Amy Gomes is one of our faithful. She participates in our Shabbat group, attends the Matthew Bible study and has been part of the community for many years. Her career is helping disabled children. Not only does she do this in Lake Country, Florida, she also built a school for handicapped children in Ukraine, the first of its kind, from her own resources and donations. Now the United States Federal government is giving her a great deal of grief over their mistake in billing practices. You would think it would be an easy fix since the error is on the government side. But as you might guess, the government’s view is that they can do no wrong. So Amy needs intervention. Here’s what she is asking:
“After 20 years of serving the special needs children of Central Florida and being a faithful Medicaid provider, the system has turned on the small providers and demanded a huge sum of money as a fee refund because of a system error. We are now being forced to repay over $100,000 for services that we have provided over the past 18 months. I ask that you would join me in prayer asking God to reverse this devastating decision that could put our company out of business. It is the philosophy of my company that we bring the compassion of God into the homes of children with disabilities and we pray that we will be able to continue despite this unfair ruling. Thank you!”
Please join us in a concerted effort to bring this mistake before the Lord who is sovereign even over Medicaid!
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3 NASB
Not Burdensome – Rules are heavy. Regulations weigh us down. So when John says that God’s commandments are not burdensome, we should be reminded of two other men who say that same thing. The first is Mosheh. “For this command which I am commanding you today; it is not too hard for you” (Deuteronomy 30:11). The second is Yeshua. “For my yoke is pleasant and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). Now comes John. Don’t you think that John’s reference to bareiai ouk eisin (literally “heavy not are”) reminds us of the words of both Yeshua and Mosheh? The commandments of Mosheh and Yeshua and now John aren’t crushing rules and demanding regulations. They are the joyful evidence that we love God.
“It is easier to deceive ourselves in this matter than it is to deceive others. If we tell them that ‘we love God’, they will look for some visible evidence; we should look for some visible evidence ourselves.” This is precisely what Sha’ul has in mind when he calls us to “provoke to jealousy” those Jewish brothers who have not yet accepted Yeshua as their Messiah. If we don’t display Torah observance, if we make the commands of the Father burdensome, what motivation do we offer these brothers for believing we serve His Son? Who was Yochanan’s (John’s) audience? Wasn’t it Gentiles who were followers of the Way? Gentiles who had the opportunity to demonstrate by their actions that they followed the same God of Israel, YHWH the only true God? And how would these Jewish brothers and sisters know that Gentile followers embraced the God of Israel unless these Gentiles joyfully exhibited obedience to the commands given by YHWH? How would anyone know if these Gentiles disregarded the very essence of Israel’s faith – the revelation of God in the Torah? We might ask ourselves the same question. How would the outside observer know that we love and worship YHWH if we don’t practice His commandments? If John and Jesus and Moses are all saying the same thing, why are we so anxious to set those commandments aside?
John makes are pretty strong assertion here. If we love God, we do what He says and what He says isn’t a burden because it is motivated by love. If I love my wife, I listen to her requests and I do my best to fulfill them (especially since she is my ‘ezer kenegdo) because it is good for me. I benefit when I please her. Of course, I am still a rebellious renegade and at times my selfish desires assert themselves. I don’t listen to her. I push my own agenda. And I discover that I don’t benefit. I am not blessed. I repent and try again. It’s the same with my relationship with YHWH. But what good would come to me if I said to my wife, “I love you, but I am going to do whatever I think is best for me”? What benefit accrues to me if I say to my heavenly Father, “Oh, I love You, but I will decide which of Your instructions I’ll follow. After all, some of them seem too heavy for me”? Who am I to tell God that His instructions aren’t good enough for me?
Topical Index: not burdensome, bareiai ouk eisin, 1 John 5:3, Deuteronomy 30:11, Matthew 11:30, commandments
F. F. Bruce, The Epistles of John
, (Revell), p. 116.
If you happen to be in the Orlando area and you want to sit in on a graduate class on biblical interpretation, inspiration and translation, I will be teaching at the Holy Land Experience on Wednesday May 4 to Friday May 6. Please email me if you would like to attend.