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Shavua Tov

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  • Daniel Botkin

A Hot Furnace & A Cool Chimney


In the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt. 25:1-13), the five foolish virgins took no oil for their lamps, but the five wise virgins took oil. When the Bridegroom came, the five foolish virgins were excluded from the marriage feast because of their failure to take oil in their lamps.

As disciples of Yeshua, we are commanded to shine as lights in this dark world. If we want to shine as lights, we need oil and fire in our lamps. We need the anointing of the Holy Spirit and we need fiery zeal in our heart. Oil without fire will produce no light. Fire without fuel will quickly go out. We need both oil and fire, the oil of the Spirit and the fiery zeal of the Spirit.

A house in cold, dark weather needs a furnace with fire. In this cold, dark world, you need fire in your heart. You also need a cool chimney, because a hot chimney can be dangerous. The Lord wants you to have passion, zeal, and devotion burning like a fire in your heart. The Lord also wants you to have a cool chimney. He does not want your fiery zeal to turn you into a hot-headed, quick-tempered, short-fused person who gets angry and blows up like a stick of dynamite. The Lord does not want you to be, as Vance Havner described it, “like a monkey with a blowtorch in a room full of dynamite.”

The Bible tells us to be “slow to wrath” (James 1:19). Paul wrote these words to Timothy: “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves” (2 Tim. 2: 24f).

Having a cool chimney means not blowing up when discussing Biblical truths with someone who disagrees with your views.

Some people have a cool chimney, but only because they are apathetic about Biblical truths. They simply do not care very much about what the Bible actually teaches. There is no passion, no zeal, no fire burning in their heart.

If there is no fire in a furnace, the chimney will always be cool. The Lord is not impressed by a chimney that is cool due to the absence of fire. The Lord wants a hot furnace as well as a cool chimney.

We had better have not only some fire in our heart, but also some oil for fuel, because the Bridegroom is coming.

“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept” (Matt. 25:5). Even the five wise virgins slumbered and slept. If you have fallen into a spiritual slumber, if your fire and passion for the Lord has gone out, if the anointing of the Spirit has faded from your life, and you find yourself, like the five foolish virgins, out of oil and unable to rekindle your zeal for the Lord, you had better wake up now. Once the midnight cry rings out announcing the arrival of the Bridegroom, it will be too late. The Bible says “the door was shut” and the Bridegroom said to the five foolish virgins, “Verily I say unto you, I know you not” (Matt. 25:10-12).

“Watch therefore,” Yeshua said, “for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 25:13).

“Daniel, I know I’ve lost my zeal and fire and passion for the Lord. I don’t sense the anointing of the Spirit anymore. How can I recapture the anointing of the Spirit that I once had?”

The five wise virgins told the five foolish virgins, “Go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves” (Matt. 25:9).

“Daniel, are you saying that zeal, passion, and the anointing of the Spirit can be bought with money?”

No. The Bible says, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isa. 55:1).

You do not need money, but you do need to “buy” it (“buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk”). You do not need money to buy it, but it will cost you something. It will cost you your time. You will have to spend time focusing your attention on the things of the Spirit rather than on the things of the flesh. It will mean spending time in prayer, Bible study, fellowship, and serving others, rather than spending time sinning in secret by reading sinful magazines and books, watching sinful movies, etc.

You might even have to sacrifice some time that you presently spend on non-sinful activities, depending on how much time and attention you devote to those activities. I am referring to activities such as watching movies, surfing the internet, reading novels, pursuing hobbies, playing sports and games, or just “puttering around.”

After Isaiah’s invitation to come and buy without money, he adds this:

“Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness” (Isa. 55:2).

We could reword Isaiah’s questions this way: “Wherefore do ye spend your time and money on that which is not the true bread that came down from heaven? Why do you spend so much time reading things that entertain but do not edify? Why do you spend money on merchandise which satisfieth not? Why do you feed yourself on worldly wine and milk that has no spiritual nutritional value?”

If what you are currently feeding yourself leaves you spiritually unsatisfied, start feeding yourself on the things that the Lord provides, the milk of His Word and the oil of the Holy Spirit.

You will not get the milk of the Word without giving time and attention to the Word. The Bible is the breast which holds the milk of the Word. A babe has to suck on a breast to get the milk out of the breast and into itself. Your Bible will not nourish and satisfy you if it just sits on the shelf. You have to open the cover, just as a nursing mother has to uncover her breast to feed the babe. You will not get the nourishing, satisfying milk of the Word without giving time and attention to the Word.

