Lingering Lot

Saturday, June 24, 2017

“And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city” (Genesis 19:15,16 KJV).

In “lingering Lot,” we see many a Christian today!

Nephew to Abraham, Lot was a very compromising believer. While the world’s sins bothered him (2 Peter 2:6-9), he did not mind dabbling in them himself. For example, Lot “sat in the gate of Sodom” (Genesis 19:1): he was an important statesman in that most wicked city, enjoying high social standing and great wealth. Once God had enough of the homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah, He sent two angels to destroy them (see Genesis 18:16-22; Genesis 19:1ff.).

God also sent those angels to deliver Lot and his family before His righteous wrath falls upon Sodom and Gomorrah. In today’s Scripture, the angels urge Lot to hurry and take his wife and two daughters and escape. Three words stand out: “and while he lingered….” Lot wanted to stay just a bit longer, to take one last look at all his possessions he had acquired while officiating over Sodom. His beautiful home and its furnishings would be destroyed. His sinful acquaintances would be killed. (Notice how his wife “looked back behind him” once they did leave in verse 26, and she “became a pillar of salt!” She too had been attached to the material goods she and Lot had.)

Lot should have led his family out of such wickedness, yet he “lingered.” The angels had to thus forcefully grab all four of them (he, his wife, and their two daughters) and bring them outside the city! JEHOVAH God could have consumed Lot for being so wicked, so idolatrous, and yet He was “merciful unto him.” No doubt, many such saints will want to “linger” at the Rapture, when Christ returns to take all Christians to Heaven, desiring to stay behind and enjoy this evil world one last time. May we not be those “lingering” believers!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does the Bible say about blood transfusions?

God’s Perfect Timing

Saturday, December 17, 2016

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4,5 KJV).

As today’s Scripture indicates, the birth of Jesus Christ was no accident—God planned its exact moment from eternity past.

When God placed the first man, Adam, on earth, He purposed that man would “subdue [control] it,” to “have dominion” over it and everything on it (Genesis 1:28). Nevertheless, Adam sinned by joining Satan in his rebellion against God. Because of sin, man was now unable to accomplish on earth what God originally created him to do. God left the human race a promise, however, that there would come a Man, who would do what Adam failed to do. Instead of cooperating with God’s adversary like Adam had, this “seed of the woman” would “bruise [Satan’s] head” (Genesis 3:15).

Traveling up through the Scriptures, we see how God lays the groundwork for that seedline. In Genesis 12:1-3, or 2,000 years after Adam’s sin, we read God’s covenant with Abraham, that through Abraham a nation, Israel, will be born, and salvation and blessing will flow to the Gentiles through Israel. The seed of the woman becomes the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16).

In 2 Samuel 7:12-16, and 1,000 years after Abraham, we read of God’s covenant with King David, that “his seed” will inherit his throne and reign forever. The seed of the woman and of Abraham becomes the seed of David.

About 1,000 years after David, Matthew 1:1 speaks of Christ’s birth, and declares, “…Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” This is exactly what God had promised for thousands of years!

Jesus Christ’s birth was not some haphazard event of nature. God the Father had preplanned the exact moment of the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture). Over a period of some 4,000 years, the three members of the Godhead worked to bring about the birth of man’s Redeemer, a plan they had even before man was created! Amazing!

His Son #3

Friday, October 21, 2016

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

In a fragmentary fashion and in assorted ways, JEHOVAH God used the prophets to speak to Israel’s patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jacob’s 12 sons, David, Solomon, et cetera—about His purpose and plan for them. The Book of Hebrews is written to the descendants of Israel’s fathers. It has no relation to us Gentiles or the Church the Body of Christ. Never forget, friends, the Book of Hebrews continues the prophetic program that began in the “Old Testament.” We study Hebrews, but are always mindful it does not speak to or about us.

According to the writer of Hebrews, penning during the Acts period, the God who spoke to Israel’s fathers by the “Old Testament” prophets is not speaking by them anymore. He has spoken to Israel by His Son. As Jesus Himself declared, “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:16). John the Baptist’s ministry was a transition, or “bridge,” from the Law and the Prophets, to the earthly ministry of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. God’s earthly kingdom, long preached by the “Old Testament” prophets as coming, is on the verge of being established during Christ’s earthly ministry. (Hebrews, written during Acts, looks back at Matthew through John.)

“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand [near]: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14,15). That Gospel of the Kingdom was simply Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16)….

His Son #2

Thursday, October 20, 2016

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

For some reason known only to Him, God the Holy Spirit chose not to reveal the human instrument He moved to write the Book of Hebrews. So, rather than squabbling about the man’s identity, all we need to know about its writer is found in the first word—God!

JEHOVAH God, Israel’s God, for centuries, had sent prophets to communicate more and more of His Word to her. “Time past” here in this context (Hebrews 1:1) denotes Abraham’s call all the way up to John the Baptist’s ministry (about 2,100 years). It started with Abraham because he was Israel’s father, and it ended just before John the Baptist’s ministry began (we will look at this verse later). For now, just know this was a time of piecemeal revelation to Israel—“at sundry times.” It involved various angelic appearances, handwriting, visions, dreams, miracles, fire from heaven, and so on—“in divers manners.”

