Weekly Devotional - Lock and Load
Just Another Messianic Weekly Dose of Encouragement entitled:
The last WORDS just before entering a hot Combat Zone: LOCK & LOAD!?!
Oct. 21, 2016
By Rabbi John Wesley A. II
This weekly messianic study is centered around the week’s parasha “DEVARIM.” Most scholars agree that this was the book of the law [TORAH] which Joshua was to keep before him day and night: Joshua 1:8 KJV “THIS BOOK OF THE LAW shall not depart out of thy mouth; but THOU SHALT MEDITATE THEREIN DAY AND NIGHT, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for THEN THOU SHALT MAKE THY WAY PROSPEROUS, AND then thou shalt HAVE GOOD SUCCESS.
The last command that you will hear just before entering a combat zone ( or what is also call a hot DZ; Drop Zone) is without fail these three immortal words; “Lock and Load!” The reason I say immortal is for the fact that at the end of the day, someone will come face to face with their creator to decide their eternal home (be it friend or foe). Yes I know that is quite intense but it is also the harsh reality that one will eventually face in combat. Unchecked emotions will undoubtedly get you and possibly your comrades killed. Thus; your military training will be put to the ultimate test. Taking a novice into an intense firefight with no combat experience can & will more than not jeopardize the mission. Paul understood this principle mistake very well in relationship to the John Mark spiritual combat incident; while on the spiritual field of battle: Acts 12:25 NLT “When Barnabas and Saul had finished THEIR MISSION to Jerusalem, they returned, TAKING JOHN MARK with them.” In an effort to be fair pertaining to the spiritual readiness of John Mark; the question arises as to had he been properly trained for the upcoming battle!?! Answer: Most Definitely! Prayer and meditation upon Yah’s word is essential for sustaining oneself during the battle. John Mark was absolutely no stranger to this vital component from his upbringing. Acts 12:11-13 KJV gives a brief, but impactful account of a large number of messianic believers gathering at the home of John Mark’s parents to pray and intercede during a fatal military crisis moment; for Peter & James the brother of John: Acts 12:11-13 KJV “And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. And when he had considered the thing, he came to THE HOUSE OF MARY THE MOTHER OF JOHN, WHOSE SURNAME WAS MARK; where many were gathered together praying. And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.
John Mark which from henceforth will be addressed by his gospel surname; Mark was well acclimated to messianic spiritual warfare training. So what happened!?! And by that I mean why did he not stand strong with Barnabas and Paul in the thick of the spiritually INTENSE firefight!?! Yeshua has the perfect answer for this one! John 15:2-8 KJV “2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 NOW YE ARE CLEAN THROUGH THE WORD (Logos in the Greek) WHICH I HAVE SPOKEN UNTO YOU, 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 IF YE ABIDE IN ME, AND MY WORDS (Devarim in the Hebrew) ABIDE IN YOU, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; SO SHALL YE BE MY DISCIPLES.
The word “WORD” used in verse 3 is “LOGOS” (Gr. 3056); and is defined as … a word, speech, DIVINE UTTERANCE, analogy. That same word in the hebrew is Devarim (which is the plural form; whereas Dabar sometimes spelled Debar is the singular form) (Hr. 1697) and is defined as … a charge (2), Chronicles (3), Chronicles* (38), claims (1), Command (11), commandment (1), commandments (1), Commandments (2), commands (1). But although this is good to know information; I want you to set your spiritual focus on the true condition that Mark had at the time. “NOW you are CLEAN through the word …” The Devarim had not worked its way into his heart in abundance in order to control his hyperactive emotions; prior to being selected to go!!. Even though he was running shoulder to shoulder with great men & women of Yah at the time; the million dollar question begs to be asked: Was Mark suppose to go on this DANGEROUS SPIRITUAL MISSION with them in the first place!?! Act12: 25 (in the KJV) is the last verse that promptly ends chapter twelve; BUT not the subject matter. So when one starts to read chapter 13 (in most cases) immediately a fainting thought says “where is Mark?” Is he a distant memory at this point? I will answer the second question first; NO! He is with them side by side until chapter 13th verse 13 (Hmmm!?! Glad we don’t put our faith in unlucky numbers) this is when he announces his HASTY RETREAT: Acts 13:13 KJV “NOW when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and JOHN [MARK SURNAMED] DEPARTING FROM THEM returned to Jerusalem.” Sounds more like he was with them at the mountain top experience with all the glorious hoopla! But hightailed it back to mom and daddy; when they had to go through THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH! Okay Okay I think we get your point Rabbi! But what about the first question second? That one was never answered and I know you’re about to make one of those untimely exits and leave us in suspense! Oh yay! You’re right on both counts … smile! Was Mark ever suppose to go on this DANGEROUS SPIRITUAL MISSION with Barnabas and Paul!?! Ask the Holy Spirit; I know he will tell you? No! Not the holy spirit inside you silly! The one who speaks to you through the pages of the written word (Dabar) of the account itself, as it happened! Acts 13:1-5 KJV “NOW (there is that word again) there were in the church that was AT ANTIOCH CERTAIN PROPHETS & TEACHERS (Rabbis); as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord (worship), and fasted (purging themselves of uncleanness), THE HOLY GHOST SAID, SEPARATE ME BARNABAS AND SAUL FOR THE WORK whereunto I HAVE CALLED THEM (Sorry but I must add the obvious missing wording; “ONLY” not you John Mark). 3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and THEY HAD ALSO JOHN [SURNAME MARK] TO THEIR MINISTER (Ministering along side with them). Hmmm!?! This was definitely the mountain top experience- Don’t you think!?!
I ran out of time sorry but I will connect the dots here so you can see how it relates back to Joshua and his Devarim which he received from Yah! Oh yeah and how all that interconnects with the military term LOCK AND LOAD!
UNTIL NEXT TIME SHALOM SHALOM ….. SMILE!