The War with Amalek! #12

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Exodus 17:8 KJV).

What is this war with Amalek all about? Can we make application?

Experiencing a new life in a new land, the nation Israel encounters a most ruthless enemy. Their jubilant Promised Land trip was interrupted when the Amalekites arrived. However, through the sword (the Word of God, the Scriptures) and the lifting of hands (prayer), Israel was victorious. God in His grace had given them the ability to conquer sin! In fact, between chapters 14-18, He provided for all their needs. They needed deliverance from Egypt and passage through the Red Sea. He delivered! They needed potable water. He gave drink! They needed food. He gave bread and meat! They needed water again. He gave drink! They needed military might. He gave victory! They needed Divine counsel. He gave wisdom! Grace is what God can do for sinners; sinners can do nothing for God!

Alas, Exodus chapter 19 now appears. Tragically, Israel abandons God’s grace. They now want to work for the blessings God had freely offered them! Having not learned the lessons of grace in the previous five chapters, they insist on performing in religion. Rather than appreciating the identity God gave them simply because He loved them, they want to make themselves God’s people. They honestly believe they can keep all of God’s commandments (conquer sin by their efforts). If they engage in 100 percent righteous living, then they will be His people. Israel was most reckless to enter this covenant. Yet, let us not be hard on Israel, for billions today have been equally deceived. This includes all professing Christians (mere church members) and most genuine Christians (members of the Body of Christ).

Very rarely is a pure Gospel of Grace preached. “Sinner’s prayers,” walking of aisles, confessions of sins, water baptisms, shaking preachers’ hands, and so on, all obscure a clear grace message. What God has done at Calvary for the sinner is overlooked because what the sinner can do in religion for God is stressed ad nauseum. No wonder people are confused! Am I saved or lost?! In Christ or still going to Hell?! They need to approach the Word of God rightly divided, believe it, and prayerfully apply it to life….

The Goodness of God

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness (Acts 14:17 KJV).

Friend, would you give a cup of water to your enemy? One slice of bread? A piece of fruit? The God of the Bible gives much more to His enemies!

Some people have so offended us, we think twice about letting them drink from our garden water hose (let alone our kitchen faucet!). We hesitate to give them crumbs (much less a full course meal!). Today’s Scripture closes the sermon the Apostles Barnabas and Paul preached to the pagan idolaters in Lystra (southern Turkey). The one true God had given these heathen over to the satanic religion they had desired (verses 11-13,15,16); yet, He sustained their crop production with the natural laws He had ordained in creation. Recall Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:45, “…he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

The God of creation let them have His water (rain). He allowed them to eat His food that grew in His soil with His sunshine. His matter, His atoms, His molecules keep them from starving and dying. Back in Genesis chapter 1, He had created it all from nothing, spoken it all into existence; then, these spiritually blind Gentiles took His provisions and gave them over to worthless false deities! He knew the heathen of the world would ignore Him and worship and serve idols of wood and stone, gold and silver. They would prepare food and drink offerings for pagan gods, not Him (the God of creation, the God of Israel). Yet, He let them have their way. His creation—notice again that it is His creation—would be used to praise everyone and everything but Him. Sad!

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8). Calvary is the greatest expression of God’s goodness toward His enemies—us!

Complete in Thee! #4

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; ) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-7 KJV).

Today’s Scripture highlights the chorus of Aaron Robarts Wolfe’s 1858 hymn, “Complete in Thee!”

“Yea, justified! O blessed thought!
And sanctified! Salvation wrought!
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
And glorified, I too, shall be!”

Doubtless, being “justified”—or declared righteous before God—is an exciting thought! Our “negative righteousness” has been forgiven because of the shed blood of Christ, so that we are brought up to “0.” Then, we have been granted “positive righteousness.” That has enabled God to “sanctify” us—set us apart for His purposes. Positionally, we are “in Christ” and no longer “in Adam” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Practically, on a daily basis, we live by faith in that identity, that we may overcome sin every day. This too is thrilling! Yet, it is but a small portion of what our Heavenly Father has done on our behalf.

Why did Almighty God save us from Hell? Why deliver us from our sins? He certainly did not have to do it. Under no obligation, He simply did it because of His goodness. We did not deserve it. That is why it is GRACE! As today’s Scripture shows us, it was God in His plenteous mercy, for His “great love wherewith he loved us,” when we were dead in our sins, He gave us life with Jesus Christ.

Not only that, but (and God speaks as though it already happened—yet, it is still future) He “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.We are now qualified to share Christ’s authority to reign in the heavenly places. One day, we will be glorified therein… that He might thereby be glorified in us! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘Huzzab’ in Nahum 2:7?

LORD, Defend!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof. As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it (Isaiah 31:4,5 KJV).

Behold, God ultimately delivers Jerusalem!

Zechariah chapter 12: “[2] Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem…. [8] In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. [9] And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”

At His fiery Second Coming, Christ flies from the third heaven, through outer space, and penetrates Earth’s atmosphere. From the air, He fights the Antichrist and his allies attacking Jerusalem (Revelation 16:14-16; Revelation 19:11-21). Isaiah chapter 31 continues, “[8] Then shall the Assyrian [Antichrist] fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited. [9] And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the LORD, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.”

