February 14th.

Exodus 24-25 / Psalm 78 / Mark 10

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Jesus looked at him and loved him.

What is love?

"One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

The act of Jesus loving the man was not to be all sugary and sweet; and it wasn't to give the man the agreement that he sought and expected to get from Jesus. It's something he always got from everyone because of his high position among the humans since he was wealthy, which is the false love of the respecters of men according to things that don't really matter. This looks like giving more attentive kudos to one because they are such and such, or they have this or that, or have accomplished a certain level of prominence.

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone.

Love is not what was easy or expected because it gave no agreement like the man was used to. Love was what was hardest to hear, because it meant having to let go of all the things the man learned to count on and find his agreement within as he went about cementing the path of his life all together so it seemed smooth. Love according to the Father was telling him the straight truth about how to find and know the Father, the answer to his question about how to inherit eternal life.

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

According to the man who was ruled by the animal nature, how Jesus was answering him didn't feel like love, but rather the last thing he wanted to hear, the hardest thing for him to imagine doing. The man wanted to hear something that agreed with what *he* decided he could be willing to do, what wouldn't upset or make him part with what he loved in the deepest places of his heart. His entire existence was wrapped up in his wealth; he was no doubt born into it so the thought of parting with it was the scariest thing he could ever think of. That covering of wealth was how he learned to appease his animal fear; it became him, so living without it was an impossible thought.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"

He couldn't inherit eternal life as he was, because what he loved meant too much to him to part with, which could have been him saying to he Father in the strongest of terms that he loved Him. Jesus told him the truth about what he asked, but that was an impossible thing for the man to do because he loved what doesn't matter according to God.

What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight.

It does mean a lot to the animal though because it's such a fluid way to feel safe, which is why Jesus made such a statement about rich people and their entering into the kingdom of God. That entrance means abandoning everything that gives agreement to the animal, making us feel safe and secure—especially all the deep-seated loves that we keep hidden deep in our heart, what gives us our identity as the animal we are, what we have learned to count on so heavily in our mode of survival as we observed, adjusted and learned how to take care of our selves.

"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first."

This is what came out of the mouth of Jesus about true love, not according to the animal but according to the Father, the only living God. He loves it when His sons deny what they naturally love in order to get agreement from Him, which is hidden and only they know about it after it has been secretly revealed. It is not reinforced in the world of humans, especially those who claim to know the way to the Father. When the sons do what is the hardest thing, responding positively to the voice that is revealing the Father, which will go against the animal agreement they have built and are trying to preserve within themselves and their view of the world; it is pleasing to Him. He knows the reality that they will be fine without what they think they can't live without, but they don't. They have to believe that they will be okay, and that He cares enough about them to take care of them. It takes a long while to get a wild animal to trust the Father, as can be seen within the example of the wild vs. tame animals in the world.

They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved.

There may not be an instant reward, but there will be a reward which validates the choice for the right over the wrong, which usually involves denying the instinct, craving, lust, or appetite that wells up within the animal that wants, needs, craves and outright demands to be satisfied.

They ate till they had more than enough, for he had given them what they craved.
But before they turned from the food they craved, even while it was still in their mouths,
God's anger rose against them; he put to death the sturdiest among them, cutting down the young men of Israel.

To give in to the natural instinct is to effectively declare that we still love and trust the animal and what it seems to be able to give because that makes us comfortable. It also says that we don't yet trust the Father, who wants us to be driven by what He has to give us instead of what the animal gives us, which is the same thing that drove the firstborn Son of God—what allowed him to love something other than his own singular life and destiny, which is the curse of the animal, the reason it cannot be a son to God, because it cannot ever love His purpose, it cannot ever agree with Him about what it seeks and wants. The Son agreed with the Father.

Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Do not put the Lord your God to the test.
Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.

