Despising the Word of the LORD

“But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken His commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.” Numbers 15:30-31 (KJV)

Have you ever heard someone say, “I know that is a sin, but I am going to go ahead and do it.” They might even include in their statement something like this; “I know God is a forgiving God. He will forgive me anyway.” That is presumptuous sin. According to the above verse “…his iniquity shall be upon him”

The individual who would live this way, is in great peril; and is not taking what God says seriously. This individual is a blasphemer. Verses 32 – 36 show a man who picked up sticks on the Sabbath day; a clear violation of the fourth commandment “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy”. He “thumbed his nose” at God, and said, “I will do it anyway”. He was stoned to death.

This type of disobedient sin would not come from the heart of a man or woman of God; who has been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ.

There is forgiveness of sin. There is only death to blaspheme God by “despising the word of the LORD”.

The apostle John has written,

“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

Presumptuous willful sin is still a serious matter with God. Let us always flee to the cross of Jesus.

Let Us Go Up At Once

“And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13:30-33 (KJV)

Before these verses we find Moses sending twelve men to check out the Land of Promise, the land of Canaan. Joshua and Caleb have returned with the other ten, excited about what they have seen. To them the possibilities are wonderful. Look a the cluster of grapes they have returned with; so large it is carried between two men on a pole.

God had promised the land to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants that had become a great number of people. At the time of this venture, they had been in the wilderness about two years. Had they came back believing as Caleb and Joshua; rather than in unbelief they would have crossed into the land much earlier than they did.

God gave them a promise. The ten did not believe it. Two saw the promise and the possibility. Ten saw the problems, and the power of the enemy.

I have been often quick to judge these people, but now I have discovered that I tend to be like the ten who were unbelieving. The giants are too big. The mountains are too tall. I am too small. I tend to forget that my God makes all things possible. Jesus even said,

“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Matthew 17:20

Because of the majorities unbelief they would not enter the Promised Land. None of the adults 20 years and above would be allowed to enter the Land; and they were condemned to 38 more years in the wilderness. The Hebrew Letter says,

“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:19

Let us walk in the promise of the Christ who loved us unto death, even the death of the cross that we might do all things through His name, and glorify Him. For as the angel Gabriel said unto Mary,

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37

The Cloud of the LORD

“And the cloud of the LORD was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp. And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let Thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate Thee flee before Thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel.” Numbers 10:34-36 (KJV)

I have heard the phrase, “She’s walking in a cloud” or something similar; but this cloud would take on a whole new meaning. This is not the first time it has been mentioned and it is relevant due to the children leaving Mount Sinai at this point.

They have received all their instructions, and the Law, and the building of the Tabernacle has been completed.

This cloud became a Pillar of Fire at night. This Cloud and Pillar of Fire are connected with the Ark of the covenant. They are one in representing the presence of the LORD with Israel in the wilderness.

“The cloud of the LORD” was a covering for them from the hot sun during the day. The Psalmist speaks of this in Psalm 105:39. When the Cloud moved the people went with the Cloud.

Prayer is offered by Moses as the Cloud leads the way, “Rise up, LORD, and let Thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate Thee flee before Thee.” It is for certain that no enemy can stand against GOD.

The Christian has the very presence of the LORD within. We too are directed by God; led by God, filled by God; and made holy by Him. He is our refreshment, our protection, and our strength. He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Blessed Shoulders

“But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders.” Numbers 7:9 (KJV)

The Tabernacle has been completed and set up. Offerings of carts, wagons, has been brought for the carrying of some of the weightier thing so the Tabernacle for moving. No wagon is given to the sons of Kohath. They must bear the holy thing upon their shoulders.

The altar of burnt offering, though not mentioned as being carried the bronze laver, the table of showbread, the lampstand (Menorah), the golden altar of incense, the Ark of the covenant with the mercy seat; all to be carried with any utensils by the sons of Kohath; upon their shoulders (Numbers 4:1-20). They were not to touch the holy things, “Lest they die”.

How did they carry them without touching them? A description of the process is given in verse 12 of Numbers 4. Each article was to be covered with a “cloth of blue” then “with a covering of badgers’ skins”.

These holy articles had already been built with rings in the sides for poles to be inserted, or as in the case of the Ark the poles were to remain (Exodus 25:14-15).

What does all this have to do with Christians of today; or even the world today? I pray I can answer that. The whole of the Tabernacle is a picture or pattern given to Moses of the Presence of God in heaven. It is a picture for us of God’s indwelling presence. God desires to be in the midst of His people. It ultimately points to Christ Jesus.

