[Editor’s note: Scripture explains that the Almighty’s judgment of ancient Israel came after considerable warning. Here is one example:
“Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets.” (2 Kings 17:13 NASB)
To this day, the Lord continues to exhort His people to return to Him and obey His commandments.
Angus Wootten took that exhortation to heart. He was among the pioneers of today’s elders in the faith who call for the people of God to learn the entire Word of God (Genesis to Revelation) and live by it daily. That is the point in this article he published in the May 1993 edition of the House of David Herald.]
The question that is ever before us is: “How do we walk in a manner that will please our God?” This question becomes even more significant for those who have seen their Ephraimite heritage. For them, the question focuses on how do we, as Ephraimites, walk in a manner that gives the Holy One of Israel pleasure?
On the surface, the answer to the last question appears relatively simple: We walk under the leadership of the Spirit, following in the footsteps of Messiah. For He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). By walking as Messiah walked, Ephraim will establish the oneness with God that Yeshua prayed for: “That they may all be one, even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us” (John 17:21).
To be acceptable to God, and to determine His will and direction for our lives, we must hear His voice (Romans 12:1-2). Furthermore, each one of us must learn to hear God’s voice for ourselves – without a man in the middle: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, Messiah Yeshua” (1 Timothy 3:5). This means we need to restore the relationship Adam had with God, while in the garden.
From the very beginning God has been speaking to man, and man has heard His voice. Throughout Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, God made His voice known to His people – to Adam, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, etc. In the books of the Prophets, we see this phrase repeated time after time: “And God said. . .” God’s voice was heard, known and understood.
Yeshua confirmed this concept in the New Covenant, using the example of the Good Shepherd:
“The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out, When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. And a stranger they simply will not follow, but they will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” (John 10:3-5).
Sheep know the voice of their shepherd.
While the answers to the “how do we please God” question may seem simple, hearing from God and making a Spirit-led way of life an integral part of our life is anything but simple. In fact, it seems almost unobtainable in this world – for, many voices clamor for our attention. When we seek to hear and know God’s voice, it is absolutely imperative that we are able to distinguish the voice of God from the voice of our own flesh, and from the voices of other men. We must be sure it is the Spirit of God speaking, and not the voice of a tempting spirit. For our adversary, the devil, is prowling about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us (1 Peter 5:8).
However, we can and should take solace, and assurance, in knowing that we can walk as Yeshua walked. Because, Yeshua would not have prayed that we attain to a relationship that is unattainable; and, John would not have instructed us to walk as Yeshua walked, if it were impossible for us to do so (1 John 2:6). Yet, even knowing all this, we, like Paul, must question whether we are running this race of life in a manner that will reap an imperishable reward (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Revelation 22:12).
To successfully run that race, we must know and hear God’s voice. And, Yeshua’s discourse with Pilate gives us the key to success: When being questioned by Pilate, Yeshua answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate then asked Him, “What is truth”‘ (John 18:36-37)?
Knowing, or having, the truth insures that one is hearing God’s voice. Therefore, we likewise need an answer to Pilate’s question: “What is truth?” The answer will put us well on the way to running a successful race. It will help us know which way, and how, to run, to win the prize of imperishable life.
Webster defines truth as: “Being in conformity with the facts or with reality, and in agreement with a correct and accurate standard or rule.” More importantly, Scripture defines truth as the “Word of God!” It further states that, “the Word is God, and the Word, as Yeshua, became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1; 1:14).
Yeshua, when He was praying in the garden, asked the Father to, “Sanctify them in truth.” He also said, “Thy Word is truth.” (John 17:17). In other words, “Sanctify them with Thy Word which is truth.” The “them” in this prayer is “us.” Even though Yeshua was talking about His initial band of disciples, He expanded His prayer to include all who will believe in Him through their word.
So our answer to “What is truth?” is: Being sanctified in the truth by our relationship with The Truth, who is Yeshua. We simply appropriate the facts and reality of the Word of God, and make it our foundation. Then, we can rely upon the Spirit of God to guide us in the way in which we should walk. For the Word of God will give us a correct and accurate standard to know when we are hearing from God, and when we are not hearing from God.
No Ifs, Ands, Or Buts! We Need To Know The Word Of God!
We can see that the answer to our question is simple, but here is the rub: We need to know the Word of God! No ifs, ands, or buts! We need to know the Word of God!
We cannot build upon something we do not know. We make it very difficult for the Spirit of God to guide us by recalling to our mind a Word which is not part of us. Also, if we do not know the Word we do not have an accurate standard to guard against deception and false teaching.
Unfortunately Hosea’s prophecy, to the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Ephraim), still rings true in our day:
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because ,you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest, Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. (Hosea 4:6).
