Date: Tue, 1 Aug 1995 11:02:56 +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, 42 Contents ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Deuteronomy 1:26,27 - Rebels against the LORD 2. Exodus 3 - Moses' call - The LORD's Name - part 1 3. Galatians 2:16, - Justified, not by the law, but by faith 1. Deuteronomy 1:26,27 - Rebels against the LORD ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Weekly reading: Deut 1:1 - 3:22 Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God: And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us. The Israelites are standing before the borders of Canaan. They had sent out spies, who brought back a good report of the land. Also the LORD had commanded them, saying, go up, and possess the land. You would think, that they, having a good report of the land, and having God's command to enter it, would make haste to possess that good land, flowing of mild and honey. But what says our text? It is more then unbelievable, but they refused to enter the land. They would not go up, but even rebelled against the command of the LORD, their God. This is perverse wickedness of that people. The LORD has so abundantly showed His grace towards them, in delivering them out of Egypt, and leading them unto Canaan. And now they stand before the promised land, they wickedly refuse to enter it. Yes, they feared the inhabitants, they said. But that the more shows their unbelief, for they did not trust that the LORD would help them in the battle. According to their habit in the desert, they also this time rebelled against the LORD. But this is not all. They made it still worse. They said that the LORD hated them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt. This is more then wicked! The LORD, in His grace, delivered them, showing them mercy. And what is their answer? "He hated us", they say. It is unbelievable how far a man can go in his ungodly behaviour. Turning all upside down, they say that God's love is hate! They said "Because the LORD hated us, he has brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us". Now, it is sure that they are lying. In their obstinacy, they make the LORD a tyrant. His love, they turn into hate. His benefactions, they turn into cruelty. His grace, they turn into evil. They pervert His goodness. In short, they show who they really are, namely people unworthy of even the least grace. They said that is was the Lord's intention, in His hate, to destroy them. It is sure, however, that not God destroyed them, but that they did it themselves. By their disobedience, they have destroyed themselves, because they afterwards perished in the desert, during their journey of nearly forty years. Often you hear the fable, that the Israelites were so very obedient in the desert. But let we, instead of listening to these fables, or better, to these lies, read our Bible. The Bible abundantly testified the people's wickedness, and God's great grace. Always they provoked Him to anger, and always God showed His grace. The goodness of God appears the better, against the dark background of the people's sins. That there afterwards entered a nation Israel into Canaan, that is God's grace, and nothing else. It was because of the oath, He had sworn to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that they entered the land. God is faithful to His oath, and that is the reason why the people afterwards entered Canaan. How was it possible, that the people so heavily accused God of hating them, in bringing them out of Egypt? The cause cannot be in God, for He had, in the preceding time, abundantly showed Himself merciful towards them. What is then the cause? Why did they so heavily accuse God? They did it because of their unbelief. They did not believe that God would be with them. They saw some dangers, and did not believe that the LORD would help them. Unbelief is therefore the cause of their accusation and disobedience. God had often given the promise, that He would be their God, but they refused to believe that. It was their unbelief, which brought them destruction. It is also our unbelief, which destroys us. When we not believe God on His Word, we greatly harm ourselves. We also dishonour God, making Him a liar. Let we then always believe Him on His Word. This is an impossible task for us, but let we therefore pray for His help. Once a man said: "I believe, LORD, help Thou mine unbelief". (Mark 9:24) It is so difficult to believe the LORD, that He always had to give signs, tokens, etc., to help the people in their belief. Let we then call on the Name of the Lord, and ask that He will take away our disobedience, and will give us true belief. It is well said, that unbelief is the mother of all evils, but that belief is the mother of all good. 2. Exodus 3 - Moses' call - The LORD's Name - part 1 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- In Exodus 3, we find that Moses keeps the flock of Jethro. God appears to him in a burning bush, and sends him to deliver Israel. The Name of the LORD is revealed to him. Moses hears what he must say to the Israelites, and to Pharaoh. Pharaoh will be recalcitrant 1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, [even] to Horeb. In the previous chapter, we read that Moses fled out of Egypt. Through his anger, he beat an Egyptian to death, and therefore he had to go on the run. He came to Jethro, who gave him his daughter to a wife, and because thus his father in law. He became a shepherd, keeping the flock of Jethro. During forty years, he was a shepherd, and he had the time to think about himself. He also had the time to unlearn his quick- tempered character, and to become a very mild man. God, in His wisdom, was educating him to become the later leader of Israel through the desert. There is no better school than this, namely to keep a flock of beasts in the desert. God knows how to educate His