29 July 2010 (Chamashee/Teruah)|
Day #136, 5934 AM
Exchanging the Garments of Life
Marie Antoinette was an Austrian Hapsburg and the last Queen of France of the Ancient Régime before that country became a Republic following a violent and bloody revolution that cost the Queen, her husband King Louis XVI, and most of the French nobility - and anyone else who stood in the way of the socialist revolutionaries - their heads on the guillotine.
As was the custom in France in those days, if a woman from a foreign country married into the French Royal House, she left absolutely everything of her old life behind - her friends, possessions, clothes ... and even her name. Upon arriving at the French border, her retinue returned to Vienna. Upon arriving at the Palace of Versailles, where the royal family lived, she exchanged every last bit of her clothing down to her underclothes, including her jewellry, until absolutely nothing that she had come in or with remained. Finally, she surrendered her name - Maria Antonia Johanna von Hapsburg - and became Marie Antointette de Bourbon, Dauphine of France, upon becoming betrothed to the Dauphin or Crown Prince.
A believer is supposed to undergo a similar transformation upon coming to Christ. The changeover from the old life to the new one is supposed to be as radical, only more so:
Whatever we may have been before we gave ourselves to Messiah, completely goes. Everything. We are to be like a true married woman - like Marie Antoinette - and leave everything behind: country, clothing, habits, language, friends - everything. When we begin a life in Messiah it isn't just a question of leaving the bad behind but the good as well - so that He can completely re-form us. There was nothing wrong in Maria Antonia Johanna von Hapsburg being an Austrian, speaking German, wearing Austrian clothes, having Austrian friends or following Austrian habits, but when you start a new life - which you do in marriage and in salvation (for marriage is a type of salvation) - everything must change:
"For the death that [Messiah] died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to Elohim. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to Elohim in Messiah Yah'shua our Master" (Rom.6:10-11, NKJV).
Most, when reading this passage, assume that one master is good and the other evil - like Yahweh and Satan. And whilst this certainly may be true, it can also apply to two good masters. And when loyalty is divided, only chaos and misery can result.
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other" (Matt.6:24, NKJV).
A good illustration of this dilemma is the sad tale of Michal, daughter of King Saul of Israel, whom her father married to David. When Saul yielded to evil and persecuted his loyal servant, because he was jealous of him, causing David to flee, he seized his daughter and gave her to another man, Paltiel, causing both to commit adultery. After Saul's death, David sent for his wife:
It could be argued that Michal and Paltiel were victims of a wicked king. However, Phaltiel still had a choice to refuse, even at the risk of his own life, but he did not. He feared Saul more than Yahweh. In consequence he got another man's wife and put himself on deathrow as far as Yahweh is concerned. And when the forced split took place, it broke his heart. Michal too was changed - and we know from the rest of the account that she looked down on David her husband and as a result Yahweh closed up her womb. She made her choice to have two masters, just as Paltiel did, and suffered terribly for it.
"So David sent messengers to Ishbosheth, Saul's son, saying, 'Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for a hundred foreskins of the Philistines.' And Ishbosheth sent and took her from her [man], from Paltiel the son of Laish. Then her husband went along with her to Bahurim, weeping behind her. So Abner said to him, 'Go, return!' And he returned" (2 Sam.3:14-16, NKJV).
Marie Antoinette was not, as it turns out, a moral woman. Vain, promiscuous and osentatious. But the Royal French Court protocol in respect of a new life leaving all behind was definitely Biblical. That may sit unwell with our modern liberalised Christian but it is the true tavnith or pattern.
I never cease to be amazed at how slow, dull and stupid people are when it comes to trusting Yahweh's ways. Modern believers, if they are honest and let Scripture judge them, do not think much of Yahweh's Ways. They view them as 'harsh', 'antiquated' and 'not applicable' to them. They are terribly wrong. They drift through life like Michal and Paltiel, not realising that to live outside of divine pattern will one day bring disaster and weeping to them. Divine tavnith is glorious if you will trust it because the Ruach haQodesh will always flood into it but will not justify the ways of man - ever. And though man is allowed to sow the seeds of his own destruction of time, and is allowed grace and time to repent, justice always catches up in the end.
We can feel sorry for Michal and Paltiel for their heart-break. However, if the truth be known, it was ultimately their weakness to be true to Yahweh, and lay down their lives for that truth, that was their undoing. You can't serve two masters. Paltiel may in all other respects have been a wonderful man and a good 'husband' but that is not the point - the point was he chose to steal another man's wife. And though he enjoyed his ill-gotten prize for a while, in the end he was removed for it and lost all. And Michael too revealed defectiveness of her character - instead of making peace with emet (truth) she chose her own bitterness, rejecting the husband Yahweh had given to her.
I preach an uncompromising Gospel not because I am harsh but exactly the opposite - because I know, from experience in trusting Yahweh's ways, that only Tavnith brings ultimate happiness:
I counsel you to follow Scripture, and to follow it strictly, in ahavah (love), and not yield to thoughts or feelings - whether your own or others' - that would entice you to depart from it for short-term gain and eternal torment. That is in the nature of Divine Covenant and there is no other way. We are entering a period of Divine Judgment currently and it is not wise to be on the wrong side of the Eternal Judge.
"For the ways of man are before the eyes of Yahweh, and He ponders all his paths. His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin. He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray" (Prov.5:21-23, NKJV).