The Evil Congregation

Shalom.

Whether we know it or not, it is what we all seek, in some way. We Jews and Messianic folk wish each other Shalom in our greetings, yet often do not consider what it is we are wishing on/for each other. The word ‘shalom’ means to be ‘complete,’ to lack nothing, in any of the many areas of our lives: emotionally/mentally, physically, financially, familial, spiritually, politically, to have ‘completeness’ and be ‘at peace’ utterly. This is difficult for many to achieve in life generally, but right now, it is becoming near impossible for some. We have had a plague, political upheaval, job loss and economic turmoil, imprisonment in our own homes, forced ‘social distancing’, mask mandates, and more, to shake this year like a year hasn’t been shaken for quite some time in our country, if ever; certainly not in my time. For me personally, I watched COVID dehydrate and disrupt my wife’s life to the point of causing her to fall and injure herself, requiring an overnight hospital stay, where they deprived her of any treatment for the manmade chinese/democrat virus, only weeks later to be furloughed from work. All of this on the heels of some very, very disappointing, heart wrenching personal trials, where people that I thought were brothers revealed they certainly were not, but were too caught up in their own ‘righteousness’ and self-interests to ‘see’ Messiah in me. In fact, some of them, the worst of them, have gone about saying He is not in me. That I do not have the Ru’akh, when in fact they themselves testified to me and of me that He is in me, and has spoken to them through me. Which lie is true? But, through all of this, Yeshua, the Son of G-d, who stands at the right hand of His Father, the Majestic Creator of heaven and earth, has kept me in ‘shalom’.

How has He done that? Is it by the great comfort He gave through the selfish betrayals of people who professed to be His, and to be my brothers? Is it by the miracles of circumstance and supernatural power that He did in protecting us from the ravages of the chinese/democrat virus? Is it by the pre-emptive miraculous provision He provided in the face of furlough? Did He answer every single prayer I prayed within seconds? Or, is it because, in spite of all of the chaos and ‘tzarah’ that the world hurls at us, HE HAS SIMPLY SPOKEN to me.

It is indeed all of the above. But, for me, the most important thing that He has done is to speak to my soul. During those early trials this year, He repaired my heartbreak on a nightly basis, like I have never experienced. When my wife suffered, He allowed me not only to bring a soul to Messiah in my anger at the adversary, but also comforted both her and me with an assurance of LIFE, and an affirmation that this man-made disease would not be the plague they hoped it would be, and that they politic it to be. Recently, in making efforts to find different revenue streams, He has assured me, in spite of a slow trickle, that HE is INDEED יהוה יֵרָאֶה , Yah who will ‘see to it’; “Provider”; He has given deep-down assurance on a DAILY BASIS, in spite of occasionally wondering, perhaps getting close to ‘fear’ when He pulls me back into His comfort, by feeding my “neshama”, the flame of His Light that He gave me forty-four years ago when He revealed His Son’s Salvation to me, with the comfort of His food, HaDavar, HaKhayim, The Word, LIFE.

Of late I have been ruminating every day in ONE Tehillah, one Psalm, as it has encapsulated every emotion I have dealt with, every ‘spirit’ I have fought, every ‘fear’ that has come my way to TRY to rob me of my Shalom. And every morning it has ‘lifted’ me, it has caused me to ‘ascend the Hill of יהוה , to bring me under His ‘wings,’ to paint Him as the center of my life; to come to the same conclusion as Iyov [Job], that even if He kills me, I will LOVE HIM, I will OBEY HIM. The adversary of Messiah is indeed my adversary, though some who I thought were more mature have told me this is not so, in regard to the reason for certain trials in my life, and yet Messiah Yeshua has indeed SPOKEN TO MY SOUL in ways they probably cannot even fathom. These same ones eventually turned on me with vitriol, with venom. And that is no surprise. Like Iyov, certain ones have tried to counsel me against the Word of G-d, thinking they understood my position, and had some divine clairvoyance into the situation. Some have counseled me to ‘forgive,’ not realizing I already had, for my own sake. But, their counsel was not forgiveness, but simply to ‘overlook’. This is NOT biblical. We are not to be the whipping boys of our peers, to simply take offenses and betrayal as normal. Melekh David was done wrong by many that were close to him, including his own sons. And what did he do at the end of his life? He counseled his son NOT to allow his enemies to go to the grave in shalom, but to pursue them! To recompense them for their betrayal! Sha’ul, who was betrayed by MANY in his ministry, did the same thing, recording wicked men’s names in the eternal Word as WICKED, as betrayers, as evil-doers! As FALSE.

