Is He Listening?

Does God hear everybody? Does He listen attentively to each person and each prayer that is said? Many say that God hears all people, that if you are having trouble in your life all you have to do is stop and say a prayer.

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. Matthew 21:22

Matthew 21:22 is a verse that everybody loves. So many read this verse and use it as their prayer motto, believing that all they have to do is believe when they ask God for something, and He will give it to them. Is this really all there is to it? Is God going to give us anything we want, with the only stipulation being that we believe that we will get it? What about John 9:31?

Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. John 9:31

This verse says that God doesn’t hear sinners, and if we stop here, we can see that a sinner is somebody who does not worship God nor does His will. That narrows it down a little, but what about your prayers?

In order to answer this question, we need to dig deeper into the Word. We need to look beyond the context of just the verses surrounding Matthew 21:22 and John 9:31, and understand the idea of who YHVH hears in context of the entire Word. When it comes to subject studies, such as prayer, we must always look at the context of the whole scripture so that verses that seem to contradict each other will not be confusing to us.

So far the scriptures we have looked at were in the New Testament. Where do the ideas found in the New Testament come from? The Old Testament. By going to the Old Testament, we are going to allow scripture to define scripture. Not surprisingly, the Old Testament has a lot to say about prayer and who God is really listening to.

In Psalm 66, we find somebody who is praising YHVH for listening to his prayer.

I cried unto Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue. If I had regarded iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not hear;

The author of this psalm said that if he had regarded any sin in his heart, YHVH would not have heard him. This sounds a lot like John 9:31, but what does it mean to regard sin? Ra’ah is the Hebrew word for regard, and it simply means to see. According to this author, if YHVH had seen sin in his heart, He would not hear, but he goes on to say:

But verily God hath heard; He hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, who hath not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me. Psalms 66:17-20

Clearly he had not regarded iniquity in his heart.

Why do you think that YHVH does not hear the prayers of sinners? We can find this answer in scripture also.

For Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness; evil shall not sojourn with Thee. The boasters shall not stand in Thy sight; Thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Psalms 5:4-5

This verse also defines what a sinner is by including that YHVH hates all workers of iniquity. How could YHVH hear the prayers of the author in Psalms 66 if scripture teaches that we have all sinned? Wouldn’t that make us all sinners? Scripture seems to be contradicting itself. This puzzle can be solved by defining words.

In Hebrew, the word for workers is:

pâ‛al
paw-al’
A primitive root; to do or make (systematically and habitually), especially to practise: – commit, [evil-] do (-er), make (-r), ordain, work (-er), wrought.

Workers of iniquity are those who practice iniquity – or sin. Although all have sinned, not all practice sinning. It is those who actively practice sinning that YHVH hates.

Doesn’t hate sound like a harsh word? Let’s define this word too.

́ânê’
saw-nay’
A primitive root; to hate (personally): – enemy, foe, (be) hate (-ful, -r), odious, X utterly.

Those who practice sin are God’s enemies.

For Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness; evil shall not sojourn with Thee. The boasters shall not stand in Thy sight; Thou hatest (are an enemy to) all workers (those who practice) of iniquity (sin). Psalms 5:4-5

This is exactly what Jesus was talking about when he said:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:21-23

In the Word, YHVH shows us concepts by giving us basic instructions and laws. Once this has been practiced and understood, He applies the same concepts to spiritual matters to deepen our understanding of who He is and what He requires. I came across a very good quote by Benjamin Franklin that I believe explains the reason He does this:

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I will learn.”

This is exactly what YHVH does for us. In the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible), we are given the law. In the law, most of the rules make perfect sense, but there are several that seem to have no rhyme or reason. I encourage you study these. Do not dismiss them. As we are about to see, there is reason for everything He gives us.

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

One of the laws YHVH has given us is a law on being clean. As we all know, the Bible depicts sin as a stain, or a state of uncleanness.

