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HalleluYah! Blessed be the name of Yahweh! HalleluYah!
Shabbat Shalom to all of you who are just joining us. Glad to be with you once again on a beautiful Shabbat afternoon– actually, almost noon here in the Ozarks of southern Missouri. HalleluYah!
What a great festival of Sukkot we had! I just want to take a minute and just thank all the men who helped put things together and make it happen and make it such an awesome, awesome time together. I can’t say enough about how blessed we are to have brothers and sisters come together and help.
There was Benjamin Mitchison, Benjamin Mai, Neil, Hector, Paul, Jacob, Glen Robbin helped, Brother Keith and his son, Hector, and then John Elgin stepped in from time to time, and Gary, Bill Hood. We had, let’s see. Who else? Arthur did a great song for us and helped in other ways.
And Mike Comfort, brother, you are a tremendous blessing. I am very thankful that you were among us. Also, Alan from Idaho. Brother Dave from Montana stepped in. We had Andrew Balis and his family. Maybe I should just give you a full roster here. There was Tony and then Andrew Wright. Boy, what a laborer in Yahweh.
So, Yahweh worked through all these men. The Fendleys, and Mark Jacob, Brother Frank, Travis from Montana, Bob Quinnell from Wisconsin. The list goes on and on and on… Brother Richard from our chat room here. We all know Brother Richard is a tremendous helper and laborer in Messiah. And I can’t forget MiykaEl, our brother from Nebraska.
There are others, too, and the wives of all these men and the ladies who were there as support.
We had a little trial ourselves. Particularly, my wife had a trial in getting to the festival. She kept running into problems here at home trying to get back to the festival. It just seemed like one thing after another.
I am sure I was being tested, and she was being tested to see if we would still serve Yahweh’s people in the midst of a trial. My wife refused to give up and she made it.
On the way, Yahweh allowed a deer to jump out in front of my wife’s car at 70 miles per hour. I could hardly believe my eyes when she got here to the festival because the radiator in our car was bent backwards and shoved into the engine from the impact of the deer– and the radiator did not, and still has not, leaked.
I mean, the radiator is physically touching the distributor cap, and one of the wires in the car is actually arcing. She had to come home on five cylinders, and the radiator did not spring a leak.
We have hit deer before, and even our truck, our Suburban, going 15 miles per hour– the radiator fluid just went everywhere. But Yahweh had His hand on my wife, Kelly, and our two girls who were with her. She pulled over. There was no mechanical anything that was failing. And then Yahweh sent a couple of messengers, a couple of angels.
They were traveling to Chicago along the Interstate and escorted her down to the festival, the campground. I marvel at the faithfulness of Yahweh in difficulties.
And I also think– Neil and myself and others who involve ourselves in ministry– so many times we become the recipient of so many prayers, as far as people praying for us. But I wonder how many of us pray for our wives. That may be where they are not so much covered in prayer.
So, I just encourage all of you, whenever you see men in ministry, pray for the wives of those men and for the children of those men, for the hand of protection to be on them.
Now I know beyond a shadow of a doubt Yahweh’s hand of protection was on all of us. This is all the more reason why we need to be very, very careful about our prayers and that we do cover everyone in our prayers.
Well, I want to talk today about these kinds of things. You know, we had an incident where an elder’s wife– an elder, Brother Neil and Sister Vicki– missed most of the festival. Vicki missed the entire festival, and Neil missed all of it but one day when he came down to visit one evening.
You might sit here and wonder– Why? Why would Yahweh allow such a thing? Our tendency is to point fingers at the enemy and say, “The enemy did this,” and, “The enemy did that.” But nothing happens apart from Yahweh giving the green light.
And all that Job went through, Yahweh lifted the hedge of protection. And yes, the enemy did the ugly things, but Yahweh permitted it. And Yahweh is sovereign. He is King. He is still on the throne. He is not helpless at the hands of the enemy.
So, why would Yahweh do something or allow something as strange as this? The very people who are, maybe, one of the most responsible for having made this planning stage such a success– why go through this trial at this time? When you think about it, it almost seems just kind of strange, but we are reminded in Scripture:
1Peter 4:12 - Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
13 – but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Messiah’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
Others would say, “Well, okay, okay, all right, EliYah, I get that– but why during the Feast of Tabernacles? Why during a time when we are supposed to gather and have a grand old time?”
Well, I say, based on what I read in the Scriptures, maybe especially during the Feast of Tabernacles, which is supposed to be a picture of the children of Israel being tested in the wilderness.
Leviticus 23:42 - `You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths,
We are native Israelites. We are native Israelites through Yahushua ha Mashiach.
