“Breaking through the breach”

“And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her and went in unto (had relations with) her. And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er .” Genesis 38:1,3

I want to stop right there for a moment before we get into the rest of this story because I need to point out a few things about it to kinda set the stage, if you will.

Notice this is what happened after Judah and his brothers had decided to do away with Joseph.

But Judah was the brother who decided to just sell Joseph rather than let him rot in the pit, which ruined Reuben’s cowardly plan of sneaking back later and freeing Joseph.

There are so many things going on in this story it would take years to point out every little detail.

So for us, we’re just going to look at how bad ideas lead to worse ideas and what we compromise in that process.

So here’s Judah, whose name literally means “praise”, he has gone away from his brothers and went to his friend, who lives in a place that my spellcheck even tried to change to adulterate and once there he ends up with a Canaanite wife, whose name means “crying” and remember the Canaanite’s were the people who the children of Israel were supposed to overcome so that they could possess the land that God had given them. 

So now not only is he going places he should never be but the “praise” of Israel has now mingled with the “crying” of the pagans and that which was produced was anything but good.

“And she conceived again, and bare a son and called his name Onan.

And she yet conceived again, and bare a son; and called his name, Shelah: and he was at Chezib when she bare him.” Genesis 38:3,4

This union had now produced three children, Er, whose name meant “watcher”, Onan, whose name meant “wealthy”, and finally Shelah, whose name meant “blind” who was born while Judah was in Chezib, the land whose name is derived from the words, “disappointment”, “delusion”, “failing”, and “lying”.

So it is pretty easy to see the prophetic going on here. 

We can see just how easy it can be to be led wrong.

Led into that land due to our disappoints and failings and the tears of those lands mingling with our praise until we also can be completely delusional to the fact that no matter what we call our “accomplishments” in those lands, and no matter how we may feel that we are growing or being enriched, if we have “left” our “promised land” for a “foreign field” that God never sent us to, then we are failing because we are “blinded” in that land.

It is really reminiscent of the spiritual state spoken of by Jesus.

Revelation 3:17,18: Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. 

I counsel thee to buy of me Gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”

Now we know how Judah got there and what was “produced” there, now let’s see just how far he had to go before he finally saw how “blind” he had become. 

“And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. And Er, Judah’s firstborn was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew (killed) him.

And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.

And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. 

And the thing which he did  displeased the Lord (was evil in the sight of the Lord) whereby he slew (killed) him also.

Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law,  Remain a widow at thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house.

And in the process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah’s wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah, the Adullamite.

And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold, thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep.

And she put  her widow’s garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she will still not given unto him to wife.

When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a harlot; because she had covered her face. And he turned in unto her by the way, and said, Go to I pray thee, let me come in unto thee (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?

And he said, I will send thee a kid from my flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it (something she could keep as a guarantee)?

And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets (cord), and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it to her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.

And she arose, and went away, and laid by her vail from her, and put on her garments of widowhood.

And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman’s hand (to get his staff, etc back): but he found her not.

Then he asked the men of that place, Where is the harlot, that was openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot in this place.

And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, there was no harlot in this place.

And Judah said, let her take it unto her (let her keep it), lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.

And it came to pass about three months after; that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, she is with child by whoredom (harlotry), and Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.” Genesis 38:5-24

Interjection time… WOW that is a lot going on and I can’t help think that I probably should have used Judah’s good old buddy Hirah in WITH FRIENDS LIKE THAT.. further proof that when we are headed down the wrong road the enemy always sends someone to make sure we go barreling down it!

So now we are up to Tamar, Judah smuggling blaming her somehow for the fact that his sons died, not once every considering what we know to be true, they died because they did evil in the sight of the Lord, not because of any thing related to Tamar, another one of his misconceptions, just as he thought she was a “harlot” and  in the process he ended up throwing everything her way except what was rightfully hers.

And now she is supposed to be the one that gets “burnt” by the fallout..

