Month 4:17, Week 3:2 (Shanee/Matzah), Year:Day 5936:106 AM|
7 Sabbaths + Omer Count Day #39
Gregorian Calendar: Friday 6 July 2012
The Divine Laundry
Yahweh as Agitator and Cleanser
We might not always think that Yahweh is quick enough for our liking when we have great problems to solve or difficulties to overcome but from His perspective, as One who does the job thoroughly and is always on time, He is certainly efficient and leaves no stone unturned. He also affirms, again and again in Scripture, that His Davar (Word) never returns to Him void or empty (Is.55:11) and that if He has spoken a matter you can bet your bottom dollar that it's going to happen. His Davar (Word) is irresistable. We may not always like what He has to say but we can have supreme confidence in it even if the events leading up to its fulfillment appear to suggest a contrary outcome... as is fairly typical, to test our emunah (faith ) in that Davar (Word).
"Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; for Yahweh will execute His Davar (Word) upon the earth, thoroughly and quickly" (Rom.9:27b-28, NASB).
I have two principle thoughts in connection with today's passage. First, a reminder that those who say they are 'Israelites' by descent (whether they are or not) does not mean that they are saved or Elohim's (God's) special pets, but only those classified as the remnant, defined elsewhere in Scripture as those who accept Yah'shua (Jesus) as their King, Elohim (God), and Deliverer (Saviour) and who faithfully guard, adhere to, and obey the mitzvot (commandments). Though all of Israel will be saved, we are also told, this does not mean all the blood descendents will be...obviously, since large numbers are today already in hell. The saved of Israel are those blood descendents, including those who are not but who as a result are grafted into the Vine and become Israel by adoption, who fulfil the criteria I have already mentioned. Though there may be a universal graded salvation at the end of time, I don't think that this is what today's passage is necessarily speaking about.
The second thought concerns the peculiar - and certainly uncomfortable - way in which He saves or delivers that Remnant. He is, as we have seen, thorough and quick, like an efficient washing machine running through its various programs. Since we have a natural aversion to discomfort and pain, we should not be surprised to find theologies in the world that pander to the flesh suggesting we can be saved without either, and which assign unpleasant prophetic scenarious like the one that follows for a 'lesser breed' of believer who did not have enough 'faith' like themselves:
You have all heard the false rapure doctrine, one of the biggest pieces of escapist nonsense ever invented by the church to avoid Yahweh's cleansing mechanism. Most of those who subscribe to a pre-tribulation or mid-tribulation rapture believe that those herein described as being 'washed' are those of inferior faith who had to pass through tribulation to finally wake them up - the ones who got 'left behind'. And whilst it is true that some people have to go through metaphorical 'hell' in order to finally come to their senses, this is not the sense of this passage or others like it. Indeed, the Bible testifies most eloquently that this kind of suffering is the default way for all, its nature and duration sometimes being a function of man's resistance to repentance but also sometimes because of a special calling to be a witness and to suffer for Yah'shua's (Jesus') sake alone.
"These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev.7:14, NKJV).
In the old days, before washing machines were invented, people either used abrasive scrubbing boards and wringers or simply beat their clothes on rocks by or in running water. Many still do. We may not see what happens inside a modern washing machine, because we just throw in the clothes and washing powder and walk away, but what happens there is no less intense action, involving both centrifugal action, the friction caused by shaking the clothes up, and the agitation caused by the chemicals in the washing powder.
The principle of agitation and friction applies not just to washing clothes but to anything that needs cleaning in this physical world. Washing dishes, scrubbing floors, scouring toilets, cleaning the car, even washing your body - all require these actions. The principle of agitation is an essential part of any process that requires deep cleaning.
From a human perspective, we too are agitated by Yahweh through both circumstances, the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and even demons. When our shalom (peace) is removed from us after having already received it through trusting in Messiah, the reason can be because we have sinned and need waking up or it may be that we simply have unresolved sin issues that Yahweh will not allow to remain dormant. The goal is spotless white robes, not a partial wash, because we cannot enter into His presence unless we are without stain or blemish.
Our washing occurs in the redeeming Blood of the Lamb - it is the spiritual detergent of our souls. To work effectively - to get the stain of sin out of our souls - requires deep, agitating penetration with the aid of some shaking up caused by external circumstances. And though when this happens it may at first appear that the world around us and within us is collapsing, and that some peculariar disaster is about to strike that will take us into ruin, the emet (truth) is that we are in the Divine Washing Machine, it is strong and sturdy, and it will release us from its restricting and not-so-pleasant environment as soon as the job is done. We have little to do other than to agree that Yahweh be allowed to do this and to continue agreeing the rest of our lives. We can exercise our free agency at any time and refuse this divine laundering in which case the programming will be halted and we will be released back into a life of unbelief still dirty, likely very wet and heavy, and guaranteed to get dirty all over again - and probably worse than before - very fast.
The Great Tribulation of which the second passage today speaks does indeed bespeak a particular event at the end of the dispensation but it is also the archetypal description of what all human beings have to go through when they sin in all dispensations of time and in any and every part of a particular dispensation. Character refinement and spiritual purging never cease and we can either work with the flow of Yahweh's Ruach (Spirit) or we can resist it and so make is more difficult, more painful and cause it to take far longer.
Are you agitated? Angry? Then you can be quite sure it is Yahweh working in you, inviting you to yield to His heavenly cleansing so that you can be spotless and worthy to dwell with Him forever in the eternities as well as to find greater shalom (peace) and happiness in the present. The washing machine may feel confining and chlostrophobic at times and you may want to desperately break out because you believe that what you are experiencing is terrible, demonic, wrong or just plain cramping to your fleshy urges. However, I do have to warn you that if you do decide to break out of this 'prison' that you are actually walking out into something far, far worse that will one day require you to walk back in if you are to have any sort of hope of a real life - a cleansed life with a clear conscience, shalom (peace) and real simcha (joy).
Life outside the divine washing machine just isn't worth it unless it's a hopeless life in the gutter that you prefer. But just remember, however acclimatised to the gutter you may become, that when life is over, and if you're still there, it's out of the gutter and into the worst cleansing machine you can imagine that you go - the long and slow purifying fires of Sheol.
I don't know about you, but I rather like wearing fresh, clean clothes. In our heart of hearts we believe the same thing about the soul - we all want to be free, but freedom does not come without laundering.