I thought we might take a quick stroll through the Tanakh (Old Testament) this morning, highlighting the blessings and curses of Yahweh’s people.
Debarim (Deut). 11:26-28, gives us a blessing and a curse:
Deu 11:26 ‘See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse:
Deu 11:27 the blessing, when you obey the commands of יהוה your Elohim which I command you today;
Deu 11:28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commands of יהוה your Elohim, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other mighty ones which you have not known.
Mosheh spoke these words just before he parted company with the Yisra’elites as they crossed the Yarden River and into the Promised Land. The land that he (Mosheh) did not get to enter because of one sin, that to us seems so trivial, but it was a sin against Elohim, and Yahweh even today does not see sin as trivial.
Now, we all know the mighty power of Yahweh that He showed the world in order to deliver the Yisra’elites out of their bondage in Mitsrayim; in chapters 4-14 of Shemoth (Exodus) we find all the miracles that Yahweh performed through Mosheh, finishing with parting the Red Sea for the Yisra’elites to cross on dry ground, and then flooding that gap in over the army of Mitsrayim (Egypt).
There have been recent discoveries to prove that this happened just as it is told in the Scriptures. Archeologists have found evidence of where they actually crossed the Red Sea, and the bottom of that stretch of sea is littered with the axles and wheels of chariots from that period of time. There is no other explanation of how this could have happened. They have also found carvings in the rocks on the path the Yisra’elites took through the desert for those forty years that are written in their own language telling the story as they traveled, stories that coincide with what is in the Scriptures. The rock that they set the golden calf on has carvings of the idol carved into it. The rock that gave water when Mosheh struck it as Yahweh had told him to do has been found and shows the water marks. Not to boast, but I never really needed this proof for me to believe that every word of the Torah is true. It is interesting though and very useful in witnessing.
In 15:22-25, Yahweh turned bitter water sweet, and then in the next verse promises that if they obey Him, He will protect them from the diseases He had brought on the Mitsrites.
In 16 Elohim gives them the manna and quails for food. And in 17 at Horeb He gave them water from the rock. In vv. 8-16, the Amalakites were defeated, and so that they would know it was Yahweh, He used Mosheh’s arms being raised as a sign. Chapter 19 Elohim shows Himself to the Yisra’elites and they hear Yahweh call Mosheh up the mountain where Mosheh is given the 10 Commandments and the Torah.
All this time Yahweh was with them, if we turn back to chapter 13 of Shemoth (Exodus), in v. 21; “By day Yahweh went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light…” So we have promises and blessings and miracles and signs from Elohim and we can begin to see that so long as they remain faithful and obey Yahweh, He provides for them everything they need, even when it wouldn’t seem possible. Imagine being stuck out in the desert without water or food, needing to sometimes travel night and day, no flashlight or lantern, no compass, no knowledge of where you are going. Suddenly a cloud appears and says follow me, and as darkness falls the cloud becomes fire to give you light. When you thirst, say a prayer and water gushes out of the rock, and when you are hungry Yahweh gives you bread from heaven. How awesome is that?
Now the Yisra’elites actually saw all this with their own eyes, and all this they saw within the first month or two of their journey to the Promised Land. Having seen for themselves, all this, why is it that they continuously rebelled against Yahweh? We will now examine some of the consequences of that rebellion.
When Mosheh came down the mountain carrying the Ten Commandments and found the people worshiping a god that they had made, 3000 died. Deut. 1&2, because of their unbelief they were made to wander in the desert for 40 yrs. And none of that generation except Yehoshua (Joshua) and Kaleb were allowed to enter the Promised Land.
In Bemidbar (Numbers) 16, because of their rebellion and grumbling, Qorah, Dathan and Abiram led an uprising with 250 men, the leaders, members of the council. The three and their entire households were swallowed up in the earth and then all 250 of the men who rose up with them were consumed by fire. Then the whole community grumbled about this and a plague killed 14,700 people.
Yahweh had warned them not to fraternize with the women of the pagan nations, but they did not listen and they accepted invitations to the ceremonies and sacrifices to Mo’ab’s pagan gods. They were immoral with the women of Mo’ab even so blatantly as to bring one to his tent, right in front of his family and Mosheh. Yahweh’s anger was diminished when Phinehas, one of the grandsons of Aharon, ran the man and the woman under him through with a spear, killing them both, stopping a plague that had been among them since this immoral behavior began but not before 24,000 people died of that plague.
