By bob | May 20, 2013
Giving Others What They Really Need
17;28:23;29:10 May 26 2013
Leviticus 19:35-36 forbids the use of “dishonest standards,” weighted to favor the merchant rather than the seller or buyer. The Jewish Talmud calls for meticulous efforts to keep this command, decreeing that “the shopkeeper must wipe his measures twice a week, his weights once a week, and his scales after every weighing,” to keep any substance from throwing them off. We can’t be too careful trying to be fair with others.
Why should the community rejoice in the prosperity of the righteous? Because both the way a righteous man gains his wealth and the way he uses it benefits society. The righteous businessman employs others, supports schools and government with his taxes and, in the O.T. tradition, shares generously.
The Heb. calls the man who hates correction “brutish.” The thought is that animals, controlled by instinct, are unable to learn from criticism. The person who gets angry when corrected rather than taking the criticism to heart has as little chance to make moral progress as a dumb animal.
Animals are not viewed with contempt because they are less than human. They are viewed with compassion, and we are to accept responsibility to care for them.
Proverbs 11:12 He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor,But a man of understanding holds his peace.13 A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.14 Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.
I. Silence is here recommended as an instance of true friendship, and a preservative of it, and therefore an evidence, 1. Of wisdom: A man of understanding, that has rule over his own spirit, if he be provoked, holds his peace, that he may neither give vent to his passion nor kindle the passion of others by any opprobrious language or peevish reflections. 2. Of sincerity: He that is of a faithful spirit, that is true, not only to his own promise, but to the interest of his friend, conceals every matter which, if divulged, may turn to the prejudice of his neighbour.
II. This prudent friendly concealment is here opposed to two very bad vices of the tongue:—1. Speaking scornfully of a man to his face: He that is void of wisdom discovers his folly by this; he despises his neighbour, calls him Raca, and Thou fool, upon the least provocation, and tramples upon him as not worthy to be set with the dogs of his flock. He undervalues himself who thus undervalues one that is made of the same mould. 2. Speaking spitefully of a man behind his back: A tale-bearer, that carries all the stories he can pick up, true or false, from house to house, to make mischief and sow discord, reveals secrets which he has been entrusted with, and so breaks the laws, and forfeits all the privileges, of friendship and conversation.
Here is, 1. The bad omen of a kingdom’s ruin: Where no counsel is, no consultation at all, but every thing done rashly, or no prudent consultation for the common good, but only caballing for parties and divided interests, the people fall, crumble into factions, fall to pieces, fall together by the ears, and fall an easy prey to their common enemies. Councils of war are necessary to the operations of war; two eyes see more than one; and mutual advice is in order to mutual assistance. 2. The good presage of a kingdom’s prosperity: In the multitude of counsellors, that see their need one of another, and act in concert and with concern for the public welfare, there is safety; for what prudent methods one discerns not another may. In our private affairs we shall often find it to our advantage to advise with many; if they agree in their advice, our way will be the more clear; if they differ, we shall hear what is to be said on all sides, and be the better able to determine.
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.
This intimates the strength of those bonds by which we are bound to each other and which we ought to be sensible of. 1. Friends must be constant to each other at all times. That is not true friendship which is not constant; it will be so if it be sincere, and actuated by a good principle. Those that are fanciful or selfish in their friendship will love no longer than their humour is pleased and their interest served, and therefore their affections turn with the wind and change with the weather. Swallow-friends, that fly to you in summer, but are gone in winter; such friends there is no loss of. But if the friendship be prudent, generous, and cordial, if I love my friend because he is wise, and virtuous, and good, as long as he continues so, though he fall into poverty and disgrace, still I shall love him. Christ is a friend that loves at all times (Jn. 13:1 ) and we must so love him, Rom. 8:35 . 2. Relations must in a special manner be careful and tender of one another in affliction: A brother is born to succour a brother or sister in distress, to whom he is joined so closely by nature that he may the more sensibly feel from their burdens, and be the more strongly inclined and engaged, as it were by instinct, to help them. We must often consider what we were born for, not only as men, but as in such a station and relation. Who knows but we came into such a family for such a time as this? We do not answer the end of our relations if we do not do the duty of them. Some take it thus: A friend that loves at all times is born (that is, becomes) a brother in adversity, and is so to be valued.
Proverbs 18:24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly,But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Solomon here recommends friendship to us, and shows, 1. What we must do that we may contract and cultivate friendship; we must show ourselves friendly. Would we have friends and keep them, we must not only not affront them, or quarrel with them, but we must love them, and make it appear that we do so by all expressions that are endearing, by being free with them, pleasing to them, visiting them and bidding them welcome, and especially by doing all the good offices we can and serving them in every thing that lies in our power; that is showing ourselves friendly.
Si vis amari, ama —
If you wish to gain affection, bestow it.
Ut ameris, amabilis esto —
The way to be beloved is to be lovely.
2. That it is worth while to do so, for we may promise ourselves a great deal of comfort in a true friend. A brother indeed is born for adversity, as he had said, ch. 17:17 . In our troubles we expect comfort and relief from our relations, but sometimes there is a friend, that is nothing akin to us, the bonds of whose esteem and love prove stronger than those of nature, and, when it comes to the trial, will do more for us than a brother will. Christ is a friend to all believers that sticks closer than a brother; to him therefore let them show themselves friendly.
Proverbs 27:5 Open rebuke is betel. Than love carefully concealed.6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, Is a man who wanders from his place.
Proverbs 27:9 Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel. 10 Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend, Nor go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity; Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.
Here is, 1. A charge given to be faithful and constant to our friends, our old friends, to keep up an intimacy with them, and to be ready to do them all the offices that lie in our power. It is good to have a friend, a bosom-friend, whom we can be free with, and with whom we may communicate counsels. It is not necessary that this friend should be a relation, or any way akin to us, though it is happiest when, among those who are so, we find one fit to make a friend of. Peter and Andrew were brethren, so were James and John; yet Solomon frequently distinguishes between a friend and a brother. But it is advisable to choose a friend among our neighbours who live near us, that acquaintance may be kept up and kindnesses the more frequently interchanged. It is good also to have a special respect to those who have been friends to our family: “Thy own friend, especially if he have been thy father’s friend, forsake not; fail not both to serve him and to use him, as there is occasion. He is a tried friend; he knows thy affairs; he has a particular concern for thee; therefore be advised by him.” It is a duty we owe to our parents, when they are gone, to love their friends and consult with them. Solomon’s son undid himself by forsaking the counsel of his father’s friends. 2. A good reason given why we should thus value true friendship and be choice of it. (1.) Because of the pleasure of it. There is a great deal of sweetness in conversing and consulting with a cordial friend. It is like ointment and perfume, which are very grateful to the smell, and exhilarate the spirits. It rejoices the heart; the burden of care is made lighter by unbosoming ourselves to our friend, and it is a great satisfaction to us to have his sentiments concerning our affairs. The sweetness of friendship lies not in hearty mirth, and hearty laughter, but in hearty counsel, faithful advice, sincerely given and without flattery, by counsel of the soul (so the word is), counsel which reaches the case, and comes to the heart, counsel about soul-concerns, Ps. 66:16 . We should reckon that the most pleasant conversation which is about spiritual things, and promotes the prosperity of the soul. (2.) Because of the profit and advantage of it, especially in a day of calamity. We are here advised not to go into a brother’s house, not to expect relief from a kinsman merely for kindred-sake, for the obligation of that commonly goes little further than calling cousin and fails when it comes to the trial of a real kindness, but rather to apply ourselves to our neighbours, who are at hand, and will be ready to help us at an exigence. It is wisdom to oblige them by being neighbourly, and we shall have the benefit of it in distress, by finding them so to us, ch. 18:24.
Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
This intimates both the pleasure and the advantage of conversation. One man is nobody; nor will poring upon a book in a corner accomplish a man as the reading and studying of men will. Wise and profitable discourse sharpens men’s wits; and those that have ever so much knowledge may by conference have something added to them. It sharpens men’s looks, and, by cheering the spirits, puts a briskness and liveliness into the countenance, and gives a man such an air as shows he is pleased himself and makes him pleasing to those about him. Good men’s graces are sharpened by converse with those that are good, and bad men’s lusts and passions are sharpened by converse with those that are bad, as iron is sharpened by its like, especially by the file. Men are filed, made smooth, and bright, and fit for business (who were rough, and dull, and inactive), by conversation. This is designed, 1. To recommend to us this expedient for sharpening ourselves, but with a caution to take heed whom we choose to converse with, because the influence upon us is so great either for the better or for the worse. 2. To direct us what we must have in our eye in conversation, namely to improve both others and ourselves, not to pass away time or banter one another, but to provoke one another to love and to good works and so to make one another wiser and better.
Proverbs 28:23 He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward. Than he who flatters with the tongue
1. Flatterers may please those for a time who, upon second thoughts, will detest and despise them. If ever they come to be convinced of the evil of those sinful courses they were flattered in, and to be ashamed of the pride and vanity which were humoured and gratified by those flatteries, they will hate the fawning flatterers as having had an ill design upon them, and the fulsome flatteries as having had an ill effect upon them and become nauseous. 2. Reprovers may displease those at first who yet afterwards, when the passion is over and the bitter physic begins to work well, will love and respect them. He that deals faithfully with his friend, in telling him of his faults, though he may put him into some heat for the present, and perhaps have hard words, instead of thanks, for his pains, yet afterwards he will not only have the comfort in his own bosom of having done his duty, but he also whom he reproved will acknowledge that it was a kindness, will entertain a high opinion of his wisdom and faithfulness, and look upon him as fit to be a friend. He that cries out against his surgeon for hurting him when he is searching his wound will yet pay him well, and thank him too, when he has cured it.
Proverbs 29:10 The bloodthirsty hate the blameless, But the upright seek his well-being.
Bad men hate their best friends: The blood-thirsty, all the seed of the old serpent, who was a murderer from the beginning, all that inherit his enmity against the seed of the woman, hate the upright; they seek the ruin of good men because they condemn the wicked world and witness against it. Christ told his disciples that they should be hated of all men. Bloody men do especially hate upright magistrates, who would restrain and reform them, and put the laws in execution against them, and so really do them a kindness. 2. Good men love their worst enemies: The just, whom the bloody men hate, seek their soul, pray for their conversion, and would gladly do any thing for their salvation. This Christ taught us. Father, forgive them. The just seek his soul, that is, the soul of the upright, whom the bloody hate (so it is commonly understood), seek to protect it from violence, and save it from, or avenge it at, the hands of the blood-thirsty.
These chapters contain a second collection of proverbs attributed to Solomon. Like the other proverbs in this book, they touch on a variety of subjects. At the same time, many of them focus our attention on the fool, who is frequently contrasted to the wise or the righteous person. The Hebrew language distinguishes three kinds of fools, each of which is represented in this book. `Iwwelet describes a person who is morally deficient in a way shown by impetuous action and insistence on his or her own way. This root is translated “fool” or “folly” in Proverbs 1:7 ; 5:23 ; 7:22 ; 10:8 , 14 , 23 ; 11:29 ; 12:15-16 , 23 ; 13:16 ; 14:1 , 3 , 8-9 , 17-18 , 24 , 29 ; 15:2 , 14 , 21 ; 16:22 ; 17:12 , 28 ; 18:13 ; 19:3 ; 20:3 ; 22:15 ; 24:7 , 9 ; 26:4-5 , 11 ; 27:3 , 22 ; 29:9 . Kesil pictures an obstinate person who consciously rejects fear of the Lord. This fool is often portrayed as sexually immoral. This term is found in Proverbs 1:22 , 32 ; 3:35 ; 8:5 ; 10:1 , 18 , 23 ; 12:23 ; 13:16 , 19 , 20 ; 14:7 , 8 , 16 , 24 ; 14:33 ; 15:2 , 7 , 14 , 20 ; 17:10 , 12 , 16 , 21 , 24 , 25 ; 18:2 , 6 , 7 ; 19:1 , 10 , 13 , 29 ; 21:20 ; 23:9 ; 26:1 , 3-12 ; 28:26 ; 29:11 , 20 . Nabal is a perverse fool, who is closed both to God and morality. His folly is typically shown in gross sins, such as homosexuality and rape. This kind of fool is the subject of Proverbs 17:7 , 21 and 30:22.
By bob | May 15, 2013
Becoming a Person Others Need
Proverbs 6:6-11,16-19,23-27 May 19 2013
It’s helpful to list the characteristics of the wisdom which the writer praises as a divine quality and which bring human beings long and blessed lives . Some of the characteristics mentioned in these chapters are: speaks what is right and true ; detests wickedness; is associated with prudence, knowledge, and discretion ; hates prides and arrogance ; walks in the way of righteousness and justice .
Earlier chapters emphasized the benefits of wisdom. Wisdom protects , prolongs life and brings prosperity , wins favor in the sight of God and man , leads to riches and honor ; and brings peace and blessing . Wisdom keeps us from stumbling and from fear, so that “when you lie down . . .your sleep will be sweet” .
Folly, here “moral rebellion,” is also personalized in chapters as a woman and set in contrast to wisdom. Wisdom is disciplined, responsive to God, and rewards those who choose her. Folly is undisciplined, sensuous, and brings those who choose her to an early grave.
The contrast between wisdom and folly developed in these first chapters is a fitting introduction to the body of the book, which contains dozens of wisdom sayings.
