Throwing Them Out! #3

Monday, September 14, 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?

Never should we forget that, when the Lord was performing miracles, the purpose was much more than simply to excite people or rescue them from difficulties. Chiefly, most importantly, “the Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22). A miracle in Scripture is for Israel’s benefit, designed to signify or communicate a particular doctrine or teaching.

For example, recall when JEHOVAH God commissioned Moses to return to the Israelites enslaved in Egypt. The Bible reports in Exodus 4:1: “And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.” God then endowed Moses with miraculous power to authenticate his ministry and message. His rod could transform into a snake, he was able to heal leprosy (skin disease), and he could turn the river’s water into blood (verses 2-9). “And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. And the people believed…” (verses 30,31). “Signs” belong to Israel, for they are Israel’s national birthright (cf. Psalm 74:9). The same is true concerning Christ’s earthly ministry.

Let us consider Luke 8:1, “…[Jesus] went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,….” Not only did Christ preach, He validated those words with miraculous deeds: He “preached” and “shewed” the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. “Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe (John 4:48). The last verse of Mark notes: “And they [the 12 Apostles] went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”

With all that said, why did the Lord raise Jairus’ little daughter from the dead? He was authenticating His message. The key is to remember the girl’s age, and all will be clear….

Line of Hope #2

Friday, August 14, 2020

Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee (Joshua 2:18 KJV).

Behold, a line of hope!

While oft remembered as an “harlot” (Joshua 2:1; Joshua 6:17,25; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25), it seems that was Rahab’s former occupation. The language of Joshua indicates she was presently a textile worker—one who prepared cloth, linen, and other fiber-related materials. Joshua 2:6 shows she hid the Jewish scouts “with the stalks of flax [raw textile fiber], which she had laid in order upon the roof.” Verse 15 also: “Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall.” Moreover, as we read in today’s Scripture, she let them down alongside Jericho’s city wall by a “line of scarlet thread.” “And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window” (verse 21).

Let us draw our attention to the “line of scarlet thread” itself. Of course, “scarlet” is a blood-red hue. The Hebrew word for “line” here is “tiqvah.” How interesting it is that this term is rendered “hope” some 23 times in the King James Old Testament, “expectation” seven times, and “the thing that I long for” once! For example, Psalm 62:5: “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation [tiqvah] is from him.” And, Psalm 71:5: “For thou art my hope [tiqvah], O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.”

Although Rahab, Joshua, and their contemporaries knew nothing of Calvary’s cross, it is certainly fascinating God in His Word attached “hope” to the hue of blood-red! Unaware of Christ’s blood, Rahab nevertheless revealed her faith using a scarlet thread dangling from her window. If we study our completed Bible from cover to cover, we notice Jesus Christ’s crosswork either implicitly or explicitly. Whether Isaac being offered on the altar, or the Passover lamb’s blood, or Rahab’s scarlet thread, there is a “line of hope” running through the Scripture!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Galatians 3:17?

Line of Hope #1

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee (Joshua 2:18 KJV).

Behold, a line of hope!

Having escaped Egyptian slavery 40 years earlier, Israel now prepares to enter the Promised Land. Moses has just expired. Joshua has succeeded him as Israel’s leader. The first city they must conquer is Jericho, on the Jordan River’s western bank. In chapter 2 of Joshua, the context of today’s Scripture, Joshua sends two spies to scout the land. Once they bring back word, Israel will move westward and attack! These two Jewish reconnoiters meet a citizen of Jericho—Rahab the harlot—who allows them to lodge at her house (verse 1). Upon Jericho’s king hearing of an infiltration, Rahab denies any association and hides the men on her roof (verses 2-7).

“[8] And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; [9] And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. [10] For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. [11] And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. [12] Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: [13] And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.”

Rahab is one of the few non-Jews aware of the one true God….

World Lost! #7

Sunday, August 9, 2020

“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:9,10 KJV).

Some have cried out, “This world is going to hell in a handbasket!” Others have exclaimed, “We have lost our country!” Surely, surely, they are all correct!

The fig tree of Matthew chapter 21 symbolizes Israel’s religion. Displaying attractive leaves, it had a pleasant appearance—and seemed to be alive. However, upon closer inspection, the observer would peel back the leaves and realize it had no fruit. It was a worthless tree with false advertisement!

In connection to the barren fig tree, we find the Lord Jesus lamenting in chapter 23: “[37] O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! [38] Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” This “house” is the Jerusalem Temple—and God has vacated it because they do not want Him! Yet, it is a gorgeous structure, decorated with enormous limestone blocks and golden plates. See Luke 21:5,6: “And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Also worthless, it would be demolished!

