14th of the 2nd month 2020/2021.
Shalom shalom covenant family,
Mattithyahu/Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter in through the narrow gate! Because the gate is wide – and the way is broad – that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter in through it. 14 “Because the gate is narrow and the way is hard pressed which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Luqas/Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, because many, I say to you, shall seek to enter in and shall not be able.”.
As we draw nearer to the Day of our Master, we are certainly able to recognise how the challenges that we have to face on a daily basis, are increasing. And in the process, it seems as though days and weeks tend to fly by so quickly, under the various pressures that are faced, and in recognising this, we see the urgent need for us to possess our lives by endurance, encouraging one another each day, so as to make sure that we do not lose heart.
As the depravity of sin and lawlessness increases at an alarming rate, we need to be on guard against falling away, as we strive to enter through the narrow gate and the way that is hard pressed, which leads to life..
A very popular slogan that many have heard and is also used by a well-known car manufacturer, is as follows:
“Life’s a journey – enjoy the ride”
As seemingly true as it may sound to some, the question that possibly needs to be asked, in regards to this mindset, is how many are actually enjoying ‘the ride’, so to speak? Or, perhaps another question to add to that would be, “are you on the right ride?”
This slogan is often used very loosely by some, in order to signify being careless and being able to do whatever they want, as they have a kind of mentality that says, “it doesn’t matter anyway”, yet this ‘journey of life’ that we are on does matter.
In fact, it matters a whole lot, and the only way to walk in the fullness of this journey that we find ourselves on, is to walk in total submission and obedience to the Torah and instructions of יהוה, walking fully in יהושע our Messiah, as we walk even as He walked.
And as we all know very well, it is not always an easy path, a path that few choose to take, as they are unwilling to strive to enter the narrow hard-pressed way!.
The Greek root word that is translated as ‘strive’ is ἀγωνίζομαι agōnizomai – Strong’s G75 which means, ‘to contend for a prize, struggle, compete, labouring earnestly’.
This root word is translated as ‘fight’ in:
Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of the belief, lay hold on everlasting life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession before many witnesses.”
In his first letter to Timotiyos, Sha’ul encouraged Timotiyos to flee all evil, pursue set-apartness and fight the good fight of the belief and be trustworthy to the end. These words are words that we too ought to be encouraged to hear and apply in our daily lives as we stay in the Master and run the race set before us with much endurance.
Our sojourning is certainly not an easy road yet we must labour intensely in the Word as we seek to take our stand of righteousness. The language that Sha’ul used here would be typically applied to athletes and soldiers in his day.
We get our English word ‘agonise’ from this Greek word ἀγωνίζομαι agōnizomai – Strong’s G75, which describes the actions of a person straining and giving their best to win the prize or the battle. It is used metaphorically to mean, ‘to contend or struggle, with difficulties and dangers’, or, ‘to endeavour with strenuous zeal’..
When we consider the word for ‘fight/strive’, we must realise that this war of our belief/faith is not an easy one, yet our Master tells us very plainly that His yoke is easy and light, making our ability to stand firm in Him a sure rock solid one and therefore, after having done all, to still stand, we have the full assurance of His complete protection and provision for our daily lives. Fighting the good fight of the belief is to fight according to the rules – that is according to our Master’s rules – His Kingdom rules, which is His Torah and commands!.
The Greek word that is translated here as ‘hard pressed’ is θλίβω thlibō which means, ‘to press or afflict, to distress, suffer affliction’, and in the literal sense can mean, ‘to squash, press, hem in, rub, harassed’, and also can be understood as being ‘narrow or hard pressed’.
The Greek word that is translated as ‘narrow’ is στενός stenos – Strong’s G4728 which means, ‘narrow (space or passage) as a result of obstacles standing close about)’.
In other words, the true path of life, is very narrow and often, it will feel like the pressure of so many obstacles of destruction, that are pressing hard against us, are doing their best to cause us to not enter in, as we are continually hard pressed on every side – yet, as faithful followers of Messiah, we are not crushed!.
A derivative of the root verb θλίβω thlibō – Strong’s G2346 is θλῖψις thlipsis – Strong’s G2347 which means, ‘tribulation, pressure, affliction, distress, persecution, trouble’, which is used in the LXX in Shemuʼěl Bět/2 Samuel 22:19 and is translated as ‘calamity’
This word θλῖψις thlipsis – Strong’s G2347 is used in:
Yoḥanan/John 16:33 “These words I have spoken to you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you have pressure, but take courage, I have overcome the world.”.
