Earth, the Crucible

What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:4)

Why were you, coming from one out of a billion sperm cells, born? Have you ever thought about it? Why you? Why not one of the other billion? Was it random selection or is there a specific purpose for your life? Such biological knowledge should lead a man to ask, “Why am I here? Why was I born?”
Deep in the soul of every person there is a longing to understand the reason for his existence. It’s instinctive. It must mean something to be alive. Everyone is born with this knowledge, an innate sense that it matters which path in life you choose. You know that some choices are good and some are evil. You sensed it the first time you snatched a toy away from another child. You were young and didn’t understand much, but you felt it — lonely, isolated, disapproved of. Something in you knew it was wrong.
Being a child, you had very little or no self control. You needed help. Maybe you had parents, or maybe your mom and dad split up. Maybe you were an orphan. Maybe you had parents who cared enough to spank you. Maybe they let you do whatever you wanted. Whatever the case, as you grew up, you continued to make choices that set your life on a course to somewhere. Many times you felt torn between temporary self gratification and what you knew deep inside was right. Your conscience either confirmed or condemned the choices that you made. How you responded to this inner voice is critically important.
An ancient prophet once wrote:

As for man, his days are like grass. As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more. (Psalms 103:15)

Indeed, our time on this planet is brief. In the scope of eternity, it is a mere blink of the eye, like the flower of the field that blooms and is gone. What does our fleeting existence mean? Why are we here? What’s really going on? Is there something far more significant being determined by the choices we make than we might think? Is there more to life than meets the eye?
For thousands of years men have groped with these questions. But what are the answers? As a famous man once asked, “What is truth?” What a profound question! So much about the plight of man is revealed in this question. Why is it so hard to understand? Why is truth not easily perceived? Why is doing what is right such a struggle? What is the truth of human existence?
What if I told you that you were God’s highest thought, His highest creation? Would you believe it? Even though you may have never thought about it, your soul will live forever. You, one in a billion, were conceived for an eternal purpose beyond this brief lifetime. Your life is very significant and very precious in the eyes of the Creator — so significant that every act, word, and thought is being recorded. But, you might ask, “Who am I that my life would mean so much?” This is an important question and it is vital that you would know the answer. King David knew the answer 3,000 years ago:

You made man ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: All flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. (Psalms 8:6-8)

