WORDS OF WISDOM.
From the Desk of Rabbi Yochanan Hammond, Ph.D.
Rabbi Yochanan resides in Australia and is the President of JSI-Judaic Studies Institute.
We Jews will often use the phrase, “evil inclination”, when discussing the various topics associated with everyday life. Unfortunately, the use of this phrase is increasing at an alarming rate in our daily conversations. Each day we witness the manifestation of the “evil inclination”. This rise of evil is not only increasing but it is becoming increasingly violent with tragic outcomes. The reason behind this rise of the “evil inclination” is the rejection of HaShem, the Holy One of Israel. Any community that is beholding to any other system outside of Torah is a community without hope. I say without hope because not only will such a community be plagued by the evil inclination, but The Almighty will destroy evil in His time. We agree with David when he wrote about the attitude HaShem has toward evil.
“For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You. The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity, You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.” Psalm 5:4-6 [NKJV]
The Almighty takes no pleasure in acts of wickedness! However, we then must ask, “What are acts of wickedness”? This is an important question, because what one person calls acts of wickedness another may call an act of goodness. We witness this in our everyday life. The subject of homosexuality springs to mind when we contemplate the differences in opinion regarding wickedness and goodness. The problem is that when it comes to acts of “goodness” or “wickedness” people’s opinions have no sway with the Holy One of Israel. If HaShem calls an act wicked, then it is an act of wickedness. If HaShem calls an act good, then it is indeed an act of goodness. So our choices in regards to the subject of good and evil are straight forward. We either choose what The Almighty calls wicked or we don’t. We either choose what the Almighty calls good or we don’t.
The Torah is the document that outlines what the Almighty calls wicked or good. The Torah is the document that outlines the path we must walk if we are to engage in acts of goodness. As Children of HaShem, if we claim to want to please our Father in heaven and walk in the footsteps of HaMoshiach Yeshua, then we must be found embracing a Torah lifestyle. Those who promote the idea that we no longer are required to embrace the Torah are promoting falsehood. They may not be doing it out of pure rebellion, but it is not helping the whole House of Israel to unite and walk as our Father would have us walk. History surely tells us that when we Children of Israel are left to our own devices, making up our own “torah” then we are destined for trouble and untold heartache. There is a saying that well describes the nature of fallen humanity. “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Unfortunately, in most of cases this proves to be the norm. The beauty of Torah is that it brings us back to reality showing us that not only are we not in charge but left to our own devices we will be destroyed.
The wickedness that we are capable of has no boundaries. History surely proves our ability to justify the most horrific actions. Our societies are now rewarding those that reject the Holy One of Israel and His Children. None the less we Children of Israel must concern ourselves with our own faithfulness as our Father will clean this whole mess up in His perfect time. It is our responsibility to stay true to The Almighty knowing that He will bring us through into His presence. We may not escape unscathed on this present earth, but He will supply the strength we require in every situation. Let us take care of our own salvation and lend a helping hand to any who want to join us on this journey. HaShem will reward the wicked according to His righteousness and we will witness the downfall of those that are blinded to His Torah and HaMoshiach Yeshua. Truly the words of the Master Yeshua ring loud in our ears.
“.......Every plant which My Heavenly Father did not plant shall be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man; both will fall into a pit.” Matthew 15:13-14 [NASB]
We need to make sure we are part of the tree our Heavenly Father has planted and nurtured through Yeshua HaMoshiach and Torah. For me this is called the Tree of Life. This Tree provides all the fruit we require. Unfortunately, we continue to be drawn towards the tree of good and evil, ever ready to partake of fruit that pleases the flesh, constantly eroding away our relationship with HaShem, Yeshua HaMoshiach and Torah. The further we drift away from HaShem the more difficult it is to keep sight of Him, thus opening ourselves up to declaring another as The Almighty. Sadly, I have witnessed this at numerous Christian rallies, where the most ungodly actions and claims are attributed to God where participants are dogmatic that it is a “move” of the Holy Spirit. If you do not know the Torah, then your chances of becoming deceived by these antics and those that are coming is greatly increased. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE CUNNING OF SATAN! He has no scruples and as Yeshua said, Satan is a liar, a murderer and there is no truth in him.
A question for us is: “Whose words are we listening too?” Are we listening to institution leaders who reject the Torah and thus the biblical Yeshua, or are we listening to our Father through the teachings and guidance of Torah and Yeshua? Take the time to analyze the teachings of your leaders and institution. Do this in a spirit of humility and a genuine seeking of the Holy One of Israel. We all make mistakes and we can all say, “But for the grace of God go I.” None the less we should not be afraid to be as the Bereans and study the Word of God. We must show respect to those who are in positions of leadership, but we do not have to follow them blindly, as we know what happens when the blind are leading the blind. It is vital that we invest the time to draw closer to The Almighty. We do this through consistent prayer and biblical studies. Our only hope as a people and as a nation is to ensure our standing before the Holy One of Israel is according to Torah, the same teachings Yeshua taught His disciples.
Learning the teachings of our Father is a lifelong engagement. If we lived for a thousand years we would still fail to grasp the full teachings of our Father. There are always gems of value to be added to our lives through greater understanding of Torah. Yet for most of us the “basics” keep us occupied as we struggle to adhere to their teachings. What many fail to grasp is learning is only one step in our process to walking in the footsteps of HaMoshiach Yeshua. It is our actions that witness our response to our learning. An example is the many Christians who learn the pagan history of Christmas yet continue to engage in this festival instead of celebrating the Moedim [God’s appointed times].
Do not ignore the ability of our evil inclination to justify our wicked behaviour. Our people and thus our nation, has a sad history of allowing the evil inclination to rule our actions, thus our lives. We are ordained to be a holy [Set apart] nation! We cannot be this nation if we allow our evil inclination to influence us making poor decisions and rejecting our Father’s teachings. It is the opinion of this author that the battle against our evil inclination will intensify as the return of HaMoshiach approaches. The father of lies and deception [Satan] will increase his attack on Israel and the people of Israel. In making this statement I am including all peoples who make up the nation of Israel, no matter whom they are or where they dwell at present.
The need to study and know Torah [The teachings of the Holy One of Israel] is at a premium. Please do not neglect this necessity as you will be in danger of becoming controlled by your evil inclination.
May the grace, love, and wisdom of HaShem and Yeshua HaMoshiach be with you!