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Isaiah Chapter 65

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65:1-12  Isaiah < Click to Listen

Blaming God For What You Do

Passive-aggressive means (among other things) blaming someone else for what YOU do. 

At work, there is a training manual.  People normally believe rules are meant to be broken, and so they are broken. But when caught, do rule-breakers confess their crimes? No. They blame the rules ("these make no sense"), the person who made the rules ("whoever wrote this doesn't live in the real world"), the person who enforces the rules ("this guy's a jerk"), or, worse, someone innocent of the crime who makes a good blame towel. Likewise, city park rules are posted restricting pit fires, skateboards, dog behavior, and so on.  Yet people commonly scoff at and break the rules. Why? Because people want to do what they want to do, and rules are in the way. Nothing new here. The rules have been broken from the beginning. Adam and Eve broke the rules, and the Israelites in the wilderness broke Torah as often as possible, though God provided their sustenance directly, and was right there to see their sins. 

Christianity is BASED on getting away with stuff, whether in the moment, eating pork, getting tattoos, and other acts forbidden by the rules, or in total, asking Jesus to take care of it for them, to talk to the boss, to intercede, to help them skate, fire insurance from hell, using His blood as their antibacterial ointment. The Muslims say they are strict, yet they permit suicide and child rape, all forbidden by Koran. The New Agers choose the rules they like and leave the rest behind. All of humanity is striving to get over on God, either ignoring His existence or His Law. But God is watching, and taking note. God is a just God who enforces sane rules. Saying he is not watching, or taking note, or is unjust or insane, does not stop God.  He OWNS the Universe, and in the end He owns YOU.

In today’s lesson, we see how the Israelites (Jews) again cry out to God for mercy, but in doing so blame GOD for what THEY did!  The Bible tells us this angered God, and He punished their passive-aggressive arrogance. Why would you think YOU are exempt or safe from the same reaction and punishment from God?  Because you are Jewish by birth? Because you say you love Jesus (but still ignore Torah)? Because you think the Jews lost their chosen status and it is now yours?  Because you scoff?  Because you ignore?

(posted 12/27/2015)

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65:13-25  Isaiah < Click to Listen

A New Year Means What?

If your goal is to lose weight, diligence wins the game. As Edison said, invention is 1% idea (inspiration) and 99% diligence (perspiration).  Diligence, or determination, if you like, wins the game. A mere declaration to do so is not good enough. The inspiration is only 1% of it. Now comes perspiration, which means deciding on (1) a diet, (2) a timeline, (3) a stopping point, and (4) a final body image. This is enough to make any brash promise come to a halt, and often enough it does.  For it is simple to NOTICE a problem, but HARD to actually make a plan, and harder still to carry it through.  This is why many diets, exercise programs, 12-step programs, spiritual rejuvenations, and so forth, are quit.  It’s "too hard."

In the Book of Acts, chapter 15, Peter says non-Jewish Christians should not be subject to the whole Law. Paraphrasing: "Torah is hard enough for Jews. Why do we want to provoke these non-Jewish Christians by making them do what we can't (or, more honestly, don't want to do)?"  Peter did not say, "Jesus (or the blood of Jesus) lets them off the hook."  No, Peter said, "It’s too hard."

Does this blow your mind?  If not, think about this: James, the leader of the church at that time, did not agree with Peter. James did not agree that non-Jewish Christians had special privileges to ignore the Law of God. James did not agree that any part of Torah should be disregarded, but rather that non-Jewish Christians were subject to the same standards as Jewish Christians. Why should he NOT believe this? Did not Christ teach to do every least commandment? Still, James compromised. He proclaimed non-Jewish Christians must adhere only to minimum standards, namely, to abstain from idolatry, from fornication, from blood (call it murders, breaking virginity, unclean foods), and from things strangled (more here than meets the eye). Note that James did not permit every type of food, sexual act, or worship. In fact, his edict was vague enough so that enforcement could be quite comprehensive. James also did not say minimum standards were the end, but rather the starting point, for in Acts 15:21 James says that the rest of the Law may be learned by non-Jewish Christians every Sabbath at the synagogue or temple (and meanwhile, the Jewish Christians were to continue fully in the Law, as Acts 21 admits)! In a nutshell, James did not believe the Law was "too hard" but only "too much too fast."

If you believe it's too hard to keep the Law, think how Christ devoted His whole life to it, to keep it. If you believe it's too hard or dangerous to teach the Law, think how Christ put His life on the line, every minute, for the right to teach pure Torah to the people. Do you want to be like Christ or not?

Did Jesus ever eat bacon, shrimp, or any unclean meat? If He did, He was not perfect in the Law. Did Jesus amend any part of the Law? If He did, He is a liar and a demon. Does Jesus have authority to amend the Law?  If so, why did Jesus say He did not come to change the Law, not a jot or tittle. Why especially would Jesus overturn the commandments on eating? Are they so hard to keep? Is pig and crustacean the only meat available? Does your body require bacon to function correctly? Or is it rather that it's too hard to resist the temptation of bacon? Or that if you should abstain from bacon where you once enjoyed it, your friends and family will notice, and think you are a Jew (or Muslim)? To be clear: the blood of Christ is not the doorway to bacon, but rather the doorway to no bacon.

Sadly, though the born-again Christian shall give up her adultery, and confess to his murder, they have no intention to give up the bacon, shrimp, and tattoos, or to please God in clothing, facial hair, or other "least commandments," though Christ says (Matthew 5:19) to follow such commandments AND teach others to follow such commandments makes you the greatest. Why would a Christian not heed this fabulous saying? Basically, (1) for family peace, (2) for gratification, and (3) for self-congratulation, the ego. If the Christian gives up bacon (for a good example), his family, taught by errant doctrine, shall think him oddly legalistic, even though Christ Himself was most legalistic. If, on the other hand, the Christian does not give up the bacon, he shall have not only family peace but also think himself blessed, even rewarded, by God to do something plainly unlawful.  Is that possible?  Is that even logical?

Why do you still resist the Law? Is it too hard?  Perhaps it's difficult because you place too much stock in what others, such as friends or family, might think. Jesus said (paraphrasing), "I did not come to bring peace but a sword; and this sword shall divide families."  The sword is not a foggy belief in messiah but rather the sword is the Word of God, the Law, which divides people.

In Isaiah 65, the people say "all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags" but these are not the words of the humble, or of those who will change their behavior from personal whim to Torah Law. No indeed, they are the words of the arrogant, and the smug, who blame God for making them this way, for creating them this way, and who basically will NOT change, and still ask God, "How long are you going to stay angry about something YOU did, God?"  Is that a "wow" or what?

The average Christian says the same thing to Jesus that those arrogant Jews said to God: "Please help me. I’m a sinner, but I was made this way (original sin) and can't be righteous without you, so please make me righteous by my plea, even though I’m not actually going to change to Torah living, only at best commit to being kinder, gentler, and a thousand points of light.  Amen."

Now, in case you think Isaiah 65 has nothing to do with eating unclean meats, let me educate, that God brought judgment on these failed and fallen Jews NOT ONLY for idolatry (Isaiah 65:3) BUT ALSO they "eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels" (65:4)!

Modern Christianity is failed Christianity. It fails Torah, fails Christ, fails the Council at Jerusalem, and fails logic. Failed Christianity also uses the same language as the failed dieter ("The Law is too hard"). This year, make a resolution to not be a failed Christian, but to be more Torah, even as you seek to improve yourself and your family life.

(posted 1/2/2016)

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