BUT WHILE MEN SLEPT! - Matthew 13:24-30 & 36-43

The dangers of not staying sober and alert!!!

Shabbat Shalom family,

Kěpha Aleph 5:8-10 “Be sober, watch, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in the belief, knowing that the same hardships are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 And the Elohim of all favour, who called you to His everlasting esteem by Messiah יהושע, after you have suffered a while, Himself perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

These are very clear words of instruction for us today, in that we are to guard ourselves against the lies of the enemy, that are not always clearly revealed as lies, under the veil of the vain traditions of man; and if we are not sober and watchful in guarding the commands of Elohim, we may just find ourselves being seduced into a drunken state in drinking the lies that ensnare and weaken our ability to stand firm in the Truth in the day of battle! Being sober and watchful, through diligent listening to and obeying the Torah of Elohim, on a daily basis, will help us in our ability to resist the devourer and endure through the momentary sufferings and troubles that we face; and hold fast to this sure promise of יהושע Messiah establishing, strengthening and settling us!

Tonight in a message called, “BUT WHILE MEN SLEPT!” I would like us to be reminded of our need to be a sober and watchful people – people who are not falling into the trap of deceptive and destructive teachings that cause many to fall asleep to the Truth, so to speak.

After the parable of the sower in Mattithyahu/Matthew 13, יהושע Messiah gave another parable on the reign of the heavens which He likens again to sowing, this time He gives the parable of the Good Seed and the darnel that is sown in the earth. Turn with me to Mattithyahu/Matthew 13:24-30 (Read).

The words that clearly stood out for me when reading this again, was the words from verse 25: “But when men slept”, and what we certainly see happening on a daily basis, is that when people are ‘asleep’ to the Truth, the enemy has a field day in sowing poisonous junk into their hearts – poison that grows up and even resembles the Truth, yet is nothing more than a deadly killer. The Master יהושע, then explains this parable to His disciples in verses 36-43 (Read).

These verses clearly explain the parable, and so what we recognise is that in this world there are sons of the reign and sons of the wicked one, that grow side by side until the harvest time comes when messengers of Elohim shall come and reap and gather out the darnel from the wheat, removing all those doing lawlessness!

In understanding the parable prior to this one, in regards to the conditions of hearts, and how the various responses to the Truth simply reveals the true condition of one’s heart when the various pressures of this world and this life come to test the heart; then we are able to recognise that a ‘sleeping heart’ is a heart that the devourer just loves to come and infect with his poison. By sleeping heart, I mean a heart that does not diligently guard the Torah that is to be written upon our hearts, and by not watching, allows lies to be sown in with the Truth and can corrupt the heart to a point of becoming lawless – which we see by the words of the Master, what the end of the lawless shall be!

As we read earlier from Kěpha, we must be sober and keep watch! When one is not sober, then the ability to concentrate and keep watch diminishes, even to the point of falling into a trance or deep sleep – while this is true on a physical level, the same principles apply to us on a spiritual level so to speak, where someone can be physically awake and sober, yet are not sober and watchful in the Truth and are drunk in the spirit so to speak and are unable to discern the set-apart from the profane or the clean from the unclean, as they have become addicted to the wine of whoring that the enemy pours out lavishly upon ‘sleeping hearts’.

In Kěpha’s letter the Greek root word translated as ‘be sober’ is νήφω nēphō – Strong’s G3525 which means, to be sober, abstain from wine, keep sober, watchful, circumspect, and the word translated as ‘watch’ is γρηγορέω grēgoreō – Strong’s G1127 which means, to be awake, keep watch, alert, vigilant, be cautious, give strict attention to and comes from the root ἐγείρω  egeirō – Strong’s G1453 which means, to raise up, to waken, stand’. The Greek word translated as ‘resist’ is ἀνθίστημι anthistēmi – Strong’s G436 which means, to set against, withstand, oppose, resist’. If we are not sober and alert, giving strict attention to the Word of Elohim, we will not be able to oppose or withstand the seed of the enemy being planted in our hearts!

In Greek the opposite to νήφω nēphō (to be sober) is the word μεθύω methuō – Strong’s G3184 which means, to be drunk, get drunk and this word is used metaphorically in describing those who are made drunk with the wine of the great whore:

Ḥazon/Revelation 17:2 “with whom the sovereigns of the earth committed whoring, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her whoring.