The Word of Elohim is what we have, to recognise the True peace we have in our Messiah King; and while we certainly will have much pressure in the world, we are able to be strong and courageous as we stand firm on the Rock of our Salvation and hold fast to the Living Word, aměn!.
In the world we have pressure….! How true is that statement!!!
Pressure, pressure and more pressure… is that how it feels at times for most of you?
Well take heart … because this is our lot, and our only means of enduring the sure pressure is to ‘hear – guard – do’ the Word of Elohim!
What is very clear to us is that we, who are walking faithfully in Messiah, will have pressure in this world – the question is how we are handling the pressure – with courage and joy, or do we find ourselves stumbling under pressure?
How do you handle times of distress?
Are you faltering because your strength is small or are you standing firm in the Truth, guarding the knowledge of our Master by actively doing what He commands?
With the sobering reality of us needing to strive to enter the narrow, hard-pressed way which leads to life, as an introduction for this message, I would like to take a closer look at the transition of ministry that takes place between Ěliyahu and Elisha, in a message called:
LIFE’S JOURNEY – TAKING THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED!.
Please read Melaḵim Bět/ 2 Kings 2:1-15 before continuing….
Melaḵim Bět/ 2 Kings 2 is such an exciting chapter, that carries such great insight and teaching for us, from which we are able to glean some very valuable faith strengthening nuggets of truth, through these accounts that are contained in these verses, as we look at the life of Elisha..
In summary of these events, we can see that both Ěliyahu and Elisha depart from a place called Gilgal and move on toward Bĕyth Ěl (Bethel), and Elisha had learned (perhaps from Ěliyahu himself) that this would be Ěliyahu’s last day, or journey, here on earth and was therefore, so determined to be with his ‘father in the faith’, all the way till the very end.
And so, he refused the suggestion by Ěliyahu to remain at Gilgal.
As one understands from history, it was often the case that a dying person would pronounce blessings upon others, and it is clear that Elisha was not going to miss out on the very opportunity in receiving a blessing of יהוה, from Ěliyahu, for his life and ministry that lay ahead of him..
At Bĕyth Ěl there was a school of prophets who also had the knowledge of Ěliyahu’s imminent departure, that was about to take place by יהוה, and they told Elisha this fact, to which he plainly responded that he also knew that Ěliyahu would be going soon and asked them to be silent about it. Perhaps so as to not draw a crowd or he was also saying, in a sense, that he didn’t want any more sorrow being added to him over the coming departure of his spiritual father and mentor in the faith. He was basically saying, “Ok I know, so stop reminding me!”.
At Bĕyth Ěl Elisha was tested once again by Ěliyahu, being tested in his commitment to continue in walking with him, by suggesting he actually stay at Bĕyth Ěl instead of going with Ěliyahu, on to Yeriḥo. Having now been tested twice, Elisha remained steadfast in his commitment to staying with, and following, Ěliyahu, showing great zeal by refusing to leave Ěliyahu.
Once again, there was another school of prophets at Yeriḥo, who gave Elisha the same info the school of prophets gave him at Bĕyth Ěl, to which he responded in the same way that he did to the previous group, showing his commitment to not changing his mind, even while many were telling him of the soon to be tragic loss of Ěliyahu!
Another test for Elisha – the third in one day!
Ěliyahu once again suggested that he remain at Yeriḥo, to which he refused again and, in a sense, was showing his zeal, in refusing to put his own comfort ahead of the blessing of walking with Ěliyahu all the way, with the confident hope of receiving a great blessing from יהוה!
So, they both headed for the Yarděn.
When they arrived at the Yarděn, 50 men of the sons of the prophets (students of prophets – prophets in training) stood at a distance and watched, knowing that Ěliyahu was about to depart, in order to see what would happen.
It is an interesting picture being given to us here, in that the same can, in a way, be seen today – many are aware of what lies ahead, yet they are standing at a distance to see what is going on, yet will not come to the point of dying to self and walking in total obedience!
This is picture of those who will always give their comments from the side-lines, so to speak, yet will never have the courage to get on the playing field and give their all for their team, as they are always the ones who will criticise every move, yet never actually apply the very faith that they are called to!.