… though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18

The first time YHVH shows us a picture of man’s state of uncleanness is in Exodus 19. At this point, we find the children of Israel after they had escaped Egypt gathered at the foot of Mount Sinai to hear the commands of YHVH. They had never before had contact with him directly as a nation, and yet the very first thing He commands them to do before He would even allow them to be in His presence was to wash themselves and their clothes. By doing this, YHVH has set a precident on which our relationship with Him is to be built. Even after washing themselves and their garments, the children of Israel still could not touch the mountain on which His presence was made known.

Cleanliness was given extreme emphasis in Leviticus 16, where the regulations of temple service for the priests are explained. Every time the high priest and the Levites came to rehearse their service to YHVH, they had to wash with water before even putting on clean priestly garments. Once they were clean, sacrifices were made to obtain blood that would purify, or clean in a way that water couldn’t. The blood was used to purify the high priest, the children of Israel, and the tabernacle. YHVH was so specific about cleanliness, that even the tabernacle and the tools used to present the sacrifices had to be purified. In the process of their service, the priests had to leave the tabernacle and kill the animals. Killing animals made the priests unclean. Each time they became unclean, the high priest would have to undress in the tabernacle of the congregation, go to the tabernacle, wash with water again, and put on new garments.

It is apparent that YHVH wanted a clean people to come before Him. If anybody came before Him unclean, they were in transgression of the law and could be cut off, or even put to death. This is something He does not take lightly.

Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him. Numbers 19:13

Already, He has established that in order to come before Him, in order to be in His presence, we must be clean, but there is one more law that YHVH uses to tie the physical with the spiritual. The law of the uncleanness of lepers can be found in Leviticus 13 and 14. Why? Many times in scripture we see leprosy used as a type of punishment for sin.

When ye are come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession; then he that owneth the house shall come and tell the priest, saying: ‘There seemeth to me to be as it were a plague in the house.’ Leviticus 14:34-35

In 2 Kings, we find the story of Naaman coming before Elisha to be healed from leprosy. When he was healed, Naaman offered Elisha a payment, but Elisha refused. After Elisha had sent him off, Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, caught up with Namaan claiming that Elisha sent him in request of money. Namaan gave it to him, and he hid the money and garments he received. When Elisha found out about it, Gehazi’s punishment was the leprosy of Naaman. Not only was Gehazi cursed with leprosy , but so was all of his seed forever.

The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever.’ And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow. 2 Kings 5:27

We are going to go through this law of ritual cleansing for leprosy in-depth in order to see and understand the lengths that YHVH wants us to go through to be clean before Him. Keep in mind that YHVH gives us basic instructions and laws to establish a spiritual concept.

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24

Any person with leprosy is considered unclean. There is a cleansing ritual for the leper, but it cannot happen until the body of the leper has been healed. The ritual begins when the leper brings 2 doves, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop to the river. One of the birds is killed in an earthen bowl that is held over running water (in a river). The blood is drained into that bowl. The bird that remains alive, along with the cedar, scarlet, and hyssop are dipped into the blood of the dead bird, and the leper is sprinkled seven times with that blood. The living bird is set free in the open field. The leper is to wash his clothes with water, shave his head, and wash himself with water. He is then clean enough to enter the camp, but he still cannot live in his tent for another week.

blood bird

Once this week was up, the leper has to wash his clothes again, shave his entire body, and wash himself again. This is the final cleansing before he goes before the temple of YHVH. Note that the leper has to be clean before presenting himself before the temple, just as the children of Israel had be clean before presenting themselves at Mt. Sinai.

Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him. Numbers 19:13

The day after his second cleansing, the leper is to bring to the temple:

He-lamb #1 – guilt offering
He-lamb #2 – sin offering
One ewe – burnt offering
Meal offering mingled with oil
One log of oil – atonement

The priest will bring the man and all his offerings before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. One of the he-lambs is a guilt offering and will be killed. This he-lamb along with the log of oil is waved before YHVH as a wave offering. The blood of the lamb will be applied to the right ear, right thumb, and right big toe of the leper. Then the priest will pour the oil into his left hand, dip his right finger into it, and sprinkled it before YHVH seven times. He will also apply the oil to the tip of the leper’s right ear, right thumb, and right big toe. The oil that is left in the priest’s left hand will be turned over onto the head of the leper to make atonement for him before YHVH.