1. A rebuke to slothfulness. (Prov.6:6-11)
Prov. 6:6 Go to the ant, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise,7 Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler,8 Provides her supplies in the summer,
And gathers her food in the harvest.9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard?When will you rise from your sleep?10 A little sleep, a little slumber,A little folding of the hands to sleep—11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler,And your need like an armed man.
Diligence in business is every man’s wisdom and duty; not so much that he may attain worldly wealth, as that he may not be a burden to others, or a scandal to the church. The ants are more diligent than slothful men. We may learn wisdom from the meanest insects, and be shamed by them. Habits of indolence and indulgence grow upon people. Thus life runs to waste; and poverty, though at first at a distance, gradually draws near, like a traveller; and when it arrives, is like an armed man, too strong to be resisted. All this may be applied to the concerns of our souls. How many love their sleep of sin, and their dreams of worldly happiness! Shall we not seek to awaken such? Shall we not give diligence to secure our own salvation?
2. Seven things hateful to God. (Prov. 6:16-19)
Prov. 6:16 These six things the Lord hates,Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:17 A proud look, A lying tongue,Hands that shed innocent blood,18 A heart that devises wicked plans,Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies . And one who sows discord among brethren.
If the slothful are to be condemned, who do nothing, much more those that do all the ill they can. Observe how such a man is described. He says and does every thing artfully, and with design. His ruin shall come without warning, and without relief. Here is a list of things hateful to God. Those sins are in a special manner provoking to God, which are hurtful to the comfort of human life. These things which God hates, we must hate in ourselves; it is nothing to hate them in others. Let us shun all such practices, and watch and pray against them; and avoid, with marked disapproval, all who are guilty of them, whatever may be their rank.
3. Exhortations to walk according to God’s commandments. (Prov. 6:23-27)
Prov. 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp,And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life,24 To keep you from the evil woman,From the flattering tongue of a seductress.25 Do not lust after her beauty in your heart,or let her allure you with her eyelids.26 For by means of a harlot. A man is reduced to a crust of bread;And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life.27 Can a man take fire to his bosom,And his clothes not be burned?
The word of God has something to say to us upon all occasions. Let not faithful reproofs ever make us uneasy. When we consider how much this sin abounds, how heinous adultery is in its own nature, of what evil consequence it is, and how certainly it destroys the spiritual life in the soul, we shall not wonder that the cautions against it are so often repeated. Let us notice the subjects of this chapter. Let us remember Him who willingly became our Surety, when we were strangers and enemies. And shall Christians, who have such prospects, motives, and examples, be slothful and careless? Shall we neglect what is pleasing to God, and what he will graciously reward? May we closely watch every sense by which poison can enter our minds or affections.
These chapters develop two themes interwoven by a distinctive literary device. The first theme is the dangers of adultery, filled with warnings against the seductive woman. The second theme is the praise of wisdom, personified as a woman. The use of the device is partly explained by the fact that the noun “wisdom” is feminine, but its development reflects the genius of the author who plays off the notion of desirability, contrasting the sensory appeal of the seductress and the total satisfaction to be found in choosing to make one’s commitment to wisdom instead. Only 6:1-19 seems to briefly abandon this powerful analogy t introduce brief, typical proverbial bits of counsel and advice.
By bob | May 6, 2013
Build the Home I Need
Proverbs 31:10-14 ,15-20,25-31 May 12 2013
This description of the virtuous woman is designed to show what wives the women should make and what wives the men should choose; it consists of twenty-two verses, each beginning with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order, as some of the Psalms, which makes some think it was no part of the lesson which Lemuel’s mother taught him, but a poem by itself, written by some other hand, and perhaps had been commonly repeated among the pious Jews, for the ease of which it was made alphabetical. We have the abridgment of it in the New Testament (1Tim. 2:9 , 10 , 1Pet. 3:1-6 ), where the duty prescribed to wives agrees with this description of a good wife; and with good reason is so much stress laid upon it, since it contributes as much as any one thing to the keeping up of religion in families, and the entail of it upon posterity, that the mothers be wise and good; and of what consequence it is to the wealth and outward prosperity of a house every one is sensible. He that will thrive must ask his wife leave. Here is
1. Choice of a Wife (Proverbs 31: 10-14)
Prov.31:10 Who can find a virtuous wife?For her worth is far above rubies.11The heart of her husband safely trusts her;So he will have no lack of gain.12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.13 She seeks wool and flax,And willingly works with her hands.14 She is like the merchant ships ,She brings her food from afar.
The creation story makes it clear that both men and women were created in the image of God and thus are equal as persons (Gen. 1-2 ). With sin, the biblical ideal for male/female relationships became distorted, as did all other things in life ( Gen. 3:16 ). There is no doubt that in ancient societies, including the Heb., women were subordinate to men. This is reflected in the leadership role Heb. culture arrogated to men for civil responsibility in the household and to male elders as the ones having governmental responsibility for the community.
2 . She rises early, while it is yet night (Proverbs 31:15-20)
Prov. 31:15 She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants.16 She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard.17 She girds herself with strength,And strengthens her arms.18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,And her lamp does not go out by night.19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,And her hand holds the spindle.20 She extends her hand to the poor,Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
Yet any apparent chauvinism is balanced by a greater appreciation for women in the O.T. than was displayed in other contemporary cultures. It is also balanced by the respect Scripture calls for toward older women, as well as older men, and toward mothers as well as fathers. The fact that women were not automatically deprived of politically or spiritually sensitive roles by their sex is illustrated by the many significant women the O.T. singles out. Among them are Abigail and Ruth, who functioned within the traditional women’s role (1Sam. 25 ; Ruth). But there are also women who broke the mold and served as prophets (Ex. 15:20 ; 2Kings22:14 ; 2 Chron. 34:22) and even one who served as a judge (Judg. 4:4-5 ).
3. All her household are clothed in scarlet,(Proverbs 31:25-31)
Prov. 31:25 Strength and honor are her clothing;She shall rejoice in time to come.26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,And on her tongue is the law of kindness.27 She watches over the ways of her household,And does not eat the bread of idleness.28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;Her husband also, and he praises her:29 “Many daughters have done well,But you excel them all.”30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing. But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,And let her own works praise her in the gates.
If we are to see women in adequate perspective we must first of all affirm their absolute unity with men as persons of value and worth. We must also realize that women must be given, within society, opportunities to utilize all the capacities of personhood with which they have been endowed. Women are equal to men in ability, and gifted individuals should be encouraged to use their abilities within, and at times outside of, culturally defined expectations. Like the “noble wife” of Prov. 31 , each woman, as well as each man, should be given the opportunity to achieve and be honored for every accomplishment.
