I am the Lord your God… you shall have no other god before Me (Exodus 20:2). And now, Israel, what does the Lord God require of you but to fear the Lord your God – to walk in all His ways and to love Him and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with you entire being to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good? (Deut. 10: 5, 12.13)
Law showed the nation of Israel the holiness of the Lord, the need for them to
desire it for themselves through obedience to God’s commandments as their part
of the covenant. No one outside the Law’s requirements was able to please God’s
holiness. In holiness, our God is righteous, and righteousness is the
foundation of His throne (Psalm 89:14a). From the beginning men adopted many
gods to satisfy their spiritual hunger, since they were created with a
spiritual need for God. The Law was given with the purpose to point men to the
One True God and His attributes. There are two aspects of the Law: ceremonial
and moral. The ceremonial rituals served to point to the ultimate sacrifice of
God’s Son, ending all the sacrifices of animals for the atonement of men’s sin.
The blood of God’s Son poured out for the forgiveness of sin was more than
sufficient to ratify the agreement of the new covenant- covenant of blood.
Then YAHSHUA, full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit,
returned from the Jordan and was led in [by] the [Holy] Spirit for during forty
days in the wilderness, where He was tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing
during those days, and when they were completed, He was hungry (Like 4:1,2).
The devil came to YAHSHUA at the point of His need – hunger. Forty days and
nights without eating can starve the body and lead it to death, that is, for
some people, depending on their health factors. Forty days is long enough time
for the body to have used all the resources it had to be sustained. YAHSHUA, as
a man, was subject to the weakness of a human body, but not to man’s sinful
nature. He was led to the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted in
preparation for the ministry He was going to fulfill. Like us, He was also
subjected to temptations, and to the extent of sufferings that we experience.
So after fasting forty days and forty nights, His obvious need of that moment
was hunger. Hunger and thirst in the desert are something hard to overcome
without having knowledge of how to survive in such environment which lacks
everything that benefits the body. The Bible does not say if He went without
water however, I assume so. Whatever the situation, He went hungry after forty
(II Thessalonians 2; I John 4:1-4)
Deceit comes to all some time and in some fashion. Its
intent is to brain-wash the truth, in order to achieve its purpose of control.
The main reason it will be able to ensnare the mind successfully is ignorance.
Ignorance then partners with destruction when zeal is manifested. Deceit is
like a spider’s web in its impressive design. It does not covey the purpose to
kill in its beauty and intelligence. But it attracts the victim to its death
serving as food for the deceiver. That’s
the way Satan operates. YAHSHUA said this of him: The thief comes only in order to steal and
kill and destroy. I came that they (the sheep) may have and enjoy life, and
have it in abundance (John 10:10) There are many ways deceit leads to destruction.
However, the most serious one is the deceit that leads one to hell. From the
beginning of time, Satan used deceit to deviate man from the truth to believe
lies he created, instead.
The Light has come into the world, and people have loved the
darkness rather than and more than the Light for their works were evil (John
We all have experienced some time in our life, one way or another, the effect of physical darkness. Voided of light, darkness grabs and handicaps us with fear, panic, and anxiety. We feel lost, not knowing where we are and how to get somewhere. People associate darkness with the presence of evil, as in Satan and his demons, rightly so. The feelings of fear, panic, anxiety attacks are feelings that express the presence of evil spirits in the environment. For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love and a sound mind (I John 4:18). Darkness is blindness. When we are used to the darkness, we find difficulty adjusting to the light. The eyes water and hurt to some extent until we become accustomed to the light. In other ways, light exposes evil deeds. It hides nothing that seems invisible.
The word crossroad, according to Webster dictionary, is at
the point where one must choose between different courses of action.
Sometimes crossroads are unexpected emergencies as
consequences of decisions of our own. Sometimes, they come to us for changes in
lifestyles, sometimes a warning not to proceed. In today’s study of the event
in the lives of Jewish and Roman nations, we will learn that, although a seemly
bad decision was made, it was in God’s plan and purpose for the salvation of
the nations. The Prophet Isaiah prophesized this many years previously: All we
like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way; and the
Lord has made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:
6). Rejected by His own people, YAHSHUA’S
salvation was extended to all nations. John said, He came for His own, and they
did not receive Him and did not welcome Him. But to as many as did receive and
welcome Him He gave the authority to become the children of God, that is, to
those who believe in His name (John 1:11-12).
When the Lord called Israel out of Egypt, He used Moses and Aaron his brother to lead the people to their Promised Land –Canaan. They were then a multitude of people that over the years grew from seventy when they first arrived in Egypt to over a million in the period of over 400 years. That happened according to the word of the Lord to Abraham when confirming His covenant: He said, know positively that your descendants will be strangers dwelling as temporary residents in a land that is not theirs, and they will be slaves there and will be afflicted and oppressed for 400 years… On the fourth generation, they shall come back here [to Canaan] again, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full and complete (Gen. 15:13, 16). In the span of time of 400 years Israel suffered as slaves in the land of Egypt, after Joseph had died and new Pharaohs came to power who did not know anything about him and his family. God heard their cry and used Moses to lead them back to Canaan, a journey that might have lasted only eleven days, took forty years.
When YAHSHUA arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the
half shekel [the temple tax] went up to Peter and said, Does not your Teacher
pay the half shekel? He answered, Yes. And when he came home, YAHSHUA spoke to
him first, saying, What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly rulers
collect duties or tribute from their own sons or from others, not of their own
family? And Peter said, From other people not of their own family. YAHSHUA said
to him, Then the sons are exempt. However, in order not to give offense and
cause them to stumble, go down to the sea and throw in a hook. Take the first
fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find there a shekel.
Take it to them to pay the temple tax for Me and for yourself.