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By Pete Wilson
We ended Part 3 by reviewing Mic 1:10 in a study entitled “moving on to maturity”.
Mic 1:10 Declare ye it not at Gath, weep ye not at all: in the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust.
We saw that moving onto maturity involves learning important lessons and separating from what is the common behaviors of the carnal mind. Walking by faith and not by sight is what maturity brings. The journey of Micah, the Morasthite, begins at Gath, the first of the eleven cities. We saw in part 1 that the root word for Gath the city is the Hebrew word Gath that is most often translated as winepress. So this entire journey is about moving us towards maturity via the process of judgment.
Rev 14:19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
The first thing we learn is to declare it not at Gath. The world and the carnal mind will not be able to understand the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.
1Co 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are (being made) perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
Mat 13:11 He answered and said unto them, because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
We can’t be mature if we do not respect the Lord’s hands in blinding the entire world and only giving “ears to hear and eyes” to see to precious few. We don’t declare the Lord at Gath as we must mature ourselves to be used in service and we must not cast pearls to spiritual swine.
Psa 10:17 LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:
Rom 11:7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded
Secondly, we saw that we must learn not to lament and wail about our trials. We must not go to Aprhah, the house of dust and wallow in the self-pity of the carnal mind. We need to appreciate the blessing that has befallen us and work (strive) to enter into the rest that remains for the people of God.
Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
We cannot try to save our old way of life or else we will fall from grace. We cannot return to that former way of life (house) for anything. As we saw last week, it may cost us everything and we must be willing to pay it. Lord willing, we will continue on as the Lord leads us towards a complete spiritual foundation remembering the message of Lot’s wife.
Luk 17:32 Remember Lot’s wife.
Luk 17:33 Whoever seeks to save his life, he will lose it. And whoever will lose it, he will preserve it.
So we have covered the first two cities we are commanded to pass thru on our way to maturity. It is only once we finish the journey at the final city of Addulam that we will receive the inheritance promised. We will be tempted into giving up and not pressing forward towards the prize of the higher calling. But make no mistake, we must finish the race if we have hope of being in the blessed and holy first resurrection.
2Ti 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Becoming a mature man is the reason given for the why the Lord has given us a Body and given us able ministers, teachers and all of the offices of the church.
Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ
The Lord’s own words tell us of this mystery as well.
Joh 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
So let’s continue with our eleven city journey towards being made perfect and see what else the Lord wants us to take heed. This study will cover just this one verse from Micah.
Mic 1:11 NKJV Pass by in naked shame, you inhabitant of Shaphir; The inhabitant of Zaanan does not go out. Beth Ezel mourns; Its place to stand is taken away from you.
3. Pass by in naked shame, you inhabitant of Shaphir
Saphir – H8208: From H8231; beautiful; Shaphir, a place in Palestine:
H8231: A primitive root; to glisten, that is, (figuratively) be (causatively make) fair: – X goodly.
The root word H8231 is only found one time here in Psalm 16.
Psa 16:6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly [H8321] heritage.
Our heritage, is OUR INHERITANCE in Christ. It is indeed a goodly and/or glistening outcome. As the Elect of the Lord we are the light of this world and it is through us that the shining forth of righteousness is, was and will be coming.
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Php 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Luk 24:4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
Psa 80:1 … Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.
Yet make no mistake, it is the glory of the Lord that lights us up and does the shining and in total the Body, the Lamb of God, is the light all men will one day see and enter in by.
Rev 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
Yet before this light can shine in us and our raiment glisten as an inhabitant of Shaphir, we must pass by naked and ashamed. We must first endure this journey from where we are righteous from the perspective of the flesh (the number 10) and see the disintegration and ruin of that which is perfect in the “flesh” (as best as flesh can be). That is seeing the shame of our nakedness that is necessary to bring us to Christ, our inheritance, we find in Addulam the final city.
We have to be shown our sin and the depths of our depravity. It is far more than the outward sin and things seen with our naked eyes. Leviathan, the deep, lives within our carnal DNA and the Lord will make manifest what truly lives in our flesh. We will say all the right things and have the knowledge of what is required of us as Paul says.
