Moses' fourth speech, Part 3
Oct 31, 2012
To eat clean spiritual food that is preached from the pulpit or read from a book, one must not allow the teacher to do one’s own's thinking or discerning for us. If this is done, the food is unclean, for even if the word is true, it is not prepared properly.
Remember that the food laws in Deuteronomy 14 come on the heels of verses 1 and 2, where Moses reminds the people that they are “the sons of the Lord your God” and are therefore “holy.” The food laws follow immediately, showing us that in order to be holy sons of God, we must mature spiritually; and to mature spiritually, we must eat clean spiritual food. No one can mature properly unless they learn to hear God’s voice for themselves. They must know that inner witness and have the ability to meditate on the word that they hear.
Some people go too far by refusing to listen to Moses or others who have been given the word. One must keep in mind that God does not give all revelation to any one man, in order to make us function as a body. A liver cannot do the job of the heart, nor can the stomach substitute for the foot. Each has a calling, and we must learn to depend upon one another as a body. Yet if the liver malfunctions, the heart should know this and take steps to defend itself.
The rebellion of Korah in Numbers 16 is a prime example of how some were drawn into rebellion against God’s lawfully-appointed leadership. Their argument was that God speaks to all men, and therefore they did not need Moses’ leadership. This was a half-truth, for God did indeed speak to all men. But so also does God raise up leadership and gives each man a portion of authority along with supporting gifts of the Spirit.
The solution is not to be an island unto one’s self and expect God to reveal everything to each person. The solution is to recognize when God has truly spoken to others and submit to the word that is in others—once we have borne witness to it and had time to meditate upon it. In this way we learn to function as a body, while yet retaining our independent relationship with Christ.
Eating Clean Seafood
Moses says in Deuteronomy 14:9 and 10,
9 These you may eat of all that are in water: anything that has fins and scales you may eat, 10 but anything that does not have fins and scales you shall not eat; it is unclean for you.
God prohibited the Israelites from eating scavengers. Shellfish were part of God’s wonderful creation, called to eat the feces of other fish and filter the water to keep the oceans from becoming polluted. But spiritually speaking, an unclean animal is defined by not having fins or scales.
Fins are the guidance system for a fish. Scales are its defense. If we are to eat clean spiritual food from the sea of humanity (Revelation 17:15), we must be guided by the Holy Spirit and put on the whole armor of God.
We are not called to escape this world, but to rule it. Like Jesus, we are to walk on water and not be overwhelmed by the sea. We are called to be an influence for establishing godly culture and truth, rather than drown in the immorality and lies of the world. To do this, we must be led by the Spirit and put on the armor of God. Those who are not led by the Spirit will be led by the flesh.
Scales are the Armor of God
The armor of God is given in Ephesians 6:13-17,
13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm, therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Paul warns us to persevere and be alert (vs. 18), because there is much unclean food being tossed about in the world. If we are weak in any of our spiritual armor, that will be the spot where we will be wounded or be unable to deal with that which the world has to offer.
We must first know the truth. Secondly, we must put on the breastplate of justice, as it is called in Exodus 28:29. This piece of armor has to do with being lawful in our dealings with mankind. The law was the original revelation concerning justice, and without some knowledge of the law, even Christians will occasionally fail in this area, for they will be products of the worldly culture of their peers, rather than of Kingdom culture.
Our feet must be prepared to preach the gospel of peace, rather than of war, as Isaiah 52:7 tells us,
7 How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation [Heb. yeshua], and says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
The previous verse says, “Therefore My people shall know My name.” The name of Yahweh is thus revealed in verse 7 as Yeshua. We will announce or proclaim Yeshua, if our feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. As we mature spiritually, we ought to put on our shoes, walk on the water, and give it the standard Hebrew greeting: Shalom, “Peace,” followed by the command, “Be still! Find rest!” (Mark 4:39).
We must have the shield of faith at all times, knowing that we are in a battle against the restless sea of humanity. In this world we expect to see the flaming missiles of lies and false accusations hurled against us. Such missiles are not part of our weaponry, but our shield of faith protects us from those coming at us.
Faith is a way of life. Faith is not a single act, but a life of "faithfulness." It is knowing who we are in Christ. If we are wounded by the accusations of others, our shield is too small and our faith is yet weak. Faith is understanding that all things work together for good (Romans 8:28) and that the world’s missiles are allowed by God, not to destroy us but to train us in faith. Faith is knowing that God is fully in control of every flaming missile that comes our way. If we truly believe this, then our shield is enlarged to protect us fully from being wounded.
We must also put on the helmet of Yeshua, whose name means “Salvation.” In other words, we must recognize Jesus Christ (Yeshua) as our head. He is the One leading us and guiding us in all things.
Finally, Paul says that we are take up the Sword of the Spirit. This is the only weapon that Paul puts into our hands. It is the word of God, both the written and the spoken word as we are led by the Spirit. Our Sword will be sharp if we live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). This includes the law, the prophets, the psalms, and the gospel of the New Testament.
Our divine armor is given to us, because we are clean through the word which He has spoken to us. You see, man is naturally an unclean creature. We have no divided hoof, we do not chew the cud by nature, and we have no fins and scales. The only way that we can be clean is by spiritual means through the word of God. Hence, if we consume the word with the double witness, meditate upon it, are led by the Spirit, and put on the whole armor of God, we are then clean in the eyes of God.
Fins are Divine Guidance
Scripture associates divine guidance with the kidneys in its metaphoric language. The kidneys are our renal system, because they look like handles with reins. The Hebrew word for kidneys is kilyah, often translated “reins.” A man riding a horse holds the reins to guide the horse. Psalm 7:9 says, “the righteous God tries [tests] the hearts and kidneys.” In other words, God is One who guides us.
David says in Psalm 16:7, “my kidneys instruct me in the night.” Everyone has had to get up in the night to relieve the pressure on their kidneys. Hence, also, God often guided him by dreams or by revelation during the night.
In Psalm 26:2, David prays, “Examine me, O Lord, and try me; test my kidneys and my heart.” Our hearts are tested for righteousness (justice); our kidneys are tested in the area of divine guidance.
Isaiah 11:5 (KJV) speaks of the Messiah, saying,
5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.
Righteousness is paired with the loins, because of its connection to the heart. The sign of the Old Covenant was circumcision (loins), whereas the sign of the New Covenant is the circumcision of the heart. Heart circumcision, then, is the means to righteousness, or justice, that includes and understands all the mercy and grace factors in the law.
Faithfulness is paired with the reins, or kidneys, because, as Paul says in Romans 10:17, faith comes by hearing and obeying the word—that is, by divine guidance.
If we are in Christ, and have put on the helmet of Yeshua, then righteousness, or justice, will gird our loins as Truth (Ephesians 6:14), and faith will gird our kidneys as we hear His voice and are guided by the Spirit into all Truth (John 16:13).
This is the mark of a “clean” believer.
This is the third part of a series titled "Moses' Fourth Speech." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones