May 21st.

Joshua 7 / Isaiah 11 / 2Thessalonians 3

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A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

A stump shows no sign of the glory of the tree or vine that grew up from it before. A stump can lay dormant for a time with no apparent activity until it sends up a shoot from the roots, where the life was being kept hidden from every observer.

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.

The shoot shot forth out of the stump of the roots of Jesse, and the life that was being kept hidden there remained hidden to the humans. They did not see what the 12 men who were chosen by the Father for him were able to see because they were looking for something else. God purposely confounded them because they were not chosen to be able to see who the shoot was. A few insignificant fellows were specifically chosen by the Father to be able to see who he was and recognize him even though he looked nothing like was expected by the "experts," who looked for a Messiah that they could venerate.

"Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.

None of the humans pointed at Jesus and said, "Yes, he's the One whom all the prophets beginning with Moses wrote about, who would come to the earth and save Israel," because he looked nothing like they expected that one to look on the outside where they observe and judge. They didn't want the Son to save them because he didn't look good enough to be able to do the job. Those who did believe that he was the one he claimed to be were embarrassed and ashamed because of the way he looked, so when they came to talk to him they came at night so no one would see.

The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

The disciples whom God chose to be a witness to the Son already had shameful identities within the culture; no one looked up to them or ever respected their opinion because they were low and scornful. They didn't need to hold that position of being ashamed of him and their opinion didn't matter so they were perfectly fit for the Father's purpose to keep the Son hidden; there was no threat that his identity would be disclosed.

Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

They didn't discover him nor were they able to detect his identity from what the scriptures said and did not know anything about him by their own power of observing, but because that secret was disclosed to them by the hidden Father (Father in heaven). The Father made it clear to the Son that He didn't want the humans to know who he was, which the Son relayed to the disciples. That is a major component of the formula that the living God has always employed with the humans, and still very much does. The truth about the Son's identity has been in a state of captivity for almost 2 thousand years now, as the earth and its inhabitants have existed in a kind of desolation of that knowledge for as much time, which is why none of them seem to know who he was. The only information that exists about the Son are the various lies that all claim exclusive ownership of that knowledge, yet all also contradict each other too.

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.

The first time was when God led the metaphor out of Egypt as slaves to give them a life and inheritance of their own. The second time happened in the first century when that One finally came, yet was kept hidden to the humans. Then there came about this long period of darkness and desolation since the knowledge of his coming came and left with those who were aware of him and who he was.

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.

He didn't speak to everyone, but only this tiny group of the fathers who were the beginning of the second way, which further refined the metaphor into what it more clearly resembled. The second time came and existed for a while as the what had already been initiated by the Father within the roots of the stump of Jesse—hidden and secret, which was the model of everything the Son was in the world of humans—not for public consumption by the humans at large. If he was for everyone, then he wouldn't have driven the half-hearted followers away by what he knew they wouldn't be able to accept, weeding them out by saying the things they were not able to ever accept and hear.

The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—
and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.

The Son was driven by the life that was growing inside him, which had been growing in him since before he was even existing as a human, in the mind of the Father who anticipated his coming. He was special, set apart from the humans and the other sons because of his special circumstance, the necessity drawn from the work he was going to do for the remnant, which was another name for the secret family of sons who ever existed. They were chosen to have the Father's mystery revealed to them, but were also at the same time bound up to the natural creation by the curse of the nature that held them to the earth, being one with the soil and therefore everything that is temporary and inferior.

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears.

Blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

Driven by the life of the Father means not driven by the animal, the only one of his kind, a miraculous hybrid in being a human but also being born of God by the secret, hidden (spirit, invisible, heavenly) life that lived in his human body, making and keeping him clean and devoid of the condition that the curse brought to all the rest of the humans—those marked out for sonship and those destined to only remain one with the natural creation. His condition was the model for each of the sons who would be born after him, according to his own kind—being a human yet being born of God in the same spectacular, yet unseen, unobserved, secret way that he was.

but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

The righteousness, justice and faithfulness were not able to be seen by the humans, yet he was going to be wearing them like clothes. Who was able to see that he was right, and knew justice as the Father knew it? Who understood his relationship of faithfulness, singularity and oneness to the Father and separation from the humans—never swayed by their will or dictated to by the animal nature for their own gain to make him into something for themselves; not able to ever do the right because they were driven to impose their evil onto him, as per how the animals always act because of the curse?

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.

The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,
and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest.

