Shabbat, May 27 2017
During our trip out to Wisconsin to see old friends and family, Pamela and I met with Terry, a Jewish believer who was the best man at our wedding. After we enjoyed time catching up, as we were dropping him off,Terry ran into his apartment and fetched us a few books by the same author, Peggy Joyce Ruth, including this one: Those Who Trust the Lord Shall Not Be Disappointed.
I trust that the Lord prompted my good friend Terry to give me this book. It’s true. It’s really true, practically and profoundly true. V’eemru? (And let us say?)
Turn with me to Matthew 11. John the Immerser, who was in a dungeon, sent his disciples to Yeshua with this question: “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
Humanly speaking, we can understand why John might have send Yeshua this question, from prison…
Even though John had immersed Yeshua himself, and had heard the voice from heaven declaring, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased!”
How many of you have received a word from the Lord, and later wondered if you really did?
So Yeshua replies (vv. 4-6): “Go report to John what you hear and see: the blind see, the lame walk, those with tzara’at are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news proclaimed to them. Blessed is the one who is not led to stumble because of Me.”
First, Yeshua reminds John and his disciples of what he had being doing, in fulfillment of the Scriptures. Of course, Scripture also promises “the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” (John and his disciples might have wondering if that one would be fulfilled for him. Yet Yeshua was setting many free from bondage to demonic oppression.)
So Yeshua concludes with an admonition, “Blessed is the one who is not led to stumble because of Me.” How could John or anyone else be led to stumble over Yeshua? Alas, it happens… There are times when one doesn’t quite understand what He is up to….Yet blessed is the one who doesn’t stumble over Him. V’eemru?
1 Peter 2:6-8 lays out this choice that we all have: “For it says in Scripture [in Isaiah 28:16],
‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen, precious cornerstone.
Whoever trusts in Him will not be disappointed.’”
That’s a promise of God’s word, both in Isaiah and 1 Peter: If you trust in Him—the Chosen One, as the precious cornerstone of your life, you will not be disappointed. V’eemru?
Peter continues: “Now the value is for you who keep trusting [so let us keep on trusting!];
but for those who do not trust [Peter next quotes Psalm 118:22]: ‘The stone which the builders rejected—this One has become the chief cornerstone,’ and [quoting Isaiah 8:14] ‘a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.’ They stumble because they are disobeying the word.”
In other words, for those who reject the One who is the cornerstone, He becomes “a stone of stumbling, a rock of offense.” Alas, though He is the most precious cornerstone, many do stumble over Him.
Hence, Yeshua gave the admonition, “Blessed is the one who is not led to stumble because of Me.” Some people, by trusting, find the chief cornerstone of their lives, while others, by disbelieving and disobeying God’s promise, trip over a stumbling stone It’s .the same stone.
How do you respond? Are you building your life on the precious cornerstone?
Does this principle apply when you decide to put your trust in Yeshua as Messiah, Savior and Lord, or does it also apply every day of your walk with Him? Yes, both….
Whenever you are confronted with a difficult situation, a dilemma, then you must decide whether to keep trusting in Him, or to doubt Him. If you trust Him, He promises, you won’t be disappointed. But if you give into the temptation of doubting His faithfulness, you will be disappointed.
Moreover, if you don’t learn to trust in God in every area of your life, at some point, you may become disappointed in God—and when that happens, the Rock of salvation becomes a rock of stumbling. Sometimes Yeshua will challenge us and call us to trust Him even when we don’t fully understand Him. Sometimes you don’t see everything the Lord sees—can you trust that G-d sees more than you do?
In John 6, Yeshua pressed this point home with his own disciples. In verse 53, the Master said, “Amen, amen I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.” Actually, this picture is misleading—Yeshua wasn’t holding up a wafer or a cup, and there was no nice, reassuring halo around his head.
Eat my flesh and drink my blood? Remember, Yeshua wasn’t teaching in a church, but in a first century synagogue at Capernaum. Jews in a Synagogue didn’t drink blood, let alone eat human flesh! It’s not just gross; it’s verboten!
John 6:60-61 records their reaction: “When many of His disciples heard this, they said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can listen to it?’ But Yeshua knew His disciples were murmuring, so He said to them, ‘Does this offend you?’” I.e., “Does this cause you to stumble?”
