Mime-Version: 1.0 Date: Tue, 24 Oct 1995 09:08:17 +-100 Reply-To: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel From: Teus Benschop Subject: The Scriptures opened, 54 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Contents ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Genesis 11:1-8 - Confusion of the language 2. Habakkuk 3 - The Prayer of Habakkuk, part 2/2 1. Genesis 11:1-8 - Confusion of the language ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Reading: Genesis 6:9-11:32 Text: Genesis 11:1-8 In our text we find that there was but one language over the whole earth. The people journeyed, and when they found a good place, they began to erect a tower and a city, lest they would be scattered abroad over the whole earth. But God prevented that idea by confusion their language. 1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. All the inhabitants of the earth descended from Adam, and after the flood from Noah. No wonder then that everybody spoke the same language. Everybody could understand everybody. The thousands and thousands of languages we have now weren't there. But one language, which was spoken by everybody. Which language that have been is not expressed, but there are grounds to think that is has been the Hebrew one. The most important reason for this is, that the names of the first people are Hebrew names. Adam, for example, means "man", and is connected with "red earth". And Eve, that means "life". Also Cain and Abel, and many other names are Hebrew. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. There is said that "they" journeyed from the east, and that they found land in Shinar. It is not expressed who that "they" were, but it can be that they were the descendants of Ham, of whom Nimrod was the head. For, in Genesis 10:9,10, we read that they dwelt in Shinar. "He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar." 3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. 4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top [may reach] unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. They wish to build a city to dwell in, and also a tower, whose top will be unto heaven. And why do they wish to build such a city and tower? Because they fear that they will be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. It was God's command to the people, after He had created them, that they should multiply and replenish the whole earth. "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth". (Genesis 1:28) This was the commandment, that they should replenish the earth, but the people refused to do so. They rather choose to dwell together. Instead of obeying God, they do their own will. Not only that they are disobedient, but they also are proud. The top of their tower must be so high, that is reaches unto heaven. It was not enough that Adam wished to be like God, knowing good and evil. They also add thereunto, that they wish to dwell in heaven. We see then in the sons of Ham, the people of Nimrod, disobedience and pride. "Come on", they say, "let us build a tower, a city, and make us a name". Come on, let us not obey God's voice, and provoke Him. Come on, let us do our own will, neglecting God's. 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. In the previous verse, we read that their tower should reach unto heaven. But in this verse, it appears that the tower was so much lower then heaven, that the LORD had to come down. Let then no man ever think to be able to approach God. The LORD came down, to see the low work of the people. 6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. God came down to have a look at their work. They had begun to build the city and the tower. And God also knew that they would not be docile, so as to obey God's voice. They had imagined to build the city, and they wanted to finish it at all costs. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. They had said: "Come on, let us build". But God's answer was: "Come on, let us go down". The people may design what they will, but without God's approval, all their plans will end up in nothing. Come on, let us build, they said. No, says God, let us confound their language. When they no longer could understand one another, they were unable to build. Here you have the confusion of the language, as a result of man's sin. The disobedience of the people was the cause of the many languages we now have. All confusion which is on the world now, is the result of this. All study of language, and all difficulties the different languages give us, are the result of the disobedience of the people. But on the day of Pentecost, in Acts 2, God gave the people the gift of the Spirit, which includes the gift of speaking many languages. What was perverted by man in the beginning, is in some measure repaired by the Spirit. For, only through the gift of the languages, one is able to bring the Word of God to the nations. 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. In the beginning the LORD had commanded the people that they should replenish the earth. They refused. But now, God uses acts of power to make the people obey His voice, namely to replenish the earth. They were scattered abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth. If they not willingly obey God's will, then they shall do it unwillingly. But one thing is sure, and that is, that God's word will be accomplished. The King of the earth showed again His power. The LORD is the Ruler of this world, and we do best to subject ourselves to Him. Let we, with the Psalmist "say unto God, How terrible [art thou in] thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee." (Psalms 66:3) Through the greatness of God's power, the people who built the city, submitted themselves unto God. They were His enemies, for they refused obedience. But nevertheless, they had to submit themselves unto God, through the greatness of His power. And so it will be unto this day. It may be that the people for a time, shorter or longer, refuse to obey. But the time will come, that they will experience God's power. Nothing but submission is then left to them. The enemies will submit themselves unwillingly, but the children of God will do so willingly and with joy. Their King, the LORD, the Creator of heaven and earth; their LORD is King forever. 