Shalom everyone, it is good to be together and be able to praise our Mighty and Wonderful Creator and lift up his Name in praise – halleluYah! More and more we are hearing of and each of us I am sure can bear witness as to how we are all facing greater challenges and difficulties. The times we are living in certainly calls for us to do as the Word says, and encourage and be encouraged by one another daily. As we look at the world around us today, it can be very easy at times to be caught in the trap of negativity, depression and fear, causing us to despair and give up hope. Have any of you ever felt like that? You have at times felt like just ‘giving up hope’, or running away and hiding? Now we all know that hiding and running accomplishes nothing but more despair and fear and can just lead to a constant spiral of a state of depression, unable to see a way out. There are many today in this predicament – and in an attempt to alleviate some of the pressure they seek alternative ways and means of trying to satisfy the increasing demands and hardships of this life. In other words they may try any path that looks like it may help, yet find themselves constantly jumping form one road to another, confused and lost, and in danger of resigning to the notion that there is no better way of navigating through each day, month and year than just doing whatever seems the easiest option or road to take, even if it leads to destruction!
There is a saying that comes form of old that says, “all roads lead to Rome”, and at one time the road system of the Ancient Romans consisted of over 80,000km of paved roads that radiated from the centre of Rome, and the design was done with the intention of declaring that Rome was the epicentre of the world’s trade and economy and making a statement that no matter which way you travelled it all led to Rome.
This way of thinking has certainly caused many to be led to their downfall, as there are many who declare that all roads lead to the Creator, and this we know is certainly not true, as there is only One Way – יהושע Messiah is The Way, the only way to life! My message tonight is called “All Roads DO NOT Lead to Rome!”
For we know that there is One Way that does not lead to Rome and that is יהושע’s Road – as I said last week, the road less travelled. It is a road less travelled as it is against the flow of the world for it leads away from Rome or from the Babylon or Mitsrayim of our day, and it is a straight and narrow way, and the only way we will reach our destination in Him is by walking on His road – ‘derek ha qodesh’ – The Way of Set-apartness!
Just as the words of the prophet Yeshayahu (Isaiah) encouraged those in captivity in the 6th century B.C.E, may we too allow the Word of יהושע spoken through Yeshayahu encourage us today, helping us to not lose our focus, as we fix our eyes on the Prince and Perfector of our faith! How many of you have found at times that due to stuff that just happens in and around your life, you have seemingly lost focus on your walk of faith? Turn with me to Yeshayahu 35 (read).
Yehuḏah had turned their backs on יהושע by walking in disobedience and were facing the discipline because of their sins. The nation was under attack by the brutal Assyrian army and the people were terrified and obviously concerned about their future, and in the midst of these difficult and trying circumstances, Yeshayahu stands before them as a prophet of comfort and hope, encouraging them with what is to come and the road they must walk – return to His Torah, for there is a Day coming where יהושע would deliver them and cause them to live in peace in the land He had Promised.
This was also a prophetic message as Yeshayahu was looking forward to the Millennial Reign of the Messiah which is sure to come.
Yehuḏah was in a state of depression, having abandoned obedience to the Torah, yet יהושע had not abandoned them, for He had made an everlasting Covenant with His chosen people and after having shared with them of coming judgement in Chapter 34, Yeshayahu encourages them to not lose sight of what is to come. Here Yehuḏah are as strangers in the land, under siege and in a nutshell the cry of their heart is one of, “Why are we not there yet?” Have you ever travelled a long distance and either you as a child kept asking or one of your children kept asking, “Are we there yet?”
We are on a journey, sojourning here as foreigners or strangers in this world yet, our destination are close at hand – His coming kingdom reign! So from this passage the encouragement is for us to not lose focus!
This chapter describes the land which is to come – that which the nation had so longed for, since it was first promised to Aḇraham. This chapter speaks of our long and anticipated hope where peace and fertility prevail, and this will come we know for sure yet not until יהושע’s judgements come upon the world which I said is referred to prophetically in the preceding chapter. This is a very important chapter for us today, as it rules out the teaching road of pre-millennialism, which teaches that the world will become increasingly better and bring in the Kingdom reign followed by Messiah’s return! This chapter in Yeshayahu also puts to naught the teaching of a-millennialism, which teaches that there will be no earthly kingdom as the “O.T.” promises to Yisra’ĕl are seemingly being fulfilled by the church today! Yeshayahu was teaching Yisra’ĕl that יהושע will re-gather believing Yisra’ĕl and will establish His long awaited Kingdom on earth. This promised restoration is not being fulfilled in any way whatsoever by the church today! יהושע will bring both Ephraim and Yehuḏah together, and in no way has the church replaced Yisra’ĕl!
