Mime-Version: 1.0 Date: Tue, 14 Nov 1995 08:38:24 +-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, 57 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Contents ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Genesis 24:26,27 - Divine providence 2. Proverbs 28:26 - The fool and the wise 3. Ephesians 2:1-5 - From death to life through God 1. Genesis 24:26,27 - Divine providence ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Reading: Genesis 23:1-25:18 Text: Genesis 24:26,27 And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren. Abraham sought a wife for Isaac his son, but not of the daughters of the land wherein he dwelt, because they were wicked. He commanded the eldest servant of his house to go to the land of his birth, of his family, and to take thence a wife for Isaac. Abraham knew that wives who are strangers to God, often draw their husbands with them in their lives without God. That is why he sent his servant, to look for a godly wife in the land of his fathers. In doing so, he did not rely on own wisdom, but he expected all wisdom from God. He sent out his eldest servant; a servant who knew the LORD, as we see in our text where he worshipped Him. Before that he had sent him out, he made him swear by the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth, that he would not take for Isaac a wife of the daughters of the Canaanites. He had seen enough of them; they didn't know God, but served all kinds of idols. Wasn't it enough that they brought destruction upon themselves? Should they also destroy Isaac, his son; the son of the promise? Isaac was given him by the special providence of the Lord, and should the wives of the Canaanites draw him away of God? No, that shall never happen! Never shall he be the cause of his son's straying off. That is why he asked his servant to go to his own country, and to his own kindred, and to take a wife thence for his son. The servant listened, and was willing to do that. But he saw one problem. It could happen that he found a wife, but that the woman was not willing to go with him. And then? He had sworn with an oath to Abraham, that he would take a wife thence. And what if the wife didn't like to go with him? We see here that the servant was not such a one, who thought lightly of an oath. Swearing is a grave thing; we call upon the Name of the LORD, that He is our Witness. That is not a light thing. Let we learn from this, that when we speak of God, that we do it with reverence and deep respect. The servant asked: "When the woman is not willing to follow me, should I then bring your son there? You came from that land, and should I then bring Isaac back there?" But Abraham answered that, whatever happened, Isaac should not be brought back in that land. The LORD was clear enough when He called Abraham thence, and bringing Isaac thither would be a transgression against the LORD. The LORD had promised him the land of Canaan; so Isaac should stay there. "Beware", he said to the servant, "that you bring not my son thither again. The LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth, has taken me from my father's house. He took me from the land where I was born, from my kindred. He said to me, and He even swore it, that He would give me this land". So, whatever happens, Isaac should stay in the land of the promise. You see that Abraham considers obedience much more important that a wife for his son. And that is the good attitude. Let we forsake all our wishes, which may fight against God's will. Let we deny our desire for a wife or a husband, whenever it wars against God. Even when an unmarried person sees a man or woman, but he or she is ungodly, let him then choose rather to stay with God, then to follow his own desires. That was the attitude of Abraham. In the mean time, the problems of the servant were not solved yet. When he had sworn to take a wife for Isaac from Abraham's land, and she chose not to go with him, what then? But now the faith of Abraham appears. He answers: "The LORD God of heaven and earth is the One who took me, and Who commanded me to go here. Not only this, but He also swore unto me, saying, Unto your seed will I give this land". Abraham had done nothing of own will, but he had always followed the LORD. The same God, Who said that also his seed would inherit the land. Because of this Abraham was assured that God would give a wife to his son. "This God will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife unto my son from thence", Abraham said. "But if the woman is not willing to go with you, then you will be clear from this my oath; but one thing: never bring my son thither again". Then the servant swore. After that he took the camels and departed to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. The servant, when he came in that city, made his camels to kneel down by a well of water. Then he prayed to God, asking for His guidance on the way. "O LORD God of my master Abraham", he said, "I am now praying Thee; send me good speed this day, that I may find a wife for Isaac. Because all depends on Thee, and I am not able to do anything. Behold, I now stand here by the well of water. And the daughters of the men of this city are coming out to draw water. Let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, 