2. Habakkuk 3 - The Prayer of Habakkuk, part 2/2 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- In part one we read the beginning of Habakkuk's prayer. After he had heard the word of God, of destruction and coming calamity, he feared. Then he asks that God might keep alive His own work, instead of wholly to destroy it because of their sins. He begins to remember the great works of God of old, beginning from Egypt. 8 Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? [was] thine anger against the rivers? [was] thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses [and] thy chariots of salvation? It is said that the LORD was displeased against rivers and the sea, and that His anger and wrath was against them. Why? Because the Red Sea was split when Israel went through it. Also Jordan, that river, gave a free access by opening its waters. Was the LORD displeased against the waters, that they dared not to stream on? They gave free way. God's strong wind caused the Red Sea to heap up its waters. Was that strong wind a sign of God's strong and heavy wrath against the waters? Using these words the prophet describes God's miraculous works. He also says that God "didst ride upon Thine horses". A rider steers his horse to direct it where he wills. So God, like a rider, governs all elements to have them do His will. Waters, wind, sun, fire, light, clouds, darkness, they all obey His voice. These are His horses, whereon He rides, and which He steers in such a way, that they do His will. "Thy chariots were salvation". Chariots are used in wars. God's chariots were salvation. That means, that God fought before them, giving them salvation. In the case of their passage through the Red Sea, God's chariots were the strong wind, the pillar of a cloud, the pillar of fire, and the waters. These chariots brought salvation to Israel, and destruction to the Egyptians. 9 Thy bow was made quite naked, [according] to the oaths of the tribes, [even thy] word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. The bow means God's power. "Thy bow was made quite naked", which can mean that God's power was visible everywhere. God did all these great things, according "to the oaths of the tribes", through His "word". God had sworn in former times, that He would bring the people out of Egypt into Canaan. He did all these things to keep His oath to the tribes. God also "did cleave the earth with rivers". This can best be explained with the words of Numbers. "And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts [also]." (Numbers 20:11) 10 The mountains saw thee, [and] they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, [and] lifted up his hands on high. The mountains saw Thee, and they trembled. These are the mounts of Sinai. When God came down on its top, the whole mountain trembled much, and smoked. "The waters passed by", namely Jordan, or the river which followed them in the desert, which sprang from the rock. "All did drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." (1 Corinthians 10:4) The deep uttered his voice, says the prophet. This can be the Red Sea, which separated itself in two parts, which much noise of waters. The deep lifted up his hands on high, or, it lifted up its sides on high. And we know that the path through the Red Sea had two sides of waters. The sea lifted up its sides on high, to make a way through for the people. 11 The sun [and] moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, [and] at the shining of thy glittering spear. The sun and moon stood still in their habitation, namely when Joshua commanded it. "Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day." (Joshua 10:12,13) 12 Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. He marched through the land, driving out the former inhabitants of Canaan, to make place for the children of Israel. He did so with indignation, for the sins of the former people had reached their top. He threshed the heathen in anger, to drive them away as chaff from the threshing-floor. All who remain heathen, and not join the people of God through faith and obedience, will be driven away like chaff before the wind. 13 Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, namely for the salvation of Israel, when God delivered them out of the slavery of Egypt. [Even] for salvation with thine anointed; With Joshua, God's anointed; God went forth for the salvation, together with Joshua, who was a type of Christ, the real Anointed of God. Both went forth for the salvation of their people. Thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, God wounded the heads of the kings of Canaan; the most important people of the land, who came with their armies against Israel. But God wounded their heads; the princes of the house of the wicked. These wicked people were the former inhabitants of the land. By discovering the foundation unto the neck. The land was discovered from the foundation unto the neck. This may indicate that the land was well purified of the enemies; at least they lost their power. Selah. 14 Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing [was] as to devour the poor secretly. First it is said that God struck with his (the anointed's) staves the head of his villages, indicating God's victory over the enemies. Then we read that Habakkuk says, that "they came out to scatter me". Note that he says, that they came to scatter "me". We see that he identifies himself with his forefathers. What they did against the forefather, was also done against the prophet. "Their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly". In the times of the judges, the people often had to hide themselves before the enemies, who came to destroy the land. They delighted in devouring the poor in the secret. 15 Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, [through] the heap of great waters. Yes, God walked through the sea, through the Red Sea, when He went before the people, and made a path for them. The heap of great waters did not flow over them, because their path was kept dry. The waters, and all other elements, they obey the will of God. Sun and moon, water and drought, ground and air, light and darkness, fertility and barrenness, clouds and rain, hail and storm, spring and autumn; the whole nature obeys God's voice. He uses all elements for the benefit of His people. 