Torah Portion BEHA`ALOTCHA – Bamidbar (Numbers) 8:1-12:16 Haftarah: Zech.2:14(10)-4:7
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 1 John 2:16
We live in a society where the word Love is widely used for a whole range of lustful things. It has become so common to call that which is lust by the word Love that it is time to expose the Spirit of lust to the light, so Yah’s (God’s) people can truly be set free.
The Definition of Lust
- Sexual desire: the strong physical desire to have sex with somebody, usually without associated feelings of love or affection.
- Intense or unrestrained sexual craving.
- Eagerness: great eagerness or enthusiasm for something
- To have a yearning or desire; have a strong or excessive craving (often followed by, for or after).
The Definition of Love
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Husbands, love your wives, just as Messiah also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word. Ephesians 5:25,26
Strong desires are not necessarily sinful or destructive. We are called to “eagerly desire” spiritual gifts, for example.
Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 1 Corinthians 14:1
We are also called to love YHVH fervently and even to love one another to the point of laying our lives down for each other.
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart! 1 Peter 1:22
The difference between lust and Love is the source of the emotion: One is of the flesh and the other one is of the Spirit. One is totally selfish, unrestrained, impure, and possessive – and the other one is selfless, pure, and passionate. It is possible for a husband and a wife to love one another passionately, to desire one another intensely, totally motivated by the Holy Spirit. He is the Creator of all wonderful things!
Discerning Good from Evil
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20
YHVH warns us not to call the good evil or the evil good. In other words, He warns us from the corrupt perception of what is right and what is not. Today it is good to accept standards of immorality that would have caused a commotion only 20 or 30 years ago. Those who call what Elohim condemns as something “good” or “enlightenment” are many, and if we dare to confront the lies of this society, we can find ourselves in jail or going through a “public lynching”. The issue is that the Almighty’s social and spiritual standards of morality and righteousness do not “evolve”, nor do they change. They are always the same, now and forever.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Yaakov (James) 1:17 NKJV
Not long ago, in one of the countries we frequent, a precious and loved couple in the ministry shared with Rabbi and me their struggles (and especially the man’s). He had been struggling with total sexual impotence for many years. He thought that this had befallen him because of certain medications he had taken for a physical condition so he put up with this condition thinking that surely it shall quickly pass. However, after many years of lack of marital relations or any kind of desire, he became frustrated with it. His wife had been kind and patient and did not press him in any way, having a real peace within her heart that “God was in control”.
However, one day he confided in his wife that he was trying to restore his manhood by entertaining lustful or sexual thoughts. He thought that it was for a good cause. His wife was very upset about the whole thing and thus they came to us for counseling. As we probed them some more, we realized that this couple had suffered in the past from terrible strife in their marriage and nearly every time that they got together as husband and wife sexually, they ended quarreling and the wife in tears. Finally, the wife got so hurt about the whole situation that she would dread any intimacy with her husband.
Lust Brings about Strife
What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source of your pleasures that wage war on your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. Yaakov 4:1, 2
As we kept on asking them questions, we realized that the husband used to entertain many lustful thoughts before he became impotent. He had so much lust that it affected his thought life, even though he never officially committed adultery with another woman.
In his past life he had been a “womanizer” and had delved into pornography. Since he served the Lord he was completely clean of it and had not touched another woman, except that he indulged in “daydreaming with lustful thoughts”. He would entertain lust as a norm. This minister had gone through much deliverance and inner healing, and yet this particular aspect of his life stayed hidden because he thought nothing of it! In other words, he did not regard it as “perversion”.
From his point of view this could give more pleasure to his marital relationship and could “boost his manhood”. However, the strife in this couple’s marriage and the suffering of his wife without really knowing “why” was insurmountable – only by the grace of Yah this couple had not divorced after so many years of marriage.
The Word is very clear about the importance of our thought life. YHVH will not only judge our actions but our thoughts! In fact, the whole Generation of Noah was annihilated because of their evil thoughts.
Then YHVH saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And YHVH was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. Genesis 6:5, 6 NKJV
The Word is very clear that it is not only the Act that matters but also the Thought. Thoughts eventually become Acts.