In Debarim 4:25-31 Mosheh warned and encouraged the Yisra’elites to follow Elohim. He is prophesizing about when they have lived in the Promised Land for a long time and not to forget what they had seen, heard and lived while in the desert.
Again in Debarim 27-30, we have blessings for obedience, and curses for disobedience, I encourage you to read and study these chapters because I believe it still holds true today. Circumstances and our lifestyles have changed but the essence of the warnings, as well as the blessings, remains. In the first 6 verses of chapter (29), Mosheh points out that they have seen these things with their own eyes so that they may believe.
I thank Yahweh for our Master Yahusha HaMashiach and His Spirit in us that we may know Him by Faith, and not have to wander and live the hardships that the Israelites endured.
The book of Yehoshua covers a period of about 25-30 years, and depicts the success in taking the land from the pagan people that occupied the land. Under the leadership of Yehoshua who loved and feared Yahweh, and followed, to the letter, every word Yahweh gave him. In obedience to Yahweh, Yericho was handed over to them in a miraculous victory, (Yehoshua 6). However, because of one man’s sin, (Achan) they were defeated in Ai the first time. Once Achan had been dealt with, they were victorious the second time they hit the town of
Shophetim (Judges) 1:27-36, they were disobedient in not driving out the Kana’anites, as Yahweh had commanded. 2:1-5 The Messenger of Yahweh rebuked them and withheld His hand and gave them over to worship other gods, and Yisra’el was made subject (slaves) to the pagan kings for 8 years, (3:8-9}.
Throughout the book of Shophetim, the Yisra’el was oppressed due to their own disobedience for 18yrs to King Ehud, 20yrs. to King Jabin, 7yrs to Midyan, again for another 18yrs to the Ammorites and Philistines and later another 40yrs to the Philistines. Each and every time they fell under oppression, it was because they had done evil in the eyes of Yahweh, and every time, when they called out to Yahweh, He delivered them, out of the oppression. Again through Shophetim, chapters 17-21, the people continued to do what was right in their own eyes, worshipping other gods and making their own idols, creating chaos among themselves. They were even fighting each other, the Yisra’elites vs. the Benyaminites.
In the book of 1st Shemuel, Elohim casts judgment on Eli and his sons in (4:1-22), because Eli had neglected to teach his sons Elohim’s ways and keep them obedient. He honored his sons more that he honored Elohim and his sons did evil and vile things against Yahweh, such as taking meat being sacrificed before the fat was burned up and they also slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting (2:12-25). The prophecy against the house of Eli in vv. 27-36, says that there will be no old men in Eli’s line, none of his offspring will grow old, he and his son’s will die. Soon after that the Israelites were defeated in a battle with the Philistines, the Ark of the Covenant was captured, Eli’s two sons died in the battle and when Eli got the news he fell backwards off his chair and broke his neck and died (-18).
So we see here that the curses, and the blessings apply not just to the nation as a whole but also individually.
Now Shemuel had ministered before Yahweh under Eli, from his early childhood, having been given to Yahweh 8 days after being born to Hannah, who had made that promise to Elohim if He would bless her with a son she had so beautifully prayed for in Chapter 2, (1st Shem). Shemuel served as prophet, judge and priest to Yisra’el all his life, but again the people of Yisra’el had fallen away from the ways of Yahweh, and as we find in chapter 8 they begin to ask for a sovereign (king) like all the other nations, Shemuel tries to explain what can happen if man rules Yisra’el instead of Yahweh, but they refuse to listen and demand a sovereign.
So Elohim gave them a sovereign. He has Shemuel anoint Sha’ul as Yisra’el’s first Sovereign, and in the early years of his reign he served Elohim, but sometime later against the directions of Shemuel to wait for him to arrive in Gilgal, Sha’ul offers sacrifices to Yahweh. This is a great sin against Elohim, even as sovereign he did not have the authority to present offerings to Elohim, sacrifices have to be performed by a priest. This is the beginning of the end for Sha’ul. In chapter 15 Shemuel tells Sha’ul what Yahweh wants him to do, as punishment for what the Amalekites did to Yisra’el when they came up from Mitsrayim (Egypt), Sha’ul and his army were to attack and totally destroy them, not taking prisoners or plunder. Strike two, Sha’ul takes the pagan sovereign prisoner and keeps the best of the sheep and cattle and all the good booty. In vv 10&11 Yahweh Tells Shemuel He is grieved that He had made Sha’ul sovereign. Reading on in v 12, Sha’ul goes the very next morning to Carmel and sets up a monument in his own honor, strike three your outa there, Sha’ul! Elohim removes His Spirit from Sha’ul and gives him over to evil spirits, depression and deposes him as sovereign. As we see in chapter -23.