16 When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. Here, the prophet returns to the beginning of his prayer. In the second verse, he had already spoken of the approaching destruction through the Chaldees; and now he again speaks of that. From the second verse until this one, he has interrupted his fear of the Chaldees, to recount the mighty works of God in the past. He said, "O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy." (Habakkuk 3:2) He prayed this, asking for grace and mercy for his people. "Revive Thy work, O LORD", he said. He called it God's own work. Revive that, O LORD; it is Thine own work. After that, the prophet had recounted God's own work. And now the prophet returns to the beginning: his prayer for mercy. But in this verse, we see a remarkable change in the attitude of the prophet. In the beginning, he trembled when he thought about the coming destruction. But now, his fear is away. He now says, that He may "rest in the day of trouble". How can one rest in the day of trouble? Should we not be restless, when troubles come nigh? Should we not cry, when we see all being destroyed round about? When the whole earth is turned upside down, will we then rest? "When he cometh up unto the people", the prophet continues, "he will invade them with his troops". Yes, the enemy will come up unto the people, and will invade the lands with his invincible troops. And the prophet will rest in that day, the day of trouble? Yes, the prophet will rest then. For, he has fallen down before God. He accepts His judgement, for he knows that God is true and righteous. He has accepted the coming judgement, because he and his people have deserved that by their sins. The prophet will rest in the day of trouble. How? Because he rests in God. And when one rests in God, then, no matter how great the trouble will be, he will have rest. When one has God as his Protector, it matters no longer how much enemies there will be, and how great the destruction will be. For, when we have the LORD as our God, why should we fear any longer? "The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?" (Psalms 118:6) Habakkuk may, through faith, know that the LORD is on his side. Why should he fear then? "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation." (Isaiah 12:2) Poor people then, who, being without any protection of God, fear the coming destruction. They have nothing before their eyes but death. How happy are those, whose God is our LORD! Enemies? "I will not fear". Destruction? "God is my LORD, what shall men do to me?" Wars? "God is my Protector, why should I fear?" 17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither [shall] fruit [be] in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and [there shall be] no herd in the stalls: Habakkuk had heard God's words, regarding the coming Chaldees, and he had believed them, and had feared. In this verse, he is giving a list of the future destructions. Not a complete list, of course, but he mentions some important things. All the fields, and all the beasts will be destroyed. The figtree shall not blossom, and there will be no fruit in the vines. Also, the labour expended on the olive will be in vain, for it will not give its product. Further, the fields will lay desolate, and no meat will be yielded. The flock will be cut off from the fold, and no herd will be found in the stalls. 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Though all these evil will come over us, says the prophet, yet I will rejoice in the LORD. See, that is the fruit of faith. He knows that God is his God, Who will protect him. How great then the destruction may be, yet he knows himself safe in the LORD; in the God of his salvation. Even when the whole world will be burned down, "I will joy in the God of my salvation". He has no joy in the devastation, but he rejoiced in the LORD. He does not as the servants of the world do, who rely on their prosperity. But as soon as their aids fail them, they begin to become desperate. With Habakkuk, and with all faithful, it is otherwise. Maybe that all aids will fail them, yet they rejoice in their God; in the God of their salvation. When there is prosperity, the difference between the believers and unbelievers is not so well visible. But when circumstances become difficult and hard, then one's faith will become visible. While all the rest will lay struck down by the evils, then the faith of the believers shines forth, and can be seen at a distance. While everybody is black of fear, the faithful delight in God. Their hope is not fixed on this lower part under the moon, which will soon vanish, but on the high God, Who will sit on His throne for always and ever. 19 The LORD God [is] my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' [feet], and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments. The LORD God is my strength, says Habakkuk; not the fig trees, vines, olives and flocks are my strengh. The LORD God is my strength, so what matters it when all other things vanish? God is my strength, and he will make my feed like a hinds' feet. I will, when evils are everywhere, not sit desperately in a corner, but my feet will walk swiftly like the hinds'. When the Chaldees come, God will save me from them, so that I may escape in freedom. God will make me to walk upon mine high places. Perhaps he means with these high places, some strong places. Or, that he, after the Chaldees have been on the rampage in the land, may return on his high places, the mounts of Judah. At the end, he hands his prayer over to the chief singer, to be sung and to be played on his stringed instruments. Maybe, when this prayer will be repeated always in the public services, God may use it to give hope and strength to the other, weaker believers. It can be that their faith is not so strong as Habakkuk's. When they then see an example of strong faith, through God's grace, they can get thence some more hope on God. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- firstname.lastname@example.org "A Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel" Institute Practical Bible-education Web: http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/ipb-e/ipbe-home.html This issue written by Teus Benschop -- email@example.com ---------------------------------------------------------------------- file:/pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-054.txt .