At the bank of the Yarděn, Ěliyahu rolled up his cloak, which is the Hebrew word אַדֶּרֶת addereth – Strong’s H155 which is also translated as ‘mantle, mantle carrying the meaning of a cloak, outer garment, and esteem’ or can also be a used to describe a figurative cloak that symbolised pre-eminence and authority, that is: the accepted mantle of authority.
Ěliyahu’s outer garment was his symbol of authority, with which he took off to strike the water – using it as a symbol of יהוה’s power that had been placed upon Him by יהוה.
A prophet’s cloak symbolised his authority under יהוה, with which יהוה had clothed and empowered him.
The water dried up and the 2 of them crossed on dry land, just as the Yisra’ĕlites had done through the Sea of Reeds (Red Sea) and the Yarděn, hundreds of years before and this very event was a symbol of one of the similarities between the ministries of Mosheh and Ěliyahu.
Mosheh was a prophet who led Yisra’ĕl to Mount Sinai, in order to receive the marriage contract – the Torah in writing – as a covenant.
Ěliyahu was a prophet who would call the adulterated Bride to repentance, calling Her back to the Torah!
At this miraculous event, Elisha was quickly reminded that the same Elohim, with the same power that brought Yisra’ĕl out of Mitsrayim, was alive and active in Yisra’ĕl!!!
May we today also be reminded that the same Elohim, with the same power, is still very alive and active in Yisra’ĕl, aměn!.
Elisha, having travelled with Ěliyahu and having been tested 3 times and enduring through these tests, as well as having ‘crossed over’ the Yarděn, is now asked by Ěliyahu what he could do for Elisha, before he would be taken from him.
And here, Elisha request a double portion of his spirit and, in effect, the assumption is made that he was asking for the rite of the firstborn, as it would be that the firstborn would receive a double portion of the inheritance from their father.
But here, Elisha was, in a sense, Ěliyahu’s only son, so how could he receive double of all the Ěliyahu had to give?
What he was asking for was difficult and not for Ěliyahu to be able to give, as it was only יהוה who could grant such a request! Elisha was asking to be Ěliyahu’s successor, who could be privileged in carrying on the ministry of Ěliyahu, under יהוה’s call and appointment.
Ěliyahu was correct in saying it is a difficult thing, as it is not man who calls man into positions of spiritual authority – it is יהוה!
And we know from these events recorded here, as well as many other examples in Scripture, that before יהוה appoints a man, He first tests the man – and Elisha had certainly been tested this day, in His journey with Ěliyahu.
The sign of him receiving his request, would be that he would be able to see Ěliyahu being taken away from him.
This of course was not a condition to receive what he asked for, but rather, the evidence that he would receive what he had asked for..
All of a sudden, while they were talking, a chariot of fire, with horses of fire, came and separated the two of them and Ěliyahu was taken up in a whirlwind into the heavens.
Can you picture this moment and imagine this awesome event?
There was great anticipation I am sure, but when this happened, Elisha got to see it happen – which was a wonderful answer to his request!!!
The whirlwind is a picture of the very presence of יהוה that led Yisra’ĕl through the Wilderness and the very fire that had come down and passed through the animals, in the covenant that was made with Aḇraham.
The fiery horses and chariots were symbols of יהוה’s supreme authority and power in battle – for He is יהוה, יהוה of Hosts – the commander of the Heavenly Host!.
In those days, chariots and horses were the highest means of warfare and יהוה was revealing unto Elisha, that His power and might is superior and far greater than any military might.
It was this very power that Elisha had seen being demonstrated in the ministry of Ěliyahu and to which Elisha had valued and esteemed so highly:
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 31:1 “Woe to those who go down to Mitsrayim for help, and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are very strong, but who do not look to the Set-apart One of Yisra’ĕl, nor seek יהוה!”
Elisha knew where his help came from!!!.
Can you picture this event in your minds?
Ěliyahu is taken up in the whirlwind, possibly with major bolts of thunder and flashes of lightning, along with a whole host of the heavenly forces and Elisha gets to see all of this and he cries out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Yisra’ĕl and its horsemen!”
By this statement, it shows that he regarded Ěliyahu as a powerful instrument whom יהוה had used to wage war against the idolatry in Yisra’ĕl and that Ěliyahu had been his predecessor, in calling people back to יהוה – calling them back to His Torah, which now Elisha would begin to do, being empowered by the Ruaḥ (Spirit) of יהוה of Hosts!
