Throwing Them Out! #4

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying (Mark 5:40 KJV).

Why did Jesus throw these people out?

Jairus’ child, his “one only daughter,” was 12 years old (Mark 5:42; Luke 8:42). Any skilled student of Scripture will immediately recall 12 in the Bible is Israel’s number. Remember, did not Jacob have 12 sons who became the nation Israel? Were not those 12 men the fathers and heads of the 12 tribes of Israel? Does not Israel have 12 Apostles—one to reign over each tribe in the ages to come? Yes! Yes! Yes!

“And he [the LORD God] gave him [Abraham] the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs (Acts 7:8). After dying Jacob blessed his 12 sons, the Bible says, “All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them” (Genesis 49:28). “And Jesus said unto them [the 12 Apostles], Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging [ruling] the twelve tribes of Israel(Matthew 19:28).

Jairus’ daughter is in the process of dying. God’s Son is en route to heal her, but a delay causes Him to be “too late” and, tragically, she passes away! Here is national Israel, spiritually and functionally dead. God’s daughter is expired! The Lord Jesus comes to the house, and, entering the room, sees and hears the grievers. Today’s Scripture again, “And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.” Jesus argues, paraphrased, “The girl’s condition is not permanent. While her spirit has left her body, this is temporary, like a sleeping state. She will live again!” Lacking faith, however, His audience finds this comical. “Surely, she is hopelessly dead, never coming back!” Upon their chuckling, Jesus drives them out. They will not see Israel’s resurrection….

The War with Amalek! #4

Wednesday, June 5, 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?

The Amalekites were the first Gentiles to fight Israel after they had passed through the Red Sea. Read today’s Scripture in context once more: “[5] And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. [6] Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. [7] And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not? [8] Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.” It is important to note that this battle did not initiate until after the water ran.

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul provides commentary: “[1] Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; [2] And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; [3] And did all eat the same spiritual meat; [4] And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians chapter 10).

While Israel literally passed through the Red Sea, and actually drank literal water from a literal rock, spiritual truths are being communicated as well. The Bible says the smitten Rock was Jesus Christ. According to Isaiah 53:4, He was “smitten of God” on Calvary’s cross. Moses striking the rock was a picture of Christ being crucified 1,500 years later. As physical water flowed from the rock, sustaining physical life, so spiritual water flowed from Christ the Rock on the cross, thereby releasing spiritual life. With the flow of spiritual life—and notice it comes first—a war subsequently rages. Now, the victor and the loser….

The War with Amalek! #3

Tuesday, June 4, 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?

The LORD God had delivered Israel from Egyptian slavery back in Exodus chapter 14. He had brought them miraculously through the Red Sea, in which He drowned Pharaoh and his armies. Israel had left the “old life” behind. No more were they servants to sin, Satan, and false religion. East of the Red Sea, they burst into song, the Song of Moses.

Read from chapter 15: “[16] Fear and dread shall fall upon them [the Gentiles]; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. [17] Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established. [18] The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.” Coming out of the Red Sea, the Israelites knew their purpose. God had “purchased” or redeemed them. The blood of the Passover lamb had been shed (chapter 12). They had “died” to Egyptian bondage. Now, they were alive, in a new region, and bound for the Promised Land. What great joy!

At the close of chapter 15, the Jews needed water, and God healed bitter water so as to make it drinkable for them. They were hungry, so He provided them with manna (bread) and quail in chapter 16. With chapter 17 opening, they complained about thirst again: “[5] And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. [6] Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”

The rock indeed brought forth water, but a bitter fight ensued as well….

The War with Amalek! #2

Monday, June 3, 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?

Scripture first mentions the man “Amalek” in Genesis 36:12: “And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau’s son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau’s wife.” Amalek was Esau’s grandson, but who was Esau?

Turn back to chapter 25: “[19] And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham begat Isaac: [20] And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian. [21] And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. [22] And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD. [23] And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

“[24] And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. [25] And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. [26] And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.”

Esau was Jacob’s older twin brother—and both were Abraham’s grandsons. Even in the womb, it was evident they would be rivals. Read Genesis 25:37-34 and Hebrews 12:16-17. Esau was an unbeliever; he did not trust the one true God. Jacob was a believer (see Hebrews 11:21). As noted in Genesis 25:23, two nations descended from their loins. Esau was the forefather of the Edomites (Genesis chapter 36). Jacob, of course, fathered 12 sons who ultimately became the 12 tribes of Israel (Genesis chapters 29–30,35).

Therefore, when the Amalekites attacked the Israelites in today’s Scripture, it was the culmination of a centuries-old spiritual battle among blood relatives….

Wise or Foolish? #2

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:…. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand…” (Matthew 7:24,26 KJV).