The same Greek word can mean offend or cause to stumble. It happens to be the word from which English gets scandal or scandalize. Indeed, many of Yeshua’s early disciples were scandalized, and left Him. A spiritual stumbling comes from a lack of trust in God, even when He is hard to understand.
But Shimon Kefa responded, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the Words of eternal life.” It’s not clear that Shimon Kefa fully understood what Yeshua meant by His teaching yet. Yet Kefa made His mind to trust in Yeshua as Lord… and He was not disappointed. V’eemru?
It’s a choice that each of us needs to make, not just once, but many times, in our walk with Yeshua. The Scriptures emphasize this point, often. Romans 9:33, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense; whoever believes in Him shall not be put to shame.” Whoever trusts in Him shall not be disappointed.
Again, Romans 10:11 repeats, “Those who trust in Him will never be disappointed.” V’eemru?
And Psalm 25 says, “[Our fathers] cried to you and were delivered. In You they trusted, and were not disappointed.”
When a promise is repeated many times in Scripture, how should we respond?
We need to get this promise deep down in our kishkes, our innermost being. We need to recognize that God will be faithful, even when we don’t yet see how. Sometimes you may think, or even pray: “But Lord, I think I do trust you, but sometimes the Word looks like it’s not working, and I get confused, and even disappointed… but that doesn’t mean I’m not trusting You.” How many of you can relate?
But the Lord wants you to understand that trust and disappointment don’t mix. Trust and disappointment are opposite and cannot operate together. If you give in to disappointment, you simply aren’t trusting.
Furthermore, notice the tenses in the Scriptures. Those who trust (or keep trusting in the present tense) shall not be disappointed (future tense). It’s a promise, with a condition: if we trust and keep trusting, then we will not be disappointed… Somehow, God will work it out, since God keeps His promises! V’eemru?
On the other hand, opportunities for doubt and disappointment will happen. That’s a fact! Then it’s your choice. You can either fall into disappointment or you can keep trusting in God, no matter what things look like in the moment, trusting that a time will come when you are not disappointed.
Disappointment is more than a feeling… it’s a temptation. The enemy of your soul, who doesn’t want you to trust God, will keep tempting you to give up and wallow in disappointment and despair.
Pamela, could you share a story about what Terry said, before he became our Best Man? (After Glenn proposed to Pamela, he had second thoughts…. While Glenn was talking to Pamela’s best friend, who eventually became their Maid of Honor, Terry called Pamela. Though he didn’t know anything about the engagement, he could hear Pamela holding back tears. So he asked her, “Are you upset about something?” She replied, “Yes.” He asked her, “Does it have something to do with a certain Jewish man we know?” Not wanting to say too much but wanting to lie, she admitted, “Yes.” “Well, you know,” Terry noted sagely, “Jewish men have hangups.” She agreed. Then Terry told her, “You are being tempted to despair.” That caught Pamela up. She hadn’t thought of despair as a temptation. So she decided to resist the temptation, and trusted the Lord with this situation of their engagement. Soon after, Glenn got over his second thoughts and they prepared for a wonderful wedding.)
So disappointment is more than a feeling; it’s a temptation. Yet when you do feel disappointed, that’s a good indicator that you are not operating in godly trust. The feeling of disappointment is a barometer.
On the other hand, trusting God is much more than a feeling. It’s a resolution. You can declare out loud [I encourage you to say it aloud with me now] , “I trust you, Lord. I don’t care about the situation looks like. You are greater than the situation. I don’t care what my own reasoning ability says. Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts. I don’t care what the world says. You have overcome the world. I don’t care what my emotions say. You are the God of shalom and I choose to abide in You. I am making up my mind that my from now on I do trust in You and what Your Word says. If am tempted by a feeling of disappointment, I will recognize that as a warning signal. Then I will stop and renew my resolve to trust in You. Then Lord, the rest is up to You.”
Or to keep it short & simple : “Lord, in this situation [name the situation], I choose to trust You.”
You may have to declare it 10,000 times in your walk with the Lord. Yet the Lord has given us this promise: “You shall not be disappointed!” V’eemru?