Elisha tore his clothes, in mourning the great loss of a mighty warrior, but now the mantle had been passed to Him and he would wear the cloak of Ěliyahu and would serve with the authority and power that it symbolised!
As we think on these events, as a ‘foreshadow’ of our Messiah and we see how He has clothed us, from on High, with great authority in His Name, we must recognise the wonder, privilege and responsibility, of walking in His anointed, and called, authority and purpose in our lives!
When יהושע was also taken up into the clouds, while His Talmidim (disciples) looked on, it was after 10 days, at Shaḇuoth, where the Ruaḥ of our Master was poured out upon those who were praying in the Temple! They had the promise of being clothed from on high:
Luqas/Luke 24:49 “And see, I am sending the Promise of My Father upon you, but you are to remain in the city of Yerushalayim until you are clothed with power from on high.”
The very fire of יהוה descended upon them and they went out in great power of the Ruaḥ, in the Name of יהושע, and so too are awe able to see how this event pictures, or foreshadows, this and shows us today, that we who are called, and are willing to go the whole way with our Saviour, can and must walk under the anointing and power of our Master, under the mantle of righteousness, in יהושע Messiah.
In Scripture, we find that ‘robes’ or ‘garments’ often symbolise our works.
Ḥazon/Revelation 16:15 “See, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who is staying awake and guarding his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”
Ḥazon/Revelation 3:3-5 “Remember, then, how you have received, and heard. And watch and repent. If, then, you do not wake up, I shall come upon you as a thief, and you shall not know at all what hour I come upon you. 4 “Nevertheless, you have a few names in Sardis who have not defiled their garments. And they shall walk with Me in white, because they are worthy. 5 “He who overcomes shall be dressed in white robes, and I shall by no means blot out his name from the Book of Life, but I shall confess his name before My Father and before His messengers.”.
Our Master has given us garments of righteousness, so that we are able to be properly armed in his Truth and keep our garments clean, by guarding His commands, for that is righteousness for us!
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 61:10-11 “I greatly rejoice in יהוה, my being exults in my Elohim. For He has put garments of deliverance on me, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the seed to shoot up, so the Master יהוה causes righteousness and praise to shoot up before all the nations!”..
Elisha now began his journey back, equipped with the garment of authority that he had now been clothed with power from on high, so to speak!
And so, he too took the cloak and struck the Yarděn, and now being ‘pumped’ and equipped in great faith, Elisha shouted out, “where is יהוה Elohim of Ěliyahu?” and the Yarděn parted!
When the sons of the prophets, who were watching from a distance, saw this, they declared that the spirit of Ěliyahu had now rested upon Elisha and so, they witnessed this magnificent transferral of anointing, by יהוה.
The name of אליּהוּ Ěliyahu – Strong’s H452 means, ‘my Ěl is Yah, Yah is Ěl’.
The Name אֱלִישָׁע Elisha – Strong’s H477 means, ‘Ěl is salvation’, which is the contracted form of אֱלִישׁוּעַ Elishua – Strong’s H474 meaning, ‘ĚL is Salvation’, coming from 2 words;
1) אֵל el –Strong’s H410 meaning, ‘mighty, strong, power and short for Mighty One (Elohim)’ and
2) יָשַׁע yasha – Strong’s H3467 meaning, ‘to deliver, save, salvation’.
Elisha’s desire was certainly to serve יהוה and not his own comfort and flesh.
He desired to walk in the spirit and we know that Sha’ul tells us that we are not to walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit..
As we think on the power and authority that Elisha went in, we see a significant truth, in what was recorded! According to what we have recorded in Scripture, he seemingly performed twice the amount of miracles than Ěliyahu, where the emphasis was not on being better and doing more, but rather, walking in the authority of his teacher and becoming like him, honouring him by the continuation of the work that he had begun..
We know that יהושע tells us that His taught ones, in
Yoḥanan/John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he shall do also. And greater works than these he shall do, because I go to My Father.”.
Ěliyahu went to the father and so, Elisha would not only get to do what Ěliyahu had done, but would get to do even greater things – showing the greatness of the Power of יהוה being given to those who will simply believe and walk in that belief obediently!.
From the accounts mentioned here, I am intrigued by the picture of our journey that we walk daily, in יהושע Messiah and how the 4 different places that are mentioned in this account, of the travels of Ěliyahu and Elisha together, carries great significance for us today, as we assess our walk of obedience unto our Father..
