|(Exo 11:4-7 NIV) So Moses said, "This is what the LORD says: ĎAbout midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt - worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any man or animal.í Then you will know that the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel."
(Mal 3:18) And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.
*Back in Egypt during the Passover, and exodus from Egypt God made a distinction between His children, and those who were not His. In Malachi He says that He will once again make a distinction between those who serve Him, and those who do not. This is always Godís desire. We are not to blend into the crowd. We are not to be like everyone else. We are to be different or distinct. Big cities like NYC are great examples of this.
i.e., Crown Heights, China Town, Little Italy, ... These neighborhoods are filled with people from one distinct ethnic group.
Distinct: recognizably different. able to be perceived clearly by the senses.
We should act different, sound different, taste different, etc.
(Leviticus 19:27-28) You shall not round the corners of your heads, nor mar the edges of your beards. "ĎDo not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.
*In these verses, various mourning customs connected with the heathen worship of the dead are forbidden. God wants us to be distinct from those who participate in heathen worship.
(Num 15:37-41 NIV) The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ĎThroughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God.í"
*Halachah (Jewish law) says that Jews should be identifiable by appearance, and this has been the case down through the centuries. Hasidim voluntarily dress in a distinctive way because we believe God wants us to do this. It's like wearing the uniform of a team we're proud to be on.
(Matt 7:13-14 NIV) "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
*In these verses notice the two ways (vv. 13-14), two trees (vv. 15-20), ..., and two builders (vv. 24-29). The "two ways" was a common teaching method in Judaism and Greco-Roman philosophy.
Life is filled with choices. What kind of fruit will we bear? On what foundation will we build our life? And the one I want to key in on today, what gate and road will we choose in life? God wants us to walk on a different road than everyone else.
The Road Less Traveled - by Robert Frost
"THE ROAD NOT TAKEN" can be read against a literary and pictorial tradition that might be called "The Choice of the Two Paths," reaching not only back to the Gospels and beyond them to the Greeks but to ancient English verse as well. In Reason and Sensuallyte, for example, John Lydgate explains how he dreamt that Dame Nature had offered him the choice between the Road of Reason and the Road of Sensuality. ... On one side a thin line of pious folk ascend a hill past several churches and chapels, and so skyward to the Heavenly City where an angel stands proffering a crown. On the other side a crowd of men and women are engaged in feasting, music, love-making, and other carnal pleasures while close behind them yawns the flaming mouth of hell in which sinners are writhing. (George Montiero)
Numerous verses in Proverbs, and several verses in other books of the Bible as well, explain that there are two paths for people to choose. And when John, Yeshuaís cousin came, he came to prepare and get ready the path to Yeshua so that we can travel on it. This is what he, and the other writers of the Bible did. They shared Godís Word with us to encourage us and to help us choose the path to God.
The literal meaning of this poem by Robert Frost is pretty obvious. A traveler comes to a fork in the road and needs to decide which way to go to continue his journey. After much mental debate, the traveler picks the road "less traveled by."
Unfortunately, too many people (even among Believers) choose to walk on the road which is broad and easy; the road that leads to destruction.
(Matt 7:13-14 Living Bible) Heaven can be entered only through the narrow gate! The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide enough for all the multitudes who choose its easy way. But the Gateway to Life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.
*In the Bible God tells us that He wants His people to be clearly and recognizably different from everyone else. He has a different path for us to take in life. Throughout the week I get to work with people from different agencies in this community. Sometimes people Iím with will start to do things, or talk about things that are not wholesome or godly. When this happens I quietly walk away. God does not want us to act and talk like other people.
But the sad truth is that this is not what Godís children do too often. Too many Believers act and sound exactly the same as everybody else.
