Exodus 10 / Psalms 64-65 / Romans 15-16
Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
The whole purpose of God with this creation, to bring the chosen sons near to Him so that they can know Him and become One with Him, just as the Son has already been made One with the Father, a soothing savor to God. Just as the humans have things that need to be satisfied within them, so God too had a need to have His Son near Him. When the Son went to the Father, then the Father was complete and happy, so much so that He didn't need to interact with the humans very much if at all since the Son took over the work of the Father, to call and bring the secret sons home to Him to be one with them as they are One. That is what He wants to accomplish with this creation, to gather up His family of sons who are not the sons of humans but of God, so that its purpose and reason for existing can be fulfilled.
The Root of Jesse will spring up,
one who will arise to rule over the nations;
The things Paul said did not sound right to the Jews. They did not embrace what he said about the OT words. The Jews wanted to hang on to what they thought they could/had to control, thinking it was for God they were doing it, not realizing that it was just themselves who were doing it according to the dictates of the animal nature which needs/craves that control and power over everything that touches their lives. God doesn't play that game with the humans because He doesn't have to. He lets them go on thinking whatever they will, while He makes another plan and embarks on it right under the noses of those who think they can control what He does and will do. In the privateness of His unseen life He calls those whom He wants to hear and gives them special ears by which to hear, while the others remain only able to comprehend what is before them as a tangible part of this creation.
This is what the high and lofty One says—He who lives forever, whose name is holy:
The humans are always so sure and pompous about what they think they know about God, how He works and what He's going to do, just like the Jews were so sure that Jesus couldn't have been the promised One from the very words they presumed to own and control. The idea Paul was proposing, that God was extending salvation to the gentiles, and was proving it from the OT words, was just as ludicrous a thing for them to accept. The secret plan of God will not go as presumed by any of the humans who claim to know the way to Him, how He works and what He will do. He doesn't acknowledge human leaders, nor will He be or do what they expect/say He'll do because His plan is hidden, revealed only to those He chooses (not the leaders of men), and that only in part so that they will not try to do to Him what the humans can't help doing. No matter what their declared intentions are, they are always self-driven. It is in them to own and control, to take and possess for their own sake and gain because they're afraid of not having and coming up short; all the while hiding in the lie of pretending they're doing it for some other noble reason.
The same animal nature is what tells the sons that they must already so pleasing to God, just because they know they've been chosen, which will agree with their instinctive need to have that rightness of being special. Until they're more able to see what's true they have no idea how untrue that actually is because of the power of that old nature to keep them deceived and living in the lies that it constantly throws up, like they've already arrived when they haven't even started. The mercy and grace that they're given, especially in the beginning, helps them overcome what would be so totally devastating were they to be told the actual and entire truth all of a sudden. It's why they're allowed to be transformed slowly and gradually.
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.
The animal nature doesn't just fall off of us once we know we have been chosen to become sons. On the contrary, it is only the sons who will be chosen to know of its existence within them, what totally controls them without question. The freedom from that control happens over time, and is helped along by the obedience they choose to exercise toward another master beyond whatever the animal throws up within them to obey. The mind plays games because it is the thing that is ruled by the serpent, so it gets us to believe its lies quite easily, which is the whole crux of the dilemma—we can't just step away from it and look at it objectively, but we ourselves are what is keeping us (the same selves that we are) from doing that, so it is quite impossible to move out of that circle. That is the perfection of God in how it is all set up, so that nobody can just see, turn, be healed and come to Him. Only by the impossible can one move out of that circle and view from an external perspective, one that the Father has.
Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.
The sons must come away from it, which is why they're being told about it, so they can. The process of doing that involves coming away from whatever reinforces that old way, and being around the influences that support the new way. Unfortunately, as of this writing, it seems that there are none of those new ways even available amongst the humans. So we'll just have to keep waiting and choosing, hoping that there will some day be an opportunity for that to happen when those who want to find their way to the Father will be able to live amongst each other in peace with a unified mind and purpose, without that force of chaos ripping them apart every other time they interact with each other.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
How much discipline is required to change an animal into a son. It cannot even be fathomed by the mind that controls us, because it constantly refuses to see just how enormous a problem and obstacle that is. We think it's going to be easy, and we think we can make it easy by just pretending. But even that itself is us holding on to what we so love and don't want to let go of, our need to control our way and not have to let go of how we think we need to make the journey. Just when we think we have it figured out a little bit then we have to learn that we can't figure it out, because when we think we can start to figure it out then we instinctively start to try to control it for our own good and gain, because that tendency is built right into our nature to always do for ourselves. It's a constant struggle within our own mind for the control over our own selves and will, trying to bring in into the agreement with the Father's will for all of His sons—that they be not animals driven by instinct like all the rest of the humans.
