As the Torah Portions come to an end and we reach the closing chapters of the final book of the Torah here in Deuteronomy, Moses once again does a recap from a 30,000 foot view. From this vantage point he can help the children of Israel completely understand all that is required of them as they cross over and take their inheritance. As we move through these short two chapters, I would like to point out several things.
First of all, the overall point of the review is to remind them that God is their Father and He will bless them if they keep the instructions of His house and they will curse themselves if they don't. He tells them that their goal is to be a witness to the nations and His desire is to establish them among all the nations. He shares with them that He is a merciful God and when they do mess up, He will be there when they return and will forgive their sins when they fully repent. In short, He desires them to fully merge with Him as He gives them the Gospel and the entire message of the New Covenant right here in these two chapters.
Deuteronomy 29:10-16 New King James Version (NKJV)
10 “All of you stand today before the Lord your God: your leaders and your tribes and your elders and your officers, all the men of Israel, 11 your little ones and your wives—also the stranger who is in your camp, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water— 12 that you may enter into covenant with the Lord your God, and into His oath, which the Lord your God makes with you today, 13 that He may establish you today as a people for Himself, and that He may be God to you, just as He has spoken to you, and just as He has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.14 “I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone, 15 but with him who stands here with us today before the Lord our God, as well as with him who is not here with us today 16 (for you know that we dwelt in the land of Egypt and that we came through the nations which you passed by,"
The first thing I would like to point out is the fact that Yahweh makes it very clear in the above passage that His instructions (Torah) is not just for those that are native born Israelites. It is for ANYONE that is connected to them and desires to follow Him. The alien or sojourner in Hebrew is a "ger." A ger is not just a foreigner or someone that is just passing through or visiting the land like we would use the term today. A ger or a stranger in the biblical sense is someone who is from a foreign country and has decided to be a permanent resident of the new country that they are residing in. They are in a "client state," fully dependent on the host state for survival and protection. They may be fleeing from their past and taking refuge in Israel or they came looking for work or could even be a widow or homeless because of a war. In any case, a ger in the truest sense of the word is someone who once belonged to another country that now has decided to belong to Israel. And this is where the merger begins.
QUESTION: What is a merger?
A merger is when you take one organization and combine it with another organization with the intention of them becoming one new organization.
And this is exactly what is happening here with the gentile, that ger that comes from a different nation and has decided to join Israel. They come from a foreign country with foreign customs and foreign practices. When they join Israel, they are to learn the new rules of this country and be treated with the same respect as any other native born Israelite, except they could not own any land. The intent was they were to merge with Israel until they BECAME Israel. We will come back to this more in a minute.
Do you remember when FedEx merged with Kinko's? Kinko's was a full service copy and office center that was very well known nationwide. They had a great reputation and had a large clientele. When they merged, they changed all the signs and all the branding to "FedEx/Kinko's." No one could tell which one was the "gentile" sojourner and which one was the native born. It seemed that they were equal. Then after years of being FedEx/Kinko's, the real agenda came out when they changed all the branding again to FedEx Office. Then it became clear that it was FedEx that bought out Kinko's and this was the agenda from day one. But because the people did not see FedEx as a copy and office company, they had to partner with Kinko's so that the clientele would become comfortable with the new FedEx branding. After the "merger" there was no longer any need for the name Kinko's and the full agenda of FedEx was put into place.
This is exactly how the merger takes place between the spirit and the soul. They both have their own mind, will and emotions, but they are from two different owners. One is of the flesh and the other is from heaven and is of Yahweh. When someone comes to surrender their life to the Messiah and to walk in His ways, immediately the sojourner laws come into affect. Unfortunately, at first it is unclear if the new "organization" is Spirit/Soul or Soul/Spirit. Both seem to be coming through at times because the full merger has not taken place.
QUESTION: Is the soul of a person merging with the spirit or is the spirit merging with the soul?
1 Corinthians 6:20
"For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's."
