“For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. “ – Jer 31:11 (KJV)
Our text suggests that Jacob was in trouble.
He had sold himself to people more powerful than he is and would ever be. Either by indebtedness or by any other means, he had mortgaged himself, his life forever without any possibility of him being able to save himself.
God decides and declares that he has come to his rescue. The word redeem from where we got redeemed, means to recover by an expenditure of effort or by a stipulated payment.
Jacob served Laban, his father-in-law because he had no money to pay dowry and other expenses. One can, like Jacob in such a case, buy back himself by serving if he does not have the cash to do so.
And the word ransom implying the same means money demanded or paid for the release of a prisoner. The only difference in this is that the person (prisoner or slave) is not directly responsible for his freedom. It takes another, a guarantor, a bailiff, to deliver him. In either case, Jacob needed the intervention of another.
In this case, however, God was not referring to physical issues such as we have between Jacob and Laban, but between Jacob himself and the spiritual forces that made him “Jacob”, sup-planter, cheat, etc. He was up against forces that no amount of physical labour could quantify to pay for his release.
I remember a story I read about a horse that a man bought for a member of his family. They all fell in love with the horse, but it was not in the compound most times; always found in the lawn of their neighbour whose family had also fallen in love with the animal. In the fear that the horse might stir up a cold war between the man and his neighbour, the owner sold her to a Jockey.
When both families heard the horse was to compete in a race, they went to the race course to cheer the horse. Both men found themselves at the side of the Jockey who had mounted the horse, enabling the horse one more time to hear their beloved voices which I believe spurred her not only to clear all the hurdles set before it but also to beat all the other horses to return first.
The following day, the man woke to see the horse in his compound. Both families rejoiced at seeing the animal but that was before the Jockey came looking for it. The horse had to be bought back from him, even twice the amount they sold it to him. Why? The worth of the horse had appreciated!
The devil is the accuser of the brethren. We all know this. But one thing we do not all know is that in accusing us the devil puts us up in the spiritual slave market, to hand us over to the taskmaster that promises the most gruesome persecution and pain. That was exactly what happened to Joshua the high priest.
“And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.” – Zech 3:2-3 (KJV)
Joshua was “a brand plucked out of the fire”. He was on fire, burning for God, Who makes His angels wind and His ministers a flame of fire.
“Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire.” – Psalms 104:4 (KJV)
“And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.” – Heb 1:7 (KJV)
He was in the spiritual state of godliness, with the fear of the Lord in him yet the devil “plucked” him out of that state and clothed him in filth, in rubbish and shame! The filthy garment certainly would have been upon him by a demon making his life miserable. Oh, let him that thinks he stand take heed!
God intervened by sending His angel to rescue him because he was valuable to God. If you were put up for sale in the spiritual slave market, how much would you be worth to God? Would God so value you, that He would give lives, or kill people just to redeem or ransom you? Would God readily give nations for your sake?
“For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.” – Isaiah 43:3-4 (KJV)
Generally, God loves us all; and this is recorded in John 3:16. God is not partial and does not take sides. He is not committed to people, race, colour or language. He cannot be bribed or bought over either with our tears, words, thought or deed. However, He is committed to Jesus.
….to be continued.
There is no time in the history of the Church as now when we need to fumigate our spiritual lives, killing of the spiritual pests that trouble us; and make straight the way of the Lord.
“And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. 3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. 6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. 7 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt………And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:) 26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. 27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. 28 And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.” -Ex. 32:1-8; 25-28
Theologians have said for centuries that Aaron lied about throwing gold in the fire and out jumped the calf. But, Moses never said he lied! Yes, to the natural man, this could be the greatest lie in the history of mankind. What if he did not lie!
There are things that we cannot see with the naked eyes, yet we cannot deny their existence. Aaron could have seen one of those. But how would he explain to people what they couldn’t see? Sometimes it is very difficult, almost impossible explain to others what they have not seen, how much more a spiritual thing!
In Psalm 22, David narrated what Jesus saw behind the actions of men.
