Date:         Tue, 25 Apr 1995 15:52:27 +0100
Sender:       Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From:         Teus Benschop 
Subject:      The Scriptures opened, 28
  1. Weekly reading, Leviticus 18:3,4
  2. Psalm 95:10,11
  3. New Testament, Matthew 18:1-4
  1. Weekly reading, Leviticus 18:3,4
  After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do:
  and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye
  not do:  neither  shall  ye walk  in their  ordinances.  Ye shall  do  my
  judgments, and  keep mine  ordinances, to walk  therein: I [am]  the LORD
  your God.
  You shall not do after the doing  of the land of Egypt, whence  you came.
  Also, you shall  not do after the  doings of the land  of Canaan, whither
  you go.  So, you  shall not do  after the doing  of the place  whence you
  came,  nor of the  place whither  you go. You  are, in fact,  between two
  fires. The place  which you left was wicked, but also the place whereunto
  God  brings you, is  corrupted. Behind, and  before you, the  sin lies in
  wait to deceive you; look out! Fire  before you, and behind you. Remember
  the exodus out of Egypt: Pharaoh and his heir behind you, and the Red Sea
  with  its waters before  you. At that  time, only a miracle  of God saved
  you. Likewise now,  when you have  danger of sin  before and behind  you,
  only a miracle of  God can save you. Likewise  you cried, when you  stood
  between Pharaoh and his heir, and the Red Sea, so, cry also now, when you
  are  between sins; cry unto God. Let we listen now. Do we hear the people
  cry?  No, we  hear nothing. When  Israel stood  before the Red  Sea, they
  cried. But  when they stand between the sins  of the two countries, which
  threaten them,  they  cry not.  Why  not?  Because they  see  no  danger.
  Likewise we, often.  When we are in danger in our natural, daily life, we
  cry. But  when we  are in  danger of  being seduced  by the  sins of  our
  country, we are silent; we see no danger, and therefore, we cry not.  May
  God open our eyes, to see the truth.
     You shall not do after the wicked customs of the Egyptians,  nor after
  those of the Canaanites. When you ask: When we may not do thus, what else
  must we do then? The answer follows: Ye shall do My judgements, says God,
  and keep Mine ordinances, to walk therein. Walk not in the  ordinances of
  the  Canaanites, nor in those of the  Egyptians, but in Mine. Why must we
  walk in God's commandments? Because "I am the LORD your God". That is the
  reason. God is our Master, and we  are His servants. Therefore, obedience
  is asked.
     According to  our text, the  laws of Israel  of old were  different of
  those of Egypt,  and of Canaan. And in the book of  Esther, we read, that
  the Israeli laws  were even different of  those of all the  other people:
  "And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus,  There is a certain people scattered
  abroad  and dispersed  among  the people  in  all  the provinces  of  thy
  kingdom; and their  laws are diverse from  all people; neither keep  they
  the  king's laws:  therefore it is  not for  the king's profit  to suffer
  them." (Esther  3:8) Also  Moses, the  holy servant  of God,  when he  is
  exhorting the people  to keep God's commandments,  he recommends the very
  righteous laws of  God: "And what nation  [is there so] great,  that hath
  statutes and judgments [so] righteous as all this law, which I set before
  you this day?" (Deuteronomy 4:8) None of the surrounding nations, and  of
  those  far off,  have such  righteous statutes,  as the  Israelites have.
  Therefore, we are amazed that those laws are trodden by their feet, later
  on. This shows the great wickedness  of the Israelites, that they despise
  those righteous  laws. How  was it  possible! A  more clear  sign of  the
  depravity of our nature, you will nearly not find. And, because we are of
  the same race,  we are as  wicked. Whether  we see it,  or not, the  fact
  remains the same. And when you a thousand times say, that  you are not so
  bad as  those  people  of old--the  facts do  not  change. Such  a  great
  wickedness, as  that of  our  forefathers, and  as  that of  us  now,  is
  incurable. God's supernatural  grace, renewing our hearts,  is necessary.
  But you may ask: how do you know that our forefathers were so bad? Hereon
  I answer: I know that  from Scripture. Did they, according to  Scripture,
  keep God's commandments? No, they kept several statutes, but not those of
  God. "For the  statutes of Omri are kept, and all the  works of the house
  of  Ahab, and  ye  walk in  their counsels;  that  I should  make  thee a
  desolation, and  the inhabitants thereof  an hissing: therefore  ye shall
  bear the  reproach  of my  people."  (Micah 6:16)  They kept  the  wicked
  statutes of Omri, and of  Ahab. But the statutes of the  LORD? Those were
  rejected. That have our fathers done, and we are of the same race.
