Posts for August 2012
2 Posts found

Exodus 22.4-6 and Numbers 15.33-35
Posted: 5 August 2012 in Exodus, Numbers

” If the theft be certainly found in his hand alive, whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep; he shall restore double. If a man shall cause a field or vineyard to be eaten, and shall put in his beast, and shall feed in another man’s field; of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vineyard, shall he make restitution. If fire break out, and catch in thorns, so that the stacks of corn, or the standing corn, or the field, be consumed therewith; he that kindled the fire shall surely make restitution.”

“And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.”

What struck me about the above is that, in the passage from Exodus, concerning offences against our fellow men, the offences attract penalties which are formulated, more or less, on the basis of an eye for an eye. In the second passage, however, an offence, which to us might seem a relatively minor transgression, attracts the death penalty.

The legislation in the Old Covenant is, of course, no longer directly applicable to us. But it is in our Bibles for a reason, and that reason is that we should be able to learn from something which was, after all, spoken by God. The obvious inference to be drawn from the severity of the penalty exacted upon the Sabbath breaker is that the least offence against God himself is (at least) as serious as the most serious offences against our fellow men.

Every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God is eternally and unchangably true, and anything spoken by God can only be abrogated by God. These passages ought to give us reason to contemplate the extent of our God’s everlasting majesty. Everything in the universe is for the glory of God, and nothing can be allowed to detract from his glory: That is the message to be drawn from the penalty exacted from the sabbath breaker, and that is our Creator’s perspective.

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Psalm 111 – The worship of God.
Posted: 2 August 2012 in Psalms

Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation. The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever. He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion. He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant. He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen. The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

Although the psalmist gives specific reasons for worshipping God in this psalm, his central message is that he should be praised simply because he should be praised. There needs to be no motive beyond the fact that God is who he is. Nevertheless, this God has manifested his greatness in the world of men, and of history, so, as Paul says in Romans 1, those who would deny him, and withhold the worship which is his due, are without excuse. Amongst the more specific motives given for praising God are the commandments he gave unto men for their own good. Had they reverenced God and obeyed him, they would never have been cast out of Eden, but now we live in a fallen world.

The psalm ends with an observation which is a common biblical theme: Namely that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Measured by that standard, wisdom is a bit thin on the ground in today’s world.

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