I would like to briefly look at these four towns, or cities, that are mentioned in this departing journey of Ěliyahu, with Elisha right by his side, all the way to the end, and see what each one of these places represents for us today, in order to learn some valuable encouragement is staying the course of endurance on the narrow hard-pressed way, as we see how our life’s journey involves us taking the road less travelled!.
1 – GILGAL – THE PLACE OF BEGINNINGS
We see in verse 1 that this is where they went from.
Gilgal, in Scripture, was very significant in its picture of new beginnings.
This was the very place where, upon entering in to the Promised Land, all the males were circumcised and the Covenant was renewed, which you can read of in Yehoshua/Joshua 5.
It was the place where they celebrated their first Pesaḥ (Passover).
It was the first site of the Yisra’ĕlite camp west of the Yarděn and east of Yeriḥo..
It was a dwelling place of prophets and גִּלְגָּל Gilgal – Strong’s H1537 means, ‘a wheel, rolling’ and we know that when Yehoshua came into the Promised Land, he had all Yisra’ĕl circumcised at Gilgal, as I mentioned, and so he ‘rolled away the reproach’ of Mitsrayim from Yisra’ĕl, highlighting the clear shadow picture of how יהושע Messiah has rolled away the reproach of our transgressions in our lives..
For when we are immersed in Him, we are circumcised in Him with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Messiah, having been buried with Him in immersion, in which we also were raised with Him through the belief in the working of Elohim, who raised Him from the dead. And we, being dead in our trespasses and the uncircumcision of our flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all trespasses, equipping us to be clothed in His Torah of righteousness and be faithful ambassadors as we sojourn here on the narrow way!.
2 – BĔYTH ĚL – PLACE OF DREAMS
Běyth Ěl – בֵּֽיתְאֶל – Strong’s H1008 means, ‘house of Ĕl’, which Ya’aqoḇ named as such, after he encountered his life changing appointment with יהוה, which you can read about in Berěshith/Genesis 28.
This means the House of Elohim. This is where Yaʽaqoḇ (Jacob) had stopped and slept for the night and dreamt of a ladder that went from earth to heaven and he saw messengers of Elohim ascending and descending on it, and it was where יהוה gave him the promise of this land, for him and his seed. When he awoke, he realised what had happened and called what was formerly Luz, Bĕyth Ěl and set up a stone, as a standing column for Elohim’s house – a wonderful picture of יהושע the Chief Cornerstone being firmly established upon that which we now stand, having the reproach rolled away!!!.
3 – YERIḤO – PLACE OF PAST VICTORIES
יְרִיחוֹ Yeriḥo – Strong’s H3405 was the first city that Yisra’ěl encountered and defeated, after crossing the Yarděn – the very first victory in the Promised Land.
This was a border town and to go beyond this, was seen as going in to wild new territory..
4 – YARDĔN – PLACE OF DEATH
The word יַרְדֵּן Yardĕn – Strong’s H3383 means, ‘descender’ and comes from the root verb יָרַד yaraḏ – Strong’s H3381 which means, ‘to come or go down, descend’.
The Yarděn River represented the boundary to the Promised Land and to pass over it, meant to enter in to death and its name is significant of this, as it means ‘descender’, as this river would descend down for a distance of around 320km toward the Dead Sea.
Ok, so now we have these four places of great interest, in regards to the application of the lessons we can glean from this chapter, but what are they?
Well, I believe that they can represent for us various key moments, in our lives, where we either choose to remain at, or move on to greater things, in order that we are growing in our obedience by a working faith..
Let us look at each place again!.
Gilgal – new beginnings
We all start somewhere and yes we have all had ‘new beginnings’, especially in regards to our walk with יהושע – coming out of Mitsrayim and Babylon etc.
Some people never actually leave their Gilgal, so to speak, and end up spending their entire lives at their Gilgal, which is the place where their journey began and sadly, they never go any further, being very clear by their lack of fruit, that they are unable to ‘grow’ past this place of beginnings. You see, there is a temptation to remain here, as it is easy, yet you never grow and all you do is drink the milk and never move on to the meat of the Word, and end up staying as baby believer’s all lifelong!
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 6:1-6 “Therefore, having left the word of the beginning of the Messiah, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of belief toward Elohim, 2 of the teaching of immersions, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of everlasting judgment. 3 And this we shall do, if Elohim indeed permits. 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Set-apart Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good Word of Elohim and the powers of the age to come, 6 and fall away, to renew them again to repentance – having impaled for themselves the Son of Elohim again, and put Him to open shame.”
