PARTNERS WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: PART XLV

The first thing Jesus said to John’s messengers was that He had come to cure blindness, “the blind receive their sight”, and the fourth thing was that “the deaf hear” (Matthew 11:5). Jesus linked physical blindness and deafness with mental and spiritual impairments. The human mind puts blocks on what it does not want to see or hear. The mind is the intelligence center, which controls the “intake” and the “output” of things beneficial or harmful to life. To the earliest Bible people, the mind sort of collided and collaborated with the heart, the soul, and the spirit. One simply could not and did not dissect the human life into parts unrelated to each other. The translators have been kind enough to assign certain functions to these different organs and parts of the human body. So, the mind stores information and skills useful for their survival. For instance, after Joseph emerged as the second in command over Egypt, Jacob kept in mind Joseph’s dreams, which hinted at a time when his parents and his brothers would bow to him and that he would save them from starvation, (Genesis 37:11). The mind was mostly self-serving and acknowledging that God had it all planned (Genesis 50:15-21).

THE MIND REMINDED ISRAEL WHAT GOD HAD DONE AND WHAT GOD WOULD CONTINUE TO DO FOR THE FAITHFUL BELIEVERS, PROVIDED GOD WAS SERVED FIRST

Moses encouraged Israel to remember what God had done and what God expected of Israel to give Him credit in the world. Living out God’s Commandments would honor God and make Israel a superior people among all nations and races. For Israel to fail would become disastrous. According to Paul, the Gentile Christians can avoid falling into similar fated behavior. Partnership with God and with the Holy Spirit must not be taken for granted. Israel did not partner well with God and the Holy Spirit. And at what percentage are Christians today partnering with the Holy Spirit?

And the LORD heard your words, when you spoke to me: and the LORD said to me, ‘I have heard the voice of this people, which they have spoken to you; they have rightly said all that they have spoken. Oh that they had such a mind as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their children for ever! Go and say to them, “Return to your tents.” But you, stand here by me, and I will tell you all the commandments and the statutes and the ordinances which you shall teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess.’ You shall be careful to do therefore as the LORD your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the way which the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land which you shall possess (Deuteronomy 5:28-33).

And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders; but to this day the LORD has not given you a mind to understand, or eyes to see, or ears to hear. I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes have not worn out upon you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet; you have not eaten bread and you have not drunk wine or strong drink; that you may know that I am the LORD your God. And when you came to this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon and Og the king of Bashan came out against us to battle, but we defeated them; we took their land, and gave it for an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of the Manassites. Therefore be careful to do the words of this covenant, that you may prosper in all that you do (Deuteronomy 29:2-9).

The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them; and you shall be a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. And your dead body shall be food for all birds of the air, and for the beasts of the earth; and there shall be no one to frighten them away. The LORD will smite you with the boils of Egypt, and with the ulcers and the scurvy and the itch, of which you cannot be healed. The LORD will smite you with madness and blindness and confusion of mind; and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind grope in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways; and you shall be only oppressed and robbed continually and there shall be none to help you (Deuteronomy 28:25-29).

So I ask, have they (Israelites) stumbled so as to fall? By no means! But through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!

Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order to make my fellow Jews jealous and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? If the dough offered as first fruits is holy, so is the whole lump; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the richness of the olive tree, do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. You will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God; severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off. And even the others, if they do not persist in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree (Romans 11:11-24).

THE GREAT MIND OF SOLOMON TAUGHT MANY LESSONS, SOME GOOD AND SOME NOT SO GOOD!

The Hebrew Scripture writers believed that Solomon’s intellect was a gift from Yahweh as he had requested. But, the management of the mind was left to Solomon. Solomon used his mind to enhance his kingdom, his religion with a temple that was one of the first wonders of the world, and hand down tricky and clever social decisions. However, Solomon’s mind could not subdue his own passion for women and their religions. Being who Solomon was, the historians overlooked his passions, which cost his son Rehoboam the loss of ten tribes. Apparently, Solomon repented in his old age and therefore, he began to give advice in his “Proverbs,” how to partner with God’s Spirit.

Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father; only, he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings upon that altar. At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “As what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “Thou hast shown great and steadfast love to thy servant David my father, because he walked before thee in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward thee; and thou hast kept for him this great and steadfast love, and hast has given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now O LORD my God, thou hast made they servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people whom thou hast chosen, a great people that cannot be numbered or counted for multitude. Give thy servant therefore an understanding mind to govern thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to govern this thy great people?”

It pleased the Lord that Solomon has asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days” (I Kings 3:3-14).

For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord is God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not wholly follow the LORD, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. And so he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.

And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the LORD commanded. Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this has been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However I will not tear away all the kingdom; but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of David my servant and for sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen” (I Kings 11:4-13).

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding, he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and preserving the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you; understanding will guard you; delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil; men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways (Proverbs 2:1-15).

TO MAKE IT INTO THE KINGDOM AND STAY IN THE KINGDOM, ADOPT THE MIND OF SERVICE TO OTHERS AND NOT ONLY TO YOURSELF

The minds of Moses and Solomon were self-serving! And therefore, they were not regarded as sufficing for merits from God. Moses had taken liberties with the Law, which benefited the people; and thus, he was not allowed entrance into Canaan. And Solomon’s superior human intellect did not last until the end of his own life. Both men represented a culture and a religion, that regarded prosperity and physical success, as special favors of God. Yet, according to Jesus, riches and wealth kept and still keeps people out of God’s Kingdom (Mark 10:17-23; Luke 16:19-31). In the spiritual realm, the emphasis is on life, on the soul, and not on things that attract moths, rust, and thieves (Matthew 6:19-20). Spirituality, itself, is manifested in what man does and not in what he believes. And this was and this still is where Jesus, the Christ, has set the example to follow:

And Jesus said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste of death before they see the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:23-27).

One of the multitudes said to Jesus, “Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man who made me a judge or divider over you?” And he said to them, “Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought of himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this; I will pull down my barns and build large ones; and there I will store all my gain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God’ (Luke 12:13-21).

Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I say to you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table and come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would have been awake and would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will set him over all his possessions.  But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will punish him, and put him with the unfaithful.

And that servant who knew his master’s will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating. But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating. Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more (Luke 12:35-48).

The burdens that society puts on some people is hazardous. Overloading our leaders and people, who volunteer to do what most of us should do ourselves, ends in breakdowns and collapses. Regardless of the praises, we shower on such people, they become scapegoats when things fail. The spiritual Law demands that we bear our own crosses and share our own burdens.

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in a trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in the spirit of gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you to be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if any one thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each man will have to bear his own load (Galatians 6:1-5).