But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28
We are also warned that the fruit or outcome of sin (in thought or deed) is deadly.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Lord. Romans 6:23
The said couple suffered for many years from strife due to lust. The wife did not know all the thoughts of her husband, but many times she used to scream after love making, like someone had tried to kill her. They would constantly quarrel, so much so that the woman was petrified of having to go to bed with her husband. He used to get upset by her seeming coldness or sexual indifference and the vicious cycle went on and on endlessly, until finally the husband lost any ability to make love. The sin of lust in the thought life killed his manhood and their marital relationship. He thought his condition of impotence was physical, but it was Spiritual!
Being in essence a godly couple, they stayed together and kept on in the ministry as kind of “forced eunuchs” for the Kingdom until finally the husband got frustrated and decided to use his old patterns of lustful thoughts to “boost his manhood” which did not help at all. Now strife started to return to the relationship even without love making and when his wife finally confronted him, he confessed his old habit of entertaining lustful thoughts – which was the open door for strife.
The good news is that when we saw this couple the man had finally awakened to the fact that Lust is “Perverted Love,” and that, even when you think about your own wife, there needs to be purity in your thought life to have healthy, blessed, holy and lasting marital relations. It is totally possible to develop Pure and Romantic thoughts towards your spouse without resorting to the devil for help through lust. Just go ahead and read the Song of Songs; no one has ever written a more romantic and yet pure book as that one.
Elohim created Man and Wife to enjoy each other!
Then YHVH Elohim said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18 STB
Lust Perverts that which is Perfect and Beautiful
Elohim-God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Genesis 1:31
Lust is Perverted Love! It is taking something that is holy and beautiful and turning it into something twisted. Instead of having the Holy Spirit bless the relationship, demons come in to “help” through twisted and perverted desires in the mind. When a man or a woman is not pure in their minds, it affects their marital relationship terribly. In the case of the above couple, it caused endless quarreling and strife, and the wife felt abused and defiled. She yearned to have intimacy with her husband, but every time they attempted to, she felt she was in bed with another “entity”. Being a woman of prayer, she realized there were demons involved. Finally, Yah must have heard her prayers and the husband became impotent because he did not repent and accommodated this lust. You see, if we entertain lustful thoughts, we allow demons of perversion to live in us and through us, and those demons are “shared” in marital relations.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
When a husband and a wife become one flesh, they share everything they have with each other. If both have a pure lifestyle, it will be pure bliss, nothing short of “heavenly,” but if one of the partners either thinks or acts in an unholy way, it will affect the other partner terribly and eventually it can destroy a marriage.
The Wisdom Factor
And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of YHVH, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.’ Job 28:28 STB
The problem is lack of wisdom. If the husband in the said couple would have been a wise man, he would have had the Fear of YHVH, which is the beginning of wisdom, and he would have hated those evil thoughts. But the man was religious, even though spirit filled, and he was lukewarm in his walk. He preferred to “enjoy sin”; he did not hate lust or lustful thoughts. In fact, he thought nothing of it! He lived a “double life” thinking that it is not such a “big deal,” after all he had not touched any other woman besides his wife for many years. He thought that he was better than most and therefore righteous. He could not understand why every time he told his wife, “I love you”, his wife was very skeptical and could not really believe in his love for her. Love and Lust cannot really dwell together, just like Light and Darkness cannot really dwell together.
For what partnership has righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14b
What is the solution to lust? Just like any other Sin, the key is Teshuva. The answer is Repentance. Bring the sin out into the light, confess it before Yah and someone else you trust, and renounce it.
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13
Be ruthless with all lust and evil thinking! Yeshua commanded us to be ruthless with all sin and especially the lust of the eye and of the flesh.
If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. Matthew 5:29
He also commands us to submit to Him and to His ways – and to actively resist and keep on resisting the devil, the spirit of lust, until he flees from us.
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Yaakov (James) 4:7-9
He has called us to walk in true Holy Love in all dimensions of our life, both as brothers, friends, parents, children, and married couples. Each aspect of Love has its place, but Lust is Perverted Love and its fruit is Death. Get rid of it in every area of your life, be it food lust, lust for violence, attention, or power, for money or sexual lust. Be holy just like He is Holy and enjoy the abundant life that Yeshua promised!
Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. Yaakov (James) 4:10
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