The rest of Peggy Anne Ruth’s little book is filled with testimonies…. Peggy Anne starts with testimonies about building a house… They needed a lot of lumber to frame it, so they sent Peggy’s Dad to an auction. Dear old Dad bought all of it—piles of wood all over the lot. Peggy saw horror cross her husband Jack’s face. It would take weeks to haul it all out to their site—and then her Dad blurts out, “The lot has to be cleared in three days or they’ll bulldoze it all under.” Sure enough, several bulldozers were parked off to the side—the builders were on a tight schedule. The boards were so long they couldn’t get them into the pickup truck without extending way over. What an impossible looking task—and dear old Dad had spent more than they had allotted!
So Jack said, “Lord, in this situation with all this lumber, we choose to trust You.”
Then Jack told Peggy that God had just told him to go to a town 20 miles away where he would find a harvest gold, sixteen-foot cattle trailer, and it would cost under $1000. Sure enough, like the disciples finding the colt on which Yeshua entered Jerusalem, they found the trailer there exactly as the Spirit had said they would, for $975. With that trailer they got all the lumber hauled off in three days. The carpenter couldn’t stop commenting on the quality of that lumber. They more than enough for their project, and from their abundance they helped others.
So 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that you may have an abundance for every good deed.” V’eemru?
When it came time to order bricks, there were no bricks at the local plant, or anywhere in Texas, because of a huge construction boom. They were told they would have to wait at least 6 months. During that time, the wooden framework of the house would warp!
In the moment, Jack asked the brick plant manager if he could pay a premium price for the bricks. Immediately he regretted saying it, and the man angrily let him know he didn’t take bribes! Jack apologized… and as they went home, discouragement began to run high. But then they remembered the Scripture for everything they’d done so far, “Those who trust the Lord will not be disappointed.” So even though there were no answers, they chose to trust the Lord to make a way, confessing it out loud.
The next morning, after Jack’s prayer time, he felt impressed to go back to the brick manager and apologize again. That seemed strange, but when Jack obeyed, the manager said, “I have your bricks.” Jack said he must just stood there is shock for full 60 seconds before he could say a word!
It turned out that a church 150 miles away (Texas is a big state!) wanted to return their bricks, because they didn’t match the existing building well enough. The brick company had quit producing that particular brick, so they offered them to Jack at last year’s price if he could take them all. Jack took them, sight unseen, and those bricks were exactly the right color and an abundance they needed for all the walls, columns and arches—there less than 300 bricks left over when they finished. The Lord knew exactly what they needed! God is not wasteful, but His supply is ample..
Then they needed concrete. But the water canal in town had collapsed that night and there was no water coming in, and so no concrete trucks were running. Oy gevolt! Do they say that in Texas? Well, Jack trusted in the Lord, and the Lord urged him to place an order anyway. About midday, a temporary fix in the canal turned the water back on. Suddenly a lot of concrete orders came in, but Jack’s order had been the only one all morning, so his the first to be filled. Just then, the canal immediately collapsed again, and they weren’t able to get it fixed for several days….
And so on. Once the Ruths learned to apply this principle, the miracles, little and big, just kept on, and building a house led to building a radio station, building an outreach to the poor, building an outreach to college students, and building a church….
Now, I’m not telling you all these stories just because we want to build a Synagogue over there….
Truly, Terry Tarrow gave me this book and I started reading it while John Wikkerink and Don Kale were making breakfast for the men, and Nick Negoescu helped out….
Let me close with one more Scripture, Jeremiah 17:5-8. It’s all about a choice. If you trust in man, or what humans can do in their strength, you’ll be disappointed, sooner or later. If your heart departs from the Lord, you won’t even recognize goodness or blessing when it comes.
Peggy tells a story about a young man who was so disappointed that he wasn’t chosen for a mission that when the missions board considered him, they said no, the young man doesn’t have a good attitude needed (i.e., the trust in the Lord. A trusting heart can make all the difference!
But if you trust in the Lord, and hope no matter what the circumstances, they you will be like a tree spreading out its roots to the water of life. Even when heat or drought comes, this tree will be green and bear fruit, because it is grounded in a deep trust in the Lord, our Provider.
May it be so with you and me. V’eemru? The worship team may come forward. Let’s pray….
This sermon and questions may not to be reprinted in whole or in part without the express written consent of Messianic Rabbi Glenn D. Blank of Beit Simcha. Your generous support for our ministry and building project is appreciated!
Scripture references are mostly from The Tree of Life Version (TLV) though occasionally other versions. Verse citations provide Jewish numbering, with Christian numbering in parentheses.