Leviticus 23:43 - `that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I [am] YAHWEH your Elohim.'”
44 – So Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts of YAHWEH.
So, the Festival of Tabernacles is supposed to be a picture, an illustration, an object lesson of some of the difficulties and challenges and blessings of Yahweh’s provision during the time they were in that wilderness.
So, first of all, don’t think it strange that a trial happened to a dear sister and a dear brother.
And second of all, especially don’t be thinking it is strange that it happened during the Feast of Tabernacles because that is what this whole festival is supposed to be picturing– the children of Israel’s walk in the wilderness and the trials that accompanied it.
And so, our study titled today is: Tests, Trials and Tribulations.
You know, a time of testing is often accompanied by, or followed immediately by, a time of rejoicing. We look at the very first thing Yahweh did when they set their foot on the other side of the Red Sea, and the very first thing He did, after they rejoiced, was to test them.
Exodus 15:19 - For the horses of Pharaoh went with his chariots and his horsemen into the sea, and YAHWEH brought back the waters of the sea upon them. But the children of Israel went on dry [land] in the midst of the sea.
20 – Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.
Exodus 15:21 - And Miriam answered them: “Sing to YAHWEH, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!”
A time of great rejoicing as they began their journey in the wilderness with a bang! And Yahweh sent His own bang after this time of rejoicing, that they were ready to keep this Feast of Tabernacles in the wilderness.
Wasn’t it Yahweh who says, “Tell Pharaoh, I want you to tell him, we have to go keep a Feast. We have to go into the wilderness and keep a Feast.”
Exodus 15:22 - So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water.
So, after this time of rejoicing, after this time of celebration, after they had found salvation through Messiah Yahushua and they were baptized into the sea and into the cloud– testing.
Exodus 15:23 - Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they [were] bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah.
See, they finally find some water and the water is bitter. They can’t drink it. Imagine that: “Oh, there it is! Finally! We have some water!” And they come up to the water and they drink it and it is bitter. It can’t be drunk.
Exodus 15:24 - And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”
25 – So he cried out to YAHWEH, and YAHWEH showed him a tree. When he cast [it] into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a statute and an ordinance for them. And there He tested them,
What did He do? He tested them. That is what the wilderness experience is all about. Yes, there is a rejoicing, but who is to say we can’t rejoice in the fiery trial, which is to try us? Who is to say we still can’t count it all joy?
Our dear sister, Vicki, had an opportunity to count it all joy in the midst of suffering, in the midst of pain, in the midst of tribulation. And in my mind, she was a beacon to all of us and a light to all of us. I told her that. Because she chose to justify Yahweh rather than become the bitter waters, she became a sweet smelling offering unto Yahweh.
I don’t mean to lift any person up too highly, but we need to look after those who walk orderly, and say, “That is an example of what we want to be.”
And Yahweh went on to tell them:
Exodus 15:26 - and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of YAHWEH your Elohim and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I [am] YAHWEH who heals you.”
27 – Then they came to Elim, where there [were] twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters.
If you look in the Scriptures, there was not a single righteous man, that I can find, who was a significant character in the Bible that did not have their faith tested. Everyone has had their faith tested. Everyone. And we, also, have our faith tested.
1Corinthians 10:1 - Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea,
2 – all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
3 – all ate the same spiritual food,
1Corinthians 10:4 - and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Messiah.
5 – But with most of them Elohim was not well pleased, for [their bodies] were scattered in the wilderness.
6 – Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
1Corinthians 10:7 - And do not become idolaters as [were] some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”
8 – Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;
9 – nor let us tempt Messiah, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents;
Because they complained.
1Corinthians 10:10 - nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
11 – Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
12 – Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
So, when you see another brother or a sister undergoing a trial, don’t think it is strange. Don’t think it unusual– even during the Festival of Tabernacles.
I heard another report of someone who apparently had suffered a heart attack, an 81 year old man, and somehow, miraculously, he survived it, and they can’t find any evidence that he ever had one.
And so, there are other festivals where we heard of difficult times and different things happening, different spiritual trials and tribulations. In fact, most every year I can think of, there has been something that happened. Somebody either broke a leg or had something happen to them, or whatever.
So, don’t think it strange. This is part of an opportunity that we have at the Feast of Tabernacles and at other festivals. This is an opportunity we have to endure the difficulties that the children of Israel dealt with in the wilderness. And we have to be careful that if we think we stand, to take heed lest we, also (Yahweh forbid), fall.
1Corinthians 10:13 - No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but Elohim [is] faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear [it].
