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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 

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
     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