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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Messages » Right or Left?

Right or Left?

          As a young man I often envied the men of the Old Testament for several reasons. First, they seemed to always have visual miracles right in front of them and actually saw the supernatural hand of God at work. He parted a sea in front of them and they walked over on dry land. He led them through the wilderness with a pillar of fire and a cloud. And he opened up the ground and swallowed up their enemies.

But the thing that I envied the most about these men was the way they heard from God. It seems like even when they didn’t ask for direction in a matter, God sent an angel to them or even spoke to them Himself. I used to get to a crossroads in my life and wondered what to do. I would pray for that audible voice to tell me or would ask for an angel to be sent. I somehow always seemed to get the answer I needed in a matter but I never actually heard a voice.

I was disappointed in not hearing God! I have spoken to you in the past on the two covenants. The first covenant that God made is referred to as the Old Testament. It was a covering of sin (but not a taking away) and the law that the Lord gave for His people to live by. We have a New Covenant, referred to as the New Testament that we now live by. This covenant is a better covenant than the old according to Hebrews chapter 8.

Now, imagine I make a deal with you on the rental of a house. Perhaps we agree that you can rent my house for $500 a month but you will pay the utilities. Suppose that sometime later I come to you and tell you that I am making a new contract that will be better for you. I offer you a better deal.  If you got the house for $500 to start with and the new one is better, you would know that something was changed in the price or benefits. You might guess that the price was lower or the utilities were paid or even that your rent would now be applied to ownership. When someone says better, they mean better!

Look at Hebrews 8:7.  Paul tells us that the first covenant was not a perfect covenant. Let’s examine what he meant by that. The first covenant God made with His people was one of laws. These laws were taught and administered by the priests. It was a system of rules; do’s and don’ts. In verse 8 he says that God found fault with them, even though the covenant was available. God gave the old covenant for man’s temporary covering. In the next verse God said that the new covenant would not be like the old one or based on it. The reasons for the new one are given here.

Going back to my example of renting my house I would like to throw in some problems. Perhaps you could not keep up the agreement. If I kept my end of the deal (and God always does) but you didn’t keep your end the contract would not work. In verse 9 God said that He would make a new covenant because the first one wasn’t kept. Israel kept wandering from it. Rules cannot be kept unless a person wants to do it.

Now, let me shift the example from renting a house to driving rules. We have rules of the road that drivers abide by if they are to keep their licenses. Putting out speed limits and other rules will do no good unless they are enforced. Officers often have a quote on the side of their cars that says, “To protect and to serve”. The last time that you got stopped by an officer and he handed you a ticket did you thank him for protecting you? Did you appreciate the way he served you? Actually, you should have.  But, because our mind set is not right we get irritated at police officers and state troopers.

Remember, they are the “good guys”. They are out there for us! Have you ever seen a drunk driver pulled over? I know that you appreciated what that officer did then. But when you were late for work and went too fast you didn’t regard the offense as unsafe or illegal, but it was. You see, these people are there to enforce the law. Now, there is, in the New Covenant, a way to get direction as to right and wrong. Have you ever noticed that you can be driving along without paying attention to your speed and when you see a state trooper you always slow down?  We have a new enforcement officer to help us keep safe and He rides with us in the car.

Look now at verse 10. God declares that in the New Covenant the laws would be written in our minds and written on our hearts. That’s the difference. Before, the law was given to one person to share with everyone. Now it is given to each individual in their minds and written in their hearts. This is a better covenant!

Here are the advantages. When it is in your mind it’s like having that police officer riding in the car with you. If you had an officer riding with you at all times he would warn you when you got over the speed limit, rolled through stop signs or got too close to the vehicle in front of you long before you broke the law. When you did ignore his warning he would continue to warn you right to the point where another officer in the car behind you turned on his blue lights. You would have the option of turning up the radio to drown out his voice or getting on your cell phone and talking to someone else. He is a gentleman and is never rude. He never forces you to obey. He is there for your good and safety. We call Him the Holy Spirit of God.

