A parent understands the importance of discipline. We do it because we love our kids and we want them to grow into the best person they can possibly be.
That requires some molding, some correcting, and even some punishment.
However, since the beginning of time people have seen these same things from our Heavenly Father and considered them cruel and unfair.
As a result, we’ve come to a time where large groups of Believers cling to the “new” testament only, claiming that is all they need and effectively shutting their eyes to the foundation of the book while the last 1/4 has a neat little spine crease.
But I’ve seen both sides of this coin. I’ve seen “new” testament folks have all sorts of love but no discipline. No boundaries. No guidelines. No foundation. Surface dancers, adding in customs from the world and traditions of men to make an incomplete faith feel more complete. Yet they insist that is all they need.
And then I’ve seen the “old” testament folks who close their eyes just as stubbornly to the “new” and I better understand the propensity of man to wield the word of YHWH like a hammer, hitting as many people over the head with it as possible, lacking in compassion and the love in which our Father works. Burning bridges and burning people. Yet they insist that is all they need.
But when we turn away from our wisdom and turn to His, we see that the Father, in His wisdom, gave us the entire book. He meant for us to study and know all of it. Our completeness can only be found by turning from our own understanding and turning to His.
Hundreds of thousands of Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years and yet only two of that number crossed over into the promised land.
And the Father told us why.
‘Surely none of the men who came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, because they have not wholly followed me, none except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the Lord.’ Numbers 32:10-12
Halfheartedly seeking a wholehearted God does not work. The Father is clear in how He instructs us to seek Him.
“Moreover YHWH your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love YHWH your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. Deut 30:6
“It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to YHWH your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, Deut 11:13
“Now, Israel, what does YHWH your God require from you, but to fear YHWH your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve YHWH your God with all your heart and with all your soul, Deut 10:12
“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for YHWH searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever. 1 Chronicles 28:9
“But from there you will seek YHWH your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. Deut 4:29
if you obey YHWH your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to YHWH your God with all your heart and soul. Deut 30:10
and you return to YHWH your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons,Deut 30:2
With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Psalm 119:10
And in the words of Joshua, who shared the same Hebrew name as our Messiah:
14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15
The world is hard, y’all. We’re all tired of being beat up by it daily but we have a storm shelter at the ready.
We have the guidebook that tells us not only how to survive this world but how to live in it with grace, compassion, and wisdom, all while helping others to do the same.
When the Father wears you out. When He allows you to be defeated. When you get tired of punching the air and running on empty promises and synthetic hope, give up on all of that.
Turn to Him.
Open the book.
It begins in Genesis.