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One In A Crowd
Going against the tide of popular opinion is not necessarily a good thing. There are many persons in our society who refuse to abide by the accepted standards of civil behaviour and rightly incur the outrage of the rest of their community.
On the other hand, achievers of all categories and in all eras of history have been blessed with the ability to pursue their objectives even when they went against the normal beliefs, attitudes, thinking and practices of their contemporaries. Indeed the records conclusively prove that if you would excel in any field you must be prepared to be different from the majority. Popular opinion takes the easy option, and stagnates around custom and tradition. Pioneers, however, are always impelled to peek beyond what is already known, and venture into uncharted territory. Without such people we would continue to think the earth is flat, countries would not have been discovered, and we would be still rubbing our flints together to get some spark!
There can be no more worthwhile endeavour than seeking to be the very image of our Heavenly Father, moulded into His likeness, exhibiting His characteristics, and shedding the radiance of His glorious light wherever there is darkness. It is only then we can attain the pinnacle of our true potential in this and our later life.
Why is it that most persons fall short of this high ideal? Is it possible that if more believers had the enthusiasm, motivation, courage and pioneering attitude of early discoverers that they would explore the boundless uninhabited spaces of Yahweh’s possibilities? The majority of believers are content to read the Bible as mere spectators, having great admiration for its heroes, without daring to believe that the Elohim of those past times is the same One whom we serve. It is clear from the Bible that whenever persons dared to stand alone in their belief, obedience, trust and confidence in Yahweh, unusual things always happened. Nevertheless, most believers today have not taken this cue and prefer the safety of the crowded coastline to the loneliness of venturing out into the vast deep with Yahweh. Great benefit awaits those who treat the Bible more as a practical workbook that teaches us how we can become our best possible selves in this life as well as hereafter.
It is time for spiritual navigators to set sail. Let us start by looking at some of the characteristics of a few Bible personalities who in today’s parlance would be described as being “a cut above the rest.” Perhaps by studying and applying the principles that caused these persons to have had unique experiences, we, too, may discover to our utter amazement that “with Yahweh nothing will be impossible,” Luke 1:37.
Woman with Issue of Blood
A vast crowd thronged Yahshua on His way to heal Jairus’ daughter, Mark 5:22-34. There were people all around Him, many perhaps jostling to get as near as possible to this Man whose fame of His miraculous healing power had spread throughout the region of Decapolis and beyond.
Amidst the crowd was a ‘certain woman’ – a special, different woman, who was there on a mission. She had not come to be a spectator, but to be a recipient of this great power about which she had heard. Her need was urgent. She was desperate. She knew of no other who could have helped her. She had been hemorrhaging for the past twelve years, went to many doctors, who could not help, spent all she had to try to bring about healing, yet instead of improving, her condition worsened. She was at her wits’ end, drained physically, emotionally, financially and socially.
Amidst her gloom, she found one ray of hope. Yahshua, the healer, was passing by her way that day. This was her life-saving opportunity, not to be missed!
She mused: “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well,” Mark 5:28. Her confidence in this Healer was so great, that she knew she did not need to trouble Him. Just touching His clothes would have been enough. Though feeble and writhing in pain she knew she should spare herself no effort to grasp this chance for a change. No sacrifice was too great. She would have to shove her way past more able-bodied people. She could not focus on the hindrance that stood in her way, but only the cure that she so desperately needed.
One can imagine that last inch that separated her from her healing, as, filled with great expectation she strained every sinew, to touch His garment. Then it happened! No guessing. No hoping.
Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. And Yahshua, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction,” Matt 5:29- 34.
Mingling among that vast crowd were no doubt many others who also needed healing. They were hoping that Yahshua would have touched them. But this one woman could not wait for His touch. Her desperate situation demanded desperate, unusual methods. She would stop at nothing until she touched Him. Hers is the only recorded case of healing in that large multitude.
If we are to receive from Yahweh and Yahshua an extraordinary life-changing experience, we will need to do something out of the ordinary that others cannot be bothered to do. The experience of this frail, decrepit, and unnamed woman has some secrets for those who are not satisfied to be on the periphery of Yahweh and Yahshua’s great power. Let us no longer be mere spectators, admiring this woman’s courage and inner strength. Let us instead unlock every fibre of lesson we can glean from this account, for our benefit, and then apply it to our circumstances on our voyage to discovering the depths of Yahweh’s abundant supply.
We must be fed up with continuing the way we have always done in the past that has brought no results to our circumstances. If you keep on doing the same things, you will keep on getting the same outcome. Ask yourself the question: “Am I presently receiving Yahweh’s best?” You serve an infinitely powerful Elohim. Have you tapped in to His boundless resources yet? The writer is not simply referring to material or physical blessings. There is so much more of Yahweh’s blessings than the material or physical things, which will perish one day. For example, have you begun to reflect the very image of your Father? How can you settle for anything less and yet call yourself His child? How desperately do you really want to be like Him?