The name “Immanuel” means God with us. Jesus Christ is Immanuel. God came in the person of His Son to die for our sins; to reconcile fallen, sinful man unto Himself, that we might be one with Him (John 17:21).

Of this verse Matthew Henry wrote,

“Observe, No sooner is the tabernacle fully set up than this provision is made for the removal of it. Note, Even when we are but just settled in the world, and think we are beginning to take root, we must be preparing for changes and removes, especially for the great change. While we are here in this world, every thing must be accommodated to a militant and movable state. When the tabernacle was framing, the princes were very generous in their offerings, for then they brought precious stones, and stones to be set (Exo_35:27), yet now they bring more presents. Note, Those that have done good should study to abound therein yet more and more, and not be weary of well-doing.”
from Matthew Henry Commentary

These were blessed shoulders. Sons of Kohath – allied with God to bear His holiness on their shoulders.

Keeping the Way

“But those that encamp before the tabernacle toward the east, even before the tabernacle of the congregation eastward, shall be Moses, and Aaron and his sons, keeping the charge of the sanctuary for the charge of the children of Israel; and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. All that were numbered of the Levites, which Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the LORD, throughout their families, all the males from a month old and upward, were twenty and two thousand.” Numbers 3:38-39 (KJV)

In previous chapters the order was given for the twelve tribes encampment around the Tabernacle; with the place of God’s presence in the midst of them.

Then between the twelve tribes, and the Tabernacle was the Levites placed as GOD ordered around the Tabernacle. Notice in the above verses the ones near the gate or entrance of the Tabernacle was Moses and Aaron, and his sons; that would include their families, and the purpose of their being there was “Keeping the charge of the sanctuary…”. The word “charge” has to do with “Guard”. They were the one’s to keep out the “stranger”, so that he/she might not die.

I can see in this that the purpose of the minister of God the Biblical preacher is to tell others that there is only one way to God, and that Jesus is the “Door” (John 10:1-9). To try and enter another way is to perish.

Every Christian is to be a guardian of the way to God. We are to show men, women, boys, and girls the way to God. The way to God is through the “Door”, and Jesus says “I am the Door” (John 10:7, 9)

It is a great harm to lead others to believe that there are alternative ways to God, other than through the cross of Jesus Christ.

They Pitched by Their Standards

“And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they.” Numbers 1:54 (KJV)

“And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses: so they pitched by their standards, and so they set forward, every one after their families, according to the house of their fathers.” Numbers 2:34

The book of Numbers is rightly titled. It is the numbering or counting of the people, and organizing them in their encampment in the wilderness as they journey. That is clearly noted as we read the first few chapters of this book of the Law.

When we read in the noted verses above we need to realize that when it says to us “the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses” that it is dealing with the matter at hand; that is the counting of the people, and in chapter two their placement in their camp in proportion to the Tabernacle in the wilderness.

The number of men 20 years of age and above; and not counting the Levites; was 603,550 men. We see a great mass of humanity in the wilderness. With women and children this number could easily reach 2 to 3 million people total. And these “did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses.”

In reading these two chapters and the setting up of their encampment you should also note the position of the Tabernacle with the position of the tribes. The Levites; the caretakers, spiritual leaders; were in the midst of the camp with the Tabernacle in the midst of them. That is just where GOD wants to be; in midst of the lives of His people.

GOD has made it possible to be right in the hearts of His people through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of His Son Jesus. All of these journeys, the Tabernacle, the Ark of the covenant, etc. are pictures of the Christ, the Son of God. He desires to be the center, very being of your life.

In the Land of the Enemy

“And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God.” Leviticus 26:44 (KJV)

In reading chapter 26 you will quickly realize God’s promises to Israel concerning their living in the Promised land. If they are obedient unto the LORD, and His commandments, laws; for themselves, their offerings, their Sabbaths for themselves, their animals, their servants, and for the land, etc. then they will be blessed. They would be protected, and without fear drive out those who are their enemies.

Then, the final verses are warnings of what will happen should they become disobedient, and follow their own hearts, disobey God, then, they would be cast out of the land, be driven and taken into foreign lands; living in fear.

As Christians we all enjoy the promises of God. The above promise is made to Israel. It is a marvelous promise. It is also one that the Christian can apply because the apostle Paul tells us also,,,

“I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? How he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” Romans 11:1-5

Because of the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross He has fulfilled all the requirements of the Law of God, and all people who trust Jesus as Lord and Saviour are given eternal life, and have the promise of God, “I will not cast them away”. It is His covenant with His people.