In Ma’asei/Acts we see this word being used to make it clear that those who were filled with the Set-Apart Spirit on Shavuot were not drunk:

Ma’asei/Acts 2:15 “For these men are not drunk, as you imagine, since it is only the third hour of the day.

This modern day concept of being ‘drunk in the spirit’ is NOT a clean Scriptural state to be in; which makes us realise that those who claim to be in such a state are in fact intoxicated by the poisonous venom of the enemy, and as a result they are the darnel that is growing up in the world as children of the wicked one,  which may have the appearance of wheat, yet in the end will be revealed for its darkness! As the ear of the wheat develops it becomes heavy and causes the entire plant to ‘droop’ or hang down, giving us a picture of humility; whereas in darnel the ‘ear’ does not develop and remains upright – a picture of pride and stubbornness to hear the Truth. The wheat becomes white in the head, whereas the darnel becomes black! This can only be revealed at harvest time.

Another Greek word we see being used in Scripture in reference to being drunk and is derived from μεθύω methuō is μεθύσκω methuskō – Strong’s G3182 which means, to make drunk, get drunk and we are expressly told in:

Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:18 “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is loose behaviour, but be filled with the Spirit

Being drunk results is loose behaviour or lawless living, which reckons that the Torah is of no effect, and those who continue to get drunk on such lies, by following vain theologies an traditions of man that teach this, will be plucked out and thrown into the fire!

Messiah makes it clear that the darnel are those who are lawless, and in Mattithyahu/Matthew 13:41 the Greek word translated as ‘lawlessness’ is ἀνομία  anomia – Strong’s G458 meaning, lawlessness or lawless deeds, unrighteousness and comes from the word ἄνομος anomos – Strong’s G459 meaning, lawless or without law, transgressors.

Many translations try to hide this truth by translating this ‘lawlessness’  as ‘evil’ or ‘sin’, which under the intoxicated dogmas of man, is not understood as it should be; for as I have previously mentioned that Scripture clearly tells us that ‘sin is lawlessness’.

The Greek word for sin is ἁμαρτία hamartia – Strong’s G266 which means, sin, failure, miss the mark, to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong, and also carries the meaning of, wandering from the law of Elohim, violate the law of Elohim.

And we clearly are told in:

Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 3:4 “Everyone doing sin also does lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

So what causes people to be so drunk on lies that they are unable to hear or discern the truth – SLEEP!!!

No I am not talking of physical sleep alone – for we certainly know that we need that – and we are also promised that while we sleep our Master never sleeps nor slumbers, but watches over us:

Tehillim/Psalm 121:3-4 “He does not allow your foot to be moved; He who watches over you does not slumber. 4 See, He who is guarding Yisra’ĕl Neither slumbers nor sleeps.

What I am speaking about is the sleep that many find themselves falling into, as they are led astray by false teachings and doctrines and become drunken to the point of being in a state of ‘sleep’ toward  the hearing, guarding and doing of the Truth or they become weighed down and get exhausted with the worries of life and the pressures of this world that they too fall asleep to the Truth, causing them to turn aside in their need to be diligent in their obedience to walking in the clear Torah (instructions) of יהוה. How often have you found yourself having slipped away from the Word – be it for a day or two or even a week or so, only to find yourself being bogged down with huge stress and fears and worries of life? These fears and worries can often begin to drive your thought patterns and emotions, and lead you to a lawless state – as compromise sets in, even if just for something seemingly small, which you will try to justify the acceptance of such compromise – all because you let your guard down and did not stay sober and alert, allowing the drunken and poisonous seeds of the enemy to be planted in your heart that you must guard in Messiah! What we also are to guard against is the seeds of division that the enemy will sow into sleeping hearts! When you ‘slack off’ and compromise in your walk, the enemy will even sow poisonous seeds of twisted lies in an effort to break down the unity in the fellowship of the body, by stirring up irritations and hatred towards others in the body, which then causes those who slack off to withdraw more and more from fellowship, to the point where they do not want to even be a part of what יהוה is building or where He has called them too, only causing the building of the House of Elohim to be neglected!