There is a danger of not leaving your Gilgal – and that is, to end up falling away and being unable to be renewed to repentance.
Those who are dull of hearing – that is, those who are stubborn to the proper attentive hearing the Truth and walking in the fullness of it, never move on to the meat of the Word, to their own detriment!
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 5:12 “For indeed, although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first elements of the Words of Elohim. And you have become such as need milk and not solid food.”
There are many today, who by now, ought to have been teachers, yet they have never left Gilgal, so to speak and they need the milk all over again!
Bĕyth Ěl – place of dreams
Some leave Gilgal and so, they begin to step out in faith, but get stuck at Bĕyth Ěl.
What do I mean by this, as there is certainly nothing wrong with the House of Elohim – for we would rather be a doorkeeper in the House of Elohim than the highest position the world could offer?
What I mean here, is that from understanding our journey of faith, which is a very narrow road that is less travelled, we find that many will catch the vision, so to speak, of what is to be done and they see the needs and even feel the urging of the Spirit of Elohim drawing them to so much more, yet they never leave the place of dreaming about what they might do for יהוה, one day!
They sadly, remain there and never step out and do what He has called them to do and so, in essence, they remain asleep!!!
For a vision to become a reality, one needs to ‘wake up’!
Yaʽaqoḇ had to move on, Elisha was tempted to remain here, yet pressed on the road less travelled. Walking out the call of יהוה on your life, is a lonely road, and is one that many struggles to do and so, they prefer to stay in the dream, so to speak, and never take another step of faith!.
Yeriḥo – past victories
Some do venture on and wake up from there slumber… until they get to Yeriḥo and then they stop, as they reminisce on the ‘good old days’ and the victories of the past. And by doing so, they lose sight of what lies ahead!
There was a saying long time ago, of those who fled from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), as being known as the “when we’s”, as all they could do was talk about what had been and how successful the past was, as they wallowed in the struggles of the present..
It is easy, when going through tough times, to quickly think back and try to turn a blind eye to the present and the urgent working faith that is required to move on and, as a result, get stuck in yesterday’s victories.
Looking back at victories is certainly not wrong, as it reminds us of who it is that we serve and … He is יהוה of Hosts, and therefore we should not fear that which lies ahead, when we have Him leading us!
However, people often get stuck in their yesterday’s, so to speak, and they soon forget that the same Elohim, who blessed them back then and delivered them back them, is the same Elohim who desires to do the same today – to bless and deliver them.
Yeriḥo also represented not only victories but also defeats, as just as Yeriḥo was the first victory in the Promised Land and certainly not the last, the very next battle – the battle against Ai, they were defeated, due to sin in the camp!
Aḵan had taken that which was not allowed from Yeriḥo, which resulted in the defeat of a nation in battle and losing 36 men, as well as Aḵan and his family and his livestock being stoned to death.
The next battle was victorious, and so, what we can see from Yeriḥo, is that obedience will bring the victory and disobedience will bring defeat.
You cannot rely on past victories to keep you victorious today!
Walking in obedience will keep you victorious!
So, some have come this far in their journey and are stuck on declaring just how obedient they were in the past and have since wandered from the Truth, thinking that once saved always saved is the answer and it is not!
Each one must work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, each and every day!
Living in the past will keep you from moving forward in faith!
Yesterday’s faith is no good for today – fresh new faith, as given through the fresh Bread of His Word, daily, will keep you walking in victory, daily!
Another aspect of Yeriḥo is that with this being a place of victory, yet also a place where the trouble of the action of one man affected the entire nation, we realise how our actions can, and will affect others, which teaches us how urgent we must be in pursuing set-apartness, every single day and remaining armed in the Torah, so that we are not affected by the fiery arrows of the temptations of the flesh that causes trouble!
עָכָן Aḵan – Strong’s H5912 means, ‘troubler’, which is from an unused root meaning, ‘to trouble’.
The primitive root word associated with this word is עָכַר aḵar – Strong’s H5916 which means, ‘to trouble, stir up, disturb, cause disturbance’, and it reflects the social dimension of an individual’s action.
An individual can ‘trouble’ another person or group of people, and bring man’s or Elohim’s judgement upon others, even upon the innocent!.