The only instant reward may be the regret of doing what we just did to deny what we really wanted, which is why our continued belief in what we know in our heart is true makes the Father happy. That is what doesn't get validated by the humans, only perhaps the other sons who are also choosing the hard way of following the voice of the same teacher who is living inside them, showing them the hard way, as he tried to show the rich man the hard way of the son of God—learning to love, by pain and suffering of heart, something other than himself.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

It is such a difficult thing to turn away from and deny what we love so much deep inside of us, which is why the encouragement of seeing, knowing, and generally understanding that another one of the humans is in our own camp is important. We are like the Israelites, who felt like sitting ducks going into the land filled with fortified encampments of people ready to defend themselves. We have to count on the Father first to deliver us, but also on each other because we can find that camaraderie with them—we are on the same side. To find an agreement with the Father goes against everything naturally inside of us and all the animals around us who are all seeking their own agreement all the time, which is all they can reinforce in us.

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

The animal instinctive nature in the humans allows them to exist as an integral part of the natural creation. It is good for them, not an enemy at all but something they are designed to fully embrace. For the sons of God the animal instinct is not good. It is a force that will cause them to rip each other to pieces because once they are born, their development is based on them seeing that nature, so they can start to identify it as the enemy. All of a sudden it will be very apparent to them how much it lives inside of them, which is part of the process of beginning to be transformed. It's something we can see about the Corinthian church, and what Paul was addressing.

And Moses wrote down all the LORD's words, and he rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.

And he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people, and they said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do and we will heed."

The twelve tribes of Israel represents the family of God, which was what Moses' life became all about. He gave up everything for the purpose of God, which became his own purpose while everything else became nothing to him.

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

The love for God and his purpose became everything for Moses. His purpose was His people, whom He made such an attempt to save and make into His own. Moses became so in love with God and His purpose that even when God wanted to wipe them out and start over with Moses, he talked Him out of it. That was true love.

But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the LORD appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites. The LORD said to Moses, "How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they."

Moses said to the LORD, "Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them. And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, O LORD, are with these people and that you, O LORD, have been seen face to face, that your cloud stays over them, and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. If you put these people to death all at one time, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, `The LORD was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath; so he slaughtered them in the desert.'

"Now may the Lord's strength be displayed, just as you have declared: `The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.' In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now."

The LORD replied, "I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth, not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times—not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it."

Moses loved God's purpose for his life and self, which was being a shepherd of His people even if they were only the copy of the better thing, which he wouldn't have been aware of at the time, and it didn't matter anyway then because the Son was still only a hope in God's mind at that time. Moses' love for God did not appear instantly though. He spent forty years learning the new way of how to choose the right and reject the wrong.

And they shall make Me a Tabernacle, that I may abide in their midst. As all that I show you, the form of the Tabernacle and the form of all its furnishings, thus shall you make it. And see, and make it by their pattern which you are shown on the mountain.

This is love, that God would desire to live amongst His people, close to them, right in the middle of where they were so that He could give them a feeling of safety, that He didn't go away even though He is unseen by the humans. He wanted them to know that Him whom they couldn't see was actually their only protection against the human enemies that would surround them, and He wanted them to believe that.

They (human high priests) serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.

The important thing for us to understand is that He gave them many miraculous signs that He was able and willing to do that, which we have also been provided with (and continue to be given, so we can continue to believe). The preserved words are for our benefit, another of what the voice of the Teacher uses to teach us about things that are impossible to grasp because their truth exists in another reality that is infinitely higher than what we can grasp. We have been shown many incredible, supernatural things, and we can continue to believe (faith) based upon remembering them.

The LORD decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.

Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

They would not be like their forefathers—a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.

The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle; they did not keep God's covenant and refused to live by his law. They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them.

He did miracles in the sight of their fathers in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan. But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the desert against the Most High. They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved.

When the LORD heard them, he was very angry; his fire broke out against Jacob, and his wrath rose against Israel, for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance.