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?…………He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him…………..Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. 13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. 16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. 19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me. 20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.” – Psalms 22:1,8,12-20 (KJV)
These are not the words of David but of the Lord Jesus! You see David was a prophet and one so dear to the heart of God; he was permitted a peek into what the Messiah would go through on the Cross. There is no place in Scripture where David’s garment was parted (vs. 18) or cast on lot. Neither is it recorded that his hands and feet were pierced (vs.16).
Jesus on the Cross saw “bulls of Bashan” (vs.12) and “dogs” (vs. 16), the forces of darkness that influenced man against God, prompting His prayer, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”
There were unseen forces at play around the Cross which were also at play in the wilderness in the days of Aaron; even today those forces are still at work, which is why “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” – Eph 6:12 (KJV) Humans are not our enemies, there are forces influencing them that cannot be seen!
Aaron saw something others did not see.
“And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.” – Ex 32:5 (KJV)
Look at the scenario. Aaron asked for the earrings, they brought them to him and he fashioned a calf out of it. What was so special about what he saw that the Holy Spirit would note “it” for us? “And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it.” Certainly “it” is not the people bringing their gold which at this time they had stopped. Neither would “it” be the “art” work which was always in his sight. So, what did he see?
Something else at this time had “jumped out” onto the calf to take over the image. God would not be jealous if nothing was there!
There is a law of double-identity. God spoke to the prince of Tyrus (Ezekiel 28:2) and the king of Tyrus (Ezekiel 28:12), but He referred to the entity or intelligence behind them: Lucifer – the covering cherub. People could only see the humans, not the power motivating their actions. Jesus turned to Peter but spoke to satan (Matthew 16:23), Paul spoke to a girl but addressed an unseen entity (Acts 16:18).
I remember searching through the store one day, while still living with my parents. I saw a wooden masquerade face my father bought for us as kids in one of his many tours. As I looked at it, I thought how beautiful it would be as a decorative art piece. Since it had openings where the eyes would be, I got two pieces of white paper and with a black pen drew two eyes which I pasted inside the mask where the eyes should be. I hung this mask on the wall of the living room facing the door. The eyes were so real; everyone including visitors noticed the mask and passed comments that the eyes seemed to be looking at them. Two days later my mother asked me to remove it because it was frightening and seemed to follow her every move that day. I just laughed telling her it was a harmless piece of decoration. That night with everyone sleeping, I was alone in the living room writing; gradually I began to feel uneasy and uncomfortable: I was not alone! Something was with me there! But, what or who? I raised my face and looked around. There was no one, yet I continued to feel the stare of something! The second time I raised my face, my eyes went to the mask; a pair of eyes was staring at me! A sudden fear gripped me as shivers ran down my spine! I mustered courage, and with shaky legs walked to the wooden face, took it off the wall and removed the papers I posted on it.
What happened? An entity had “jumped upon” it to reside! It would have been dangerous if I had delayed.
How did the entity get there? Collective thought energy! Everyone that came into the living room thought the mask face was real and alive!
“……..and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” – Gen 11:6 (KJV)
We invited the entity through our thought! The fiends of hell; the powers of darkness can be drawn through thought! That is why need to think pure thoughts.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Phil 4:8 (KJV)
What were the children of Israel doing when Aaron was working on the image? Excitedly preparing to receive “their god”! They gave life to the image through their collective thought energy.
…….to be continued.
GOD NEEDS YOU!
“For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.” – 1 Cor 7:7 (KJV)
Paul was admonishing the Corinthians about marriage; what it entails and the responsibilities that go with it. He wished all men would be like him. But of course this is not possible, for as he said, God created all men different and with differing gifts.
Desiring all men to be like him must have been borne by his zeal for the Kingdom which made him sacrifice a would be family; a zeal he desires all men to have. But God has His plans which no desire of man can change.
In God’s plan or purpose, He gave each person a different ability or gift. We are not all the same and can never be the same. God knows what He created us to do as instruments in His hands. Like manufacturers of goods who produce to meet purpose or reason, God created you for His pleasure not yours!
