Monday, February 27, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - February 27, 2017

Today's Reading:

Matthew 7

Exodus 37:1-38:31

Proverbs 17

Listen to the Bible








Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

In Matthew Chapter 7, we find a powerful command: "judge not, that ye be not judged":
Matthew 7:1-3  “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”
The words "Judge not" are translated from the Greek word "krino". Krino is "to determine, to decide mentally or judicially, to form an opinion, to try, to condemn" and "to punish".

When we krino judge others, we put ourselves in the place of Yahweh. He alone has the Right and Authority to judge and condemn a person.

At first, we may think that we aren't judging others. But did you know that judgment of others can happen in how we speak of them?
James 4:11-12  “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother… There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?”

David’s wisest and most trusted advisor was Ahithophel. The Bible says that his counsel was like inquiring “at the oracles of God.” But, Ahithophel joined Absalom in the revolt against David and even gave counsel unto Absalom in how to defeat him. So what changed in Ahithophel’s heart?

Ahithophel had witnessed David’s failure with Bathsheba. He had seen the king fall into sin.  David repented for his sins. His prayer of heart-felt repentance is given in Psalm 51, but even though the king repented, Ahithophel could not find it in his heart to forgive David as Yahweh had.  Ahithophel had a judgmental spirit towards David, he no longer respected him. 
On the subject of judging, the Bible appears to be in conflict.  On the one hand it tells us not to judge, but on the other hand we read that spiritual people are to judge all things! What do we do with that?  Actually the Greek word translated as “judge” is different. When the Saviour said Judge not that ye be not judged, we saw that the word krino was used, but when we are told that Spiritual people judge all things, the word judge is translated from anakrino

Yahweh’s people need to have Spiritual discernment. The form of judgment we are called to do is the discernment of fruits.

Revelation 3:18  “I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire… and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see.”
We need spiritual discernment, because it is vitally important to be able to discern the fruits in a life. It is only by the fruits (when the Holy Spirit is present, the attitudes and behaviors will demonstrate  the Fruits of the Spirit - Galatians 5:22-23). But, when we discern that the attitudes and behaviors are not manifesting the Fruits of the Spirit, we are not to condemn the person. It is possible for someone who belongs to God to step out from His Will and Spirit for a moment. 

In David's case, he was called a man after God's own Heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22). That is a powerful testimony! Yet, David stepped out from under God's Will and Covering for a time. He committed adultery with Bathsheba and then murdered her husband. These very ungodly actions certainly do not measure up to the Fruit Test. In other words, they are not manifesting the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. 

Most of us have not gone so far as to commit adultery and homicide! These are serious offenses! And there were some, who could not forgive David, nor accept him as "God's anointed" king of Israel afterwards. Yet, having a judgmental attitude towards David caused the destruction of those who carried this bitter judgment in their attitudes and actions. David was not destroyed. But those who bitterly judged him for his sins were destroyed, exactly as Christ warned in Matthew 7:1-3. Let's revisit the story of David to gain some fuller insights from this powerful illustration. 

While the Israelite army was out in battle, David stayed home. One evening, while walking upon his palace rooftop, he noticed a beautiful woman bathing.  Instead of resisting temptation, David had an affair with the woman, whose name was Bathsheba. David ordered the poor husband of the woman to be killed and Bathsheba came to be one of David’s wives.
David repented after this terrible sin, but he did not have the same impetus to discipline in his own house. David’s son, Amnon defiled his half-sister Tamar. When David learned what Amnon had done, he simply became angry and did nothing about it.

However, Tamar was Absalom’s full sister. Since David brought no judgment against Amnon, Absalom determined to execute judgment on Amnon himself. Absalom murdered Amnon.

Afterwards, Absalom grew more and more openly critical of his father. In 2 Samuel 15:3-6, we read that Absalom stole the hearts of Israel from his father by sitting in the gate and stealing the court cases which would have been brought before his father. Absalom said, “Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice.”  But, the motivating force behind Absalom’s judgment was revenge, criticism, and contempt. Therefore it bore fruit in full blown rebellion against king David, his father.

Absalom’s rebellion reached such a pitch that he actually fought to take the life of the king.  Sadly, the very thing Absalom sought to do to David, his father, came upon him.

As I mentioned earlier, Ahithophel, who was a wise and trusted counselor of David, joined Absalom in his rebellion. The Bible tells us that Ahithophel was indeed a wise and godly man. 2 Samuel 15:23 says,“the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counseled in those days, was as if a man had inquired at the oracles of God.” 