It is easy to forget what has been done for us so that we can actually believe in what we cannot see like a guarantee, although the nature that presses in on us wants us to do that opposite. These stories and poems are preserved for our sake as reminders of what happens. They are are the copies which serve as warnings. Jesus understood them to be copies and warnings, which is why even though the thought of doing God's will was crushing him, he didn't shrink back and cave in to what was pressing in on him, trying to lead him away from that obedience to God's will being done by him; which turned out to be everything, the reason God has a family—because Jesus didn't shrink back and cave in.

We have that same terrible road ahead of us, what the animal still loathes to even think of because we have to plod along without the things it craves. And it howls at us like a hungry wolf to satisfy it, and we can do it by our own hand if we choose to or we can do what the Son did. Of course we can't do that when we're so young and pitifully weak against its power to overwhelm us. But the idea of growing up is to learn how to do that, by the many things we have to suffer now, while still in these bodies that are vulnerable to the animal's inhabitation.

Our mind wants to keep assuring us that it doesn't have to be that bad, because we're being manipulated by it to continue to be ruled by appeasing those cravings within us. It may be easier for us if we were to just resign ourselves to the fact that it is going to be a certain way, because then we might be able to start replacing that desire to fulfill our cravings with a hope that we will be helped, just to say no, and comforted by him who comforts. He knows everything we are going through because he went through it first to make a path through the wild place to the Father.

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."

The temptation account and the rebuking of Peter and calling him satan reveals the enemy. The garden incident is everything because it shows how vulnerable Jesus was and how difficult choosing the right way was. It is important because those are the things that are real for us as we try to make our way to the Father, as we try to follow the Son who did the Father's will and was pleasing to Him.

Before the Father revealed Himself to us, the only way we could ever think about the words were metaphorically, as everything about God was all just a big metaphor because it was such a far away thing for us. But we've already been shown that everything we observe about the creation and the creatures in it, especially what's inside us that we know to be true is integral to the truth we're being shown e.g., the fear, the games, the tendencies of the old nature and what it makes us want to do. We know where it came from and why it's there, and we know that it is what Jesus fought against. That's important because what it always wants to do is hide and pretend that's not true, that it doesn't act like that, which is explained by the first thing the humans did once they became dead (felt ashamed and afraid so they hid from God).

They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.
But then they would flatter him with their mouths, lying to him with their tongues;
their hearts were not loyal to him, they were not faithful to his covenant.

The strength of Jesus was in his loyalty to the Father and His purpose and desire, which is contrary to that which is native in us. We need to remember that that's why the Father loved Jesus, so we can be clear and not continually led astray by it, as they were in the desert so many times. That is the overall message of this back and forth account between God's people and Himself, what He wanted from them versus the power that was always there to lead them astray. Today's Poem is a nice tight record of it. If we think of it as merely an historical account—something that other people did—then the meaning that is intended for us will be gone. It is for a purpose, to be a copy of the better thing, that which will last.

It was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices (the copy), but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

The writer of the Hebrews letter started developing that reality in terms of what he knew to be copies. That may have been more difficult for them though, because they were so close to it—their whole identity was wrapped up in the Law and Prophets, so it would have been hard to see them as only a copy of the better thing, what matters.

But they put God to the test and rebelled against the Most High; they did not keep his statutes.
Like their fathers they were disloyal and faithless, as unreliable as a faulty bow.

Being loyal and faithful to the Father's purpose is the best thing we can do. That is hard because the animal is so strong and efficient to press in on us and make us follow it, leading us to satisfy our own cravings at the expense of the family—the opposite of what Jesus did which made him pleasing to the Father.

He built his sanctuary (temple) like the heights, like the earth that he established forever. He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance.

And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.

Jesus was the place, the temple and sanctuary where God wanted most to live, because it was as close as He could be to His own Son. Imagine a house filled with sons who all loved His purpose of having a family more than they loved their own lives.

Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days (the temple he had spoken of was his body).

 

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