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?

My Father’s Business #17

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

The Bible’s introductory verse proclaims: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Creation is divided into two realms—Heaven and Earth. Accordingly, God’s work within creation can be viewed as occurring in Heaven or occurring on Earth. From verse 2 onward, the Scriptures focus on His purpose and plan for Earth. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Job, and so on, all understood their Heavenly “Father’s business” concerned Earth.

In Genesis 1:26-28, we see the first man, Adam, commissioned to fill up Earth for God’s glory. Adam, of course, sinned and handed Earth’s governments over to Satan (cf. Matthew 4:8-10). The LORD introduced the Great Flood, cleansing Earth and restarting the human race with Noah and his family (Genesis chapters 6–8). Instead of remaining spiritually pure, mankind followed Satan nationally: the nations engaged in pagan idolatry at the Tower of Babel (Genesis chapters 9–11). God thus gave the nations (Gentiles) over to Satan and began to form the nation Israel with Abraham. Israel, taking Adam’s place, became God’s earthly people.

Genesis chapter 12 opens: “[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.” After forming the nation Israel, God would give Israel His words and they would take them to the Gentiles. Here is Israel’s—here is God’s—earthly kingdom.

Matthew 25:34 summarizes, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:….” Christ’s earthly kingdom would have been inaugurated back in Adam’s day, but Adam sinned. Unfortunately, Israel sinned as well, resulting in God’s change in program yet again….

My Father’s Business #3

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

Luke chapter 2 (verses 41-50) shows the Lord Jesus, now in Palestine, at 12 years old. Israel should pay close attention to His behavior here, for 12 in Scripture is Israel’s number. The Mosaic Law commanded all Jewish males to travel thrice a year to the Jerusalem Temple to observe Judaism’s three major feasts—Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles (Exodus 23:14-17; Exodus 34:22,23; Deuteronomy 16:16).

Joseph, Mary, Jesus, and their family and friends have come to worship at Jerusalem for Passover (Luke 2:41). However, when it is time to go back home to Nazareth (northern Israel), young Jesus is accidentally left behind at the Temple. When Mary and Joseph return to the Temple, they are relieved to find Him conversing with the “doctors” (Jewish religious scholars—like possessors of a “Th.D.,” or “doctor of theology” degree). To say the least, it is certainly bizarre to find a little 12-year-old boy sitting at the center of an assembly of “grandfathers” and considering profound religious ideas with them!

Again, Luke relays the account: “[46] And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. [47] And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. [48] And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. [49] And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”

Young Jesus listens intently to what His nation’s religious leaders have to say. Also, He poses a series of ensuing queries to probe their knowledge further. “And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers” (verse 47). Joseph and Mary are “amazed” to behold such a sight. Onlookers realize this is no ordinary 12-year-old! Despite His adolescence, Jesus is “about [His] Father’s business….”

My Father’s Business #2

Monday, January 6, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

Matthew chapter 2 is one of the Bible’s two glimpses into Jesus’ life as a small boy. Based on verse 16, we see that He is as much as two years old here: Herod the Great, King of Judaea, perceives the “young child” as a threat to his throne, thus prompting him to slaughter all of Bethlehem’s children two years of age and under. It was just prior to this that the angel of the Lord warned Joseph to take young Jesus and His mother Mary and escape Palestine and flee to Egypt. This occurred to fulfill Bible prophecy.

Let us read Matthew 2:14,15: “When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.” This, of course, is a quotation of the Prophet Hosea whose ministry was over 700 years earlier. Notice Hosea chapter 11: “[1] When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. [2] As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.”

Originally, Hosea was referencing Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage as recorded in the Book of Exodus. Through Matthew, though, the Holy Spirit shows that Hosea 11:1 was actually a dual prophecy. Not only did He intend the nation Israel in Hosea 11:1, He also anticipated the Lord Jesus Christ. That Israel perish not in Palestine because of a severe famine, God ordered his father (Jacob) to go down into Egypt (Genesis 46:1-7). Fast-forward 17 centuries, and see the magnificent parallel. That young Jesus perish not in Palestine because of a pagan king, God commanded His step-father (Joseph) to take Him down into Egypt! Yet, there is more.

Upon returning to Canaan, one son of God will be about ignoring his Father’s “business,” and the other Son of God will be about running His Father’s “business….”

A Better Baptism #4

Saturday, September 21, 2019

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV).

Behold, the only baptism that counts for eternity!

God the Holy Spirit declares through the Prophet Ezekiel in chapter 36: “[18] Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it: [19] And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them…. [24] For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. [25] Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.”

As per the Mosaic Law (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28), God instituted five courses or phases of chastisement or curses for Israel disobeying His commandments. As the Jews continued to worship and serve pagan gods, so JEHOVAH God disciplined them to try to reform them. The fifth and final stage of judgment was Israel exiled from the land of Palestine and scattered worldwide amongst the Gentiles. Ezekiel lived during the opening decades of that Babylonian Captivity. As the Holy Spirit promised to drive Israel from the Promised Land, so He would be faithful in bringing them back.

Approximately two centuries after Ezekiel, the Holy Spirit calls Israel to repentance through the Prophet Malachi. Chapter 3, verse 7: “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.” How do they “return” to the God of Abraham? Here enters the ministry and message of John the Baptist! Ezekiel 36:25 again: Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.” How shocked we are to see this water baptism….