Rom 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
And yet the weak flesh must be shown that it is impossible to save ourselves.
Rom 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Ecc 3:18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
The heritage and the inheritance of the saints is salvation through Jesus Christ. But that comes via the process in down payment form and in fullness only when we are raised from the dead.
Outward appearances rule the hearts and minds of the carnal mind. First the natural and then the spiritual means that our first state of being in Saphir will be one where the focus is on the outside of the cup and being pleasing to men. Knowledge of doctrine will indeed puff us up and take our eyes off the inward ongoing work of grace needed to purify the heavens with the blood of Christ. In this state we will use our supposed godliness for gain all the while denying the power within us to stand against sin and the pulls of the flesh (Philistines).
2Ti 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
We should indeed turn away from such a mindset. Yet such folly will not go far.
2Ti 3:9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.
The way the Lord is accomplishing this is by using our own wickedness to correct us. We will be shown that we are the abomination (still) causing desolation in the temple of the Lord (Mat 24:15). The Lord is going to discover the whoredoms of Jerusalem (Aholibah) and we shall see it like it really is. All things will be brought to the light, no exceptions. Our sin will be made bare and the vanity of our fleshly labor spoiled.
Luk 8:17 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.
2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Eze 23:29 And they shall deal with thee hatefully, and shall take away all thy labour, and shall leave thee naked and bare: and the nakedness of thy whoredoms shall be discovered, both thy lewdness and thy whoredoms.
But the Lord will come and reason with us via our abiding in Him via His Body. This reproving by the angels of the Lord is how we will buy gold tried in the fire and be made ready as the Bride.
Isa 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
4. The inhabitant of Zaanan does not go out
Zaanan – H6630: From the same as H6629 used denominatively; sheep pasture; Zaanan, a place in Palestine
H6629 – City of “Sheep or Flock”
From an unused root meaning to migrate; a collective name for a flock (of sheep or goats); also figuratively (of men): – (small) cattle, flock (+ -s), lamb (+ -s), sheep ([-cote, -fold, -shearer, -herds]).
Not going out of our fenced and walled cities is a very bad thing. Those symbols refer to the works of our hands to make ourselves pleasing to the Lord and allow us in our strong delusion to think we serve God and He accepts our sacrifices. But He wants much more, He wants all of us.
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
To move onto maturity, we will need to get past the milk doctrines and go on to eat strong meat which is partaking of the fiery trials and suffering we have been appointed to as the people of God (Heb 6:1-3, Phi 1:29). Eating the “flesh” of Jesus Christ (John 6:51) is something the carnal mind cannot comprehend yet once in the Truth, we learn to eat this meat, to bear these trials with joy.
Joh 4:32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
Act 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
We cannot eat at the table of the Lord and the table of devils. This is what we do spiritually speaking in Zaanan in the Philistine plain (in the days of our flesh).
1Co 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.
1Co 10:22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?
In our immature state we are settling in and be comfortable hanging around but not in the fire. We will not take heed the commands to separate and come out of our Babylonian and worldly way of life within and without. For some it will be laxness with days, times and years, for others it may be social life, others money, physical appearance, the list could be endless of what the snares and idols could be. But the end result is all the same.
Heb 6:8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
Those sacrifices we give to the Lord will be rejected when He comes with fire and we will learn it is far better to obey than to sacrifice. Making sacrifices is giving lip service to the Lord’s commandments. Obeying them is when we fear and tremble at the Word, knowing this.
Rom 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
Rom 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
The Lord’s people are called to separate from the world and to walk/endure a long journey. We must hearken to the call of the trumpets and “come out of her” when called (Rev 18:4). But our carnal minded mule is a stubborn beast that will not go willingly even after coming into knowledge of true doctrine. We must be dragged to accomplish this commandment.
2Co 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2Co 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
We have to work out our salvation and never quit working just like our Lord (Joh 5:17). It is one thing to say we will go work for the Lord and follow Him, but our natural rebellious state must be exposed to us and our nakedness discovered as we saw in the prior city Shaphir.
