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November 2017

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The Israelites continually sinned by worshiping Baal (many consider our Christmas trees and Maypoles to also be Asherah poles) just as the apostles continually sinned (such as the earlier purchase of two swords and Peter’s three denials) even when they didn’t realize it. Revelation includes a harsh condemnation (“I will vomit you out of my mouth”) for the church of Laodicea (the etymologically meaning of “the rights of the people” may suggest a democracy where the church was dominated not by its religious leaders but by its people) for being filthy rich, spoiled, and deplorably indifferent to everything (even if they likewise didn’t know it). God only rebukes those whom He loves.

Satan entered Judas (hardened heart) and Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you all as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Faith here is not about not failing, but being the one able to pick yourself and others up afterwards - to stop the cycle of sin and guilt. In Romans 6:18-22, Paul reveals that believers are to be free from sin (while still sinning). The elders knew that Jesus was a Godly agent and fabricated accusations (such as opposing payment of taxes) and Pilate also said that he could find no basis for their charges. They sin was similarly one of inaction for not stopping the mob rule (in the same way Adam allowed sin to enter the world by not stopping Eve from eating the Fruit of Knowledge). It was from such fear of peers that Gideon decides to only obey God at night when no one could see him. Ironically, Herod became friends with Pilate that day just for the honor of sending Jesus to him in deference to Pilate’s authority. Our lives are sadly too often ruled by the voices of others or our own ego to just go along instead of God’s voice to Godly action.

“But the LORD said to , ‘Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.’” Gideon is terrified by the vision of God because he knows that no one can see God face to face and survive (since that was what God told Moses). Is it likely that Gideon was afraid and offered food because it was a being with physical form? How could this be possible unless it was Christ Himself (see Christophony)!

Gideon tests God. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God.” (1 John 4:1) “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you - unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5) The Edomites’ homes were turned to stubble for joyfully assisting God with His punishment of the sinful Jews in the valley below. Moses, on the other hand, told God straight to His face that he could not punish the sinful Jews below him because it would look bad for God. Scripture demands that anyone claiming to have spiritual gifts or messages from God must submit to rational testing before employing (“let two or three prophets speak, and let others pass judgment.” – 1 Cor 12:29), and this was what Gideon did before obeying. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (not heart or faith). Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) If a person is unwilling or his message fails such an examination, he, she, or it is to be rejected outright (if not stoned to death). “But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14).

Better, moreover, says Psalms that through singing, extolling, and worshiping Him we should keep our heart from hardening when hearing God’s voice and never failing to remember Him to all the nations.

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