Jesus, Please Leave! #4

Thursday, June 20, 2019

“And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Matthew 8:34 KJV).

Friend, what would you do if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself happened to knock on your front door or ring your doorbell?

Matthew chapter 12 provides the key to understanding exorcisms—the casting out of devils—in Scripture: “[22] Then was brought unto him [Jesus] one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. [23] And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? [24] But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

“[25] And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: [26] And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? [27] And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. [28] But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. [29] Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. [30] He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”

Verse 28 claims Jesus and His 12 Apostles performed exorcisms to show Israel God’s earthly kingdom was near. After all, Zechariah 13:2 said Messiah would remove the unclean spirits from Israel’s land. Exorcisms and physical healings were demonstrations of “the powers of the world to come” (Hebrews 6:5), “shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God” (Luke 8:1). When Jesus cast out the evil spirit in the context of today’s Scripture, how did Israel respond? In celebration and gratitude that Satan had been driven from them? No! Instead they asked Jesus to leave. They disallowed the very Man—the only Man—who could liberate them from satanic bondage….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Philippians 3:14?

Jesus, Please Leave! #3

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

“And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts” (Matthew 8:34 KJV).

Friend, what would you do if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself happened to knock on your front door or ring your doorbell?

Mark chapter 5 records the event this way: “[7] And [one of the devil-possessed men] cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. [8] For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. [9] And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. [10] And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. [11] Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.”

Notice, Jesus is called here, not merely “Son of God,” but “Son of the most high God” (verse 7). The title “most high” underscores God as “possessor of heaven and earth” (Genesis 14:19,22). Did you notice how the unclean spirit asked Jesus “not [to] send them away out of the country?” While God is the Creator, it is equally factual that a usurper exists in creation—Satan, the Adversary, the spirit being who said, “I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). The Devil desires all creation worship him: therefore, he polluted the nation Israel with false religion. When Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry began, the Israelites are not under God’s control.

These evil spirits know that their purpose (instructions given by Satan himself) is to occupy the land of Palestine. If God’s land is corrupted, it is unusable to Him. Thus, the devils beg Jesus to let them stay in the country, or land. He prefers to cast them out of the men (there were actually two men—see Mark 5:1-20). Christ allows the evil spirits to enter pigs, and they drive the pigs to drown into the sea (presumably the Sea of Galilee). Yes, this is all bizarre to us, but it is quite simple. The devil-possessed man pictures national Israel under Satan’s influence….

What a Stiff Neck! #3

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

“For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death?” (Deuteronomy 31:27 KJV).

A Christian lady was expressing her frustration over her unsaved family members being “stubborn” as concerning believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Or, in Bible terms, they are “stiffnecked.”

Israel could never (!) brag about how JEHOVAH God brought her into the Promised Land because of her “goodness.” Rather, it was because of the evil of the Gentiles living in the Promised Land that God was bringing in Israel. Israel was wholly unworthy. Listen to the Holy Spirit as He speaks to them through Moses in Deuteronomy chapter 9:

“[4] Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee. [5] Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. [6] Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people…. [13] Furthermore the LORD spake unto me, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:….”

Lest Israel forget the countless grievous sins she had committed against the LORD God, Moses spends verses 7-29 reviewing her 40-year history (all the way back to her deliverance from Egypt). This new generation of Jews present in Deuteronomy must learn the lessons their ancestors did not. Yet, they too will be negligent, as 2 Chronicles 30:8 remarks centuries later, “Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you.”

Now, we reveal the cause of that stiff neck….

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What a Stiff Neck! #2

Monday, April 1, 2019

“For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death?” (Deuteronomy 31:27 KJV).

A Christian lady was expressing her frustration over her unsaved family members being “stubborn” as concerning believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Or, in Bible terms, they are “stiffnecked.”

Moses had a ministry to sinners—millions of sinners. He knew them all too well, and for far too long (over 40 years). When he first attempted to minister to the nation Israel, his brethren, they rejected him. One asked him, “Who made thee a prince and judge over us?” (Exodus 2:14). Decades later, they accepted him, and he led them for 40 years from Egypt, across the Red Sea, through the wilderness of Sinai, and all the way to northeast of the Dead Sea. Over and over, he had witnessed their ingratitude to God, their worshipping idols, and their willfulness in doing their own thing (to name a few, Exodus 15:24, Exodus 16:2-8, Exodus 17:1-3, Exodus 32:1-35, Leviticus 10:1-3, Numbers 11:1-3, Numbers 12:1-16, and Numbers chapters 13–14).

Therefore, Moses remarked in today’s Scripture, “For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death?” He knew exactly what Israel would do after he would pass into eternity. We can read the rest of the Old Testament to see how tragic Israel’s post-Moses history turned out. Some 850 years after Moses’ death, thus arises the fifth course of chastisement—the final round of punishment God brought on Israel because of her breaking His Old Covenant (Law) by worshipping and serving pagan idols.

Jerusalem and Judah’s last king epitomized the Jews. King Zedekiah, a descendant of David, “stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel” (2 Chronicles 36:13). Having a “stiffened neck” was true of all 12 tribes of Israel; hence, they were all now in Gentile captivity/exile! “But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction” (Jeremiah 17:23). Over 2,600 years later, and human nature has not changed a bit….

Bible Q&A #595: “Is it disrespectful to call it the ‘Old Testament?’