Can we see a pattern here yet? Anytime Yahweh’s commands are disobeyed, atonement has to be made. On the other hand when we do follow His commands and are faithful to Him, we reap great benefits. As we will see as we continue in chapter 17, we get to meet Dawid, a shepherd boy who holds Elohim dear, and serves Him as he protects his father’s flocks, he knows when he fights off lions and bears, that it is Yahweh who wins his battles. This is how we are introduced, and we all know the story of Dawid and Goliath and how he invokes the Name of Yahweh as he so quickly and accurately slays the giant. With but one exception this is how Dawid leads Yisra’el for forty + years, and we can see thru reading 2nd Shemuel chapters 1-10 how Yisra’el flourishes and prospers. The book of 2nd Shemuel is all about Dawid, his Sovereignty, his love for Yahweh and his success and failure, and also his punishment for sin.
Dawid is referred to as one who is of Yahweh’s own heart, I think he knew Elohim’s heart, but where did this knowledge come from? We know that his bloodline was right for the reign, being a direct descendant of Abraham, Yitshaq (Isaac) and Ya’aqob (Jacob), but we don’t find any kind of formal training in Dawid’s upbringing. I believe Dawid’s prayer life was very strong, spending those long days watching over the sheep, I think he spent much of that time in constant conversation or in unceasing prayer with Elohim, and that much of his knowledge came, through set-apart Spirit revelation.
Dawid’s attitude was so righteous, even in mourning the death of Sha’ul, and how he had loved Sha’ul throughout all those years of being hunted by Sha’ul, and even though Sha’ul had tried so many times to kill him. Throughout his reign he praises Yahweh, writing the Tehellim (Psalms), and in humble worship. He serves only Yahweh, the Elohim of his forefathers Abraham, Yitshaq and Ya’aqob.
As the young sovereign of Yisra’el, Dawid enjoyed the best of everything in Yisra’el, victory over all of Yisra’el’s enemies, and many years of peace and success in all things. But, we find that Dawid is not perfect and in chapters 11-12 of 2nd Shem, he sins a great sin, against Elohim, against Uriah (one of his military leaders), and Bathsheba, Uriah's wife. And in all his previous righteousness, he is not exempt from Yahweh’s wrath, for he pays dearly for his transgression. Nathan, the prophet to Dawid, rebuked him and told him what Elohim was going to do. The loss of the child she was to bare him as a result of the affair, the sword that would plague the bloodline, calamity would be on the house of Dawid for generations and his women would be abused by one of his own sons (Absalom) who rebelled against him, all of which comes to pass. Chapter 12 -20 detail all the ways Dawid would suffer and pay for the one weak moment of “going his own way”, and giving in to his selfish fleshly desires.
I thank Yahweh for giving us His son; that Yahusha will stand before The Father in intersession for us when we come to Him and confess and repent of our sins and our weaknesses.
In the ending chapters (21-24) of 2nd Shem, Dawid is again in fellowship with Yahweh and he finishes his life and his reign in good standing. He does however, anger Yahweh again when he takes it upon himself to count the fighting men of Yisra’el.
As 1st Melakim (Kings) begins Dawid is old and ready to turn it all over to his son Shelomoh (Solomon) who will also become a great soveriegn, he will build the magnificent Hekal (Temple) in Yerushalayim that Dawid had wanted to build, but because Dawid’s reign was so battle filled and bloody, Elohim had denied him and left it to his son to complete.
Shelomoh, to this day is revered as a great soveriegn. He is known for his wisdom and for the Hekal, but he was also not without great sin and great punishment. His great sin was in taking many hundreds of wives who worshipped other gods and brought Shelomoh down to worshipping with them. He allowed the high places and Asherah Poles to be constructed all over Yisra’el. Was this the ‘Calamity’ that Nathan had prophesied about to Dawid? As great a sovereign as he was he felt worthless and writes about it in Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes), that all the pleasures he had enjoyed were worthless and meaningless, that life itself was meaningless without Elohim. In the end he redeems himself and finishes well as did his father.
