Mime-Version: 1.0 Date: Tue, 26 Dec 1995 08:59:57 +-100 Reply-To: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel From: Teus Benschop Subject: ChrExp, The Scriptures opened, 63 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Contents ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Genesis 47:7-10 - Jacob's life on earth 2. Isaiah 6:5 - Man sees his uncleanness in God's presence 3. Ephesians 6:24 - The love of Christ 1. Genesis 47:7-10 - Jacob's life on earth ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Weekly reading: Vayigash: Genesis 44:18-47:27. Genesis 47:7-10 7 And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8 And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou? 9 And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. 10 And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh. After Jacob had come in Egypt to dwell there, he was brought by Joseph his son before the king, before Pharaoh. When he was set there before him, we read in our text: "and Jacob blessed Pharaoh". Jacob, being a holy patriarch, blessed and greeted Pharaoh in a special and worthy way. He blessed Pharaoh. Undoubtedly, he has expressed his thank to the king, that he was allowed to dwell in Egypt because of the hunger. He must have wished also prosperity to the king, in the Name of the God of his fathers Abraham and Isaac. When Jacob had blessed the king, Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How many are the days of thy life? The answer of Jacob on this question is worthy of our special attention. Here you have his answer: The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. The first think that stands out in his answer is, that he reckons the time of his life by "days". He speaks of "the days of the years" of his life on earth. Jacob lives by the day. Day after day, he needs God. Day after day, his life and his all is in God's hand. Let's learn from Jacob's answer, that we should live by the day, and that we daily pray God for His protecting hand over us. Let's also listen to and learn from the words of Moses. He says in Psalm 90:12, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Let's number our days, and let's keep in mind that the number soon will be full. The days of our time on earth being short, let's apply our hearts unto wisdom. Let we not let pass the days in vain, or in doing idly things, but let we use our short time on earth in true wisdom. The true wisdom, that is the fear of the LORD. Another think that is striking in Jacob's answer to the king Pharaoh is, that he calls his lifetime on earth a "pilgrimage". He says that the days of the years of his pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years". As we know, a pilgrim has no fixed place to dwell, but he is on journey, until he reaches his goal. The pilgrim is going to a holy place. That was also Jacob's goal. He did not make this temporary life a goal in itself, but he used that life during his pilgrimage on earth. This life was not his goal, but his aim was to reach the holy place, namely heaven. To heaven, and to God; that was his goal. The heart of the holy man was in heaven, with God. And this life down was but a hold-up. It delayed his entrance in heaven. Yet it was God Who had determined the number of his days on earth. And Jacob had to live them, to perform his task here down. But his ultimate goal was not this life, because he was on pilgrimage. The sanctuary, the heavenly sanctuary, that was his desire. Let we also learn from this. Let we not make this earth our place of rest, nor put our hearts and desires on it. When we keep in mind that we are on pilgrimage, we will understand Solomon's prayer: (1 Chron 29:15) "For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding." We also will understand the words of the author of the 199th Psalm, verse 19: "I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me." Another thing in Jacob's answer, that is important for us, is that he says, "few and evil have the days of the years of my life been". Though his years were a hundred and thirty years, yet he call them a few. Besides, these years have also been evil. When we remember what evil things have happened to this man, we understand why his days have been evil. He fled from Esau, because his life was in danger. Then he worked day and night on the field, bore the heath of the day, and the cold of the night, and when the time was there that he got his wife, another was substituted in her stead. Having two wives, they often had words. There was not much peace in Jacob's family. When he returned to Canaan, after having fled rashly from Laban, he feared Esau. Being in Canaan, he had no fixed abode, and his sons sold Joseph to Egypt, Joseph his most beloved son. Being thus robbed of his son, also his daughter was defiled, and he fled from that place. And many more is there to tell of Jacob's life. No wonder that he called his lifetime evil. Let's learn from this that we not expect, when young, to have a happy life on earth. That is not sure. That is a dream, but not reality. "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. (Ps. 90:9,10) Jacob says that the days of his fathers were also a pilgrimage. Also his father