The almost comedic irony in this is that when his buddy couldn’t get his possessions back, he decided to just leave it alone so that they would not be shamed in not having kept his end of the bargain in her payment… and yet he is so spiritually blind that it is okay to manipulate and deceive his daughter in law out of her rightful heir and when she is found to be questionably pregnant, he is going to have her killed.

And the truly scariest aspect of the story is just what Judah was willing to sacrifice, without any thought, worry, or fear that he may not get his signet and especially his staff back, which were his very identity and worse that he could so easily state that it could just be kept… kept as payment for “harlotry”. 

That can be taken symbolically as a very spiritual  “adultery”, when we choose to trade-off or just give away the callings, positions, and gifts that God has given us, either for something we want more or just simply through willful disobedience.

But by being in that land and mingling with those of that land he would indeed find himself in the spiritual place of Chezib, where “blindness” had been born and all would lead to the repentant “crying” as his wife’s namesake. Let’s check out his wake-up call with the ending of our story for Genesis 38:25-30:

“And when she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: Discern, I pray thee, (Please tell me) whose are these, the signet, and bracelets (cord), and staff.

And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because I gave her not Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more (did not have any further relations with her).

And it came to pass in the time of her travail (when she gave birth), that, behold, twins were in her womb.

And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand; and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first. And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that behold, his brother came out; and she said How hath thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee, therefore his name was called Pharez. (Breach OR Breakthrough).

And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand; and his name was called Zarah (Zerah, meaning “dawning” and “light”).” It is impossible not see another scriptural truth that would mirror this birth.

1st Corinthians 15:45,46: “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul, the last was made a quickening (life-giving) spirit. 

Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

It comes down to this, we have all maybe been Tamar, and we have all probably acted like Judah in one way or another but we can choose to let mistakes and failures hold us back and destroy our relationship with God and others OR we can use those very “breaches” to propel us forward to a breakthrough, the choice is ours.

Thank you for reading and allowing me to share in a little of your day! 

Love & peace till next time!

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ2018

And as I looked at the date, I realized today is the anniversary of receiving my calling, 10/16/06 and I am forever blessed and honored that He has allowed me to be…HIS!

 

“Done Deal”

When Jesus chose to come to earth through the womb of a humble virgin and chose a stable as the destination for his arrival and He chose a poor carpenter as His earthly step-father, it would be to the confusion and confounding of those who awaited the Messiah to be born in splendor, in the finest of palaces with the proverbial golden spoon in His mouth.

And it worked quite nicely, He wanted those who came to Him to come to Him because HE IS not because of who thought THOUGHT Him to be. Only a true King could have such a test to reveal His true servants from those who just wanted His prestige. As we know even after hearing His very words spoken in their own ears, the Pharisees and Jews could still not grasp the thought that the loving, gentle, ORDINARY man could possibly be the Son of the one true God.

Although He did come as ordinary and unpretentious, No matter how it may have appeared we know that HE IS ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY! I am not so sure that we have moved quite far enough away from those thoughts that also easily sway our minds.

We often ignore that still. small voice because our ears are striving to hear a loud proclamation. Sometimes we are so enamored with the thought of having our worlds rocked that we completely miss the fact that the ground IS already shaking.

We can completely miss what is right in front of us, simply because it does not look like we had pictured it to look. It does not sound exactly as we thought it would and by holding onto to OUR thoughts we can miss out on a lot. Just as He said, His ways ARE higher than our ways and His thoughts ARE higher than are thoughts, it rests on forgetting what we ever thought in the first place and acknowledging His will.

I used this particular passage in a former now non-existent post, but I would like to revisit that SAME thought here, again. This is the amazing story of Peter being arrested, imprisoned, supernaturally  freed and those who WERE praying for his freedom, NOT BELIEVING when he literally showed up on their doorstep! We’ll pick up here:

ACTS 12:4-16: “And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions (squads of four) of soldiers, to keep him: intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

 Peter was therefore kept in prison: but PRAYER WAS MADE WITHOUT CEASING OF THE CHURCH UNTO GOD FOR HIM. And when Herod would have (was about to) bring him forth, the same night, Peter was sleeping BETWEEN two soldiers, BOUND WITH TWO CHAINS and the keepers before the door kept the prison (guards were also at the door).