14 – Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
Don’t think for a moment that whatever temptation you have is any different than what other people have. We learned that at the men’s meeting this year. A lot of the same temptations. We all face a lot of the same things, but Yahweh does provide a way of escape, a way of obedience, so that we may be able to bear it.
And if we think we can’t, if we think that we are not able to bear it, then we are denying what our Elohim in heaven has said and we are trying to form Him into an image that He is not, and therefore, we are in danger of practicing idolatry because we are saying Yahweh is not the Elohim that allows trials and tests and tribulations.
“Oh, of course, the Son of Yahweh who came. Yahweh allowed Him to be suffered and be tortured and killed, but not you. Of course, not you. He wouldn’t allow you to be suffering at all, right?” Wrong.
It is a part of our walk. This is what we signed up for. You know, if you were baptized at the festival this year, or some other festival, if you were recently baptized, just as the children of Israel after they were baptized into the sea and into the cloud, many times we will undergo tests.
Yahushua Himself, after He was baptized, where did the Spirit lead Him? Into the wilderness to be tested. After the children of Israel were baptized, what happened to them? They were in the wilderness and they were tested.
And so, if you were baptized at the Feast, or some other time recently, and something just hit you like a ton of bricks, don’t be surprised. That is a part of what happens. Many, many times I have seen it happen– after a baptism, a test. And a test is an opportunity.
Why does Yahweh send the difficulty right after this time of rejoicing? Why does He do that? It is like almost as if He is trying to kill our joy or something? What is He trying to do?
Think of it this way: It is during the time that we are strong through our rejoicing, and we are so thankful for what Yahweh has done. It is during this time that we are on a high that we are most able to bear the valley of the shadow of death.
And it is during that time we are in that valley of the shadow of death that Yahweh lifts us up and takes us up on a mountain. That is the story of our walk– mountains and valleys. Just like the land of Yisrael. Mountains and valleys.
So, it is a part of it. It is after a time of rejoicing that we are best able to bear the time of testing.
And those men in history who overcame their trials by the power of Elohim flowing through them, we can learn from those examples. Yahweh is faithful, but we need to remember, as I have shared the last several broadcasts, we are in a time nearing the end, and we are in this wilderness. We have not yet reached our eternal home.
And so, Yahweh told the children of Israel:
Deuteronomy 8:2 - “And you shall remember that YAHWEH your Elohim 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.
He is the one in the lead, not the enemy. Yahweh is in the lead.
Deuteronomy 8:3 - “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 YAHWEH.
HalleluYah! It is a part of it.
He also tested them on Sabbath observance, as He tests many of us on Sabbath observance. We read here in Exodus 16:
Exodus 16:4 - Then YAHWEH said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.
5 – “And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.”
6 – Then Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, “At evening you shall know that YAHWEH has brought you out of the land of Egypt.
Exodus 16:23 - Then he said to them, “This [is what] YAHWEH has said: `Tomorrow [is] a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to YAHWEH. Bake what you will bake [today], and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.'”
24 – So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it.
25 – Then Moses said, “Eat that today, for today [is] a Sabbath to YAHWEH; today you will not find it in the field.
Exodus 16:26 - “Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, [which is] the Sabbath, there will be none.”
27 – Now it happened [that some] of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none.
28 – And YAHWEH said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?
Exodus 16:29 - “See! For YAHWEH has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.”
30 – So the people rested on the seventh day.
And so, He is still testing people today on Sabbath observance. That is one of the first things He tested them on was Sabbath observance. And so, we, also, brothers and sisters, are tested.
You know, there are some areas regarding the Sabbath that could be opened widely to interpretation on how to observe. Yahweh is using that to see what is really in our heart. Are we really wanting to keep His commandments, or no?
Another area He tests us, as I shared in the Last Great Day message, is in whether or not we will obey Yahweh rather than men.
Deuteronomy 13:1 - “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder,
2 – “and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, `Let us go after other gods’ — which you have not known — `and let us serve them,’
3 – “you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for YAHWEH your Elohim is testing you to know whether you love YAHWEH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul.
Listen, we don’t love Yahweh our Elohim with all of our heart and all of our soul unless we choose to obey Yahweh rather than men.
Deuteronomy 13:4 - “You shall walk after YAHWEH your Elohim and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.
5 – “But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn [you] away from YAHWEH your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which YAHWEH your Elohim commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.
And so, the man was a tempter, one who sought to be a stumbling block by turning people away from the commandments of Yahweh and toward the commandments of men. And that is a test every single one of us face. If you missed that message on the Last Great Day, I encourage you later this week to download that and take a look at that.
Now, after the children of Israel entered the promised land, He continued to test them.