The last two chapters in Proverbs were contributed by two unknowns, Agur and King Lemuel. One late tradition suggests that Lemuel is Solomon and that the lengthy praise of a virtuous woman in Proverbs31:10-31was dedicated to his mother, Bathsheba. The real contribution of this passage, however, is to demonstrate that women played an important social and economic role in Old Testament times. The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words (Zondervan, 1985) notes that in that agrarian society women actually filled roles that were the same as men. Thus the noble wife of this chapter “supervised a staff of workers . She served as buyer for her enterprises . She sold what her staff produced , and she invested her profits . She had the freedom to give to help the needy . She was respected for her wisdom and responsibility .” Each of these is a “business” function, and while the woman’s activities were linked to her home and family, the biblical picture of the woman’s role is a far cry from the “stay-home-and-care-for-the-kids” concept of many moderns. In Old Testament times women had the opportunity to use their God-given abilities.
By bob | April 29, 2013
Getting My Most Important Relationship Right
Proverbs 3:5-8,13-18,31-35 May 5 2013
The Heb. root that expresses the basic concept of wisdom (h-k-m) occurs over 300 times in the O.T. It focuses our attention on a person’s basic approach to life, the values and commitments which find expression in his or her lifestyle. In the O.T., wisdom is essentially the choice to be godly. The wise person is sensitive to God, submits to Him, and applies God’s guidelines when making daily choices.
The person who is wise will “find the knowledge of God,” because God is the source of wisdom . God provides needed perspective, so that we “will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path” .
“Wisdom literature” in the O.T., which includes Prov., Ecc., Job, and Ps. 19 , 37, 104, 107, 147, and 148, describes the way of life to be chosen by the believer.
This verse calls the fear of the Lord “the beginning of knowledge.” One rabbinic commentary on Proverbs reminds us that fear here is not dread, but “reverence of God expressed in submission to His will.” This is in fact the basic sense of “fear of the Lord” throughout the O.T., where it might often be rendered “reverential awe” or even “faith.” The commentary rightly observes, “God is the Creator of the universe and of life; it is consequently impossible to obtain an understanding of man’s place in the design and purpose of living without a humble approach to Him.”
But why is fear of God the “beginning” or starting point? Because the conviction that God is—and is to be honored—the only door that opens to true wisdom. Only when all is oriented to the Lord can true moral knowledge or wisdom be gained.
The foolish sinner is motivated to do wrong by mere things, which he or she sees as having great value. People who value things more than God’s approval find ill-gotten gain “takes away the lives of those who get it” .
The basic wisdom issues touched on in Proverbs have to do with personal relationship with God. Only if we know Him and respond to Him will the rest of the counsel in this book produce fruit.
This chapter mentions several basic principles of relationship with God. We are to trust the Lord completely, and acknowledge Him in all we do . We are to rely on God’s Word rather than our human wisdom . We are to honor God by giving generously . And we are to remember when hard times come that God loves us still and see our most difficult experiences as the disciplinary love of a Father who cares for us deeply.
In the O.T. discipline is typically painful, but it is not primarily punishment. The key Heb. word for discipline is yasar, which means to chastise, or to instruct. It does involve correction, but its goal is to make a positive contribution to a person’s training in righteousness. As these verses emphasize, yasar is exercised in a family setting. The emotion conveyed is not anger or disgust, but love and active concern. A father disciplines his child to help her grow into a praiseworthy adult. Just so God disciplines those who trust Him to help us grow toward moral and spiritual maturity. Bible history and proverbs both demonstrate that at times punishment, a “rod of correction” (Prov. 29:15 ) is the best way to show love when people will not respond to verbal guidance. The important thing to remember, as these verses emphasize, is that when God disciplines it is because of, and with a continuing attitude of, love.
1. Exhortations to obedience and faith. (Proverbs 3:5-8)
Prov. 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,And lean not on your own understanding;6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.8 It will be health to your flesh,
In the way of believing obedience to God’s commandments health and peace may commonly be enjoyed; and though our days may not be long upon earth, we shall live for ever in heaven. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee; God’s mercy in promising, and his truth in performing: live up to them, keep up thine interest in them, and take the comfort of them. We must trust in the Lord with all our hearts, believing he is able and wise to do what is best. Those who know themselves, find their own understandings a broken reed, which, if they lean upon, will fail. Do not design any thing but what is lawful, and beg God to direct thee in every case, though it may seem quite plain. In all our ways that prove pleasant, in which we gain our point, we must acknowledge God with thankfulness. In all our ways that prove uncomfortable, and that are hedged up with thorns, we must acknowledge him with submission. It is promised, He shall direct thy paths; so that thy way shall be safe and good, and happy at last.
2. To gain wisdom. ( Proverbs 3:13-18)
Prov. 3:13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom,And the man who gains understanding;14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
And her gain than fine gold.15 She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.16 Length of days is in her right hand, In her left hand riches and honor.17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,And all her paths are peace.18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,And happy are all who retain her.
No precious jewels or earthly treasures are worthy to be compared with true wisdom, whether the concerns of time or eternity be considered. We must make wisdom our business; we must venture all in it, and be willing to part with all for it. This Wisdom is the Lord Jesus Christ and his salvation, sought and obtained by faith and prayer. Were it not for unbelief, remaining sinfulness, and carelessness, we should find all our ways pleasantness, and our paths peace, for his are so; but we too often step aside from them, to our own hurt and grief. Christ is that Wisdom, by whom the worlds were made, and still are in being; happy are those to whom he is made of God wisdom. He has wherewithal to make good all his promises.
3.The wicked and the upright. ( Proverbs 3:31-35)
Prov.3:31 Do not envy the oppressor,And choose none of his ways; 32 For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord.But His secret counsel is with the upright.33 The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked,But He blesses the home of the just.34 Surely He scorns the scornful,But gives grace to the humble.35 The wise shall inherit glory, But shame shall be the legacy of fools.
Our business is to observe the precepts of Christ, and to copy his example; to do justice, to love mercy, and to beware of covetousness; to be ready for every good work, avoiding needless strife, and bearing evils, if possible, rather than seeking redress by law. It will be found there is little got by striving. Let us not envy prosperous oppressors; far be it from the disciples of Christ to choose any of their ways. These truths may be despised by the covetous and luxurious, but everlasting contempt will be the portion of such scorners, while Divine favour is shown to the humble believer.
The book immediately states the writer’s purpose and theme: he teaches the wisdom so the reader can develop a disciplined life, “doing what is right and just and fair” . Speaking as a father, he warns against those who will try to detour his sons into sin and warns against ignoring his advice . He carefully identifies the nature of wisdom and lists its many benefits . Wisdom is foundational to existence, providing perspective on life . So wisdom, personified as a lovely woman, is to be desired above all things .