While throughout Shelomoh’s reign Yisra’el continued to prosper in many ways, the House of Dawid was in many other ways in constant turmoil, this would lead to the eventual split of the nation into two entities, Yisra’el (the Northern Territory) and Yahudah (Judah) in the south, two sovereigns and much animosity.
Shelomoh’s reign was around 970-930 BC, it was at the end of his reign that this split occurred and for the next 208 years the Northern Territory of Yisra’el went its own way, and none of its sovereigns served Yahweh, they instead worshipped many other gods. In constant rebellion and fighting against its own people and its own house at times, it finally fell to the Assyrians in 722 BC. Elohim had given them many prophets to warn them of impending wrath if they did not return to Yahweh, but not only did they not listen, they often killed the messenger.
Yahudah lasted a bit longer, about another 134 yrs. at times prospering at other times in turmoil, depending on who their sovereign was at the time, some served Yahweh and Yahudah was rewarded, others did what was evil in the eyes of Yahweh, and Yisra’el fell into disorder and suffered, they too were warned by prophets, who warned them of the coming exile to Babel, but they failed to listen as well.
Mikah, Yeshayahu (Isaiah), Nahum, Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) and Obadyah all spent their lives trying to warn Yahudah and the sovereigns of Yahudah of the exile. They knew of the demise of the Northern Kingdom and knew that it would happen in Yahudah as well. They also knew that Yahweh would repay Nineveh for the destruction of Yisra’el, Elohim was raising Nebuchadnetstsar for that purpose, and it would be him who would take Yahudah as well.
Many of the prophesies that the Yisra’elites experienced coming true back in those days, 2600 years ago, we could see come true again, and that was Elohim’s intention when He told these prophets what to say and to write, they were two-fold prophecies, they applied to the people of the ‘Old Testament’ times and they will apply and do apply to us and to those in the future when Yahusha returns and comes to take His people to be with Him, after The Tribulation and the Day of Yahweh, that awesome, blessed and horrifying day when He returns to fight the Anti-Messiah and the dead in Messiah will rise He will take those who come to Him during the tribulation and we will be with Him for a thousand years of peace and rest, and they will be cast in the lake of fire.
Yeshayahu chapters 1&2 can identify so completely to today, v 4 our nation has become a terribly sinful people. In v 7, and this is only my opinion but when I see the devastation of hurricanes such as we had in the Gulf Region this last year, I can’t help but wonder if it was not because just days prior we had a hand in giving up land in Yisra’el. V 10, is this country not becoming like Sedom? Laws are protecting the rights of the Gays and Lesbians over the Torah of Yahweh and laws to keep clergymen from denouncing the homosexual lifestyle are in the works. In some places it is illegal to refuse to marry same sex couples, and I believe that is soon to follow the legalization of same sex marriages in this country. vv. 11-13, while we do not make animal or blood offerings today, because no sacrifice can compare to the one Yahusha made for us on the stake, we do though in a way, and we should, offer Him our service, because as Ya’aqob (James) said in 2:26, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead”. We cannot be saved by works, but only through Messiah, Yahweh’s favour, and faith are we saved, we are expected to do good works, having received the precious gifts that Elohim has given us in the process of our salvation.
Getting back to Yeshayahu, in v 12, the trampling of the courts, are we not doing just that these days? Right-ruling (justice) is getting harder to find all the time. In vv 15-17 he is warning us to do what is right, vv 18-19 a promise if we do that He will cleanse us white as snow. Then in 20-31 comes judgment for not obeying. Again in my opinion, as Elohim raised up Babel and Assyria against His rebellious people 2600 years ago, I believe in my heart that He can raise up against us the Islamic terror that we are seeing all over the world, and they live among us today.
Yeshayahu continues to detail that Great Day of Yahweh through the rest of chapter 2. His whole book prophesizes what was to happen to Yahudah in 586 BC when Yerushalayim was taken by Nebuchadnetstsar and the people and the treasures of the Hekal were captured and exiled to Babel. He also prophesizes about the coming of Messiah, he actually makes 41 prophecies about Yahusha, too many to address now, and he prophesizes about the End of Times, in our future.
The rest of the Tanakh covers the prophets of Yahweh who lived, preached, called to Yisra’el to return to Yahweh our Elohim and follow Him and only Him, they cried and died in service to Yahweh.