This is the ludicrous scenario according to how things are, just as ludicrous as this peasant man from the North being the Messiah. God loves the ironic and the ludicrous and He creates the illusion of that in His dealing with the humans over and over again. The lifting of the curse is for the remnant, as represented by these usually dangerous things becoming safe—unimaginably fatal things turned around so that the nature that normally causes the bear to kill the cow and the cobra to strike the child are lifted from the remnant, His secret family the Israel of God. This is the state of being transformed from the nature that holds everything tightly bound to it, to the condition of becoming a son of God—not driven by that nature of death as per the dictates of the curse, but one who can recognize what true knowledge, righteousness, justice, wisdom and understanding actually are according to the Father. That is the picture of the self-preserving, egotistical nature of the animal existing in his own little bubble of the necessity to continually survive, being lifted off the sons while the nature that lived in and drove the Son is being put into him.

There will be a highway for the remnant of his people
that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel
when they came up from Egypt.

The remnant is the sliver, the tiny fraction of the humans who ever existed in humans bodies who are being called to be under the condition that the Son was under because of the work he did to set the sons and brothers free from the curse put onto the first humans. The only one who was not ever led (instinctually driven) by the nature of the animal to become the animal, in the tradition of God's irony and poetic justice, because he lived to please the Father and not himself, a departure of perfection from what He was used to having to deal with in the humans—even the ones He loved. The Son was the one that the Father had been waiting for through all the time until he came, who would act on His behalf perfectly.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

When he died, the power of the animal to keep that sliver of humans whom the Father intended to be His own sons (the remnant) in the ground—tied to the grave, one with the soil and the rest of the natural—was lifted and they became the new creation of God's family of sons. They became pleasing and enjoyable to the Father as sons should be. They could bear fruit; that is, be useful instead of being merely a nuisance to Him—self-driven little God-haters who can only ever love and take care of themselves (humans in their natural state and condition, not inherently good as they conveniently assume for themselves).

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.

 

The LORD said to Joshua, "Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions.

That is why Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.

Just a tiny bit of yeast, a departure from what we know to be true as per what the Teacher's voice has declared to us, is capable of contaminating the whole community. It's the copy and warning for God's sons. The miracle of God singling out Achan is combined with his self-preserving action and the consequences of it—what it did to Joshua—because both things apply for us. It is the copy for us about the things we do in our heart, hiding them like Achan hid the things he stole from God, and thinking God doesn't see. Hiding from the Father is about the worst thing we can do; no father would want a son who keeps things from him and hides that way, or is afraid of him.

The heart is the place where the humans remain unclean simply because they can't clean their hearts. They have the power to be whatever they can on the outside, to do this or that thing for God, to give money to the poor, attend every church service, to look out for the widows and orphans, to be the greatest thing that ever lived to the other humans. But they have no power to clean their own heart or make themselves acceptable in any way to the Father. Their heart will remain impure unless they have been chosen to be in the community of the secret sons of God. Only the sons' hearts are being made clean, and that is the thing that all the humans will be judged by according to Romans 2, the condition of the secret things in their heart.

This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

That lends definition to the times the Lord talked about the people who will come to him and say "Didn't we do all these things in your name, and didn't we do this and that for God?" But because they only had the power to do things on the outside according to the validation of consensus they received by it, and no power to make their heart clean, their condition according to God isn't worthy to be a son. Their heart will reveal how they felt, which they kept hidden from the other humans, and thought they could hide from God.

They say, "The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land."

They didn't think He was powerful enough to see into all the areas of their hearts where they thought they could hide from Him; the faith they claimed to have will be illuminated as just a worthless veneer. That's all the animals can do—try to get to God on the outside while their heart remains polluted and contaminated. They don't choose for God who will be His sons, which is a real hard concept for the humans to grasp because of the lie of God's ubiquitous and undifferentiating love, making Him into more of an impersonal machine than a living being who favors some over others because He wants them and has chosen them—because He wants to be surrounded by His own sons who love and honor Him.

I shall not be with you any more, until you remove that devoted thing which is in your midst.

The sons' situation is different, which is the basis for God's righteousness to be fulfilled; their hearts have to be made clean in order to be with their Father. The reason that the entire world isn't as the liars say is because of their hearts, which they have no power over. However, that says something about the sons' hearts and what they must become—pure and blameless toward their Father.

...and you shall root out the evil from your midst.

I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

That secret life of the hidden Father lives inside the secret places where no one else can see. The light that came into the world is what shines into all those secret caves and holes to illuminate the darkness and identify those lies that are still hiding in the son's heart, keeping him impure and unable to be in his Father's presence. Jesus is the only means by which that can ever happen because he is the one who killed the power of the animal to keep the sons in the ground when he was lifted up, bringing everything full circle back to the beginning with the son and the animals.