When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
When Paul exasperatedly declared his wretchedness he was serious. He wasn't just theorizing, saying by mouth babble when he didn't believe it that he was wretched, but thinking that it was all fine and okay because he knew he was chosen and could count on the Lord to deliver him no matter what he chose to do with his power to choose the right and reject the wrong. That is the son's power, which doesn't seem like a power. It seems like an unappealing sort of helplessness, and to our animal selves it is just that because we can't own the process and so direct it the way we want it to go, but must conform to another way, long after we have learned to take our own way into our selves and be able to count on that way and love that way, because it's our own and we made it, we know how to soothe our selves by it. Giving up that way is the last thing we would ever want to do, which is why it staying some theoretical process that we keep far from ourselves by indulging in all kind of this and that, thinking by it we can somehow skirt around having to face giving up what we love so much, just doesn't work and isn't acceptable.
Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
There is no power that can rescue the son from the animal's hold on him, except that which comes from the Father, but it's not just an automatic thing either. The belief in what's already happened will have to be actualized by the son—not in the conceptual reality of thinking it but not believing it since what we want to believe is the things we can control by the power of our own hand. That's a hard, pretty much impossible thing to let go of, and we can only let go of it when we're allowed to let go of it—the same as we were only able to see the animal nature for what it was when that ability came to us and not by figuring it out or moving to some other level.
The tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
We always have to be rescued and know that we need to be rescued, and keep counting on continuing to be rescued by the power that comes from the Father. When we see how He rescues us then we acknowledge and move along on the path, like a plant or animal grows up before God. It has to be totally supernatural from the beginning to the end, because that's who God is, so the power to rescue us from our dilemma has to be unseen and unknown amongst the humans. Otherwise we may just as well join the liars and believe their lies, that they can show us the way to the Father. But how many years did we try to allow them to do that according to their claims, and that got us not very far because they don't know the way. They can only pretend to claim what isn't theirs to claim—that they can decide who is right according to God, when only He can and should be able to. They rely on the consensus of their own agreement to validate their lies as truth to one another, as if that makes any difference to God. If the humans are not sons chosen by God, then they'll just continue to do what the religious leaders tell the people they can do—get to God by their prescribed means, from the outside, by things they've made up. Because they don't know the secret, they don't know the way to Him. That knowledge comes only from the teacher's voice, who is not natural.
And the LORD said to Moses, "Come into Pharaoh, for I myself have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants so that I may set these signs of mine in his midst, and so that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son's son how I toyed with Egypt, and my signs that I set upon them and you shall know that I am the LORD."
The enemy is identified in Pharaoh and Egypt as a metaphor and copy for us to see, however true for the Israelites. It's obvious from the text that God manipulated Pharaoh for His own purpose—so that they and the future generations would remember God's ability, greatness, and affinity toward them particularly. He is about to do one of the most significant things, what will play a role for the education of His sons.
The passover is something that will become so intertwined with their national identity and then integral to the true identity of the Messiah—however only Messiah actually recognized that he was the passover Lamb because God's true purpose in all of it is hidden, and only uncovered according to His wishes. Then it would morph into another type of the way for his followers to remember him and what he did for them. In the same manner as what the Father did for the Israelites in pulling them out of Egypt (the copy), now the Son would be pulling his followers out of the real Egypt, the actual oppressor only symbolized by the copy. What it took to do that—his body and blood given for their sake, on their behalf, to save them and pull them out of the domination of this actual oppressor—would become the symbols of the new passover and covenant.
Hear me, O God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy.
Although the Israelites actually knew their oppressive enemy in real terms as they went out each day to slave for them, and as David knew his enemies crowding around him trying to kill him, nevertheless they are still only a copy for us to read and contemplate, hopefully to consider for our lives now. It's important to know who our enemy is, otherwise we will be flailing in the dark, trying to hit what is not there. But it's also impossible to know unless that information has been given. It doesn't all happen at once and the same time for all the sons, which is why the family is important. The idea of the Israelites loving their brother as they themselves would want to be loved is the copy for the sons to know about. Some will know more than others, which is normal, so the act of thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought, or else judging our brother—both from this section in the Romans letter—is bad for those who want to please God. He wants children who aren't like animals toward one another, why the sons have to come away from the old nature because under it that's all they can ever be. Animals could never take care of their brother because they're too busy looking after their own interests, a situation they cannot even help while being ruled by it.
