Mime-Version: 1.0 Date: Tue, 31 Oct 1995 09:09:45 +-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, 55 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Contents ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Genesis 12:1 - Abram's move to another country 2. Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in God and not in own wisdom 3. Galatians 1:23,24 - Paul's conversion 1. Genesis 12:1 - Abram's move to another country ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Reading: Gen. 12:1 - 17:27 Text: Gen. 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee. The LORD had said unto Abram that he had to move from his country to another one. What was the reason that God said these things unto Abram, and not to another person? In Ur of the Chaldees, Abram's native country, lived much more people. Why had God chosen Abram to hear His words, and not another one? Was Abram such a holy person perhaps? No, Abram was born in a house where they served other gods, Jos.24:2. And had God not revealed Himself unto Abram, then he would have continued in the idolatry of his fathers. So, why did the LORD choose Abram to reveal Himself unto? Was Abram so holy? No, he was not better then the other people of that place. Was Abram so zealous in serving God? No, also not. Was Abram so godly? No, also this is not the reason. What then is the reason that God spoke unto Abram? The reason lies in God, and nowhere else. God, in His sovereign electing grace, chose Abram, to speak to him. God chose Abram; one person out of many; not because any excellency in Abram, but because of God's pleasure. "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house". In saying that Abram had to go out of his native country, God uses not one command; He commands it three times. Get thee out of thy country. Get thee from thy kindred. Get thee from thy father's house. Abram should well note that leaving his country is not an easy thing. Persons are united with their families, and blood relationships are not easily broken. So, leaving your country and moving to another one means also moving from your family, and from your father's house. Abram should then know that it was not an easy thing God asked of him. He could then consider these things beforehand, so that knew the coming things. Following the LORD to another country required of Abram to leave his family. And also for us, following the LORD means that we sometimes have to break with our family. When our family, for example, follows the world in evil things, and we are called to come behind the LORD, then we have to break with them. Why? Because the world's way, and the LORD's way are opposite. The one ends in eternal death, and the other one in eternal life. Follow then God, and leave your country, your kindred, and your father's house. These are things we see in Abram's life. This is Old Testament doctrine. Also in the New Testament, you will find the same. Jesus said: "If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26) When we read of hating your family, in this text, we first should understand what is meant by that. Hating, in this context, is a Hebrew mode of speaking, and means "not giving preference to". So, when it comes to a choice between following God and listening to your father, mother, wife, children, brethren, sisters, or own life, then we have to "hate" them all. That means, that we not prefer them above God. We have then first to obey God, and to do His will. And when there is any one of our family, who tries to prevent that, then we have to reject him or her. These things are well expressed in another place, where Jesus said: "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." (Matthew 10:37) Jesus is doing nothing but repeating the doctrine, already made known to Abram: "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house". Abram, leave your family, where they serve the idols, and follow Me, says God. Go "unto a land that I will shew thee", the LORD said. He said not what land it would be. We know that it was Canaan, but Abram stood still before that knowledge; he didn't know it. He had blindly to follow the LORD, being content with God's word alone. Go out, Abram, unto a some land. Going out, and leaving all you have, and not knowing where you will come, that requires faith and trust of God. When Abram obeyed the voice of God, his faith became visible. He only knew that he had to go out, but where he would come, that was still hidden for him. And this is often God's way. He tried our faith by giving us a command to do something, but not telling us the end. We learn from this that we always blindly have to obey God's voice, trusting Him alone, and forsaking any fleshly wisdom. We are inclined, when God commands us something, to ask more then He has said. This shows our unbelief. Why is it not enough for us, that God has commanded something? Why don't we leave Him the result? Why will we not follow Him with an unlimited trust? Let we then follow the example of Abram, who trusted his God. He is called the father of all believers. And when we say that we are Abraham's children, let us then do the same things as he did. Let us then forsake our own will, as soon as God commands it. And God has already commanded us these things, namely in His Word. Let we then deny ourselves, leave the idolatry, and follow God in true faith. 2. Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in God and not in own wisdom ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. There are people who do the opposite of what here is written. They don't trust the LORD, but they rely on nothing but their own understanding. When they encounter some problem, they consult their own mind. I heard once one say: "trust none but yourself". What a different advice gives our text! It says not "trust none but yourself", but: "Trust none but God". Or: "Lean not unto thine own understanding". This is real wisdom, coming from God. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding". This is the advice the wise Solomon gave us. This man had received the gift of an extraordinary amount of wisdom. He advises us not to lean unto our own wisdom, but to trust in the Lord only. And when we trust, let we not do it half, or mingled with fear or doubt, but let us do it with all our heart. Trust the LORD in full faith, and reject your own wisdom as a basis to build on. Our own wisdom is human wisdom, which differs from God's wisdom. "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 55:8) Our own understanding is earthly, but God's wisdom is heavenly. Our own understanding is fleshly, but God's wisdom is spiritual and living. Trusting own understanding leads to death, but trusting in the LORD gives life. We are wont, as soon as any problem arises, promptly to take counsel with our own understanding. And there is nothing wrong with that, for we have not received our own mind to let it be unused. The problem lies elsewhere; for, when we have taken counsel with our own understanding, we come to any decision, and we don't ask the mouth of the LORD. And then, we begin to comply with our own counsel, and we begin to rely on our own understanding. Here lies our error. We should do nothing before we have God's word. We should not lean on our own understanding, but we should trust in the LORD. When some troubles arise, let we then not lean on our mind, for it often gives counsels which seem good in our eyes, but which are in fact fleshly, and not spiritual. Complying with that advice would lead us away from God, though we don't see it in the beginning. Let us then dare do nothing in any matter, when we not are assured that we rely on the LORD, and that we follow His Word. People who are thus disposed are easily recognisable, since they always search the Word, in order to hear God's advice. Those people have unlearned in some degree, by experience, to lean on their own wicked heart, since it always misleads them. They have learned, through experience, to trust in the LORD. Solomon continues with "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." In all the ways you go on this earth, during your whole life, acknowledge God. Acknowledge Him to be the God, Who leads you through this present desert. Acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. When your own wisdom fails, ask God, and He will lead you in the ways you should go. Acknowledge Him in all things you intend, in all you propose, in all things you begin. Acknowledge the LORD in all words you speak, in all things you do, and in all you refrain from. Doing this, then He shall direct your paths; that is, He shall lead you in the right ways. To really acknowledge God requires that you trust in Him and rely on Him, as we have already seen. 3. Galatians 1:23,24 - Paul's conversion ---------------------------------------------------------------------- But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me. These are words of Paul the apostle. He is proving that his gospel differs in nothing from the gospel of the apostles in Jerusalem. He preaches the same as they do. In proving that his doctrine is the same as theirs, he comes to the words we read in our text. The people in Judea did not know Paul, but they had heard only of his conversion. They had heard the people say of Paul, that "he which persecuted us in times past now preaches the faith, which once he destroyed". When Paul was still a son of the law, without a renewed heart, he persecuted the members of Christ. This is always the case. A natural man does not understand the spiritual things, and he thinks them foolishness. Paul, before his conversion, did not understand the spiritual things. He thought that the Christians forsook the law. And, being a zealot for the law, he thought it best to persecute those "forsakers of Moses". Yes, he, Paul, was maintaining the law! He thought himself a good person, who fought for the institutes of the fathers! Also, he was a member of the sect of the Pharisees, who said they well kept the law. Before his conversion, he persecuted the congregation of the Lord. But after he met Jesus on the way to Damascus, he wholly changed. Being a zealous persecutor before his conversion, he became a zealous preacher of the faith after that. We see what grace can bring about. Grace changes the greatest sinners to holy people. From thieves, grace makes diligent workers. From murderers, grace makes caring people. From persecutors of the faith, grace makes zealous preachers of the truth. Of haters, grace makes lovers. Of wild and cruel beasts, it makes pleasant people. Who was formerly a wolf, will become peaceful, as is written: "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them." (Isaiah 11:6) This is it, what the prophet Isaiah had prophesied. Through grace, the animals of prey will dwell with the defenceless lambs and with the young children. Paul behaved like a wolf, hunting for Christians. But after he had received grace, he dwelt with them in peace. He also adds in the text: "And they glorified God in me." When they saw Paul's conversion, they began not to adulate him, but they glorified God. They knew that this conversion was God's work alone; not Paul's. They glorified God when they saw the grace in him. They glorified God since He again had added a sinner to the church, which should be saved. Whenever the faithful hear that God has made visible his grace, they rejoice with an exceedingly great joy. When it becomes known among the children of God, that one is added to the great multitude of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, which will be saved, they glorify God. He is the Author of our salvation, and the Worker of it. To Him must be all glory. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four [and] twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever. (Revelation 5:13,14) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 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-055.txt .