Now the second he-lamb will be killed in the same place as the first, but this lamb is the sin-offering. This is an atonement for the leper because of his uncleanness. After all of this, the ewe lamb is killed. She is the burnt offering.

Notice that the burnt offering could not even be offered until the leper was clean. Everything that the leper has gone through up to this point – shaving and washing with water, purification by the blood of a dove, a second shaving and washing with water, a second blood purification with the blood of a lamb, and a sin offering – all these things were done just to make the leper clean. The ewe lamb that was a burnt offering was brought before YHVH as a representation of the leper. Remember, YHVH does not want anything that is unclean in His presence. The leper had to be clean in order have representation. When all of this was accomplished, the leper was free to live in the city and in his own home.

Through the law of presenting oneself before YHVH clean, YHVH has established the following concepts:

  • A leper is considered unclean.
  • Nobody can come before YHVH unclean.
  • A burnt offering is a representative of the person offering it.
  • Thus, YHVH will not accept a burnt offering from an unclean person.

 

Through the cleansing and sacrificial ritual of the leper, we are given a glimpse of leprosy being a punishment for sin in that one of the sacrifices was that of a sin offering.

leper washing

Since leprosy is symbolic of a state of uncleanness, and it was a punishment for sin, we are able to connect the physical (or the law) with the spiritual.  We are now able to see that sin is a state of uncleanness.

In Isaiah 1, we see a clear relationship between the uncleanness of leprosy, and the uncleanness of sin. YHVH compares sin to leprosy and tells us that He requires us to be clean.

Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.

In Leviticus 13, leprosy is described as raw skin that turns white as it heals. It is deep enough in the skin that it affects the hair, turning it white. Because of their sin, YHVH called the nation of Israel sick, saying that their body, as a nation, was covered in wounds, bruises, and putrifying sores.

Remember the concept of bringing sacrifices to YHVH in a clean state? The burnt offerings are a representative of the those bringing the sacrifices to God. If the person is not clean, or free from sin, neither are their burnt offerings. For this reason YHVH does not want their burnt offerings.

To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, along with the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.

It wasn’t the oblations, offerings, sacrifices, new moon, sabbath, and convocations in themselves that YHVH hated. He appointed those! It was the workers of iniquity that He hated. It was the unclean state they lived in that He hated. He did not want the unclean state of the people to be mixed in along with the His solemn assembly. He had become an enemy to them, and therefore hated everything they did.

And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

YHVH does not hear the prayer of sinners. He does not want uncleanness in His presence. Evil will not dwell with Him. He would not even look at the children of Israel in their state of uncleanness. Just as YHVH would not accept a guilt or sin offering in order to receive atonement from a leper until he had washed with water, purified with blood, and became clean, YHVH wanted nothing to do with the sacrifices or burnt offerings of this sinful nation. While they were in their sin – practicing sin, they were unclean to Him. Remember, if anybody came before Him unclean, they were in transgression of the law and could be cut off, or even put to death. He still requires this of us today. While Jesus takes care of the blood purification for us, it is of no use to us if we do not do our part to become clean and stay clean from sin. Remember the order in which the cleansing happened: 1) the unclean person was to wash themselves, 2) then the blood purification was provided by the priest.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. Isaiah 1:4-20

Our sins can be white as snow or as wool, but this is conditional. First, we have to be willing and obedient. If we refuse or rebel we cannot even present ourselves to Him, because we are unclean. If He won’t even allow us to be in His presence when we are unclean, how do we expect Him to hear us when we are covered with our sins?

What is Sin?

We now understand who YHVH listens to. We understand why He does not listen to sinners. We understand what defines a person as a sinner. However, there is one more word that needs to be defined. Sin. In order to avoid becoming a worker of iniquity – one who practices sin – in order to assure that our prayers are heard, we must first understand what sin is.