     As our text  says, we shall not  do after the doings  of the Egyptians
  and the Canaanites. We are too much  inclined to do after the customs  of
  our days. When  everybody does something, our eyes are blinded, and we do
  not examine whether it  is lawful. We say: Everybody does  it, so it must
  be good. When  our father or mother  has the habit to  sleep long on  the
  Sabbath, and they do not go  to the church, their children nearly  always
  follow that wicked example. They walk  in the ordinances of their  father
  and mother,  but despise  God's  statutes. He  commanded:  "Remember  the
  sabbath day, to  keep it holy." (Exodus 20:8) He  said not: Sleep late on
  the sabbath day,  to defile it. When our family has the habit to eat much
  and nice on  the sabbathday,  so that  they are sleeping  in the  church,
  often  we follow  their wicked  example. We  keep the  ordinances  of our
  family, and  despise that of God. He said:  "Remember the sabbath day, to
  keep it holy."  (Exodus 20:8) He  said not: Eat  yourself full, like  the
  swines, on My sabbathday, to fatten yourself up for the day of slaughter.
  When we are grown up amidst of people who lie half naked on the beach, we
  often follow their  example, forgetting that "unto  Adam and to  his wife
  did the LORD God make coats  of skins, and clothed them" (Genesis  3:21),
  namely to cover their nakedness.
     You shall not follow after the fabrications of your own heart, but "Ye
  shall do my  judgments, and keep mine  ordinances, to walk therein:  I am
  the LORD your  God." The LORD is  not God in general,  but especially our
  God. He says  not: I am  the LORD  God, but: I  am the  LORD *your*  God.
  Therefore, it is  fitting that we obey Him. Those, who not obey Him, show
  that they do not  longer want to have God as their  God. As a result, God
  also will reject them as His people.
  2. Psalm 95:10,11
  Forty years long was I grieved with [this] generation, and said,
     It is a people that do err in their heart,
     and they have not known my ways:
  Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.
  The LORD here says that He was grieved with this generation,  forty years
  long,  in the  desert. Moses  has  recorded some  instances,  whereby the
  people grieved the  LORD exceedingly.  One of the  worst examples is  the
  golden calf, which they made. While Moses was on the mountain, to receive
  the two  tables of  the covenant, they  deviated from  the Lord.  Another
  example  is the  rebellion of  Korah,  Dathan and  Abiram.  They rebelled
  against Moses  and Aaron, and  therefore the earth  opened her mouth  and
  devoured  these  wicked  people.  And  there  are other  example  enough,
  recorded by Moses, which show us the  stiffneckedness of that people. But
  now, when we  look at our text,  it said that  the LORD was  grieved, not
  only now and then,  but forty years long. Moses has not  written that the
  Israelites were  disobedient and  rebelled each  day, during  forty days.
  They  rebelled in the beginning, and also in  the end of that period. The
  question can therefore arise,  why the psalm-writer has said  this? Is it
  not somewhat  excessive to say  that the  people grieved the  LORD during
  forty  days? Had it  not been better,  that the Psalm  spoke about, let's
  say, sometimes? The answer is easy. No,  the Psalm speaks the truth. They
  grieved the LORD  during forty years, each  day. "Forty years long  was I
  grieved with this  generation". God was so grieved,  because they "do err
  in  their heart".  Moses recorded  the deeds  of the  people,  which were
  grievous for the LORD, but the LORD looks deeper. He saw, each day, their
  erring heart. Maybe, that their external worship was after the rules, but
  their  heart was erring. That was it,  what was so grievous for the LORD.
  He sees "not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but
  the  LORD  looketh  on  the heart."  (1  Samuel  16:7)  When  our outward
  behaviour is right  (as it ought  to be), nevertheless,  the LORD can  be
  very grieved with  us, namely when our heart  is erring. When we  walk in
  the outward  ordinances of the  LORD (which is  our duty), but we  do not
  understand them, and we love  not the LORD, He  will be grieved with  us.
  Therefore, the  Psalm speaks about the  forty years long.  "They have not
  known My ways". During forty years, they have seen the works of the LORD.
  During that time, they have seen His ways. And the result? "They have not
  known My ways". You must be utterly blind, when you are instructed in the
  Lord's ways during forty years, and when you even then not know His ways.
  So was it with the people in the desert.
     It is important for us to  keep in mind that we are of  the same race.
