“There is a generation that curses its father, and does not bless its mother. There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness. There is a generation – oh how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up.” (Proverbs 30:11-13)

Sadly, our generation mirrors many of the characteristics of a generation that does not honor and bless its parents. Many of us are indeed “pure in our own eyes,” yet remain rebellious to the very people YHWH specifically told us to honor. How this must grieve our Father’s heart to see our families falling apart.

In recent years, as I became serious about studying YHWH’s Word, my need for instruction in the area of honoring my parents became very evident. I wish to share with you a testimony of the Father’s faithfulness to my family.

The time in my life that I found it most difficult to honor my parents came when they decided to home school me and my three younger brothers. I was twelve years old, and this was also when we, as a family, were making the transition from being perfectly normal Baptist Christians to Torah-honoring, Messianic Israelites. Those were confusing times, and I must admit that I wasn’t entirely thrilled with all the changes we were making. I didn’t truly honor and trust my parents; in fact, I quite honestly believed they simply delighted in aggravating me by making our family as weird as they possibly could!

Fortunately, my parents did not give up on me. Although I’m sure it wasn’t easy, they remained patient and loving while explaining why they believed YHWH had called us to a different walk. It was during this time that I believe the Father instilled in me a great respect for my parents and a desire to seek Him as they did. Eventually, I began to grasp the error of the lifestyle I was clinging to, and began to see the beauty and blessing that is found when we lay our lives before our Creator and allow Him to guide us in the ways of His Kingdom.

As children, I’ve found that we’re placed under the authority and protection of our parents for many reasons. Perhaps the most important reason is that they hold a special calling from YHWH to teach us the commandments and provide an example for us to follow. As I write this, I am convicted of the many times I’ve chosen not to take advantage of following my parents’ example and instead went my own way. Yet I’ve found there is hope and renewal in repentance.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9).

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Yeshua the Messiah (Phillipians 1:6).

What a wonderful promise that is! We can certainly apply it to the subject of honoring our parents. If we come before YHWH with a repentant heart and a desire to please Him in the future, He is faithful to change us by teaching us how to truly honor our parents. Let’s be a generation that honors and blesses our parents and brings glory to our Father in Heaven!

“Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only does wondrous things! And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and amen.” (Psalm 72:18-19)

Do you honor your parents too?

Those of us who claim that Yahshua is our Master yearn to live as He desires. We study to show ourselves approved, reach out to those who are lost, pray for the sick, and freely give to the needy. Our lives, according to the world’s standards, seem upright and holy. But what does He truly desire from us? What are His standards? How do we know when He is well pleased with our walk?

There were those during the first century who attempted to live lives of purity and holiness. Over time however, their hearts became more focussed on the outward appearance rather than on the inward attitude. Today, this same group of people are scorned from the pulpit and ridiculed from the pew. The Pharisees could indeed use a new public relations agency. Try as they may, the standard that our Messiah was seeking was different than they were attaining. They had built their own little towers of Babel attempting to please God and man with their actions rather than their attitude. They missed the boat. They came up short. Yet today, many of the same people who malign the Pharisees suffer from the same attitudinal shortcomings.

When Yahshua addressed these gentlemen in Matthew 23 we see He began by telling His disciples that the Pharisees “sit in Moses’ seat”. Thereby, He placed them in a great position of honor. He further instructed the people to do all that the Pharisee’s instructed them to do. So, here was our Messiah placing great authority and responsibility on the position that the Pharisees held. One problem though- that hypocrisy thing. Yahshua hates hypocrisy. Perhaps that is one reason why He led such a public ministry during His time on earth. Many people got to witness His actions at very close range. Day after day He walked among all the people from the rulers to the lepers. There indeed is no hypocrisy in Yahshua but the religious rulers of the day were filled with it.

But what was the cornerstone of the problem? Was it hypocrisy or misplaced priorities? Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone (Mt 23:23). The “omission” is the problem. This word (aphiemi) can be defined further by substituting the words abandon, leave, disregard or keep no longer. So we see that they not only “omitted”, but disregarded or abandoned these “weightier matters”. To disregard or abandon implies that you are familiar with these “matters” and knowingly or unknowingly turn away from them. Yet at the same time they chose to continue in the paying of tithes down to the smallest detail. Perhaps that action brought them more public acclaim. Or maybe it was just easier. Our human flesh likes “easy”. The Pharisees were all too human.

Judgement, mercy and faith, the “weightier matters”, are much more private and therefore much more difficult to obey. These deal with your heart attitude. These are what Yahshua seeks in His followers. However, with these three you see one interesting point. They are not singular but rather linked to each other in a plurality of attitude. An echad [unity] of attitude if you will. Let us examine each one individually and then see how they are linked together and applied in the lives of His people today… right in their home.

