Lessons from the Ark of the Covenant #6

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

“…[T]he 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).

What can we learn from the Ark of the Covenant?

The LORD God had Israel save (in chronological order): the golden pot of manna, the stone tables or tablets of the Ten Commandments, and Aaron’s rod that budded. By having them stored in the Ark of the Covenant for safekeeping, JEHOVAH God used them as teaching aids: despite Israel’s sin and rebellion, He would be faithful in keeping His promises to them!

Firstly, her people questioned whether God had their best interests in mind, so He rained down manna from Heaven. A sample of that bread was to be kept in a container. Secondly, Moses had not yet descended the mount with the Ten Commandments when the Jews fashioned a golden-calf idol to worship! Moses broke the stone tablets, but God had him hew out two new ones and God re-wrote those tables. Lastly, the nation defied Moses and Aaron, doubting they were God’s chosen leaders. Hence, Aaron’s rod that budded was a sign the priesthood belonged to the tribe of Levi—particularly Aaron and his sons.

On top of the Ark of the Covenant was the Mercy Seat, where God’s “Shekinah” glory abode. Literally, the only thing that was between God’s presence and these objects/souvenirs of rebellion was the animals blood applied once a year! Hebrews 9:7,11,12,14 reveals the type/antitype: “[7] But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:… [11] But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; [12] Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. [14] How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….

Lessons from the Ark of the Covenant #5

Monday, May 24, 2021

“…[T]he 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).

What can we learn from the Ark of the Covenant?

Manna was God’s bread for Israel to eat. An “omer”—roughly half-gallon (2 liters)—of manna was stored in a jar. Exodus 16:36, “Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah.” Likewise, although God would consume Israel, scattering her idolatrous people worldwide, He would reserve one-tenth to Himself and bring it back into the Promised Land: “But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof” (Isaiah 6:13).

The stone tablets of the Ten Commandments represented God’s covenant with Israel made at Mount Sinai. Under penalty of curses, they were required to obey Him. The lid of the Ark of the Covenant was the Mercy Seat, where God’s presence was: “And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 25:22). Israel’s high priest annually applied animal blood on the Mercy Seat to cover the nation’s sins (Leviticus chapter 16).

Aaron’s rod that budded, a dead stick severed from a tree, miraculously blossomed and bore fruit. Likewise, God will resurrect lifeless Israel: “…Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD” (Ezekiel 37:12-14).

Let us summarize this devotionals arc….

Spiritual Cardiosclerosis #7

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

“And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go” (Exodus 4:21 KJV).

Exactly what is “spiritual cardiosclerosis?” How can we avoid this invisible, destructive malady?

Upon examining the contexts of the verses wherein spiritual cardiosclerosis appears, we conclude the affliction arises once the human soul (heart) refuses God’s words. Whether Pharaoh declining to let God’s people Israel go, or the Egyptians themselves refusing to release the Jews, or other unbelieving Gentiles in the Old Testament economy, or apostate Judaean King Zedekiah, or unbelieving Israelites wandering in the wilderness under Moses, or apostate religious Jews lacking compassion on a disabled man Jesus healed, or unbelieving disciples concerning Jesus feeding the multitudes, or callous people vehemently endeavoring to divorce, or national Israel blinded for not believing Christ during His earthly ministry, or unbelieving Apostles post-resurrection, or unbelievers in the Dispensation of Grace, or Jewish unbelievers during Daniel’s 70th Week, they all deliberately reject the Divine revelation given them. They are now insensitive (hardened) to the truth!

God’s Word tells us what to believe (doctrine), what we are doing wrong (reproof), and how we should think to do right (correction): “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). If we are unwilling to hear and trust its counsel, however, Proverbs 29:1 will be our lot: “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck [stubborn!], shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”

Ephesians 4:18,19 speaks of those “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” First Timothy 4:2 references those who “speak lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;….” We avoid spiritual cardiosclerosis by believing God’s words to us upon immediately hearing them. Let us pay special attention to Romans through Philemon, or face spiritual destruction!

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #10

Monday, January 18, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

Exactly 12 spies—representing Israel’s 12 tribes—were sent to scout Canaan (Numbers 13:1-25). Centuries earlier, God had promised that land to their fathers Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons. However, since that original promise, Israel had been in Egyptian bondage. The LORD faithfully delivered her from Egypt, and now the Jews are headed into the Promised Land!