There finally came a time when the nation of Israel was cast from (cut off) YHVH’s land due to their sins. Long before this He had given them a warning of what constituted sin to Him. He warned them of what He would do.

But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. …

For the next 23 verses, YHVH lists all the curses that would befall His children if they continued sinning. Then YHVH promises a chance for forgiveness:

And they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, in their treachery which they committed against Me, and also that they have walked contrary unto Me. I also will walk contrary unto them, and bring them into the land of their enemies; if then perchance their uncircumcised heart be humbled, and they then be paid the punishment of their iniquity; then will I remember My covenant with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. Leviticus 26:14-42

God does not change.

For I am the LORD, I change not… Malachi 3:6

The requirements He had for the children of Israel in the Old Testament are the same requirements He has for us today.

Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. John 9:31

What a blessing to know that while we are in the middle of following His commandments, He is not going to change them on us. What a blessing that we never have to guess what He likes and hates. What a blessing that we can learn from the mistakes of others.

We can use the sins that the children of Israel committed to learn what sin is, and how to avoid being workers of iniquity. We can use these example to know what we should and should not do to remain clean and to be ever heard by our God.

  1.  They broke YHVH’s commandments.

    But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments     Leviticus 26:14

    The first thing the children of Israel did to be cast from the presence of YHVH was to break His commandments. His commandments are the entire law that He set forth from Genesis to Deuteronomy.

    He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.     John 14:21

     

    Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.     1 John 3:4

    To refuse to keep YHVH’s law is sin. Remember, one who practices sin, which is breaking those commandments, is a worker of iniquity – God’s enemy.

    The boasters shall not stand in Thy sight; Thou hatest (are an enemy to) all workers of (those who practice) iniquity (sin). Psalms 5:5

  2. They despised His statutes.

And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant     Leviticus 26:15

The children of YHVH also despised His statutes. This means they cast away His customs and His Holy Days. Jesus made sure to rehearse YHVH’s customs and all of His Holy Days just as commanded in Leviticus.

And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.     John 10:22

 

And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.     John 10:23

He practiced and taught every law presented in the Torah along with every common practice that YHVH put into place. He even said:

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.     Matthew 5:18

 

And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem     John 2:13

Jesus observed YHVH’s calendar, all seven feasts, and the weekly Sabbath with the understanding that these are YHVH’s appointed Holy Days.

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.    Luke 4:16

Not only did He practice these customs and Holy Days, he kept them in the way that YHVH required, not in the way that the pharisees wanted them to be kept or according to man’s tradition.

Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?     Luke 6:9

We are to follow the example of our Messiah.

He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.     1 John 2:6

Do you know anything about the customs that YHVH prescribed? What about the Holy Days? Do you keep Sabbath in the way He requires? Many do not. Many don’t even know and have never been taught what His appointed days are really about. Even 1 Corinthians 5 commands us to keep the feasts. Without an understanding of the two feasts spoken about in this scripture, one cannot even truly understand what is being said.

Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.     1 Corinthians 5:7-8

If we continue in ignorance concerning God’s statutes, we can be counted as one of those who has cast away or despises them. Remember, YHVH does not change. The same things He desired from the children of Israel, His children, He desires from us, His children. When we refuse to follow the commandments of YHVH, and when we refuse to observe his statutes, YHVH says that we are abhoring His judgments.

And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant     Leviticus 26:15

His commandments is standard by which He judges us.

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.     1 John 3:4-6

YHVH told His children that they would break His commandments and despise His statutes, but He also gave them a promise for the chance of forgiveness. How can YHVH forgive us if we are so far from His presence that He can’t even hear us? He can’t – until we make ourselves clean, through repentance.

And they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, in their treachery which they committed against Me, and also that they have walked contrary unto Me. I also will walk contrary unto them, and bring them into the land of their enemies; if then perchance their uncircumcised heart be humbled, and they then be paid the punishment of their iniquity; then will I remember My covenant with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.     Leviticus 26:40-42

Leviticus shows us three steps to repentance.