Mat 21:30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
We won’t remember Lot’s wife and after having our hand put to the plow, we will indeed look back and refuse to move on with the flock. Such a one is unfit for the kingdom.
Luk 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Failing to leave the security of our brass walls and the comforts of the flesh and this world, we will not take heed to the commandments to follow the Lord.
Mat 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
It is not enough to warm ourselves by the fire as Peter did and we also are doing at first. This will only result in us denying the Lord. That is what we do spiritually when we stay in Babylon with one foot, fearing men and what they will think of us and our strange doctrine.
Joh 18:18 And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.
And this is all part of our continued harlotry and idolatry in Jerusalem and the wicked sister of Ezekiel 23, Aholibah. One foot in and one foot out is a lukewarm state when we are at ease in the Body (Zion) and still baking our own bread and making our own gods. Speaking to Jacob My Servant, the Lord says this:
Isa 44:15 Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.
Isa 44:16 He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire:
Isa 44:17 And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.
We must come all the way out, being lukewarm will not cut it in our day of the Lord. The Lord is not sharing His glory and our worship with any other gods.
Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Jas 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
The very meaning of the word church and the Greek word Ekklesia is to be called out.
G1577, ekklēsia, ek-klay-see’-ah
From a compound of G1537 and a derivative of G2564; a calling out, that is, (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both): – assembly, church.
The Lord’s commandments are serious business, all of them as we learn with time. Nothing is overlooked. We learn the error of the carnal man in us by the story of King Saul and what he did and did not do in destroying the Amalekites. The story in 1 Samuel 15 is long but the takeaway for us to take heed is this verse.
1Sa 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
Coming out and separating is a serious command and the stubbornness of the fleshly Philistine city of Zaanan within must be overcome. Thankfully the Lord is faithful and He will DRAG us out by the process of devouring the walls we setup in our idolatry that we think serve the Lord.
Eze 13:15 Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered morter, and will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it;
This proud and strong spirit that has us serving the Lord our way will be destroyed as we abide as One in the Body of Christ, in the flock of His Pasture.
Eze 34:16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.
Our last city in this study is Beth Ezel.
Mic 1:11 NKJV Pass by in naked shame, you inhabitant of Shaphir; The inhabitant of Zaanan does not go out. Beth Ezel mourns; Its place to stand is taken away from you.
5. Beth Ezel mourns; its place to stand is taken away from you.
The fall of our house comes to mind with these words regarding Bethezel. When the foundation on which we stand, our spiritual house, is exposed as a fraud, the house will not stand. That house will fall and thereby fulfill the Word of God in our lives (Luk 13:34-35). A house built on the earth, the carnal mind ….. anything other than faith, will not stand when tested by the Lord.
Luk 6:49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.
A new earth is going to be established as we and all men endure this journey to perfection.
Rev 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
We saw last week in the second city, Aphrah, that the Lord’s people are not to weep or lament the destruction of our flesh and old way of life. Instead we must learn to rejoice in what the Lord is doing and trust and be patient in His promises for deliverance (Rom 8:28). In Bethezel we are further down the road on our journey towards the promised inheritance and salvation. The divided house of Israel within us will be exposed in the day of our judgment and the house built and operated by the man of sin and “abomination of desolation” will not stand. The house of FLESH, aka the house of stone will not stand.
Mar 3:24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
Mar 3:25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
The covenant we made with death (Rom 8:6 – to be carnally minded is death) will be disannulled.
Isa 28:18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.
The Lord is not going to act upon the mourning of the man of sin. He is going to destroy that man and burn the heavens and the earth with fire. There will be no place of refuge for the beast.
Pro 1:26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
Pro 1:27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
Pro 1:28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
The world and all of our fleshly idols and false doctrines will provide us no refuge as the vials of wrath come in increasing intensity in the fire and jealousy of the Lord.
Rev 6:17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
Mal 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
We would never willingly or proactively pay the costs of following Christ (Joh 6:65, Joh 6:44). But as we mature we can look behind us and truly come to believe these verses and accept the will of God for our lives.
Ecc 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.
Ecc 7:2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.
