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This month's teaching : Repentance

Quail or Manna

God fed the children of Israel with a miracle food called manna. For 40 long years they traveled the extremities of the barren Saudi Desert where food does not grow. God supplied them with this sweet wafer of heavenly food until they came to the crossing of the Jordan River.

John 6:31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

In Psalm 78 God calls it “corn of heaven”, and also “angel’s food”. In John 6 God called it “bread from heaven”.  Jesus said He is the “bread from heaven”.

Some of Israel wept in the ears of the Lord about their nourishment. They complained, becoming disgusted with God’s heavenly manna and revolted against Moses. So God caused a wind to blow from the sea and a massive quantity of quail covered the entire perimeter of the place where they dwelt. Everyone had opportunity to eat, but not all did. God made those that murmured to eat the quail.

Numbers 11:20 and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the Lord which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?

They questioned why they ever left Egypt and murmured before God. They despised the Lord who was among them. They perceived only what their appetite understood.

The only sea that was close to Israel in the desert was the very one they crossed over, the Red Sea. When they ate the quail from the sea, was this their way of crossing back to Egypt where they came from in God’s eyes?

Israel now had the food they wanted but they had to eat it till it came out of their noses! While the food was still between their teeth, the wrath of God fell upon the consumed quail and a large multitude were left behind and buried in a huge grave.

The place where this incident happened was called Kibroth-hattaavah, meaning “graves of the longing”. This is a place that people enter into when they murmur against heavenly food. The people who ate the quail were now buried in a grave of longings. They could not go forward nor could they eat anymore manna. They were left behind in a grave of longings and longings and longings.

These longings are now within people who long for things to be better in their own lives, but can never get there. It is a grave that is filled with deathly longings. They long for different nourishment. They long to go back to a different place. They long for victory they have not had in years or perhaps never had. God called it a lust. They lusted in the wilderness. Some in this grave will long for the Holy Spirit but have murmured against the food that is needed to get them there.

It will affect the generation after them as well. When the parents are in the graves of longings, the children are like the anesthetized. They have also no sense of the presence of God. There is a despising that raises up when heavenly manna is present. The heart longs for God, but not manna God’s way. It is very noteworthy to understand that not all did eat the quail, only the ones that complained about God’s daily provision.

There is a time when God says: “Then have it your way.” He gave them their own desire but it was death as flesh in their mouth. The continual complaining that Israel had for Moses was not actually against Moses, but against God. It appeared like complaining against Moses, but God’s interpretation was quite different. God called it unbelief and it was directly against Himself. This simply suggests that Israel was not seeing where God was trying to lead them.

God gave spiritual food to Israel called manna and it was designed to sustain them up to the Jordan crossing before they reached The Land of Promise. The sin that Israel committed which kept them from entering the promises of God is defined in two ways:
1. Murmurings in the ears of man.
2. Unbelief in the ears of God. It was all one and the same and God called it unbelief.

I will give one more example from the New Testament of God’s understanding versus man’s.

When we read the account of the centurion describing his positional perception of how the kingdom works, Jesus said, “I have not found so great a faith, no not in Israel”. The word that Jesus used to describe this understanding was a word that most religious people have no revelation of. This word from the centurion was the understanding of kingdom authority.

Jesus called this “great faith”! Jesus did not call it authority, He called it faith!

Blood on the Coat!

I have always been troubled about how some denominations punish people who are leaving their sect to seek deeper spiritual growth.

Some have to be rejected with a ban of fellowship that the church holds against those that leave. The leaders attempt to place a blight upon such in the name of religion.

Some of these spiritual people have endured a denominational curse-like suffering because they love God. It is like blood stains on a coat intended for betrayal. A true Christian should pray and ask for the removal of this through the name of Jesus and it will be gone. As a leader, you will never walk without responsibility for putting such a condemnation upon a child of God.

This is a form of imputed punishment upon a believer. The Bible is clear in saying to bless and curse not, even your worst enemy. I do understand the justification for doing this but it does not to belong to a born-again person even if you disagree with him.