By bob | April 22, 2013
Blessings of Holiness
Leviticus 26:3-13,40-42,45 April 28 2013
This chapter is a solemn conclusion of the main body of the levitical law. The precepts that follow in this and the following book either relate to some particular matters or are repetitions and explications of the foregoing institutions. Now this chapter contains a general enforcement of all those laws by promises of reward in case of obedience on the one hand, and threatenings of punishment for disobedience on the other hand, the former to work upon hope, the latter on fear, those two handles of the soul, by which it is taken hold of and managed. Here is, I. A repetition of two or three of the principal of the commandments . II. An inviting promise of all good things, if they would but keep God’s commandments . III. A terrible threatening of ruining judgments which would be brought upon them if they were refractory and disobedient . IV. A gracious promise of the return of mercy to those of them that would repent and reform . Deu. 28 is parallel to this.
1. upon keeping the precepts. (Leviticus 26:3-13)
Leviticus 26:3 ‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, 4 then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 Your threshing shall last till the time of vintage, and the vintage shall last till the time of sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. 6 I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid;I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land. 7 You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. 8 Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you. 9 ‘For I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you.10 You shall eat the old harvest, and clear out the old because of the new.11 I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you.12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.13 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright.
This chapter contains a general enforcement of all the laws given by Moses; by promises of reward in case of obedience, on the one hand; and threatenings of punishment for disobedience, on the other. While Israel maintained a national regard to God’s worship, sabbaths, and sanctuary, and did not turn aside to idolatry, the Lord engaged to continue to them temporal mercies and religious advantages. These great and precious promises, though they relate chiefly to the life which now is, were typical of the spiritual blessings made sure by the covenant of grace to all believers, through Christ. 1. Plenty and abundance of the fruits of the earth. Every good and perfect gift must be expected from above, from the Father of lights. 2. Peace under the Divine protection. Those dwell in safety, that dwell in God. 3. Victory and success in their wars. It is all one with the Lord to save by many or by few. 4. The increase of their people. The gospel church shall be fruitful. 5. The favour of God, which is the fountain of all Good. 6. Tokens of his presence in and by his ordinances. The way to have God’s ordinances fixed among us, is to cleave closely to them. 7. The grace of the covenant. All covenant blessings are summed up in the covenant relation, I will be your God, and ye shall be my people; and they are all grounded upon their redemption. Having purchased them, God would own them, and never cast them off till they cast him off.
2. God promises to remember those that repent.
Leviticus 26:40 But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, 41 and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt— 42 then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember;I will remember the land. 45 But for their sake I will remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that
Among the Israelites, persons were not always prosperous or afflicted according to their obedience or disobedience. But national prosperity was the effect of national obedience, and national judgments were brought on by national wickedness. Israel was under a peculiar covenant. National wickedness will end in the ruin of any people, especially where the word of God and the light of the gospel are enjoyed. Sooner or later, sin will be the ruin, as well as the reproach, of every people. Oh that, being humbled for our sins, we might avert the rising storm before it bursts upon us! God grant that we may, in this our day, consider the things which belong to our eternal peace.
Our worship, and our decision to serve God’s purposes, are to be made spontaneously and freely. Why then does Leviticus 26 catalog rewards for obedience and terrible disasters sure to follow failure to respond to God?First, because there are consequences to every choice we make, and God wants us to realize what these are ahead of time. The second reason is seen in .When in the future Israel would reject God and suffer those consequences, the Lord wanted each generation to realize that they had not been rejected completely.The book concludes with a discussion of voluntary offerings freely vowed to God , and a discussion of tithes, which are in effect the “rent” Israel pays to God as owner of the Promised Land .
By bob | April 15, 2013
Living in Holiness
Leviticus 18:1-5,20-26;20:6:1-7 April 21 2013
These chapters launch the fourth major section of Leviticus, which lists rules for holy living. These moral rules focus on personal relationships. First, however, Moses reminds Israel that God has given them the blood of animals to make atonement. All sacrifices are to be made to God at the tabernacle , and blood is to be used for no other purpose than sacrifice . God’s standards are high. But He is a forgiving God, who accepts the sinner who comes with blood to confess and to be restored. Moses then goes on to list sexual relationships which defile the individual and pollute the land . Anyone who makes a practice of these forbidden sins is to be “cut off from their people”
1. “Do as they do” (Leviticus18:1-5)
Leviticus 18:1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. 3 According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances. 4 You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the Lord your God. 5 You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.
One of the most common excuses for sexual looseness is, “everyone else does it.” While particularly strong in high school, where many teens are ridiculed for being virgins, our society pressures young and older adults by making sexual promiscuity seem “normal.” God reminded Israel that as His people, they were not to do as the people of Egypt, where they had lived, do. They were not to do as the people of Canaan, where they would live, do. “Everybody else does it” has never been a valid excuse. Because we are God’s people, we are to do as He says, not follow the practices of pagans.
2. “Molech” “Detestable” (18:20-26).
Leviticus 18:20 Moreover you shall not lie carnally with your neighbor’s wife, to defile yourself with her. 21 And you shall not let any of your descendants pass through the fire to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. 23 Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion.24 ‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. 25 For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. 26 You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you.
Here is a law against all conformity to the corrupt usages of the heathen. Also laws against incest, against brutal lusts, and barbarous idolatries; and the enforcement of these laws from the ruin of the Canaanites. God here gives moral precepts. Close and constant adherence to God’s ordinances is the most effectual preservative from gross sin. The grace of God only will secure us; that grace is to be expected only in the use of the means of grace. Nor does He ever leave any to their hearts’ lusts, till they have left him and his services. The reference is to sacrifice, not a pagan deity. This was a child sacrifice, offered to any pagan deity from whom a person hoped to derive some benefit.
The word used here to describe homosexual acts is `ebah. It expresses strong revulsion, and is used of practices that are morally rather than ritually disgusting to God. Prov. 6:17-19 lists seven other `ebahs, including “hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes,” and “feet that are quick to rush into evil.” To God, homosexuality is hardly an “alternative lifestyle.”
3. Law against sacrificing children to Moloch, Of children that curse their parents. (Leviticus 20:1-8)
Leviticus 20:1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2“ Again, you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘Whoever of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who gives any of his descendants to Molech, he shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones. 3 I will set My face against that man, and will cut him off from his people, because he has given some of his descendants to Molech, to defile My sanctuary and profane My holy name. 4 And if the people of the land should in any way hide their eyes from the man, when he gives some of his descendants to Molech, and they do not kill him, 5 then I will set My face against that man and against his family; and I will cut him off from his people, and all who prostitute themselves with him to commit harlotry with Molech.6‘ And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people. 7 Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. 8 And you shall keep My statutes, and perform them: I am the Lord who sanctifies you.
