Fox Byte #23: Scary Things Beneath the Surface

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Encounter with a school of whales, from the 1968 Beatles movie, Yellow Submarine.
Encounter with a school of whales, from the 1968 Beatles movie, Yellow Submarine.

You may be thinking by now that this decision to follow Yeshua seems to come with obligations that weren’t in the original advertising.  It looks like there’s more to it than a simple agreement that we need Jesus, followed by peace and happiness for the rest of our lives.  In fact, there is far more to this life than we normally hear about in church.  We don’t really start to see the bigger picture until we decide to stop going through the motions of cultural Christianity and start really studying the Bible and living it out as the instruction manual for our lives.

It’s one thing to act like a follower of Yeshua when you’re in a crowd of people who say they follow Him; it’s quite another thing to act like a Yeshua follower when you’re in a hostile crowd, or when you’re all alone and no one is looking.  That’s when your true heart condition is revealed.  And, quite sadly, unless you’re open to the continual work of the Holy Spirit to change your heart, you’ll never be anything more than a surface dweller – a person who says they follow Yeshua, but never really digs deep to find out what that really means.

Yeshua Himself had to dig deep just to get ready for His ministry.  By the time He was 30 years old, He knew the instruction manual backwards and forwards.  (After all, He not only wrote the manual, He was that manual in the flesh!)  At the start of His ministry Yeshua had to go through a severe test:  40 days without food, after which Satan came to ask Him some questions.  Here’s how that started out:

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.  Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”  But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”  (Matthew 4:1-4 NKJV)

What exactly did Yeshua mean when He said we don’t live by bread alone?  Where did He get that quote?  This may be a surprise to you:  Yeshua got it from Moses.  Here it is in context:

Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers.  And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.  So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.  Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years.  You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you.  Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.  (Deuteronomy 8:1-6 NKJV, emphasis added)

Moses was talking about the 40-year-long test of the people of Israel to see if they would obey God’s commandments or not, and that test involved a lot of hardship and suffering.  Then Yeshua quotes Moses after He has just finished a 40-day-long test that involved a lot of hardship and suffering, followed by temptation from the devil to see if He would remain true to His Father’s commandments.  So maybe by quoting Moses Yeshua is telling us we should expect something similar, and for the same reason.

This is beginning to sound a lot more complicated – and painful – than your typical Sunday School lesson.

Please click here to continue to Fox Byte #24.

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© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2014.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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