The Benefits of Wilderness Living
For this week of Hanukkah I am focusing my bible reading to a book that contains a rich history of an event that is spoken of by the prophet Daniel as well as Yahushah (Jesus) in the gospel’s but has been taken out of most of our bibles. This book wouldn’t be one of the books that we would ordinarily read if we were one of those who read through the entire bible every year because it has been erased from the collection, much like revisionist history. Nevertheless, praise be to Yah it is possible to get this book and this book is essential to read to get a full picture of what our future has in store. Those who do not know their past will be unprepared to handle their future when the beginning occurs again in the end.
The world then was not much different than the world today you had people in power who had their own belief concerning how things should be. Those who opposed the laws of the land in favor of the laws of their God were strongly encouraged to change their position, at the point of death. Like Alexander the Great they would attempt to win the people over with bait (fishers) but those who would buck against the tide would be forced to change even to the point of death (hunters). This is the circumstances around the time of the Maccabees. A remnant of people who would rather die then forsake the laws of their God rose up against the powers that be during their day. Chapter after chapter heralds their victory over armies mightier than their own with them having that which caused them to be a majority, YHWH. Reading the book of Maccabees is like reading the story of David’s victory over the Philistines or the myriad of battles that he conquered as this family of men rise up to fight against the powers that be which would dishonor their God and the laws that He gave.
Reading the book of Maccabees makes me think just how out of touch we are and fallen we are as believers in this nation. We fight to preserve a pagan holiday that has absolutely no connection to the birth of our Savior, nor represents a lawful feast that he mandated we celebrate. Yet, forsake and ignore the feasts that he kept as well as the one’s he commanded us to keep. (Lev. 23) We position ourselves to save a holiday that his word has already condemned as that which we were instructed not to learn. (Jer. 10:1-5) Those who keep such rituals and ignore the Holy Day’s that the Father has set apart have already been deceived, they are like those willing Jews during the days of the Maccabees who gave up their laws and commandments to keep the feasts of the wicked government of their day. They have already forsaken their God to serve the idols of wood (Christmas trees) and stone.
I am currently on 2 Maccabees chapter 5 and it is recounting 1 Maccabees how this family of priests as well as those who held true to the word of God were forced into the wilderness, living in the mountains after the manner of beasts and eating herbs. This reminded me of all the shadow pictures that Yah has given us in His word of this “wilderness” experience that His people were sent or driven to starting in Genesis. We take Lot who lived in a place very similar to the place we live in today in the U.S. all the conveniences of worldly living at the expense of eternity. Where was he driven too? The wilderness. The book of 2 Peter 2:7-8 tells us that this righteous man vexed his righteous soul staying there day after day. Yet we know that even with him being displeased with the circumstances he would rather stay in the filth and try to work within it (politicking) rather than separate from it to live keeping the laws of his God. We know this because the Angel’s had to drag him out and even when he got out he was begging to enter into another city that was in much the same condition. Then we look at John the Baptist in the New Testament who was forced to live in the wilderness because of his miraculous birth he was thought to be the prophesied Messiah. This caused him to be hunted by those who were in power. Yet we see such a purity in his ministry coming from fasting from the things of the world and being raised separate from the filth.
Those of us who are returning to the word of God and understanding the level of holiness Yah expects of his children are beginning to see the sewer our world has become. Our eyes are beginning to open to the truth behind the deceptive marketing that romanticizes living any sort of lifestyle we please. We are recognizing that there is a high cost to following the imaginations of our wickedly deceitful hearts. (Jer. 17:9) Coming to grips with the truth has painfully revealed the stinking residue that resides on our garments that were supposed to be without spot. For those who have already made a commitment to follow Yahushah this commitment will be challenged. The wilderness is the challenge to us, will we be willing to give up without looking back at the conveniences of Sodom and Egypt to pursue the purity and holiness that can only be found in Messiah or will we be like Lot’s wife or the children of Israel who even though we have been brought out will continue to look back with longing?
The Feast of Dedication means to me a time to present myself before the Father desiring to be made clean on his altar. A time to not just reflect on the beauty of the sacrifice Yahushah made for me but to desire to want to keep His word with passion and zeal. A zeal of course according to knowledge and therefore it is a time to return to understanding his laws, statutes, judgments, and precepts. Understanding not because I have to, but because I want to, because like the Maccabees I would rather die keeping my Savior’s words then live without them.