Have you ever wondered why the earth seems to be the only planet in the universe that is inhabitable? Through the forces of nature, mankind’s existence has been confined to the earth, and for a particular reason. The earth is God’s testing ground for mankind. The test is to determine his worthiness to rule over all that He created. Every human being is born with great potential, the potential to cultivate life, and the potential to bring death and destruction. Which will he choose?
In the beginning, the earth was created to be a garden, and man its gardener. Made in the image of his Creator, he was to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth with life. If this is true, what happened? Obviously man is filling the earth, but what is he filling it with? A look at the daily headlines would seem to indicate that man is filling the earth with greed and violence. If man was created to care for and cultivate the earth, how did it get to the state it is in today? The answer goes back to the very beginning of human history, back to the Garden. Man was created with a free will. He could trust His Creator or trust himself. Man made a fatal decision and set the human race on a tragic course.
There is an unseen war being waged. It is an ancient struggle, between good and evil, and the outcome of this contest has eternal consequences. You may not be able to see it, but deep within your soul you can feel the conflict. Every human being is born into this struggle. The earth is the crucible by which a person’s eternal destiny will be determined. Man is created in such a way that he is totally dependent on the earth. All of its aspects — plant life, growing seasons, climate, landscape, animal life, family relationships, neighbors, authority, etc. — are there to support and to test him.
A man is tested in his relationships. How will he care for his family? Will he work hard for them? Will husband and wife be faithful to one another? How will they raise their children? Will a child bring honor or shame to his parents? Will a man do good to his neighbor? Will he keep his word? Will a man value and be deeply thankful for these relationships, or will he take them for granted? A man’s sense of his own mortality should cause him to cherish the lives of those around him.
A ruler is tested by the power he wields. Does he rule wisely, striving to make decisions that are best for his subjects? Does he use his power to oppress or protect? A business owner is tested. How will he treat his employees? Does he pay them a fair wage and ensure them a healthy work environment? What about an employee? Is he loyal, trustworthy, and diligent, or is he lazy and unreliable. A master will stand in judgment for how he treated his slaves. Did he care for them and protect them like his own family or did he cruelly mistreat them? A slave will be rewarded for his faithful and submissive service to his master, but what if he was lazy and rebellious?
How does a farmer manage the land that he owns? Is he a caretaker of the earth from which he sweats to make a living, or does he sterilize its soil and pollute its streams with chemical fertilizers and pesticides? Does he have regard for the life of his animals, or does he pack them in cramped quarters to maximize his profits? Does he respect his neighbor’s boundary line? Does he let his animals’ waste pollute the stream that runs through his neighbor’s property? Is he thankful for the sun and the rain that cause his crops to flourish and for the bees that pollinate his orchards?
All are tested. How do you treat authority — husband, president, father, mother, policeman, or judge? Do you support authority or tear it down? Do you support parents’ rights or children’s rights, the death penalty or Amnesty International, marriage or free love? Are you a covenant keeper or breaker? Everyone has a conscience, an innate ability to discern good from evil. Everyone is accountable to live according to this intrinsic knowledge. No one can do good perfectly. Everyone will sin, but a righteous person will sincerely regret any harm that he does to others. Your life is but a vapor and then you die. In your brief life on this planet you set your character for eternity. This is why the choices that a person makes are so significant.
The defense attorney who gets murderers off on technicalities, the used car salesman who sells second-rate cars at premium prices, the politician who will say anything to get elected, the judge who perverts justice, the publishing executive who gets rich selling filth to children, the environmentalist who loves trees but hates people, the born-again Christian who misrepresents Christ, the Civil Rights advocate who extorts money from companies by threatening discrimination lawsuits, the dictator who tramples on human rights, the reporter who sensationalizes human tragedy, the terrorist who hides behind innocent civilians, the military commander who orders air strikes on civilian targets, the doctor who prescribes antidepressants to children, the dentist who fills phony cavities, the surgeon who performs unnecessary operations — all of these will have to give an account. None will escape judgment.
A wise man once said, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” There is an ancient story about a man named Job whose life became a battleground between good and evil. In this struggle, he lost everything except his soul. Despite great personal suffering, he would not “curse God and die.” According to the story, his integrity before his Creator meant more to him than anything life on earth had to offer. The story of the human race is one of triumph and tragedy, abundance and famine, rain and drought, life and death, kindness and cruelty, equity and injustice, freedom and tyranny, war and peace. Those who patiently endure the crucible, persevering in doing good and maintaining their uprightness, will be rewarded with an eternal life where there will be no more tears or pain. Those who are self-seeking continually, having no regard for the lives they destroy by their own moral filth or unjust dealings, will receive an eternity of torment and pain. All men’s lives, from mighty kings to poor farmers, will be weighed in the balances. God will take into account their upbringing, culture, circumstances, etc. The judgment will be absolutely fair and just. The rich will receive no special treatment. The poor will not be despised. All mankind will stand before their Creator and be judged according to their deeds. Everyone will reap what he has sown.
The currents of selfishness are strong. Like salmon swimming upstream, men and women must struggle against that inborn selfishness in order to preserve their intrinsic worth as human beings. Have you felt the pull on your soul? Do you sense that there is something drastically wrong with the direction human society is going? Those who have eyes to see will realize that the foundations that have supported human society for thousands of years are being eroded away. The righteous cultures that valued honesty and integrity are disappearing from the face of the earth. It is becoming increasingly difficult for human beings to live by the law of conscience. Growing up in divorced homes, surrounded by mockers, inundated with sex, violence, and mass entertainment, constantly lured by pleasure and abundance of leisure, there are few who can withstand the onslaught that modern culture is unleashing on their souls.
As a prophet said long ago: “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)
Have you struggled against the current of modern society, or have you found yourself floating further and further downstream? Where have your choices been taking you? Do you know your destination? Do you feel lost and alone and without hope. Do you long to know the purpose for your existence?
Take heart. There is hope. We have discovered an ancient path that leads back to the Garden, back to a real relationship with our Creator. The way has been hidden for almost 2000 years. The Creator has always had a plan to bring His highest creation back into fellowship with Him.
This way is through the atoning sacrifice of Yahshua, the Son of God, who paid the price for our selfishness. Sin is selfishness and the wages of sin is death. All men must go to death for their own selfishness. But Yahshua went to death for us. Because He gave His life for us, we no longer live for ourselves, but for Him. The way we do this is by living together serving one another. This is the way God intended man to live. He is healing us of our hurtful ways. We are learning what it means to cultivate human relationships. We are being restored to our created purpose. This life of love and unity is available to all those who truly desire it. Please come and visit us. You are welcome anytime.

The Twelve Tribes is a confederation of twelve self-governing tribes, composed of self-governing communities. We are disciples of the Son of God whose name in Hebrew is Yahshua. We follow the pattern of the early church in Acts 2:44 and 4:32, truly believing everything that is written in the Old and New Covenants of the Bible, and sharing all things in common.

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