And you will not get the sweet, exhilarating wine of the Holy Spirit without giving time and attention to prayer. Short, spontaneous prayers throughout the day are important, but we also need extended times of prayer. We need prayer in a place and at a time when we will not be interrupted or disturbed, so we can intently focus on the Lord. These are the times that will bring the anointing of the Holy Spirit and provide us with the oil and fiery zeal we need to keep our lamp burning and shining brightly.

We live in a cold, dark world where iniquity is abounding. “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matt. 24:12). In this cold, dark world, we need a hot furnace. But we also need a cool chimney.

In English we have a few expressions that use the word cool:

Cool as a cucumber. Don’t lose your cool. Maintain your cool. Cooler heads prevailed.

Expressions like these refer to being relaxed and remaining rational in situations where other people might panic. Being “cool” in this sense has nothing to do with being popular or being thought of as “a really cool dude” or, in outdated slang, “a really cool cat.” Being cool means not being influenced by the heat of the moment. It means not letting your emotions blind you and distort your judgment.

Look at the contrast between Yeshua and His disciples when a storm threatened to sink their boat. The disciples were in a panic, crying, “Master, Master, we perish!” Yeshua rebuked the wind and the waves and said, “Peace, be still.”

There was a great calm, and He said to the disciples, “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 37ff).

The disciples then said one to another, “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”

What manner of man was He? He was a Man who was as cool as a cucumber, a Man who maintained His cool in any situation, a Man who never panicked and never let His emotions rule Him. He maintained a cool chimney. He never lost His cool.

“But what about that time He overturned the moneychangers’ tables in the Temple? Didn’t He lose His cool then?”

No. Overturning the moneychangers’ tables was not an impulsive act, triggered by carnal anger. It was a planned action. Yeshua took time to calmly braid a whip before going into the Temple. It was not carnal anger that moved Him to overturn the moneychangers’ tables. It was zeal for His Father’s house, as it is written, “And His disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up.” (See John 1:13-17.)

The Lord wants us to have zeal for our Father’s house, which is now the temple made of living stones, the Body of Messiah.

If we have zeal for our Father’s house, if we have a red-hot fire burning in our heart, how do we maintain a cool chimney? The same way that a house with a hot furnace maintains a cool chimney. In a furnace, the fire is contained and confined. This prevents the fire from going straight up the chimney, and it allows the warmth to be distributed where it is needed.

Containment and confinement of the fire is what keeps the chimney cool. Knowing your limitations and boundaries will help keep your chimney cool.

The Bible speaks about “zeal without knowledge” (Rom. 10:2). Confine your zeal to areas where you have sufficient knowledge and experience. Don’t blurt out your personal opinions about a subject if you are ignorant about that subject. Don’t attempt to teach about a subject if you have little or no knowledge and experience in that area.

This is the reason I do not teach about some subjects. I do not want to misinform and mislead people. Plus I do not want to look like a fool. I have seen enough Bible teachers make fools of themselves by teaching things that are utter nonsense. This is especially true among Messianic and Hebrew Roots teachers. Some years ago I wrote an article titled “Just Enough Hebrew To Be Dangerous” (GOE 19-3). In that article I shared examples of bizarre conclusions and theories and doctrines people have come up with, based on a very limited knowledge of the Hebrew language.

I have said many times before that you can be a faithful, fruitful disciple without knowing a single word of Hebrew. (Although it helps to know “Amen” and “Hallelujah.”) You can even be a great Bible teacher without knowing any Hebrew, if you teach on topics that do not require a knowledge of Hebrew. But if someone wants to teach on a topic that does require a knowledge of Hebrew (or Greek or Aramaic), they need to know more than just a list of vocabulary words that they have gleaned from a Strong’s Concordance. They need to be familiar with the grammar of the language, how words are formed from other words, sentence structure, verb conjugation, etc.

A teacher can be very zealous about what he teaches, but if it is zeal without knowledge, it usually does more harm than good. So know your limitations. Confine your zeal to those areas where you have sufficient knowledge and experience. Keep the fire in the furnace and out of the chimney, so the house won’t catch fire and burn down.


| DB

 

Image: Psalm 97 by Daniel Botkin from his Psurrealistic Psalms art gallery. See Daniel’s art website, DanielBotkin.com to view all his artwork.

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