April 14th.

Numbers 33 / Proverbs 24 / John 6

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And you shall dispossess all the inhabitants of the land before you, and you shall destroy all their carved figures and all their molten images you shall destroy, and all their cult-places you shall demolish. And you shall take possession of the land and dwell in it, for to you I have given the land to take hold of it.

And if you do not dispossess the inhabitants of the land from before you, it will come about that those of them you leave will become stings in your eyes and thorns in your sides. And they will be foes to you on the land in which you dwell. And it will come about that as I had thought to do to them, I shall do to you.

To be and remain separated to the Father for His purpose takes much suffering to learn how to abandon the old way and want to live by the new, which we aren't familiar with so we don't like as much. We're familiar with the old way that makes sense to us, so the denying of that way in order to embrace the new doesn't just happen. Going against our own will and purpose, to do what we want when we want to, is not an easy thing to turn our backs on. The animal impulse is like a virus that spreads quickly and infests when it gains a foothold, then turns that into a stronghold that opposes the way of the Father inside us. The idea as presented by these words given to Moses, preserved for the sons' sake, is that the land they were on the verge of entering into represents the relationship the Father has with His family of sons, individually and together, now and forever. The land is the place where He wants to exist with His sons, unencumbered by the disease of the curse of the animal with all its chaos, which will be the manifestation of the actual kingdom of God, what all of the metaphors were pointing at. Just like the Israelites, we were at one time before the calling, totally enslaved to this natural reality with no hope or even knowledge about becoming free from our bondage to it. We may have had episodes of wanting to be free, but the way had not been presented to us so all we had was what was in our hand by the power we had to get whatever it was we wanted to get for ourselves. Yet even if that was something good, like wanting to find the Father's truth, we couldn't get it because it was out of our reach until the Father's reality was revealed to us.

At a certain appointed time not of our choosing but when the time had come, we were given the opportunity to be led out of that place by a period of intense miraculous disclosures that we had never known before, nor thought were possible. That was the beginning of the calling out from the land of slavery that the humans rule over because it's their only domain. They do not cross over or even become aware that the Father's reality exists as it does. The best they can do (which isn't anything because it's the same as they've always done, is to make up whatever gods they will then command to give themselves an eternal state of surviving, which is just as stated—made up. Any of those who have ever heard the voice of the Father calling them out from the land of slavery have heard it only because it was initiated by the Father according to His choice and intention that they hear, only because they're given a special ability to hear what the humans cannot.

As I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

Trying to find the Father with a pure and honest heart is what the Father is looking for. All too often though the humans assume they can just find what they're looking for by the power of their agreement of consensus to say they can, hiding behind the claims of whatever bogus system they've joined up with that says it can lead them to the Father. The Jews thought they were special because of Abraham, Moses and all of the prophets whom they wanted to identify with on a far removed level of grandiose sentimentality, yet not on the actual terms of what the prophets said, which was always against what they wanted to hear. The animals didn't ever embrace the prophets but they did push them away from their midst because they made them feel bad, upsetting the balance of agreement they needed to have with themselves as the good people chosen by God, those who were privileged just because of their supposed name.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate.

If the Father reveals His reality to any or one of the humans, then it comes by the Father's choice, not by the man's will, thinking he deserves it since he's inherently so good. The humans always think about themselves according to the nature that is in them, which ironically is what makes them bad, evil and why they must be separated from Him—why Paul says that all the humans fall short of the glory of the living God, because of the nature that drives them by instinct to be exactly opposite to what God wants to see in His own children. Not willful, stiff-necked, privileged little creatures but soft-hearted obedient children who love their Father and are eager to do His will so that they can be pleasing to Him. Yet that is the definition of the human animal who is ignorant of God and His requirement, commandment, desire if you will that His own sons come to Him clean—not infested by the nature that makes him want to do his own will and accomplish his own purpose, just because that's all he knows, being an animal fully engulfed by that nature that makes him so. It really is a black and white, cut and dry type of deal about the Father's revealing—either it is or it isn't and if it's not then there is no powering one's way to the Father. That type of idea was born by the christians who don't know the way to God, so they can only claim to know the way and must convince others to believe their claim which makes it real for them and gives them that agreement of consensus that they're not alone in their mistaken claim so it must not be mistaken because all these others are validating their lie as though it were truth. As it was then, so it is now.