We must come to the point where we stop seeking other solutions, having learned that we are incapable of changing ourselves, and that no one else can help us. We would have abandoned the arm of flesh that had consistently failed us, or kept on giving the same inadequate results.
We must be quite clear in our minds about the One for whom we are seeking. No other person or thing in that crowd mattered in the least to the woman. Her gaze was fixed, and her motive clear. Only Yahshua would satisfy the deep longings of her heart. She needed Him as desperately as the air she breathed. For without Him she would die. Apart from your need for Yahshua, any other need is of secondary importance. Let your focus be first and foremost on the Giver before the gift.
Cast yourself in reckless abandon upon Yahweh, knowing there is no other port of call. Without Him, you have nothing. With Him you have everything.
A casual, superficial, lack-lustre, token-gesture touch without purpose will not bring the desired results. There were many persons touching Yahshua that day, but their touch was ineffective. By contrast when the searching fingers of this desperate woman took hold of His garment, something in her united with and ignited the power in Him. The result was a miracle.
There are many believers claiming to be touching Yahshua, yet nothing happens. Strange things will begin to happen in your life when like Jacob you hold on to Him refusing to give up until He blesses you - with His presence, image, passion, mission, revelation power … all of Him.
Yahweh does not change. You cannot literally touch Yahshua’s garment today as that woman did, but you can reach out in other ways to touch Him, such as prayer, fasting, worship, praise, thanksgiving and your continual heart’s cry. Be clear, resolute and persistent in reaching out to Him. Never give up or give in. Never be complacent. The crowd settles for anything, or even nothing apart from the excitement of being there. The ‘one in the crowd’ settles only for Yahweh’s best. When the best comes you will know; there will be no guessing, makebelief or apologizing for Yahweh. Something from Him would have flowed into you and changed you. Until then, and even afterwards, your heart’s cry will be “Nearer Yahweh to you.”
Yahweh has promised: “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart,” Jeremiah 29:13.
It is full time that we stop paying token acceptance of His promises and really believe Yahweh’s word, searching for Him, and reaching out to touch Him with a desperate zeal and confidence akin to that one woman in the crowd, who was the only one that received from Yahweh.
We must want a change so passionately that we will not even consider the hindrances, however large or strong, that stand in our way, such as the less motivated people who do not feel what we feel, and do not have our desperate need.
Keep Pressing On
We must press beyond the obstacles, letting everything that stand in the way be a greater motivation to press and keep on pressing through, never giving up until we receive the prize. We need to have this attitude and stubborn determination whenever there is a need in our lives like overcoming our weaknesses, hurts, anxieties, fears and so on. For all these, the Bible’s panacea is to seek after and passionately desire Yahweh’s kingdom and His righteousness. Until we see His face, we will accept no substitutes or hindrances. Nothing and no one will stop us from receiving the crown that awaits us. We will be the one in the crowd who is willing to be different and will win the prize.
Dare to be that woman
With the issue of blood
Who surged ahead of others
Who in her way had stood
Until she touched the Master
Who alone could cure
And end years of disaster
When she lost all she had in store
Woman with Alabaster Flask of Oil
When Yahshua was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” But when Yahshua was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this (evangel) is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her,” Matthew 26:6-13.
This woman did something that no one else present, including His own disciples, would have done. In doing so she had made of herself a spectacle and target of criticism. Instead of praising, the disciples ridiculed her for having lavished like water upon their Master, such expensive fragrant oil. She had been moved by something far greater than the value of the oil to sacrifice that which was precious to her. This oil was perhaps the best she could offer in a personal, loving expression of how much she valued Yahshua. She had obviously felt that for Him no gift was too precious and no price too dear. She received a higher commendation from Yahshua for her lavish unselfish, loving deed than many others, even including the disciples, were not so privileged to have obtained. Yahshua promised that her fame would be worldwide, wherever His message was preached.
One lesson here is that if we genuinely desire the best from Yahshua, we should be first willing to give Him our best. As long as our gifts are second rate, we will receive second-rate blessings. If we want to change from mediocrity to Yahweh’s excellence, we must be willing to pay the price. Excellence does not come cheaply. Great achievements cost great sacrifice, painstaking toil and perseverance.
Yet, it is most important to note that this woman did not give in order to receive Yahshua’s praise. She asked for nothing, but the privilege to minister. When we pour out ourselves freely from a heart of love, Yahweh takes note and repays us. This woman gave, expecting nothing in return. What better and more symbolic gift could have been given to the One who was about to pour out freely the most precious blood as a gift from a heart of love? This woman’s gift is comparable to the intended gift of another hero, Abraham, who was prevented in the last second from offering his only son Isaac as a sacrifice of love and obedience to Yahweh. Outstanding people of Yahweh are the ones who are willing to deny themselves totally to Him for the sheer joy of pleasing Him.