Genesis 37:31 And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;

It was Joseph’s brothers – patriarchs of the tribes of Israel. They put the blood of a goat on Joseph’s coat of royalty. They smeared his coat of many colors with the death of a goat’s blood. This bloody coat was a declaration of death to the father of the son the coat had been presented to.

The saints of God are arrayed in robes of white, clad with the righteousness of Jesus. These are robes that have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. Many have taken blood of their own goat nature and smeared the white robes of the holy saints of God with the blood of jealousy, envy, hate, disdain, gossip, lies, imagination and all sorts of evil and even false accusation.

This picture becomes a brother’s presentation to the Heavenly Father to declare one dead evil or no good. What God calls clean call thou not unclean?

Joseph lost his second coat of royalty after he was falsely accused of a sexual sin he never committed. Many saints have been stripped of their royalty in the view of mankind because someone was a false witness.

This put Joseph in a dark and filthy prison for several years. He was told that he was filthy and now he gets thrown into a filthy, dark, prison. So he must have been guilty, right?

Oh, the awful damage that brothers and sisters can bring against each other when the plaintiff has lost his first love for Almighty God and therefore joins ranks with the enemy and accuses a brother or sister.

Our presentation of Jesus on the cross to the Father was a most horrible act of evil and unconscionable wickedness. We stripped off our Savior’s seamless, royal robe and tore it to pieces. Upon it was the blood of His friend, Judas through betrayal, and the beating of the scourge that happened in the garden after Peter cursed and said he knew nothing of this man.

We presented Jesus to the Father and crucified Him upon a cross as naked, worthless, destitute, and friendless. We left Him to die as no good! We esteemed Him not and were ashamed of Him.

If we have done it to a brother or sister we have done it unto Jesus. I wonder how many of us would have stood against Jesus based on what we have done to each other?

Matthew 25:40 Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

After the great revival in the upper room there was great boldness upon the disciples. Stephen was full of the Holy Ghost and spoke boldly!

Acts 22:20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.

Before Paul was converted, he consented to the stoning of Stephen without throwing one stone. He simply protected the garments of the persecutors and executioners. There are many that would never throw a stone but will protect the guilty and approve their actions.

Let us be greatly challenged by this message. How have I presented Jesus in someone else to the Heavenly Father? Did I stain the robe of righteousness with the blood of death and thoughts of evil intention against any child of God?

Let us never forget, it is not my blood that paid for my brothers’ and sisters’ salvation. It was the blood of Jesus! Knowing this, let us never stain with our blood any garment that Jesus paid for and cleansed.

Have I ever put blood on someone’s coat because of my own problems and misunderstanding?

Jesus said this regarding Judas, “What is that to you? Follow thou me.”

Trouble in the Storm

Being around Jesus was always a time filled with expectations of the unparalleled. Anything could happen in a moment.

The sick were no problem to Him. Those with devils, incurable diseases, and handicaps were no problem to Him. The religious Pharisees were the only ones that were a continual problem to Him.

The Pharisees understood the law, therefore they could not understand grace. The same problem exists today in the mindset of many religious people.

Let’s go back in time and take a moment to look down over the Sea of Galilee from Mount Arbel on the west side. It was on the other side that the disciples had just told Jesus about the beheading and burial of John the Baptist.

Jesus then gets into the boat and says, “Let’s go to another area away from the people”. This is a very difficult situation to bear. A wonderful friend and the one who preached repentance and even baptized Jesus was now gone.

We are now looking to the east and we see oxcarts filled with sick, dying, lame, disabled, blind, and sad people. They are coming in huge droves along the ancient dust trails from far away.

On the northern side of the Galilee we see a huge gathering of thousands of people waiting. It looks like at least 5,000 in men alone, along with oxcarts and horse driven carts.

We hear a great noise of people rejoicing as a few little boats come up to the sea shore from the other side of the Sea of Galilee. As Jesus came close to people they were healed and their lives are now completely changed. The roar of rejoicing sounds like glorious thunder in the distance. There is shouting and dancing and people walking and running for the first time in their life! Hallelujah!

