Yearn Not for the Old Life

Saturday, June 23, 2012

“And say thou unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the LORD will give you flesh, and ye shall eat” (Numbers 11:18 KJV).

Israel has been free from Egypt for just over one year (Numbers 1:1). The Jews begin complaining against God, so God in righteous anger literally sends fire to consume some of them (Numbers 11:1-3). Why are they murmuring?

The Jews want to return to their old life in Egypt. Notice what they claimed in today’s Scripture, “For it was well with us in Egypt!” Life in Egypt was “well” for them?! The Jews, like all sinners, refused to follow God, even if it meant returning to Egypt, to once again be brutally treated as slaves and to have their children’s lives threatened (Exodus 1:7-21)!

Israel is hungry for meat, and she longs to return to Egypt and eat that former diet: “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: but now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes” (Numbers 11:5,6).

During verses 7-15, the Jews gather manna and continue complaining, so discouraged Moses talks to God. In today’s Scripture, God instructs Moses to tell Israel that He hears their whining, and if they want flesh, He will give it to them! God will punish them for their rebellion against Him by giving them quail for a whole month, until they are literally sick of it (verses 19-23,31-34)!!

In 1 Corinthians 10:5,6,10, Paul warned the Corinthians not to be like Israel, ungrateful for what God had done for them. Just as Israel should not have wanted to return to Egypt (bondage), we should not want to return to our lost state of bondage to sin (our life before we trusted Christ). Let us stand firm in our identity in Christ, yearning not for the old life!

An Overwhelmed Heart

Friday, June 22, 2012

“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:1,2 KJV).

Sometimes, the circumstances of life can be overwhelming. To where does the psalmist (David) in today’s Scripture turn during these disheartening times?

King David continues, “For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name” (verses 3-5). David had faith in the LORD: he knew that his God would always be there for him, even if no one else were.

Life in this sin-cursed world is not always easy, but let us remember, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

“And he [the Lord Jesus Christ] said unto me [Paul], My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9,10).

Just as King David could flee to God for peace and consolation, we can too! We can go to God’s Word rightly divided for comfort, and talk to God in prayer during disturbing times (Philippians 4:6,7). What a privilege!

David concluded the chapter of today’s Scripture with, “So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever…” (Psalm 61:8). Let us sing praise unto God’s name forever… even when we have an overwhelmed heart!

Ignoring the Creator #2

Friday, June 15, 2012

“Wherefore will ye plead with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 2:29 KJV).

In the context of today’s Scripture (verses 26-32), the nation Israel is guilty of ignoring her Maker, JEHOVAH (the LORD). Instead, she worships pagan idols as though they deserve her allegiance. This blasphemous activity still occurs today…. albeit worldwide.

Our world abounds with idols: money, education, sex, drugs and alcohol, statues, religious leaders, and unquestionably self! In the scientific world, the preeminent “god” is certainly not Jesus Christ: the emphasis concerning origins is not on our intelligent Creator, but on some mystical, impersonal, inanimate, random process known as organic evolution. (Scientists still cannot explain how non-life spontaneously developed into life.)

“[They] worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator [Jesus Christ], who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:25b). Israel had reduced herself to such ignorance—praising wooden and stone idols as though they had given her life. God responded in judgment (the Babylonian captivity of 606 B.C.).

We live in the Dispensation of Grace, so God is extending grace, mercy, and peace. However, God’s wrath against pagan idolatry will not be postponed forever. As God cautioned rebellious Israel, “…but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us. But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble…” (verses 26-28).

In the day of God’s righteous wrath against idolatry (Tribulation), no idol will be able to deliver wicked mankind, just as Israel’s pagan gods could not save her from God’s chastisement (Babylonian and Assyrian captivities). All the silly idols man has reverenced and faithfully served these past 6,000 years will prove themselves to be totally worthless.

Why not worship the true and living God, the Lord Jesus Christ, “who loved and gave himself for you” (Galatians 2:20d), by trusting in His finished crosswork on Calvary as sufficient payment for your sins? Unlike pagan idols, Jesus Christ is your Creator, so He alone is worthy of your praise, love, and dedication. Do not ignore your Creator! 🙂

Be Not Content to Be Spiritually Impotent

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

“But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?” (Luke 5:30 KJV).

The “goody-goody” scribes and Pharisees are at it again! How will our Lord respond to “put them in their place?”

In the context (verses 27-32; cf. Matthew 9:10-13; Mark 2:15-17), the Lord Jesus is eating in the house of Levi (later the Apostle Matthew; Matthew 9:9), a “publican” (as a tax collector, Levi was one of the most unpopular people at that time!). Many publicans and others are present with Jesus in Levi’s house.

The Pharisees and scribes notice the assembly, and like religious people today, piously exalt themselves. “We obey Moses—we fast, we pray, we circumcise, we keep the Sabbath…. But, look at those sinners ignoring Moses… the harlots, drunkards, and dishonest tax collectors… Oh, and Jesus and His disciples eat with them! Thank goodness we are not sinful!” These religionists proceed to ask Jesus’ disciples why they are eating and drinking with “publicans and sinners” (today’s Scripture).