children, and how to prepare them for their later tasks. Those forty years of being a shepherd, must have been a trial for Moses. Why had he learned so much in Egypt? Was it to spend the rest of his time in the desert, with some sheep? Had his life no other goal? Such questions, and many others, will undoubtedly have come up in his mind. But God's ways are higher than our ways. God had a great task for Moses, and there was no better preparation for him then here, in the wilderness. You see the same in Joseph. He was sold as a slave to Potiphar, and then was thrown in prison. He was there in a humble state. Where was now his God? But it was God's preparation for his later task of being a great ruler over Egypt, and moreover, to provide food for his father's house. Also John the Baptist grew up, "and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel". (Luke 1:80) God gave also to John upbringing in the deserts, in order to suit him to his later task, to become a preacher of the coming kingdom of heaven. David was keeping the flock of his father, to be able, in later years, to keep the flock of Israel. So also Moses did. He led the flock of Jethro through the desert, during forty years. Later, he led God's flock, Israel, during forty years, through the howling wilderness. Let we then learn from these men, that God often humbles His children, to their best. When we are placed by Him in some state, low or higher, let we be content in it. Let we leave to Him the course of our lives, and we will find rest for our souls. It is said, that Moses, in keeping the flock, "came to the mountain of God, to Horeb." Why was mount Horeb called the mountain of God? Not because this mountain was God's property, for the whole world is of Him. But Horeb is called God's mountain, because God, in later times, gave His commandments there, and appeared on that mountain in a frightening way. The whole mountain, when God came down on it, shook, "and the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel." (Exodus 24:17) Horeb is then called the mountain of God because of God's glory, which was revealed there more then elsewhere. 2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: And he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush [was] not consumed. While Moses was leading his flock, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him. Moses, doing his daily work in a faithful manner, experienced God's grace in the appearance of the angel unto him. He considered himself lost, cut off from Israel, and perhaps also cut off from the God of Israel. But look, the LORD had not forgotten him, and sent His angel. Let then those people, who think that they are cut off from God's house, put their trust in God. He will not abandon and forget them, but the time will come, that he will show His mercy. The angel of the Lord appeared unto him. How? In a flame of fire, out of the midst of a bush. That flame of fire indicated God's holiness and justice. God is so holy, and righteous, that He, like a flame, will devour all sin. The bush was burning, but was not consumed. In this fire, we see the state of the Israelites in Egypt. They were burned through the flame of affliction, but yet they were not consumed. Why? Because the Lord was in their midst, and protected them. In this flame of fire, we also see the state of the present church in the world. Ceaselessly, she is attacked by the whole world, satan, and hell. The church is like a bush, being afire. But while God is in her midst, she may burn, but will never be consumed. 3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. When Moses saw that bush burning, he saw nothing special. It is common in the desert, through the great drought, that a dry bush bursts into flames, and it will very soon be consumed. When Moses saw that bush, therefore, burning, that was a common thing. But now, behold, he saw something striking. The bush kept burning, but was not consumed. How could that be? Moses didn't know, and said "I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt". All the time the bush was burning, the angel of the Lord was present there. But now, Moses' attention was attracted, and he went to look at it. It should therefore, also be a great wonder in our eyes, why the church is burning for so many centuries, and still is not consumed. Let then the heathen pay attention to it, and say, "Let's look why the church is burning and is never consumed". Let also the Jews say the same. It is sure, that, as soon as the approach the true church, and investigate the matter, why the church is not consumed by so many flames of hell, - as soon then, when they draw near, they will find the Lord speaking to them. 4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here [am] I. As soon as the LORD saw Moses coming, He called unto him out of the midst of that bush. We see, in this verse, that the LORD is speaking. He is in the midst of the bush. Two verses back, we saw that the Person in the bush was called an angel of the LORD: "the angel of the LORD appeared unto him". That same angel appears to be the LORD Himself. The Angel of the LORD is in some degree distinguished from the LORD, since He is called, the Angel *of* the LORD. But in this verse, the same Angel is united with God, yea, He is God Himself. We see then, that there is some distinction in the one Godhead. Yet, this distinction makes not more Gods, but there is only one God. On this verse, and on other like verses, is the Christian doctrine of the Trinity based. The LORD called Moses, and said: "Moses, Moses". And Moses, as an obedient servant, immediately answers, saying: "Here am I". Moses did not belong to those majority of mankind, who the LORD let call and never answer or obey Him. They are called daily, by His Word. Also daily, they refuse to come to Him. But Moses was a faithful servant. 