Evening was coming and the disciples told Jesus to send the people away to get food. Jesus said, “No, just feed them yourselves”. “We only have two fish and five loaves of bread,” the disciples replied. Jesus said, “Bring them to me and tell the thousands of people to sit on the grass”.

Jesus took the seven pieces of food, looked far into Heaven, and blessed and broke the bread. Jesus broke the bread so it could grow out of its crust/flesh. Can you hear the roar and the overflowing joy of the multitudes as the bread and fish started growing? It grew faster than the disciples could give it to the thousands.

I do not think our imagination could do justice in trying to comprehend all that happened here on this day! Over 5,000 men, plus women and children just experienced being in the presence of Jesus.

The excitement was so phenomenal and outright radical that Jesus had to, “Constrain His disciples to get into the ship, and to go before Him unto the other side, while He sent the multitudes away”.

Matthew 14:23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. V.24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. V.25 And at 3AM of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. V.26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.

Can we wrap our mind around this picture for a moment? This monumental day brought to Jesus the extremely sad news that His friend was beheaded. Then the power of heaven plummets upon the northern hillside of the Galilee with miracles and heavenly manifestations of surrealistic proportions and ends up feeding perhaps over 10,000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish. Oh, Glorious Hallelujah!

Then, at three o’clock at night Jesus saw through the dark from the mountain that the disciples were in intense trouble with a sinking ship far in the distance sailing amidst an extreme storm and enormous waves.

This glorious Savior and unchangeable friend climbed down the mountain and stepped into the water. His feet stayed on top! Jesus walked toward them perhaps a few miles through the storm.

When they saw Him they thought He was a ghost and were very scared and cried out. When Jesus saw that they were afraid of Him, He immediately said, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid”.

What can we learn from this? Jesus is the light. He could see miles away in the dark. He cared for His disciples in the deepest night of trouble.

Jesus looked like a ghost when they were in trouble. The storm stopped when Jesus got into the ship. To the human eye in a time of darkness and trouble, Jesus and even His disciple can look like a ghost.

Jesus sees you long before you see Him. He cares for you in trouble!  Let not your heart be troubled!

Weeping by the River

Judah was in a state of victory and joy on one hand, but on the other hand they could not stop sinning and continued to commit sins with the enemy.

God had warned that if His people became faithless, He would send the pagan enemy after them and protect them no longer.

This all happened as a result of prophets speaking things falsely in the name of the Lord when it was not from Him.

God showed the prophet Jeremiah two baskets of figs. One basket was filled with good, first ripened figs and the other basket held figs that were disgusting and inedible.

God said that this was the condition of Judah. The cause of this ruin was largely because of their prophets.

Jeremiah 23:30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words everyone from his neighbor. V.31 Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.V.32 Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord.

Now Judah (God’s people), were at a place where God could no longer bless them. They were led to the national prison called Babylon. They were held there by King Nebuchadnezzar at God’s command.

The purpose of this captivity was to separate Judah from the sin which they never truly broke away from. God also wanted them to separate from the words and works of the false prophets.

Ezekiel, Daniel, Jeremiah, and other holy, righteous prophets of God were also brought into this captivity in Babylon. These men of God did not run, but went right into the same captivity and condemnation as the sinners did.

They suffered with the righteous and unrighteous alike. However, it was to Ezekiel that God revealed his plan at the very end.

You see, the true prophets of God never reveal the problem without offering hope and clearly defined heavenly direction.

True prophets of God do not understand by imagination, but their pure lives reveal the burden of the Lord. True prophets are willing to die for their submission and they do not run or hide in the day of trouble.

Part of the difficult experience of the captivity of Judah was that they could remember how it used to be in Zion. They were told to sing and praise with the songs of healing like they did in Zion. They sat by the calm streams and rivers, but wept because all they had were memories.

Psalm 137:1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. V.2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. V.3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. V.4 How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?

In Zion, the songs were written and sang because of inspiration and praise to Almighty God, the deliverer. They were the songs of their own heart, filled with heavenly adoration. There was dancing, and shouts of jubilation overflowing with joy.