“And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (verses 31,32).

Certainly, everyone in Levi’s house, except Jesus Christ, was a no-good sinner—even the (self-righteous) Pharisees and scribes (whom Jesus repeatedly called “hypocrites”). But, as Jesus explained, “Yes, they are sinners, but these are the very people I came to save! I am the doctor and I came to save the spiritually impotent!” (Ironically, these “godly” religious leaders of Israel—not the “sinful” people in Levi’s house—would later demand Christ’s crucifixion.)

There are millions upon millions who recognize their lost (hell-bound) state, but religious pride forces them to ignore it. Sadly, many will never trust Christ’s righteousness: like the Pharisees, they condemn “sinners,” but will never admit that their deeds are equally offensive to God. They will go out into a lost eternity, damned forever in hellfire, never to change their mind about salvation in Christ. Trust Christ today—be not content to be spiritually impotent….

Divers Weights and Divers Measures

Monday, June 11, 2012

“Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 20:10 KJV).

Why is God offended by “divers weights, and divers measures?” Exactly what are these anyway?

The “weights” and “measures” of today’s Scripture are actually elements of commerce in the ancient world. From time immemorial, pan balances (scales) have been used to determine the value of goods. Goods were placed in one of the scales’ pans, and weights (such as stones) were placed in the other pan, and thus, the goods were valued (setting the standard for the price of goods of like nature). But, God knows sinful man will alter the standards (by using different size measurements), to ultimately swindle others (cf. Hosea 12:7; Micah 6:10-12)!

So, God strictly commanded Israel through Moses: “Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers [different] weights, a great and a small. Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. But thou shalt have a perfect and just [fair, right, honest] weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have…” (Deuteronomy 25:13-15).

Proverbs 20:23 expounds: “Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.” And Proverbs 11:1: “A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just [fair, right, honest] weight is his delight.”

Leviticus 19:35,36 summarize today’s Scripture and its associated verses: “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. Just [fair, right, honest] balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have:….” (An “ephah” and a “hin” are units of measurement.)

Just as God strictly warned Israel to be honest in all financial matters, He expects us to do the same. Let us not cheat others out of what rightfully belongs to them: “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute [tax] to whom tribute is due; custom [levy, fee, fine] to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law…. For this,… thou shalt not steal…” (Romans 13:7-9).

The Children of God #4

Sunday, June 10, 2012

“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28 KJV).

Today’s Scripture describes the unity of Christians, “the children of God.”

After briefly summarizing the identity of the members of the Body of Christ, Paul concludes with, “For ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Just as Jesus Christ desired unity amongst His Jewish kingdom believers—“That they all may be one” (John 17:16)—God wants unity in the Church the Body of Christ. (Understand, we should not and do not sacrifice doctrine for the sake of unity!)

If you have trusted in Christ Jesus alone as your personal Saviour, then these seven doctrines/issues unite you with every other member of the Body of Christ. The “[seven-fold] unity of the Spirit” is “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).

All members of the Body of Christ are positioned in that one body forever, they are all indwelt by the same Holy Spirit of God, they are all destined to reign in heaven with Christ forever, they have all trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, they all rely on Christ’s faith (Calvary’s finished crosswork), they have all been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ, and they all have God as their heavenly Father. This is our God-given position in Christ! “Ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Our Lord looks beyond denominations, ethnicities, social-economic statuses, education, gender, weaknesses, and strengths. He looks at the hearts of all people, to only see two groups: those who are children of the devil (John 8:44), and those who are “the children of God” (today’s Scripture).

*The past four devotionals have been combined and expanded to form a larger Bible study with the same name, which can be read here or watched here.

The Children of God #3

Saturday, June 9, 2012

“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28 KJV).

Today’s Scripture describes the equality of Christians, “the children of God.”

  • “There is neither Jew nor Greek”Prior to our dispensation, God distinguished between Jew (“Circumcision”) and Gentile (“Uncircumcision”) (Ephesians 2:11,12): this distinction has been temporarily suspended (verses 13-18). In our dispensation, God looks beyond nationality; He only sees Christians (members of the Body of Christ) and lost people. “…For we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;… Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them [Jew and Gentile] that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:9,22,23).
  • “There is neither bond nor free” This refers to social-economic statuses: today’s employer-employee relationship. In Bible times, masters (“free”) employed slaves (“bond”). God gives no special status to Christian masters (employers), nor does He grant Christian slaves (employees) any special standing (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:20-24). Again, when God looks at mankind, He only sees those that are “in Christ” and those that are not. “Neither is there respect of persons with [God]” (Ephesians 6:9c; Colossians 3:25b).
  • “There is neither male nor female” — All members of the Body of Christ are equally “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). In God’s eyes, Christian women are of no lesser value than Christian men, and vice versa.

While the Body of Christ consists of men and women, Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, all Christians are equally saved in God’s sight (just as all lost people are equally dead in their trespasses and sins). All Christians “are complete in [Christ]” (Colossians 2:10), but few ever study the Bible dispensationally (as we do here) to discover their identity in Christ.