2 Samuel 11 / Jeremiah 15 / Matthew 26
You have rejected me," declares the LORD.
"You keep on backsliding.
I will winnow them with a winnowing fork
at the city gates of the land.
The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ. John answered them all, "I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." And with many other words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them.
John knew the word of Jeremiah because what put that word in Jeremiah's mind, heart and mouth also spoke to John to teach him in the desert the way of the Father, away from the humans because that was the way of the Father—against the humans and the way they always go because of the nature that utterly rules them so thoroughly they aren't even able to tell it's there. This nature has the tendency, when the host allows it, to be so self-absorbed and self-centered that those cannot be pleasing to God, to recognize and honor Him as God and fulfill His commands to take care of each other because they being Israelites were a part of something big and important, chosen by the only living God to be His people, special and exclusive to Him. But all they could ever do is give in to the animal tendencies and revert to the self-serving, self-loving animal, craving to be what their God didn't want them to be, rejecting Him by choosing the made up gods of the nations around them, which were alluring (to provide His people with an actual choice, otherwise it would have just been easy to choose to serve God) but weren't even there since they were made up by the humans who populated those nations—who weren't chosen by God to be given the choice to be His people or not.
John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."
"What should we do then?" the crowd asked.
John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same."
The answer to their question of what to repent from came in the form of the most simple explanation of what is evil according to God—being an animal ruled by the animal nature. How does that evil nature manifest itself? Not in something lofty about not fulfilling the law, by which they could keep everything at arm's length, but something simple they could understand. What makes the nature that rules the humans evil is its tendencies to get and keep for itself at the expense of those whom the Father intends to be taken care of by their brothers, because of their calling and condition of being specially chosen to be God's people. God wanted them to not just follow the other humans and their explanations about who He was and what He wanted, but to find out who He was and what He wanted. He desires to find a distrust of the humans because what is in them—especially their self-proclaimed experts and leaders—is always evil because it always collapses back in on itself and what it needs, like any common animal does.
The LORD looks down from heaven
on the sons of men
That nature was made to be that way by God, so it works seamlessly and perfectly. The humans don't even ponder their condition, even as a quirk that they wonder why they're so afraid all the time. Instead, they cover that condition up with whatever they can afford to incorporate into their human identity. Whether is's an untouchable macho identity that buys big trucks to surround it and keep it feeling safe and untouchable; or becoming beautiful in the eyes of the humans by covering itself with makeup, tans and false body parts; or covering itself with money and things; or surrounding itself with intellectual cunning that cannot be pierced through; or attaining a god-like position of respect and honor in the culture of humans, to which the humans love to pay their homage.
It is the same motivation that drives these and the many other ways the humans hide, to not be found out, to never just be pure and honest because there isn't any purity and honesty to be found within the nature that drives the humans. They are instinctually driven to become fakes and phonies, because they know even from a young age that they need to hide in order to survive in this world of hiders. The only thing that is truly certain in them is that they are going to die, and that thought is such a fearful one that all they can do is surround themselves with their stuff—tangible or not—to ease the anxiety of not knowing if they're as valuable as they like to assume—a convenient thing for themselves to assume. Therefore, along with their enhanced animal identity that allows them to hide, they adopt all kind of ways that their life may go on after the only purely inevitable reality happens to them—that they become no more.
There is no drive to become pure and honest in their heart because of what they are, and the drive that's in them to define them as what they are—fearful animals that need to find places to hide so they won't be found out. That is, not as creatures that are inherently important as the philosophy goes which they conspire to propagate amongst themselves about themselves, but merely fearful animals like all the rest who aren't special and therefore don't necessarily deserve better treatment than the other animals, but just go into the ground like all the rest of the animals to be forgotten because then they become truly hidden from those who still exist. The irony is that they spend their lives hiding behind every fake thing they can incorporate into their phony identities, which they declare by doing so is truly the thing they want most, so that's what they get—a hiding place in the ground where no one can see them, indeed where none of the humans want to see them anymore, because that would remind them of what they truly are and they don't want to know that—they just want to be able to hide.
The sons of God grow up into this population and culture of humans and they, just like all the others, learn very well how to hide by observing that they must because it's a hostile world they're having to adapt to, and observing the other animals and how they do it, because that's what they are, and must do in order to survive. The hope of finding the truth about God may be there in them, but what allows for that is not available to them until a certain appointed time after they have become fully integrated into the life of the dead, and incorporated their ways into themselves. However, because they were known before the beginning of the world as the chosen sons of God, there is something special about them which allows for that thing to happen to them—they are, unlike the others who are destined to live and die to and for themselves, given a choice to choose the Father or choose themselves.
My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.
To take away the cup without him having to drink it would have been doing for Abraham what God did by sparing the life of his son once He knew that Abraham was going to do it.
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
The Son trusted the Father and the disciples trusted the Son, but now the Father had created the situation around him and the disciples that was antagonistic to what they would have wanted, a very disturbing and irrational sense of panic and fear where all the faith and belief they had was all of a sudden out the window and they were seized with the chaos of unbelief. For just a little while they were tested as the shield of the Father's protection was lifted, as it were, and they were on their own to learn to believe especially because it seemed like the wrong thing to do by many factors. The Father knew they were fine and going to be fine because He had already declared His intention to remember them. That didn't mean they wouldn't suffer, or even die because their position was not about how they fit into this world of the humans. The need/craving/instinct to not feel pain and not suffer, which is just a more minor version of dying in the natural body, is an animal instinct that rules us, and held up by everyone around us because of the conspiracy that the human animals are so inherently valuable. The sons of God will be transcending those instincts, becoming less vulnerable to their rule over themselves, precisely because they are becoming unhuman, unanimal, un ruled by the nature of fear and hiding that rules the animals without prejudice.
