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Msindisi Newsletter #86

November 4, 2011

SALVADOR & DIANNE’S MSINDISI MONTHLY

NUMBER:      86       Nov 2011

PO BOX 1481
VRYHEID 3100
KWAZULU NATAL
SOUTH AFRICA

+27 (0) 728311008

Email:  msindisi@gmail.com ,
salv.di@gmail.com

KwaZulu Mission Website: http://www.kwazulumission.com

Personal Website: http://msindisi.googlepages.com

Dear Friends and family,

The start of summer has bought the rains which we are very grateful for, our water tank is already 3/4 full. This year the grass fires were not so bad around us but many farmers were on a constant alert as the winds can spread it very rapidly.

This month we have witness the huge pressure that the community  can place on people to conform to their belief of honouring the dead. Sadly with the death of Amos, Lindiwe his wife was swept away with the pressure from family and community to worship and sacrifice to her late husband. This overwhelming pressure can make it very difficult to stand. But stand we must as in this area actions speak louder than words.

Time and again you see the miracle of Gods hand and grace in Phumulanis life. As he holds the tension of helping but not participating with these community gatherings.
This month Gogo (Phumulanis mother) gave the go ahead to hold a Zionist all night meeting at the kraal, much to our disappointment. This meant a huge tent was put up, the meeting started at midnight and went through the night finishing up around 6 in the morning. There was singing, wailing, screaming and yelling with taxi loads of people coming from all over. As you can imagine not a lot of sleep was had that night. Ourselves, Phumlani and Thabi went away for a meal and teaching at Jonny and Kim that night returning around 11. When we approached home it was like a party taking place at midnight everyone entered the tent. We went straight to our huts on returning.

The next day we heard that a couple of chairs had been broken when some lady had been bitten by a man who claimed he was prophesying after the “Spirit” came upon him. Sadly they are all taken with this thinking it is God speaking to them. When you look the world over there are so many churches today that profess they have “the spirit” the latest anointing. Yet all the actions, teaching and order clearly contradict the word of God. Di asked Phumlani how did he experience these meetings before he was born again. He explained how then he thought it was just normal, he had grown up with. It was not until he read and started to follow scripture after being born again that it became clear to him.
People from the meeting returned to their every day life after the meeting, back to their ways. Thinking God had heard their prayers when in reality nothing had changed they were still separated far from God. Please continue to pray with us for Gogo, Sal is reading her the word, chapter by chapter starting in Luke.

We are currently in Stanger as Sal was asked to come for a weekend of teaching from Calvin. We have had 2 days with Mark and Marie anne which has been just lovely. It is always so good to spend time with them and their son Dean and his wife Taryn.
Sal was able to use the time to complete his assignments for his deuteronomy module.
He will be teaching 3 sessions while here and also going on the local settlements evangelising with Calvin.

Kids club, care bear, teaching Tholakele to read, bible study, discipling, preaching, clinic runs etc continue as usual. Please pray for her. She has had three children by her partner and they haven’t gotten married. He is concerned because her mother would be against it because culturally men must pay a bridal price before they may marry a girl. Upon being challenged by Tholakele who gave him an ultimatum he has agreed to do the right thing. Salvi took them to home affairs on Tuesday and they have arranged a date for next Friday. Please pray for his salvation as we believe he is near the kingdom. His name is Thokozani.

We have been very blessed with the help from Genrod this month. Our truck had a few problems but all is sorted thanks to this very generous christian business. Thank you guys.

In home cell we have been going through Jude in an interactive format. We are seeing the benefits in our fellowshipping as the Lord knits us together.

On the visa front, this month Di resubmitted her application for an extension on her visa.
Her last application was declined as not all the requirements were met. When she submitted it the first time she was told there was no fee required, however there is. This has been addressed along with police checks from South Africa and New Zealand. She can now stay legally in the country until head office either confirm or deny this application.

Sal is still waiting to hear from head office concerning his application for permanent residence. Home affairs has made contact a couple of times so we know it is in the process. We continue to commit this to the lord.

Whatever direction this takes we have a peace as we have entrusted our path to Him.
Sal visa that he has currently does not expire until march next year. If his permanent residence is denied then he also will reapply for an extension on his current visa like Di has.

We thank you all for your prays and support, may the lord richly bless you as we labour together in His work.
Shalom
Sal and Di

ELIJAH AND ELISHA
NABOTH’S VINEYARD
PART 7
1 Kings 21

Matthew 21: 19. Matthew 21: 33 – 43. Something that the scripture shows quite clearly is that God loves and wants fruit. God is a fruitful God and in our lives God requires that we produce fruit. First we have the parable of the fig tree which speaks of the cursing of the temple worship. There were works, there were leaves, there was provision for healing and glory, the temple was very glorious. However there was no spiritual fruit. The Jewish temple had gone from being a house of merchandise, which was bad enough, into being a den of thieves. According to Matthew 24: 32, the fig tree will put forth leaves again. There will be another temple, but note, it will still produce leaves but no fruit. That is because this will be set up under the covenant made with antichrist. Jesus said that we have to abide in Him to bear spiritual fruit. (John 15). So we have more works but no fruit. The Sadducees ruled by their own authority and kept their power through politics and pleasing Rome. So we have the parable of the vineyard and the growers. The vineyard was rented out to the vine growers. The owner of the vineyard wanted to receive the fruit of the vineyard but there was a problem.