  1. Confess our iniquity and the iniquity of our fathers.

    As with the all of YHVH’s children, the first thing we must do to gain acceptance back into His presence is to confess our sins…and the sins of our fathers???

    And they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, in their treachery which they committed against Me, and also that they have walked contrary unto Me.     Leviticus 26:40

    Many times, we know when we are in sin. Recognizing our iniquities is easy, but the iniquities of our fathers? We are responsible to know if they walked in sin too. If they practiced iniquity and passed it down to us, then we are committing the same sins. It is our responsibility to get these generational curses out of our lives and stop them before we pass them down to our children.

    O LORD, my strength, and my stronghold, and my refuge, in the day of affliction, unto Thee shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say: ‘Our fathers have inherited nought but lies, vanity and things wherein there is no profit.’     Jeremiah 16:19

    By saying that we must confess the sins of our fathers, YHVH has eliminated all excuses. Thanks to this verse, ignorance is not a get out of jail free card. Paul taught this too.

    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and divinity; so that they are without excuse     Romans 1:18-20

    If I travel out of state and unwittingly break a traffic law, I am still held responsible. The judge doesn’t care that I am a foreigner, and therefore do not know the laws of that state. If I am going to be driving through, it is up to me to know their traffic laws. This is fair and just, because those laws are readily available to anybody who may want to look into them. Our accountability to YHVH and His word is the same.

    At the time that Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, the Bible had not yet been printed. A scroll containing the scripture (which, at the time, was the Old Testament only) was so expensive that it took an entire community pitching in to buy one for their synagogue. If there was no excuse at that time, think of what little excuse we have today. Knowledge is literally at our fingertips. We each have a Bible – many of us have several. We have Bible study tools that can be used on our phones and computers. We don’t even have to leave our house to go to the library to get information anymore. We cannot claim ignorance as a reason to wallow in our sin. When we stand before the Judge, we will not be able to say, “But my parents, spouse, pastor said…” It is completely up to us to find out where we have been led astray. Jesus even says:

    Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.     Luke 12:43-48

  2. Humble our hearts

    The second thing we must do to repent and thus gain acceptance by YHVH is to humble our hearts.

    I also will walk contrary unto them, and bring them into the land of their enemies; if then perchance their uncircumcised heart be humbled, and they then be paid the punishment of their iniquity     Leviticus 26:41

    A humbling of the heart only comes when we get self out of the way. We all know the greatest commandment.

    Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.     Matthew 22:37-38

    In the Love and the Opposition study the biggest points made is that love cannot happen when selfishness is involved. The opposite of love, in fact, is selfishness. If we love our Father with all our heart, soul, and mind, we will humble ourselves, or get rid of selfishness, when we come before Him. Take time to consider the things you selfishly bring before YHVH. Just a few things that come to my mind are

    • Doing things our way
    • Breaking His commandments
    • Limited or no time spent with Him in study and prayer
    • Going to Him in prayer asking Him for something, instead of offering ourselves for Him
    • Doing things to get blessings

    Websters defines humble as:

    HUM’BLED, pp. Made low; abased; rendered meek and submissive; penitent (or repentive).

    When one humbles themselves to YHVH, they are saying that only His ways are right. The Word gives credence to this definition.

    Then the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said: ‘The LORD is righteous.’      2 Chronicles 12:6

    They are not humbled even unto this day, neither have they feared, nor walked in My law, nor in My statutes, that I set before you and before your fathers.     Jeremiah 44:10

    Instead of looking for ways to get around His ways or struggling against His ways, we are to submit willingly to His ways – which are again, His law and His statutes.

  3. Be paid the punishment of our iniquities.

Once we have humbled ourselves, or accepted the fact that YHVH’s ways are the only way, we are able to accept His punishment.