You see, they chose not to separate themselves from the people of the land, but made covenants with them and did not drive them out as Yahweh commanded. So Yahweh says, “All right, well, I am not going to be with you and drive these nations out. There are going to be tests.” (Test Israel by them.)
So, it was all a test. And so, here we are, brothers and sisters.
You know, we are surrounded by Gentile nations, nations of people who do not serve Elohim, and Yahweh is allowing all of us to undergo tests to see whether we will walk in the cultures of this world and the ways of this world and follow their doctrines and their beliefs and their commandments or whether we will follow His commandments.
Whether we will allow the cultural pulls to yank us into their way of thinking or whether we will turn upside-down their way of thinking and draw them to the right side of things.
And some of the trials that we engage in, some of the trials that we are a part of, may involve physical pain– physical pain, heart pain, wounds. And that is pretty normal.
You might think, “Well, if I have a medical condition, if I have some kind of medical affliction, or some kind of calamity would befall me, somehow that means Yahweh is not looking upon me with favor and grace, and maybe, He is unhappy with me about something.
To that I would say: “Not necessarily.” If we have some kind of a medical affliction, think about Job, a man who was afflicted with boils. Think about the calamities of his children. Their house fell on them. Think about that. It probably would have been better in the eyes of Job if the house fell on him, but it happened to his own children.
What would be more painful for Job, for it to happen to himself or to see one of his children suffer? Obviously, the suffering of his own children was going to be more painful to Job than even his own.
But, you know? Some sufferings, especially chronic sufferings, can be tremendously painful. To that I would say this: Let’s look at Job chapter 7, verse 13. He says:
Job 7:13 - When I say, `My bed will comfort me, My couch will ease my complaint,’
14 – Then You scare me with dreams And terrify me with visions,
15 – So that my soul chooses strangling [And] death rather than my body.
Wow! What anguish! What powerful poetry to describe it! He says:
Job 7:16 - I loathe [my life]; I would not live forever. Let me alone, For my days [are but] a breath.
17 – “What [is] man, that You should exalt him, [That] You should set Your heart on him,
18 – That You should visit him every morning, [And] test him every moment?
He wanted to know: Why? How long? Look that phrase up in your Strong’s and you will see many people wanted to know: “How long? How long? How long?” in the Bible. They wanted to know.
Job 7:19 - How long? Will You not look away from me, And let me alone till I swallow my saliva?
20 – Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O watcher of men? Why have You set me as Your target, So that I am a burden to myself ?
Job 7:21 - Why then do You not pardon my transgression, And take away my iniquity? For now I will lie down in the dust, And You will seek me diligently, But I [will] no longer [be].”
Many people wanted to know: Why? How long? Many men of Yahweh wanted to know the answer to that question, but as righteous as Job was, and Yahweh bragged on how righteous he was, he still faced tests, trials and tribulation.
Why? Because he was wicked? No! Because he was righteous.
Psalms 11:4 - YAHWEH [is] in His holy temple, YAHWEH’S throne [is] in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.
5 – YAHWEH tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.
Yahweh tests the righteous. It was because Job was righteous that he was tested, not because he was wicked. “But the wicked and the one who loves violence”– Yahweh hates them. He says so. The unrepentant, the ones He knows will never turn to Him.
But those who are righteous, well, you might think, “Hmm, well, if this is how Yahweh treats His righteous ones, what will He do to the wicked?” Well, we need to understand that Yahweh tests the righteous for a good reason, a very good reason, and we are going to get into that in a minute.
But those of us who are in Messiah, we need to understand, brothers and sisters, testing and trials and tribulations are part of it. It is part of what we signed up for because look what happened. It says:
Acts 14:21 - And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch,
22 – strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting [them] to continue in the faith, and [saying], “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of Elohim.”
Do you get that? If we hope to enter the Kingdom of Elohim, then we need to understand– it is through tribulations. And he even says “many tribulations” we will enter the Kingdom of Elohim.
And so, when we see our brother and sister, when we see them engaging in the midst of a trial and a test and a tribulation, don’t even peer down your nose at them and say, “I wonder what sin they are involved in.” Don’t even start that process.
Listen, unless you are there in some fashion and in some way to do this– strengthen the souls of the disciples– unless you are there to strengthen their soul and exhort them and encourage them to continue in the faith and to not give up.
You see, Job’s friends didn’t do that. Job’s friends spent most of their time accusing him of some kind of sin, and most of the things that they said, maybe all the things they said, were not even true. But you see, what Job went through wasn’t because of his sin. It happened, again, because of Job’s righteousness.
Job 1:8 - Then YAHWEH said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that [there is] none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears Elohim and shuns evil?”