First Peter chapter 1 says of the “Old Testament” prophets who, with limited understanding, tried to make sense of it all: “[10] Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: [11] Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” Notice this reference to Christ’s First Coming (earthly ministry—“the sufferings of Christ”) and His Second Coming (“the glory that should follow”).

With the passing away of such “piecemeal” prophetic ministries, Father God sent His Son as His Spokesman to Israel. Whatever those holy men spoke prophetically, Jesus would come (Matthew through John) and repeat, explain, and add to it….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Was the Law of Moses given by the LORD, or by angels?

That Ishmael Might Live!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

“And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!” (Genesis 17:18 KJV).

Why did Abraham pray these words?

JEHOVAH God, after giving the nations nearly 2,000 years to come to Him by faith, scattered them because of their idolatrous rebellion (Genesis chapters 10 and 11). He isolated one pagan, Abram the Syrian. 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.”

God promised Abram he would father a nation, Israel, for His earthly purposes. Yet, Abram and wife Sarai remain childless for many years. Impatient, Sarai suggests Abram use her slave girl, Hagar, as a surrogate mother. Abram, in unbelief, follows his wife’s advice. Genesis 16:15,16: “And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bear, Ishmael. And Abram was fourscore and six [86] years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.”

Some 13 years later, in chapter 17, God appears to 99-year-old Abram. “Abram” (“high father”) is renamed “Abraham” (“father of many”) (verse 5). Furthermore, God tells Abraham his promised son, Isaac, will be born next year to Sarah (verses 15-17). Since Isaac is coming and Ishmael was not God’s plan, Abraham fears God will kill Ishmael. In today’s Scripture, Abraham pleads for Ishmael’s life.

The Bible continues, “[19] And God said, 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. [20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.” Ishmael indeed lived, but, due to Abraham’s fleshly behavior, Ishmael fathered the Arabs—Israel’s most bitter enemies!

Known of God #1

Sunday, May 22, 2016

“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (Galatians 4:8,9 KJV).

Not only do we in Christ know God. More importantly, God knows us!

Today’s Scripture carries the thought mentioned throughout the previous chapter. While the one true God was dealing with the nation of Israel, preparing them to function as His earthly people, the nations—including the Gentiles in Galatia—“knew not God” and “did service unto them which by nature are no gods.” That is, in their heathen religious services, they worshipped various dead idols.

The Gentiles were doubly-severed from the one true God. They were not only dead in their trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-3). They were also on the wrong side of the middle wall of partition that God had erected (Ephesians 2:11,12). The Israelites, not the Gentiles, were God’s chosen people. Having let the nations (Gentiles) go their way in spiritual ignorance at the Tower of Babel in Genesis chapter 11, God took Abraham and began to form His special nation in chapter 12. Romans chapter 1 shows us the nations’ blatant rejection of God’s clearly revealed will, and their subsequent spiritual ignorance. This was the former state of the Galatians in today’s Scripture. It was also the lot of our Gentile ancestors in the centuries before Christ!

Did God not care about the Gentiles? Why, of course He did! God’s will was to take the nation Israel, convert them, fill them with His Word, so they, as His kingdom of priests, could then take that divine revelation to the nations (Genesis 12:1-3; Isaiah 2:1-3; Isaiah 60:1-3; Isaiah 61:6; Zechariah 8:20-23). Israel, as we all know, failed in that regard. But, God, in eternity past, devised another way to reach Gentiles until Israel’s national conversion. Today’s Scripture provides a clue as to how He did it. We Gentile believers in Jesus Christ “have known God” and “are known of God.” Just what exactly does this mean? Let us search the Scriptures to find out!

The Old Rugged Cross #2

Saturday, April 9, 2016

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV).

The second verse of George Bennard’s classic 1913 hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross,” highlights today’s Scripture.

“Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above,
To bear it to dark Calvary.”

Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary means nothing to most. The religious crowd believes they can “be nice” and “do good” and score points to “make God happy with them” as much as He was happy with Christ on Calvary. Salvation by grace through faith without works, us relying on Someone else to get us to Heaven, Someone who lived 2,000 years ago, and us not making an effort to “do right,” my, they think it absurdity to the extreme. (If they think their “good deeds” will make up for all their sins, that is absurdity to the extreme!)

Intellectuals—willfully ignorant, of course—may (notice I said “may!”) acknowledge the historicity of Jesus but most would never dare discuss the merits of Calvary. It would make them appear “bigoted” and “intolerant” of the world’s religions that place no emphasis (or outright deny) Calvary’s efficaciousness. Rather than becoming the laughingstock of “scholarship,” they ask, “How can a dead Jew help me?” Indeed, we agree that a “dead Jew” can help no one. But, our “dead Jew” did not remain dead!

The message of Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary, the hell-bound lost world considers it “foolishness” (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14). But, the flipside, we who are saved, we recognize that Gospel of the Grace of God is “the power of God.” The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the price of redemption, our rescuing from sin and Satan. Jesus Christ left the glories of Heaven, His worship and praise in Heaven, to come to this wretched world of worthless sinners, to be mistreated by them, mocked by them, and finally, murdered by them. Christ left Heaven, came to Earth, that we may one day leave Earth, and go to Heaven. Yes, Calvary “has a wondrous attraction for me!” 🙂