This is yet another lesson we will apply when we move on from being spectators to participants. When, like the woman with the aromatic oil, you have poured out your richest fragrance in service to Yahshua, you will be criticised for your unique exuberance, but you can be sure that although you did it only from a heart of love, He will shower His radiant approval upon you.
Dare to be that woman
Who with costly oil
Lavished it upon the Master
Seeking no reward for her toil.
Peter Walking on the Water
In the fourth watch of the night Yahshua went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Yahshua spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Master, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Yahshua, Matt 26:25-29.
When the disciples saw a figure approaching them walking upon the water they were petrified. “A ghost approaching us!” was the frightening thought of these panic-stricken men. Yahshua assured them that it was He. Nevertheless, perhaps still not recovered from their fright, all but one of them clung to the safety of their boat. Peter on the other hand seized the moment. “What better place to be than with my Master?” he must have thought. He asked Yahshua to confirm it was He, by commanding Peter to come to Him. Yahshua obliged, Peter complied, and was soon out of the boat walking like Yahshua upon the water.
It is true that when Peter took his eyes off of Yahshua and considered the boisterous wind, he began to sink. But that cannot erase his unique feat of having been the only person apart from Yahshua who has ever walked on water. He achieved this by leaving others in the boat, while he ventured out into uncharted waters, daring to do the impossible at the command of Yahshua. What had astonished others had motivated Peter. He did something about it with eyes fixed upon Yahshua, and found himself doing like his Master.
The lesson here is that anything is possible when we take our eyes off circumstances, doubts and fears, then ignoring the crowd, obeying Yahshua, with eyes firmly fixed upon Him. It teaches us that great things will happen when we gaze upon and reach out to Yahshua, preferring to abandon ourselves recklessly to the ‘uncertainty’ of His will than to remain in the ‘safety’ of any alluring alternative.
Dare to be like Peter
To leave the boat-based crew
And tread upon the water
As he saw his Master do.
Daniel Choosing the Den of Lions
Daniel’s jealous conniving conspirators could find no fault with him “except concerning the law of his Elohim,” Daniel 6:5. Anxious to get Daniel removed from his high office, they inveigled Darius the king to sign a decree that “whoever petitions any (deity) or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions,” Daniel 6:7.
Daniel fearlessly defied the consequences of praying to Yahweh. In fact he invited attention to his defiance by praying with his windows wide open for all to see. While they only had it in their power to react, Daniel held the initiative and took the challenge to them, in similar fashion as David with Goliath.
When the king realized that Daniel was to be victim of his decree, he “was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him,” Daniel 6:14. But he could not for the law was unalterable.
Daniel was cast into the den, victorious even in adversity with the knowledge that the lions’ most savage onslaught could not have torn or touched his commitment to Yahweh. What stubborn resolution! Like the Hebrew boys he was inferring that even if the Elohim whom he served did not deliver him, his obedience to Yahweh was non-negotiable. How happy his conspirators must have been to see such display of foolhardiness, as they would have regarded such bravado.
Yahweh was with Daniel. The lions seemed as though they had been were divinely sedated until after Daniel’s exit, and his conspirators took his place in the den.
There were others in the kingdom who would have submitted to this decree or might have prayed secretly. Not so with Daniel. He was not part of the compromising crowd. His passion and commitment for serving Yahweh was much greater than any concerns he may have had for his own safety. Yahweh would remain supreme in his life even to the end.
The lesson is clear. Our loyalty to Yahweh is to be paramount and unswerving, above all other considerations at all times. This is why the emphasis of our heart’s longings must not be for solutions to our problems or for changes in our circumstances, but for the Living Elohim who is above all, and over all. Yahweh will accept no competition for our allegiance, not even when we are in the midst of the severest testing. By putting Him first, He will put us first.
Dare to have a purpose
To stand alone for Yah
With a Daniel type of focus
That no threat of death can bar.
Boy Who Gave His Lunch
A great multitude had been following Yahshua. Among that crowd was a lad, of whom very little is known, except that he gave his lunch consisting of “five barley loaves and two small fish” to Yahshua, and through his sacrificial gift, five thousand men as well the women and children were fed. (John 6:5 13)
It is remarkable how a lad would have given up his lunch, not knowing what would have happened, and if he would have been able to have any of his lunch back. Like a hungry dog ready to snap at anyone who dared to take its meal, this lad could have protested vehemently. Furthermore, even the disciples thought that this lad’s lunch was but a drop in the ocean of empty bellies waiting to be fed. Their doubts could have served to fuel this lad’s wrath by showing to him the futility of surrendering his lunch.