Death Sentence

“And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the LORD, shall be put to death.” Leviticus 24:16 (KJV)

The name of the LORD is holy. There is no other name like it. God is one. His names which reveal His character are many. Jehovah jireh; Jehovah rapha; those two show us that He is our Provider, and our Healer. There are others; none of them is Allah. We cannot expect to blaspheme ie. take His name lightly, to speak it irreverently or to attribute to ourselves or others something God has done; and be exempt from judgment for it.

Jesus spoke of blasphemy,

“Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him shall the Son of Man also confess before the angels of God: but he that denieth Me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.” Luke 12:8-10

We find later in Leviticus 24:23 that Moses gave commandment to stone the one whom charges were brought against, and they did. It is a very serious offense that anyone would blaspheme the name of the LORD.

Jehovah Reigns

“The LORD reigneth, He is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith He hath girded Himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.” Psalm 93:1 (KJV)

The Bible never makes any secret of the fact, the truth that there is God; that He is supreme; that He is Sovereign over all the earth, and the Universe He has made.

The Psalmist states it very clearly “The LORD [Jehovah; YaHWeH] reigneth”.  He not only reigns, but He is clothed with majesty, strength, and it has come from Himself.  He has done it Himself.  He is GOD, and there is none else.

All He has made is established, and it cannot be changed; it cannot be moved.  His word is sure.  What He has said is sure.  Not one word will be diminished.

You and I can believe and trust this One who has made all things.  We can even see Him as we look at His Son Jesus who died on the cross for our sins.  Hear what Jesus says,

“Philip saith unto Him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake.” John 14:8-11

Note what Jesus said,  “He that has seen Me has seen the Father”.  Jesus the Son of God, and God the Son.  By Him were all things made that are made (John 1:3; Colossians 1:12-17).

He is clothed in Majesty, and the whole world is in His hands accomplishing His will and purposes for His own glory.

Responsible for Sin

“And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against Me, him will I blot out of My book. Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, Mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them. And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.” Exodus 32:31-35 (KJV)

Moses had been on the Mount receiving instructions of the worship of God for the people of Israel.  They had previously received the Ten Commandments in word, having heard the voice of God speaking to them in Exodus 20.

The first Commandment is, “You shall have no other gods before Me”.  The second is “You shall not make for yourself any graven image…”, and that is exactly what Aaron and the people had done.  They had disobeyed God the LORD of all glory.  They, by making the golden calf, had separated themselves from the worship of YaHWeH.  They transgressed the law of God.

Moses, the man of God, the prophet of the Law of God, prays that if someone is to perish for their sin, “…Blot me, I pray Thee out of Thy book which Thou has written”.  It is apparent from God’s response that no one is responsible for the payment of sin except the one committing the transgression.

There is the promise of God that “Mine Angel shall go before thee…”, but there is still a visitation of judgment that must be made upon sin.

God has not, nor will He ever forsake His  people; but Oh how His people have forsaken Him.  Yet, He is merciful.  He is forever with us.

We are the ones responsible for our own sin debt, but God has provided a Substitute who has paid the price, by becoming “sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  The name of that Substitute is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Know That I Am the LORD

“And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God.” Exodus 29:45-46 (KJV)

After spending time with Moses giving him direction and commandment concerning the priestly garments, their materials, making, and anointing God gives Moses the above words.

There is a woven theme throughout all the Old Testament, and that is that GOD desires that the world may “know that I AM the LORD.”  Everything that is written in the Bible is written that the world may know Him, and that He is the LORD.

The ultimate gift of GOD to the world that we might know Him, and that He is the LORD was sending His only begotten Son to die on the cross in our place; and that when we look upon Him, to Him, trusting Him we might have redemption through His blood.

Do you know today that God is the LORD?

The Holy and the Most Holy Place

“And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made: and thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver. And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the Testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the Most Holy. And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the Testimony in the Most Holy place.” Exodus 26:31-34 (KJV)

GOD was giving Moses instructions on the proper worship of Himself, and His holiness.  To approach God any other way than God’s way is a terminal endeavor.  You will die.  You will perish, and still not see God.

The ark of the Testimony above is a representation, or symbol of the presence of God.  This pattern was given to Moses, and is a pattern from heaven itself (Hebrews 8:5; 9:22-28).  In the tabernacle of the wilderness only the priests had access into the holy place, and only the High Priest had access to the Most Holy place, and that only one day in the year, and not without blood.

As we consider this today we have one access to GOD, and that is through the cross of Jesus Christ of whom the ark of the Testimony represents.  It was His own blood that was shed.  It was while Jesus was on the cross that the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom showing that GOD had made the way for all who will believe to come to the very throne of grace to find mercy in our time of need (See Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38 and Hebrews 4:16).