According to Dr. James Trimm, who has completed an extensive reconstruction of the Book of Matthew from the DuTillet Hebrew version for his Semitic New Testament Project, these three “weightier matters” are the Hebrew words, mishpat, khesed, and emunah. Mishpat means judgement or justice. Khesed is defined as loving-kindness, mercy or grace. Emunah translates as the English concept of trusting faithfulness. Trimm further states, “The Hebrew word for weightiest is khomerim, the plural of khomer (heavy, strict). Khomer was a technical halachic term which Hillel used in the First Rule of Hillel. The first rule of Hillel is kol v’khomer (light and heavy). This concept in Judaism recognizes for example that some mitzvot (commandments) hold greater weight than others. This is important because at times two commandments conflict and we must determine which one has priority.”

Judgement is a word that is typically shied away from these days. Judge not, that ye be not judged (Mt.7:1). Who wants to “judge” when the tables will be turned one day? Furthermore, how can we properly “judge” when we no longer have any standards? When the foundation of Torah is removed how do we define sin? So you see when we talk about judging we are indeed in murky waters. Then why did our Messiah say that judgement was a “weightier matter” even to the point of putting judgement on a parallel with faith. We must consider the audience. Remember that the Pharisee’s sat in Moses’ seat. This was indeed a seat that involved judgement (remember the first set of tablets?). The Pharisees, like Moses, sat in a seat of authority. The audience in Matt. 7 are the disciples. They had no earthly authority. Furthermore, Yahshua was teaching His students in Matt. 7 about how to live as one of His followers with each other on this earth. They had no authority to judge, the Pharisees did.

What authority do you have? Where is your dominion? Perhaps it is at work or perhaps you are in a seat of authority somewhere else as an elder, pastor, teacher or some type of local official. In that role, judgement is to be exerted wisely. Decisions must be made and judgement must be used for each of those decisions. When you select one thing, you judge against all of the others. The wise judge is the one who selects the best from all of the good choices. Sometimes this even involves individuals. Those in positions of authority have to make judgements on people all the time. Again, the issue here is not do they judge, but rather how do they judge? For those of you who have been placed in such positions you will understand that judgement is indeed a “weightier matter”.

Judgement without mercy is legalism. It becomes condemnation and breeds an attitude of superiority. Merciful judgement is righteous judgement. Judgement without mercy is totalitarianism. The mercy of the Scriptures is one of clemency ultimately found in the merciful gift of eternal life that Yahshua’s death and resurrection provided for all who believe on Him. Mercy is not ignorance. Mercy is not allowance for wanton disobedience. Mercy is not a get out of jail free card for the very act that placed one in jail undoubtedly had some price for others. Mercy is the very essence of our Messiah. One who was merciful enough to sit and teach His disciples for long periods of time following the Torah teaching method, And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up (Deut. 6:7). This type of teaching takes dedication, patience and love. These same qualities can be found in true Scriptural mercy. Mercy should never be taken for granted or abused. Mercy should be cherished. Mercy must be honored and just like judgement, mercy is not a solo act. To come to the place where mercy is needed one must first apply judgement otherwise there is no need for mercy. A prisoner has no use for clemency without first having received judgement. Judgement and mercy go hand in hand.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb. 11:1). The third part of this equation is faith. For what good is our mercy without faith? Why make a merciful act if we do not have the faith that it will produce good fruit? Furthermore, why judge someone without the hope that the act of judgement will lead to true repentance. Your faith acts as the link between judgement and mercy. You cannot separate the three entities because they are dependent upon each other for their true fulfillment. We are all familiar with the verse “faith without works is dead”, the works here are indeed judgement and mercy. These are works of the Mighty One of Israel. YHWH issues the judgement, we see the merciful sacrifice of Yahshua and the thing that makes them both real to us is our faith. Just as the empowering element of the echad is the Ruach haKodesh [Holy Spirit]. Indeed in the “weightier matters” of judgement, mercy, and faith we can see a picture of the Father, Son and Spirit. Take one away and you diminish the other two for they are inseparable.

It is critical as we continue in our walk with Messiah that we keep the proper balance of these three important matters. Too often we see individuals or whole assemblies that tip the scales too heavily towards one of these matters. For instance, when one just looks at others with judgement they create a critical eye. Every little detail of the examinee’s life is put under a microscope in the name of “iron sharpening iron”. While discernment is important if you do not couple that judgmental attitude with mercy and faith you will never find anyone “good” enough for you to fellowship with. Then the assembly or individual crumbles from within. This is a cancer that unfortunately is alive and well in the Messianic movement today.

On the other end of the spectrum we see people who want to excuse everything in the name of mercy. Anything goes because we are to be “loving” and we do not want to be “judgmental”. Well, that is not true love that is ignorance. If you truly love someone you will mercifully approach them and attempt to help them. Not with a battering ram, but with merciful judgement and faith.

We who claim to walk in faith in our spirit, often have difficulty demonstrating faith in our flesh. Our faithfulness to our brothers and sisters is often sorely lacking. Typically, one thing or another will upset us and rather than demonstrating faith towards our brethren we issue judgement. We look at where they are now rather than where they will be later, after Messiah has completed His good work in them. This breaks up families, fellowships and hearts, even to the point of causing some to give it all up and run back to the “loving” world. Faithfulness should first be demonstrated in the Body of Messiah. For if we cannot be faithful to each other, how are we ever going to be faithful to Him?