The vine growers were not content to be stewards of it, rather they wanted to own it. They wanted to take possession of it and so when the master sends messengers, the vine growers kill and persecute them. But when the owner sends his son, they see him as the heir of the vineyard and thus they kill him in order to keep the vineyard for themselves. The Pharisees and the Sadducees knew that Jesus was the Messiah, they knew that Jesus claimed that he would rise from the dead. Even in this parable, they understood the meaning as we see in verse 45. The vineyard is representative of the Kingdom of God. The vine growers, however do not primarily speak of the ethnic nation of Israel. We know that until the last century believers were predominantly made up of Gentiles but we can see that Jesus was speaking against the chief priests and the Pharisees, as we see in verse 45 of Matthew 21. Thus Jesus was speaking about the rulers of Israel and not primarily the nation. Now we know that the kingdom has also been taken away from Israel as an ethnic nation for as the disciples also understood in Acts 1: 6 that one day the kingdom would be restored to Israel. But it can not be completely taken away from ethnic Jews for Romans 11: 5 says that God has chosen during this time, before the restoration of Israel, to keep a remnant of the nation of Israel for Himself. But the parable itself is not primarily concerning the kingdom being taken away from the nation of Israel but is speaking of the kingdom being taken away from the pharisees and chief priests and given to a nation producing the fruit of it. They were rulers but they were only stewards. Yet they wanted to be owners of the Kingdom so they tried to kill the Son of God to get it. They did not produce any fruit but they wanted to keep the vineyard non the less. Jesus said to His disciples that they would sit on 12 thrones judging the tribes of Israel. (Mt 19: 28). There would be a change of ruling parties in Israel. That is what Jesus was taking about. These rulers were just following the same example as people like Nebuchadnezzar. It is the same spirit as the spirit of Babylon which says ‘my kingdom shall not come to an end and I will not know the loss of children.’

Thus we get to 1 Kings 21 and we read about Ahab and Naboth. We have missed out chapter 20, where Ahab gets help from the Lord to defeat Ben Hadad of Syria. Instead of killing Ben Hadad, Ahab lets him go. God was very unhappy about that! We did not look at that chapter because there was nothing about Elijah or Elisha in it and that is what this series is about. The last time we saw Elijah and Elisha, Elijah had just put his mantle on Elisha and Elisha discerned the call of the Lord upon him. Thus Elisha said good bye to his family, made a sacrifice and burned his plough. The next time we will see Elisha is in 2 Kings chapter 2. For now there is no high profile ministry for Elisha, he is simply there to wait on Elijah.

Verses 1 – 4            Ahab’s failed attempt at getting the vineyard

Meanwhile King Ahab is in his palace and he spies out a vineyard which was beside the palace. And for some reason Ahab wants it. Now the vineyard was Naboth’s inheritance. If we turn to Lev 25: 23 we see that the land the Israelites inherited could not be sold permanently. It could be sold temporarily if a family was in dire straits but then it had to be redeemed. It did not belong to Ahab but Ahab wanted it. It was a vineyard but Ahab wanted to turn it into a green garden of vegetables or herbs. Ahab wanted to use it for a purpose it was otherwise intended to be used for. Ahab wanted to rule the vineyard but he would not produce the fruit of it. Whereas Naboth was different. Jesus said that we must abide in Him, (the heir of the Vineyard) and we will bear much fruit. Naboth as the owner of the vineyard produced fruit, he was fruitful. His name, Naboth, means fruits. Ahab was one of those rulers who wants to take charge of the kingdom but turn it into something it was never intended to be. The Roman Catholic Church did this. Through political power they declared themselves to be the one true church. They wanted to take control of the kingdom and they made the kingdom into something that it was never intended to be. It lacked the fruit so there were cycles of reformation which hit against the system but they never could reform the system. Ahab even promises Naboth a better vineyard in its place. Let us turn to Matthew 4: 8 – 9. Satan tempts Jesus and in effect he was doing the same thing that Ahab was doing to Naboth. ‘Hey Jesus, why wait and go through all that suffering to bring about the kingdom when you can have the kingdom now. I will give you a better one in its place.’ Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. ‘I will give you a better vineyard in its place, one without suffering, one without the cross, one that has so much glory’. This is seduction. Satan works as a seducer and a persecutor. We will read about persecution in the next section but Ahab was seducing Naboth to make the deal. So with our inheritance. Hebrews 12: 16 – 17. Esau saw the lentil stew as more important than his birthright. So all the temporal blessings in this life account to a bowl of stew in comparison to eternity. Paul accounted all his suffering as light affliction compared with the weight of glory that lay before him. So Ahab also offered money to buy out Naboth’s inheritance. Such is the parable of the sower where the thorns and thistles choke the word. The thorns represent the cares of this life, the deceitfulness of riches and desires for other things which choke the word. (Mt 13: 22) How many preachers have thrown away their inheritance for the love of money?

