Tag Archives: bondage

The Cost of Fear

He will not leave you

To our beloved readers:  I write this article as one who has struggled for years with fear.  Bit by bit I have overcome some of my “illegal” fears, but my struggle continues.  I write this article to myself as well as to all of you.  Let us keep our focus on the prize before us.

Fear is one of the emotions that YHVH gave to us for a specific purpose.  We are to fear only YHVH knowing that He is much greater than us and more powerful.   However, many of us fear much more than the awesome might of YHVH.  We humans have many different types of fear.    Yet Scripture tells us repeatedly not to be afraid.

In Exodus 1:19-45 and Numbers  13-14, we read that the Israelites refused to go into the Promised Land because of their fear of the giant people living there.  As they focused on the problem it seemed to magnify, distracting them so that they forgot the signs and wonders that YHVH had already performed to release them from slavery in Egypt.  As a result of yielding to their fear, the Israelites paid a heavy price.  They wandered in the wilderness for 40 years until that generation of adults died out.  They not only forfeited a much easier life in a land of abundance, but they failed to assume their divine assignment from YHVH.  Instead of carrying out their mission, they spent the rest of their lives wandering around aimlessly.  YHVH simply waited until a new generation was raised up to replace those who had yielded to fear.

What can we learn from the Israelites? In Exodus 19 and 20, we see that YHVH wants to meet with the people.  The manifestations of His presence (fire, smoke, lightening and thunder and so on) made the people afraid.  We are to have great awe and respect for the Ancient of Days, but we are not to be afraid to speak to Him and hear His voice.  Now, we do not hear YHVH’s voice thundering, but instead we listen for a still small voice inside of us.  YHVH has made it more comfortable for us to hear Him.  In the Exodus account, barriers were erected around the mountain in order to separate YHVH from the fallen, sinful humans, but Yeshua has removed those barriers for us.  The veil in the Temple has been torn and we are free to have a close personal relationship with our Father and His Son.  Do we fear having an intimate relationship with our Father or with Yeshua?  If so, what price are we paying for our fear?  What are we losing?

Our Father spoke His commandments to the Israelites, but they were too afraid to continue hearing from Him.  So He wrote out His commands on tablets of stone.  After Yeshua returned to His Father, He sent the Holy Spirit to write His law on our hearts.  The Holy Spirit not only has put the law on our hearts but works through us so that we can carry out YHVH’s commands.  Do we fear having the Holy Spirit operate in us and through us?

Just as YHVH delivered the Israelites from bondage, He desires to set us free from our bondage to sin and to demons.  Many of us deny that we can be in bondage to demons when we are already born again.  Others of us are afraid of the spiritual realm and the idea of demons, so we stay in denial and try to ignore them.  Just as termites in your house will not go away if you simply ignore them, neither will demons depart from you because you deny their existence or their presence.  Do we fear seeking deliverance from  demons who hold us in bondage and torment us?  Do we fear the spiritual realm?   As the Israelites were commanded to purge leaven from their midst during Unleavened Bread, we are expected to permanently purge sin and demonic influence from our midst.  How does our bondage hinder us from completing our mission on earth and enjoying life in abundance (John 10:10)?

When the Israelites began to fear the giants in Canaan, they abandoned the only fear they were supposed to have, fear of YHVH.  Their fear of the giants became so great that they disobeyed the only One who is to be feared.  Is it the same with us?  Do we fear that which challenges us to the point that we forget to fear YHVH and thus fail in our divine assignments? Will we fail in our mission because our fear is misplaced?  What blessings and joys are we forfeiting because we give in to forbidden fears?

 

Esau’s Blessing

choice between life and deathMost of us are familiar with the narrative of Jacob and Esau who were twins. Esau was the firstborn, but as he emerged from the womb, Jacob was holding onto his heel. Esau was very casual about his birthright (traded for a bowl of lentils) and rebellious when it came to following YHVH’s commands (marrying a pagan woman). We recall how Jacob tricked his father into giving him Esau’s blessing as the firstborn son. These stories can be found in Genesis 25-27.

When we read the story of Jacob and Esau, we tend to dwell on the rivalry between the brothers, Jacob’s deception, and family dysfunctions with Isaac favoring Esau and Rebecca favoring Jacob. We focus our attention on Jacob and shove Esau into the background. Do we realize that Esau’s story is our story? Do we comprehend what YHVH (through Isaac) was saying to Esau (and to us)? Let us examine Esau’s blessing closely, for in it lays a gem of hope, the greatest hope for us all.

The blessing consists of three sentences and is translated incorrectly in many English versions. The English Standard Version (ESV) and the New Living Translation (NLT) have a more correct translation. The first sentence, “You will live away from the richness of the earth, and away from the dew of the heaven above.” So far this doesn’t sound like much of a blessing and indeed it isn’t. Esau will not enjoy the abundance and blessings that YHVH provides for us in the earth. Even what he has, he will not enjoy. This is not something new for Esau, because he never really enjoyed or appreciated what he had. He could not see the true value in his blessings.

