Manifestation of “Fig Tree Syndrome” is discernible in anyone with an attitude of let people see me doing while the action amounts to nothing. When men of substance are gathered together you find such empty persons positioning themselves to be photographed along with them. Such people then turn round to claim closeness to the powers-that-be. They use the circumstance to massage their ego or use such to extort money from those who needed their help Matthew 16: 16-20. Peter by divine prompting recognized Jesus as the Christ. He gained eternal prize unlike any one who just spoke for speaking sake.
While Ahimaz son of Zadok did not worth being sent to deliver the crucial message, Cushite qualified to run the errand and delivered the it with wisdom and integrity that really matched the King’s intellect, II Samuel 18: 31-33. In John 13: 21-30 Jesus by divine intelligence discerned the role Judas was going to play in Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion in the hands of the High Priest and the Jewish leaders. Judas apparently qualified to be the financial controller for Jesus and His disciples (Good News Inc.). He betrayed the Executive Chairman of the Corporation – A fig tree syndrome – and failed woefully in the ministry.
A believer needs to test and sift array of friends with prayers before choosing those to trust whole-heartedly and thereby avoid deep relationship with those that chase shadow instead of substance.
God loves those who constantly seek His face and walk with Him in obedience. His love radiates anointing to such people. God judges the heart and not the face or an outward show. So it was with the Jews in the days of Moses who died on Mount Nebo. He with love prayed a prayer of inpartation on Joshua. By the same token, Joshua sent out two men to spy the land of Jericho in Joshua 2: 1-24. They resided in the house of Rahab the harlot. It is obvious that the flow of anointing passed to Rahab in fulfilment of God’s promise to settle the Israelites on Canaan land. As people knew about the spies’ presence, they sought to kill them in the house of Rahab.
Rahab planned a strategy for their escape and got them to vow to preserve her father’s household because she knew that the God of Israel had given them the Canaan land. The escapees gave her a scarlet token to tie on the window through which she let them down to escape into the mountain. Both parties kept to the vow to honor the God of Israel. The two spies reported back to Joshua thus: “Truly the Lord has delivered all the land into our hands” Joshua 2:23a. Rahab’s father’s household was spared when Jericho was destroyed. The Jews up to that time were devoted and obedient to the God of Israel and HE never disappointed them. To love, trust and obey will cause the door of divine guidance to open and lead to good success for genuine seekers.
Simon was his name before Jesus Christ re-named him Peter (meaning Cephas or Stone). He was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. He wasn’t a city dweller neither was he as educated as the Pharisees or did ever belong to the Priestly lineage. No doubt he was a Jew and was expecting the prophesied Messiah. Matthew 4:18-20; Mark 1:16-18; John 1:35-41 The moment his brother Andrew introduced him to Jesus, he caught the intense fire of divine love for God, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He was bold to the extent that what others cannot say he would boldly say it. He was able to identify Jesus as the Son of God. He belonged to the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples. Jesus was the spiritual leader or Rabbi, Peter was the undisputed human leader of the disciples. He had periods of showing the human angle in his life as a disciple. For instance, while walking on the sea fear gripped him and forgot that he was under the anointing of Jesus but quickly asked for the master’s help.
At another time, he became belligerent and drew his sword in defense of Jesus when the High Priest asked soldiers to go and arrest him at the beginning of the passion of Christ. Jesus prevailed on him. Faced with the trial of Jesus he denied him. Immediately he realised that he has been untrue to his savior, he wept bitterly to atone for his failure. No wonder he emerged the leader of the first Church of Christ. In conclusion, divine love dictated his boldness to accept leadership of the fledging church in spite of severe persecution. Matt 26: 69-120; Mark 14: 66-72; Luke 22: 54-62. Peter possessed divine love that most human being do not have.
What the Almighty God has done no power in heaven or on earth can undo it. King Artaxerxes under the impartation of divine love of God did send Nehemiah to rebuild the broken walls of Jerusalem. He backed his authority with fund and ‘visa’ to be able to have free passage through other territories. On arrival there was ready opposition that tried to disturb and get the project un-executable in the persons of Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite as well as Geshem the Arab. Neh. 2 : 1-20 (NKJV). These people were so pissed off that they jeered at and mocked the Jews. They even went to the extent of putting up petition against the Jews with trump up allegation of possible plan to rebel against the King. They further planned to attack the builders who armed themselves in expectation. They never did because the Jews armed themselves spiritually and physically. Neh. Chs 3 & 4 (NKJV)
As it was in the days of Nehemiah, so it is now and would probably continue to be. The good news is: “but those who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits”. Daniel 11: 32b (NKJV)
God is love and universal in scope. HE actually loves all whether Jew or gentile. The whole peoples of the world are His. God has no time for checking credentials to ascertain being Jew or Christian or any other religions of the world. In this part of the ongoing series on LOVE, God’s divine love was extended to Naaman, commander of the army of Syria. Syria at the time was enjoying victory over Israel, or seen as ‘enemy combatant’ that was not at peace with the people of God. The king of Syria, through the assurance of the captive girl from Israel sent Naaman to Prophet Elisha who only instructed thus: “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you and you shall be clean.”
Naaman thought Elisha was rude for not considering his status but was persuaded to do what the man of God directed him to do. In the end, he got completely healed. Pride and anger nearly deprived him of God’s divine love which was not up for grab or to the highest bidder. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases but it behoves us to obediently tap into this fountain of God’s compassionate love that transcends color or creed. Naaman realized the greatness of the God of Israel that has no equal in all gods in the world. ll King 5: 1-27
Life of Apostle Paul gave us an insight into how God extends his love to cover even the wicked ones. Paul, as Saul, had one sterling quality of intense dedication to duty. Man sees only the face but God sees the heart or that which is intrinsic and can always tap on man’s hidden resources to edify HIS holy name. In his fervor at rounding up Jesus’ disciples for imprisonment. Paul received High Priest’s mandate to hunt down Jesus’ disciples with their so-called “new doctrine”. It was on his way to Damascus that he met the risen Christ who commissioned him – Saul – (later Paul) and literally enlisted him as soldier in the gospel army. Acts 9: 1-16
Through thick and thin, pain and pang, along with trial and tribulation, his tenacious faith in Christ Jesus saw him through all the fall out arising from his missionary journeys among Jews and gentiles. He expectantly rose to the rank of “five-star general” meaning, he ran the gospel race to win the crown of glory.
A deserter in any national Armed Forces that are justly defending the territorial integrity of his country is anti-Paul the Apostle. A quitter in any tough assignment is apparently a total failure, God has a sacred duty to bless us but it is our duty to use our talent responsibly to his honor and glory. Apostle Paul really did.
The series under non-carnal love is generic or in general term that stands for all non-divine love such as love of money and power to mention a few. It is therefore apt to exemplify the place of ardent and positive seeking something that is of value or as priceless as the promise of the coming Messiah Isaiah 7:14 and 9 : 6-7. The general belief then was that he would be a fighting king who would free them from serving the Roman Emperor.
At the baptism of Jesus, John the Baptist saw the sign God told him he would see to identify Jesus, John 1:29-36. John the Baptist’s witnessing coupled with Jewish expectation brought followers that became his disciples as ordained John 1: 37. With physical and spiritual freedom in view, those who met and interacted with him began to invite many more John 1: 41-45. The Psalmist declared in Psalm 34 : 8 “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good, Blessed is the man who trusts in Him” As of today, there is no genuine or divine love for what is satanic or merely unwholesome. The disciples kept together in divine love even after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.