We are the children of those to whom Hosea prophesied. We too have rejected knowledge, and followed in the sinful footsteps of Jeroboam, the first king of the Northern Kingdom. Jeroboam craftily introduced an idolatrous religious system into his kingdom, and it hinders Ephraimites to this day. As Brian Hennessy pointed out in his article in last month’s Herald, It’s Time To Bury Jeroboam: “We are guilty of the same sin in that we continually put our religion, or the traditions and practices of Westernized Christianity, before Yeshua’s truth.”
We are guilty of walking in the sins of Jeroboam insofar as we choose to be obedient to the dictates of man, and the man-made traditions of Christianity, over the voice of Messiah – as expressed in Scripture. Each of us is responsible to establish and nurture a direct relationship with the Lord. Quite naturally, there are people, organizations, books, tapes, videos, etc., that can help us build and nurture that relationship. However, there also are people, organizations, books, tapes, videos, etc. that can hinder us. They can even destroy us. The recent disaster in Waco, Texas is a dramatic example of how a false prophet and deceptive doctrine can destroy a flock of ignorant sheep. Unfortunately, false prophets and deceptive doctrines are not always so obvious.
We each have the personal responsibility to know the truth. Just as ignorance of the law is no excuse, ignorance of the truth is no excuse. Further, refusing to receive the truth is an intentional sin! Paul makes this fact abundantly clear in his letter to the Romans:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20).
We will not be able to plead ignorance or offer any excuses on the day when the righteous judgment of God renders to every man according to his deeds (Romans 2:5-6). Thus, it behooves us to follow the advice Paul gave Timothy: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth, From childhood you [Timothy] have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Messiah Yeshua, For all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate. equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:15-17).
We Have Fallen Short Of Having The Knowledge Of Scripture We Are Capable Of Having
It is fair to say, “We have fallen short in our knowledge of Scripture.” We all need to know more of it; especially in the difficult times of these last days (2 Timothy 3:1). What do we do to remedy our lack of Scriptural knowledge? We must take advantage of the promise that Yeshua made: “That He would put His instructions into our mind and write them on our heart” (Hebrews 8:10). How will He do it? He will not wave a magic wand over us, thus enlightening our minds. He will not give us a Scripture “knowledge pill.” Rather, the Word will be written on our hearts when, we read the word, we listen to the word, we watch the word, we meditate on the word, and we discuss the word.
The first Psalm, together with the first few chapters of Proverbs, give excellent guidance on some of the things we can do to become a workman able to accurately handle the word of truth. At the very least, when we stand before our Maker, who is the Author of our operating manual, we should be able to say: “Lord, I read Your Book.” Reading a Chapter of Scripture daily, which would take five to ten minutes, allows one to read the entire Bible in a little over three years. Two chapters a day cuts the time in half, and three chapters – twenty to thirty minutes daily – takes one through the Bible in a year. And/or you can listen to the Bible on cassette in about sixty hours.
The Truth Shall Make You Free
“If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32).
Let us not harden our hearts, as our forefathers did when they followed after Jeroboam’s idolatrous religious system. Thus compiling for themselves a record of three hundred and ninety years of iniquity (Hebrews 3:7-8; 4-2; Ezekiel 4:5). For, their iniquity resulted in Ephraim/Israel receiving a national punishment of being swallowed up among the nations. They became a people who were no longer the people of God.
The Lord said they would remain in this state for many days (years), However, He also said, in the last days, the sons of Ephraim/Israel will come trembling from the west, and they will seek the Lord their God and David their King (Hosea 1:9; 2:23; 3;4,5; 8:8; 11:10; Amos 9:9). For, the Lord promised: “Yet the number of the sons of Israel/Ephraim will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered; And it will come about that, in the place where it is said to them, ‘You are the sons of the living God.’ And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will be gathered together, and they will appoint for themselves one leader, And they will go up from the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel” (Hosea 1:10-11).
We are the “sons of the living God.” These are the “last days.” And, we have an obligation to become a people who know the Word of Truth. We must know how to hear from our Father! We cannot continue walking in the footsteps of Jeroboam. We must walk as Messiah walked.
The workman that we will be tomorrow, depends on what we do today. Starting today, which is the first day of the rest of our lives, we can rearrange our priorities, to allow us more time, opportunity, and resources to increase our knowledge of the truth, and our ability to hear from God. We are the generation that is being offered the opportunity to be used by God to recover the house of Ephraim – to unite with the house of Judah – and thus to restore the kingdom to Israel.
No ifs, ands, or buts! No excuses! No pleas of ignorance! Those who would take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity, and walk this exciting walk with God must know the Word of God!