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
There is a reason why can't we do this, why we can't lay down our lives for our brother, why we can't love each other. We should be able to recognize that we are invariably and constantly drawn to pleasing ourselves (the evil thing, man's way), meaning we cannot do the other, the good thing that Paul is encouraging here, which is the way of God. If we can't see it then we are either too young or we haven't been born of God and don't have the spirit to teach us the way of God versus the way of man, which this fundamentally speaks to. That is, pleasing ourselves. It is hard to understand just how programmed by the animal nature we are, and how it takes a constant steady stream of teaching, via the spirit, to undo what we learned from our many years being taught and programmed by the world as to the way of man.
In a way this is the most important part of the Romans book because it's a summary of everything Paul has said so far, which is a lot. He is summing up the overall guiding nature of what the one born of God should be as compared with this other nature that he introduces earlier in the book. Although he doesn't use the term "animal nature" (he says "sinful nature" instead), we understand that it is what he means to say as he describes this thing that seems to always be with him, wanting and urging him to please himself, what he doesn't want to do but can't help himself.
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
The fact that he has to remind his brothers to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please themselves means that it is something they needed to be encouraged to do, which means that it doesn't come naturally, which means it's hard because it is something that is against what the sons naturally are, as humans (from that stock anyway). It is the Lord's work to undo all of the former programming—that is, to always please ourselves—and replace it with the new way, the way of the good son, what only he knows.
To "bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves" can only come from this new programming that the Lord does to our hearts as we allow him to dwell within us for the purpose of changing us into what he wants us to be. There is no way to move out from under its power without his mighty hand, as much as the Israelites could have moved themselves out of Egypt without God deliberate working for its fulfillment for them.
The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.
Our work is to believe. Putting ourselves in positions where we are safe to be able to continue to believe, is part of believing, because in order to even do that you have to believe it's worth it. The last thing the animal would ever do is give up something it loves and counts on, unless it was getting something in return. What we believe we're getting is the approval of the Father, the ability to find Him who cannot be found.
Believing that the situations that happen to us now are set up for our own good and trying to see whatever the Lord is trying to teach us will seem like something impossible to our earthly sensibilities. We naturally don't want to believe that the Lord is that concerned about our individual everyday lives. We naturally don't want to believe that he is capable or desires to see us and teach us every day that we are alive. We naturally don't want to believe that the things happening to us are not just random occurrences, because that's how it was before and we have a hard time believing that it's different now, even though we know that before we weren't, but now we are, born of God.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
The earthly mind wants to think that because something substantial has happened, then we have arrived in a sense and things should be substantially different, in the same vein that people read about the spirit and think it's got to be some big outward display and magic show. We are still the same person practically speaking with regards to the animal nature (it doesn't just get zapped out of us instantly). What is different is that now we have the capacity to know the new, different way, which gives us the ability to move out of the domination of darkness and into the light.
That doesn't mean it's automatically done for us. The Lord will engineer adversarial circumstances for the purpose of teaching us to rely on him for our deliverance from our adversary (our own self). Our work is believing enough to look for the new way and desiring to be a good son for our new Father. The work of the animal, what we used to live for, is always trying to figure out how to build things up around itself in order to ward off death.
"Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
Our life after being born of God is about learning the new way. It could take all our mortal life to do this. Keep your eyes open because everything that happens will be engineered by the Lord for our benefit to teach us the new way of God vs. the animal. All things work together for us now, which is more than just a sentimental, conceptual notion, as it is in those who think they are chosen but aren't.
If it seems like the peace that the Lord brings to us inside us has been broken somehow, the chances are good that it has, and he is trying to teach us something. If we try on our own to figure it out we may go mad, but if we ask with the motivation of a good son wanting to be remolded into the image of the only good Son, then he will tell us, whenever he is ready to.
On this journey we will invariably be trying to assert our own will all the time. It is how we learned to be, remember, and the animal isn't dead but by small increments. The dragon is not slain one time then the village lives from that point on in peace and solitude. The dragon is put down, then put down again, then again and again. It keeps rearing its ugly head to try to take over, and we have to learn to deny it access. Incrementally we will know more, and incrementally will learn to rely less on our own ability. Incrementally we will desire less and less to please our selves, as we learn that that doesn't please the Lord. It is the opposite of the servant, the identity he took upon himself instead of king.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The identification of our enemy is done by the spirit within us, using the scripture and accounts of the life and words of the Lord to teach and guide us regarding this. It cannot be done by our own mind, because it is controlled by the animal nature. Only the mind of the Christ, actually living in us, can accomplish this.
"For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?"
But we have the mind of Christ.