WATCHMEN IN/OVER BEER SHEVA AND THE NEGEV – Oct 1998

Ps. 127:1  —  Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain

Watchmen protect and guard the interests of the owner/sovereign – in this case God the Father and His Son Yeshua the Messiah.  In the eternal wisdom of God, His strategy to win the war between the devil and Himself was that the Son of God/Son of Man would come into the world and be nailed to a cross as a sacrifice for sin, making peace through His cross to all who believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord, the Anointed One of God, who rose from the dead.  We overcome the world by believing in Him.  Our victory is in His victory.  By the poured out blood of Yeshua, God has redeemed (purchased back) the Land of Israel, the whole earth, even the whole of His creation, and has given all authority over it to the Lord Jesus.  The Kingdom of God will come!  Believers are properly watchmen when we stand in faith upon the Word of God regarding the Church and our authority as members of the Body of Messiah in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ to bring conviction by the Holy Spirit of sin, righteousness, and judgment to human beings, whoever and wherever they be.

God’s Interests in Beer Sheva

   –confessing and proclaiming the Name of the LORD Yeshua and make His name known (Jer. 23:27 – “My people have forgotten My Name”) and to sanctify His Name and make it honorable (Ezek. 36:22-23 —  We have profaned and made the Lord’s Name a reproach).  Yeshua the Messiah is LORD to the glory of God the Father!;

   –preaching the good news of salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of the Living God;

   –holiness, righteousness, truth, mercy, peace in His people, His children;

   –unity of the Spirit among believers;

   –love towards God’s children and His house, as well as for the lost and the helpless

      –supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks for all persons, and for those in authority, both for our own well-being and for others to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2: 1-6)

Must therefore be aligned with God’s will and purposes

   –the gospel is neither partisan nor sectarian

   –the glory and the honor belong to the Lord Jesus Christ

   –all of God’s promises regarding the people andlandofIsraelwill be fulfilled

–Praying in the Spirit

   –does not require gift of tongues, nor exclude it

   –according to mind and heart of God the Father and the Son, who always pleased Him

   –modeled after the “Lord’s Prayer”

      –love of God firstly; love of neighbors as ourselves; proclamation of God’s Kingdom

Spiritual Warfare:  requires living faith in God’s sovereignty and His righteousness

   –covering the whole wall of the house and the city:  to carry out the work given us to do until the Lord’s return – preserving that which properly belongs to Messiah and the N.T.  inside, while at the same time keeping out what is not His

(I am sharing that part which I have been given presently.  We know in part and even that part is as looking through a cloudy glass.  We should each be able to bear witness to the truth by the Spirit of Truth.)

    –making one’s life a prayer:  submit to God and resist the devil, the flesh, the world

      –humility and meekness

   –not condoning or participating in what you know to be against the LORD and His Anointed One

   –honesty before God and man regarding our own sins and iniquities, but standing by faith in the truth of our justification by the grace of God

   –putting on the whole armor of God, with prayer

   –praise (sacrifice)

   –at various times may be fought on one’s knees, on one’s feet, on one’s face, with fasting

CLOGGED WELLS: UNPAID TITHES AND OFFERINGS

Last week I spoke about digging up our stopped-up wells so that the spiritual life in Messiah can flow through us more freely.  We spoke of some of the “stones, dirt, and garbage” which can clog up our wells.  It had been my intention to speak today on another subject related to God’s purposes for us here in Beer Sheva, but during the week the Holy Spirit convicted me of another stone in both my life and in the congregation’s, which is limiting God in blessing us here as He would want.  It is a subject which is seen from the first pages of history down to these last days, as written for our instruction in the Bible.  

The Lord does not change:  He wants His people to give from their incomes and increases in order for Him to bless us.  From Cain and Abel (Gen 4:4) to Abraham and Melchizedek (Gen 14:20) to Jacob (Gen 28:20-22) to the people of Israel under the whole Tenach (the O.T.:  Lev 27:30-32; Num 18:21-24; Dt 12:17-19; 14:22,28-29; 24:19-22; Pr 3:9; Mal 3:8), the believers who feared YHVH understood that all that they had belonged to God, and that they “owed” Him at least 10% (a tithe).  

Under the Law the LORD told Israel through Moses that 10% belonged to YHVH, and was holy to Him.  He instructed the children of Israel to give this 10% for Him to the Levites, who served Him as priests in the Tabernacle/Temple. (Num 18:23-24)  This corresponds to deacons and elders within local Messianic/Christian congregations.  The Levites were to give from this tithe their own tithe as an offering to YHVH, who was their inheritance, rather than a land possession with the other children of Israel.  

The tithes and offerings are God’s “taxes” upon the citizens of His Kingdom to help service the general welfare which His government provided (similar to Mt 22:15-22; Rom 13:1-7):  firstly, to pay the priests their “salaries”, who as a tribe worked every day of the year, while the rest of the tribes only worked 80% of the year, not having to work on Sabbaths and holidays. (Lev 27:30-32; Num 18:21; 1Tim 5:17-18)  This corresponds to elders who teach, and to other servants who serve regularly and faithfully the local churches on Sabbaths and Sundays.; secondly, to pay for the upkeep of the Tabernacle/Temple, and for feast days (Dt 12:17-19); thirdly, to care for the poor and the stranger, the widows and fatherless. (Dt 14:28-29)  The first amounted to the “whole tithe”, or 10%; the second and the third raised the total offering to 16%-17%.  The blessing which YHVH promised was based upon these extra donations, which were voluntary.  The tithe was obligatory, a necessary duty upon all.  

Mal 3:7-12   We rob God!  Instead of stealing from Him by not paying our tithes, He wants to give us at least 80%-90% of what is already His.  YHVH is saying to give Him even the minimum of 10%, and He will give us more than enough.  This is grace; He is asking from us the minimum under the Law, and He will bless us, although the Law does not require Him to!  

Give to the Lord, and He will bless in such a way that unbelievers will notice.
Give to God what is rightfully His, and He will increase our income to enable us to bless and help others, to His glory.

Tithing also provides a defense against greed and stinginess.  

So much for the O.T., but what about the New Testament?  Aren’t we under grace now and not the Law?
Mt 23:23-24   justice, mercy, and faith + tithing
Lk 11:42   justice and the love of God + tithing  

So speaks our Lord Jesus.  

If you read 2Cor 8 – 9, Paul instructs Christians regarding giving.  His teaching is based upon the words of the Lord Yeshua, who upholding the principles and commandments of the Word of God as written in the O.T. in this matter, just as He is concerning the promises made to the Fathers connected with the people and the land of Israel.  The apostle in particular praises those who gave more than his own expectation, despite their poverty and affliction, and says that they gave firstly unto the Lord and then to them by the will of God. (2Cor 8:1-5)

Many of us are having financial troubles.  Could it be that we are robbing God?  Many of us have not had a ‘new song’ in a long time.  Could it be that we are robbing God and rejecting His interests in the congregation?   

Mal 3:13-18   God makes a distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve Him and those who do not; the Book of Remembrance is for those who fear YHVH and think of Him.  

2Cor 9:6-15   God will bless the whole-hearted giver, and many will give thanks to God.

May the Lord increase our faith to give more than mere duty – but at least our duty! – and unclog our wells.  Spring up, O well! (Num 21:17)