Israel: The Miracle Nation #6

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

But Sarai was barren; she had no child (Genesis 11:30 KJV).

How will the LORD God prove Israel is His miracle nation?

Escaping Egypt, the Israelites knew they were free only because the LORD God had broken Pharaoh’s power, overridden Satan’s authority, overcome sin’s influence, and vanquished the world’s dominance. They voiced their gratitude by singing the Song of Moses (Exodus chapter 15). Repeatedly, from chapter 14 to the end of chapter 18, JEHOVAH God worked and Israel received the blessings. Over and over and over again, grace was shown to be infinitesimally superior, whereas the flesh was proven totally helpless and utterly useless. Whatever Israel needed to become God’s people in the Earth, God had supplied, God was furnishing, and God would provide.

After witnessing the all-sufficiency of God’s grace and the all-futility of their efforts, the Israelites must make a solemn decision at Mount Sinai. Exodus chapter 19 again: “[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.”

Oh, dear friends, what a terrible, foolish answer Israel gave in verse 8! “All that the LORD hath spoken we will do [works-religion!!!!].” Having thrown aside grace, they desire law. They prefer to become God’s nation in their own strength—and that arrangement was doomed before they ever uttered such nonsense. Not only had they not been able to do “all” God’s will prior, they had already outright disobeyed Him in chapter 16 (see verses 4,19-28)! Now, sin has deceived them. They actually believe they can work to get God’s blessings—the very blessings God already promised them through Abraham (apart from their works!!!), their very works that could never be perfect!!!! Moreover, billions are equally confused today….

Israel: The Miracle Nation #5

Monday, February 7, 2022

But Sarai was barren; she had no child (Genesis 11:30 KJV).

How will the LORD God prove Israel is His miracle nation?

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all learned the nation descending from them would originate and become God’s people only because of His grace. Man’s efforts could never accomplish the Abrahamic Covenant. Their performance was irrelevant—for they could all do nothing to accomplish God’s will.

Leaving Genesis and coming into Exodus, we find Israel in Egypt, suffering slavery and genocide under a malicious Pharaoh. It takes the LORD God’s power to free Israel, for she is unable to save herself. “The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he [grace!] cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea” (Exodus 15:3,4). “And because he [grace!] loved thy fathers, therefore he [grace!] chose their seed after them, and [He] [grace!] brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt…” (Deuteronomy 4:37).

Having delivered them through the Red Sea (Exodus chapter 14), God also provides the Jews with potable water in the desert (chapter 15), feeds them with manna/bread (chapter 16), supplies them with more water and even military victory over the Amalekites (chapter 17), and finally imparts wisdom to the Jewish leaders (chapter 18). Here are six instances of God’s grace furnishing Israel with everything she needs—but could not provide for herself.

In chapter 19, at Mount Sinai, God makes an offer: “[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 did [grace!] unto the Egyptians, and how I bare [grace!] you on eagles’ wings, and [I] [grace!] brought you unto myself. [5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed [law!], and keep my covenant [law!], 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.”

Let us see Israel’s choice….

One More Night with the Frogs! #3

Monday, January 31, 2022

And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the LORD our God (Exodus 8:10 KJV).

Who has replied with, “To morrow,” and why has he answered thusly?

Before we dismiss today’s Scripture and its context as mere “fairytales told around ancient Jewish campfires,” we would do well to see the modern parallel. Whenever an unsaved person responds to the Gospel of Grace with, “Let me have fun in the world first, and then I will become a Christian,” he or she is following in Pharaoh’s footsteps. “I just want to live in sin one more day, before I submit to my Creator’s will.” Whenever a believer in Christ responds to the Gospel of Grace with, “Let me have fun in the world first, and then I will behave like a Christian,” he or she is also following in Pharaoh’s footsteps.

Overall, Pharaoh was both deceived and deceptive. When he noticed the plague of frogs ending, he saw no reason to keep his word. He still refused to free Israel! “[12] And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the LORD because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh. [13] And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields. [14] And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank. [15] But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.” After another eight devastating plagues, Pharaoh desperately forced Israel out of his land—only to ultimately fight them with his army and drown with all his troops in the Red Sea!

