The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise . . . for it is not his purpose that anyone should be destroyed, but that everyone should turn from his sins. (2 Kefa/Peter 3:9)
AMBASSADORS of LOVE
Therefore, we are ambassadors of the Messiah; in effect, God is making his appeal through us. What we do is appeal on behalf of the Messiah, “Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20)
In Torah, the Levites and their families occupied the cities of refuge, along with anyone who wanted to avoid the wrath of a family avenger, after accidentally killing another Israelite. There was something special about the Levites; they were required by Yahweh to be His ambassadors, displaying love and patience, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control with their neighbours and worshipping God with joy and faithfulness. If this looks like the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ to you, you are correct. This is the essence of the two primary commands of Torah – Love Yahweh with all you heart, soul and might and love your neighbour as yourself, as we read in both the Torah and the Apostolic Scriptures.
The assumption existed that while in the city of refuge, the ‘killers’ might have opportunities to interact with Levites and be shown how to be more attentive, be more considerate and be more loving to our neighbours, than they might have been in their own communities. This goal was based on the assumption that there is no such thing as an accident; every event has a cause, found in someone’s behaviour. It could be a distracted moment or negligence in action or a lack of consideration for someone’s need(s). Thus, when individuals, and his family, left the city of refuge, upon the death of the Cohen HaGadol, the Hight Priest of the Temple, he would be a changed person and would re-integrate into his home community.
Although most of us may not be Levites, as disciples of Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus, we too are ‘ambassadors of love’ displaying these self-same qualities of love and patience, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control with their neighbours and worshipping God with joy and faithfulness. The worshipping of God with joy we mostly understand, although viewing the faces of worshippers in hundreds of congregations in which I have spoken and attended, you might not think that. How are we doing in terms of love and patience, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control with their neighbours? Judging from Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, not so good. Frankly, I am distressed with the amount of self-centred self-righteousness I witness and question, to myself, of course, “Are these really disciples of Adonai Yeshua or the disciples of another?” What behaviours lead me to this observation?
First, I witness believers taking strong and often harsh sides in current political debates, resorting to insulting those who do not think their way; second, I see little evidence of love being displayed, when there is a theological debate occurring – polarized positions are often accompanied with charges of apostasy and ‘promises of damnation’ if an opponent doesn’t ‘mend her/his ways’ and return to the truth (another’s truth, of course).
Of course, when I witness requests for prayers, offers of gratitude and sharing of pleasantries, there is also love displayed. But don’t we expect this? These are not the moments which test our love, patience, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control with our neighbours. Why is it we cannot treat each other with respect, love, patience and forbearance when we engage in discussion and debate? Why do we allow our emotions to over-rule our sensibilities and move us into vitriolic argument?
I wonder how Yahweh and Adonai Yeshua react to our showing works of the flesh-filled world in our interactions with fellow believers and non-believers alike? By our fruit we will be known.
I wonder how the adversary reacts, when he observes our decidedly un-godly behaviours? I can hear him chuckling with glee, with each incident being made known to him.
Beloved, we have a Loving God Who wishes us to be His ambassadors of Love. This requires our whole-hearted focus on and attention to the fruit of the Spirit and not the works of the flesh (sexual immorality, impurity and indecency, involvement with the occult and with drugs; in feuding, fighting, becoming jealous and getting angry; in selfish ambition, factionalism, intrigue and envy; in drunkenness, orgies and things like these – Galatians 5:19-21).
CONSIDER: Do you display love to others, when you engage in discussion or debate, or react to something in the news which makes you angry? Do you react with unrighteous anger, complete with insults and, possibly, vulgarities? Is this the behaviour expected from a believer in the Most High God?
ACT: I urge all of us to abandon our self-righteous and superior stances regarding politics, religious dogma and other triggers of hate. I urge all of us to get on our knees, asking for forgiveness for our unrighteous behaviours, shown in our interactions with others.
PRAY: Abba, Beloved Father, I ask you to forgive my displays of self-righteous superiority, when interacting with others; as I ask you to clean my heart of the insecurities which lead me towards adopting these ungodly behaviours. In Your Beloved Name, I pray.
May the God of Avraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you richly.