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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How do you like being a fence sitter?

Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh Gilead. And all the men of Jabesh said to him, “Make a treaty with us, and we will be subject to you.” But Nahash the Ammonite replied, “I will make a treaty with you only on the condition that I gouge out the right eye of every one of you and so bring disgrace on all Israel.” The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days so we can send messengers throughout Israel; if no one comes to rescue us, we will surrender to you.” 1 Samuel 11:1-3

Jesus does not like his bride to be lukewarm. He wants them to be and stand clearly on His side.

And you are either inside or outside of Jesus. You cannot be both at the same time. For this reason the Apostle Paul says that you need to take a stand on Jesus' side. 

People of Jabesh Gilead however did not take their stand on the side of the people of God. They lived their own lives, minding their own businesses. They remained aloof to the cause for which the God of Israel called them into the land.

Their characteristic as a mediocre bunch and fence sitters is well described in Judges 19-21 where while the whole Israelites stood up to bring justice to those who raped and murdered an innocent woman, the people of Jabesh Gilead simply ignored the call to stand up for the cause. In this way they showed themselves as neither hot nor cold.

Question becomes, "How can you help a mediocre person?" Judas Iscariot was in and out of the fellowship with Jesus and his disciples. Like pendulum, his commitment oscillated between Jesus' camp and the camp of Jesus' enemies. Jesus did not like that. So by offering a piece of bread to him, Jesus gave him the opportunity to take a stand on Jesus' side. What was Judas' choice? He chose to go 'out'. He took the bread and went out. Then Jesus shared the meal at the last supper table.

In 1 Samuel 11, the moment came for the people of Jabesh Gilead to make a choice: to stand either on the side of God's people and fight or chicken out and surrender to their enemies. Make a special note that the conflict facing them was not just physical, but also spiritual. We confirm this to be the case by delving into the meaning of the people appearing in the theater of the conflict, for in Hebrews Nahash means 'serpent', whereas "Jabesh' means 'dried up' or 'to be dry'. (See notes below.) So what is behind Nahash is more than the Ammonites. It is the serpent - another name for Satan. Jabesh was called to belong to God. But they lost their identity. They became like a tree that is not rooted by the streams of the living water. As they wavered in faith in the Living God, they became like a plant that is withering. That is why they said, "Let us make a treaty." God forbade them to make a treaty with enemy nations. Yet driven by the spirit of compromise they wanted to take a middle ground. But there is no middle ground. Their enemies knew this better so they said, "No. We will accept your offer only on condition that we gouge out your right eye from every one of you." 

What choice did the people of Jabesh make? They chose to ask God for help. Look at what they said, "...if no one comes to rescue us..." God was pleased with them turning to God for help. He sent Saul and rescued them.

In Hebrew the word Gidead means a mountain of testimony. This mountain is still in the present day Israel, testifying to the truth: what truth? In the matter of salvation, there is no middle ground: you are saved either by being in Jesus Christ, the Lord, or you remain condemned to eternal loss by operating outside of Jesus Christ, as is written: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galathians 5:1

Note 1: Definition of mediocre:
1. of only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good nor bad; barely adequate. 2. rather poor or inferior.

Note 2: synonyms of mediocre:
Its synonyms include characterless, colorless, dull or lukewarm.

Note 3: Nahash in Hebrew 

The name Nahash is related to the name Phinehas and is identical to the root (nhsh -1350): The assumed root (nhsh) yields derivation (nahash), meaning serpent, snake (as in Eden). The verb (nahash) means learn by experience or by omen. Derivation (nahash) means divination. The assumed root (nhsh) yields (nehoshet), copper; (nahush), bronze; and (nehusha), copper, bronze. The assumed root (nhsh) yields derivation (nehoshet), lust, harlotry. The name Nahash is pronounced the same as nahash a, and means Serpent. 

Note 4: Jabesh in Hebrew 

The name Jabesh and all its variants come from the verb (yabesh), meaning to be or become dry. There are some other verbs that basically mean to dry or dry up, but yabesh is used predominantly to indicate withering of plants and vegetables (or even souls or body parts). 

Note 4: Gilead - its meaning 

In the Bible, "Gilead" (pron.: /ˈɡɪl.i.əd/[1]) means hill of testimony or mound of witness, (Genesis 31:21), a mountainous region east of the Jordan River, situated in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Note 5: brainy quotes on mediocrity 

There is an infinite difference between a little wrong and just right, between fairly good and the best, between mediocrity and superiority. Orison Swett Marden 

I try to keep an open mind but I'm so tired of the mediocrity. Clea Duvall 

There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment. Norman Vincent Peale 

In the republic of mediocrity, genius is dangerous. Robert Green Ingersoll 

The real Antichrist is he who turns the wine of an original idea into the water of mediocrity. Eric Hoffer 

Men of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom drive business home to the full period, but content themselves with a mediocrity of success. Dale Carnegie

There are certain things in which mediocrity is not to be endured, such as poetry, music, painting, public speaking. Jean de la Bruyere 

The only sin is mediocrity. Martha Graham 

We live in an age of mediocrity. Lauren Bacall 

Media, the plural of mediocrity. Jimmy Breslin 

It's a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation. Roberto Benigni 

Only mediocrity of enjoyment is allowed to man. Hugh Blair 

Malice is only another name for mediocrity. Patrick Kavanagh 

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