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” – Rev 4:11 (KJV)
The reason or purpose God created you is for you to give Him glory by doing His Will, not yours! To present yourself for His use!
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” – Romans 12:1 (KJV)
Presenting your body to Him is your reasonable (REASON ABLE) service! This is the first thing; every other thing takes root from this! Outside it your service to God is NOT REASONABLE!
You are an offering; to be willingly given!
“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” – 2 Cor 9:7 (KJV)
God starts the acceptance of your offering by checking the state of your heart!
“God loveth a cheerful giver.” – 2 Cor 9:7 (KJV)
“Cheerful!” You have to be cheerful when presenting your worship!
Worship or service to God is not to be done grudgingly or by compulsion; no! That is why it is wrong to “woo” or “cajole” anyone into worship or into Church!
When sending your child on errand the first thing the child does is to heed your call, your beckoning; the child comes to you. There is a reason you beckoned on or called that child; certainly what you desire is what that child would do; not his.
Next, you empower him with the information and tools necessary to accomplish what you sent him to do. The information and tools you give are “proper” for him, for the assignment.
In the same manner, every man’s gift is proper for him.
“But every man hath his proper gift of God.” – 1 Cor 7:7 (KJV)
Not for himself, but for the assignment; the purpose.
The gifts we have from God, be they spiritual, financial or material are not for us to enrich ourselves with and build personal “empires”, rather they are to serve the purpose of God. They are given to us for the purpose of God: the building and edification of the Church, the body of Christ!
“And he gave …….for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” – Eph 4:11-12 (KJV)
Every gift is to be used FOR the Body! No hording or merchandizing! No feeling, “I am better than you are”! No! If we understand this, that nothing is for us individually, it would keep us humble, for what do you have that is not given you by God?
“For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” – 1 Cor 4:7 (KJV)
USE YOUR GIFT!
Whatever your gift may be, use it for the edification of the Church, do not merchandize the gift of God.
“So, brothers and sisters, what should you do? When you meet together, one person has a song, another has a teaching, and another has a new truth from God. One person speaks in a different language, and another interprets that language. The purpose of whatever you do should be to help everyone grow stronger in faith.” – 1Co 14:26 ERV
You are important to God and His Church! You are not small or insignificant! You are so valuable to God, He needs you!
Coming out of Egypt, Israel encountered peoples and situations that were hostile; like Balak who hired Balaam to curse them.
Unknown to the Israelites, these men and the officials of Moab, were on the hill overlooking the great hoard in the valley and pronouncing curses at them. At seven different locations they raised altars, made sacrifices and Balaam made the curse.
But whom God has blessed, no man can curse!! Every opening of the mouth to curse turned into blessings to the chagrin of the Moabit King!
Indeed God makes diviners mad and frustrates the token of liars!!!
All these were unknown to the Israelites!!!
I wish Christians will focus on following God with undivided heart and stop prying into who is cursing or making enchantments against them! God knows HOW to deliver the righteous.
The bible says God did not allow any man to hurt them. Instead He rebuked Kings for their sake!
“He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;” (Psalm 105:14).
Evil people, like their master, do not rest. Seeing they couldn’t curse Israel, Balaam advised Balak to introduce strange women into their camp as this would make God angry, remove the protection and turn against them.
And truly, God turned against them! A plague was released; 24,000 men, outside women and children died.
To stop the plague God asked Moses to hang publicly, facing the Sun all the ring leaders who frolicked with the women of Moab and joined in the worship of Baal-peor, that it may be a deterrent to others.
While that was being carried out, Moses, Aaron and the leaders sat mourning in repentance, at the entry of the Tabernacle, and behold an Israeli prince, Zimri, came into the camp with a Midianitish princess named Cozby.
Also seated with them was a young man called Phinehas the son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the Priest.
Like others he saw the abomination brought into the camp but couldn’t keep still. Though his father was there, his grandfather was there, even his uncle, Moses was there! They knew this was the cause of the calamity yet they sat still crying, nobody moved!!
When he couldn’t contain it any more, he rose, picked a spear and traced the couple to the man’s tent where he killed both.