"Stop grumbling among yourselves," Jesus answered. "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me."

It has been a few years since that period of being called began, and where have all these things been leading us? Not to where we misguidedly assumed in the beginning or where anyone ever told us we'd go—because none of the humans knows about that secret place where the Father is, hidden and separated from the apparent creation. We have been slowly going toward a place where we haven't been before, that has been prepared for those who've been called to be transformed from their lowly state of common animal to something better. The the humans it will seem that they are being transformed from something good (like them) to something bad because it's foreign to them and they can't comprehend the draw. That's how it is with the Father and the humans—whatever seems good is bad, and what seems bad is good. Whoever seems last is actually first, and who seems first to the humans is last to God.

O profane and wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose time of punishment has reached its climax, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Take off the turban, remove the crown. It will not be as it was: The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low. A ruin! A ruin! I will make it a ruin! It will not be restored until he comes to whom it rightfully belongs; to him I will give it.

I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

The restoration of the land to its intended peaceful condition is the place where we can grow up and know our real Father, because He has chosen to give us this new life and bring us up in the knowledge of Him and His way instead of the way we were trained up in, totally unfamiliar with His way. That is the only way to be able to remain in the place where He wants us to be, and if we don't do everything according to that way, and not according to the old way, we cannot remain there because the animal is about chaos and the Father is about peace. It is a place of safety and security where we learn new methods of establishing and assigning value. Our fears start to become displaced by a knowing that is deeper than on the level of our old way of understanding. The out of control, impetuous, never ending cravings for appetite and egotistical indulgence are dissolved so that there could exist within us instead a desire to be near to and at peace with the Father and the Son. The competitive need to get more, be better and stronger so that we can survive better than the other (perfectly natural for wild animals all competing for the same thing); becomes a way we don't need to be any longer because we know that we don't have to do it ourselves like before, by our own power, according to how well we can scheme, plan and manipulate the resources so we always win.

The animal still living in us an the others around us won't find this scenario at all appealing because it only wants what it learned to lust and crave for as per the old way, what we were told was valuable and which fed that animal appetite within us that ruled us and gave us our identity as just another one of the creatures that are ruled by it. The inhabitants of the land in the preserved words represent the ways of the animal that we learned before, arising from the selfishness of needing to get what we crave for our appetite and egotistical indulgences and what can appease the many fears that live in us which cause us to try to hide all the time. The things inside us by which we used to live and gain satisfaction for ourselves by our own hand with our own power are fine for the animals who live and move in their little bubbles of their existences until the are no more. They worked for us in the world because we were one of them, which is why we learned to employ them, honing their effectiveness sharper and sharper to achieve the results we learned to perfect as per our ability and opportunity.

These are the things we will also use to tear each other down in order to attempt to get what we want from the others for ourselves, at the expense of peace within the family of son to son, and Son to Father—if we continue to live in them and let them rule us. They will be what also prevents us from being in a place of peace with the Father and the Son. Allowing these things to live inside us means that when we reach any kind of disposition meltdown and fear breakout point they will come out, despite our calmness and deceptive sentimentality, duped into thinking that they were gone, or didn't account for much that would present any actual problem. They represent just one type of many of the the inhabitants of the land that the Israelites let live despite God's warnings about how they would spoil what He wanted to develop in them and with them.

Being delivered into the land was only another part of the journey, only the beginning of God's involvement with the Israelites. Before He came, they were left to develop pretty much on their own, apart from Him and His direction. After He came to them, He set them free with a demonstration of His supernatural power, then He gave them rules so that they could be redirected from what they were before into what He wanted/required them to be, in order to be His people. The rules (Law of Moses) were for their own good, not something to be resented or despised, because they didn't know what God knew, all they knew was what was in them because of what they learned before. When they got to the land and settled there, then the actual relationship would have continued to develop between God and His chosen people. That was the purpose for Him pulling them out of the slavery condition they lived under. The wiping out of every trace of the inhabitants of the land, which represents all of the many various complexities of the way that the animal nature works in us—the way that can lead us away from the purpose of the Father—was necessary for its continuance and furtherance. The accounts of the Israelites are warnings for us, who are being delivered to the real land where we will live together, as brothers, with our real Father.