The secret life will show each of us what those secret things are, even the most subtle things that we thought wouldn't be a problem. What they are though, are the things of the animal nature that we want to hang on to and not let go of, the things by which we think we can still have control over what happens in us. It will be specific to the individual, according to his situation, how they learned to control their life and satisfy themselves. The voice of the Teacher, speaking on the Father's behalf, is what speaks to the son, and it is up to the son to hear the voice and heed it as per the Deuteronomy copy of the wayward son who doesn't hear or heed the voice of his father, representing all those who aren't sons.

If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.

God is choosing His sons from out of the world of the humans and setting them apart from it and the nature that controls all of the mature animals in it, as per the curse with which they're inflicted. That nature is the thing that gets purged out of the his heart and must be if he is to be made clean. On the outside, he seems to be fighting a losing battle because he never receives a validation there about what's really happening. If we look to the world to justify us that's what we'll see, and our hearts will melt like water from us if we try to rely on our own power, or the validations of the humans. Fear is an easy thing to get swept away with, and it's easy to think we can alleviate it by something we can do or get.

At this the hearts of the people melted and became like water.

We have to know and believe that He has chosen us, is with us and will give us what we need to overcome the seemingly insurmountable obstacles of the nature that wants to rule us. Belief is hard work in the times we are being tested to not believe—why it is called work. Belief is not doing those things that we want to do with our own hands, grabbing what we used to grab to satisfy and fulfill us. We know what we have within us, and we know what God has told us and done for us and shown us. Yet we will be tested and if we look to the outside, we will lose our confidence that He has put inside us and our heart will melt away like water. If we allow the sin of the world to come in and live and take hold in our heart, the same will happen as it happened to Joshua and the Israelites. God "Shall not be with us any more, until we remove that devoted thing which is in our midst."

It is a very precarious situation, and unlike anything in the natural. If we do not abide in the Son, our hearts will turn to water and fear will overtake us, because we will be given over to the view of the world, which thinks we are crazy because they don't hear the Teacher's voice. If we want to partake in the world, to be a friend to it, then He will give us the desire of our hearts and we will lose what He gives us to abide, and we will fall away from Him. There is no way to keep running the fence and having both. We cannot serve two masters; we have to choose.

If we don't feel the confidence that God is truly with us, which He has given us over and over for the past few years, then we will melt away in fear. It's easy to get swept away into fear, but we have to believe even though it's easier not to. What we have from Him cannot be translated into the world because it's secret and hidden. The humans will not validate us or reinforce what the Teacher is telling us, because he works against the world, not for or with it, or for its good.

No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.

We did not make this up—it came from the mouth of the Teacher when he lived as a human, and the words were recorded and preserved for our sake. If we do not follow the Lord completely we cannot follow him at all; it isn't a half-ass kind of deal. When we have our trust set on what the world trusts in, we cannot have it set on our Father, who loves us when we can actually look past those easy, tangible things and know, believe that He is able and willing to take care of us. Jesus knew that, as per Matt 6, because he was so much not an animal. It will be impossible for us to believe at first, because we are pretty much fully given over to that nature at first, fully dead—a fully grown, mature animal, dead to God.

We will always be thinking about how to protect what we ironically think protects us—what we might save or invest to keep them from going away from us. It might seem like a small issue, but it holds true for those who are called to be sons. Money and things are just the easiest to identify. Our human identity in the world of the dead is more subtle. We should be able to see how much we depend on whatever it is, even love it, because that's what we learned to utilize to keep ourselves feeling safe, which is just a sham, since we just die. The object for the son is to be honest in his heart before God, to recognize it and not do what the animal always does—hide from God and pretend it's not there, think we can hide our love for any of the things that we learned to love. We'll even do it thinking we're hiding it for God's sake, another lie. It takes sensitivity and obedience to the unlikely thing to make and keep us able to hear the Teacher's voice, so we can continue to be becoming pleasing/enjoyable/useful to the Father.