In our homes we can see these three matters at work daily. The father of the family is typically the bearer of judgement, while mother is the merciful one. In this we see the male and female side of Yahweh right in our homes. Without both present, the home is out of balance. If the judgement and mercy do not work in harmony, the family is in chaos. Merciful judgement must be applied in every home or the fruit of the womb will be in dire trouble throughout their lives. But isn’t it our faith that allows us to continue? When things seem to stack up against us it is our faith that carries us through. If our children stray from the mark it is our faith that allows us to look at the good within them and hope for YHWH’s best for their lives. Many times as we raise our children, if we did not exercise our faith our hope would be diminished and our children ultimately lost. Yes, judgement, mercy, and faith are an integral part of any Scriptural home. The “weightier matters of Torah” are critical if we are to train up our children in the way they should go.

Whether it be in our homes, our assemblies, or our hearts, judgement, mercy and faith are ever present if we are to succeed. Lose sight of one of the three and you lose. No one ever walked out these three mattersbetter than Yahshua. We can never truly understand who He is until we understand these three matters fully. If we desire to walk as He walked, then we must work out our salvation under the covering of these “weightier matters”. These are where Torah begins and ends. These are what make the rest effective. Without these key ingredients, our search for knowledge and truth gets out of balance and we become Pharisaical. Without the proper balance, we swing back and forth from a jerky judgement to greasy grace. Our faith is in danger and our hope is diminished.

When we begin our relationship with Yahshua we typically have our scales out of balance. As we mature, our perspective changes and we begin to operate more effectively within the Body and as a witness to the world. Maturity brings balance. Or is it that balance brings maturity? Whatever the case, let us never loose sight of where we came from as we move forward. May we keep a proper perspective in our homes and in our congregations between judgement, mercy and faith. These are indeed the weightier matters. These are the matters that matter most. These are the keys to a believer’s effective walk. May you be blessed as you ponder your relationship with Him in light of these weightier matters.

Are you prepared for the times ahead? This is a question many are asking themselves today. The Lord told Noah to prepare an ark (Gen. 6), Joseph was able to interpret Pharaoh’s dream to tell him to store food for a seven year famine (Gen. 41), and there are many more that were warned in the Bible. [Yahshua] Jesus is the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). If we will only ask our Father and seek His will for our lives, He will show us how to prepare.

There is a preparation that the Lord is showing me that is even more vital than storing food, water, and the basics of every day living. It is the “Oil of Preparation” as spoken of in Matthew 25, the parable of the Ten Virgins. Let us read Matthew 25:1-13:

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

The people of God must have the oil in their lamps. This is vital to make it! Notice all the virgins took their lamps (they all had lamps), but the five foolish had no oil in their lamps. Why is the oil so important? First of all, without the oil the lamps would not burn. There would be no light. This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).

The five foolish virgins’ light had gone out (Mat. 25:8). They had not been prepared. Let’s look at why the lamps had gone out. There was not enough oil in the five foolish virgins lamps. Why didn’t they have this oil? Let’s read Exodus 27:20. The Lord states, And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light to cause the lamp to burn always. The word beaten in Hebrew means to crush, beat down to pieces. Are we as the children of God to be crushed so that we can become pure and holy? As [Yahshua] Jesus said in Luke 9:23, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Revelation 19:7 states, Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. The foolish virgins had not prepared themselves.

The wise virgins kept the commandments of [Yahshua] Jesus. They had received the truth of God’s word, they had placed all on the altar and were rid of self. They were in the world but not of the world. They had walked the narrow road and were overcomers. They had been tried with the purification of fire as spoken of in Revelation 3:18, I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

The five foolish virgins came to the wise virgins and wanted some of their oil for their lamps, but as Matthew 25:9 states, But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. This tells us that the oil costs something. There was a price to pay. There are just too many believers not wanting to pay the price. They seek the pleasures of the world instead of seeking the Kingdom of God!

Proverbs 23:23 states, Buy the truth and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction and understanding. The wise virgins have God’s word in their hearts and there was no longer time for the foolish virgins to prepare; time had run out. It wasn’t that the wise virgins didn’t want to give them some of their oil, for it was not something they could give. It was something that had to be bought at a price. A man cannot borrow a relationship with the Lord; he must possess it. A man cannot borrow character; he must be clothed in it.

The bridegroom came and the five wise virgins went into the marriage and the five foolish virgins were left out. As in Noah’s day the door was shut. [Yahshua] Jesus told the foolish virgins, I know you not, just as in Matthew 7:21-23 when He said, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devile? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Let us all strive to be like the wise virgins with oil in our lamps. There is much blessed hope for the wise virgins because they will enter into the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. As Jeremiah 31:12-14 reads, Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord.

Believers, we must be prepared, we must sound the alarm, we must have the oil in our lamps! He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Rev. 3:22). The King is coming.

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