5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest [is] holy ground. That place whereon Moses stands is holy ground. Not that some ground is holy in itself, but the place was sanctified through God's presence. God was in the burning bush, and therefore the place was holy. Moses had to put off his shoes from off his feet. This was a sign of homage and reverence. He might also not draw nigh thither, because God was there. It doesn't become a man to come too close to God, for He is a burning fire, as we see in that burning bush. It becomes us then, when we come before the face of the LORD, that we behave ourselves suitable and reverent. When we have to do with God, let we always keep in mind, that we are but men, and that He is the high and holy God, the King of kings, the highest Majesty. 6 Moreover he said, I [am] the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. In the case Moses was not sure with Whom he had to do, whether an angel, or any other being, God makes sure Who He is. He is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He said not: I *was* the God of thy fathers, but He says: I *am* the God of thy fathers. This speaking of God in the present tense means, that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are still alive. They are in heaven now, and the LORD is their God. When Moses perceived that he had to do with the one God of his fathers, he "hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God". Moses clearly showed that he had the fear of the LORD. That fear, all children of the LORD have it. The wicked, however, draw nigh unto God without fear, boast in His Name without reverence, in short, they show that they have not the least amount of respect for Him. But Moses, a faithful servant, hid his face in God's presence. We learn of this, that, the more we see of God's holiness, the more we abandon our looseness, and the more we show a godly fear. That holy God appears in the flames of fire, in the burning bush. No wonder, when we meet God in such a form, that we will show much fear. (to be continued...) 3. Galatians 2:16, Justified, not by the law, but by faith ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (Galatians 2:16) We are "knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law". We are knowing that, meaning, it is sure. It is a fundamental truth that no man is justified by the works of the law. To know that, is it necessary that God has taught it you. Many think still that it is possible to be justified by the law. They decrease the demands of the law, and give to their own works more merit then they deserve, and then, they think to have kept the law. But we know that we are utterly unable to keep God's holy law. We know that to be true, because God has taught it to us. We always have tried to keep the law, in our former lives. We tried it, and sometimes we thought that we succeeded. When we did a deed, which seemed to be good, we got hope that we were able to keep the law. But when we reflected on our seemingly good deed, we discovered that we became proud on it. By our pride, we wholly destroyed that good deed. As soon as we did something in own power, we began to despise God, in thinking that we were able to serve Him. More and more, we learned that a man is not justified by the works of the law. Our daily transgressions were put before our eyes. God said: Look, that are your sins. On the outside, they seem good, but the inside is black of sins. The outward splendour of our deeds was but a thin layer of hypocrisy. Step by step, we learned that we cannot perform our deeds in such a way as the perfect holiness of God demands. It is true that the law says, that whosoever shall do the commandments, shall live in them. That is true. The problem, however, lies in us. We are not able to keep the commandments. The superficial people deceive themselves, thinking to please God by their deeds. But who take a look at his own works, will become frightened because of its sins. We will not be justified by the works of the law, but by the faith in Jesus Christ. The righteous shall live by his faith, like that is written in Scripture: "the just shall live by his faith." (Habakkuk 2:4) Knowing then that the law condemns us, and that we will live by faith, we have believed in Jesus Christ, that also we might be justified by the faith in Him. The law has taught us, that we never are able to keep it. The law has then revealed our wretched nature. For, when there was no law, we also never would know that we are transgressors. But now, the law made us known our transgressions. In doing so, the law said: By me is only death for you, sinner! In this way, we turned our backs on the law, because it was not able to justify us. We turned not our backs to the law to despise it, but we no longer expected life in it. Only by faith, the just shall live, as the prophet Habakkuk said. That is why we have believed in Jesus Christ. "By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified". That is plain language. No flesh shall be justified by the law. For, all flesh has corrupted its way. God, on His throne in heaven, looks down upon us, and sees that we daily corrupt both ourselves and His commandments. "God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth." (Genesis 6:12) God, in His grace, offered to mankind, in the midst of a perishing world, reconciliation through the faith in Jesus Christ. Everybody then, who is called by God, will say: "I know that I am not justified by the works of the law. The only way of being justified is by the faith of Jesus Christ. Because I know these things, I have believed in Jesus Christ, that I might be justified by the faith of Christ. For, by the works of the law, I will never succeed, for by mine own works, I will never be justified". ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 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-042.txt .