And, behold, the ANGEL of the Lord came upon him (stood by him), and  A LIGHT SHINED  IN THE PRISON: and he smote Peter on the side, and RAISED HIM UP, saying, Arise up quickly. and HIS CHAINS FEEL OFF FROM HIS HANDS.

And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals (get dressed and put shoes on).  And so he did. And he saith unto him cast thy garment about thee, and FOLLOW ME. And he went out, and followed him: and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel (did not know for sure if it was real) but THOUGHT he saw a vision. 

When they were passed the first and the second ward (guard posts) they came unto the IRON GATE that leadeth into the city; which OPENED TO THEM of his own accord (opened WITHOUT ANY HUMAN HELP): and they went out, and passed through one street; and the angel departed from him.

And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety (for certain), that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod,  and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.

And when he had considered the thing, he CAME to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where MANY WERE GATHERED TOGETHER PRAYING.

And as Peter KNOCKED AT THE DOOR OF THE GATE, a damsel came to hearken (answer the door) named Rhoda. And  when she KNEW Peter’s voice, she opened NOT the gate for gladness (she was so happy that she actually FORGOT to open the door) but RAN IN, and told how Peter stood before the gate.

And THEY SAID UNTO HER, THOU ART MAD (OUT OF YOUR MIND). BUT she CONSTANTLY affirmed that it was even so (true). Then they said it is his angel.  But Peter CONTINUED KNOCKING: and WHEN THEY HAD OPENED THE DOOR, AND SAW HIM, THEY WERE ASTONISHED.”

So much there, here they are praying and praying, seeking and seeking and Rhoda answers the door and she is so happy and overjoyed that she just forgets to open it. When she tells the others they just simply DO NOT BELIEVE it. Now again, maybe if God has sent an old dude leaning on a staff, with a long gray flowing beard, suing terms such as”Hearken, grand prayer warriors…” or sent thunder and lighting to flash as Peter approached, well maybe that was WHAT they thought they should receive as acknowledgment that their prayers had been heard. But no, they got Rhoda, and what they told her, actually translates to, “YOU ARE OUT OF YOUR MIND” so they are like, ” Well, that is just that crazy Rhoda,, making up stuff, just ignore her….you know she isn’t quite right in the head anyway.”

Cute side note, Rhoda must have not been too crazy, she did, after-all get an honorable mention in the book :)! But even after all that praying they STILL REFUSED TO BELIEVE, and decided that it was his angel. If it does not make sense to our human minds, we must FIND an explanation for it, right?

Not sure why we do these things. Do we doubt that our prayers will be answered? Do we really believe that it just COULD NOT be THAT simple? When actually, IT IS that simple. Do we feel that we need more grandeur? And do we feel we need that for the glory of God… or is it for us?

Do we just dislike the messenger and feel that we are worthy of a higher, more “spiritual” messenger? You know, like waiting on a group of herald angels to break down the door and proclaim the answer you have been seeking when actually all that is needed is FOR SOMEONE JUST ANSWER THE DOOR! And acknowledge WHO is standing there! 

We can miss many wonderful events by our own refusal to let God be God and answer AS HE calls and not get so caught up in the delivery or manifestation of these events. Just as His humble arrival to this earth heralded the greatest event of all time. What if the wise men had decided that the place the star led just didn’t look the part? The humble shepherds NEVER expected to hear an angelic chorus praising the birth of the Saviour… which IS EXACTLY WHY they were allowed to hear it! Don’t lose out on a done deal just because you refuse to open the door.

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2016

“Playin’ favorites”

And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he (male) goats.