But what is this chapter showing us today?
Well for one thing we know that times of trouble are coming, tribulation will be a reality in the near future for which faithful endurance is called for on the part of the set-apart ones!
יהושע’s promises are yes and aměn in Messiah and the hope we have of his coming reign must encourage us to walk His Way!
I find it encouraging to realise how יהושע is clearly speaking to us as a family in Him, for last week in the message we looked at Elisha taking the road less travelled, unhindered by the distractions of many and here tonight we are looking at this road – the way of set apartness. יהושע is calling us to Set-apart living amidst the Babylon of our day and the only road that we are to find ourselves upon is His Way – the way that does not lead to Rome or any Roman doctrines, traditions and festivals of man, but rather to continue steadfast in the Only True Way of Life – walking in יהושע Messiah!
Yoḥanan Aleph (1 John) 2:6 “The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked.”
To ‘stay’ in Him is to walk His Way and it is a set-apart way. We have all sinned and fallen short of the esteem of Elohim, and we have all in the past walked the ‘low’ life road:
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 2:1-3 “And you were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once lived in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, as also the rest.”
But praise be to יהושע our Elohim who has set us free from sin and death and the disobedience of the flesh, that when we accepted יהושע as our Saviour and Master, and His call to follow Him on His path, He set our feet on a secure road – His Way that is the way of righteousness that leads to life!
Tehillim/Psalms 40:1-3 “I waited, waited for יהושע; And He inclined to me, and heard my cry. 2 And He drew me Out of the pit of destruction, Out of the muddy clay, And He set my feet upon a rock, He is establishing my steps. 3 Then He put a new song in my mouth; Praise to our Elohim; Many do see it and fear, and trust in יהושע.”
The way of righteousness is a set-apart way – set-apart unto יהושע, and from the world – from the Roman rule of man-made doctrines. יהושע calls us to and expects us to be set-apart:
Qorintiyim Bet/2 Corinthians 6:17 “Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate, says יהוה, and do not touch what is unclean, and I shall receive you.”
יהושע calls us to and expects us to refrain from all wickedness, even the appearance of evil:
Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 5:22-23 “Keep back from every form of wickedness. 23 And the Elohim of peace Himself set you completely apart, and your entire spirit, and being, and body – be preserved blameless at the coming of our Master יהושע Messiah!”
When we walk His Way, He sets us apart, preserving us for our coming Master! יהושע said that His sheep known his voice and He is the Good Shepherd. His voice is His Word – His spoken Word – His Torah, instructions and commands that guide and lead us on His path or road. To walk the set apart life is to walk in righteousness doing His commands:
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:3-4 “And by this we know that we know Him, if we guard His commands. 4 The one who says, “I know Him,” and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2: 15 “Do not love the world nor that which is in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
As we see from Yeshayahu – the highway of set-apartness is not for fools – it is not for those who wander and stray, stagger or stumble – for His way is pure and is found by staying in His Word.
The Hebrew word used here in verse 8 is ‘eviyl’, (prounounced – ev-eel), which means to be perverse (that is those who have turned away from what is right or good) and speaks of those who despise wisdom – there are those who say that all this learning of the Word is making us mad, just as they accused Sha’ul, and they despise the wisdom of Elohim – why? They do not fear Him – for the fear of יהושע is the beginning of wisdom. Those who do not fear יהושע are fools and will not walk His Way. The fools referred to here also speak of those who mock when guilty – how true is that today – the fools who are guilty of lawlessness will be the first to mock – but blessed is the man who sits not in the seat of scoffers! It speaks of those who are quarrelsome and who are licentious meaning they lack legal or moral restraints and are marked by disregard for strict rules of correctness! Praise Yah! That we are not fools, aměn, for we walk the set-apart way adhering to his instructions!
As we walk His path – the road that does not lead to Rome and the wickedness of man’s perversities, but rather leads us to His coming reign, we are assured that His path is protected. No lion is there. We know that the devil is ‘like’ a roaring lion seeking those he can devour, but as we walk on paths of righteousness we are kept safe from the dangers of temptation, evils and lusts. The temptations and lusts are there and when the violent enemy comes at us who are walking the Kings Way, must realise that we are to and can resist the devil as we walk the Kings way and the devil will flee – it is a sure promise, based upon our submission to His Way of set-apartness!
Kepha Aleph/ 1 Peter 5:8-9 “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.” We are all going through hardships – we must stand firm in the faith!!!
Yaʽaqoḇ/James 4:7 “So then subject yourselves to Elohim. Resist the devil and he shall flee from you.”
There is safety in obedience walking the road less travelled – the Kings Way of set-apartness!