expected another place, different from this earth down. It is sure that "they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country." (Heb 11:14) Though they lived in a country; no, though they even lived in the promised land Canaan, yet they sought another country. Canaan was not the end of God's promised; it was a shadow. Canaan was not the land of the rest. It shadowed forth to the faithful another abode, namely heaven. The unbelievers didn't notice this, but they imagined that God's promise was completely fulfilled when He had given them this promised land. But the faithful, as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, plainly declared that they were on pilgrimage, and therefore sought another country. All believers "desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city." (Heb 11:16) Reader, this life on earth is temporal, and we should look for a better land and city. Let's take all pains to enter into that city above. Though we not neglect our duties here down, let our hearts be with God. Let we lift up our heads, and, though we are oppressed by all kinds of evils here down, yet put our trust in God, Who sits on the throne above and rules all. 2. Isaiah 6:5 - Man sees his uncleanness in God's presence ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. These are the words of Isaiah, the prophet. He got a vision of the LORD. In the year that king Uzziah died, he saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne. He saw Him high and lifted up, and His train filling the temple. The invisible God showed Himself to Isaiah, not in reality because God is a Spirit, but in a vision. The throne, whereon the Lord sat, was His symbol of His ruling power, and His power to judge the whole earth. Isaiah also saw God's helpers standing by. He saw the seraphims standing above the throne. They all were ready to execute God's commands as soon as He would give them. Everyone of them had six wings. Two of them they used to cover their face because of the holiness, brightness and glory of God, which they were not able to endure. Two other wings they used to cover their feet, and the other two wings, they used to fly. This shows that they are ready to obey God promptly. While Isaiah was beholding this glorious vision, he also heard somewhat. He heard one angel cry unto another, saying: "Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts". And, "the whole earth is full of his glory". God is so holy that, when we once have declared His holiness, we should declare that for the second time, and so on. There is no end of God's holiness. And besides that the heaven was filled with God's glory, also the earth is full of that. This shows that every creature, regardless of his own chosen religion, ought to reject all own choices, and to praise the LORD of heaven and earth. The inhabitants of the earth, made of clay and dust of the earth, have no liberty to choose whom to serve. It is their duty to serve God only, and reject all other gods. Isaiah also saw that the posts of the door moved at the voice of the angel that cried, and that the house was filled with smoke. What this smoke was, we can but guess. It can be a sign of God's wrath, the blowing of His nose, because of the disobedience of the Jews of that time. When Isaiah had seen this all, and after he had heard all these great things - after he had seen God's glory, God's host, God's wrath; in short, after Isaiah had seen God, he at the same moment saw himself. A poor, black sinner. God, sitting in heaven, on His throne, is so high, majestic, holy, undefiled and glorious, that Isaiah at the same moment felt his own sins, uncleanness, filth and disobedience. In short, he saw that God is God, and that he himself was a man. When he had seen God, he said "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." He heard that all the angels praised the Lord, saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts". And Isaiah himself? Did he also praise God? No, he was silent. That is why he calls his lips unclean. All the heavenly host praised the LORD, but the entire earth was silent. Men ought to praise the LORD, but they all shut their mouths. They praise their wives when they have prepared a good meal, but when have they ever praised God? They praise themselves when they imagine to have done something praiseworthy, but when will they ever praise God? Woe is me, because everybody in heaven praises God, and I either keep my mouth or praise the creatures. Woe is me, because, besides that I don't perform my duty in praising God, I also dwell in the midst of a people with the same uncleanness. "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips". As long as we are on earth, and engage in these worldly business down, we are blind for God's glory and praiseworthyness. But only when we have seen "the King, the LORD of hosts", we begin to get some knowledge of the truth. Everybody therefore, who not falls down and loathes himself because of his sins, has not seen God. When the people tell you that they love God, but you don't ever hear them of the vices of their own sins, don't believe them. Learn not from them, but learn from Isaiah. As soon as he saw God, he saw that God should be honoured both in heaven and on earth, and he began to say: "Wo is me, for I am undone; I am a man of unclean lips; I dwell in the midst of unclean people". After this, God did not leave Isaiah in despair because of his unclean lips. Isaiah also not began to clean himself, by trying to praise God. But another thing happened. When Isaiah had said that he was an unclean man, then flew one of the seraphim unto him. He had a live coal in his hand. He had taken that coal with the tongs from off the altar. And that live coal, he laid upon Isaiah's mouth. Doing that, he said to the undone and perplexed prophet: "Lo, this has touched thy lips. Therefore thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin is purged". 