  Many, nowadays, say that we are better then the Israelites in the desert.
  According to their saying, the Israelites were a young nation, but we are
  now old and  adults. Therefore, they sinned  in their youth, but  we have
  now  learned more, and  commit those sins  no more. People  who say this,
  show clearly that they  also belong to the  "people that do err in  their
  heart", (Ps.95:10)  Their first error  is that they  reject Scripture who
  says  that we  are not better  then our fathers:  "Since the  days of our
  fathers have  we been  in a  great trespass  unto this  day; and  for our
  iniquities have we, our kings,  and our priests, been delivered into  the
  hand of the  kings of the  lands, to the  sword, to captivity,  and to  a
  spoil, and to  confusion of face, as it is this day." (Ezra 9:7) Even the
  holy prophet Elijah,  who knew his heart,  prayed to God, saying:  "It is
  enough; now,  O LORD,  take away my  life; for  I am  not better  than my
  fathers." (1 Kings 19:4) When even Elijah, a very holy prophet, said that
  he was  not better then  his fathers,  how much the  more must we  say it
  Therefore,  who erring think  that we are  better now, show  no more then
  their blindness. They also make a second error. When they say that we are
  now  adults but  the Israelites  in the  desert were  still youths,  they
  compare the age of nations. From that comparison of nations, they jump to
  a comparison of  persons. When the present  nation is old, that  does not
  mean that the  members thereof, the individual  persons, are also adults.
  We are persons,  and we must learn  the same things as  the people in the
  desert learned. We also, therefore, make  the same errors and commit  the
  same sins. Saying:  "we are adults now, but they were young", is boasting
  in the age of nations. This boasting blinds our eyes for the  truth, that
  we are sinning each day.
     When we  are sinning, we  have no  idea how grievous  this is for  the
  LORD. He, Who is righteous; for Him it is very grievous to see injustice.
  He, Who is undefiled; for Him it is smarting to see our filth. He, Who is
  without  sin; for Him it is bitter to  see His creation sinning each day.
  Are  you, reader,  forty years  old? How  was your behaviour  during that
  time? How was your heart? When you are of the same race as the Israelites
  were, then you  were erring in your  heart, not knowing the  LORD's ways.
  Maybe your outward  behaviour was acceptable, but  your heart grieved the
  LORD exceedingly. He looks through your mask of outward rites,  and knows
  your heart--that pool  of darkness. God,  the Father of  all light,  will
  shrink from your darkness. Unless He cleanses it through the blood of the
  Lord Jesus Christ, He cannot have contact with you.
     Reading on  in our  text, we  see the  result of  the erring of  their
  heart.  Forty years long, the LORD was  grieved with that generation, and
  said: "It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known
  My ways". Unto whom He sware in His wrath that they should not enter into
  His rest. The  result of erring in our  heart is therefore, that  we will
  not enter  into God's  rest. Maybe,  we will  enter  earthly Canaan,  the
  present state of Israel. But  we will, when we  are erring in our  heart,
  not enter  in God's rest.  I mean, maybe your  are living in  the earthly
  Israel, that is still  something else then the heavenly Israel.  Like the
  sinners in the desert were destroyed before they entered Canaan, likewise
  the present sinners will be destroyed before they enter heaven.
     Having read the threats  of our texts, what have we to  do? We have to
  listen to the preaching  of the gospel of the  kingdom of God. Listen  to
  the preacher: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is  at hand:
  repent ye,  and believe  the  gospel." (Mark  1:15) The  gospel says  two
  things: Repent ye, and: believe the gospel. These two things are required
  of you. I  pray you, therefore, repent  ye, and believe the  gospel, lest
  God swears in His wrath that  you shall not enter into His heavenly rest.
  When you reject the gospel, the one means for salvation, there remains no
  other means. When you  not accept this one possibility of  salvation, but
  seeks for  another, you deceive  yourself. Repent, and  believe in Jesus,
  the promised Messiah.  Listen to Him: "Jesus stood  and cried, saying, If
  any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me,
  as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall  flow rivers of living
  water. (John 7:37,38) When He speaks about the rivers of living water, He
  in fact  speaks of  the Spirit,  which they  that believe  on him  should
  3. New Testament, Matthew 18:1-4
  At the  same time  came the  disciples  unto Jesus,  saying, Who  is  the
  greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
  And  Jesus called a  little child unto  him, and set him  in the midst of
  them, and said,
  Verily I  say unto  you, Except  ye be  converted, and  become as  little
  children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
  Whosoever therefore shall  humble himself as this  little child, the same
  is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
  "At the  same time  came the  disciples unto  Jesus, saying,  Who is  the
  greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" The disciples here do like we all do:
  they wanted  to be the  greatest. Who is  the greatest in  the kingdom of
  heaven?  They were  not satisfied  with the  entrance in  the  kingdom of
  heaven, but they also, being proud, wanted to be the greatest. Herein, we
  see what we all do, or try to do. Who does not like to be better than the
  others? Women often  get dressed more  beautiful then the others.  When I
  say beautiful, I  mean, beautiful in their  own eyes--not in the  eyes of
  God. For, in  His eyes, we are  only beautiful when we  humble ourselves.