After 40 days, the spies returned to Moses and Israel: “[31] But the men that went up with him [Caleb] said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. [32] And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. [33] And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

Ten out of the 12 spies contradicted the LORD, claiming Israel could not defeat the Gentiles in Canaan. Therefore, the LORD spoke in chapter 14: “[33] And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. [34] After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. [35] I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.”

Israel’s sin found her out, and fractured her in twain….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the significance of Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt?

Shoeless Moses #8

Saturday, June 20, 2020

“And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God” (Exodus 3:4-6 KJV).

Why did the LORD God order Moses to remove his shoes, and why was Moses “afraid to look upon God?”

Once he met the LORD in the burning bush, Moses—although corrected—reluctantly confronts Pharaoh. After intentionally delaying even more to judge sinful Egypt, God finally frees Israel with a mighty hand. For the final 40 years of his life, Moses leads Israel from Egypt to the eastern edge of the Promised Land. (The trip that would have lasted a few weeks was greatly lengthened after Israel’s unfaithfulness and subsequent wilderness wanderings!) Upon Moses’ decease, Joshua becomes Israel’s new leader and brings them westward across the Jordan River. Through a series of victorious wars, God enables them to conquer Palestine’s Gentile inhabitants.

Almost three decades later, aged and dying Joshua counsels Israel in Joshua chapter 23: “[4] Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward. [5] And the LORD your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the LORD your God hath promised unto you. [6] Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;….” Alas, Israel forsook the LORD once she settled Canaan—worshipping and serving idols, and ultimately being scattered around the world!

Where Moses failed, God was faithful; where Israel was unreliable, God will be reliable. She will return to the land of her fathers in due time!

What Pleases God #8

Saturday, November 9, 2019

For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (2 Peter 1:17 KJV).

Using the Scriptures, we will define exactly what God thinks well of….

“He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me” (2 Samuel 22:20; cf. Psalm 18:19). King David celebrates after JEHOVAH God “delighted” (was pleased with) him and delivered him from all his enemies. This previews believing Israel’s future deliverance at Christ’s Second Coming, liberated from Satan and all other Jew-haters. “For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation” (Psalm 149:4).

When compared to His Son’s perfect sacrifice of Himself on Calvary’s cross, God has “no pleasure” in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin (Hebrews 10:6-8). As concerning us Christians in the Body of Christ, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21). God has “no pleasure” in hearts of unbelief (Hebrews 10:38). He was “not well pleased” with a large number of Jews who came out of Egypt (1 Corinthians 10:5); hence, they died in unbelief in the wilderness in the Book of Numbers. As Israel killed Messiah Jesus, and then persecuted and slew His Apostles and their converts during the Acts period, the Holy Spirit commented on how the Jews “please not God” (1 Thessalonians 2:15).

“But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased (Psalm 115:3; cf. Psalm 135:6). “By him [Christ] therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased (Hebrews 13:15,16). “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs” (Psalm 69:30,31). Saints, we know what pleases God! Now, how will we respond? 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the ‘appearing’ of the Lord in 2 Timothy 4:8?

A Recipe for Disaster

Monday, November 26, 2018

For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it (Hebrews 4:2 KJV).

Can we possess God’s Word and it not benefit us?

From the time He created man and placed him on Earth, the God of the Bible has extended a message for man’s faith and obedience. While a written Bible was not always available to man, there was God’s spoken Word. That message changed through time because man changed. These individual Divine revelations are “dispensations,” each applicable only for a limited time.

In today’s Scripture (actually beginning back in chapter 3), the writer of the Book of Hebrews recalls Israel’s history. JEHOVAH God had promised them the land of Canaan, but they refused to enter (Numbers chapters 13–14). Hebrews reveals their problem: “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief (3:19). They did not believe God’s Word to them. No faith!

