Mime-Version: 1.0 Date: Tue, 9 Jan 1996 16:17:47 +-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, 65 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Contents ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Exodus 2:23-25 - God remembered His covenant 2. Jeremiah 9:1-3 - Weeping for the slain of my people 3. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 - Pray without ceasing 1. Exodus 2:23-25 - God remembered His covenant ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Weekly reading: Shemot: Exodus 1:1-6:1 Exodus 2:23-25 23 And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them. By reason of the bondage, of the heaviness thereof, the children of Israel sighed. Because of their slavery, the began to cry unto God. While they were in rest in Egypt, in the beginning, the Israelites were forgetting God. Because of the rest and prosperity, they didn't have need of God, a Redeemer. Why should they? Wasn't all well? Why should they need God? But when the slavery became heavier and heavier, they began to cry unto God. The afflictions brought them back to God. They cried to Him, the God of their fathers. Like the Israelites, so is it with us all. When we are in prosperity, we forget God. We don't need Him. But thanks to God, He sends us afflictions. We don't thank for the afflictions themselves, but we thank God because through the distress, we are pressed to seek Him again. We glory in tribulations, because they bring us, through the influence of God's Spirit, to cry unto Him. Look at the Israelites. They sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried; their cry came up unto God. So, when we also are pressed through many afflictions, and those distresses serve to keep us with God, then we glory in the need, because it brings us to God. "We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:" Rom. 5:3,4. In the 24th verse of our text we read: "And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob." When God had heard their groaning, and when He had remembered His covenant with the fathers, the text continues with "And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them." We read then that their groaning came up to God, and He heard it. If it had been the groaning of some strange nation, then it isn't sure what God would have done. But this groaning was of the children of Israel. And they were the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They were children of the fathers, with whom God had made His covenant. God heard their groaning, and remembered His covenant. Because of that covenant, and not because of some value in the Israelites, God heard them, and came down to deliver them. God looked upon the children of Israel, says the text. That is, after He had remembered the covenant with Abraham, He looked upon the Israelites, remembered that they were included in that covenant, and because of that accepted them. It is not because of some value in the Israelites, that God decided to deliver them from the iron furnace, from Egypt. It is not because of the people, but because He remembered His promise, once given to the fathers. And we know that God is faithful, and that He is always the same. A promise once given will He fulfil, and never break. God is not like a man, like we are. We daily break our covenant with God, but He always keeps it. And it may be that He destroys the transgressors, but He will not utterly break the covenant. The transgressors, when they continue therein, will of course have no benefit from God's faithfulness, because they are destroyed. But their posterity can, when God will, again be brought back to the true worship of God. It is grace, only grace that God delivered the Israelites from Egypt. And it is grace, all grace, when it pleases God to deliver us from the bondage of sin. We daily tie up ourselves in sin, that we may hurt ourselves. But when God wills, He delivers us, not because of anything in us, but because of His pleasure. The way wherein God delivers the sinners, is often the same as the way wherein He delivered Israel from Egypt. The burden became too heavy for them. Likewise the sinner. The burden of sin will become heavier and heavier. He daily experiences that he heaps sin upon sin. He sees into his own dark heart, and experiences that he is unable to free himself from it. Then he begins to cry to God by reason of the bondage. And when it is God's will, then He comes down, and shines into the dark heart of the sinner. He illuminates his dark heart, and gives it knowledge of the way of salvation, that is through and in Christ, our Redeemer. Only in Christ, we can be saved, through faith. God, through the light of His Word, shows the desperate sinner, that there is a way out of his present bondage. Until the time of his deliverance the sinner is thrown between hope and fear. He knows that God can deliver him, but is He also willing? God can do it, but does He will it? He hears of other saved sinners, but will God also save him? Until the time of his deliverance, the sinner is not sure. But when God's moment is there, he is set in freedom. The bonds of sin are broken, and he is set free. Then his mouth flows over with praise of God. 2. Jeremiah 9:1-3 - Weeping for the slain of my people ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Jeremiah 9:1-3 1 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! 2 Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men. 3 And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD. The prophet knows the future evils, that will come upon his people. God has told it to him. The enemy will enter the land, and destroy all, both the land, the inhabitants, the beasts, and all the rest. It is because of their great and offending evils and sins, that God will punish them. The prophet sees it before him, in his mind, though it still has not happened. He sees the slain of the daughter of his people. He has warned them, in the Name of God, but they refused to listen. They rather chose to continue in their evils then to listen to the prophet. They thought that the prophet was a negative pessimist. Why should they listen to him? Come on, let us drink and eat, and be happy. While refusing to listen to the word of God through the prophet, they heedlessly went on. But the prophet knew and saw the coming evils. Because of that he says, "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!" The prophet daily lived among his people. When preaching to them, and testifying to them the word of God, he daily saw their behaviour. Because of their innumerable sins, he became very tired of being among them. Every day, and every our, yes, always they heaped sin upon sin. Always and ever they refused to obey. They loathed being