Messiah made it clear that it was while men slept that the enemy came and sowed the bad seed; and the Greek word translated as ‘slept’ is καθεύδω  katheudō – Strong’s G2518 which means, fall asleep, drop off, lie down to rest (figuratively or literally), and euphemistically it means, to be dead and metaphorically it means, to yield to sloth and sin, or be indifferent to one’s salvation. In other words to be asleep in Scripture can often refer to one who does not care about their life or the salvation of their souls, and so yield themselves to sin and lawlessness. Sadly there are many who do care about their lives, yet in their drunken state of lawlessness being sowed on their hearts, they are no different to the one who does not care!!!

In the parable of the ten maidens/virgins in Mattithyahu/Matthew 25, Messiah tells us that when the Bridegroom took long in coming they all slumbered and slept, and when the call came at midnight that He was coming all were awakened and they trimmed their lamps, yet those 5 who had no oil were not able to enter in. Now while this is a parable, I believe that our Master was giving us a clear warning that we must not be found to be sleeping when He comes, lest we find out that we have no oil for our lamps and trim them in vain!!!

In recognising the urgency of this parable of the wheat and the darnel and how easy it is for darnel to get sown into one’s heart through a little sleep, we must do our utmost to be sober and keep watch, not living as the world does but rather living according to the reign of the heavens that is coming! Sha’ul when telling the believers in Thessalonica that they were not to be ignorant of the times, as they knew the Appointed Times of יהוה, but were to be alert and awake to the Truth, and so he also warns us in:

Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 5:5-7 “For you are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 So, then, we should not sleep, as others do, but we should watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.

Here in verse 6 we see the very words we have discussed tonight. The warning is clear – if you do not watch and keep sober, you may find yourself in a state of sleep where the enemy can sow doubts, fears and lies that may cause you to become drunk with the deceptive and wicked wine of whoring, causing you to become lawless and at risk of being gathered by the reapers who will be sent to pluck out those doing lawlessness!

Let those who have ears hear!!!

When one is asleep, one’s hearing ability is not fully functional, and usually it is only by the sound of alarm or fear that one is woken up. Metaphorically speaking we must not be asleep to The truth and be like so many who will only be awakened by the Day of Alarm and Shouting, when it will be too late for the lawless to be redeemed!

Sha’ul tells us to walk in love by walking in the Torah and warns us in:

Romiyim/Romans 13:11-14 “And do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for us to wake up from sleep, for now our deliverance is nearer than when we did believe. 12 The night is far advanced, the day has come near. So let us put off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk becomingly, as in the day, not in wild parties and drunkenness, not in living together and indecencies, not in fighting and envy, 14 but put on the Master יהושע Messiah, and make no provision for the lusts of the flesh.

 

The hour has come to wake up from sleep and here in this word that Sha’ul uses for ‘sleep’ is the Greek word ὕπνος  hupnos/hypnos – Strong’s G5258, and while meaning ‘sleep’, it also carries the understanding of ‘being under, put under’.  In fact we get our English word ‘hypnosis’ from this word. Hypnosis is a trance-like state that resembles sleep but is induced by a person whose suggestions are readily accepted by the subject!

In Greek mythology ‘Hypnos’ was the personification of sleep and was the Greek mighty one of sleep whose palace was in a dark cave there the sun never shines and at the entrance there were poppies and other hypnotic plants. The Roman equivalent to this pagan mighty one was ‘Somnus’ from which the English word ‘insomnia’ is derived – ‘in..’ meaning ‘no or to not’ and ‘somnus’ meaning sleep!

We are to put off ‘darkness and sleep’ and put on the Master יהושע Messiah – The Light and walk in His Torah as children of light!

Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:14 “That is why He says, “Wake up, you who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Messiah shall shine on you.

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 15:33-34 “Do not be led astray, “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 34 Wake up to soberness, righteously, and do not sin, for some do not have the knowledge of Elohim. I speak this to your shame.

For far too long we have seen how the enemy has caused many to fall into a deep sleep by promoting lawlessness as an acceptable means of worship, and we who are in Messiah, must recognise that we have a great responsibility in guarding the charge to be sober and alert, being watchmen on the walls and proclaiming the Kingdom and Besorah (Good News) of Messiah.

When I was considering this danger of the enemy sowing wickedness when men slept, I thought of the events that happened with Shimshon as recorded in:

Shophetim/Judges 16:19 “And she made him sleep on her knees, and called for a man and shaved off the seven locks of his head. Thus she began to humble him, and his strength left him.