Although Esau was the firstborn and was entitled to receive a double inheritance, he traded it for instant gratification in a bowl of lentils. His carnal nature, his flesh, dominated his decision making. So it is with us when we are still in sin and in the kingdom of darkness. Even what we have on this earth, we cannot fully enjoy and appreciate while we are blinded by the enemy.

The next sentence of the blessing states, “You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother.” Esau would serve Jacob, his younger brother. What does this mean for us? We live in a world of violence and deception. We end up serving those who are crafty enough to foil us. Our concern is to gain what we can, often by any means, and protect it at all costs.

So where is the hope in all this? It is contained in the last sentence, “But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.” How was Esau to break free? How are we to break free? We must make the same decision that YHVH presented to Esau. We must choose to stop serving hasatan and the humans who follow the ways of the kingdom of darkness.

When we decide to break free, we can be restored to our birthright which is relationship with YHVH . We have this option because of the love and sacrifice of Yeshua, our Messiah. We throw off the yoke of Satan and accept the yoke of Yeshua. It is an easy yoke. We serve others, not because we are forced to, but out of love and gratitude to YHVH. Our older Brother serves us and we serve Him. Our brothers and sisters serve us just as we serve them. We no longer haggle over the abundance of the earth, but share and enjoy all that YHVH provides, which is far more than enough for us all.

Scripture tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” If you aren’t Yeshua, you fit into this category with all other humans. Whether we know it or not, we are serving Satan when we don’t serve YHVH. Just before I prayed for salvation for myself, I distinctly recall inwardly chafing at the idea of turning my life over to Yeshua and serving Him. The idea of being a servant seemed foreign to me. I thought I was my own person, making my own decisions. Only sometime later would it become crystal clear to me just how much I had been in bondage to Satan all my life. My greatest joy is to serve Yeshua now that I realize all that I have gained by serving Him.

If you have not yet made the decision to break free from the yoke of Satan, do not wait any longer. Perhaps you don’t feel that you are in any type of bondage. You are your own person and you live your life the way you see fit. This was precisely what Esau did when he married a pagan woman. He did not consider YHVH’s commands or his parents’ teachings. This was precisely what I did and my life was a mess before I threw off Satan’s yoke.

Tell Yeshua that you no longer want to work for Satan, but you want to work for YHVH. Tell Him that you are ready to trade your cumbersome yoke of bondage for the easy yoke of Yeshua. Embrace Yeshua’s precious gift of salvation and let Him embrace you with His overwhelming love.

Accepting the Gifts

on the crossHow many people on earth need salvation through Yeshua? Are there certain categories that are exempt? No, for we read in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Every human born on this earth with the exception of the one perfect human, Yeshua, is in need of redemption through Yeshua’s blood so that we can be restored to relationship with YHVH (2 Cor 5:18).

How many people on earth are in need of the baptism of the Holy Spirit? All of us (Matt 3:11, Acts 1:4-5). We need to be fully equipped with all that the Holy Spirit brings to us if we are to be effective workers in YHVH’s harvest.

How many people on earth are in need of deliverance from the oppression and bondage of demons? Is it not all of us? This is the gift that is most often rejected. The most prevalent argument against deliverance for believers in Yeshua is that the Holy Spirit and demons cannot dwell in the same place. How many Christians and Messianic believers, whether water baptized, baptized in the Holy Spirit or baptized in both, are still sinning? If sin dwells in us alongside the Holy Spirit, then so can demons dwell in us and keep us in bondage.

In the deliverance sessions where we have assisted, we are continually astounded at how much damage has been inflicted on people who outwardly seem to be perfectly normal.  In our put-on-a-brave-front society, no one would ever suspect the misery and torment that these individuals are experiencing.

Yeshua announced His mission by reading Isaiah 61 verse 1 and part of verse 2. When comparing the words in Isaiah 61:1 with the recounting of Yeshua addressing the members of the synagogue in Nazareth, we see that a line has been added.

 “The Spirit of the LORD God is upon Me,
Because the LORD has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (Is 61:1 NKJV)

 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed; (Luke 4:18 NKJV)

The Orthodox Jewish Bible also records the same addition in Luke 4:18.  Also, the OJB not only makes reference to Isaiah 61:1, but to Isaiah 58:6 as well.

Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke? (Isaiah 58:6 NKJV)

The extra line in Luke 4:18 is talking of spiritual blindness.  Before Peter and I were set free from bondage, we suspected that perhaps something was not quite right with us, but we did not recognize the demons who oppressed us.  However, during the deliverance session, when the Holy Spirit gave our deliverance team revelation, our spiritual eyes started to open. Only after Peter and I were set free from our own bondage to demons, did we began to recognize and understand just how insidious bondage to demons is.

We know that we are called to be faithful witnesses and effective harvest workers as the evil around us becomes more evident. We need to be released from all the bonds with which the enemy afflicted us while we were still members of the kingdom of darkness.  If Yeshua came to set us free from bondage, why do we refuse His precious gift?

“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim 2:24-26).

“Do you not know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness” (Rom 6:16)?