Receiving judgment: Learning from the struggles God sends

There was a small group from another region who called me a few months ago. The person kept asking for advice. After several phone calls, I told this person that God would now put a test on your group. When He is finished, you will have a great loss. I knew then that this would happen to Hallel Fellowship too.

That is what has transpired. I have looked back and asked God why? How did it happen? Did the Devil do it? No, the Devil is feeble and weak. The Devil only has the authority that God gives him. God can and does protect us from the Evil One.

What is it that God has in mind? For the past couple of weeks, I have been deeply meditating, asking God over and over what to do. I have sought God’s wisdom and understanding and yet something is missing.

As the weeks have gone by, I knew last Tuesday that God was upset at me personally about something. There were a couple of people who were upset at one another. We tried to get them to reconcile, but one of the parties refused any attempts at reconciliation and left.

I looked up the Hebrew word for judge (שָׁפַט shaphat, H8199) in the TaNaKh (Hebrew acronym for Torah, Prophets and Writings, i.e., the Hebrew scriptures). Sometimes, it refers to a judge’s rendering judgment rightly. The other meaning is when a judge is wrong. What do you do when the judge is wrong?

You can talk badly about me, and that is fine. I got upset with an individual who spoke badly of someone dear to me, and I had a difficult time with that. As a man, I expect a lot out of men, and sometimes that is not right. That is leaning on my own understanding, not God’s.

Today, I want to read Matthew 7. Look for the phrases and one-liners that don’t seem to connect, but in fact, they are all connected.

“Judge not, lest you be judged.” (Matt. 7:1)

When you pick at someone’s weakness and use it against them, God will use that measuring stick on you.

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matt. 7:1–5)

These are hard, stinging words. The entire chapter is about judging, not just this section. Yeshua tells us that we all have a huge plank in our eyes. We can’t see it. We have to ask God to show us this plank. When you remove it, you will see it. You will see how you can help another person with a speck in their eye without judging them.

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matt. 7:6)

What does this verse have to do with judgment? If you give something holy to an “pig” they will destroy you. If you don’t remove the plank, it can destroy you. Yeshua is speaking to an audience who are very much aware of God.

This next text also seems unrelated to judgment but this entire chapter is actually about judgment.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (Matt. 7:7–11)

How do we find the plank and get it out of our eye? All we have to do is ask God.

When we as individuals or a group because they don’t live up to our standard, God is going to move in. God brought something upon us. What does He want? He wants us to understand that whatever yardstick we use on others, He will use on us and on our congregation. We need to ask God to show us our plank and He will answer that prayer. Ask Him how the plank got there. Ask him how to remove it.

Yeshua uses physical examples of how God loves us, comparing to a parent. Parents would not give their children stones and snakes. We know how to do bad things but we also know how to give good things. We need to ask, seek and knock because God, who is perfect, knows how to give perfectly.

The golden rule is connected to judge not. This is how you get rid of the plank.

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt. 7:12)

I don’t want people to see my faults. If we judge someone in our minds, behind their backs to even to their face, we have to know that the same measure will be used against us.

Why must there be divisions in a group? It’s because God is testing out who is true and who is not. We read about the seven churches of Revelation and we read about them softly but we are talking about the Son of God. He is speaking with boldness. We can try to blame each other but the Apostle Paul says its better to take abuse? What does that mean?

“Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the [assembly]? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren.” (1Cor. 6:1–8)

This is about being a living sacrifice. This is one of the most difficult things we can do as disciples of Yeshua.

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;…Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,’ says the Lord. ‘BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom. 12:14–21)

No one likes persecution. You guard goes up and the natural reaction is anger and fear. It’s difficult to give a blessing to someone who has attacked you. We are few in number now. Maybe after today, we will be fewer.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt. 7:13–14)

What is the “narrow gate”? Torah? No, because this text is also about judgment. The narrow way is hard. The broad way leads to destruction. We should prefer to treat others more honorably than we treat ourselves. This is hard because we are flesh and blood. We like to think we are more respectable, loving, holy, pure than our neighbor but we are not to think more highly than we ought because God is the real judge.

Now we have to ask if God is finished with us, this is a question we need to ask God, not each other. The narrow way is hard and difficult but it leads to life. Yeshua said that it isn’t the many who find it but the few. The only way we will be able to see it is if we get the plank out of our eye. Otherwise, we will join the crowd on the way to destruction.

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” (Matt. 7:15–20)

The sheep and goats represents people. God is the one who does the separating, not the devil. God separates the righteous from unrighteous but He also separates the righteous from the righteous.

We are not to look upon those who have left our congregation as bad sheep. God is the one in charge. The sheep don’t go after them but the Good Shepherd is the one who goes after them.

You will know those who stay or leave by their fruits.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; “DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.”‘” (Matt. 7:21–23)

He is not talking about the Torah, but about judgment. We are not called to attack or defend but to take on the burden. What are we fighting? We may be fighting the will of God. Can we win if we fight against God? Certainly not.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell — and great was its fall.” (Matt. 7:24–27)

God knows our strengths and weakness. He knows our vulnerability and knows how to destroy us. The Son of God will not come with a rod of bamboo but of iron. When the Son of God hits, He doesn’t miss and you can’t duck away.

I want to hear the words of the Son of God. I’m sure you want to hear the words of the Son of God. When we get into arguments with friends, these arguments lead to destruction, not to life. We are at war with the principalities not each other.

“When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.” (Matt. 7:28–29)

Yeshua taught with more authority than of the intellectual elites of His day.

I want to leave you with this:

“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding, To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity;” (Prov. 1:1–3)

This is what I have been asking God for the last couple of weeks. When wisdom calls, she is not quiet. Everyone hears her.

“Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square; At the head of the noisy streets she cries out;” (Prov. 1:20–21)

The question is can you receive wisdom’s correction? What is the reward when we receive correction?

“Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.” (Prov. 1:23)

We have to say as individuals and as a group to ask God to pour His Spirit upon us. We have received His correction and His chastisement.

Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.

Banner Photo: A narrow road in Corsica. Photo by Dunn


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