'Let down your pitcher, I pray you, that I may drink', this damsel, when she shall answer, 'Drink, and I will give your camels also' - let that damsel be the one Thou have given to Isaac, the son of my master. Let she be the one Thou have appointed for Thine servant Isaac." We see that the servant asked for God's help on his way. He did not rely on his own choice. He well knew that God is the One, Who appoints a wife for a man. The servant asked a sign of God. He should ask water to one of the daughters, and then she should give him drink, and also his camels. And what happened? The servant trusted in God, that He would lead him on the way. Was his faith confirmed by God's works of providence? Surely it was! God will never make ashamed all those who rely on Him. Also this time, He showed to be God. For, even before the servant was ready praying, look, Rebekah came out. She was a relative of Abraham. When she had drawn water, the servant went to her, and asked for water. Then all the signs, for which he had prayed, came at once. The servant saw it, wondering at her, to see whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not. After he had spoken with her, it appeared that the LORD had made his ways prosperous. Rebekah was of Abraham's family. When the servant understood that the LORD had been with him, he "bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD." And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren. The servant thanked God. He now saw with his own eyes how merciful God was. He remains the true God. A promise once given, He will fulfil. A heart trusting in Him, He will never make ashamed. The God Whom we serve is a good God. He is merciful and true. His providence is everywhere visible; at least for the faithful. Though the greatest part of the world speaks of "fate" or "chance", the believers know better. There is no fate, but all is ruled by God. He does so by His providence. He cares for all, even for the smallest things. Let none think that the LORD does not know of him. Blessed, therefore, is the LORD of Abraham our father. He does not leave destitute us of His mercy and His truth. When we are in His ways, the LORD will lead us to the place and to the task which He has appointed for us. 2. Proverbs 28:26 - The fool and the wise ---------------------------------------------------------------------- He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. Proverbs 28:26 Solomon puts two types of men before our eyes. The fool and the wise. The wise man will be delivered, says he. So the fool will be behind bars. Who is the wise? And who it the fool? The fool. The foolish man trusts in his own heart. He does not put his trust in God, but in his own heart. What is one's heart? Is it trustworthy, or not? According to the prophet, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9) To trust in such a thing, that is really foolish. Isn't it foolish to trust in a thing which is deceitful? Yes, which is deceitful above all things? Moreover, to trust in something which is desperately wicked? The fool trusts in himself. He trusts on his own strength, for example, saying "I am so healthy, nothing will happen to me". He continues saying and thinking that until an sudden evil happens to him. Where is then his strength? Where is his power? A fool also trusts in his merit. Who has done so much for God and the neighbour, he thinks, then I? He also trusts to be righteous. Doing so, he is blinded so as not to see his own faults and sins. Being blind, he does no longer fear God, neither obey Him, nor take care of His will. The wise. Whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. Solomon says that the one who walks wisely, will be delivered. But what is that, walking wisely? How must we do that? Are we able to do that? Who is wise? The man who walks wisely, will walk according to the truth. That is real wisdom. He will direct his run, so that he walks on the way, showed him by God. That is true wisdom. The wise will also listen to the words of the other wise people, who care for his salvation. Scripture gives us numerous advises, regarding being wise or foolish. "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil." (Proverbs 3:7) Here we find those people described, of whom the world is so full, who are wise in their own eyes. They think to possess all wisdom, and will never listen to other people. Reader, be not wise in your own eyes, but fear the LORD. That is true wisdom. Fear the LORD, and depart from evil. "Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know." (1 Corinthians 8:1,2) This is another Scriptural advice regarding wisdom and ignorance. The world if full of people, who have learned a few things, and who then begin to think that they know all; at least that they know all the main points. They can tell you how you should live; they tell you which things, though prescribed in Scripture, you don't need follow, and so on. Of them, the apostle Paul spoke, when he said, "knowledge puffs up, but charity edifies". Reader, if you think that you know anything, you in fact know nothing yet as you ought to know. Whatever knowledge you have, or imagine to have, is but knowledge of this world. It is not sanctified knowledge, and does not lead to God. It serving but to puff you up, and