The reason we love those things is because we learned to love them; we learned to draw them in to us as our condition of being given over to that nature before dictated and led us. It's a slow process to clean a heart, and it goes even slower when we try to hide and pretend, as per how the animal nature works in the humans. It will be purged out from within us if we are honest and don't hide in it. When we hide in it then we hang on to it, we bond with it and it becomes what defines us as the thing that we're driven by (a mere animal). When we just admit it's there and understand that it's not necessarily any fault of ours, but merely residue from what we were before, then the Lord can purge it. We cannot serve our Father and anything the world loves at the same time. Things give us a sense of well-being and safety in a real way in the natural, and there is no getting around that. It's how we learned to fulfill our selves and maintain our animal identity, so it makes sense that they're still in us. In that sense it's okay that they're there, it's just not okay to hide them because it effectively says we don't think God can see.That was His complaint about the Israelites in Ezekiel, that they continually thought He didn't see and could hide their unjust hearts behind the lie of outward righteousness.

They say, 'The LORD has forsaken the land; the LORD does not see.' So I will not look on them with pity or spare them, but I will bring down on their own heads what they have done.

 

Joshua said, "Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today." Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them.

Achan forgot about what God was giving the Israelites—the land that He promised to Abraham, which was the lasting treasure. He saw the gold wedge and silver and the illustrious babylonian robe and he mistakenly thought that was treasure. It was the treasure of the world, and his need to heap up for himself overtook him. He thought that God didn't see, just like we think He doesn't see us when our hearts are set against Him by harboring lies there, in His house where He wants to live but can't because we want to allow the animal nature to be dug in with all its chaos and filth.

I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

The son of God will be perfect in a secret way because he has been born of the secret DNA which comes only from the Father. There is no perfection in him naturally, so it must come from God who changes him into a being that is clean in his heart where no man can see, only God. When he is clean there, then everything that comes out of him is clean too. That is the life of the Son as the model, and the real ramifications of him being untouched by sin. He never "passed over" from immature animal to mature animal, so he never became dead to God. This is how he was able to be God's spotless Lamb who could kill the animal nature on the cross for the sons. He was the Lamb who became the serpent on the pole so that he could kill it with him.

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!"

His spiritual birth coincided with his natural birth, so he was born into the natural, but only as a child, and he never made the transition which happens to all the animals—child to dead animal (mature man) via the process of puberty. This is a condition that had to remain in order for him to be that unblemished Lamb of God who could take away the domination of the animal nature from the sons. Yet he was tempted to become a mature animal, subject to the same temptations to be led by it rather than the Father. He became who he was by learning from the word living inside him (the voice of the Father), who taught him to accept the right and reject the wrong. Because much was given to him, much was expected from him—much more than anyone could ever bear.

That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Because we have been born of God, we now have the living word inside us, teaching us how to be sons of God. Although we still carry the uncleanness of our old nature, we are as Jesus was from his natural birth. But we all became dead, we moved from child to mature, we became polluted and have to be brought back to the place where we can come into the presence of the Father because we're clean again.

I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children (move back to what you once were before you became a dead animal according to God), you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.

We become gradually pure while we are learning to abandon the old nature of Adam and take on the new nature of the good Son because of the regeneration that is taking place within us—the gift of life from God. God's sons are eventually obedient to their Father just as the Son was. He is the firstborn of many brothers who love their Father and desire to serve Him more than themselves.

The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.

In the day of the Lord, Jesus has redeemed the remnant of peoples that are in the world of the humans, represented in the text by "Assyria, Lower Egypt, Upper Egypt, Cush, Elam, Babylonia, Hamath and the islands of the sea." Those who make up the remnant are the ones God calls His own sons, from before the time of the Son, during and after. They are the ones who have the mark of ownership upon them, which is the spirit life of the Father and the Son living in them, the blood of the great Lamb of God spread on the doorposts of their hearts. They are the tiny sliver of humans chosen by God in each generation to be His, set apart for His purpose as the better Levites. Each generation God chose just a few sons for His own, and generation after generation they all add up to the family He desires, the nation of sons of God who revere and love their Father, who have Him as their inheritance. They are the glory of God, set aside for His purpose. They are the real Israel, the new Jerusalem. Isaiah predicts the Son's institution of the new covenant, which is said to be the second time He reclaims a part of His family.

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.

The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,
and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest.

They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

The imagery is about the animals and their power to defend themselves, some of the more dangerous ones listed here as extremes to make the point that they will not be a factor when the Lord does bring the new covenant to the sons. When they enter in to it, the animal defenses will be taken out of the sons' hearts, that which creates the wall of hostility between God and them, that which keeps them polluted and unable to know Him and feel/comprehend His love. It's no accident that the humans mentioned here are an infant and a small child. That is the state of all the humans before they go over to mature and dead.

I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

 

Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell face down to the ground before the ark of the LORD...Joshua said, "Ah, Sovereign LORD, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! O Lord, what can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?"

 

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