary. She crossed the border.
What are you going to do with 2016?
They say that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is a sign of insanity. Are you willing to step out and do the things God wants with the same heart as David and serve God according to the true Gospel of the New Covenant?
Read how the community in Berea conscientiously researched the preaching of Paul [Acts 17] and how Apollos was shown the way of God more accurately [Acts 18].
There is always a way more accurately, a teaching from the heart of God, a new revelation. Call to God, He will show you great and wonderful things you did not know.
Make the choice. Matthew 15:9:
And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
Read Matthew 23 and recognize the Pharisee in yourself. Do not look down on their sincere efforts to serve God according to their own regulations and were deceived by their own pride. Harsh words from the mouth of Jesus judge them.
Sacrifice your tradition and prejudice on the altar of your mind for the Holy Spirit to burn clean. Do not be part of the reproach of Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
The Word of God is the only authority. Elevate it as your ultimate guide. Obey and live a life more abundantly. Grow strong in the Lord.
“You have heard; see all this.
And will you not declare it?
I have made you hear new things from this time,
Even hidden things, and you did not know them.