The culmination of Israel’s apostasy was when she demanded her Messiah’s crucifixion just a few days after He cursed the fig tree. With Jesus hanging on Calvary’s cross, Israel could no longer hide her unbelief. She was spiritually and nationally dead. Even now, we can no longer suppress the anti-God and anti-Bible attitude pervading our society today….

World Lost! #6

Saturday, August 8, 2020

“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:9,10 KJV).

Some have cried out, “This world is going to hell in a handbasket!” Others have exclaimed, “We have lost our country!” Surely, surely, they are all correct!

The Holy Spirit afforded Moses the ability to look at the nation Israel millennia into the future: “Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee” (Deuteronomy 32:18). Circa 750 years before Christ, halfway between Moses and Calvary, we observe the Jews’ divided kingdom—Israel up north, Judah down south. “For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof” (Hosea 8:14).

Israel’s land abounded with temples, places of worship. She appeared religious. Yet, the fact of the matter was they had taken their eyes off the LORD God. Outwardly, she looked alive. Internally and spiritually, however, she had already perished. As for Judah, that kingdom relied on military might instead of the LORD—seemingly strong, it was really weak.

Fast-forward to Christ’s earthly ministry, Matthew chapter 21: “[18] Now in the morning as he [Jesus] returned into the city [Jerusalem], he hungered. [19] And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. [20] And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!” Again, “religious” Israel was promising on the outside, but barren on the inside….

Who Will Go? #2

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8 KJV).

May we agree with the Prophet Isaiah!

Remember Moses’ call to the ministry in Exodus chapter 3, when God appeared to him in the burning bush: “[10] Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. [11] And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? [12] And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.” After many excuses and much persuasion, Moses finally serves as God’s spokesman to Pharaoh. The LORD gave Moses a job to do… and He fully equipped him to do it!

Apostles Peter, Andrew, James, and John were called to the ministry in Matthew chapter 4: “[18] And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. [19] And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. [20] And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. [21] And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. [22] And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.” The Greek word rendered “apostle” is “apostolos”—“sent one.” Here is their commission in Matthew 10:5-7: “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Let us see how others respond to the ministry call in Scripture….

Bible Q&A #745: “What about the ‘wrath and doubting’ of 1 Timothy 2:8?

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!

Shoeless Moses #7

Friday, June 19, 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?”

Moses had forgotten the LORD’S words to Father Abraham centuries before Israel’s Egyptian bondage: “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again [the Promised Land!]: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Genesis 15:13-16).

Now, God’s message to Abraham in chapter 17: “[6] And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. [7] And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. [8] And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

Moses was in unbelief when he left Israel in Egypt. God had not forsaken them as assumed. Despite their temporary captivity, the Abrahamic Covenant was permanent. As per God’s faithfulness, they would return to the land in which Abraham sojourned. Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How did synagogues originate?

Shoeless Moses #6

Thursday, June 18, 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?

After Moses met the LORD in the burning bush, chapter 4 reads: “[24] And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. [25] Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. [26] So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.” Why did God want to kill Moses? Moses, while in the wilderness 40 years, saw the Abrahamic Covenant as invalid. Contrary to God’s commandment in Genesis 17:9-14, he had not physically circumcised his son!

Once Moses heard “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” was addressing him, he recalled the Abrahamic Covenant. Although Israel was suffering in Egypt, their God had not forgotten them: “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them” (Exodus 2:24,25).

When Moses encountered God, he was terrified. It was more than a sinful, mortal man seeing a holy, righteous God. The LORD ordered him to remove his shoes, for not only was Moses standing on “holy ground,” he had been in unbelief! Since Moses forsook Israel in Egypt four decades earlier, he was to take off his shoes. In Israel, the shoeless man was confessing his failure to fulfill his duty (see the levirate marriage situation of Deuteronomy 25:5-10 and Ruth 4:1-8).

Now, Moses was ready to return to Egypt….

Shoeless Moses #5

Wednesday, June 17, 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?”

Read the verses that follow today’s Scripture: “[7] And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; [8] And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. [9] Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. [10] Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.”

Moses feared to look upon God because he knew he had abandoned Israel in Egypt. God appeared to remind him that, contrary to what Moses believed, He had not forgotten Israel, and that he (Moses) was negligent in forsaking Israel 40 years earlier. Concerning “the burning bush [that] was not consumed” (verse 2), that pictured Israel undergoing intense persecution in Egyptian bondage and yet not being annihilated. Moses had to be taught that God was still preserving her in that “iron furnace” (Deuteronomy 4:20; 1 Kings 8:51; Jeremiah 11:4), and now it was time for Moses to return to Egypt and rescue her from Pharaoh. Moses was to bring them into God’s land, the Promised Land….