Dear friends, are we wise—or foolish?

Today’s Scripture is certainly works-oriented—“doeth them” and “doeth them not.” It is in perfect accordance with Israel’s works program (see James 2:14-26). In that respect, it is quite different from what God tells us in the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon. Howbeit, we would do well to note one common theme. No matter the dispensation, it is always wise to listen to God’s Word, believe it, and obey it. It is always foolish to ignore it, doubt it, and defy it.

As today, so it was in time past. When Jesus Christ began His earthly ministry, there was gross spiritual ignorance. The nation Israel was so far removed from God’s Word that they were unable to spot His Son when He showed up in their midst! Christ’s earthly ministry was a diligent endeavor to lead the Jews back to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These precious souls had drifted away from pure religion and held to false religion. God’s words had been set aside for man’s opinions. Thus, Jesus asked Nicodemus, “Art thou a master [teacher, educator] of Israel, and knowest not these things?” (John 3:10). Even Israel’s religious leaders were clueless to God’s words!!

With every sermon preached, and every miracle performed, Christ was loosening Satan’s grip on Israel. Yet, the vast majority preferred bondage. They wanted to serve sin—it was either that or serve the God of creation (and that they refused)!! Throughout Christ’s earthly ministry, the unbelievers became more apparent, as did the believers. Of course, those unsaved Jews grow more belligerent—yea, bloodthirsty (leading to Christ’s crucifixion). Doctrine had already divided, but now Christ’s sermons had widened the chasm.

In the context of today’s Scripture, Jesus warns of an impending storm (Matthew 7:25,27). A test is coming upon Israel, and the wise men and the foolish men will be separated for all to see….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How can Jesus Christ be a priest if He is of the non-priestly tribe of Judah?

No Good Deeds, No Good Things #3

Friday, July 20, 2018

Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you (Jeremiah 5:25 KJV).

Here is the result of being under any performance-based acceptance system!

Fast-forward over 400 years after Abraham. His seed through Isaac—the nation Israel—is in bondage to Egypt. Israel is helpless: she cannot rescue herself, and must depend on God’s power to deliver her with mighty signs and wonders (Exodus chapters 1-13). The culmination is God’s parting of the Red Sea to allow Israel to escape Pharaoh and his army (chapter 14). In chapters 15 through 18, God graciously blesses Israel with His provisions. He has done so much to make them His people. Will they rest in this grace?

Notice Exodus chapter 19: “[3] And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; [4] Ye have seen what I [God] did unto the Egyptians, and how I [God] bare you on eagles’ wings, and [I God] brought you unto myself. [5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. [7] And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. [8] And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.”

How tragic! They have not learned the lesson that their father Abraham had centuries earlier. Instead of letting God work to fulfill His promises (namely, the Abrahamic Covenant—He will work to make them His people), their sin nature has deceived them into thinking they can perform to get the blessing. They believe they can make themselves God’s nation. Grace has been tossed aside, and thus begins the strict, cruel reign of the Law! Sinful Israel is doomed….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is Matthew 25:31-46 a plan for our salvation unto eternal life?

No Good Deeds, No Good Things #2

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you (Jeremiah 5:25 KJV).

Here is the result of being under any performance-based acceptance system!

The “Abrahamic Covenant” appears in Genesis chapter 12: “[1] Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: [2] And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: [3] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” These are God’s promises to Abram rather than Abram’s promises to God. God will work on Abram’s behalf to produce a nation. Abram is to separate from his pagan family—idolaters (Joshua 24:2)—so he can be set apart for God’s purposes. He believed the LORD God, and he relocated as instructed.

Abram is 75 years old (Genesis 12:4); Sarai his wife is 10 years younger. God has pledged to use them to build a great nation, yet they are elderly and childless! In chapter 16, Abram is now in his mid-eighties… and disheartened to still be without a son. Well-meaning Sarai develops a plan to “help” God. She gives Abram her handmaid, Hagar, to use as a surrogate mother. Through Sarai’s plan and Abram’s efforts, Ishmael is born.

Over a decade later, Abram is 99 years old (Genesis 17:1). God changes his name to “Abraham” and his wife’s name to “Sarah,” and then He remarks: “Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him” (verse 19). God performs a miracle. Isaac is born in chapter 21, when Abraham is 100 (and sterile!). By the way, the Ishmael–Isaac struggle continues even today as the 4,000-year Arab/Muslim–Jewish war!

God rejected Abraham’s struggles (Ishmael); He accepted only His work (Isaac). If man will receive God’s blessings, it will be God’s efforts and not (!) man’s….

Benoni and Benjamin #2

Monday, April 16, 2018

And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin (Genesis 35:18 KJV).