Seemeth it a small thing unto you (you seem to think it is a trivial thing) TO HAVE EATEN UP THE GOOD PASTURE, but ye must TREAD DOWN (trample) WITH YOUR FEET the residue (remainder) OF YOUR PASTURES? and to have DRUNK OF THE DEEP WATERS, but ye must FOUL THE RESIDUE WITH YOUR FEET?            EZEKIEL 34:17,18

What He is saying is this, He will decide and do justice between “sheep”, His people.

It seems that to these that it is no concern of theirs and nothing to them, if the other sheep have no food, because they greedily gobble it all up and then crush and trample the little that remains.

They have no care or concern as they guzzle down all the available water, as they stand in it with their  dirty feet with no regard that others who are dying of thirst will only have this to drink. 

And they ARE the favorites of the shepherds of those fields, so no one dares to question. Playing favorites, man, I could actually write a book, maybe two just on the subject alone. But I don’t need to write anything since it has already been written and wonderfully fit for a time such as this.

The favorites of the shepherds, the chosen few, the “pets”, the family, the friends, the social status cliques, the biggest tithe givers, and I am sure some that fall into the category of, “Oh, I just like you, you remind me of a younger me” and of course they do like ones that are like-minded and share agendas.  

This is the separation: EZEKIEL 34:19-22: “And as for MY FLOCK, they EAT THAT WHICH YE HAVE TRODDEN WITH YOUR FEET; and THEY DRINK THAT WHICH YE HAVE FOULED WITH YOUR FEET.

Therefore thus saith the Lord God unto them; Behold, I, even I, WILL JUDGE BETWEEN THE FAT (FED)  SHEEP AND THE LEAN (STARVING) SHEEP.

Because YE HAVE THRUST (pushed)  WITH SIDE AND WITH SHOULDER, and PUSHED (BUTTED) ALL THE DISEASED (WEAK) WITH YOUR HORNS, TILL YE HAVE SCATTERED THEM ABROAD.

Therefore WILL I SAVE MY FLOCK, and they will be no more a prey; and I WILL JUDGE BETWEEN CATTLE (SHEEP) AND CATTLE (SHEEP).” 

Notice the pushing and shoving, those who, when they see one stumble, rather than help them up they will merely use the fallen back as a bridge to snatch a morsel out of the mouth of a another. The ones who shamelessly take credit for the work of others. The ones who mistakenly believe that they are of a greater importance to the flock and to the kingdom. They push and they shove the weak, notice the horns, adding to the wounds of those who are  injured, and hurt. They never feel one ounce of regret or remorse because getting all they can grab is what they are all about.

I love how  the Lord had these passages go hand in hand in the book of Ezekiel, He first speaks to the Shepherds, who are in for a world of hurt and then He goes on to the “fat cattle, the difference that are made by the shepherds who have their own agendas which are “ME, MYSELF, AND I” and if you can’t expand my pasture   ( help bring sheep and FURTHER THEIR ministry) well, just go on down the road, someone will take you in.

It is so funny, I have heard a thousand times by many different mouths, words such as “So and so will be here, come on out and make him welcome” “I‘ll be at ….. come bring friends” “ I am starting a new teaching series, come on out ” and of course the “great new” books that you just can’t live without, of course you have to pay for it but they really want to get this “must have” into your hands and teach you secrets of the kingdom! So funny, there is ONLY ONE book that you must have and that is the Bible and they want you to have it so bad, and you “need” it so bad, but they sure aren’t going to give it away now are they????? But you NEVER hear “Come check out my sheep” “Look at this fine flock” never, never because IT IS NO LONGER ABOUT THE FLOCK.

Another fine example of what He is getting at:

JAMES 2: 1-10 ” My brethren, have ye not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, (do you not profess to be of Christ) with respect (partiality) of persons?

