Tag Archives: Israelites

She Made A Different Choice

faith“Did I do something wrong?” That was the question a humanist French journalist (identified as “Isabelle”) asked after finding out that her daughter had converted to Judaism. She followed that up with, “I have nothing against Judaism. I am just against any religion.”

Isabelle doesn’t think much of religion. She grew up attending Catholic School, became an atheist, and is now a self-declared “progressive, humanist woman.” Religions, she believes, tell you how to think, as opposed to being a libre penseur, “free thinker.”

Nevertheless, it is in fact, ‘thinking for herself,’ that caused Isabelle’s daughter to choose another path. It is a path that leads to faith and religion. It is a path that many French youth are apparently choosing as well.

You see, Isabelle’s daughter’s generation is asking questions and seeking answers that their parents’ atheism is incapable of answering. Isabelle’s daughter believes that her parents’ philosophies have failed to bring about positive change in society. So she said, “I need something else.”

Still, the choice doesn’t come easily. Scripture says, “Honor your Father and Mother.” As any person who has made the choice to leave the religion of their parents knows, it can cause tension.

But honoring parents doesn’t mean making the same choices that they made, especially since choices have eternal consequences. The same God who said, honor your Father and Mother,” also reminds us that religion is a choice, not an inheritance. God expects us to think for ourselves, to reason through the evidence, and to make a decision.

Joshua gave the Israelites this choice. He said that they had 3 options: 1) worship the idols of the land they conquered, 2) continue the failed ideas of their parents, or 3) they could choose God. As for him and his family, no question about it, they would choose God (Joshua 24:15).

And, Joshua told the Israelites to choose “today.” There is urgency. No one wants to offend a parent or grandparent, but each day is a precious opportunity to make a better choice.

If I can help, get in touch…I’d love to show you how the evidence leads to Jesus.

Mind your Matzoh and your Mitzvot

Someone once asked me how to find balance between the law and love of others. Perhaps we can take a lesson from Matzoh and Mitzvah. Matzoh is unleavened bread – that stuff we eat every Sunday in the Lord’s Supper. Mitzvot are good deeds or commandments.

Every Passover, practicing Jews search their houses to ensure they have removed all yeast (leaven). This law is explained in Exodus 12 & 13 when Israel is given the legal aspects of the Passover. “Minding your Matzoh” means, keep the unclean or evil thing from your house. This is what Jesus was doing when he cleansed the Temple of the money changers during Passover. While Israelites were removing yeast from their houses at Passover, Jesus showed them that he would remove the unclean, evil thing from his Father’s house.

According to the traditional Jewish interpretation of scripture, there are 613 Mitzvot or commandments. If you follow or teach others to follow a commandment, it is said you have done a Mitzvah, a good deed. So you might help someone cross the street today, and that would be a Mitzvah, a good deed. Certainly, Jesus taught that we must do good deeds (Luke 6:9).

Finding balance between the two can be difficult. If we do nothing but mind the law, we may lack love toward others. Similarly, if we do nothing other than good deeds, we may lack adherence to the law. It is an effort to follow laws and help our fellow-man.

For the Christian, balance includes doing good deeds and following laws, but if we don’t have God in our hearts, then we’re just people-helpers and rule-followers. Unfortunately, for many people, following God’s Laws and helping others would be a step up. Nevertheless, it doesn’t get us any closer to heaven or salvation. We cannot work our way into heaven. The only way to heaven is through Christ. Once we have the mind of Christ, the Spirit of God in our hearts, then and only then, can we be about our Father’s business of minding matzoh and mitzvah – law and good deeds.

Flash Mobs

Have you ever seen a “flash mob?” While, flash mobs are not exactly new, they are becoming a part of our every day society. Typically, they are harmless – a way a new generation can do something odd or nonconformist while not hurting anyone. People are using texting, mass e-mail, and various web sites to gather at a particular time and place to “spontaneously” dance or stand still or lie down for a few minutes and then continue as if nothing had happened. Those who are not “in” on the gag are often surprised, amused, or merely pass by, ignoring the activity. Until recently society was, at most, slightly inconvenienced by ‘flash mobs.’ A more sinister application has arisen though – “flash robs.”

“Flash robs” are when people gather together in order to barge into a theater or a stadium without paying for tickets or to enter a store simultaneously and shoplift and leave. Cases of ‘flash robs’ are popping up all over the country and are confounding law enforcement. When asked about how they are dealing with the problem, law enforcement officers have simply said that they don’t know how and don’t have the manpower to deal with this kind of crime.

In the days of Moses, there was something akin to a ‘flash rob,’ but with a very different ending. Beginning in the 16th chapter of Numbers, we learn that there were individuals in the camp who were tired of following the rules laid out by Moses. They didn’t want to follow the system anymore. They didn’t want to submit to God’s law. In fact, they wanted to steal the leadership from Moses. And so the message went out that they would meet and confront Moses. A rebellion of Korah and 250 leaders showed up and demanded that Moses and Aaron give the leadership of the Israelites to them. God told the people to remove themselves from Korah and his ‘flash mob’ and the earth swallowed them up.

God was not confounded. He didn’t worry about how to handle the situation. He wasn’t concerned about whether He had the manpower or wisdom to deal with Korah’s ‘flash mob.’ And the same is true today. God has a plan for us and has given us the road map. It says we are supposed to be kind to each other and love each other and treat others better than ourselves. We are to respect people and their property. And if we walk in the light as He is in the light, there is a wonderful inheritance laid up in heaven for us. And for those who refuse to submit to His ways…well, there is a plan there too. God’s preference is that we would follow His path and that none would perish. Are you in the practice of submitting to or rebelling against God’s will?