Yarděn – place of death
There are few who come to this part of their journey in יהושע.
We know that the 70 who did great things and marvelled at the authority that they had, in the Name of יהושע, failed to continue walking in the Master, when they were asked to eat of His flesh and drink of His Blood, as they turned away and only his 12 stood there, willing to go on..
The Yarděn represents the barrier between self-life and the spirit life, between a dying to self and living to Messiah or simply living for self!
This is the barrier between flesh and spirit – a place where very few truly find themselves having counted the cost, dying to self and going all the way with Elohim.
Elisha didn’t remain at a distance; he went through the Yarděn, while 50 sons of prophets – prophets in training stood at a distance.
Elisha alone, as a son of a prophet too, had the faith to cross over and go with Ěliyahu and so received a double portion!.
As we look at this magnificent journey that Elisha took by sticking to Ěliyahu, we must learn that we must not allow the opportunities, to faithfully walk in the full obedience to יהושע, to be discarded and be ‘settled down’ and become as dead along the way and so find our progress being hindered. Rather, by faith in His Word, we must press on and proceed in Him and watch, as He, the Elohim of Hosts, removes those barriers from before our eyes!.
Elisha stood steadfast, in His commitment to walking in and following in the footsteps of his father Ěliyahu. 3 times he was tempted to pack it in and resolved not to stay behind.
What stood as a barrier to receiving that which he desired – the Yarděn – and it was no obstacle to his faith! And so, we too must realise that obstacles will hit our path, as those things that יהוה has permitted along the journey, in order to test and mature us, will cause us to be steadfast, if we possess our lives by endurance, as we can be steadfast in knowing, as Sha’ul says in Romiyim/Romans 8:28, that יהוה works it all out for our good – we who love Him and are called according to His purpose!.
As Elisha took his journey back, he went back across the Yarděn, doing what his father in the faith had done, in striking the water and seeing it part, and then he went back to Yeriḥo and Bĕyth Ěl, all testimonies to the power of יהוה now operating in his life, by faith, yet interestingly enough, he did not go back to Gilgal on his trip back, as he went on to Mount Karmel and then to Shomeron.
He didn’t go back to the beginning; he walked on in faith and remained committed to growing in the call on His life.
He who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is not fit for the kingdom!
Elisha was not only fit; he was faithfully fit for service..
Where are you at today?
Have you taken the road least travelled – or have you found yourself having begun on this road, yet found yourself stopping along the way, getting stuck at one of these destinations?
Life’s journey, in יהוה, calls for faithful endurance on the part of the set-apart ones.
And I believe that many today, still need to understand just what ‘set-apartness’ actually means!
Being totally set-apart, is a road less travelled!
Will you commit today to keep walking the walk and talking the talk, of our Master יהושע?
Have you perhaps found yourself at one of these destinations?
Gilgal – you have just never moved on to maturity, out of fear? Or…
Bĕyth Ěl – you are still dreaming about what you want to do, but have not woken up to His Truth? Or…
Yeriḥo – you find, as you look in to the mirror of the Word, that you have been living and relying on the past, yet failing in the present? Or, have you come to the…
Yarděn – and have died to self – for this is a daily call..
יהושע has clothed us in righteousness and we need to walk in that – walking daily in faith, in steadfast obedience to His commands, even when everyone else is not.
Will you resolve not to stay in the milk, or in the dreams or in the past, but move on up and become a daily living sacrifice, equipped with power from on high, to go on and do all He has prepared in advance for you to do.
This is a call to keep walking in:
LIFE’S JOURNEY – TAKING THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED!.
Perhaps you have been, or currently are, facing extremely difficult times and have found it very hard to get your eyes remain focused on יהוה and putting complete trust in Him and as a result, the Truth of His Word has been compromised, because you have been unable to endure under pressure?
Then let the events that took place on Elisha’s journey to being clothed in the mantle of Ěliyahu, cause you to be reminded who you have been clothed in and be encouraged to take up the sword of the Spirit, armed in the Truth and stand firm in our Great King, as you strive to enter the narrow hard-pressed way that leads to life!
May you be strengthened, and equipped, in the Word that washes us and sets us apart for service, and be caused to be able to take the road less travelled, so to speak, as faithful ambassadors of the Most-High, יהושע Messiah, who has gone before us and leads us, as long as we continue and strive to stay in Him!.
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show you favour; יהוה lift up His face upon you and give you Shalom!.