His way leads us home! Verse 10 speaks of the returning to Tsiyon with singing and joy. There is gladness and joy and sorrow and sighing will flee away! May we realise that there is an esteemed city that is coming at the end of the Way. In Revelation 21 & 22 we can read of the New Yerushalayim where there will be no more tears or mourning.
As we journey through this Wilderness of life, may we hold on to the hope we have in Messiah who will come and rule and reign with a rod of iron.
This is a message to keep walking and do not look for exits along the way – stay the course for the Kings way leads to home!!! It is a joyous way and the redeemed shall return with singing – that means that signing must start right here and now as we walk set-apart.
Along the way may we not be distracted by detours that the enemy tries to throw at us in his attempt to get us off the set-apart, righteous way. One of Yeshayahu’s favourite themes was the Highway way of set-apartness and gives the reassurance on many occasions that there will always be a Way for the remnant of יהושע’s people! We have been given that Way to walk in יהושע Messiah and we better be found staying on this Way!!!
In a typical Highway we know that there are signs along the way to help us stay the course and so too may we heed the signs יהושע gives us through His Word, for in His Word there will be markers and signposts for us keeping us on course and protected from danger! In the theme of a highway or road, here are a few ‘sign posts’ that our Kings Highway has for us:
1 – Yield sign – We must constantly be aware of our need to yield to יהושע and His Word, allowing Him to direct our paths and we yield to His Authority, giving Him right of Way in our lives.
2 – Stop sign – We are to put a stop to sin and rebellion and stay off those particular roadways that lead to ‘Rome’ or destruction!
3 – Caution sign – יהושע’s Word will always caution us to refrain from walking after the flesh and this world and warn us to remain true to His path, even when there is no clarity ahead and we proceed with great caution, keeping our eyes fixed on Him.
4 – No passing sign – Do not get ahead of yourself and do not get ahead of יהושע’s timing! Let the Ruach lead you and do not be found wandering off on your own in your own strength only to find yourself aimlessly lost and asking “Where is יהושע!”
5 – Merging traffic – sign – As we walk out our life, sojourning here, there will always be those who attempt to cut us off or slow us down in our walk with יהושע. They will often even seem to have the appearance of being on the same journey, yet their true destination is quickly revealed as they turn aside to go after the things of the world and traditions and doctrines of man. Be warned by this sign not to merge with other paths – stay on His Highway – remaining true to His call on your life staying in your lane running with perseverance the race He has set before you with great joy and gladness, not being merged, mixed or yoked with unbelievers!
His Highway is a clean way – there is no room for compromise or sin, and as we walk on His Highway we experience His:
Peace, Presence, Pleasure Protection and Provision.
The encouraging words here from Yeshayahu ought to encourage us to as it did back then as we know what is coming; the wilderness will become filled with great fruitfulness. Lebanon, Karmel and Sharon were 3 of the most beautiful places of the time and here Yeshayahu says that the wilderness will be even better than all of those three places together! And this is a call to live according to יהושע’s Covenant stipulations – strengthening the hands and knees to walk in set-apart living right here right now!
Yaʽaqoḇ/James 5:7-11 “So, brothers, be patient until the coming of the Master. See, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You too, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Master has drawn near. 9 Do not grumble against each other, brothers, lest you be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the door! 10 My brothers, as an example of suffering and patience, take the prophets, who spoke in the Name of יהושע. 11 See, we call those blessed who endure. You have heard of the endurance of Iyoḇ and saw the purpose of יהושע, that He is very sympathetic and compassionate.”
My encouragement to you tonight is that although the Way of set-apartness may get hard and tough and at times our strength may seem to fade – but there is no better way through this wilderness of life we are now in than to walk the King’s Way.
Are you walking the King’s Way or have you perhaps found yourself not heeding the signs on the road and have found yourself having taken a detour due to sin and lawlessness. All Roads lead to Rome the world says – and in the worlds ways, maybe that is true, but may I remind you that there is a road that does not lead to Rome – and that is the:
‘derek ha qodesh’ – The Way of Set-apartness!
Perhaps you, like Yehudah have found yourself in a state of despair and have been discouraged by circumstances, some that are beyond your control. Take heart and as the Word says, say to those with anxious heart, “Be strong, do not fear! See your Elohim comes with vengeance, with the recompense of Elohim. He is coming to save you!”
May He fully open our eyes to see and our ears to hear and our mouths to praise as the water of his Word gushes forth and streams of Living Water begin to flow out of the desert and parched places of your heart, because there is a way – His Way it is called ‘derek ha qodesh’ – The Way of Set-apartness!
Now walk the road that does not lead to Rome!