Are we shocked at the unnatural cruelty of the ancient idolaters in sacrificing their children? We may justly be so. But are there not very many parents, who, by bad teaching and wicked examples, and by the mysteries of iniquity which they show their children, devote them to the service of Satan, and forward their everlasting ruin, in a manner even more to be lamented? What an account must such parents render to God, and what a meeting will they have with their children at the day of judgment! On the other hand, let children remember that he who cursed father or mother was surely put to death. This law Christ confirmed. Laws which were made before are repeated, and penalties annexed to them. If men will not avoid evil practices, because the law has made these practices sin, and it is right that we go on that principle, surely they should avoid them when the law has made them death, from a principle of self-preservation. In the midst of these laws comes in a general charge, Sanctify yourselves, and be ye holy. It is the Lord that sanctifies, and his work will be done, though it be difficult. Yet his grace is so far from doing away our endeavours, that it strongly encourages them. Work out your salvation, for it is God that worketh in you.
Moses now recapitulates subjects dealt with in earlier chapters . Here the consequences of disregarding various regulations are spelled out.
The chapter looks at two kinds of sins: offenses against true religion and offenses against family . Both deserve the death penalty, because they are crimes that threaten the very existence of God’s people as a covenant community. But the emphasis here too is on exhortations to live a holy life .
A feature of the chapter is the expectation that the community will act against one who violates these laws. It is everyone’s task to maintain purity among the people of God.
By bob | April 8, 2013
“Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
Honoring God’s Holiness
Leviticus 5:1-16;6:1-7 April 14 2013
Confession of sins is not optional. To live in fellowship with God, we must seek and accept forgiveness when we fail.
Moderns think of “guilt” as a matter of feelings. The Bible treats guilt as a fact. In the O.T. guilt (Heb., `asam) has three aspects. (1) There is an act which brings guilt. (2) There is the condition of guilt which follows the act. (3) There is punishment appropriate to the act. In any verse “guilt” may focus attention on any one of these three aspects. But always each of the elements is implied.
In the N.T., guilt is a judicial concept. The Greek word groups are drawn from the courts, and emphasize liability to punishment. The guilty person has been accused, tried, and convicted.
Both Testaments view acts which bring guilt as offenses against God. But God is loving, and has made a way for guilty sinners to escape punishment and be restored to fellowship with Him. This is the triumphant message of Leviticus, whose sacrifices foreshadow the sacrifice of Jesus, the One whose blood cleanses us from every sin (Heb. 9:11-28 ).
Sins against others also are sins against God. Thus the person who stole or defrauded another had to bring a guilt offering to God as a penalty. This was done only after he or she made restitution to the person harmed! This principle underlies Jesus’ command to “leave your gift at the altar” if you remember your brother has something against you, and be reconciled before you worship (Matt. 5:23-24 ). To worship God, we must be right with Him—and with others too!
1. Concerning various trespasses.(Levitcus5:1-16)
Leviticus 5:1‘If a person sins in hearing the utterance of an oath, and is a witness, whether he has seen or known of the matter—if he does not tell it, he bears guilt. 2‘Or if a person touches any unclean thing, whether it is the carcass of an unclean beast, or the carcass of unclean livestock, or the carcass of unclean creeping things, and he is unaware of it, he also shall be unclean and guilty. 3Or if he touches human uncleanness—whatever uncleanness with which a man may be defiled, and he is unaware of it—when he realizes it, then he shall be guilty.4‘Or if a person swears, speaking thoughtlessly with his lips to do evil or to do good, whatever it is that a man may pronounce by an oath, and he is unaware of it—when he realizes it, then he shall be guilty in any of these matters.5‘And it shall be, when he is guilty in any of these matters, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing; 6and he shall bring his trespass offering to the Lord for his sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin.7‘If he is not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring to the Lord, for his trespass which he has committed, two turtledoves or two young pigeons: one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering. 8 And he shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer that which is for the sin offering first, and wring off its head from its neck, but shall not divide it completely. 9 Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering on the side of the altar, and the rest of the blood shall be drained out at the base of the altar. It is a sin offering. 10And he shall offer the second as a burnt offering according to the prescribed manner. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin which he has committed, and it shall be forgiven him.11‘But if he is not able to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then he who sinned shall bring for his offering one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a sin offering. He shall put no oil on it, nor shall he put frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering. 12 Then he shall bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it as a memorial portion, and burn it on the altar according to the offerings made by fire to the Lord. It is a sin offering. 13 The priest shall make atonement for him, for his sin that he has committed in any of these matters; and it shall be forgiven him. The rest shall be the priest’s as a grain offering.’”14 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 15 “If a person commits a trespass, and sins unintentionally in regard to the holy things of the Lord, then he shall bring to the Lord as his trespass offering a ram without blemish from the flocks, with your valuation in shekels of silver according to the shekel of the sanctuary, as a trespass offering. 16 And he shall make restitution for the harm that he has done in regard to the holy thing, and shall add one-fifth to it and give it to the priest. So the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgiven him.
The offences here noticed are, 1. A man’s concealing the truth, when he was sworn as a witness to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If, in such a case, for fear of offending one that has been his friend, or may be his enemy, a man refuses to give evidence, or gives it but in part, he shall bear his iniquity. And that is a heavy burden, which, if some course be not taken to get it removed, will sink a man to hell. Let all that are called at any time to be witnesses, think of this law, and be free and open in their evidence, and take heed of prevaricating. An oath of the Lord is a sacred thing, not to be trifled with. 2. A man’s touching any thing that was ceremonially unclean. Though his touching the unclean thing only made him ceremonially defiled, yet neglecting to wash himself according to the law, was either carelessness or contempt, and contracted moral guilt. As soon as God, by his Spirit, convinces our consciences of any sin or duty, we must follow the conviction, as not ashamed to own our former mistake. 3. Rash swearing, that a man will do or not do such a thing. As if the performance of his oath afterward prove unlawful, or what cannot be done. Wisdom and watchfulness beforehand would prevent these difficulties. In these cases the offender must confess his sin, and bring his offering; but the offering was not accepted, unless accompanied with confession and humble prayer for pardon. The confession must be particular; that he hath sinned in that thing. Deceit lies in generals; many will own they have sinned, for that all must own; but their sins in any one particular they are unwilling to allow. The way to be assured of pardon, and armed against sin for the future, is to confess the exact truth. If any were very poor, they might bring some flour, and that should be accepted. Thus the expense of the sin-offering was brought lower than any other, to teach that no man’s poverty shall ever bar the way of his pardon. If the sinner brought two doves, one was to be offered for a sin-offering, and the other for a burnt-offering. We must first see that our peace be made with God, and then we may expect that our services for his glory will be accepted by him. To show the loathsomeness of sin, the flour, when offered, must not be made grateful to the taste by oil, or to the smell by frankincense. God, by these sacrifices, spoke comfort to those who had offended, that they might not despair, nor pine away in their sins. Likewise caution not to offend any more, remembering how expensive and troublesome it was to make atonement.
