Posts for July 2010
5 Posts found

Numbers 16.1-3 – Human Pride & Divine Sovereignty
Posted: 12 July 2010 in Numbers, Scripture

Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?

Numbers contains another passage, with a similar theme to this, and both passages are about what happens when human pride clashes with God’s sovereignty. As levites the rebels had a divinely ordained role to play in the life of Israel, but still they had a craven need to be “top dog”. Such a nindset leads only to rebellion against God. We are here to do God’s will, and to accept his will for us – nothing more or less than that. In Genesis 3, pride is depicted as being the original sin, and the root of all other sins.

No comments

Jeremiah 26.8-9 – God’s word of truth.
Posted: 10 July 2010 in Jeremiah

Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die. Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.

The people remonstrating with Jeremiah sound exactly like some atheists today: “That is not what we want to hear, so please hold your tongue.” But, there is such a thing as objective truth, and that truth comes from God. It does not change, irrespective of whether somebody happens to like it or not.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword…. a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4.12)

No comments

2 John 1.9-11 & Acts 4.12 – Uniqueness of Christ
Posted: 9 July 2010 in 2 John, Acts

“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

These two passages are obvious parallels to the famous verse at John 14.6. God has ordained Christ as the only means of salvation, and if we are to come to the Father we must do so through him. Furthermore, John warns us to beware of those who question this doctrine, or even flatly deny it – a phenomenon which is not exactly unknown in the Church today. It is tempting to want to debate this point with God: “What about all those other people, in other religions, can’t they be saved as well?”

A more appropriate attitude, and certainly one more respectful of God’s sovereignty, might be Amos 3.8:

“The Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?”

God expects from us loving obedience, and submission to Christ as the only means of our salvation – not the debate which arises when we lack a sense of our own nothingness before God. Without submission, worship is vacuous, and almost an insult to God’s majesty.

No comments

Numbers 14.27-34 – Fear of the Lord
Posted: 8 July 2010 in Numbers

How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward which have murmured against me. Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. 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.

The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. That is not a thought which tends to play an overly large part in religious thinking today. But we should not lose site of the fact that the Bible reveals God as both the merciful Father who brings undeserving sinners to salvation, and also as the sovereign Lord who insists upon his transcendent holiness.

After spies had returned from scouting out the land of Canaan, and had brought a generally good report, the Israelites decided that they would nevertheless prefer not to obey God, but would instead prefer to return to Egypt. The above passage gives God’s response, and we are left in no doubt that disobedience has consequences so far as God is concerned.

Without that knowledge, any sense of awe in the presence of God would quickly evaporate, and with it the reverence which must be at the heart of all valid worship. Being the sinful creatures that we are, if sin did not have the potential for unpleasant consequences, we would soon adopt a lackadaisical attitude towards God, and more or less do as we liked; paying God little more than lip service, and perhaps not even that.

As much as we may deplore the fact that we cannot be sufficiently motivated by love for God, unless there is also a fear of God, it nevertheless remains a fact that we are fallen creatures.

No comments

Matthew 7.21-23 – A Warning
Posted: 7 July 2010 in Matthew, Scripture

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

The above is a blunt warning against trying to baptise our own projects. It is all too easy for petitionary prayer to become a shopping list, whereby we let God know what is needed for us to bring our plans to fulfillment. We call God Lord, and then act as if we are the lords, with God merely being there to facilitate our plans.

This passage from Matthew calls us to order. God is not interested in having us pursue our own projects, no matter how religiously inspired they may appear to be. Instead we must strive to know his will through prayer, Bible reading, and generally listening out for his voice in our everyday lives. We must the do his will – no matter how contrary it may be to anything we had in mind.

Speaking for myself, I sometimes find the one word “no” or “yes” forming itself in my head in response to prayer. I cannot be absolutely certain that what I am hearing comes from God, but a prima facie reason for supposing that it might do so is that I do not always like what I hear.

No comments