I also will walk contrary unto them, and bring them into the land of their enemies; if then perchance their uncircumcised heart be humbled, and they then be paid the punishment of their iniquity     Leviticus 26:41

The Hebrew word for paid is

râtsâh
raw-tsaw’
A primitive root; to be pleased with; specifically to satisfy a debt: – (be) accept (-able), accomplish, set affection, approve, consent with, delight (self), enjoy, (be, have a) favour (-able), like, observe, pardon, (be, have, take) please (-ure), reconcile self.

When we have sinned, a punishment is owed to us. Remember, the children of Israel abhorred the judgments of YHVH. A judgment is a reward for right doing or a punishment for wrong doing. When we do right, the judgment is a reward. We all celebrate, accept, and are pleased with those kinds of judgments. But, when we do wrong, the judgment is a punishment that serves to correct us. This is the judgment that the children of Israel abhorred. Punishment and correction are never easy.

There is grievous correction for him that forsaketh the way; and he that hateth reproof shall die.     Proverbs 15:10

YHVH gave His children a list of punishments, ie. corrections, that He would give to those who sin. A small piece of that list from Leviticus 26:17-39 is that they were smitten by their enemies, those that hate them ruled over them, that they would run – even if nobody was chasing them, He caused drought and famine, plagues befell them, wild beasts ate their cattle, they began dying off so that there were few left – and this is just the first 5 of the 23 verses. If these things happened to you, would you stop to wonder why they are happening? Too many would immediately call these things attacks of Satan. Many declare that they refuse to accept, claim, or call these corrections “mine.” We must be careful not to give the glory of YHVH to Satan. What a wonderful weapon we have given Satan when we take what YHVH has given us to correct us in order to bring us to Him, and we blame it on Satan and refuse to accept it. Correction is a gift that we are to be pleased with.

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

We can choose to endure chastisement so that we can correct ourselves, or we can abhor punishment and hate reproof, becoming bastards and ultimately dying. We can allow the “bad” things that happen to us to show us the areas in our life that we need to clean, or we can abhor them, remaining in our filth outside of the presence of YHVH, and wondering why our prayers are not heard.

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.     Hebrews 12:6-11

It is pride and selfishness, which is a result of not humbling yourself, that walks around demanding health and wealth while rejecting His correction. What if YHVH wants to use lack to correct us? What if by being broke, He is able to increase our trust in Him. What if by being sick, He is able to use us to be a testimony of Him to others? We must really be careful about being selfish in the things we demand or complain about, because we just might get what we ask for.

In Numbers 11, we find the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. YHVH had provided them with mannah and water, yet they complained. They demanded flesh. They were not happy with the way YHVH chose to teach them to trust Him. Psalms gives us a condensed version of this story.

Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven. Man did eat angels’ food: he sent them meat to the full. He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind. He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea: And he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations. So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire;

Note how it says He gave them their own desire. Not His.

They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths, The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.     Psalms 78:23-31

He gave them what they wanted, but it was to their own demise. Again, we can choose to welcome chastisement using it to clean ourselves by getting rid of the sin in our lives, or we can abhor punishment and hate reproof becoming bastards and ultimately dying.

But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.     Hebrews 12:8

 

There is grievous correction for him that forsaketh the way; and he that hateth reproof shall die.     Proverbs 15:10

  1. But if we choose to:
    Obey His commandments.

    Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.     1 John 3:4

  2.  Learn, Understand, and Rehearse His Holy Days.

    Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.      I Corinthians 5:7-8

  3. Confess our own iniquities and the iniquities of our fathers.

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.      1 John 1:9

    O LORD, my strength, and my stronghold, and my refuge, in the day of affliction, unto Thee shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say: ‘Our fathers have inherited nought but lies, vanity and things wherein there is no profit.’     Jeremiah 16:19

  4. Humble our hearts.

    But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.      James 4:6-7

  5. Accept punishment.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.      Revelation 3:19

He promises to bring us back into His presence and to hear us when we call to Him, because when we do those things, we are doing His will.

Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.      John 9:31

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