to lead everybody, who listens to you, away from God. Another wise word of Paul is, "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." (1 Corinthians 3:19) Yes, without doubt, the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, for it is written, "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness." (Job 5:13) What the world regards as very wise, is foolish in God's eyes. The religious world has thought up several crooked ways to evade the claims of Scripture on our lives. They have thought up things like, "that only applied in Paul's time", or "they did so in that time, but we now know much more", and the like deceptions. Truly, the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. When you know how to live in such a way, that you always benefit yourself, you are regarded wise in the world. But also this worldly wisdom is foolishness with God, because it is written, "He takes the wise in their own craftiness." So, what is true wisdom? Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgement, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23,24) 3. Ephesians 2:1-5 - From death to life through God ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; The apostle Paul is here speaking to the believers of Ephesus. The difference between their former lives and their lives now is very great. It is as great as the difference between death and life. "And you [has He quickened}", says he. The words "has He quickened", which are added for the sake of clarity, are taken from the fifth verse, "Even when we were dead in sins, (God) hath quickened us together with Christ". They were formerly dead in trespasses. Sinning daily and always, they brought death upon themselves; yes, they were dead therein. How great is then God's goodness, who has drawn them from that miserable state unto that honourable state of being children of God. Through the renewal of their life, they became children of God; through faith in Christ, they were quickened. When Paul says that they were "dead in trespasses and sins", he also means such. We see herein that the man, as he is born, is spiritually dead. We are not half dead, or weak, but wholly and entirely dead in trespasses and sins. Those who not have received the new life of God; who are not regenerated, are wholly dead. The cause of their death were their sins; not God. 1 And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Before their regeneration, they walked according to the course of this world. This world is always bringing destruction upon itself, by their works. Walking according to the course of this world, that is a sign of death. When nobody sees difference between you and the world, then surely you are as dead as the world is. The inhabitants of the world, who continue in sin, are the slaves of satan, the prince of the power of the air. They did his will, a very evil will. That spirit of darkness works in the children of disobedience. They are called "the children of disobedience", since they are wilfully warring against God. They know His will, but they refuse to listen to Him. They are the children of father "Disobedience" itself; rightly are they called the children of that. They have seen the disobedience of their father, and now walk in his footsteps. They are, in short, given over to disobedience. 2 The children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. We all, before God regenerated us, had our conversion in times past among the children of disobedience. We fulfilled the desires and the lusts of the flesh and of the mind. The flesh desires all what is pleasant for it. We ate too much nice food, since the flesh desired that. We loved nice things, because our eyes wished that. We fulfilled all lusts, as soon as they came in our mind. These lusts of the flesh were against the will of God, but since we were children of disobedience, we did not care for that. We were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. By our continuously sinning, we put the wrath of God upon ourselves. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) Though we were dead in sins and trespasses, and though we were children of disobedience, yet God has quickened us together with Christ. Though we always refused to obey Him, yet God was so rich in mercy, that He brought us to life. The cause of our life was the love, the great love of God, wherewith He loved us even before we were born. Who can understand this? While we were yet sinners, God loved us! While we were always provoking Him to wrath, yet He loved us. This love of God is a thing we cannot and will never fully understand. Even while we were dead in sins, He loved us with His great love. It is grace only whereby we were saved. We were saved by grace only, through faith, not by works. For, when we would be saved by works, we could boast in ourselves. But now, when all is coming from one side, from God's grace, there is no longer any room for boasting. Let then all the honour be given to God, and let it be taken away from us. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- email@example.com "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 Written by Teus Benschop -- firstname.lastname@example.org ---------------------------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-057.txt .