Shalom to you all, I must just tell you how much I always look forward to His Shabbat – it is so good for us to come together and enjoy intimacy in the fellowship of family together as we come to truly delight in His Shabbat and be strengthened in the Word of יהוה, equipping us to follow Him with our all. I am certain that all of us here truly hunger and desire to follow יהוה completely with our all, yet what we find more often than not is that the world in which we live can and does make it increasingly hard for us to do just that – but let me remind you that just because the world does not offer us easy passage in following wholeheartedly the Word of יהוה does not mean that we cannot or are unable to. On the contrary just the opposite is true – we are in the world but not of the world and so it is through the faithful obedience to His Word in a darkened world that we can shine even brighter for Him. But what does it really mean to follow completely? In a message tonight called, “Following יהוה completely” may we be encouraged and stirred to make every effort to serve and follow our Mighty Elohim completely!
Completely – let us briefly look at the definition of this word in a little more detail to help us understand the text we will be reading tonight. The Word ‘complete’ as an adjective simply means ‘to have all the necessary or normal parts or components’. In other words you have it all. The word ‘completely’ is an adverb – that is a word that serves as a modifier of a verb (a ‘doing’ word) and strengthens that action of the verb. ‘Completely’ therefore means literally, ‘to a full extent; to be complete with everything necessary; highly proficient; thorough; total; absolute’. I hope you are grasping the picture here – as I am sure that we all have an understanding of what completely means. Therefore let us look at this in Scripture where we have in the Scriptures translation the word completely being used with the verb, “followed”. Turn with me to Yehoshua/Joshua 14:6-15 (Read)
This has been a very hectic week or period in our lives, and I know that it also has been for many of you as we all have truly been faced with much challenges and opposition that continually seeks to rob us of the valuable Truth of the Living Word leading us with great joy. Yehoshua is a great book, as all are – but for me I find that when going through some tough encounters that reading through this book I get very encouraged and strengthened to continue on “completely” in the walk of faith we are called to. And tonight I want us to look at what this passage we have just read reveals to us through the life of a “completely following” man of Elohim – Kalěḇ (Caleb) pronounced ‘kay-lev’.
A couple of Scriptures to add to this powerful passage are:
Bemiḏbar/Numbers 14:24 “But My servant Kalěḇ, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me completely, I shall bring into the land where he went, and his seed shall inherit it.”
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 1: 35-36 “Not one of these men of this evil generation shall see that good land of which I swore to give to your fathers, 36 except Kalěḇ son of Yephunneh. He shall see it, and to him and his children I give the land on which he walked, because he followed יהוה completely.”
In the passage in Yehoshua 14 we read we actually see 3 times this terminology being used of Kalěḇ – he followed יהוה completely. The reason why I am emphasising this is simply because it is very important for us to understand just how our walk ought to be in Messiah and the question remains continually for us whether we are following יהוה completely or not! Are you or are you not? We have seen that by definition, completely means that one has all they need to actively do all they are required to do. Well then in “following יהוה completely”, do we have all we need? The answer is a resounding yes – we have all we need, given us freely by His favour through the Blood of יהושע Messiah to all who believe in Him. As we all know faith without works is dead – faith without active living in obedience to His Word and His instructions – that is His Torah – is dead!!! Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:6 tells us that if stay in Him then we are to walk as He did! Yoḥanan 15 speaks of the vine and the branches – יהושע Messiah is the True Vine and we are told by Him that if we stay in Him we will bear much fruit for we can do nothing without Him and if we stay in Him then we may ask whatever we wish and it shall be done. If we do not stay in Him we will be thrown away and dry up only to be gathered for the fire!!! We are to stay in His love and this is love for Elohim – that we obey His commands and they are not heavy!
So what am I saying here? Simply this – to stay in Him and to completely follow Him speaks of the same thing. We see in Deḇarim 1 that we read that only Kalěḇ would see the land and would receive the promise for himself and his family – the man who followed completely – the man who stayed in Him – but as for the rest of the evil and wicked lot – those who twist the truth to suite their ears would not see the promise!!! Completely following יהוה is vital for us. We have what we need to do so – we have His very Living Word – we have His Torah and we have the seal and deposit of His Spirit – His very breath that gives us life through the Blood of Messiah and so we are complete in Messiah with all we need to do what He requires of us. To completely follow means to let go of that which has no value in our lives – we must count the cost.
A Kalěḇ kind of faith is the true kind of faith that we ought to see being lived out today. Faith that follows completely is born in the fire.
Marqos/Mark 9:49 “For everyone shall be seasoned with fire, and every offering shall be seasoned with salt.”
As we know that the Torah tells us that every offering was to be seasoned or presented with salt – it is good to be salted as we are to be the salt and light of the earth bringing His light and refining love into a darkened world.
