Ever since the day that Sha’ul (Paul) came to visit us, one Shabbat afternoon, while living in Florida, I have felt so close to my brother in Messiah. I had been sharing some revelations that I received in the book of Galatians. I was sitting on the floor, passionately going through one of the chapters, and explaining what I had received from Abba to mom and Rivkah. I noticed that as I was sharing, mom, who was lying on the couch, turned her head and looked at something. Later, after I had finished sharing, she said to me, “we had a visitor.”
She went on to explain how she felt the presence of a man in the room who had appeared, standing quietly next to the coffee table, listening to all that I had to say. It was as though he had come to hear me speak. It was as though he was saying by his presence there, “finally, someone understands what I was trying to say.” Mom said she knew it was Sha’ul, for he had come to listen to someone who was just as passionate talking about what he wrote as he was when he wrote it. This event still shakes me to the core today.
It was in 2013, while at the Colosseum in Rome, that Rivkah and I read the book of 2 Timothy. I felt strongly to read it while at the Colosseum as many historians believe this was the place that Sha’ul literally ran to his executioner. While reading the ending chapter of 2 Timothy, I found it quite difficult to read, because in it, Sha’ul is giving some of his last requests to Timothy. “I earnestly charge you:”, he said, “Proclaim the Word! Be urgent in season, out of season. Convict, warn, appeal with all patience and teaching.” He goes on to tell him that a time shall come when they shall not bear sound teaching, but according to their own desires, they will gather unto themselves teachers that spout out what they want to hear. They shall turn their ears away from the truth. [my paraphrase] How grievous Sha’ul must have been to know that there would come a time when those who had ears for truth, would turn away from it. In fact, it had already begun.
I share this little story with you because no other Renewed Covenant writer has impacted me more than Sha’ul. Oh yes, there are many that bash his work to pieces, and many who do not understand him. I do not entirely understand all that he was trying to say, but the Spirit of Yahuweh, who breathed upon his every stroke of the pen, is teaching me to have greater understanding.
As Rivkah and I sat there, reading the last chapter of 2 Timothy, tucked away into a little stone corner away from the crowds, we wept. Having to stop multiple times, I could feel the heart of Sha’ul as he wrote to Timothy, “for I am already poured out, and the time of my departure has arrived. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have guarded the belief. For the rest, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Master, the righteous Judge, shall give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all those loving His appearing.”
Oh my…do you love His appearing?
Sha’ul was nearing the day of his meeting the Master. He was telling Timothy about the people who had abandoned him. Here is a man who fought hard to win the crown of righteousness that was waiting for him. A man whose letters would eventually fill up most of the Renewed Covenant (New Testament). A man, now tired from the years of suffering, brokenness and betrayal’s, was ready to go Home. All he asked of Timothy was for him to bring him his coat and his books, especially the scrolls. Winter was approaching, and it would be cold. All that was important to him was his coat and his writings. He had poured out his life in the service of the Master. All that he was, he poured out as a drink offering unto Him. Yahuweh had kept him alive through so many things, including being saved from the mouth of a lion.
Why am I telling you all of this? I don’t really know myself, except that I relate to this man greatly. While praying this morning in the early hours, crying out to Abba to help me in my own weaknesses, I remembered what Sha’ul had said about doing the things he did not want to do; yet did, and the things he did desire to do; he did not do. I am sure Sha’ul struggled with so many of the things we struggle with. Dying to self is no easy assignment. “Wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?” – Romans 7:24
In sharing this very personal story, my encouragement to you (through the words of Sha’ul); put to death the misdeeds of the body. We are no longer debtors to the flesh. For those who are in Messiah, our bodies are no longer to be lived in fulfilling the desires of the flesh, but the desire of the Spirit. For the Spirit is life! He is the life breath whereby we have hope of the soon coming resurrection. As Messiah lives, so shall we live. For those who feel bound in chains to the desires of your flesh; look around you, you have been set free to no longer wear such heavy chains, but to soar with the Spirit. You are no longer to live a condemned life because the Son has set you free – free to die to yourself and live for Him.
Cling to the Master. Recognize the work that He did on the stake. It is our example to follow. Sha’ul said, “to live is Messiah, to die is gain.”
What is precious to you today? Is it the favor that Elohim so revealed to us through Messiah His dear Son?
“Because to you it has been given as a favor, on behalf of Messiah, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same struggle which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.” – Philippians 1:29,30
Death to self and to the dictates of the flesh is the way to life. This is a daily struggle for all us, yet the day is approaching that we must be found with garments white. Messiah’s work of atonement made our garments white; it is up to us to keep them that way.
Read the works of Sha’ul. Ask the Spirit to reveal to you what was revealed to Him. Sha’ul is no enemy of Torah, because that would make Him an enemy of Messiah Yahushua.
Fight the good fight; finish the race; guard the belief. Let no man take it from you. Remain tender before the Master. Realize the things of this world that may seem so precious, if we are willing to pour them out before Yahuweh, He will fill us back up. When our lives, all that we are, are laid open and bare before Him, not withholding anything, then we are at the place where we can confidently say:
“I have been impaled with Messiah, and I no longer live, but Messiah lives in me. And that which I now live in the flesh I live by belief in the Son of Elohim, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20
In closing, I leave with you the words I spoke to Father this morning. It is with much tears and desire that when I meet His Son face to face, the Master Yahushua Messiah, He would say unto me, “Look – there’s my servant Derek. He loved Me so much that he died for me…”
As He has done for us, let us do for Him. He paid the debt, so let us put to death what caused Him to pay it.