Since we are becoming citizens of the kingdom of God, our souls are sojourning with the Ruach (Spirit). The Spirit is the one that used the blood of Yeshua to buy us out. He purchased us and bought us out. We are no longer ours. We are under new ownership and we need to learn the laws of this new kingdom and then "merge" them into our new "company." He is building a house and we are that house. The plan of Yahweh is to eventually completely rebrand us, taking down everything that pointed to the old man and replacing it with a new man that is made perfectly in His image. He wants people to see Him as the new owner and nothing of the old owner.
"He must increase, but I must decrease."
This is the perfect definition of the goal of a merger. John understood that he was just the forerunner. But when the Messiah comes, he had to fall back and let Him take center stage.
MAKING ICED TEA
Have you ever made tea? What are the components of making tea? You have water, sugar and then you have all the spices that are inside the tea bag. When the tea bag is placed into a glass of hot water and set out in the sun, what happens? The spices start to seep out of the tea bag and they begin to merge with the water. If you have a large glass pitcher, you can actually begin to see swirls of brown making their way into the water and starting the process of merging. After a while the entire pitcher of water turns completely brown and the process is almost complete. The sugar is then added while the water is hot and it dissolves instantly due to the heat. Lastly, ice is added and everything is stirred until all of it is completely merged into one and there you have it, the perfect iced tea.
So let's break this down for us today. In the above example, we are regular tap water but we were created to be iced tea. But in order to accomplish this goal, the water must first become very hot. When God turns up the heat in our lives, we don't like it. We run from those hot burners like we are on fire. But the truth of the matter is that the trials and tribulations of this life are what causes the spices of His word to properly seep into the very fabric of our soul. If we stay in the heat of the "Son", His spices and His word will become part of our lives. We are to "consider it pure joy" because we know we are going through a merger. It's spiritual science. If we buck the process and do not allow Him to do what He needs to do to properly make the merger complete, we will be left with something that no one wants to drink. Unfortunately, this is what most believers are serving up to others. Half made iced tea that is bitter and good for nothing. Once we fully understand that there is a merger that is being attempted, it is a whole lot easier to just allow it to do its thing.
The other reason why trials are necessary is because the sugar has a difficult time completely dissolving in ice-cold water. So when the spices of the word are fully mixed in, the Spirit (sugar) has to be fully merged as well. The truth without the spirit is like drinking tea with no sugar. It's just dry and can be bitter. (Strangely, there are people that like unsweetened tea. This is not normal and un-American...lol. In my opinion, there is only one kind of tea and that is sweet tea. Everything else is just brown water!) Didn't mean to stir up the whole North versus the South thing but I had to get that out. Okay, where were we. So, when we add the sugar, that sweetness of the Spirit, into the merger, everything begins to blend just perfectly. But just when we start to get used to all this heat and stirring and all these new elements being dropped in on us, we get shell shocked again with tons of ice.
Can you relate? What is happening? You are moving from a "ger", that Egyptian foreign citizen to a fully integrated native-born Israelite. It's not easy, not fun and takes a lot of time, a lifetime in fact.
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
"I LIVE BY FAITH."
To live by faith is to allow Him to make you into "iced tea." It's to allow the process to fully complete itself. Faith is not just deciding to join a new country just because of its benefits. Faith is being a "doer" of the new constitution that you are to learn.
"I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone, but with him who stands here with us today before the LORD our God, as well as with him who is not here with us today."
Not only was this covenant oath being made with the current people of Israel, but with every single person from that day until now that decided to join them and become the people of God. This is the concept of what Paul calls "the grafting in" in Romans 11. It's a merger. We are not borrowing the God of Israel and then creating our own constitution, but are merging into Israel.
"One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you."
In God's kingdom, there was never any intention for there to be two different constitutions to His kingdom. There was never to be one law for the Israelites and another law for the Gentiles that were living with them. No country even does that today. Can you imagine someone from China coming to live in the United States and the US government telling them that each foreign national doesn't have the same laws as the native-born citizens? That would be utterly chaos in the streets. It makes way more sense for a government to make everyone play by the exact same rules. And it is the same with Yahweh and His kingdom. Somehow over time, mainstream Christianity has taken the position that God has one set of rules for the Jewish people and another set for the Gentiles. Regrettably, even the Jewish people in an effort to keep the Gentiles from imposing on their lifestyle have also agreed with this position. But Yahweh is very clear, there is "one law" for both. He has one people, not two.
“Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, 2 and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3 that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. 4 If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. 5 Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. 6 And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live."
This passage is all about what happens when the merger doesn't take. When we choose to get off the burner, quit or walk away from the merger process, the curses of the law are initiated into effect and we are scattered away from Him. But at the same time, He shows us His great mercy. If we repent and return to Him, He will have compassion on us and start the process again. As you can see from verse 6, His ultimate end game is to have our heart circumcised and to love Him with ALL of our heart, mind, soul and strength, which is the same thing that Yeshua said. He is looking for the full merger.
Take a look at the following verses, which tells us where and how this merger takes place.
“For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it."
The merger happens in the mouth and in the heart. Paul actually quotes from this passage in his letter to the Roman congregation.
"But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Righteousness is a characteristic of Yahweh. So when one truly believes with all of their heart, they are automatically put into that righteous state even before they initiate a single work to prove it. It's almost like giving someone your word through a handshake. Immediately your word is taken as gold and you are in right standing before that person. But from that moment on, you must fulfill your word with the works that are needed to fulfill that promise. If you do not, the original promise is made null and void. A company that decides that they want to be bought out but never changes out the sign is no different than the company that never got bought out at all.
But what I want to point out here is the HOW TO of how to make this merger really happen. It's found in the mouth and in the heart. It's all about "hearing and doing."
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one![a] 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
This first main part of the merger and making it happen is to talk about it all the time. When we sit in our houses, when we walk by the way, when we lie down and when we rise up. We are supposed to have Yahweh and His word on our lips all the time. Our praise for Him is to be constantly on our lips (Ps 34:1) and our thoughts should be about Him all the day long.
Do any of you remember the old movie back in the 80's called "Oh God, You Devil?" It was a classic with George Burns playing both God and the Devil and as God he enlisted a young person to help him spread his message and the entire marketing campaign revolved around two words: "Think God." In a very real way, this is exactly what Yahweh is still trying to do in the first part of the merger process. He wants people to think about Him constantly. When we think about Him, we talk about Him. And whatever we talk about we end up eventually doing, which is His ultimate goal. Remember when you were dating your spouse? You drove your friends crazy because all you talked about was your beloved. And what did you end up doing? You married them. This is what Yahweh wants for us. He wants us to be so much in love with Him that we cannot get Him off our minds, which will force us to fully "merge" into Him.
PRACTICAL TIP: If you are struggling with the merger and your sign is still above your building along with His, find one thing that you are really blessed with or find something out of the Word that speaks to you and just start talking about it with everyone you know. Take this very article and start talking about it. Just "Think Yah." When you shift your thoughts you are shifting your focus to the process of making "iced tea" and off all the worries of this world. Personally, whenever I am walking, working out, in transit, etc...I am talking to my Daddy, praising Him for everything. Praise is the key to keeping in connection and initiating the merger.
Now that we have learned the first step of the merger, we can move on to the final stage which is to take His Word and put it in our heart. And the only way we can do that is to take the time to learn the new rules of the "company" that bought us out. The more we read and study His word, constantly digging out the ORIGINAL INTENT of every single passage, the more we can actually make the transition into fully merging and putting on our new uniform. David said it this way:
"Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You."
The merger becomes complete as we make it our focus to hide His word in our heart and to do what He says. It becomes natural to do what you think and talk about. If you are constantly thinking about Him and talking about Him and what He is showing you in your life, you will by default be doing what He desires you to do. When the merger is allowed to take its course, people no longer see you and your "sign," they see Him and His sign and it becomes clear to the world who the true owner of your organization really is.
People say all the time that they can't find time to pray, yet if they would just pray throughout the day in-between everything that they are doing, they would find themselves praying for well over an hour each day. There is a lot of time we waste throughout each day that we could be praising our King and singing songs of melody about Him in our hearts. So let the merger take place and look at everything in your life as part of that process. Let His word seep into who you are and "Think Yah!" And when you are complete, you will be a sweet drink for someone else's hot day.