But not Naboth! He would not sell his inheritance for anything. He would not give Ahab the inheritance of his fathers. I think that the translation of the word Nathan as “give” in the NASB in verse 3 is very apt. Although Ahab would pay handsomely for the vineyard, what price can you put on it? What price can you put on the Kingdom of God? Jesus likened it to a pearl of great price, or to a treasure hidden in a field. There is no price you can put on the Kingdom. There is no price that you can put on salvation. If we would take any payment for our salvation, that is not really a selling out, it is giving it away. I liken it to having a multi million Rand home in Sandton, Johannesburg, and you seek to sell it to a person from a town ship like Soweto who only has 50 rand. You can brag that you made a sale and a cash transaction was made. But you virtually gave it away for nothing. So it is with salvation. You can not brag that you have made it big in life if you do so at the cost of your own soul. Your salvation is worth inestimably more than temporal success. You did not sell your salvation away, you gave it away. So it was with the temptation of Christ to worship Satan. He would not have got a good deal off Satan. He would have given the Kingdom away.

So Ahab’s response to this is that he went and sulked. He would not eat, he would not do anything but mope on his bed. How often we are like that and the reason is that our desires are inordinate. God has not permitted us to have what we want and so we mope. What a liberty there would be if we would just listen to the Lord and accept His limitations on our lives. If He shows us that He will not permit us to be in a certain situation or have a certain thing, it will do us the world of good if we bow the knee in humility and accept it. If we do not then we will only end up frustrated and vexed. As Psalm 46 says, ‘Be still, stop striving, and know that I am God.’

Verses 5 – 16           Jezebel’s elimination of Naboth

Satan works as a seducer but also as a persecutor. If he can not get to us as a seducer he will then try to persecute us and vice versa. Thus, though Ahab tried to seduce Naboth, Jezebel goes right ahead and has him killed. We can see that Ahab was not going to do what Jezebel did but from Naboth’s point of view it was all the same. Ahab and Jezebel were on the same side. Jezebel wants to know why Ahab is sulking and Ahab’s response is very interesting. Naboth said that he would not give Ahab the inheritance of his fathers. That is in accord with the command of the Lord. Naboth was simply being obedient. However, when Ahab explains what happened to Jezebel in verse 6 he does not say that but rather he tells her that Naboth simply said, ‘I will not give you my vineyard’. When it comes to Ahab’s own words he quotes his own words very well but not Naboth’s words. To paraphrase what Ahab was saying let us put it like this, ‘I was so reasonable and generous to Naboth. I not only offered to pay for it but if he would rather I would give him another vineyard instead but that Naboth, he just was stubborn and said no.’ Ahab misrepresented Naboth’s character. Naboth was obedient to God but Ahab made it look like he was simply being stubborn.

Jezebel is furious about this and reprimands Ahab by saying ‘Do you now reign over Israel?’ What is she saying? She was basically saying, ‘who is in charge, you or Naboth?’ Heavy shepherding. They would set aside the commandments of God by asserting that Ahab is in charge and therefore Naboth must go with whatever the leader would say. False shepherds always put loyalty to them before loyalty to the Lord. They can stand and even delight when you point the finger outside the camp but as soon as you point the finger at them they freak out. Some pastors will show a calm face in public but in their houses, they sulk, they rave and rant and they find a way to silence the voices of the dissidents. They turn to politicking and spin, influencing the senior pastors or oversight to ignore the concerns and complaints of dissidents to maintain position, popularity and the financial giving of their congregations. Some pastors rail publicly against the dissidents and openly try to discredit them in front of the whole congregation. They will publicly berate those that resist the church’s programmes or even justly criticise the work, and they will try to turn everyone against them. But Ahab goes further than that. What persecution Naboth went through simply because he would not follow the leader’s vision of a gardening project! Jezebel’s reasoning was that Ahab was the leader and therefore what ever he wants he gets and whatever he says goes. How very different to Peter’s description of a leader in 1 Peter 5: 1 – 4, where he says that elders are not to lord it over those allotted to their charge. Instead of lording it, an elder must rather be an example and lead by example and not for sordid gain. But Ahab was only thinking about his own desires and feelings. So how does Jezebel dispose of Naboth, the fruitful one? She sets him up in a court of law, has him charged with blasphemy and treason and sentenced to death. Turn back to Mt 21: 38. This is a picture of Christ’s trial before the Sanhedrin. They illegally convicted an innocent man to death. It was a set up. Why would the Sanhedrin do this? Because, just as Jesus said, they wanted His vineyard. They did not care that He was God’s servant, a prophet, the messiah, they wanted the vineyard. Jezebel did not care that Naboth was the owner, nor that he was fruitful. She did not care that he was righteous. Under the veil of religious hypocrisy she had an innocent man put to death under trumped up charges. She had 2 worthless men, sons of Belial literally speaking, two sons of the Devil, testify that Naboth had cursed God and the king. It all seemed religiously correct but it was a farce. It seemed biblical but it was contrived. It was religious deception used to condemn the righteous. And so because Christians do not go with the fads of the modern charismatic circles we see charges laid against them that they are blaspheming the Holy Spirit or they are touching God’s anointed and such people are given ultimatums to conform to the program or to get out. It would be bad if these people had committed immorality or spoken heresy but these people are simply being obedient to the Lord.