Now the same songs were like punishment to them. When Judah goes into captivity, their singing becomes like torrents of condemnation. Now the song becomes a requirement.

Judah just wanted to hang their harps on the willow trees next to the rivers. The Babylonian rivers and streams were a prison to Judah. They were diminished to an anguish so deep that singing was the last thing they wanted to do. Yet they required them to heal each other with the mirth of the songs of Zion.

Can we hear the weeping around the river and the memories of when singing healed? Seventy years of self-inflicted pain because they listened to the wrong voices.

This picture of Judah, God’s people, is so sad. But this can also be the condition of an individual who has listened to the wrong voice and has been carried away into captivity.

You might have listened to the voice of reason and it has contaminated you, placing you in captivity. The voice of reason often holds lies and portrayals of inaccuracies designed to bring you into offenses. It is intended to deceive, destroy, and kill the child of God.

Alas, God revealed His truth to the prophet and gave him the word: I will not always allow my people to be held in captivity. I will have mercy and forgiveness and grant them deliverance!

I will return to Jerusalem with my people and there I will be with the old and the young; the boys and girls will fill the streets playing together in safety!
Zechariah 8:1-5.

The Lampstand of God

The seven golden candlesticks comprised a precious and mandatory lamp placed before the presence of God. It was a requirement to have this powerful lamp shining in the Holy Place before God twenty-four hours a day.

The lamp was placed in the tabernacle, the temple and before the throne in Revelation 1:20. This expensive piece of equipment was made with pure gold beaten to a completed work of wonder.

Why was this piece of furniture so important that God required it to be in His own presence? It was the only source of light allowed to be present in the Holy Place. Natural light was declared a contamination; it could have no part in the Holy Place.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” The lampstand was a true type of the Holy Spirit.

The lampstand was carefully shaped by the hammering of a hammer in the hands of the Holy Spirit, through the wisdom he gave to Bezaleel.

The olive oil had to be made by a crushing between rocks. The light could not come from an ordinary source. They that shine before God must not shine their own glory. The understanding of this truth is a pearl much greater than the carnal man can evaluate or even consider precious.

To live before God as crushed olive oil so that His life and light can illuminate in His presence, is a calling many could not even consider worth enduring. The superficial Christian would become so insulted that heavenly light could not be present. This is why the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

I believe that one of the deepest grievings of the Holy Spirit is when a carnal Christian leans on his own understanding while trying to acknowledge God. The enormous danger is that the natural man does not even discern this. It is alone the spiritual man that can see and have understanding in it.

The natural man will not be led by the Spirit of God because he has no spiritual discernment. The natural man has many answers and easy solutions. He uses his impoverished imagination to lead himself and others down a path of confusion.
The natural man can accomplish many things exceptionally well. The self-power of his actions will make him a failure in God’s kingdom and a king in organizations of humanity. This will cause him many personal failures.

The natural man’s personal observation of himself is filled with the condemnation depicted in the book of Jude. This creates a conflict in his spirit to turn to idealistic opinions that wage a war against the saints, and do so in the name of Jesus.

Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

It is correct to understand that the church of Ephesus had an invisible candlestick in its midst. God threatened the removal of this important lamp unless their first love was restored. There is only one source for this spiritual love. This agape love comes from the Holy Spirit alone. It is a love not achievable, but granted after receiving the Holy Spirit.

When an unrepentant condition creeps into a believer, the heavenly light becomes very dim. Here the man will stumble around in natural light and lose his path in the righteousness of Christ. Here is where strategies are introduced and forceful personal biases exist.

A true believer will never be confused walking in the light. But when the heavenly light is removed, you will find the opposite to be entirely present.

James 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. V.16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

Why was the lampstand so important in the presence of God? This lamp is His eternal illumination and it searches all the deep things of God.

Light searches; it goes everywhere there is freedom from obstacles. All obstacles put a complete stop to light unless they are transparent. God demands from us complete transparency through true repentance from all darkened obstacles.

Do I have hidden obstacles?

PRAYER:  Jesus, help me to return to my first love. All other affections I nail to the cross!