May the GOD of all glory give you peace through His Son Jesus today.

God’s Glory in the Sight of the People

“And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.” Exodus 24:17 (KJV)

Moses had gone up on the mountain and Joshua had gone part of the way with Him.  Moses alone had gone into the cloud of God’s glorious presence.  It was here that Moses would receive instruction for the pattern of the ark of the covenant, all the furniture of the tabernacle, and the tabernacle itself with its “wall” around it.

I have asked for years within my own heart and mind, “What is the glory of GOD?”  I do not know that I have received a clear answer or not; but one that gives me peace is that it is the fullness of God.

While Moses and Joshua were gone all the people could see was this cloud with fire and smoke.  It seemed to be a “devouring fire” to them.  We have record that Moses went into it; and Moses alone was allowed to do so.  Except for the covering of God’s hand Moses would perish.  For anyone approaching God without that protecting hand they will perish.

God has provided us a covering for entering into His presence by His Son Jesus.  The writer of Hebrews has written,

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high…” Hebrews 1:1-3 (KJV)

Notice, if you will, who is the “brightness of His glory”.  It is also written that Jesus is the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9).  When we see Jesus; when we come to Jesus as our Lord and Saviour we are coming to and into the glory and glorious presence of GOD.

The Keeper, Protector, and Comforter

“Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him, and obey His voice, provoke Him not; for He will not pardon your transgressions: for My name is in Him. But if thou shalt indeed obey His voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For Mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off. Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and He shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.” Exodus 23:20-25 (KJV)

Within the Scriptures there are many appearances of the Angel of the LORD.  One of them is in the above verses.  Though called “an Angel” in verse 20; God calls Him “Mine Angel” in verse 23, and He has the same authority, and power as GOD Himself.  He is to be obeyed.  He is to be worshipped.  He is to be heard.  He is also the One who blesses the people, and takes away sickness.

Who is this Angel?  Just an angel given the power to speak for Jehovah?  No!  He is the Son of God.  He is the living Presence of God in the camp.  It could be that He is the pillar of the cloud by day, and pillar of fire by night.  He is always present with them

In most cases where “Angel of the LORD” is mentioned in the Bible many Christians agree that it is a reference to the preincarnate Son of God Jesus Christ.

Notice if you will, before I close for today, how verse 20 says, “…To bring thee into the place I have prepared for you” and then Jesus’ words in John 14 “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  (John 14:2-3)

Fear Not: Fear GOD

“And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.” Exodus 20:18-21 (KJV)

This follows the event of receiving the Ten Commandments.  The people have witnessed the seemingly stormy, troubling, loud, odorous, and fearful scene, and are very much afraid to approach the Lord GOD.  However, this was an unwarranted, undesired fear.  God is an awe-inspiring God.

The lives, and words of the people following this event show that their fear was not what was a godly fear; but a “Sorry I am here” fear which kept them from God, rather than drawing near to Him.

Moses, drew near to God.  The “Darkness” mentioned shows us that God is unapproachable, except we come to Him His way.  Moses approached God and “drew near unto the thick darkness where God was”.

Moses tells the people “Fear not” yet there is a fear of God that keeps us from sinning against Him.  When we come to Him through His Son Jesus He accepts us, and welcomes  us into His blessed and holy presence.  That is when we do not fear.

Glorious Power of the LORD

“The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is His name…
…Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: Thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.” Exodus 15:3, 6 (KJV)

The fifteenth chapter of Exodus is dedicated to the Song of Moses (vv. 1-19).  It is a song of triumph against a nation that at the time was the center of the known world.  The people of Israel were in bondage in Egypt.  Enslaved by a king who had no mercy on them, thus was God’s judgment to come for their deliverance.

There are many who do not like looking at GOD  as being a “Man of war” or like a “Man of war”; however, that is how the Scriptures speak of Him in two different verses.  In the above verses of Exodus, and in Isaiah we read,

“The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, He shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: He shall cry, yea, roar; He shall prevail against His enemies.” Isaiah 42:13 (KJV)

Many today want a lovey, dovey god who supplies all their wants and wishes.  That god is more of a genie who grants the every wish of the one who “trust” in that god.  The GOD of glory and power is the One who has made all things; the seen and the unseen.  His glory is above and beyond that of men or women.  There is only one glory that will stand and that is the LORD’S.

When someone like the Pharaoh of Egypt exalts themselves against the LORD, the GOD will show Himself strong in His own behalf and His people.  One day all the world will know that GOD is the LORD.  For some that will not be a pleasant day or hereafter.

