In 1912 the ocean liner named the Titanic that made her maiden voyage struck an iceberg and within two hours was completely sunk. Of the 2223 passengers only 706 survived the tragedy. I have been told that after the ship began to tilt, some of the waiters on board were continuing to serve the customers their food or going about their regular duties. It appears they chose to avoid the harsh reality that they were facing. Sounds rather ridiculous doesn’t it? But before we criticize them too severely we may need to evaluate our own priorities in life. Reality is often a big pill to swallow - especially when we are preoccupied with some kind of virtual reality. Something that seems very real or very trustworthy, like a brand new ocean liner engineered with the latest technology.
I suspect that our reality today is just as hard to face as it was in 1912 when the Titanic sank. Just as hard as in the days of the inquisition. Or in the days of Yahshua’s betrayal and crucifixion. Or in Noah’s day when the flood drowned everyone except for the eight people on the ark. Or in the day the serpent deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden.
In Matt. 23 Yahshua had some hard words for the religious leaders of His day. He said they were staining at gnats while swallowing camels. They were washing the outside of the cup and the dish but not the inside. And He said they were neglecting the weightier matters of the law which He defined as “judgment, mercy and faith”. Actually it is much easier to have a bible study on tithing than address sexual immorality in the assembly. And it’s easier to speak against sexual immorality then it is to help people get free from that kind of bondage. When we think of judgment we often think of a harsh sentence from a judge and that can be part of the definition, but Yahshua’s judgment of the woman caught in adultery was not one of condemnation. He said I don’t condemn you. This weightier matter referred to as judgment, has to do with discernment and proper justice for any particular situation. Yahshua’s judgment of the many of the scribes and Pharisees was very harsh.
I feel that as He looks at us today He sees some who are manning the life boats and looking out for the weaker vessels while some who are preoccupied with tidying up the ship or rearranging the furniture. Pro. 21:3 says “To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to Yahvah than sacrifice.”
When the nation of Judah was on the verge of annihilation at the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar, Yahvah gave them another window of opportunity to make the best out of their situation. Jer. 22:1-4 These were the weightier matters of the day. Today our weightier matters are probably not too much different. Today innocent blood is being shed in our nation, by abortion among other things. What can we do? That’s a valid question that we need to ask our Savior. Each of us needs to seek the answers to these questions. I can’t do your thinking for you nor can I make your decisions or take your responsibility.
What about mercy? How important is that? It’s pretty important if you care about emulating your Heavenly Father. He delights in mercy and His basic requirement for us is to love mercy. Do you delight in mercy? Here is where we need discernment, because there is a time for mercy and a time for rebuke. We have to have the anointing of the Holy Spirit for us to have this divine gift. It is a very delicate thing that comes with much contemplation. I don’t know of anyone who has perfect discernment so don’t feel discouraged if you get hoodwinked a few times. Remember Yahvah has perfect discernment and He is still kind to the sinner and the unthankful. When Nebuchadnezzar was on the brink of divine judgment Daniel warned him to quit sinning, by showing mercy to the poor. Dan. 4:27
The prophet Zechariah reiterated this same message to the people of his day in response to their question about why their prayers were not heard. Zech. 7:8-10 Did anyone ever ask you how to get their prayers answered? These are some biblical solutions. In Mal. 3:5 Yahvah promised to send judgment upon the sorcerers, adulterers, liars as well as those who neglected the poor, widow, fatherless, and the stranger.
James said true religion consists of visiting the widow and the fatherless in their affliction. James 1:25-27
But actually the weightier matters of the law can change according to your circumstances. As we go through historical records of the Tanak, we find that different situations required different actions. In Nehemiah’s time the problems that he faced was the issue of marrying heathens and violating the Sabbath. He addressed these issues in Neh. Chapter 13. On the other hand in Yahshua’s time these particular issues were hardly mentioned. In Isaiah’s day issues like the Sabbath were mentioned as a lower priority. Is. 1:12-18,23 Today Yahshua is moving people to speak out about the issues that are being neglected. That will vary from one situation to another. Twenty five years ago Sabbath keeping was a weighty matter for me because it was the issue of the day, or the point of testing for me. I feel like I passed that test, but I have had others that I didn’t do so well. But Yahvah has been gracious enough to allow me to take the tests over. I still have some weighty matters I am dealing with today. The testing process is not over by any means. Let’s see what Yahshua said about the difference between the sheep and the goats. Matt. 25:31-46
This type of sacrifice is the kind that really matters--the sacrifice of the time and resources that have been loaned to you by Yahvah. These are not just indiscriminate good deeds but the particular concerns that are the most pressing to our Heavenly Father. The only way you can know that is to know Him. It was these types of sacrifices that Sodom and Gomorrah failed to make. EZ. 16:49
We often hear people say they are Torah observant, or commandment keepers, but before we say that we need to take a close inventory of ourselves and keep in mind that Yahvah will have to be the final judge of that.
Torah observance is often thought of as keeping the Sabbath, Feast days, etc. , but let’s remember how Yahvah summed up the torah for us in Deut. 10:12-19. Not only does He summarize our duties but He reveals His own character and expects us to be incorporated with Him for our own good. He says our love for Him will be demonstrated by our love for the fatherless, the widow and the stranger. And then he reminds His children that they were once strangers in the land of Egypt. It’s good for us to remember that we were once helpless disadvantaged sinners in bondage, and He had mercy on us. If we can keep our focus on that, it will help us walk in the spirit of love and truly determine the weightier matters of the law.
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