Kalěḇ suffered – was in the fire so to speak – as he was born into slavery in Mitsrayim. He was 40 when he left Mitsrayim, so he was born when Yisra’ĕl was enslaved in Mitsrayim – that is how he grew up – yet He had faith – faith birthed amidst the lies and the persecution of the enemy. Being born into captivity is nothing new – we all sitting here were also born into captivity so to speak – being held captive by a false religious man-made system of worship that had enslaved us into its various forms that kept us from following יהוה completely. But praise be to יהוה our Elohim who has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light. Kalěḇ held fast to the Elohim of His father’s Aḇraham, Yitsḥaq and Ya’aqoḇ and when he was in the wilderness he was chosen as one of the 12 spies who went to spy out the Promised Land. Only he and Yehoshua came back with a positive report and as you look at the faithfulness of this man we can learn so much from his attitude and witness he displayed. Even though the other 10 brought a bad report and the masses believed the 10 – Kalěḇ still lived with the people – he saw an entire generation fade away yet he remained and did not give up and walk away when many around him did – this speaks a great deal about his attitude and faithfulness toward Elohim. In fact the Scriptures never speak of Kalěḇ ever being negative, judgemental or bitter – he never held a grudge and he never left. How many of you have found bitterness creeping in – found to be judgemental over simple things that by your negativity toward others has become a big issue and you just left instead of sticking out to what יהוה has called for? All too often people lose sight of the Promise simply because they do not get their way – we need to be the Kalěḇ’s of today and stick with the family of Elohim – but as history shows us through Scripture – it is more often than not that only the remnant of faithful who will follow completely with their all who stay! Will you follow יהוה completely which means at times putting up with the seeming nonsense of others or will you give up and serve where it all seems rosy and comfortable and ears get tickled to death – well that is where the ear tickling will end up!!!
How did Kalěḇ do it – how did he put up with all the ‘junk’ of others and continue to be the faithful one completely following יהוה, when the rest faded away? His eyes were not fixed on the now – he set his sights on the Promise – the sure and Promised Hope he had in יהוה and handled the now with great joy and strength in the sure hope he had in the sure Word of יהוה! He had faith like Aḇraham and set his sights on the Promise and obeyed when called out to the place he was about to receive and so he was able to sojourn in tents (temporary dwellings) as he looked forward. In speaking of Aḇraham:
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 11:8-10 “By belief, Aḇraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he was about to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By belief, he sojourned in the land of promise as a stranger, dwelling in tents with Yitsḥaq and Ya’aqoḇ, the heirs with him of the same promise, 10 for he was looking for the city having foundations, whose builder and maker is Elohim.”
Kalěḇ in following completely – obeyed, sojourned and looked forward – can you? You have all you need – but can you is the real question – or are you a grumbler and would rather have the comfort of slavery to man-made doctrines that have no sure hope and live oblivious to the Truth?
Let’s briefly look at the effects of serving completely:
1 – YOU SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY (v.8)
As your faith grows through the fire of trials and you let perseverance finish its work you will be made complete – and not lack anything – this took more than 40 years for Kalěḇ to be able to say this – one act of obedience doesn’t make you a complete follower – follow through the thick and the thin – through the good times and the suffering times – completely follow – because you will see things differently. I am pretty sure that we can all testify as to how we see things totally different now that we have come out of Babylon so to speak. When you follow completely know that the way you see things will be totally different to the way the world sees things, and be very different to the way the church sees things as it hides under false banners of twisted truth having been handed down and as a result many have been handed over to the delusion that they believe the lie for they did not receive love for the Truth. Serving completely will cause you to see such nuggets of His Truth that you could never see before and remember that just as Kalěḇ and Yehoshua were only two out of their generation who entered in – so it is that most will not see the Truth for what it really is – do not give up – serve completely even when the rest think that according to their standards you are blind – on the contrary your sight has been recovered – praise יהוה! A true faithful believer who completely follows יהוה will see the Word for what it is and obey it – following completely will ensure that you have the sign of His Sabbath between us and Him – the church and the world cannot see this, so we see differently from them.
2 – YOU WILL DECLARE TRUTH BY FAITH (v8)
Do you know what was in Kalěḇ’s heart – Truth – the Torah was on his heart and he spoke it with boldness even when his brothers caused others to fear – he stood up for the Truth. What comes out of your lips? For out of the overflow of a man’s heart so he speaks – what is in your heart? Do you speak Truth or lies? Do you encourage and build up or do you tear down? Do you have a good report or a negative one – a negative spirit always lack enduring faith as it rather seeks the easy way out – this was not Kalěḇ! He held on to the Promise amidst the trials of the journey through the Wilderness – he held on for 40 years and then another 5 years of being in the Promise Land and enduring major battles – at his age!!! And yet still kept declaring the Truth!!! Declaring the TRUTH by faith also means to live what you declare – not just simply lip service but faithful active living in completely following with your all.
3 – YOU GET AN INHERITANCE THAT OTHERS DO NOT (V.9)
He received the inheritance while others did not because he followed completely!!! The benefit of his faithful complete following resulted in the blessing for his children forever!!! Staying true to the task of completely following יהוה no matter what will cause you to enter in to His Promises.