Instantly the plague stopped and God reacted: He made a covenant of peace with him, and pronounced that he and his descendants would be priests forever.
God had found a servant of honour. How did he become one?
(1) He was in the camp.
Young men are always adventurous, seeking to conquer their environment. Unlike Zimri, Phinehas stayed in the camp, not venturing away and consequently, remained in the will of God. He did not join himself to strangers.
What has Christ with Beliel or the temple of God with idols. What has light with darkness.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
Every sheep that leaves the flock and wanders off, breaks the rule and makes itself an easy target for the wolves. Christians who wander off the fold disobey God!!!
“Be separate, come out from their midst”, He says!
(2) He saw.
There is nothing as hindering as spiritual blindness!!!
Having killed the ringleaders as instructed by God, the plague did not stop! While they all sat crying, it took one young man, possibly not yet of Levitical age (30), to discern why the plague was not stopped!
Obedience to the Word of God should bring good (Isaiah 1: 19). Where and when obedience didn’t bring good, the obedience is not complete.
Phinehas saw what others could not see.
Just as in Exodus 32, when the entire camp of Israel did not see the consequence of making the molten calf and worshipping it, the tribe of Levi saw and abstained. That was how God chose them to be His vessels and representatives in place of the first born, making them a special people of God, an Old covenant “Church of the first born sons”.
Oh that our eyes may be opened that we might see through the eyes of heaven!!! What peace shall be ours!!!
No wonder Paul prayed our eyes be opened!
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” (Ephesians 1:18).
(3) He picked the spear.
The spear was a weapon of war, a rod that kills – the Word of God. Paul tells us to pick up the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6) which is the Word of God, Phinehas armed himself with the spear and with it quenched the abomination.
The work of God can only be done right and well when done according to the Word of God. Doing God’s work without His word is not only demonic, it is devilish and deathly.
Some works may be awesomely big and we allude it to the glory of God. But no. The sons of Levi were only a remnant compared to the multitude. Whereas they had the glory, the multitude were “naked to their shame”, stripped of the glory of God. Why? They did not follow God’s will and Way. They did theirs; there is a way that seemeth right unto a man….
“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 16:25).
God has specifications, even where a tiny nail should be, was instructed Noah in the building of the Ark.
Let’s not just do things, let’s do them according to His specification, and we shall be SERVANTS OF HONOUR.
(1) DO NOT LISTEN TO NEGATIVE INDIVIDUALS
Don’t listen to negative minded individuals who tell stories of woe and defeat. Some people delight in telling stories of woe, of failure, of fear and discouragement.
Don’t listen to them! Run from them! Remember the saying, “show me your friends, or people you listen to, and I will tell you who you are.”
God confounded the children of Israel in the desert who after seeing the giants in Jericho, lived in fear.
“But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.” (Numbers 13:31).
“But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.” (Numbers 14:21-24).
God will confound you in the presence of your enemies if you dwell in fear, for then He will see you as a rebel!
“Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.” (Numbers 14:9).
He never said demonic forces will not rise against you, but that we pay no attention to them.
(2) FILTER WHAT YOU SEE AND HEAR.
What you see and hear are suggestions! They affect your heart!
“Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city.” – (Lamentations 3:51)
If they are not pulled down ( 2Cor. 10:5), but allowed to grow, saturate the mind and take control of it. And when the mind is full, like a cloud full of vapour, it releases its content.
(3) READ BOOKS OF INSPIRATION
Read books of encouragement; books that tell you mighty acts of God.
”Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.” (Deuteronomy 4:9).
Listen to messages of hope. Messages that give life, and play music that will edify your spirit. Video is good, but watch only those films that inspire you towards righteousness. Don’t watch just any “wolvish” video in “lamb clothing” by the title “Christian film”.
(4) CONFESS POSITIVE WORDS.
As you speak godly words aloud to yourself, faith will grow in your heart to counter any influence of evil that may have been deposited there.
Finally, no matter the situation, confess positive words. What you programme or sow into your heart is most certainly what you will reap!
“A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.” (Proverbs 13:2a)