9 – So Satan answered YAHWEH and said, “Does Job fear Elohim for nothing?
Job 1:10 - “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.
11 – “But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”
So, He did. And then later when Job chose to bless Elohim rather than curse Him, Satan came back and Yahweh said to him:
Job 2:3 - Then YAHWEH said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that [there is] none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears Elohim and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.”
No reason for it. There was no cause for Yahweh to move against Job and to judge him, except that he was righteous. Yahweh did allow Job to undergo a test– “Will he be faithful if I do take away these things?”
And it was discovered, yes, Job had a little bit of self-righteousness and pride in him as he began to recount his own righteousness (in Job 31, and other verses) in response to those who were accusing him. And he began to not justify Elohim, but rather to justify himself through it all.
It was then that Yahweh rescued Job out of the whirlwind.
Job 38:1 - Then YAHWEH answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:
2 – “Who [is] this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge?
3 – Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.
Job 38:4 - “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell [Me], if you have understanding.
5 – Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 – To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone,
Job 38:7 - When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of Elohim shouted for joy?
Anytime someone is getting a little bit toward justifying themselves, this is a pretty good chapter. So, anyway, where were you when Yahweh created the heavens and the earth? What were its measurements? To what were the foundations formed?
You know, those are very good humbling words because when Job heard these kinds of things, Job answered Yahweh, and said:
Job 42:1 - Then Job answered YAHWEH and said:
2 – “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose [of Yours] can be withheld from You.
3 – [You asked], `Who [is] this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
See, for Yahweh to explain everything He is doing to us, we may not be able to understand it. There may be things that are just too wonderful for us, too significant, too high, things that we cannot fully understand. And so, do we trust Him?
Job 42:4 - Listen, please, and let me speak; [You said], `I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’
5 – “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.
6 – Therefore I abhor [myself], And repent in dust and ashes.”
So, Job was content with his understanding– “Yahweh is in heaven; I am on earth. He is greater than I am.” His knowledge far surpasses our own. And so, who are we to sit and question anything?
See, Yahweh looks at the big picture. We have a tendency to only look at the present moment. He looks into our future, and He wants to reward us. He wants to bless us with blessing. He wants to heap up treasures for us in the age to come. And so, these are opportunities.
Now, Yahweh does sometimes give us a reason for our testing. And actually, here is one reason that is very important for us to understand: It is when we are tested that we truly learn what obedience is.
You know, when we are obedient in times of ease and times with no difficulty, with no opposition, that is one thing. But really, our obedience is made perfect when, in the face of opposition and challenge and difficulty, we remain faithful and obedient to His Word.
Even Yahushua Himself, it says:
Hebrews 5:8 - though He was a Son, [yet] He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
9 – And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
And so, even though He was the Messiah, He was the Son of Elohim, He had to learn obedience through His suffering. When Yahushua was tested, of course, no unrighteousness was found in Him.
It was one thing for the Messiah to be obedient to the Father in the comforts of heaven, in the comforts and glory in the heavenly places, but to be here on earth and face the suffering and the pain and the difficulty of life– and to still be faithful to Yahweh and obedient– that is when you learn what obedience really is.
And so, this happens to all of us, and my heart goes out in compassion toward all of you who are facing trials and tribulations and difficulties. And I know it is difficult, but you know something? Yahweh has a plan that is bigger than you, that is bigger than me, that is bigger than all of us.
When Job was tested, the impurity of pride came to the surface as He was being refined. But you know, the one thing that impresses me about Job is that he held onto Yahweh. He did hold onto Yahweh. And for that joy that was sitting before him, knowing he would see the face of Elohim, he endured that trial. He says:
Job 19:25 - For I know [that] my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 – And after my skin is destroyed, this [I know], That in my flesh I shall see Elohim,
And so, it was this, also, this joy sitting before Messiah Himself that kept Him strong. And we are admonished in the Scriptures to look to these men who faced and endured these tests, trials and tribulations, and not grow weary.
Hebrews 12:1 - Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares [us], and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2 – looking unto Yahushua, the author and finisher of [our] faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of Elohim.
That is how He endured. The joy of Yahweh was His strength. The joy of Yahweh is also our strength. Look where He ended up.
Hebrews 12:3 - For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
4 – You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.
We have not yet resisted unto death. We are still not at that level, yet. We have another level that we have to go toward.
Hebrews 12:5 - And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of YAHWEH, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 – For whom YAHWEH loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”
7 – If you endure chastening, Elohim deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
And so, we get spanked sometimes. We get the chastening of Yahweh, and that is for our benefit. And if you are not getting any chastening for your sin, that is not a good sign.