3. Ephesians 6:24 - The love of Christ ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. The apostle here says that grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ. Whenever there is one that loves our Lord Christ, then grace will be with him. He should not love the Lord with the love wherewith the world loves, what is actually no love but self-love. But he should love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, or, with incorruption. Then grace will be with him or her. What is that, to love Christ in sincerity? This is an important question, because many think they love God, while they in reality don't. They have some good thoughts of the Jesus they have sometimes heard of, but for the rest they go on own ways. Loving in sincerity does not consist in thinking to love; but the sincere love is real and effective. Jesus once asked Peter whether he loved Him, even after his denial of Christ. "When they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep." (Joh 21:15-17) The love of Peter became visible therein, that he denied all own desires, and entirely devoted himself to the feeding of Christ's sheep. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. What more does the love of our Lord Jesus Christ mean? What more does that imply? The sincere love of our Lord Jesus means that the love of Him is much more important then any other love. Though we love our beloved, yet the love of Christ goes higher. At least, so it should be. This we can learn from Christ's own words. He said, in His teaching, "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. So, if one loves his father or mother more then Christ, then he is not worthy of Him. When one is put before the choice, and he chooses for his father, mother, son, daughter, or any other relation, then he shows that he is not worthy of Christ. His love of God is defective or entirely absent. Further, Christ says that "he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." (Matthew 10:38) Again, we see here that self-denial is necessary. Reader, if you do not take up your cross, and don't follow after Jesus, then you are not worthy of Him. The people loving Christ our Lord in sincerity go after Him. They daily take up their cross, and follow after their Shepherd. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. These are the words of Paul. What more does it mean to love Jesus Christ in sincerity? Are we, through faith in Him, no longer bound to obey the commandments? Can we, being once saved, heedlessly sin on? No. Because if anybody should do that, he clearly shows that he does not love Christ in truth. Because the words of our Saviour are: "If ye love me, keep my commandments." Joh 14:15. Because of the love towards Christ, one will do His will, and keep His commandments. He does so, because Christ requires it of him, and out of love, he will do all Christ asks. Yes, the person that loves God and Christ in sincerity, will keep the commandments. Also in other places, Jesus says that. "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." Joh 14:21. The person that has and does God's will, is the one that loves Christ, and he will be loved of the Father. Moreover, Christ will reveal Himself to that person, and will shine in his heart with His gracious influences. And in yet another place, Christ says: "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." Joh 15:10. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. But "if any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema. Maranatha." 1 Corinthians 16:22. Important is whether one loves our Saviour and Lord, our Shepherd that laid down His life for us, our Redeemer Who redeemed us with the price of His blood. Grace will be with him that loves Christ, but the curse will be upon the person that does not so. Decisive is whether one loves Christ in sincerity. How is it with you, reader? Keep in mind that this love is important. And that love is not some feeble feeling or any vague emotion, but the sincere love is strong and active. It denies own desires, and daily takes up the cross to follow after Christ. It keeps His commandments and does His will. And then, He will be with you, and reveal Himself to you. How is it with you, reader? "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves." (2 Corinthians 13:5) Examine your faith and your love, whether they be true or not. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 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-063.txt .