  Men, who have  some power, often like  to have more. It is  never enough.
  Our car must  be better, newer, faster,  then that of our  neighbour. Our
  children must look  better then the  other children. Our  wife must  look
  younger  then the other women. Our  husband must have a manly appearance.
  All  these things are signs  of pride. Who  is the greatest?  That is our
  question, wherein we engage. We expend much labour to reach our  goals of
  pride. Also, our  soul, we sell therefore. For, what  else do we, when we
  spend  our time  in  vain  things, leaving  the  most important  question
  unanswered: How an I reconciled with God? Yes, we are even worse then the
  disciples. They were still concerned  about the kingdom of heaven, but we
  do not pursue anything  else then our temporal good.  Know, however, that
  these  visible things vanish.  Leave these things,  therefore, and pursue
  the  eternal  things. Concerning  the  pride,  reader, "be  clothed  with
  humility: for God resisteth  the proud, and giveth grace to  the humble."
  (1  Peter 5:5)  Be  not  clothed  with  a beautiful  dressing,  but  with
     When  the disciples have  betrayed their pride,  by asking  who is the
  greatest in the kingdom of heaven, Jesus answers them. He calls  a little
  child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,  in order that they can
  see him  well. They Jesus  opens His mouth,  and gives one  of His always
  valuable  lessons. Listen to  Him: "Verily I  say unto you,  Except ye be
  converted, and become  as little  children, ye shall  not enter into  the
  kingdom of heaven."  Except ye be converted from your pride, you will not
  enter  into the  kingdom of  heaven.  Become as  little  children. Little
  children are not  proud. Also you, be  not proud. Little children  do not
  seek  own honour.  Do you  likewise. Little  children always  trust their
  father and mother. Do you the same in trusting God with your whole power.
  A little child expects all things from  his elders. Likewise you, reader,
  expect nothing from any person, but from God. The little child says: "Dad
  can all".  Likewise we, let we have an  unlimited confidence in the power
  of God.  The need cannot go  so high, or God  can help us  out. Maybe the
  waters come to our lips, but then it is God's time to help us out.
     Of  course, Jesus  Christ  is  here speaking,  not  about children  in
  general, but about little children. For  we know, that when the  children
  grow up,  their sinful  nature comes public.  Soon, they  show their  own
  will. Therefore, we daily  need to become again like little  children. We
  daily need to be converted, and to deny our own will. We daily need God's
  Spirit, in order that we become and keep on being like little children.
     "Whosoever  therefore shall humble  himself as this  little child, the
  same is  greatest in the kingdom of  heaven." Who is the  greatest in the
  heavenly kingdom? He, who will humble himself as a little child.  "Humble
  yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may  exalt you
  in due time." (1 Peter 5:6) David, that holy king, has also written about
  this. His teachings  were, as always, the  same as those of  Jesus. Jesus
  taught  us humility; also David did  so. He said: "LORD,  my heart is not
  haughty,  nor  mine eyes  lofty: neither  do I  exercise myself  in great
  matters, or in things too high  for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted
  myself, as  a child that is  weaned of his  mother: my soul is  even as a
  weaned child. Let Israel  hope in the LORD from henceforth  and for ever.
  (Psalms  131) He is like a child by his  mother. Like a child, he expects
  all things of  God. This unlimited  faith, he  recommends also the  whole
  nation  of  Israel: Let  Israel  hope in  the LORD  from  henceforth, and
  forever. Who  hopes on the LORD  will never be  ashamed. Trust ye  in the
  LORD for ever:  for in the LORD JEHOVAH  is everlasting strength. Blessed
  is the man that trusts in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
     Chr-Exp, a Christian explanation of the Tanach and the New Testament
              Editor: Teus Benschop  -
                      No copyrights on this publication
            Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands
     End of The Scriptures opened, 28

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-028.txt