When I was a teenager and just getting to know the Father and Lord, I was reading the gospels for the first time in my life. I was amazed at the success Jesus had when dealing with people. Healings, miracles, individual challenges like the Rich Young Ruler and Lazarus' sisters all yielded different results, but the results always seemed to be the most He could get for any given situation. He was effective limited only by the faith or unbelief of others.
Why is the Lord so effective?
I asked the Father:"Why was the Lord so effective (in the gospels)?" and His immediate response was:"Because He is 100% the Word, with no traditions of men, therefore He got 100% results in any situation according to how He was allowed (He hasn't changed)."
In Matthew 15:6 Jesus criticized the Pharisees saying:"...you have made the Word of God of no effect by your tradition." The Greek of 'made no effect' is one word, 'ekyrosate' from the root 'akyroo' and 'kyros' meaning 'authority'. Jesus is saying they make God's Word null and void by the authority of their traditions. In other words, they placed their traditions in authority above the Word of God.
Requires intellectual honesty
The degree to which a person has placed a tradition of man above God's Word in their heart is seen by how quickly they will remove that idol from their heart when they hear the truth of the Word. To do that requires a heart that is genuinely seeking the truth. It requires intellectual honesty born of humility and teachability (meekness).
Some if not most just want to argue. These are the ones in house church where no matter where the discussion or study is going, they find a way to insert their favorite doctrine. They become evangelists for the truth as they see it. But truly walking in the fullness of the Word means a willingness to learn, leaving man-made tradition aside.
One such stronghold that has been around for decades is this:If 1 can put 1,000 to flight, 2 can put 10,000 to flight.
It is so commonly expressed it is taken as gospel truth. If a preacher wants a loud 'amen' from the congregation, all they have to do is proclaim that to make the point their victory is coming, and all go away feeling good. The passage says this, based on Deuteronomy 32:30:
"How can 1 chase 1,000 and 2 put 10,000 to flight except their Rock had sold them, and the Lord shut them up?"
Somewhere, years ago, someone lifted that verse out of context, put it in a sermon saying it was a promise for God's people, and it became foundational to thousands of believers struggling for victory in various areas of life. They have taken it as a promise from God that they will rise up and chase 1000 demons and together in the prayer of agreement with another, they two will put 10,000 to flight, thus gaining the answered prayer and victory.
Wrong. That's not what it says. And by believing that and praying that and standing on that, they haven't realized they are standing on traditions of men, actually having the opposite effect in their lives, making the Word of God of no effect. All because they have placed the traditions of men in authority over the Word of God.
What is the context?
The book of Deuteronomy is the re-telling of the Mosaic law to the children born in the wilderness from the people who had come out of Egypt. Their parents came out of Egypt to the edge of the Promised Land within a few months, but rejected the Lord's will, refusing to enter into the Land. Rejecting Him, He gave them what they had continually said, that they would rather die in the wilderness than take the Land. So they wandered for 40 years until they had all died out of that generation, except for Joshua and Caleb.
Deuteronomy means 'words' and is Moses' last words to those born in the wilderness, it is the retelling and summarization of much of Exodus and Leviticus to those 'kids'. In chapter 32 Moses is retelling the failures of their parents and warning them not to live by their example of unbelief. He explains why after God told them they would wander the wilderness in Number 14, they tried to enter the Promised Land on their own and were soundly defeated.
The whole of Deuteronomy 32 is a song Moses sung because music is easier to remember I am guessing, so that it could be sung repeatedly to remind them how to act and not act. Notable verses include v4:"He is the Rock, His ways are perfect. Just and right is He", which was a popular 1970's prayer meeting song back in the day.
By v15 Moses sings warnings, saying:"...he (Israel) forsook God who made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his (Israel's) salvation." and in v18:"Of that Rock that gave you birth you are unmindful, and have forgotten God who formed you." He is talking about how Israel worshipped the Golden Calf and other idols along the way.
By v30-31 the Lord is talking about the enemies of Israel, asking how it could be that a single enemy man could chase 1000 (Israelites) and how 2 of them could make 10,000 (Israelites) flee, 'except their (Israel's) Rock had surrendered them and sold them (to allow them to be taken by their enemy)? For their rock is not as our Rock..."
In v36-37 the Lord says:"For the Lord will judge His people...and when He sees their power has left them (Israel) He will ask them; "Where are their gods? Where is the rock they trusted?" After that the song concludes with a promise of ultimate victory for Israel after their repentance, and that the Lord will take vengeance on their enemies.
So when a Christian uses that passage to justify their spiritual strength, they are actually using a passage about God's enemies putting 1000 and 10000 Israelites to flight because He surrendered them to give them what th3ey wanted - to die in the wilderness. Yikes.
Let the weak say I am strong (let the poor say I am rich)
A similar lifting out of context is the passage from Joel 2:9-11, which is actually about the Battle of Armageddon. Years ago there was a popular song with the lyrics as seen above:"Let the weak say I am strong. Let the poor say I am rich, because of what the Lord has done..."
But the verse it is lifted from is about the enemies of the Lord preparing to fight Him at the last battle:"Proclaim this among the Gentiles (God's enemies); Prepare war. Wake up the mighty men (professional soldiers). Let all the men of war come up, let them prepare for battle. Beat your plows into sword and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weak say I am strong. Assemble yourselves you heathen, and come round about (Jerusalem)..."
And yet how many of you are singing that old song right now as you read this, singing it to the Lord, never realizing the Lord is talking to heathen people who fighting Him?
I hope this has been food for thought, and an exhortation that we examine what we think is just and right in Him. Very often we say we believe the Word, when in fact much of what we believe is man-made, which makes the Word of God void in our lives in those areas. Isn't this fun? More next week, lol. Blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at email@example.com