Friends, may we not be foolish or proud. If we are suffering “frogs” today—the ill effects of our sin—may we not be willing to spend one more night with them. Rather, let us trust Paul’s Gospel: Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised again for our justification (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Herein is deliverance from the penalty of sin (Hell and the Lake of Fire) and the power of sin (worldly living).

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “How can there be ‘eleven’ Apostles if both Judas Iscariot and Thomas are absent?” and “Was Apollos at fault in 1 Corinthians 16:12?

One More Night with the Frogs! #2

Sunday, January 30, 2022

And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the LORD our God (Exodus 8:10 KJV).

Who has replied with, “To morrow,” and why has he answered thusly?

This plague of frogs was the second of 10 Divine judgments on Egypt because Pharaoh relentlessly held the nation Israel hostage. Actually, it was Satan using Pharaoh to keep the Jews as his political prisoners. Concerning these curses, JEHOVAH God proved He was superior to whatever the King of Egypt worshipped or even thought himself to be (pharaohs were regarded as gods—they were self-centered, to say the least). Remember, the King of Egypt, in a most unenviable position, proposed in verse 8: “Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the LORD, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the LORD.” That is, if Israel’s God removes the frogs, Pharaoh would release Israel.

Now, let us recall the words of verse 9: “And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, that they may remain in the river only?” In other words, “Pharaoh, you have the honor of deciding what time you prefer I pray to the LORD to take away the frogs.” The King of Egypt, not the LORD or Moses, has been given the power or privilege to determine just how long he wants to suffer this type of judgment.

Pharaoh’s answer is in today’s Scripture: “To morrow.” In his stubborn pride, the king makes a poor decision. He is willing to let the plague continue just a bit longer before he considers freeing Israel. To wit, “I would rather tolerate these unpleasant frogs one more night before I think about submitting to the God of Israel!” Willful Pharaoh has no one to blame but himself for his misery. The Egyptians have no one to blame but their defiant monarch for their suffering….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain, ‘God save the king?’

One More Night with the Frogs! #1

Saturday, January 29, 2022

And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the LORD our God (Exodus 8:10 KJV).

Who has replied with, “To morrow,” and why has he answered thusly?

Reading today’s Scripture with its context: “[1] And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me. [2] And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs: [3] And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs: [4] And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.

“[5] And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt. [6] And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt. [7] And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.

“[8] Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the LORD, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the LORD. [9] And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, that they may remain in the river only? [10] And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the LORD our God. [11] And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, and from thy servants, and from thy people; they shall remain in the river only.”

What happens next? Let us see….

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!

Spiritual Cardiosclerosis #2

Friday, April 16, 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?

Keep reading about Pharaoh, King of Egypt: “And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:…” (Exodus 10:1). “But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go” (verse 20). “But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go” (verse 27).

“And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land” (Exodus 11:10). “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so” (Exodus 14:4). “And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand” (verse 8). Again, the Egyptians themselves suffered spiritual cardiosclerosis: “And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen” (verse 17 ).

Other Gentiles in the Old Testament experienced a similar fate: “But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day” (Deuteronomy 2:30). “For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses” (Joshua 11:20).

Unfortunately, now Israel will undergo spiritual cardiosclerosis….

Spiritual Cardiosclerosis #1

Thursday, April 15, 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?

In medical science, “cardiosclerosis” is characterized by the rapid increase of scar tissue in the myocardium (heart’s muscle tissue). The death of myocardial fibers causes the heart to become physically hard. However, the Bible refers some 40 times to a far more devastating affliction. Today’s Scripture is its first appearance; nearly half of those verses apply to Pharaoh of Egypt, oppressor of Israel.

“And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 7:3). “And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go” (verses 13,14). “And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said” (verse 22). “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said” (Exodus 8:15). “Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said” (verse 19). “And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go” (verse 32).

“And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go” (Exodus 9:7). “And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses” (verse 12). “And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses” (verses 34,35).

Pharaoh will suffer even more spiritual cardiosclerosis….

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 #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….