An episode occurred recently that tried to ‘unearth’ those things in my life, and so, as usual, in my morning prayers I completed the daily Tehillim, with far more ‘intent’ on the words of those scriptures that everyone who walks this walk typically prays daily, and then transitioned into praying not for me, but ‘about’ me, reading that Tehillah that has so ‘transformed’ me on the inside these past weeks. Then, as I usually do, I seek one or two more from the Tehillim/Psalms, to further comfort my soul, as Messiah deposits His Word inside of me. Lo and Behold, I arrive at number 26:

Psalm 26

As I read in Hebrew, verse four ‘glows’ at me: I slow down; my personal, inner English translation was: “I will not sit with false men; I will not go with secretive men; I hate the congregation of evil ones, and will not sit with the wicked“…. was I right? I knew for certain that it said the ‘congregation of the wicked ones’; I had to flip over to the English to double check myself on ‘false men’; dissemblers: this is indeed ‘false/fake’ people. People who hide their disdain for someone; they pretend they like you, then stab you in the back. Then I get to verse nine; “do not gather my soul with sinners, nor with men of blood, my life, who have in their hands an evil plan…” ‘Craftiness’ in the English is ‘zimah’ , and in my mind came out as ‘evil plan’; that is indeed what it is, rendered ‘mischief’ in other renderings, established by context and the root word, which appears in several psalms.

Ps 26

So, while some have counseled me to ‘live and let live,’ to overlook great trespasses, which to the offenders were not trespasses, and to some observers were perhaps in their mind light trespasses, I will not be ‘gathered together’ with those who have deceit and falseness in them, nor with those who overlook that deceit and falseness for the sake of ‘being fair’. Were any ONE of these to show genuine contrition, it would be a different story. But, some folk just do not walk in the love of Messiah. They are fake; they are an evil congregation. I will not pander to them, neither will I be shamed into forgetting their way.

So, I was compelled to share this on this beautiful morning, for the purpose of showing how Yeshua continues to preserve my shalom and give me counsel. IN THE MOST TIMELY WAYS.

One of my favorite verses in these times of unrest is this one: [יהוה] Draw out also the spear, and the battle-axe, against them that pursue me; say unto my soul, “I am your Salvation.” He has been saying that to me over and over. And O, HOW I LOVE HIM for it. I have counseled several, including myself, to discipline themselves to LOVE HIM MORE.

In meditating on all of this, before sitting down to write, I reflected on the ‘troubles’ that have been more than I would want, and two verses reminded me that His purpose for these things is to CHANGE US, not those who trouble us.

טוֹב לִי כִי עֻנֵּיתִי לְמַעַן אֶלְמַד חֻקֶּיךָ

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn your precepts”.

and,

אַךְ לְשִׂמְחָה חִשְׁבוּ לָכֶם אֶחָי כַּאֲשֶׁר תָּבֹאוּ בְּנִסְיֹנוֹת שׁוֹנִים. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁיֹּדְעִים אַתֶּם כִּי בֹחַן אֱמוּנַתְכֶם מֵבִיא לִידֵי סַבְלָנוּת. וְהַסַּבְלָנוּת שְׁלֵמָה תִּהְיֶה בְּפָעֳלָהּ לְמַעַן תִּהְיוּ שְׁלֵמִים וּתְמִימִים וְלֹא תַחְסְרוּ כָּל דָּבָר

2My brethren, take it as a joy to you when you enter into many and varied tests; 3for you know that the trial of Emunah will increase your patience4And let patience be a perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.

The word there for ‘perfect’, is sh’lamim: SHALOM!!!!!

To have ‘shalom’ means to ‘lack nothing’; I would be remiss not to share that the last high-lighted word is ‘takhseru’, and is ‘you will have no lack’. This is the same word in Tehillah 23, יהוה רֹעִי לֹא אֶחְסָר, Yah is my Shepherd, I will not ‘lack’.

Go in shalom and in joy today, in Messiah Yeshua!

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