I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.

The way of the animal is so intertwined within us because it is us—our own nature that rules and controls us—that it's impossible to detect as something that's wrong or lacking. It isn't something that some fallen angel is trying to taint us with, coming from the outside, something we can just turn away from and deny. It is us, which is why it's so brilliantly impossible to detect. Only with the special understanding, the eyes that can see and ears that can hear what the others cannot, what we get from the Word who must be alive within us, can we be made aware of its substance and presence. Its destructiveness is also shown to us via the same word, if we're listening.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Getting and keeping what we think we need for ourselves is another of the many ways the animal operates, contrary to the new way of letting go of the things we thought before were so dear and valuable, what we needed to at all cost hang on to and protect. When we are under its control we are blind, so as to not even be able to see it controlling us. Instead everything will be the other one's fault, anything to avoid the inevitable truth that it doesn't want to have to face, and that virus will grow in us as long as we let it as the peace of God is blown out by the chaos of the animal trying to survive and get for itself, to satisfy itself by the one who allows it to live within our borders.

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

Wisdom and understanding are how the writer continually refers to the voice of the living word, opposite the old way of the animal. The way of the animal is the writer's fool, because the tolerance and embracing of it is so tempting, but it keeps us from what we desire and need—a foolish endeavor indeed, but hard not to engage in. We know there is satisfaction there for us, because we remember and are drawn back by thinking we can find our satisfaction there.

It is like the Israelites thinking that the inhabitants of the land reminded them of the good days of living in Egypt, and by them they could have some satisfaction that was being deprived of them by God. Those who tested Him did die in the desert, but the sentiment was passed on from father to son, something we see later in their disobeying the command of God to completely wipe out the land's inhabitants, and the consequences because of not doing it. We too keep looking fondly back on the ways of the animal that used to rule and guide us, satisfy and fulfill our cravings and appease our many fears. When we participate in it instead of denying it the ability to rule us, we are allowing it to gain a foothold, and not just in our life; the entire family is affected by our deliberate mistake of embracing the animal for our own gain.

Wisdom is too high for a fool; in the assembly at the gate he has nothing to say.
If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!

Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?

We can't do the one who is weak any favors by participating in the same sin, nor are we doing good by allowing it to rule us too. We can only expose the lie they are believing. We cannot forget that the way of the serpent is deception, and it will try to draw us in to the same pit the fool is stuck in. We have to listen to the teacher first and stay close to the life that gives us our peace, and not be swayed by animal emotions and sentimentality, trying to make us obey its voice instead of the Lord's. That is the same thing as not killing a defenseless Canaanite because we took pity on them, or because they were weak. We don't see a Canaanite as a huge potential threat to staying close to the Father, as He sees and understands it. The command was to utterly wipe them out or they would become a thorn to them, despite any other thing they may have thought. There were plenty of Canaanites who appeared to be defenseless and little harm, actually useful. But that is the thinking of the human, going against what God had commanded them. What seemed harmless would, without fail, become harmful by another way they couldn't even see at the time of conquest.

This will bring many accusations of our being counterfeit and unresponsive to what we ironically are attempting to be responsive to, masquerading as the voice of the Lord. However it's a sheep in the wolf's clothes, trying to bait us to come over to it, closer to its way, more susceptible to falling in ourselves. Then the condition would be much worse than before, with both in the pit flailing. Remember, our steadfastness to what we know is right will bring many accusations of wrong, because the devil is the accuser, accusing us of not actually knowing what we believe we know, which is already stretched thin in us. This is the way that the Lord builds our faith, teaching us to believe and hold fast to what we think we've heard, and not to bend toward the voice of the enemy which makes the wrong way very enticing.

I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment;
thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds,
and the stone wall was in ruins.

I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw:
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest--
and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.

These words aren't about the actual subjects like the sluggard, vineyard, thorns and weeds; or physical laziness, sleep, rest, poverty and scarcity. They are what Jesus knew about the life of God in him, the new way of the spirit versus the old way of the animal. According to him, physical poverty and scarcity was a good thing because it went against what the animal naturally strives for, which is to protect itself at all cost, to get and keep whatever it can to feel less vulnerable to death. Spiritual poverty and scarcity were bad, and were caused by our embracing the old, easy way of the animal which makes us feel good but in the end can only give us death.