Zechariah 14:1-4: “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east….”

The Ark of the Covenant

Monday, October 15, 2018

Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant (Hebrews 9:4 KJV).

Why did the Ark of the Covenant (box, casket) contain these items?

  1. Golden pot of manna — Israel, just out of Egyptian bondage, complains that they have nothing to eat in the wilderness. Whining that the LORD God has delivered them just to starve them to death, they desire to return to Egypt! In His providence, God rains down bread from Heaven. He commands that a sample of this manna be stored in the Ark as a memorial (Exodus 16:1-36, particularly verses 32-34).
  2. Aaron’s rod that budded — A certain segment of Jews rebel against Moses and Aaron, God’s leaders of Israel (Numbers 16:1-50). So as to prove Aaron is His high priest, God assigns an almond rod to each tribe. Levi’s rod bearing Aaron’s name (Aaron is of the tribe of Levi) blossoms and bears almonds, signifying that Aaron is the genuine priest (Numbers 17:1-13, especially verses 10-11).
  3. Two tables of stone — These are God’s codified 10 Commandments, the result of Israel wanting works-religion, a performance-based acceptance system, instead of remaining with grace (God’s gifts to them simply offered out of His benevolence). Such cold, dead, rocky slates are the heart of the Old Covenant, whose demanding laws expose Israel’s sin problem (Deuteronomy 10:1-5, particularly verse 5).

Friend, did you notice the recurring idea? Are all mementos of specific times in Israel’s history when she rebelled (sinned) against JEHOVAH God. They were kept in the Ark, whose lid was the Mercy Seat. Above it was the Shekinah glory, God’s presence, between the cherubim (Exodus 25:10-22). On the Mercy Seat—on the annual Day of Atonement—Israel’s high priest sprinkled the bullock’s blood (Leviticus 16:2,14).

What was literally between God’s presence and Israel’s sin (the broken commandments, her never-ending rebellion) was shed blood. They could not see it, but, looking back, we can. Shed blood—namely, Christ’s (future) finished crosswork on Calvary—was keeping a holy, offended God from consuming sinful Israel all those 1,500 years (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 9:14,15)!!

Refuge! #7

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares (Numbers 35:11 KJV).

Look closely! Could there be something prophetic here?

To spare Israel absolute annihilation, God graciously provided a loophole in the Mosaic Law. If one ignorantly killed another, the slayer could flee to a city of refuge and escape the avenging relative’s hand. The deceased person’s relative could not harm him in that special city.

Similarly, prophetically, the Antichrist is the avenger of blood, coming to punish national Israel for rejecting her Messiah (Jesus Christ) (Isaiah 10:5,6; John 5:43). Thankfully, individual Jews can flee to a (figurative) “city of refuge.” The Little Flock will survive God’s judgment: membership therein (via water baptism) is protection from “the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:1-12; 1 Peter 3:20,21).

Throughout early Acts, God the Holy Spirit constantly indicted Israel for killing her Messiah. They were worthy of His wrath! However, He downgraded the charge from murder to manslaughter. Israel was spiritually ignorant when she crucified Jesus, thus allowing her opportunity to flee to refuge—Israel’s believing remnant. In Acts chapters 2-5, Israel was offered a renewed opportunity of repentance.

“That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:18-20). Believing Jews in Israel’s kingdom program have “fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” Having trusted Jesus as Messiah, they will enter His earthly kingdom when He returns to redeem them nationally at His Second Coming (cf. Hebrews 12:25-29).

“And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God (Zechariah 13:9).

Refuge! #6

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares (Numbers 35:11 KJV).

Look closely! Could there be something prophetic here?

The LORD God was very careful to make sure that His land—the Holy Land—was not defiled with the shedding of innocent blood. Therefore, He set up the cities of refuge. If someone killed another accidentally, the slayer could flee to a city of refuge. Once a court of law determined it to be manslaughter, the slayer would be returned to that city of refuge. If he left that city before the high priest died, the deceased person’s family could kill the slayer. (Consult Numbers 35:9-32 if necessary.)

Pay close attention to verses 33,34: “So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it. Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.” Jesus Christ was “the innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4). Since Israel rejected and killed her Messiah, God will send an avenger of blood to cleanse His land of the evildoers.

Hence, the Apostle Peter preached to unbelieving Israel in Acts 3:22,23: “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people” (cf. Deuteronomy 18:15,18,19). The “prophet” is Jesus Christ; unbelievers “destroyed” refers to the seven-year Tribulation (the reign of Antichrist—the avenger of blood!). Such Divine wrath carries all the way to Christ’s Second Coming.

The Little Flock preaches to unsaved Jews throughout early Acts. They must repent (recognize Jesus as Messiah) and be water baptized, to join Israel’s believing remnant. Those in the Little Flock will survive God’s wrath that is coming to rectify the shedding of Christ’s innocent blood….

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “Who are the ‘saints’ in 1 Thessalonians 3:13?and How many angels will be with Jesus Christ when He returns?