It is when we are getting chastened, it is when we are facing challenges like this, that the hand of Yahweh is offering us a path of correction for our benefit.
Hebrews 12:8 - But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
9 – Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected [us], and we paid [them] respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?
10 – For they indeed for a few days chastened [us] as seemed [best] to them, but He for [our] profit, that [we] may be partakers of His holiness.
It is for a blessing, the chastening of Yahweh.
Hebrews 12:11 - Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
12 – Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,
13 – and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
HalleluYah! And so, brothers, we need to rise up and walk in the name of Yahushua ha Mashiach and continue this pathway that we are on. And don’t be surprised when the fiery trial comes. In fact, there are good reasons for it.
Why do we have trials? As we see: 1. Chastening. Is that for our harm or is that for our good? It is for our good.
You know, sometimes a lot of our discomfort and the internal agony that we endure as a result of our tribulations is because we feel that we have somehow wronged Yahweh, and we don’t want to wrong Him.
Maybe this would lead us to a lack of prayer, a lack of prayer at a time that actually we are going to need His hand the most and at a time that He would want us to pray to Him the most. And when we do pray to Him, we need to remember that even in our chastening Yahweh is merciful.
Psalms 103:8 - YAHWEH [is] merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
9 – He will not always strive [with us], Nor will He keep [His anger] forever.
10 – He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
He could certainly give us more than what we currently have. We deserve it.
Psalms 103:11 - For as the heavens are high above the earth, [So] great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 – As far as the east is from the west, [So] far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 – As a father pities [his] children, [So] YAHWEH pities those who fear Him.
Psalms 103:14 - For He knows our frame; He remembers that we [are] dust.
15 – [As for] man, his days [are] like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
So, why trials? It is for the chastening of Yahweh. HalleluYah! Let it happen! But Yahweh has mercy on us.
Another reason for trials: 2. Learning what is in our hearts. We might not be manifesting any disobedience at the time, but Yahweh is doing this to bring forth a refining.
And the third reason: 3. Learning obedience through the things that we suffer. There are reasons for it. Good reasons.
And so, we see here, actually, that there is a chastening. Okay, we have committed some kind of wrong, so Yahweh is chastening us. But on reason number two and on reason number three there may not necessarily be any disobedience. We may have not done anything wrong.
And there are people who are undergoing trials and think they have somehow wronged Him, they have done something wrong to Him, but He is not even testing them for something they did wrong. And so, we have to keep these things in mind.
And when we are looking at others, don’t look at them with judgmental eyes, but consider, like Job, like Yahushua, the trials may not be due to a person’s sin. The trial may just be a test from Yahweh to learn what is in the person’s heart.
And, like Messiah, the person might not have anything in the heart that even needs to be purged. Their faith is simply being tested so that Yahweh may heap a pile of blessings and rewards for them in the age to come as they justify Elohim rather than themselves.
So, as our faith is tested, remember:
Hebrews 11:6 - But without faith [it is] impossible to please [Him], for he who comes to Elohim must believe that He is, and [that] He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
First of all, you have to believe that He is, and you also have to believe He is a rewarder, one who pays. And we went into great detail on that during the festival– actually, the last Sabbath message.
And so, we see:
Hebrews 11:35 - Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.
36 – Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment.
37 – They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented —
Hebrews 11:38 - of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, [in] dens and caves of the earth.
39 – And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise,
See? They didn’t get it, yet.
Hebrews 11:40 - Elohim having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
So, all of this, brothers, that we might receive the rewards in the age to come. And that takes faith– not just a little bit of faith, Brother Art– so, that they might receive the rewards.
Countless men have been tested so that Yahweh may give them rewards. And it is when we are tested that the genuineness of our faith is revealed.
1Peter 1:6 - In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
7 – that the genuineness of your faith, [being] much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Yahushua Messiah,
How on earth do our trials give praise, honor, and glory to Yahweh? Hmm.
1Peter 1:8 - whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see [Him], yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9 – receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of [your] souls.
Many of you may ask, “How can this suffering I am going through right now, how can that glorify Yahweh? How can this trial I am facing right now, how would that glorify Yahweh? I don’t understand.
“Why would Yahweh put something like this upon me, and how on earth would the thing I am going through right now, or the thing I went through five years ago, or the thing that is facing me and staring at me right now, how could this possibly glorify Yahweh? Makes me look like I am a mess. It makes me seem like there is no joy.
“It makes me seem like there is no joy in serving the Elohim of Yisrael when I go through these difficulties.”