Yet, we hear of no objection from him, when many similar lads would have been at least disgruntled. We do not know anything of his belief in Yahshua, but this much we know, and it is enough, that he gave his all to the Master, who in turn blessed it, and distributed it to His disciples. Thereafter, food simply kept on flowing until all had eaten, and there were even twelve baskets of the fragments of the five barley loaves remaining.
If one lunch surrendered to Yahshua satisfied the needs of so many, can we begin to understand what would happen if believers totally surrendered (abandoned) their lives to Yahshua? It is hard to think that among so many people, including children, only one person brought their lunch with them. However, we can safely say that only this lad’s lunch was available for the Master’s use. Would we be willing to put our lives into Yahshua’s hands, even when the moment was inopportune, or possibly fraught with danger?
One lad gave his lunch to the Master
Causing vast multitude to eat
If our lives to Him we surrender
Who knows the needs He would
The little things so dear to us
That are our earthly treasure
May be the stuff we must
Sacrifice to gain Yah’s fullest
Moses at Mount Sinai
When “all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking…they trembled and stood afar off,” Exodus 20:18.
Perhaps the signs they witnessed reminded them vividly of the awesome power and holiness of Yahweh, in contrast with their proven weakness and sinfulness. They were filled with fear, knowing they had no prospect of survival in the hallowed presence of their omnipotent, omniscient, sovereign.
"You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not Yahweh speak with us, lest we die”, was their plea to Moses, Exodus 20:19.
Filled with their guilt of sin, and dominated by fear, they missed this unique, historic and monumental opportunity to get close to Yahweh: “The people stood afar off.” Moses thought differently. Leaving the crowd behind, he “drew near the thick darkness where Yahweh was,” Exodus 20:21.
The vast majority did not experience first-hand the benefits of drawing close to Yahweh. In fact, when Moses delayed in returning from the mountain, they drew farther away to the point at which they had become just like the heathens in making a molded calf to worship, which had been forbidden by Yahweh. By contrast, Moses positioned himself to hear from Yahweh and received even more of Yahweh’s laws directly from the mouth of Yahweh.
You cannot expect to hear directly from Yahweh whilst maintaining a distance from Him. It is only by getting close that you will learn His thoughts and radiate the glory that comes from personally abiding in His presence.
Will you dare to be like Moses
In drawing close to Yah,
Or will you, like the people
Choose to stand afar,
Drifting even farther
Than you had been before
When you could be closer
And receive from His precious store?
In each of the above examples, whereas the majority of persons did nothing more than set the scene by their presence, one person among them stood head and shoulders above them, grasped the moment and did something spectacular. These heroes all had one thing in common. They had a purpose that was far greater than any other consideration that could have stood in their way. Their purposes revolved around pleasing, obeying or being intimately close to Yahweh or Yahshua. They all demonstrated the phenomenal benefits to be experienced by placing confidence in Yahweh and Yahshua. They were all ordinary persons with an extraordinary connection or insight to the Omnipotent Power.
They are perfect examples of what Yahweh can do in lives that are wholly yielded to His will. Yahweh longs to do the same for His people today. In Daniel 11:32 we are told, “The people who know their Elohim shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”
2Chron 16:9 tells us: “the eyes of Yahweh run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.”
Ps 84:11 assures us: “No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
If we really believe the Bible, it is time that we put it to the test, and totally surrender ourselves into the hands of the Omnipotent One who asks in Jeremiah 32:27 “Is there anything too hard for Me?”
We have no strength of our own. In ourselves the best one of us is weak and helpless. We can only demonstrate amazing strength when we trade in our weakness for Yahweh’s power. This is not achieved by a once for all decision, but by daily spending unhurried quality time in the presence of the Master Potter.
Yahweh is the same as He has always been. As He was to the woman with the issue of blood, He will be to you, whatever your need may be. There is no reason to live a second-rate empty life, when the Giver of abundant life is waiting with outstretched arms to transform you.
What limitation you place upon yourself, by choosing to be one of the crowd, instead of being the one in the crowd who puts Yahweh first! Why should you continue to rely on yourself or others, when our infinitely greater Elohim desires to take control and lead you into vast unexplored, unimaginably places to display His greatness in you?
It is not about searching for the miraculous. If you do you will never find it. The woman with the issue of blood wasted all she had and suffered for a long time while she searched in vain. It is about seeking for the Miracle Maker, Yahweh, with all your heart, as for a precious, priceless treasure and then continually abiding in Him. His transforming presence will change you into His best. There can be nothing better. “But seek first the kingdom of Yahweh and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you, Matthew 6:33.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me, John15:4.
You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart, Jeremiah 29:13.
The simple choice is yours. Will you continue to be just ‘like the rest’ or will you instead choose Yahweh’s best?
-Elder Buel Hallpike
© 2007 Yahweh’s Assembly in Yahshua
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