Dear friend, look and see—herein lies prophecy!

After a 20-year exile in the east, Abraham’s grandson Jacob is resettling in the land of Canaan. He is returning to the Promised Land with four wives, 11 sons, one daughter, and much livestock. One wife, Rachel, is pregnant; in fact, her delivery date is very soon. While the group is traveling—not far from Ephrath (in southern Israel)—she goes into labor quite painful.

Today’s Scripture reads in context: “[16] And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. [17] And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also. [18] And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin. [19] And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. [20] And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day.”

As her distressed soul is leaving her physical body, Rachel makes it known that she has suffered greatly to bring her child into this world. She uses her last breaths to name him “Benoni” (meaning, “son of my sorrow”). Jacob, her husband and the boy’s father, offers another name for his twelfth son: the child is “Benjamin” (that is, “son of the right hand”). Benjamin is his father’s strength; the bringing forth of a new life soothes Jacob’s soul as he bears the great loss of his beloved wife. Rachel finishes expiring, and Jacob buries her body just outside the little town of “Ephrath” (Bethlehem).

Just why would God include this bittersweet account in His Word? Was it just to take up space? To merely give us interesting reading? What underlying truths is He teaching? Dear friend, take these moments to think critically. Review those names—in light of prophecy—and you will realize a most glorious truth… or two….

 

Their Vanities #4

Thursday, August 17, 2017

“They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation” (Deuteronomy 32:21 KJV).

What are these “vanities?”

Recall the two sets of parallel phrases: “that which is not God” with “their vanities,” and “those which are not a people” with “a foolish nation.” Now, we are particularly interested in the latter set. Who are these “not a people,” this “foolish nation?”

Deuteronomy chapter 32 (today’s Scripture and its context) is “the Song of Moses.” Some of Moses’ parting words to the nation, it covers Israel’s history and future (prophecy, events beyond our day). Today’s Scripture points to the future by first pointing to the past. Remember, Israel was to be God’s nation of priests. Every Jew was to have a spiritual relationship with JEHOVAH God, that every Israelite, in a coming earthly kingdom, would share the message of his God with the Gentiles/nations (see Genesis 12:1-3, Isaiah 60:1-3, Isaiah 61:6, Zechariah 8:20-23, Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 24:47-48, Acts 1:8, et cetera).

Jeremiah 2:11, almost 1,000 years after Moses spoke today’s Scripture, says that Israel worshipped idols and abandoned the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: “Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.” God actually gave Moses the insight to see Israel’s apostasy that Jeremiah witnessed centuries later. Today’s Scripture takes it a step further though. God will still get a Jewish people for His name. He will reach within the nation Israel and pull out a believing remnant. That believing remnant will become “new Israel,” His kingdom of priests.

Notice what the Lord Jesus said in Luke chapter 12: “[31] But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. [32] Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” In contrast to the idolatrous Jews, His followers would be that “foolish nation,” heirs of that earthly kingdom. Just as unbelieving Jews had given Him up for idols, He will give them up for believing Jews….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘joined hard’ mean in Acts 18:7?

 

Abram Did It Man’s Way

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

“And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai” (Genesis 16:2 KJV).

Abram “hearkened to the voice of Sarai—the verse does not say, “the voice of God!”

We do not know how long Abram waited to see the promised seed God would give him. The Bible gives us an estimate of at least 25 years (Abram entered the land of Canaan around age 75, Genesis 12:4 says, and Genesis 21:5 claims he was 100 when Isaac was born). Some people speculate that it could have been as much as 50 years (since Genesis 12:1-3 was spoken sometime back in chapter 11—how long that was, the Bible is silent). We will stick by the Bible and say at least 25 years. Friend, imagine waiting 25 years for God to do something He promised you He would do on your behalf!

Beloved, Abram was just as human as we are. He held out for about 10 years, before finally listening to his wife Sarai and having a child with her handmaid Hagar (see today’s Scripture—yea, Genesis 16:1-16). This was not something God commanded but rather something Sarai devised. As it turned out, it was not the “God-taking-so-long-to-work” that resulted in a problem; it was man’s “quick fix” that ultimately proved to be so detrimental to Abram and his family. That child he fathered apart from God’s will (Ishmael) now has descendants (Arabs) who persecute the child God gave him through promise (Isaac) and the little nation Israel descended from Isaac and grandson Jacob. This problem, starting out as a silly woman’s bad idea, has plagued the Middle East for 4,000 years now!

If we can learn anything at all, friends, it is this. It is better to wait on faithful God for decades, Him bringing a result that will actually work and last eternally; than depend on our fellow man, as frail as we, to develop a “quick fix” that will disappoint forever! Rather than doing it man’s way, let us do it God’s way!