righteous. Always they provoked God's anger against themselves, through their behaviour. Because of that, the prophet wished he no longer were among them. "Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men." The prophet longed to the rest in the wilderness, where he would be delivered from the adulterers and treacherous men. In the wilderness, yes, there he could be alone with God, finally freed from his people. What a rest would that be! The prophet longed to be with God, in a place undefiled through adultery and treason. "And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD." They all are ready to lie. Like people bend their bows to shoot off the arrow, so they bend their tongues to shoot off lies against every truth, yes, against the prophet himself. He always felt their words, like the stabbing of swords or arrows upon him. Bow the tongue, and shoot off another lie! Reject every truth! Yes, this were the people of the prophet, short before their final destruction, and their exile to Babylon, and the destruction of both city and temple. Righteous men are always valiant for the truth upon the earth, but these liars? The trampled down the truth, that it might never stand up again. They proceed from one evil to another, because they didn't know the LORD anymore. Yes, they had, of course, the Name of God on their lips, but nevertheless they didn't know Him. Like we see in our times crowds that profess the Name of God, but that deny Him with their works and words. "This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me", Mark 7:6. "Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid," Isa. 29:13,14. It seems that so short before the exile, correction and repentance was no longer possible. The punishment was now decided, let then the people go on in their evils, that they might have a just reward. The prophet's admonitions and warnings did not help. Everybody went on in his own chosen ways. Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders. And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity. Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD. Because of this all, says God, I will melt them, and try them like gold is tried in the fire. Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait. So, the outward appearance of the people was peace, but the inward disposition was laying in wait one for another. Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? No wonder then, that the prophet says: "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men." 3. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 - Pray without ceasing ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Pray without ceasing. Our text is not long: "Pray without ceasing". But though the text is short, yet the practising of that text is very long. It is so long, that there is no end to it. Pray without ceasing, that is a very long time, without end. Pray always and ever. With all your needs, go to the Lord. Pray always. During your work, pray. During your eating and drinking, pray. Sometimes pray aloud, with audible words. Sometimes, pray in your heart. Never cease praying. Praying is the breathing of the living soul. Without prayer to God, we soon grow cold. Like breathing is necessary for any living being, so also praying is necessary for any living soul. Pray without ceasing. Praying, what is that? In prayer, a human being speaks with God. He either thanks God, or asks Him something. God may answer that prayer, and hear it. A prayer, done in faith, will always be heard. God will answer the faithful prayer. It is important to see that we pray to God. God is a spiritual Being, and therefore also our prayer ought to be spiritual. "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth", John 4:24. In the gospels, Jesus has taught us how to pray. First, he says what kind of place we should choose for our regular prayers, and secondly, he gives us the example of the perfect prayer. Let us now listen to Jesus, our dearly beloved Saviour: "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." Matthew 6:5-13. Pray you, said Paul. Pray you without ceasing. Always and ever pray to your Father which is in Heaven. But one may ask, How is it possible to pray always and ever, without ceasing? Don't we have also our daily work? Should we then forsake our work, and pray always and ever? The answer is: No, don't forsake your task on earth, but yet, pray without ceasing. These things should go together. Pray while you work. While at home, while on the road, while working, always pray, without ceasing. Let your mind always be directed to God. Let God always be in your heart. Let you do all things with prayer, and thanksgiving. Don't undertake anything without prayer. Let your inner parts always speak with God. Let there be a spiritual connection between God and your soul. Pray always. But what happens if you, while feign to pray, at the same moment commit evil? Will God hear the sinner? Can that go together, sinning and praying? No, it cannot, because the Psalmist says, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me", Psalm 66:18. Let your hands therefore be pure, and also your heart. Let the praying man be cleansed through faith, and then also his prayer is clean and pure. Some have the habit to pray for all and everything. They ask God if they may get this. They ask Him for that. They ask Him for joy. They ask Him that their own wishes and desires may be fulfilled. In short, they ask God for all. They are like a nagging child. God is good for everything, if He but gives their desires. God, in fact, is the Fulfiller of their wishes. They pray for all but one thing: They never pray that they may subject themselves to God. They always pray that their own will may be done, but the phrase from the perfect prayer, "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven", this phrase comes never out of their mouths. The words, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" are never heard from them. It is always and ever: I, I, and again, I. Lord, I will this, give it me. Such a prayer, of course, is very evil. Let us therefore forsake all evil praying, but let us subject ourselves, together with all we have, and together with all our desires, to God. Let we deny ourselves, and try to do God's will. Let us follow Him, wherever He goes. Pray without ceasing. Like Jesus has taught, by a parable, "that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;" Luke 18:1. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all the evils that come upon this ungodly world, and to stand before the Son of man. Continue instant in prayer. Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 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-065.txt .