Here are offerings to atone for trespasses against a neighbour. If a man put to his own use unwittingly, any thing dedicated to God, he was to bring this sacrifice. We are to be jealous over ourselves, to ask pardon for the sin, and make satisfaction for the wrong, which we do but suspect ourselves guilty of. The law of God is so very broad, the occasions of sin in this guilty of. The law of God is so very broad, the occasions of sin in this world are so numerous, and we are so prone to evil, that we need to fear always, and to pray always, that we may be kept from sin.
2. Concerning trespasses against our neighbour. (Leviticus 6:1-7)
Leviticus 6:1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 “If a person sins and commits a trespass against the Lord by lying to his neighbor about what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or about a pledge, or about a robbery, or if he has extorted from his neighbor, 3 or if he has found what was lost and lies concerning it, and swears falsely—in any one of these things that a man may do in which he sins: 4 then it shall be, because he has sinned and is guilty, that he shall restore what he has stolen, or the thing which he has extorted, or what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or the lost thing which he found, 5 or all that about which he has sworn falsely. He shall restore its full value, add one-fifth more to it, and give it to whomever it belongs, on the day of his trespass offering. 6 And he shall bring his trespass offering to the Lord, a ram without blemish from the flock, with your valuation, as a trespass offering, to the priest. 7 So the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord, and he shall be forgiven for any one of these things that he may have done in which he trespasses.”
Though all the instances relate to our neighbour, yet it is called a trespass against the Lord. Though the person injured be mean, and even despicable, yet the injury reflects upon that God who has made the command of loving our neighbour next to that of loving himself. Human laws make a difference as to punishments; but all methods of doing wrong to others, are alike violations of the Divine law, even keeping what is found, when the owner can be discovered. Frauds are generally accompanied with lies, often with false oaths. If the offender would escape the vengeance of God, he must make ample restitution, according to his power, and seek forgiveness by faith in that one Offering which taketh away the sin of the world. The trespasses here mentioned, still are trespasses against the law of Christ, which insists as much upon justice and truth, as the law of nature, or the law of Moses.
God gives Moses rules for bringing different types of offerings . The rules are for the people. Additional rules for the priests . Many of the offerings are voluntary. But the sin offering and the guilt offering are mandatory. Anyone who is guilty of ritual or moral offense must confess his fault, and bring an animal to be sacrificed by the priests. In the sacrificial system of Israel the Old Testament believer was able to confess sins and find forgiveness, to express thanks, and experience intimate fellowship with God.
Robert G OHaver
By bob | April 3, 2013
Called to Holiness
Exodus 19:1-6,10-14,16-19 April 7 2013
Most believe that Mount Sinai is Jabel el Mussa, which lies near the east end of the Sinai Peninsula .
Yahweh’s words here, and later the structure of the Book of Deuteronomy , reflect a distinctive covenant form from the mid second millennium B.C. This is a covenant made between a superior—a ruler, or king—and his people. Such covenants refer to what the ruler has done for his people , and explain the responsibilities of the people to their ruler and the ruler to his people . Such covenants served as the constitution of nations. Thus what we see here is the birth of Israel as a nation under God: a nation which is to look to God as its Sovereign, Protector, Ruler, and Lord.
God forces no one into a relationship with Him. Commitment is voluntary, and we are free—though foolish!—to reject His invitation. But if we do accept God’s offer, we become responsible to obey.
Biblical covenants (brit) make statements about what God intends or is committed to do. While the Mosaic or Law Covenant shares this essential characteristic with other biblical covenants, it is also different from them. The original covenant God made with Abraham contained a number of “I will” statements made by the Lord . These promises were given formal and legal force in a “covenant of blood” . At that time God caused Abraham to fall asleep, and the Lord alone passed between the parts
1.The people come to Sinai, God’s message to them, and their answer. (Exodus 19:1-6)
Exodus 19:1In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai. 2 For they had departed from Rephidim, had come to the Wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. So Israel camped there before the mountain.3 And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”
Moses was called up the mountain, and was employed as the messenger of this covenant. The Maker and first Mover of the covenant, is God himself. This blessed charter was granted out of God’s own free grace. The covenant here mentioned was the national covenant, by which the Israelites were a people under the government of Jehovah. It was a type of the new covenant made with true believers in Christ Jesus; but, like other types, it was only a shadow of good things to come. As a nation they broke this covenant; therefore the Lord declared that he would make a new covenant with Israel, writing his law, not upon tables of stone, but in their hearts, Jeremiah 31:33 ; Hebrews 8:7-10 . The covenant spoken of in these places as ready to vanish away, is the national covenant with Israel, which they forfeited by their sins. Unless we carefully attend to this, we shall fall into mistakes while reading the Old Testament. We must not suppose that the nation of the Jews were under the covenant of works, which knows nothing of repentance, faith in a Mediator, forgiveness of sins, or grace; nor yet that the whole nation of Israel bore the character, and possessed the privileges of true believers, as being actually sharers in the covenant of grace. They were all under a dispensation of mercy; they had outward privileges and advantages for salvation; but, like professing Christians, most rested therein, and went no further. Israel consented to the conditions. They answered as one man, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. Oh that there had been such a heart in them! Moses, as a mediator, returned the words of the people to God. Thus Christ, the Mediator, as a Prophet, reveals God’s will to us, his precepts and promises; and then, as a Priest, offers up to God our spiritual sacrifices, not only of prayer and praise, but of devout affections, and pious resolutions, the work of his own Spirit in us.
2.The people directed to prepare to hear the law (Exodus 19:10-14)
Exodus 19:10 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. 11 And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. 13 Not a hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot with an arrow; whether man or beast, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come near the mountain.”14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes.
The solemn manner in which the law was delivered, was to impress the people with a right sense of the Divine majesty. Also to convince them of their own guilt, and to show that they could not stand in judgment before God by their own obedience. In the law, the sinner discovers what he ought to be, what he is, and what he wants. There he learns the nature, necessity, and glory of redemption, and of being made holy. Having been taught to flee to Christ, and to love him, the law is the rule of his obedience and faith.
3. The presence of God on Sinai. (Exodus 19:16-19)
Exodus 19:16 Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. 19 And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice.
Never was there such a sermon preached, before or since, as this which was preached to the church in the wilderness. It might be supposed that the terrors would have checked presumption and curiosity in the people; but the hard heart of an unawakened sinner can trifle with the most terrible threatenings and judgments. In drawing near to God, we must never forget his holiness and greatness, nor our own meanness and pollution. We cannot stand in judgment before him according to his righteous law. The convinced transgressor asks, What must I do to be saved? and he hears the voice, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. The Holy Ghost, who made the law to convince of sin, now takes of the things of Christ, and shows them to us. In the gospel we read, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. We have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. Through him we are justified from all things, from which we could not be justified by the law of Moses. But the Divine law is binding as a rule of life. The Son of God came down from heaven, and suffered poverty, shame, agony, and death, not only to redeem us from its curse, but to bind us more closely to keep its commands.