(Joshua 24:14-15) "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
*Joshua is talking with the children of God because they were also worshiping other gods. They were doing both. But God had Joshua tell them that He does not want it to be that way. Joshua then tells them that they may try to serve God and the gods of this world but he would not. He said, "As for me and my house;" irregardless of what you chose, my wife, my children and I will serve God, and Him alone. God wants us to be clearly and recognizably different from everyone else. God desires that we choose the path that leads to Him no matter who else does.
Even after choosing the path that leads to God, we will find that life is filled with all sorts of choices or decisions to make.
The Road Less Traveled - by Kit McCallum
How often we must bear the challenges of life;
The endless roller coaster between happiness and sorrow;
The constant ups and downs of daily strife.
And always the question remains .... why?
Life is not an easy road for most;
It twists and turns with many forks in the road,
Although always, and inevitably, we are given a choice ...
Do we turn to the right ... or the left?
Do we take the high road ... or the low road?
Do we take the easy path ... or the difficult one?
Decisions are not easy for those struggling for direction ...
And sometimes the many choices and signs become overwhelming.
While standing at a crossroads in life,
The urge is to take the most comfortable path;
The road with least resistance ...
The shortest or most traveled route.
After it snows, I look for the path that everyone else has taken. I look for footprints in the snow so I can have an easier time walking. In this case, it is smart to take the path traveled by lots of people. I will get less tired, and have a better chance of keeping my socks, shoes and pants dry. This is smart. But too often, when there are choices to make, we donít want to follow in the foot steps of others. Lots of people make bad choices.
Consider that Frost himself was expected to be a farmer, lawyer, and then a teacher. He tried farming and left it. He entered law school to become the lawyer his paternal grandfather expected but departed almost immediately. He then entered Harvard but soon left because of a serious illness, perhaps brought on by trying to take the road most traveled. But he then discovered that poetry was what made him come alive, and when he went down that road, a road that few traveled with him, it made all the difference, and today we have his poetry because of that choice. Because of similar choices, we have the writings of St. Paul, the music of Mozart, the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci, and the sculptures of Michelangelo.
Frostís poem invites you to forget peer pressure and instead realize that if you truly want to make a difference in your life, you cannot do things the way everyone else does them, or even because everyone else is doing them. If you choose to lead your life just like everyone else, what exactly is it that you have to offer? The road most traveled is one that allows you to fit in, to feel accepted, even to be enculturated. But it will never allow you to make a difference.
(Prov 14:12 NIV) There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
(Living Bible) Before every man there lies a wide and pleasant road that seems right but ends in death.
Itís easy to look at other people and come up with reasons to follow their example. There are ways people do things that seem to make sense. People are smart and talented so it would often make sense to choose the wide and easy path that so many others have taken. Itís also easy to believe that if so many other people have made the same choice, it must be the right thing to do.
But God wants us to remember that this is often not true. Yeshua said that the paths that are wide enough for all the multitudes to choose, are often highways to hell. Choose the path that is narrow, and only taken by a few. You will find that these paths lead to God, and like Robert Frost, they will help you to come alive and, they will also bring you abundant life on earth. Be clearly and recognizably different from everyone else. Youíll be glad you did.
|Mashiach Yisrael Service
|Messianic Rabbi Ron Goldberg
Saturdays @ 10:30 AM
Sunday Worship Service - 10:00 AM
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|The Road Less Traveled
By Messianic Rabbi Ron Goldberg
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|>Pray for the People of Israel
>How Can We Recognize the Messiah?
>Can I Be Jewish And Believe in Jesus?
>Counting the Omer (for Shavuot)
>A Season of Deliverance
>Passover and the Resurrection of Messiah
>A Local Congregation: An Extended Family
> A Chanukah Teaching: The Power of Unity
>God Hovers Over Us
>The Gates of the Temple
>How do You Respond to Sin in Others?
>Messiah: Our Coming King
>Are you ready for your trip to the clouds?
>Tempted and Tested
> Astonished at the Messiah of Israel
> Worry: Who Me?
> You are the Salt of the Earth
> The Road Less Traveled
More Coming Soon....