Tuesday, April 19, 2016

On Leaving The Negative Past As You Enter A Positive Future

Even Jews see a spark of light in the Old Testament which is a flame in the New Testament. Many Jews who are still in darkness see that spark of light in their Old Testament which records a Creator and a chosen people and foretells them of a coming Messiah (Christ). Nature and creation itself is another spark of light which illuminates the doubtful mind to the reality of God and His anointed one, Jesus Christ. Your faith is not in vain if that spark guides you to Jesus who said, "...I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." Jn.8:12. 

If your self-will is to turn away from that spark of light and go back to darkness, down the old road, the "broad way" of old habits, old ways, then go back, for that is where your heart is and you will never be satisfied with the new way, which is a narrow way, the way of the cross, the Jesus way. But if you will go forward, up the new way of life which is narrow but light, the Jesus way, then don't even look back, as Lot's wife did at Sodom. For you would never again be satisfied with your old loves, old habits and that old way of thinking, speaking acting and being. Choose ye this day... which way. 

Even non-Christian Jews who believe in Jehovah God and the Old Testament, which tells of a coming Messiah, have more light than unrepentant souls who have no light at all and have rejected the God of the Bible ... both Old and New Testaments. Though they may worship some false god or embrace some form of religion, the "light" they claim as truth ... is darkness. Jesus said "... If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" Matt.6:23. Yes, unsaved Jews who believe in the Old Testament, but not in Jesus as their Messiah, are also in darkness. But their belief in Jehovah God and His Old Testament are a spark of light which soon, in the coming Tribulation, will turn them to see Christ as their prophesied Messiah and their faith will be complete. That time shall one day arrive as prophesied here ....

Zechariah 12:10   And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him (Jesus), as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. RB

Here is an example, of that spark of light, Jews vaguely see, "through a glass darkly", in the Old Testament.

This Way Or That

From American Alliance Of Jews And Christians
By Rabbi Daniel Lapin

And the Lord said to Abram, "Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you.  
(Genesis 12:1)

Ancient Jewish wisdom points out that the logical order seems reversed.  Ordinarily, people on a long trip walk out of their front door, leaving their homes.  Then they leave the city, and finally they leave their country.  In this case however, the Torah is emphasizing how Abraham utterly separated himself from all the influences of his previous life. First he abandoned the values of his land.  This was hard enough but it was still easier than leaving the cultural identification of his birthplace.  The hardest challenge still lay ahead.  Now he had to leave the traditions of his father's house. In order to make the most of the grand adventure which lay ahead, he had to turn himself into a blank slate, open to all that the Lord would reveal.  To do this, he rid himself of all prior negative influences on his life.

And Abram went, as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him, and Abram was seventy five years old when he left Haran. 
(Genesis 12:4)

To his credit, Lot, Abraham's nephew, accompanied his uncle.  With one big difference.  Lot did not undergo the cleansing process of eliminating all earlier marks on his soul.

When the time came for Lot and Abraham to part ways, Abraham remained true to his course and continued walking before God.  Lot, however, found himself seduced by the sordid city of Sodom.

Here are another two people related to one another who must part:

And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go, return each woman to her mother's house...And they raised their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth cleaved to her...And she said, "Lo, your sister-in-law has returned to her people and to her gods; return after your sister- in-law"...And Ruth said, "Do not entreat me to leave you, to return from following you, for wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your God my God.  
(Ruth 1:8-16)

In the same way we asked what difference between Abraham and Lot made the former cling to God while Sodom seduced the latter, we now ask what distinguished Ruth from Orpah? Orpah left her mother-in-law and became the grandmother of Goliath.  Ruth clung to Naomi and became the grandmother of King David.

Ancient Jewish wisdom points out that when the two girls married her sons, Ruth totally abandoned her idolatrous upbringing while Orpah was more ambivalent.  How do we know this?  

Naomi's words reveal the truth.  She didn't merely say to Ruth, "your sister-in-law has returned to her people."  She revealingly added "...and to her gods."  That's right, Orpah never abandoned her idols when she began her new life as a wife. Ruth did.

Before embarking on his new life, Abraham left all the negative traits of his life till that point.  Before embarking on her new life, Ruth abandoned her idolatrous past.  Abraham and Ruth succeeded spectacularly in their new lives, while Lot and Orpah failed.  We are being taught an important lesson.  

Whenever embarking on an odyssey with the potential of serious life transformation, first rid yourself of old destructive habits.  King David put it quite succinctly:

Shun evil and do good...
(Psalms 34:15)  

My Comment:
Shunning evil and doing good is commendable, but where is Jesus, Messiah (Christ) in all of this? He is there, in all of these Old Testament verses, visiting Lot at his home in wicked Sodom. Also descending from Ruth and Boaz the great great grandparents of Jesus' mother, Mary. Jews see the spark but not quite the light. Those who do are called "Completed Jews" or Christians. RB