None of us want another human being to police our every move,
do we? We all want to be free to be and to do just as we please, don’t we?
Imagine yourself way back in time, @ 2000 years ago, when slavery and anti-semitism was in full-tilt because the Romans were hell-bent on ruling the world. Are you a Roman or a Jew or maybe a new convert to The Way of Truth and Kindness as taught by that guy Saul of Tarsus? Decide which you are in this little make-believe moment, and consider from your perspective how you would react to Saul when he came into your town preaching the Law of Liberty.
As he teaches, he explains that transgression of the law = sin = uncleanness = unholiness = not set apart = not saved out of the trash heap. Wow!
Right there, wouldn’t you feel a bit INDIGNANT! ? ‘Who the heck does that guy think he is? I’m not in the trash heap just because I am doing things prohibited by this perfect law he lives by!’
Then imagine how you feel when you hear that he taught in the synagogue that the result of not being holy is that you will be judged in the future judgment and that even now you will not experience the PEACE and SHLAMA (safety, health, prosperity, effectiveness, long life and happiness promised in James 1:4) that Saul’s savior, this Yeshua born in Bethlehem to a virgin, gives to those who choose to give His Kingdom their full allegience… Would you feel even more indignant because, hey, you’re already working your way into a state of forgiveness just by doing the things the Rabbis say to do? Would you feel a little fearful because, hey, you can’t see any way to get around the peer pressure from all the Romans? Would you feel a little torn, because you see the ray of light that Saul is offering but it seems impossible to grab onto because you really don’t have the strength to give up some of your fleshly pleasures? Would you argue with Saul in harsh ways to get him off your back?
You wouldn’t? Then look around you… are there other people in your family or your assembly or your neighborhood who most definitely would explode on Saul as he bewailed many of you who have sinned and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed?
Now I want you to put yourself in Saul’s shoes for a moment, and notice that he spoke before Elohim in Messiah for the edifying of his dearly beloved. (See 2 Cor. 12) And yet he feared his dearly beloved’s behavior toward him when he came to preach the hope of holiness to them… he feared lest when he came he should find debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, swellings and tumults—all of which are directly caused by the evil spirits (see Galatians 5). It was his own Master Yahweh who humbled Saul among his dearly beloved to bewail the many which had sinned… it was the messenger of Satan, through the mouths of the sinners who held on to their uncleanness, that buffeted Saul. He even asked his Master to take away the reproaches of the sinners in the congregation, this painful thorn in his flesh, yet Yahshua confirmed his commission to preach holiness, asked him to suffer, and comforted him with these words of truth: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Weakness = infirmity. When Saul felt weak in the face of the reproaches of those he was called to edify with the Truth of Yahweh, when Saul felt that he could hardly stand, he had to call on his Help in time of need and relinquish control of his body, mind and mouth to the One Who dwelt in him, his Master Yahshua, Who Alone could fully strengthen Saul for the moment.
Whether you consider yourself a Roman, a Jew, a Convert or a Saul, please know: when you decide to take a stand for righteousness, you can expect the infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecutions and distresses that will come for Yahshua’s sake so that He can be glorified through you. Just be faithful, believing that when you are weak — humble and submitted to Yah’s Way of Truth and Kindness, keeping Yah’s commandments and statutes and judgments so that you CHAYAH, חיה — then you are strong — alive, fresh, CHAY, חי !
If this essay touched you,
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Paul's Life Song of Joy and Unity
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The Willow Tree (ukelele version)