4 – YOU WILL ‘LIVE’ DIFFERENTLY (v.10-11)
Kalěḇ lived differently to the rest! He was 85 and still raring to fight for what was promised. The world says that retirement is at 65 or even some companies retire their employees at 60. There is no such thing in Scripture as retirement – sorry guys – but as you look through history you will find some faithful ‘Kalěḇ’s’ still going it at 80 plus! Polycarp at 86 was still declaring Truth and refused to deny his faith in Messiah for which he was martyred. Age should never be a deterrent to serving completely. Sha’ul told Timotiyos (Timothy) that he must not think he is too young. Old or young – it makes no difference – serve completely and live differently to the world’s standards. According to the world you are either too old or too young – not according to the Word!!! Keep on keeping on is what we can learn from Kalěḇ – do not rest on your yesterday’s victories – be as strong as you were then now to endure and face whatever may come!
Tehillim/Psalms 92:12-15 “The righteous one flourishes like a palm tree, He grows like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 Those who are planted in the House of יהוה flourish in the courts of our Elohim. 14 They still bear fruit in old age; they are fresh and green, 15 to declare that יהוה is straight, my rock, and in Him is no unrighteousness.”
5 – YOU CAN DRIVE GIANTS OUT (v12-14)
We all face giants of some kind and sadly for most they are simply running away from them being too afraid to face them – be it an addiction, outbursts of anger, rage, malice, deceit, bitterness, lust, issues of the past, fear of the future etc. Serving completely will allow and equip us to drive out the giants that are before us as serving completely calls for an urgent need for us to contend for our inheritance. יהוה had promised Kalěḇ – that did not mean that there would never be any resistance – on the contrary – there would still be much resistance that he would face in opposition to claiming and walking in the promise! We have an inheritance – a sure and promised hope of what is to come – yet we do live in a world that has been darkened by sin which is lawlessness and we all do know that it certainly is not easy to walk according to the Torah – yet we are called to walk completely – that is no room for compromise – no room for excuses – walk completely following Him is the way we can and will drive out those big issues and giants that try to steal away joy and strength! The enemy brings resistance in many forms shapes and sizes and will make them look like giants that we cannot handle and conquer by faith in Elohim, yet Kalěḇ would not be afraid to take on giants that were occupying his inheritance – he claimed it and took it by faith – and at 85 was as willing and as fighting fit as he was in his youth, always and continually serving יהוה completely. The enemy does not want you to see things differently or speak differently or live differently and he does not want you to take that which has been promised. So he gets us, if we are not careful and vigilant, to become lazy, half-hearted, selfish, uncommitted and unyielding to the Word of Elohim. And when he gets us to this point he knows that we cannot enter in to the promises of יהוה and will rather have you wandering about in the Wilderness – where you may have even got good at getting started and beginning to move, yet when the fight comes you lack the endurance to completely follow יהוה to the Victory. I say follow יהוה to the victory for it is He who fights for us – the battle is His and the victory ours but we must follow completely! And fight the good fight of faith walking totally in Him! Look at the following verses from Yehoshua 23:
Yehoshua/Joshua 23: 3 “And you, you have seen all that יהוה your Elohim has done to all these nations because of you, for יהוה your Elohim is He who was fighting for you.”
Yehoshua/Joshua 23:6 “And you shall be very strong to guard and to do all that is written in the Book of the Torah of Mosheh, so as not to turn aside from it right or left.”
Yehoshua/Joshua 23:8 “But cling to יהוה your Elohim, as you have done to this day.”
Yehoshua/Joshua 23:10 “One man of you put a thousand to flight, for יהוה your Elohim is He who is fighting for you, as He has promised you.”
Yehoshua/Joshua 23:11 “And you shall diligently guard yourselves, to love יהוה your Elohim.”
Do you see what these verse are saying and emphasising – they had just received their allotment and inheritance and here these instructions are very clear – “CLING to יהוה – HE FIGHTS FOR YOU – Let Him lead you in victory as you CLING to Him by LOVING HIM in GUARDING TO DO ALL HE HAS COMMANDED US TO IN HIS TORAH and defeat those giants that you face!
6 – THE LAND CAN REST FROM WAR (v13-15)
Walking and following completely will bring you to His rest – and that is what we get to rehearse every Shabbat – that is why we do not ‘kindle a fire’ or argue or fight on a Shabbat but rest in Him. There is still coming that millennial rest – for those who completely follow.
Are you completely following יהוה or do you only give half-hearted efforts – do not be a borderline believer – where you can see all the promises yet never willing to fight the good fight of faith following completely our Master and Saviour יהושע Messiah, but be greatly encouraged even through the events recorded around the life of Kalěḇ, a faithful follower, and now that we are sojourners here – so not get too attached to your comfort zones that you may find hard to let go of in your desperate attempt at following completely.
My message tonight is simply this – will you follow יהושע Messiah completely – will you be like Kalěḇ – even if you are the only one in the crowd – and stand firm in the faith no matter how long it takes to see breakthroughs and promises come to pass? Following יהוה completely is not for sissies. It is time for true worshippers to follow completely – there is no other way.
Be strong and of good courage and know that יהוה is for us and will never leave us – let us not leave Him – but follow completely!