X-Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org X-Organization: IPB Mime-Version: 1.0 Date: Tue, 15 Aug 1995 11:03:47 +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, 44 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Contents ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Deuteronomy 8:2 Proving by humbling 2. Exodus 3 Moses' call - The LORD's Name - part 3/3 1. Deuteronomy 8:2 Proving by humbling ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Reading: Deut 7:12-11:25 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. While the LORD led Israel through the desert, those forty years, He humbled them. Why did He that? He did so to prove them, so that would appear what was in their heart. He proved them with afflictions, to check whether they would be obedient or no. When they were afflicted, it would appear what was in their heart. When they complained, then it would appear that they did not submit to God. When they underwent the afflictions without complaining, then would become public that they submitted to God in obedience. For example, when there was no water, the majority of the people was rebellious. It became public, that they rejected God. A minority, however, was obedient. When there was no bread, most of the people complained, but a few were obedient. As long as the people had all what they wished, they could pretend that they served God, and loved Him. But as soon as there arose some want of food or drink, the truth appeared. What was in their heart, fear of God, or disobedience, became public. It is as with swine. As long as you give them food in abundance, they will be silent. But when they have no food, they begin to grunt, and to make noise. Likewise was it with the wicked among the Israelites. As long as God cared for them, gave them food and all, they were silent. But as soon as God humbles them through want, and proved them to see what was in their heart, it appeared that they were like the unreasonable beasts. When there is no food, then they make noise, and rebel against the LORD. But the true people of God, who love Him, and are loved by Him, will undergo all what God the Father sends them, without complaining. We see, how necessary it is, to be proved by the LORD. When we have all what our heart wishes, we all will pretend that we serve the LORD. The greatest heap of us, however, serves God for their belly. When He gives all, they say that they love Him. When all is in rest, therefore, it does not appear who are the true people of God, and who are the hypocrites. The whole crown professes God's Name. Everyone says that God loves him, and that he loves God. No distinction will there be between the true and false confessors. To discriminate between the true and the false believers, between the corn and the chaff, between the sincere and the feigned, it is necessary that God proves us. And how does he prove us? By sending afflictions, so that may appear what is in our heart. When afflicted, some begin to curse. These belong to the chaff. Some begin to complain. They make up the group of the feigned believers. Some begin to forsake God. They are the hypocrites. When afflicted, some approve of it, as their just reward. These are the godly people. Some submit themselves to God, and repent of their loose former life. These belong to the corn, and not to the chaff. We know that, during their journey through the desert, the children of Israel continually vexed the LORD. During their whole journey, during forty years, they rebelled against the LORD. What? Is that really true? Were they so rebellious, during forty years? Isn't this somewhat exaggerated? No, it isn't. How do we know that? Because Moses said, that they continually rebelled against God: "Remember, forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD." (Deuteronomy 9:7) From the first day, until now, during forty years, they grieved the LORD, and rebelled against Him. We now see what kind of people they were. Always they resisted God. Never they obeyed Him. What an incorrigible nation was that! But, are we better? It is sure, that we are the same. Maybe, as long as the sun shines, and all is pleasant, then we think that we are better. But as soon as God proves us, it appears what really lives in our hearts. Yea, like the swine, when we have food enough, there is no problem. But when we are humbles, and we are made hungry, or when it rains during a day, or when it is somewhat too hot, or when our car breaks down, or when someone hurts us, or when any other unpleasant thing happens, it becomes public how we are. And when we are so cultivated, that we don't say what we think then, we yet know what our heart knows. We know what we sometimes think, when in adversity. It is true, since we are of the same race as the Israelites in the desert, that we also daily vex the LORD, resist Him, and grieve Him. When the LORD never afflicts us, we will, with our imagined love of God, crash down in eternal destruction. We think that we love Him, but since we, like the swine when they have food enough, feel ourselves happy, we overlook that we have not the true love of God. We have a love for our belly, and since God fills it, we think that all is well. How much do we need, therefore, God proofs and His humbling. Then, it will appear how we are. And when we see that we hate Him, when we are afflicted, we have still time to repent. Often, God lets the wicked go, that they, like the beasts, may fatten themselves up for the day of judgement. But whom He loves, He will chastise, as is written: "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." (Hebrews 12:6) He chastises them, in order that they may become acquainted with their own wicked heart, and have time to repent, through the work of God's Spirit. "Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, [so] the LORD thy God chasteneth thee." (Deuteronomy 8:5) When you are chastised by God, stop mourning and complaining then, and lift up your head, since the LORD chastises you as a father does with his son. We may then say with Paul, that whatever adversity happens to us, nothing will separate us from the love of God. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35-39) 2. Exodus 3 - Moses' call - The LORD's Name - part 3/3 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- The LORD has charged Moses to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt. Moses objected that he was unable to perform such a great task, but the LORD answered that He would be with him. 16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and [seen] that which is done to you in Egypt: 17 And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. Go, Moses, gather the elders of Israel together, and tell them that the LORD appeared unto you. Tell them the whole story, and they will believe you. Tell them also that God has surely visited them, so that they see that they are no longer alone. Show them that their God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and of Jacob, is their God, and that the time of deliverance is nigh. Tell them, Moses, that they will soon be brought to the promised land. They will be delivered out of the afflictions of Egypt, and will dwell in a good land. That land is a land of milk and honey flowing, which shows the abundant goodness of the LORD. 18 And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God. When Moses will have told his calling, what will be the result? "They shall; hearken to thy voice". Having heard the clear calling of Moses, they will be assured of the truth thereof, and they will, without hesitating, listen to Moses. They will accept him as God's servant, sent to deliver them. We see how important it is, that a minister of God can tell his calling. He must be able to tell the ways God has lead him on. He must be able to tell when God appeared to him, and has sent him to be His servant. When such a story is heard, the people will accept such a minister. The false ministers, however, cannot tell such a calling. Why not? Because they are not called by God. And when they tell some story, it is the calling of Satan, or they are retelling some borrowed story. But with the true ministers of the Word, it is otherwise. They don't borrow some story, but they tell you their own experience. They will assure you of their personal calling. And then, the congregation will hear to their voice. When the elders hear to Moses, they must go to king Pharaoh. "And thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us". They will go to Pharaoh, and tell him the whole story. God appeared to Moses, but they must say: "God has met with us". The appearance to Moses is now become the appearance to "us". They in such a high degree accept Moses, that all what happened to Moses, is now also their own experience. God met with us. They will go to Pharaoh, and tell the story. The king must know that they are not inventing something to be freed of the slavery, but that they are telling the truth. They don't invent something, but the true God has commanded them. They ask permission for a three days' journey into the wilderness, to sacrifice to the LORD their God. From Egypt to mount Horeb, when the trip is prosperous, takes no more then three days. There, they will sacrifice to the LORD, their God. They speak about sacrificing. We know, that the laws about sacrificing are given years later. Yet, even before these laws were given, sacrificing was already known. Already at the beginning of the world, both Abel and Cain sacrificed. So, the practise was there from the beginning of the world. They speak about sacrificing to the LORD their God on mount Horeb, since God had said to Moses: "Ye shall serve God upon this mountain." (Exodus 3:12) Serving God consisted of several things, of which sacrificing was an important part. More important, however, is obedience, as Samuel said: "Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams." (1 Samuel 15:22) Often, we forget this. We then lose ourselves in the minutest details of a so-called service of the LORD, but in the mean time, forget to obey Him. 19 And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. Imagine people, Moses is receiving instruction from the LORD, how to bring the Israelites out of Egypt, and then? While instructing Moses, God at the same time says that he will not succeed. "I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand." What is that? God sends Moses, but at the same moment tells him that he will not succeed. Isn't this discouraging for Moses? The answer is: On the one hand, this will discourage Moses, but on the other hand, it is very useful for him. It will discourage him to trust in his own power. I am sure, says God, that you are totally unable to bring them out of the land. You will never succeed. The king will keep the people there. So, on the one hand, it keeps Moses back from becoming proud, and trusting in own power. On the other hand, seeing that he will not succeed in own strength, it will make Moses the more looking upon God's power. When he is unable himself, then he will the more expect all good from the LORD. We see then, that a remark which is discouraging at the first glance, is very useful, when we investigate the matter somewhat deeper. 20 And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go. Here we have it. Moses, you will be unable to bring the Israelites out of the land, but then "I will stretch out My hand". Listen, Moses, the power is not yours, but Mine. "I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof". They will not let the people go, and that is why I will smite Egypt with all My wonders. The power and strength of God will be visible in Egypt. When the Egyptians would be compliant, there would be no place for God's wonders. But now, since their heart and head will be as hard as a stone and a rock, God's wonders will be visible. And then, Moses, after that the king will let you go. Keep then in mind, that you are unable, but that I will do the work. 21 And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty: 22 But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put [them] upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians. When they will leave the land, they will not go empty. The Israelites had served the Egyptians for so many years, without any reward. But now, they will get a full reward. Jewels, silver, gold, raiment. Their wages of many, very many years. The LORD would save them out of Egypt. That is why the Israelites would be His nation for ever. This is the reason, why it was their duty, to serve Him. Nay, not only their duty, for a duty can be done with a cold heart. They had to love the God, Who redeemed them from the house of bondage. The Egyptians kept them with chains in their land, and oppressed them, that the Israelites might serve them. Likewise are we kept with chains in the kingdom of sin, and we are oppressed by the prince of this world, that we might serve him. But, when we begin to cry to the God of heaven and earth, because of our heavy burden, the time will come that the LORD looks down from heaven, that He sees us, and that He begins to deliver us. He sends us His servants, the preachers of the Word. They tell us God's will, but, like Moses was unable to bring the Israelites out, also the ministers of the Word are unable to save us. God's mighty hand is necessary, that He might save us. He will show His mighty arm, and tear us away from the power of world and sin, in order that we love and serve Him. -------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-044.txt .