After a three-month journey the Israelites camp in front of Mt. Sinai . There God offers to make a covenant with the people which offers many benefits—but which obligates them to obey . The people immediately agree . Preparations are made for the appearance of God at Sinai . When the appointed day comes, the Lord descends to the mountaintop in fire, accompanied by thunder, lightning, and a terrifying earthquake . The awesome display accentuates the holiness of God, as does the warning that no one but Moses must approach the mountain on which His presence now rests . The stage is now set for God’s revelation of the Law, those religious and moral standards which if lived by will shape Israel into a just and holy people, who reflect the character of their God.
By bob | March 25, 2013
Seeing or Recognizing ? [Evangelism Lesson]
John 20:1-18 March 31 2013
From the very beginning the church has set aside Sunday, the first day of the week, and commemorated the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 20:7 ).
Jesus had passed through the linen strips. They probably still held their shape, because of the sticky myrrh and aloes wrapped with them.
John entered after Peter’s discovery, looked, and believed. Only later did any of the disciples understand the Scripture. Today too faith precedes understanding.
Her first reaction, “Who took His body?” continues to show the psychological state of Jesus’ followers. None of them expected a resurrection, despite what Jesus had earlier said. Two words for “see” are found in v. 14 . Mary “observed” a figure near the tomb, then she “perceived” it was Jesus.
Today many see the Jesus of history, but too few recognize Him. Jesus didn’t refuse to let Mary touch Him. He told her not to detain Him.
Before Jesus always spoke of “My” Father. This post-resurrection appearance is the first time He adds “and your Father.” Only by His death and resurrection could Jesus bring those who believed in Him into God’s family.
1.The sepulchre found to be empty. (John 20:1-10)
John 20:1 Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. 9 or as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.
If Christ gave his life a ransom, and had not taken it again, it would not have appeared that his giving it was accepted as satisfaction. It was a great trial to Mary, that the body was gone. Weak believers often make that the matter of complaint, which is really just ground of hope, and matter of joy. It is well when those more honoured than others with the privileges of disciples, are more active than others in the duty of disciples; more willing to take pains, and run hazards, in a good work. We must do our best, and neither envy those who can do better, nor despise those who do as well as they can, though they come behind. The disciple whom Jesus loved in a special manner, and who therefore in a special manner loved Jesus, was foremost. The love of Christ will make us to abound in every duty more than any thing else. He that was behind was Peter, who had denied Christ. A sense of guilt hinders us in the service of God. As yet the disciples knew not the Scripture; they Christ must rise again from the dead.
2. Christ appears to Mary. (John 20:11-18)
John 20:11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”She said to them, “Because e they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”18Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.
We are likely to seek and find, when we seek with affection, and seek in tears. But many believers complain of the clouds and darkness they are under, which are methods of grace for humbling their souls, mortifying their sins, and endearing Christ to them. A sight of angels and their smiles, will not suffice, without a sight of Jesus, and God’s smiles in him. None know, but those who have tasted it, the sorrows of a deserted soul, which has had comfortable evidences of the love of God in Christ, and hopes of heaven, but has now lost them, and walks in darkness; such a wounded spirit who can bear? Christ, in manifesting himself to those that seek him, often outdoes their expectations. See how Mary’s heart was in earnest to find Jesus. Christ’s way of making himself known to his people is by his word; his word applied to their souls, speaking to them in particular. It might be read, Is it my Master? See with what pleasure those who love Jesus speak of his authority over them. He forbids her to expect that his bodily presence look further, than the present state of things. Observe the relation to God, from union with Christ. We, partaking of a Divine nature, Christ’s Father is our Father; and he, partaking of the human nature, our God is his God. Christ’s ascension into heaven, there to plead for us, is likewise an unspeakable comfort. Let them not think this earth is to be their home and rest; their eye and aim, and earnest desires, must be upon another world, and this ever upon their hearts, I ascend, therefore I must seek the things which are above. And let those who know the word of Christ, endeavour that others should get good from their knowledge.
Several different followers went to Jesus’ grave and discovered the empty tomb on the first day of the new week (20:1-3; see also Resurrection Events chart ). Again John adds eyewitness details: He tells of seeing the empty strips of linen in which Jesus’ body had been wrapped . And he shares the story of other witnesses. Mary Magdalene is the first to see Jesus alive again . Jesus appears inside a locked room to speak to all His disciples but Thomas . Later Jesus returns when Thomas is present, and the disciple who earlier earned the nickname “Doubting” immediately fell to his knees in adoration and worship .
Then, stepping back, John shares the focus and purpose of his book. He has recorded a true account of Jesus’ miracles and His teachings, His death and rising to life again, “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life through His name” .
Robert G OHaver
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By bob | March 18, 2013
Being Served or Serving ?
March 24 2013
These words in Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper harken back to the O.T. concept of zikkaron. The word, translated “memorial,” or “remembrance,” indicated a festival or practice or object intended as a link for future generations with a distinctive act of God. Through the zikkaron God’s people sensed their personal participation, along with the original generation, in the act God performed for them.JA”>Thus, the Lord’s Supper is a unique institution or sacrament. In observing it we are drawn back into history and realize that we truly were there at the Cross. What Jesus did then echoes throughout history, as real today as in the 1st century, for we appropriate by faith all that Jesus accomplished in giving His body and blood for our sakes.
1. The Lord’s supper instituted. Christ admonishes the disciples. (Luke 22:19-30) JA”>Luke 22:19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. 21 But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”23 Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing.24 Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. 25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ 26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. 27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.28 “But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. 29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
The Lord’s supper is a sign or memorial of Christ already come, who by dying delivered us; his death is in special manner set before us in that ordinance, by which we are reminded of it. The breaking of Christ’s body as a sacrifice for us, is therein brought to our remembrance by the breaking of bread. Nothing can be more nourishing and satisfying to the soul, than the doctrine of Christ’s making atonement for sin, and the assurance of an interest in that atonement. Therefore we do this in remembrance of what He did for us, when he died for us; and for a memorial of what we do, in joining ourselves to him in an everlasting covenant. The shedding of Christ’s blood, by which the atonement was made, is represented by the wine in the cup.
SummaryJA”>Luke’s report of last-day events follows the pattern so familiar from Matthew and Mark, but is also filled with unfamiliar details. Judas agrees to betray Jesus, delighting his enemies . At a Last Supper with His disciples Jesus institutes Communion and deals with a running dispute between them over which will be greatest . Jesus also warns an incredulous Peter that he will soon deny the Lord and then leads the little company to the Mount of Olives and Gethsemane .
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