A person can own a Bible, carry it around, flip through it, read it daily, memorize it, tell others about it, hear it preached at church, and still be out of God’s will and still lack His power. No matter the dispensation, personal faith is always most important before God: “But without faith it is impossible to please [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Faith is the key to activating God’s Word in our lives. Once we believe the verses we read or hear, God the Holy Spirit works in us and then outwardly: “…To be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16). He makes the verses a reality in our lives, that we reflect the grace doctrine we believe, and thus He benefits us! 🙂

Not Mixed With Faith

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Hebrews 4:2 KJV).

We can read and memorize all the verses we want, but, if we are not approaching Bible verses in faith, we will not gain the profit God put in them.

I had a recent phone conversation with a brother in Christ who is in the ministry. He is dealing with an individual who jumps from religious group to religious group (five or six current affiliations). This man, whether saved or not I am unsure, constantly asks the brother various Bible questions. How sad it is that people can ask so many questions and still be so ill equipped, unable to distinguish truth from error. Yea, treating the Bible like some “intellectual gym class” will severely harm rather than greatly help!

Take, for example, the nation Israel in the wilderness (Hebrews chapter 3— previous to today’s Scripture). They heard the voice of God thundering from Mount Sinai. They saw the two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments inscribed on them. Unlike the pagan nations around them, Israel had access to the one true God (Deuteronomy chapter 4 in its entirety). Alas, Israel did not believe a word God said (today’s Scripture)! They heard, heard, heard… but they did not believe, believe, believe! Hearing the Word of God does not benefit you if you do not believe it! Paul said this of unbelieving Jews in Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Israel had heard the Word of God for centuries, and yet was still in rank unbelief during his Acts ministry!

The writer of the Book of Hebrews, speaking to Israel during the future time after our Dispensation of Grace, urges the Jews to believe the kingdom doctrines Jesus Christ taught during His earthly ministry. They are to believe on Him as their Messiah, the Son of God, their Redeemer; they must wait for Him to return at His Second Coming to establish that earthly kingdom of God. That wonderful news cannot profit them if “not mixed with faith!”

The Living God #3

Thursday, March 3, 2016

For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? (Deuteronomy 5:26 KJV).

Exactly why is the God of the Bible called “the living God?”

The Jews, sons of Abraham but also (sinful) sons of Adam, had been barred from entering the Promised Land because of their unbelief (see Numbers chapters 13 and 14; cf. Hebrews 3:7-19). Refusing to take God at His Word, Israel doubted He would surely drive out their enemies. They doubted they would dwell safely in Canaan. So, once that generation had died off in the wilderness, at the end of 40 years, Moses addressed Israel’s new generations in Deuteronomy (see today’s Scripture). He reminded them just how strict God is under the current Covenant of Law. Not long after today’s Scripture, Moses died, making Joshua God’s leader for Israel. We come to the second instance of “the living God.”

Reading Joshua 3:10: “And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.” Israel is where she was with Moses 40 years earlier, before the wilderness wanderings. Joshua reaffirmed that Israel had “the living God” on her side. There was great power to give them victory. While Israel under Joshua’s command had some notable military triumphs, Israel once again doubted God’s Word to her and was never faithful in remaining separate from her pagan neighbors.

The next two instances of “the living God” concern little boy David’s victorious fight with Goliath: “And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?….Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God (1 Samuel 17:26,36). There is power with “the living God!”

Aged, But Strong, in the LORD

Thursday, February 5, 2015

“…I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in” (Joshua 14:10,11 KJV).

How could Caleb, despite his old age, be so bold?

Recall Israel’s rebellion entering the Promised Land with Moses (Numbers chapters 13 and 14). For 40 days, 12 Jewish spies scouted its landscapes. Ten spies reported back to Moses with a very negative report: “We cannot overcome the giants in the land.” They contradicted JEHOVAH’S promise to give them victory over all Gentile inhabitants. However, two spies—Joshua and Caleb—believed God’s Word.

Numbers chapter 14 continues: “[6] And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh… rent their clothes: [7] And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. [8] If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. [9] Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.” Israel still refused to enter Canaan, and thus wandered in the desert for 40 years!

Fast-forward to today’s Scripture. Caleb is now 85 years old… and still ready to fight the Gentiles to possess the land that God has given him! The verse following today’s Scripture reveals Caleb, despite agedness, is confident that the LORD will give him victory! “Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.”

Like Caleb, a wise man will rely on his Almighty LORD, not his weakly flesh!