So Naboth is stoned to death, and the execution took place outside the city, just like Jesus was executed outside the city, and also we are told to take on that reproach, outside the city. We will never be able to be part of the crowd. We will always be outsiders. Ahab is told to take possession of the vineyard. How does he do this? He wants to make a vegetable garden, so obviously the first thing he would start to do is to destroy the vineyard and uproot it. What happened after Jesus was crucified, resurrected and ascended? They turned on the followers, they turned on the vineyard. It started with Stephen and then the apostles and the persecution grew. They Sanhedrin tried to destroy the vineyard so they could build their own kingdom. No fruit. The Sanhedrin were not the only ones trying to destroy the vineyard. There were also false teachers, especially from a background of Gnosticism, who tried to take over with a different teaching, one that contradicted the plain meaning of scripture.

Verses 17 – 29          Elijah’s commission

We see that Ahab was not only taking possession of the vineyard but he was in the vineyard itself while doing it. (v 18). Now notice when Jesus, for He is the word of God, tells Elijah where Ahab is, he does not call the vineyard, Ahab’s vineyard, it was still Naboth’s. Just like Israel and the land. Just because Israel were not in the land as a sovereign nation for 1800 years does not mean that it does not belong to them. It is their promised possession. So Jesus prophesies judgment over Ahab, that in the same place that Naboth’s blood was licked up by dogs, so too, Ahab’s blood would be licked up by dogs. So Elijah faces Ahab and how was he greeted? Verse 20, ‘Have you found me, O my enemy?’ How very strange! The last time they met he addressed Elijah as the troubler of Israel and finished his meeting acknowledging the sovereignty of the God of Israel but now he has back slid. Before he accused Elijah of being the cause of the national crisis but now he gets personal. He believes that Elijah has a personal vendetta against him. Elijah’s answer is very instructive because he says that indeed he has found Ahab, but the reason he has found him is because of the evil that Ahab has done. In other words, if Ahab had not done this thing or sanctioned it Elijah would have been very happy to have stayed away from him. It was a biblical issue but Ahab had turned it into a personal issue. We do have to be careful that when we take a stand on the word, it is on a biblical issue and that we have no personal issue with the person involved. However, even though it may be a biblical issue it will not stop the other person making it a personal issue. I do not think that Elijah would have been bothered if he never had to meet Ahab again. Ahab thought too much of himself. We see that the prophesy Jesus gave concerning Ahab’s blood being licked up by dogs is interpreted by Elijah. In verse 21 – 24 we see that the blood that God was speaking of, not only referred to Ahab’s own although it did, but that it also extended to his offspring. Why? Because sin is like leaven and if left to fester leavens the whole lump of dough. This was a situation past the ability to amputate a limb. The gangrene had spread to the heart and thus it was too late. Judgment was pending.

Verse 25 said that there was no one like Ahab who sold themselves to do evil. He was incited by his wife but he was to blame. God destroyed Amorites for what they had done. Would God turn a blind eye simply because Ahab was Jewish? No way. So what was Ahab’s response? He repented. He went about despondently. He was heart sore about all this. This would not take away the judgment, it was too late for that. Jezebel would be thrown down. The siege of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70 had to happen and the judgment on Babylon the great of the future has to happen. So the judgment on Ahab’s house had to happen also. But because Ahab humbled himself, because he was penitent God showed him grace. He would still be judged but the judgment would be delayed. He would not see it in his life time. God is not like the parent who makes idle threats and then backs down when the kid quietens down at the right time. If God says something will happen, it will happen but even in the midst of His judgment, for those who are willing to humble themselves, get off the throne of their lives and accept His rule over His vineyard there is grace.

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