For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel (expensive clothing), AND there came in ALSO a poor man in vile raiment (filthy clothes); and YE HAVE RESPECT (PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION) TO HIM IN GAY (FINE) CLOTHING, and say unto him, SIT THOU HERE IN GOOD PLACE, and SAY TO THE POOR, STAND THOU THERE, OR SIT HERE UNDER (AT) MY FOOTSTOOL.

Are ye NOT then partial in YOURSELVES, (Have you not DISCRIMINATED) and are become judges of evil thoughts?

Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath God not chosen the POOR of this world rich in faith, and HEIRS OF THE KINGDOM which he hath promised to them that love him?

But YE HAVE DESPISED (dishourned) the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw (drag) you before the judgement seats? Do not they blaspheme the worthy (noble) name by which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF, ye do well.

But IF YE HAVE RESPECT (PARTIALITY) TO PERSONS, YE COMMIT SIN, AND ARE CONVINCED (CONVICTED) OF THE LAW AS TRANSGRESSORS. For whosoever shall keep the law, and yet offend (stumble) in one point, he is guilty of all.”

I often wonder what it would be like now if Jesus or the disciples were to walk into a modern church. Would it be like it was when he came to earth?

You know when the Jews and Pharisees just didn’t think He fit the bill for being the Son of God, He didn’t look like royalty, He sure didn’t act the part, He refused to share their religious snobbery and woman hating misogyny.

And Oh, my goodness…. Can you believe that HE ACTUALLY LET MARY TOUCH HIM?????? He actually healed the sick without giving them a speech about how they should have taken better care of themselves. He actually cast out the demons that troubled them (without asking a fee) he raised their dead not to make Him a mega minister but actually OUT OF COMPASSION for their pain. He dined with “sinners” hung out with fishermen. He even let His disciples eat with unwashed hands. And all those that pointed fingers at Him questioning His authority to do these things were met with the finger of God pointing back at their own wicked hearts, sure, cast the first stone, oppress the widows, sell the orphans, slaughter his lame sheep. 

I really don’t think they would recognize Him here, do you???? Wonder if they have ever pondered the fact that the least of these will be the greatest in heaven? That does not mean high and lofty, that means Jesus came to serve not to be served and this is what He expects from His followers. So if they do not want to do it on this earth and they want a “higher” position then they can expect to have a reversal of that position in the kingdom of heaven.

And THAT is gonna be a lot of fun! I am quite excited about it, as my own struggles dealing with shepherds and pushy- shovy sheep, in the forms of Alpha Male Ministers and Cattle Prodding Pastors, Church House Divas and my favorites the “Is she wearing PANTS” crowd. I have to ALWAYS keep the tongue in check and know that HE IS MY SHEPHERD and know that no matter how scruffy, malnourished, or thirsty I may get and contrary to who likes me or who doesn’t that HE will always feed me, water me, and love me because I am HIS, and I know if I don’t learn to just deal with them, look over them, and see it for what it is, that hate will grow and I will lose my relationship with the Lord and no one is worth that, no one is worth becoming a child that will bring heartache to the Father and His is the only opinion that should matter.

Right?…. Wrong, the problem with the shepherds and fat cattle is that it looks so good to the weak, diseased, hurting, hungry, and thirsty sheep and they flock to it, hoping the “grass is greener” hoping they will get healed, delivered, fed, and watered, only to arrive and be met with those horns as the “home” sheep  continue in their own self survival. Then the little lambs are in even worse shape because now they are in a foreign pasture left to the side to die and wondering what they did wrong. They didn’t do anything to deserve this treatment. God explains it all for exactly what it is.

This is why the accountability will also be for all those who had been driven away by cruel shepherds, and no one has looked for or cared for these wounded sheep. They have been left, lost in the wilderness, to be prey for wolves and devoured by the beasts. 

Something to ponder as we continue to look for the day of the Lord, pray and weep in humility and correct those things that we can, never turn away His sheep, love and nurture them. Jesus IS THE SHEPHERD and we will all give account to Him.

Φλογίζω Σαλπιζω  Rev. Nina Brown Johnson 2016