Maybe you think Yahweh would be glorified if we all just had piles of riches and ease of life and full of blessing and goodness. But we need to understand something about faith. It is when we go through trials and tribulations and difficulties, challenging circumstances, painful tribulations, that we do glorify Yahweh.
Why? Because those who are not of faith, those who are unbelievers, or weak believers, will look at our lives and say, “What is it that they are holding onto? What are they holding onto? How does he maintain such joy in difficult circumstances?”
“How can a man whose wife is in the ICU be running around in a wheel chair giving glory and spreading joy and good cheer?” like Brother Neil did. “What is it? Who is it that is in them that causes them to count it all joy in the midst of horrific circumstances?”
“I don’t have that in my life,” an unbeliever would say. “I just get bitter and angry, and I’m miserable, but not them. They don’t do that. They still go around spreading the joy of their salvation with others.” And the unbelieving would say, “I need that. I need that. I want that, too.”
You see, my brothers, my sisters, every trial presents an opportunity to justify ourselves or justify Yahweh. When we justify Yahweh, you know what? We actually preach repentance. We actually preach repentance.
When we count it all joy we actually preach repentance because every smile in the midst of suffering, every mention of the faithfulness of Elohim, we preach repentance. Every time we justify Yahweh rather than ourselves we preach repentance without having to break out a single Bible verse because we are saying Yahweh’s ways are right no matter what.
Yahweh’s ways are right no matter what, and by that we preach repentance. We justify Elohim rather than ourselves.
How many times do we hear about unbelievers who were bitter at Yahweh over all the evil and suffering that is in the world? And they can hardly believe there would be a loving Father in heaven who loves and cares for His creation.
And so, when we declare His love and His faithfulness in the midst of tests, trials and tribulations, we are fulfilling the great commission to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” And we are calling everyone to count it all joy in the midst of suffering.
What is it that is in us? It is that joy. It is that hope that is set before us. That is our strength. When we declare: “We deserve nothing. We don’t even deserve to live or have eternal life. We deserve it not. If all Yahweh ever did was save me from my own sin, that would be far, far, more than anything I ever deserved.”
And so, we stop justifying ourselves and start declaring the faithfulness and love of Yahweh. We are preaching repentance to all those who see us counting it all joy. And they will wonder, “Where is the strength coming from?” And they will have to declare that there is an Elohim in Yisrael.
There is an Elohim in Israel because our faith is superhuman. It is supernatural. Nothing in the natural world can explain it. And we declare, my brothers and sisters, that our Redeemer lives! And He lives in us because He suffered, and He bore it, and He is bearing that suffering through us.
We are declaring His life, as it is no longer we who live, but– “Messiah who lives in me. And the life which I now live, I live by faith in the Son of Elohim, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
See, our Redeemer is not asking anything of us that He didn’t do Himself. He suffered for us, though He deserved it not. He did not waver in His faith, though He faced the biggest challenge to it that any human being has ever faced.
Would we be willing to suffer for His sake in return, to justify Yahweh rather than ourselves and demonstrate our love for Him, as He demonstrated His love for us, through a willingness to endure the suffering and tests and trials and tribulations, that we might manifest the Messiah Himself to everyone whom we know?
1Peter 2:21 - For to this you were called, because Messiah also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
22 – “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;
This is part of our calling. It says: “To this you were called.” To do what? To be Messiah-like in our suffering.
Even unbelievers suffer. Even unbelievers. You might as well get a reward for it, huh? Might as well.
So, will we have the faith Yahweh is looking for? We know Yahweh will avenge and reward us in due time for those who wrong us, for the times that we suffered through no fault of our own. But Yahushua asked this question of us. Those of us in the final generation, He asked the question:
Luke 18:7 - “And shall Elohim not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?
8 – “I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
Yahushua said we will live like He did, right?
John 15:20 - “Remember the word that I said to you, `A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
21 – “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.
See? We are just like Messiah. So, we can be like Him, being found faithful to the end, being found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Yahushua Messiah, even though tested by fire. Will our faith be found when Messiah comes?
When the end times come, when brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death, when we will be hated by all for His name’s sake, will we endure to the end that we might be saved?
Matthew 10:21 - “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father [his] child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.
22 – “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Just remember, we have a High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses.
Hebrews 4:15 - For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all [points] tempted as [we are, yet] without sin.
16 – Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
You know, Yahushua was without sin in all of His temptings and tests. What about us? I know for myself I am no stranger to tests, trials and tribulations. I continue to experience them. I know I have failed many times, but you know what? Yahweh just kept on testing me until I passed.
