X-Sender: email@example.com (Unverified) X-Mailer: Windows Eudora Version 1.4.4 Mime-Version: 1.0 Date: Tue, 27 Jun 1995 09:43:32 +0200 Reply-To: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel From: Teus Benschop Subject: The Scriptures opened, 37 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Contents ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Numbers 16, Korah, Dathan and Abiram, the rebels Isaiah 40, part 6, God, the Only God, incomparable 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, Not the wise are called but the foolish Numbers 16, Korah, Dathan and Abiram, the rebels ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Weekly reading: Num 16:1-18:32 1 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took [men]. 2 And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown. In this chapter, Numbers 16, we have the revolt of Korah and his mates. They rose up against Moses and Aaron, saying that they also were holy, and therefore also could lead the people. The very fact that they arose against the leaders Moses and Aaron, leaders appointed by God; that very fact falsified their claim that they were holy. For, holy men revolt not. Korah, Dathan and Abiram however, not being holy, but unholy, rose up against their leaders, saying that they were holy. They also said, in verse three, that "the LORD was among them". As if God is a Leader of revolutionaries. They had done better, and they had spoken the truth, when they said that Satan was in their midst. Satan is the revolutionary of the beginning, and the head of all rebellions. But, as always, when men become proud, they imagine that they are religious, and that they are holy, and they stand up against God's servants. When Moses heard these things, "he fell upon his face", verse five. He did not defend his own office, but he said that the LORD would make known, tomorrow, whom He had chosen, and who were the true holy men. Moses defended not his own cause, but he laid it in the hands of Him, Who knows all, and Who is the Righteous One. He will make known who is His true servant. The rebels were Levites. They already were chosen to the service of the tabernacle of the LORD. They were not content with this. Therefore, they sought also the priesthood. Pride drove them to this. They were not content with their own position, but sought something higher. This always is the cause of revolutions. The people are no longer content, but they rebel against the rulers. Those rulers are appointed by God. Who therefore rebels against those rulers, in reality rebels against God Himself. Undoubtedly, their punishment will be the same as Korah's punishment: the earth opened its mouth and devoured him and his mates. They complained that Moses has led them out of Egypt, a land "that flows with milk and honey", as they say (verse 13). Also, according to the complainers, Moses had not brought them in Canaan, a land of milk and honey. What? Had Moses not brought them into that good land, they say? Were they then forgotten, that they had not entered because of their unbelief? What an unthankfulness; what a pride and forgetfulness! First, they believed not, and then they rebel against Moses and Aaron, saying "that they are holy". We see, that people of short memory, through their spiritual blindness, forget their own sins, and begin to complain about others. Moses has not brought them into Canaan, they say! Had they but believed when they stood before the borders of the land, when they had sent out the spies, then they had been already in Canaan. What troubles does the unbelief bring! To decide the matter, Moses said that they had to come with their censer, and with incense therein, before the LORD, verse 17. Then God would make known who were His true servants, and who not. The result is known. The glory of the LORD appeared unto all the congregation. The ground that was under Korah, Dathan and Abiram, clave asunder. And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up. They went down in the pit, and the earth closed her mouth above them. Away were the rebels; they were livingly gone down. Moreover, a fire came out from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty rebellious Levites, who offered incense. This was God's judgement. In this chapter, a true picture is given us, of what happens to the disobedient. In Moses' times, God directly punished them, but in our times, He often delays it. But surely, the punishment will come. Might the people more think about this. That would learn much from the examples, written down in the Bible. It is better to subject yourself to the ruling powers than to rebel against them. Also walking with banners through the streets, and demonstrating, is a kind of rebellion. The matter is so, because the demonstrators skip the normal paths to make their will known to the government. In a democratic system, the inhabitants can choose their party, which is the common way to have influence on the government. But the demonstrators, not being content herewith, take the right in own hand, and rebel against the authorities. Let the example of Korah, Dathan and Abiram warn them. Maybe, God will not punish the matter directly, but the time will surely come. Let the people, instead of drifting over the streets, do some good work, as helping the needy, do some voluntary work, but above all, do God's will. Isaiah 40, part 6, God, the Only God, incomparable ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved. The previous verse spoke about the cast image, namely for the rich. The impoverished makes not a golden image, but one of wood. No matter how poor one is, he must needs transgress God's commandment! Even when he must take the bread out of his mouth, an image he will have! How do they dare. They must seek a cunning workman, lest the image be moved and falls down. How do they dare comparing God with such an image. 