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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 

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
     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

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
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

"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  --  t.benschop@pobox.ruu.nl

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-057.txt