He keeps testing you for the same thing. He will test me, the same thing, over and over, until the day comes when I finally pass the test. Then we move onto something else. And you know what? When I do pass, no greater feeling in the world than that. That Yahweh would give me the power and the strength to overcome? He is awesome.
But, you know, I shared prior to the festival about the need to be watchful– and Neil shared this, too– the need that we have to be very careful about the future and to be focused on the Word of Elohim, because if we think tribulation is difficult now, remember Yahushua’s words, what He said about our future.
Matthew 24:21 - “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 – “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
So, we need to take heed to ourselves, as Yahushua told us here:
Luke 21:34 - “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.
35 – “For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
A snare is coming, brothers, sisters.
Luke 21:36 - “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Do we pray these things? “Yahweh, please, let us be found worthy to escape these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man. In Yahushua’s name.”
And if we are willing to persevere now, perhaps, like the promise to the assembly in Revelation 3:10:
Revelation 3:10 - “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
Persevere now, and you may not need the tribulation later. Pass the test now, and He won’t have to test you later. Be faithful in what you have now, and Yahweh may not feel the need to test you later in your faithfulness.
And so, let’s keep that command to persevere. Let’s call upon His name as we are tested in the fire, and pray diligently for deliverance as we reach the refining, as we go through the refining.
Zechariah 13:8 - And it shall come to pass in all the land,” Says YAHWEH, “[That] two-thirds in it shall be cut off [and] die, But [one]-third shall be left in it:
9 – I will bring the [one-third] through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, `This [is] My people’; And each one will say, `YAHWEH [is] my Elohim.'”
HalleluYah! We will call on His name.
So, brothers, don’t think it strange. And if you fail, all right. Get back up again.
Proverbs 24:16 - For a righteous [man] may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity.
When we face our calamity, our difficulties, we get back up and we rise again. But the wicked, they fall, and that’s it. They are done.
Psalms 34:19 - Many [are] the afflictions of the righteous, But YAHWEH delivers him out of them all.
Afflictions are a sign that there is a righteous man. And so:
James 1:12 - Blessed [is] the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which YAHWEH has promised to those who love Him.
Will we endure that we might run the race with endurance? Will we endure that we might cross that finish line in faithfulness because we believe in the promises of Elohim, and we hold onto the joy that He has set before us? What joy has He set before us?
Revelation 21:1 - Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.
2 – Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from Elohim, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Revelation 21:3 - And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of Elohim [is] with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. Elohim Himself will be with them [and be] their Elohim.
4 – “And Elohim will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Revelation 21:5 - Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
6 – And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.
“I am the Aleph and the Tav,” I like to say.
Revelation 21:7 - “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his Elohim and he shall be My son.
What a promise! You know, it becomes easier to overcome our trials when we step back and look at the big picture.
Our life here is just a tiny little vapor that appears for a moment and then vanishes away. A little dot in the midst of an ocean. A little dot in the midst of a universe. A 60, 70, 80-year time period compared to trillions and trillions and trillions of years of eternity.
Can we indeed only live right and overcome these things that afflict us in this short life that we have so that we may receive these great and precious promises– trillions and trillions and trillions of years of true life with joy, peace and eternal fulfillment?
The wise will seek these eternal things. He is no fool, as they say. He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to attain what he cannot lose. Will we be wise or will we be foolish?
Revelation 22:12 - “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward [is] with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
13 – “I am the Alpha and the Omega, [the] Beginning and [the] End, the First and the Last.”
14 – Blessed [are] those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
Revelation 22:15 - But outside [are] dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
16 – “I, Yahushua, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
Revelation 22:17 - And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
18 – For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, Elohim will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;
Revelation 22:19 - and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, Elohim shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.
20 – He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Master Yahushua!
21 – The grace of our Master Yahushua Messiah [be] with you all. Amen.
That, my brothers and sisters, is the big picture. Whenever we are in the midst of a trial, consider for a moment, all these things are temporary. We only need to trust in Yahweh with all of our hearts.
All these things around us, we look around. We see. It will all pass away. But Yahweh, and those who do the will of Elohim, will abide forever.
So, let’s hold onto the hand that will not change. Let’s hold onto that everlasting hand that will lead us into the promised land as we trek our way through this wilderness, through this land that is not our own.
And let’s prepare ourselves for the days to come, prepared for our Master, accustomed to hearing His voice, ready to lay down our lives as He did, though we have done no wrong to deserve such. For it is only when we truly lay down our lives that we begin to live.
May Yahweh give us the power and strength to die to ourselves, that Yahushua ha Mashiach might flow through us, and let it truly be He that lives in us.
May Yahweh bless you as you do so, and may Yahweh have mercy on us all.