With this new covenant, God says the law will be written in our minds and in our hearts. We have it living in us when we are truly born-again. As we study the Word of God we place it in our minds and in our hearts. Bible study is imperative.  Going back to my original point of direction, the Holy Spirit is there to not only remind you of sin. He also is there for direction. Isaiah 30:21 says that there will be a voice saying this is the way; go this direction. Looking back on my life and decisions that I made I know that He has been there guiding me all along. I no longer envy those of the Old Covenant for hearing the Voice of God directly.

I discovered that I really do hear His voice. I was asking God one day, why He allowed Noah to hear an audible voice and immediately I heard this as a thought, “What makes you think I spoke to him in an audible voice?” Have you ever had the Lord speak to you that way? He does speak to His people and His sheep hear His voice (John 10:27). In all the decisions that I sought God for guidance He always provided the right path for me to take. Sometimes it didn’t seem to be what made sense but later I realized why He had me go that way.

We get direction from God through the Holy Spirit alive in us. He has promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). If I come to the realization that my personal officer is riding with me for my good I will be prone to listen to him. But if I ignore him, he doesn’t grab the steering wheel and force me off the road.

Here is an important point. We cannot choose to only use the Holy Spirit for direction and not for moral decisions. Many try to do this. He gives us clear warning when we start down the path of sin. You might choose to ignore His voice because you want to have a little fun in the flesh and kick up your heels. Then all of a sudden you will find yourself in trouble and cry out for direction. You will not hear God when you have lived this way because you have grieved the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) The Holy Spirit is a person and can be grieved. By ignoring Him you have the radio so loud His soft voice won’t be heard.

If you are struggling for direction perhaps you need to stop and go back to where you first heard Him. Turn off the radio or television. Hang up the cell phone and get away from those who constantly need your attention.  Get in a quiet place and seek God for direction. He is there to give you directions. But you must be willing to follow His directions in all matters. We cannot choose which directions to take and which to ignore. They all fit together.

I hope that you have heard His voice today. His Word is alive and can live inside of you. Ask Him to come into you today. Invite Him in. He is there for your good. He is a friend in times of loneliness. He is a healer when you are sick. He is a counselor when you need words of direction. He is an interpreter when you don’t understand. And He is ever-present with you once you open the door and let Him in. Call Him today and allow Him to “serve and protect”. He loves you!

 

Prayer-Father, we need direction in life in all of our decisions. But we sometimes ignore You in matters of sin. Help us to always hear and follow Your voice. Make us aware that You are guiding for our good. If there is someone reading this today that doesn’t trust You, help them to see Your great love for them.

In Jesus’ Name-Amen

 

paul

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Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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2 Responses to "Right or Left?"

  1. Samantha says:

    Hi Paul. It’s been little over a year now since I have read your messages. Your messages are always encouraging and full of truth. I have been confused about something. I have been friends with some messianic jews, and they strongly believe that we still need to obey the old testament laws, such as we should not eat pork. I have been praying about this. I would just like to see what you thought about this.

    1. paul paul says:

      There are three types of laws in the Old TestamentThe first type are ceremonial laws. These were the ones that God gave Israel for the ritual of sacrifice and worship. These had to do with the manner in which Israel sacrificed animals, presented the sacrifice, etc. Since Jesus is our sacrifice we are no longer are under these. The second type of laws were the civil. These pertained to Israel as a nation and were what they followed for living with each other. We no longer follow these since they pertained to Israel as a country. For example, there was a law that told fathers to stone disobedient sons. I’m glad that one is no longer valid since i wouldn’t be here today :-). They also covered how you would pay back someone for damaging their property, etc. The laws of the nation you are a citizen of covers this today. The last type of law is the moral law. These are the ones that God put down as morals for His people to live by. These are laws that God said He would write on our hearts and in our minds (Heb 8:10). Please read again Galatians 3:21-25 and Romans 6:14-15. God gave us an inner voice to follow (The Holy Spirit) so that we would know right from wrong.
      If you chose to not eat pork you will probably be healthier but i do not believe you are under the law to do it. Consider that God told Peter to eat the unclean animals.
      I hope that answers your question. If not you can write me directly.
      In Christ
      Paul

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