...for when you eat of it you will surely die

The sluggard is the one who goes back to the old way and lets it rule him, because we know that the true vine, the only vine in the vineyard is the Son, and those who hear his voice are the pruned branches which efficiently produce fruit for the Father (because they're pruned). Although it's not in just letting the branches grow wherever they will, but in pruning them, cutting them back so that they are productive not according to what they think best—just growing wherever, by their own will—but by the difficult and painful way of being pruned so that they grow according to the gardener's specifications and desire. It's a lot easier for the branches to grow wild wherever they want to grow, but they aren't efficient or useful that way. The gardener knows by experience how to prune them so they will be fruitful for Him, although that's not the easy way for the branches, which are used to just growing wild, wherever they might sprout about.

Thorns and weeds are familiar metaphors, which represent the way of the one who is not disciplined by the teacher. They are the mind and way in the life that lets the animal rule him instead of the Son. They are the easy way, but again they produce nothing useful for the Father. They are the chaos that the animal brings into the land, the relationship that exists between the Lord and the sons. It's the old way, the way of the animal, the chaos of its non-productive endeavors. The sleep, slumber and rest is the easier way of going back to that way and letting it rule us versus the much harder way of being constantly pruned by the gardener's hand. It's hard but it produces fruit because of the cuts he makes, pruning off the non-productive excess. The way of growing wild, of allowing the wild animal to control us produces nothing in the end but chaos, thorns and weeds.

I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.

At this point Jesus purposefully wants to filter out those who wouldn't believe, so that they would fall away on their own account and by their own power—not being able to accept what he had to say. Because they recognized his authority and authenticity, they wanted to follow him, but only as long as he provided them with what they wanted, and as long as things went according to what they could/would accept. It wasn't easy for the core disciples to hear his words, but they knew in a deeper place than Judas and the others that he was the only way to the Father. Even though it was so hard to hear and they didn't even understand except that he probably wasn't going to satisfy their desires or be what they wanted him to be for them, their response to him instead of going away like so many did was, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."

It's easy to theoretically submit to the Father's life in us while we actually continue to hold on to the old way in our heart. It's hard to just sit there and become powerless, letting those ways go, because it's a paralyzing process. We feel like we almost cannot move, and in a way that is true, because that type of movement is just a way we used to modify and manipulate in and out of our mind (with ourselves and others) so that our life went the way we needed it to go. It's what we learned before from him who cannot accept the way of the Father, the one in us who deceives and accuses us, and wants us to remain blind so that he can continue his rule over our hearts.

There are two betrayals in John 6, one actual and the other prophetic. The first is the falling away of the theoretical disciples who abandon Jesus when they fully realize what he is actually saying and what he required them accept, which they couldn't. That represents all of the things we hang on to within ourselves, wanting to embrace the life mostly theoretically while we hang on to the old way as how we must continue to believe. The core disciples were those who stayed despite the hard words of Jesus, what sounded so terrible to them and their expectations. It is the voice of the One who calls us when we start hearing the truth about what is required instead of what we have been allowed to be propped up with for a while—that we will be able to theoretically follow the Lamb, yet still hold on the the old way to a certain extent, even if it's not apparent what we're doing. Of course, the final betrayal is that to which so much love and care has been extended, who stuck around even though it was hard, but finally just could not do it anymore.

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

"So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.' "

And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work." And again in the passage above he says, "They shall never enter my rest."

It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:

"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

The "folding of the hands to rest" is this going back to the old way, even in our minds—allowing ourselves to find refuge from the Lord in the things of the flesh which taste good at first but then soon become very bitter. Learning to become sensitive to the spirit's voice is what we need to do so we can become fit for service in continuing to follow, even though it is so difficult to do so. Letting go of that which gives us comfort is hard because it feels like dying. It is dying to what we have counted on for so long, so it's right that it feels that way. The inhabitants of the land have to be destroyed or even though they seem harmless, and we think they'll be good for us, they will be what leads us away from the Father. Being pruned is painful, because that's the part of us that can't be part any longer. Although it was allowed to stay there for a while it has to be cut off. That's just the way it has to be or we will be of no use to the Gardener.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

 

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