Mime-Version: 1.0 Date: Tue, 21 Nov 1995 08:58:59 +-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, 58 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Contents ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Gen. 25:21-23 - Rebekah's pregnancy 2. Ecclesiastes 1:2,3 - Vanity of vanities 3. Philippians 1:3-6 - The Philippians' fellowship in the gospel 1. Gen. 25:21-23 - Rebekah's pregnancy ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Weekly reading: Gen. 25:19 - 28:9 21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she [was] barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If [it be] so, why [am] I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD. 23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations [are] in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and [the one] people shall be stronger than [the other] people; and the elder shall serve the younger. (Genesis 25:21-23) We have here the story of Isaac, whose wife was barren. He prayed the LORD for her, and she conceived. When the children struggled in her womb, she went to ask the LORD. He foresaid her what would become of her children. "And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she [was] barren:" When Isaac married Rebekah, he was forty years old, and when the children were born, he was sixty years old (vs.26). So, when we here read of Isaac's intreatment of the LORD, we see that he did so during twenty years. Twenty years long, his wife was barren, while Isaac had the promise of a seed like the sand of the sea in multitude. Twenty years long, the faith of Isaac was tried by God, through the barrenness of his wife. Twenty years long, Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren. "And the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived." At God's time, He heard Isaac, and was intreated of him. The LORD, Who has created man and woman, Who is the Author of all life on earth, gave that Rebekah conceived. After that, time went on and the children grew in her womb. When the time came that she could feel her children, she noticed that "the children struggled together within her." She felt that these motions were not the normal ones, but that there was strife within her. There were two children in her, and they struggled together. She did not know what to think of that. What was that? Two children struggling within her? "And she said, If [it be] so, why [am] I thus?" She said, If it be so that the children struggle, and that they try to destroy one another, why am I thus? If they struggle, why am I thus with child? Is this the fulfilment of God's promise? If they struggle, and try to destroy one another, how can ever God's promise be fulfilled through them? Why am I with child, seeing that I will bring forth nothing but fighting children? "And she went to enquire of the LORD." Rebekah went to the LORD with her difficulties, because she knew the LORD, and that He was the only Refuge in all her miseries. She prayed the LORD for an answer, "and the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and [the one] people shall be stronger than [the other] people; and the elder shall serve the younger." This is the answer the LORD gave her. Her two children will become two nations. They were already struggling in her womb, and when they shall have become two nations, whey will continue doing so. The one nation will be stronger then the other, but the elder shall serve the younger. From this, she could see that it is God Who governs all, also her children. According to God's election, the elder should serve the younger. That was the choice of God, and so it would happen. In later time, Paul repeats this story, and teaches from this the grace of God's election. "For [the children] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth; It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." (Romans 9:11-13) Our mighty LORD does with His creation what He wills. Jacob have I loved, said He, and Esau have I hated, (Malachi 1:2,3). The Creator of heaven and earth does with us according to His pleasure. "Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated". Yes, He did so even before they had done anything good or wrong. This shows us that one should not think that he can earn anything with God through his works, since already before these works, God had loved Jacob and had hated Esau. One nation will serve the other, said He, and the elder shall serve the younger. Yes, also the future state of both nations, of Israel and Edom, were determined by God, according to His purpose. If we have such a God, let we then fear Him. "Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole [duty] of man." (Ecclesiastes 12:13) If we have such a God, let we then obey Him, and subject ourselves to Him, together with all in us what might protest against His purpose. The wicked protest against God, but in vain. The godly know that God is good, and that He is their God, and that they are His children. They do like Rebekah did. When they have problems, or when they don't know how they are, they go to inquire of the LORD. "LORD, why am I thus?" And without doubt, when the prayer is done in faith, God will surely answer. They say with the Psalmist: "I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints." (Psalms 85:8) 2. Ecclesiastes 1:2,3 - Vanity of vanities ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. Ecclesiastes 1:2,3 After the Preacher has tried all things in the world, his only conclusion is: vanity of vanities; vanity of vanities; all is vanity. All things in the world cannot and can never satisfy man's soul. Though one might have all riches, yet his inner parts remain unhappy. One may have all, but the goods of this world cannot make him happy. And when his soul passes away, what profit has it then gained from all these goods? Nothing, because they all were but vain things. Vanity has it been, vanity is it, and vanity will it be. Of vain things, you cannot expect any profit for the soul. How should a soul get peace with God through the things of this world? That cannot, and that will never happen. Peace with God, one does not get through vanities, but through the precious and valuable blood of Christ Jesus, shed for the sinners. Yes, the things of this world are vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, but the blood of the Lamb of God is worth of worthies, says God. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? Labour is good, but what is its profit? Men rise up early, work hard, and go to bed late, but what is its profit? "It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows." (Psalms 127:2) What profit do you have of all your labour under the sun? And sometimes your labour under the moon? Does the labour benefit your soul? Aren't you working hard for your mouth, which eats up all? It is a good thing to be diligent, but keep in mind that it does never give full contentment. Nothing under this sun will ever give you contentment. No labour, no wife, no man, no children, no, there is nothing which ever will profit you. Can your labour save your soul? When you are come at the end of your life, a life of hard labour, have you then saved your soul? All your labour will be left here beneath, and changed or destroyed by your successor. What profit does it give you? Should you not, above all, take care for your soul? All things go by, and nothing remains. Time goes on; years elapse; you grow old. What profit do you have of all your labour which you take under the sun? The wise Preacher asked this, and the answer is, that it does give no profit at all. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? "One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever." In every generation, that has passed away, they have worked hard, and have thought about putting paradise again on earth. But they did not succeed, and then they passed away without anything. This generation passed away, and the other one came in its stead. And they? Also they have not learned from their forefathers (much less from this Preacher here); they did not learn from anybody, and sought again paradise and happiness here on earth. Also they will pass away, and will lose both their bodies and their souls. And then the next generation comes up, tries the same, and... with the same vain result. While the earth stands, every generation is born, grows up, labours, passes away, is buried. One generation passes away, and another generation comes. For, there is written: "And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty." (Exodus 1:6,7) All living things on this earth are temporary, but in the mean time, the earth remains standing. While everybody perishes and vanishes, and while all living creatures die, the earth abides forever. If all these things be so, why then is men created? Is a man created to work hard, and pass away afterwards? No, but when God created the human race, He had another goal with them. They should not pass away one after another, but they should live forever; they should always life to the honour of Him that created them. God did not create man to pass away, but to abide forever with Him, and in His presence. That these things aren't so, and that all life vanishes, is the result of sin. Death entered into the world through sin. One generation passes away, and the second comes and passes away also, and the third does the same, and so on. If these things are so, and our life time on earth is so short, let us then be diligent in spending it in the service of our God. Only through faith, one is again accepted in the favour of God. Only through regeneration, one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven, for there is written: "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3) If all things are vain; if all is vanity of vanities; if we have no profit of all our labour under the sun - if these things be so, why should we labour? We should labour, because it is necessary. It is the will of God; He hates the lazy people. One should labour to earn a living. But keep in mind, that all that labour does not profit you. At the end of your life, when you will pass away, you cannot say: "God, I have laboured hard; allow me in heaven". You cannot say that, because "what profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?" It did not give your real profit. Therefore, pay attention to your soul, that it may have peace with God through Jesus Christ. While all passes away, let us run for our life. Let us be diligent in doing God's will. Let us try to flee from the coming destruction, which will come upon us if we die unreconciled with God. While all these things here beneath are vanity of vanities, let us seek the remaining and lasting things, which are in heaven. Let our treasure not be here down, but let it be in heaven, where God is, and Christ our Lord. Let we seek to be found in Christ. When this is so, then, though everything comes to its end, and everybody passes away, we will be safe in Him. Then we may say with the "prayer of Moses the man of God: Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth. For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled. Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale [that is told]. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants. O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it." (Psalms 90) 3. Philippians 1:3-6 - The Philippians' fellowship in the gospel ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:3-6 Paul, on his journeys to preach, had also been in Philippi. While he was preaching there, God converted many from the darkness to the light of truth. God brought many to the faith. When Paul writes this letter to the Philippians, he again remembers that. God's hand was mighty with him, when he was there. Many believed in Christ Jesus, to the forgiveness of their sins. Paul well knew, that, though he might preach, yet the conversions were of God. He could sow the seed of the Word, but it is God Who gives the growth. In every remembrance of the Philippians, he again thanks God, since His hand was so mighty to the conversion of many. Many were saved from an inevitable destruction. They were saved through God from their sins, and were reconciled with Him through Christ Jesus His Son. Whenever Paul remembered that, he thanked God. How good is God to save poor, unknowing heathens, walking in the darkness of own imaginations and satan's deceptions. "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you", said Paul, "always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy". Paul rejoiced over the people, who were brought to God. In every prayer, he brought them before the face of God, requesting that God would continue to pour our His grace over them, and His Holy Spirit, so that they might continue in the joy, faith, hope, love and obedience. The joy of Paul was great because of their fellowship in the gospel from the first day; another reason of Paul's joy was that they continued in the gospel, not for a short time only, but even until now. God's grace was mighty over them, so that they continued in the gospel. God kept them, that they might not fall away. Christ was in heaven praying for them, that they might be kept. That is, what He once said to Peter: "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not". (Luke 22:32) And shortly before His death, He prayed: "And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are." (John 17:11) Through the prayer of Jesus in heaven, the faithful are kept. For this reason, Paul was confident that God would continue His Own work in the Philippians. I am "confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." All those given to God will be kept, so that none might get lost but the son of perdition. Since all the faithful do not belong to the sons of perdition, they all are kept. Only the unbelievers, though they feign to have faith, will be lost. But the true faith is a work, which is not begun by any man, but by God. "God has begun a good work in you", says Paul, and that is why He "will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ". The "day of Jesus Christ" is the day when Jesus will come back to judge the quick and the dead, or when the believers, through the death, will pass away from this world, and be taken up in heaven. Death is their friend (when faith works), since it will bring them to Christ. Then their wish is fulfilled. Paul was not with them now; he was at a great distance. But that did not hinder that his prayer was always for them. In every prayer of him, he thanked God for His grace, and requested that He might continue that. The work God did was begun with the sending of Paul the apostle to the heathens, and He continued it by bringing multitudes to Himself, through the reconciliation which is in Jesus Christ. God not only continues His work, but He also will perform it until the end. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 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 Written by Teus Benschop -- email@example.com ---------------------------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/so: s-open-058.txt .