With so much wisdom, it would seem obvious that Ahithophel would remain loyal to David, who was Yahweh’s anointed. But, when Absalom revolted, Ahithophel turned against David and not only joined Absalom, but gave him counsel on how best to KILL David.

When Yahweh answered David’s prayer and caused Absalom not to listen to the counsel of Ahithophel, this formerly wise counsellor knew Absalom's cause was doomed and he went home and hung himself (2 Samuel 17:23). What Ahithophel intended to do to David, he ended up doing to himself. 

But why did he turn against David in the first place? The answer is found in his lineage. 

In other words, the Bible tells us that Ahithophel was Bathsheba’s grandfather. Just as Absalom had determined to kill Amnon for immorality with his sister, so Ahithophel turned from wisdom, made himself a judge over David, and purposed to kill David for defiling his granddaughter.

Both Ahithophel and Absalom died for their intent to kill David. And this is exactly what the Bible warns will happen to us if we ever take it upon ourselves to judge another out of revenge, bitterness, or any other ungodly reason. In fact, Scripture tells us that the punishment we plan to bring upon another is what we ourselves will receive! Proverbs 26:27 tells us that the pit we dig for another is the pit we ourselves will fall into. And the stone we roll to crush another, will return upon us. That's a sobering thought!

Another Biblical example of this principle is Haman, in the time of queen Esther. Haman built a gallows to hang Mordecai upon. But, Haman ended up dying on those gallows - not Mordecai! As our Saviour warned:
Matthew 7:1-3  “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

Next, let's consider the "mote" and "beam" principle in Matthew 7. One of the reasons we cannot krinos judge another is because, when we are spiritually immature, we feel pretty good about ourselves. But, as we mature, we come to see the depths of our own need and more deeply appreciate the Saviour.  Its kind of like the education process. The more you know, the more you know you don’t know. And the true mark of an ignorant person is an individual who believes he knows everything.

Thecloser we come to Yahweh, the less deserving of His Grace we will feel. The deeper our love for Him grows to be, the more will be our awareness of our own sinfulness. Thus, when I am the farthest from Him, I will feel the most self-righteous, as did the Pharisee in Yahshua’s parable. Yahweh wants me to have a heart that acknowledges its own needs before pointing out the needs of others.

Discernment is the God-given ability to distinguish between what is good and what is evil, in order to make wise decisions. But spiritual discernment becomes critical judgment when there is no heart-felt desire to labor for the salvation of the sinner.
2 Peter 1:9  “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”
When Hannah was praying silently in the Temple, priest Eli came in and saw her lips moving.  A critical spirit arose in him and he immediately rebuked her for being drunk (1 Samuel 1:13-15).

But Hannah was not drunk, merely deeply sorrowful. Eli misinterpreted her situation and judged her falsely because of his own "baggage". The problem was that the excesses that Eli judged her for were true in his own life and in the lives of his two sons. Yahweh not only reproved Eli through the son that Hannah later had (Samuel), but He eventually took the lives of Eli and his sons.

Not only did Yahshua command us not to judge one another with a critical spirit, He also gave us clear direction on how to conquer this problem. If we find ourselves harboring a critical and condemning spirit towards another, we should immediately recognize this as a signal to examine our own lives to see where we have an exact or similar failure.

Now what do I mean by saying that our personal problem may not be exactly the same as those we judge, and yet we may still be guilty of a similar thing?  Perhaps a person has a problem with being argumentative and we criticize them in our hearts for that.  

But, underneath that argumentative front may lie a spirit of bitterness. In fact, often bitterness is the fountain from which argumentation springs. We may not have the outward action of argumentation, but we may have the inward attitude of bitterness over past hurts. 

Rather than judging a person for his argumentation, we should conquer the bitter spirit in our own lives and THEN prayerfully seek the right opportunity to share with that person the steps to similar victory over bitterness.

In this way, the problems we experience can be used to help others who are going through similar problems. 
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 “…Blessed be YAH, even the Father of our Adonai Yahshua HaMassiach, the Father of mercies, and the YAH of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.”
This is how God treats us.  He saw our failings, rebellion, and stinking sins with laser vision and far more clarity than we can ever see them. Yet, He, Who was perfect and had every right to condemn us, didn’t do so. He instead loved us, stink and all. He worked for our salvation, stepping into the gap with His own Blood and Body. 

John 3:17  “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.”
 So, if you find yourself being tempted to get a judgmental or critical spirit towards someone, do the following steps, instead:

  • Confess and repent of your own sins.
  • Gain victory over your own sins through Yahshua’s Grace and weapons.
  • See the deficiencies in others as opportunities to intercede in prayer for them.
  • Love others and labor with God for their salvation.