Ecc 7:3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better
What utter foolishness are these truths to the natural man! It is when we lay these truths to heart that we are truly carrying our cross for the Lord.
Mat 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
We learn to stand not on the strength of the flesh or our knowledge but only on faith. We will not lean on what our senses tell us because we are saved by hope (Rom 8:24) and faith is all based on the Word not what is seen (Heb 11:1). Standing firm on the Word is the key to spiritual warfare as these well-known passages in Ephesians 6 proclaim.
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Eph 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
H1018 is the Hebrew word for Bethezel and is only found once here in Micah.
From H1004 and H681 with the article interposed; house of the side; Beth-ha-Etsel, a place in Palestine: – Beth-ezel. Total KJV occurrences: 1
It comes from H681 which is most often translated as “besides” or “near”. It’s root is H681.
H680, ‘âtsal, aw-tsal’
A primitive root; properly to join; used only as a denominative from H681; to separate; hence to select, refuse, contract: – keep, reserve, straiten, take.
What is near the truth is still not the truth. A little leaven indeed leavens the whole lump. There is both diligence and vigilance demanded of the church of Jesus Christ.
Pro 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Heb 6:11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
As we reviewed about Zaanan, God’s people truly are separated and will be divided from the rest of the world by this eleven day “symbolic” spiritual journey. The story of David and Jonathan will help us see the significance of Bethezel and that we must move on beyond it and separate as the Lord’s servants.
Beth means house and the second part of this name Ezel is what is instructive. The word Ezel is only found one time in Scripture in the context of David and Saul’s son Jonathan parting ways.
1Sa 20:17 And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
1Sa 20:18 Then Jonathan said to David, Tomorrow is the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty.
1Sa 20:19 And when thou hast stayed three days, then thou shalt go down quickly, and come to the place where thou didst hide thyself when the business was in hand, and shalt remain by the stone Ezel.
David and Jonathan earlier made a covenant (1 Sam 18:3) but that covenant shall not stand. There is a lot more to this story but the key takeaway is that there is a great gulf (Luk 16:26) that no man can cross between the few chosen and many called and faithful. The carnal mind will always be at enmity with the things of the Spirit. We cannot serve two masters. We cannot love God and also love this world as Babylon does.
1Jn 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
In our relative immaturity, we will think nothing wrong with these covenants outwardly and even ones we make inwardly to justify our continued rebellion and remaining entangled in the affairs of the world. But the Lord demands our whole heart, whole mind and all of our strength and He will get it. As a wise man once said, good is the enemy of excellence. The covenant we make with Jonathan, son of King Saul (our old or immature man in type) represents a covenant with Babylon and the world (Egypt). This preserves us for a time and a season yet to move to maturity we must separate as the called out people and part ways as did Jonathan and David.
1Sa 20:42 And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed forever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city.
This only lasting covenant is the one built on the ROCK (Christ, the PETRAS). The building on the stones of flesh (PETROS) will not prevail against the gates of hell.
Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter (PETROS), and upon this rock (PETRA) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Beth Ezel represents our continued dependency/comfort with the world and its Babylonian ways. We get support from it and carry on a lukewarm walk with the Lord. But that support will be taken away, the Lord will separate us when the Lord brings spiritual earthquakes when the Lord and His Christ comes to us with words of fire (Zec 14:5).
The key takeaways of these three cities and what we need to learn and walk out is this:
Shaphir: Any doubt on what we are in the flesh will be removed. Oh wretched man that we are in these clay vessels. Until we see that in its fullness we cannot move on to maturity (Rom 7:24)
Zaanan: God is serious about separating His people from the world and its way of life. The sooner we are given to come out of Babylon completely (physically, emotionally, spiritually) the quicker we mature and are usable in service.
Beth Ezel: Christ comes with a sword and we must learn to abide in the fire and not make covenants that bring a false peace. We must stand on faith in the Word as that is the only foundation upon which the church of Jesus Christ is built.
1Co 4:6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
We will pick up Lord willing in our next installment with Part 5 where we will begin with the city of Maroth, the sixth city of the eleven on our journey to become the mature man in Christ.
Sincere questions or comments can left in the comment field or emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org