And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’ (Exodus 32:27)
As we discussed in the previous devotion, sometimes things that offend, corrupt and threaten to destroy God’s people and purpose must be removed — in this case, it was in very tragic fashion. Nevertheless, we need to acknowledge that everyone who calls themselves a believer is truly a believer. Not everyone plant growing in the wheat field is wheat — some are tares and must be uprooted lest the wheat be choked out and die. Paul put it this way: “they are not all Israel who are of Israel (Romans 9:6).
It is sad but true, there are those among God’s people who have no intention of following the Master but who have their own agenda. Jude wrote that these people “are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves (Jude 1:12). Were they allowed to remain within the Body unchallenged, they would render widespread destruction and, therefore, for the sake of the entire body, God orchestrates events whereby they are removed.
At the end days, this same scenario will be seen on a universal scale. The Bible says that Messiah will return with a sharp sword going from His mouth that will strike the nations (Revelation 19:15) and He will rule them with a rod of iron. In that day, His Law, as a two-edged sword, will go forth from Zion and His Word from Jerusalem. In other words, He will send His “sword” into the nations and rid the earth of elements that offend, corrupt and threaten to destroy His will, thus compelling all men to decide which side of things are they are going to be on. That notion brings us to our main point for today.
Matthew’s Gospel recounts an exchange between Yeshua and a group of people that occurred when He was told that his mother and brothers were standing outside of a house wanting to talk to Him. To this He replied, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?‟ He went on to say, “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother‟ (Matthew 12:48-50). In other words, not everyone who says they are my brother is my brother. The only way to discern my true brothers and sisters is to examine the fruit they bear and see if it reflects the Father’s Will. Are they producing good fruit or something else?
What about the fruit I am producing? Does it faithfully reflect the will of my Father and can others consider me to be a true brother? In light of the times we live in, these are important things to consider because, soon, the King will send His “sword” into the earth to divide the tares from the wheat. For one group it will mean devastation; for the other vindication — I want to be part of that second group. How about you?
Blessings and Shalom,