There is so much to glean from this account, and in considering the topic of tonight’s message, what  we see is how Delilah humiliated Shimshon by having his hair shaved off, the one thing he was not to do as he was a Nazirite from birth, who was to never shave his head! In the Hebrew, the word translated as humbled also carries the meaning of being humiliated, and this is what Delilah did by stripping Shimshon of His strength in יהוה. His hair itself was not Shimshon’s strength, but rather his obedience to  יהוה, and he forfeited the support that came with obedience by telling his secret to his wife who would sell it; and she caused him to ‘sleep’ which led to the enemy having his way!!! For a moment of weakness in the flesh Shimshon slacked off and when he slept, his strength and covering was removed!

Delilah is a picture of the subtleties of the whore that seeks to cause the children of Elohim to slumber and sleep so that she can have her way.

Qoheleth/Ecclesiastes 7:26 “And I found more bitter than death, the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are shackles. He who pleases Elohim escapes from her, but the sinner is captured by her.

The lawless are captured by the whore and get drunk on her cup of whoring and we must realise that the way to guard ourselves against the trap of falling asleep in by doing what pleases Elohim!

Romiyim/Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you prove what is that good and well-pleasing and perfect desire of Elohim.

The enemy is constantly seeking a way to devour us, and if we slip for just a moment and find ourselves asleep to the Truth, he can sow many seeds of deceit, and cause many to be about building their own kingdoms while neglecting the House of Elohim!

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 19:15 “Laziness makes one fall into a deep sleep, and an idle being suffers hunger.

The word used here for ‘laziness’ is עַצְלָה atslah – Strong’s H6103 which means, sluggishness, slothfulness, laziness, idleness that shows a lack of discipline and we see this word also being used in:

Qoheleth/Ecclesiastes 10:18 “Because of laziness the framework tumbles, and through idleness of hands the house leaks.

Being idle or lazy in guarding the commands of Elohim, will cause one to find themselves falling into a ‘deep sleep’ or intoxicated hypnotic state of lawlessness, where pure obedience in twisted and compromised, while trying to justify the inability to walk perfectly set-apart in Messiah, all because of a little laziness in doing what is required!!!

The danger of falling into sleep in this day and age is very real and one we must guard ourselves against.

As we consider these words and the reality that the enemy sows when men sleep – have you found yourself asleep in areas of your obedience to the Master? Have you, due to increasing pressures of the world, found yourself slumbering in complacency, only to wake up and realise that doubt, fear and compromise has been sown into your heart while you were not watching? Has there been some close friends or family that have lured you into a ‘sleepy state’ of disobedience and you have lost your strength to stand, like Shimshon?

Well hear the urgent call today to be sober and awake!  While men slept the enemy came and sowed darnel!!!

While you sleep the enemy will come and sow poisonous and doubting thoughts and dogmas of lawlessness!

He who has ears let them hear – this means that you must be awake to hear, guard and do all we are commanded to, so that when we do physically sleep, we have the assurance that our Master watches over us!

We opened with some powerful words from Kěpha, and I would like to end with some more from his powerful letter:

Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 1:13-16 “Therefore, having girded up the loins of your mind, being sober, set your expectation perfectly upon the favour that is to be brought to you at the revelation of יהושע Messiah, 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts in your ignorance, 15 instead, as the One who called you is set-apart, so you also should become set-apart in all behaviour, 16 because it has been written, “Be set-apart, for I am set-apart.

Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 4:7 “But the end of all has drawn near. Therefore be sober-minded, and be attentive in the prayers.

 

There are real dangers to be aware of when not staying sober and alert, and we must guard ourselves from falling into the trap of the enemy that tries to cause us to sleep from our called for set-apartness in Messiah, even if just to ‘nod off’ for a while, letting the guard of pure obedience down! As we recognise that the Besorah (Good News) of Messiah has been sown in the earth, we also realise that when men slept, that the enemy too sowed his seed, and so we must be awake and realise that our light has come, therefore let us put on the armour of light and walk with great strength and courage in Messiah as we obediently hear, guard and do His Torah, being sober and alert, resisting the devourer and standing firm in the faith.

יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show favour to you; יהוה lift up His face upon you and give you shalom!!!