21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? They are making images as if they have never heard of the one God, who laid the foundations of the earth. They compare the eternal God with a shaky image. Truly, these people are dull; they don't know God. 22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: Here we have the answer on the question "Who has created all these things?" The answer is: it is God, who sits upon the circle of the earth. The prophet compares God's greatness with the littleness of the inhabitants of the earth. They are but grasshoppers, compared with God, Who sits in heaven. When we look up, we see the blue sky. God has stretched it out as a blue curtain, and He spreads it out as a tent to dwell in. In truth it may be said, with David, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork." (Psalms 19:1) 23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. The mighty men of the earth think that they will subdue all nations. But they forget that there is still a God, Who is King of kings. He brings all proud princes to nothing. Their wars fail; their economy collapses; they are brought to nought. Also the judges; they are made vanity. They commonly have the might to acquit or to condemn. In God's sight however, they are vanity. God is the Judge of judges, who has the last word in all matters. When God brings the princes to nothing, and also the judges, how much more does He annihilate the common man! Let we keep this in mind. We are less then vanity before God. 24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. When the prophet says that the rulers and the high people not shall be planted, and that they not shall be sown, he means that they not will be confirmed in their office. "Their stock shall not take root in the earth", says he; what means the same. They shall not be confirmed in their power. He also uses the picture of the whirlwind. As soon as God's wind blows upon them, they will wither. You can see it around you. Yesterday, that man was healthy; he had a fit colour in his face. But as soon as God comes, and blows with His wind upon him, he withers. He becomes sick; he gets an unhealthy face. In short, he withers like the plants in the hot sunshine. And when they are withered, they loose their firmness. When then God sends His whirlwind, they are taken away as stubble. Men is taken out of the dust of the earth, and he will return to dust. 25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. They had made images, dishonouring God and transgressing His laws. God cannot be compared with anyone. "There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, [who] rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky." (Deuteronomy 33:26) I cannot be compared with anyone, says the Holy One. We see here that God calls Himself the Holy One. That is, He is so holy that He cannot be compared with anyone. He is so Holy, that He has nothing to do with our sins. The people have to keep in mind, that God is Holy, and that they, therefore, ought to be also holy. "I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves". (Leviticus 11:44) We often forget that God is holy. We think that He is like a man, winking at our transgressions. But who thinks this, is severely deceiving himself. When he continues herein, he runs headlong into destruction. The greatest part of mankind compares God with a man, thinking that He will overlook their little sins. In early times, Israel made idols to worship God thereby. But now, they make idols in another sense, namely by comparing God with a man. In early times, they depicted God by images. Now, they distort His essence by saying that He overlooks our sins. Will the people never forsake making images? 26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. Lift up your eyes on high. Look to the creation, people, and behold Who has created these things. Heaven and earth, the whole universe is created by God. Perhaps, when beholding those things, you might have any idea about His majesty. He counts all the stars by number. We, people cannot count them, even not with the most modern equipment. But God, the Creator of them, knows them. He calls them by names, for He is great. He keeps the universe in its state, and governs the course of their celestial bodies. 27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgement is passed over from my God? Jacob and Israel are two names for the same nation. The Israelites said: "My way is hid from the LORD". They mean, that is seems as if God does not know them. Their life is hid from the LORD. They are in fact as a dead one, who lies under the earth. The coming exile to Babel is compared with being buried in the ground. They think that they are out of the sight of God there. Moreover, they say, that their judgement is passed over from their God. That is, God does not give them the right. But the prophet answers: "Why do you say this, people? You are wrong. God knows about you. Though the coming exile is a punishment of your sins, yet, God will not forget you". 28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, [that] the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. God has always taken care for His people. Why then should He forsake you now? Do you not know that God doesn't change? He faints not, neither is weary. How, people, can you think that God will forget you? He is always the Same; He changes not. Though you and your fathers have despised Him, He will not forsake the works of His hands. He will punish you, that is right, but He will not utterly destroy you. A remnant will be left. The prophet, before the coming exile, comforts them with God's unchangingness. "There is no searching of His understanding", says the prophet. Gods ways are higher then our ways. We cannot understand His directions. When all seems to go wrong in our lives, we may be comforted by knowing that God governs all. Let we not think that we can understand God. When it seems that all things end in destruction, we may know that God leaves over His remnant. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to [them that have] no might he increaseth strength. God gives power to the weak. Are you, reader, tired of this world? Are you fed up with your own sins? Have you sinned very long, and do you wish to be reconciled with God? "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) Listen to God, Who will give you power. Are you worn-out? Listen: God increases strength to them that have no longer any might. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint. In these last two verses of the chapter, we see the difference between the people who lack the trust of the LORD, and who wait upon Him. The unbelievers will faint and be weary, but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength. The prophet says: "even the youths shall faint". Young people often are full of strength; they are flourishing. The prophet uses their example. Even those, who commonly flourish, when they not wait upon the LORD, even those shall faint and be weary. The young men shall utterly fall. That is the result of not knowing the Lord. The ungodly and wicked shall utterly fall and never stand up. But those who put their trust in the LORD shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. We know that the eagles fly very fast. He speedily flies through the ear, and reaches enormous heights. Like the fast eagles, so will the believers be. Who waits upon the Lord will not lack strength. "They shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint". That is the part of God's children. They seek strength in their LORD, Whom they serve. They trust in Him, and will never be ashamed. Who trusts in own strength shall utterly fall, but we shall stand upright. "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." (Psalms 27:14) 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, Not the wise are called but the foolish ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Paul, speaking about the rejection and acceptance of the Gospel, comes to the conclusion that the Greek seek wisdom, and the Jews signs, but that the called believe Christ crucified. Christ is a stumblingblock to the Jews, foolishness to the Greeks, but for the called He is power and wisdom of God. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called]: To prove his saying, Paul points to the congregation. They can see it with their own eyes. They consist not of many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, nor many noble. It were the simple, of whom the Christian congregations consisted mostly. They were not wise in the world's vain eyes. They had no power, which blocks often the belief. They were no nobles, but simple men. The people of the world have no time to engage in these things. The Jews sought their own righteousness. 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; The wise think that they are wise, but in vain. The powerful think to have much might, but they deceive themselves. To show that, God has chosen the foolish things, to confound the wise and mighty. All their wisdom and might must perish in God's presence. 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: God turns all upside down. The proud people will be abased by Him. The despised things has He chosen. The things which are not has he brought into being. The things which are has He brought to nought. Let all vain glory perish in God's presence. Let all boasting in own flesh be silenced. 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. When a work is accomplished, and we ascribe some part of it to ourselves, then we take at the same moment some glory away from God. The more we honour ourselves, the more we dishonour God. In the salvation of the sinner, all work is done by God, in order that He gets all the honour. Salvation, merited by our own works, takes God's glory away, and gives all glory to ourselves. Salvation however, out of pure grace, exalts God's Name the most. The Jewish doctrine, therefore, is execrable. Salvation earned partly by ourselves, highly dishonours God. They say: "we and God work together." Just as if a man is God's equal! Let we therefore reject that doctrine, and adhere to the salvation out of pure grace. Why? That no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: Christ Jesus is made unto us, believers, wisdom of God. That means, He is the Source of all wisdom. He brings us back to God, and gives us the fear of the LORD. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of all wisdom. It is Jesus' work to give us that. Further, He is made unto us righteousness. That is, while we are unrighteous in God's sight, Jesus' righteousness is put in our stead. Our sinful natures are counted unto Him, and are punished in Him. But His righteousness is counted unto us, in order that we are counted righteous before the LORD. That is it, what is also said of Abraham: "And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." (Genesis 15:6) Abraham's belief in the Lord Jesus was counted to him for righteousness. Christ Jesus is also made unto us sanctification. That is, through His power, we daily are sanctified. We must be transformed from a great sinner to one who is more holy. That is done through the belief in Christ Jesus. He is our sanctification; not our works are our sanctification before God. People may sometimes think that they are holy, but they are wrong. Nobody is holy, but he who is and stays in Christ. He is made unto us redemption. For, He delivers us from all distresses and evils of this world, of ourselves, of our enemies. Through Him, we are in principle delivered from evil, though we still daily are attacked by sin. We are delivered in principle, but the full redemption will be then, when we always will be with Him. 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. All honour in our deliverance is ascribed unto God, like it is written: "Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise [man] glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty [man] glory in his might, let not the rich [man] glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgement, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23,24) Let nobody glory in himself, but let him glory in the Lord. All honour is due to Him, for He delivered us from all evil. Let we therefore praise the LORD, Who filled our hearts with love. The ungodly never experience this, but God's children know what it is, to be delivered from all sin. They say with David the words of "this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said, I will love thee, O LORD, my strength." (Psalms 18:1) They are far from ascribing any glory to themselves, but praise the Lord. I will heartily love Thee, O Lord, my Strength. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Teus Benschop | firstname.lastname@example.org | editor of the list Chr-Exp "A Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel" More info? Send mail containing: review chr-exp Subscribe? Send mail containing: subscribe chr-exp Send that mail to: email@example.com Institute Practical Bible-education Web: http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/ipb-e/ipbe-home.html ------------------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-037.txt .