May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Even the Son, on whom the Father's eyes were closely fixed, was made vulnerable to the irrational fear that was created inside him to test him—different than normal, much more intense and disturbing. He felt abandoned by the faith he had just previously possessed, and had to choose the right way and do the work of belief even though it seemed impossible, not worth it.
My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.
He was suffering under the crushing hand of the Father, which seems like the wrong thing since the Father loved him. This is a formula for how we're tested, when the sight and vision we thought we could hold on to is taken away from us and we have to do that work which seems like the most horrible thing, when we can't count on the motivation that comes from above like we could so many times before, given so often as a gift that allowed us to believe the unbelievable.
Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.
The disciples who had already spent 3 years listening to and being taught by him—understanding his genuine authority, seeing the miraculous things he had done and believing he was the Son of God—sincerely wanted to follow him, but their loyalty to him was shaky because it hadn't been tested yet. They intended to be loyal, because on one level they did believe he was who the Father told them he was, but when the test came they failed because they were overcome by an unexplainable fear that penetrated into their heart and made them weak; it made them double back over all their well-intentioned talk.
Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, "I don't know the man!"
When God chooses His sons, He sets the humans against them. He has a will and purpose in the earth, and He uses evil men to test and refine the faith and belief of His sons for His own good, so they are able to choose Him more and more perfectly over what cravings they might desire to appease within their animal selves, or to giving in to their fears of what seems to be via their natural faculties, which lie to them (whatever seems to be isn't). When God comes He wants to be an antagonist to the things they try to hold on to in their attempt to find some kind of safety, because only He knows that our only safety and refuge is in our Him and whatever situation He wants us to be in, so that we can learn to trust Him not just with words, but in the deep places of our hearts' intentions which declare our purity and honesty in the place that matters to Him. This is a process that has to happen for that purpose, because we don't let go of our strongholds willingly.
When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight,
The word that lives in us to teach us how to be good and faithful children is what we longed for all our lives, and the only thing that has ever satisfied us and truly given us an unexplainable (because it's real, while the whole observable world is false) comfort. It is the only thing that makes sense to us in that secret place where we know it's true, the only thing that has truly given us hope that transcends the lies we know are false, yet we were never able to prove because the whole world of humans embraces them as valuable and dear to them, above all else. The disciples recognized the same thing when the Lord came and brought the Father with him, revealing to them what was real and who their actual Father was. They had never seen or felt anything like it before and they clung on to it because they knew it was real beyond any comparison, but they still had the animal need in them, what they learned as animals to try to hold on to so they could survive, cope with their existence in a world that wasn't actually true (because every little piece of it that we might feel compelled to hang on to, always just slips away without fail). Those things had to be pulled out from under them so that they learned to actually trust God in a real way, not just in words. It wasn't an easy thing for them to do.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"
The things we have created in our life to make us feel safe may seem permanent but they're not, because they were made by our own hand, by an irrational sense of driven purpose to create something we feel we need and must have at any cost. The disciples were deathly afraid too as they sat in the upper room with the doors locked for fear of the Jews. But Jesus came and told them to not be afraid, then he came back and kept coming back until they actually learned to trust him, that he was real enough to protect them and they could let go of what they tried so desperately to hold on to.
We have been shown that the animal nature lives in us to lead us by the nose to do its will, and that is its purpose so we shouldn't expect anything less from it. This is the crux of our being tested, so that we can see it as it happens and learn to choose the right and reject the wrong, as was predicted by Isaiah about Jesus and what all of God's sons must learn to do, after his example. It makes sense, because our Father doesn't want His sons being led astray by His enemy, which is the lesson over and over with the Israelites, the copy of the better thing. He wants faithfulness from His children, and this is the only way He is able to teach them so they actually know. He gives us many chances to see so we can learn to choose the right and reject the wrong.
Suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.
In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
We learn to give up everything so that we can be the Lord's disciple. The hardest things to give up are what we think we need and love most, and those things run deep because we learned them deep, over a period of many years of growing into the animal nature. We should be afraid of not being faithful to the Lord, and the love that comes from the Father isn't such that He lets us continue in our unfaithfulness and disbelief, but that which turns us away from our faith in everything but Him, and His unseen power to give us what He wants us to have.
"I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family."
Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
Our knowledge of what is true has been being given to us, but not just for any arbitrary reason, or one that we would choose because of the animal instinct to get and retain for our selves. It is not that we have been shown the truth for any reason except that we will eventually use it for the purpose of doing what pleases the Father by choosing to be faithful to Him instead of anything else.
So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. "Let me kiss my father and mother good-by," he said, "and then I will come with you."
"Go back," Elijah replied. "What have I done to you?"
So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant.
This is what the LORD says:
"If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me;
Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them.
I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze;
I will save you from the hands of the wicked and redeem you from the grasp of the cruel.
Stay here and keep watch with me.