Make today a good one by believing in the Son whom the LORD has sent to be the payment for your sins.  When you trust His Son Jesus you are no longer His enemy, but His child.

Living in the Presence

“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” Exodus 13:21-22 (KJV)

The LORD had just worked out the deliverance of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.  Now He gives them the assurance of His presence, and His abiding with them with a pillar.  By day it was a Pillar of cloud; by night a Pillar of fire.  He would lead them by day and by night.

How did the Moses and the children of Israel know where to go?  God was leading them with His powerful presence.

This Pillar was associated with the “Angel of the LORD” and with when Moses spoke with the LORD (Exodus 33:9-11).  The Pillar was to stand between the Israelites and the Egyptians later before they would cross the Red Sea.  He was their Guide and Protector.  Notice too, that “He took not away the Pillar…”  He is the Living Presence.

For the Christian  that Pillar is the presence of GOD within every follower of Jesus Christ.  He is that Cloud by day, and Fire by night.  He is our Comforter, our Conviction, our Direction and Guide every moment of the day and the night (John 16:7-11).  The Holy Spirit is Jesus Christ in you to lead and guide you to become like Jesus in living.  That is the desire of every born again believer; to be like Jesus: loving the Father, doing the Father’s will, glorifying the Father, doing the work of the Father.

Living in the Presence of the LORD begins by following His Son Jesus Christ.

The Purpose of Judgment

“Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay My hand upon Egypt, and bring forth Mine armies, and My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth Mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them. And Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them, so did they.” Exodus 7:2-6 (KJV)

In these verses we know the children of Israel have been enslaved in Egypt for around 400 years.  This was foretold by GOD to Abraham back in Genesis 15:13; and now God is about to fulfill His promise of deliverance.

Egypt has been a cruel taskmaster to Israel in the midst the land.  Forced labor, unrealistic standards for making brick, and building numbers, and living conditions.  God had heard their cry, their pleading for help.  Now help has come.

God sends His messengers; Moses and Aaron to deliver God’s word to the Pharaoh of Egypt.  He does not hear nor does He intend to let the people go.  The Lord of all creation has given Pharaoh opportunity to release the people without pain, sorrow, judgment; and he has refused.  Now GOD will show Himself strong to the Pharaoh, to Egypt and to His own people.  They will know that “I am the LORD” God says.

When I read the Scriptures that is a continued theme throughout the Bible.  God works, He moves, He judges, that we might know that He is the LORD.

The greatest way that was and is shown us is through the cross of Jesus Christ.  The wrath of God upon sin was poured out upon His Son.  His love for mankind was shown in that He judged Jesus His only begotten Son in our behalf.

O hear the word of the LORD today.  Believe Him.  Call on Him and He will hear you.

The Ever-Present One

“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? 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. And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is My name for ever, and this is My memorial unto all generations.” Exodus 3:11-15 (KJV)

The Scripture above gives us Moses’ account of his call of God to return unto Egypt to free the children of Israel from bondage.  This is his first encounter with GOD, and it is awesome.

Moses sees God as holy, all powerful, and all present, and even all knowing in one event.  He also learns His name.  The name says that He is eternal.  Where He is is the present.  He is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.  You will notice it does not say that “He was the God” but “the God of…”  That strongly implies the living, resurrection power of God; the eternalness of God, past, present and future.

His name, I AM, also reveals to us that He is Self-Sufficient; that He is in need of nothing.  It also reveals to us that we need Him.  We do not exist without Him.  We do not breathe without Him.  We do not move without Him.  There is no sunrise without Him.  He gives us each day, each beat of our heart, each step we take.  He is the One who holds all things together.  If He were to remove His hand from this world, and this Universe it would fly into pieces (Colossians 1:16-17).

This Self-Sufficient One desires to come to you today.  Call on Him.  He is the One who provides your salvation, through the cross of Jesus.

The Beginning of Life and Death

“And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.” Genesis 50:24-26 (KJV)

The book of Genesis, the book of beginnings finds a great divide.  A divide between life and death.  Everyone likes to talk about life.  Not many will even deal with the topic of death.  In the end we must realize that death, though inevitable for us all is merely the absence of life.

God never created death.  God created life.  Disobedience to God brought death; Adam’s and Eve’s sin in the garden produced death from the life God had given.  The choice they had between the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a choice of life and death.  Their choice was death, thus this is the journey of mankind through the end of Genesis, and through our own day as well.

Joseph was sold into Egypt fulfilling God’s plan to make a great nation through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  God gives life for all those who believe Him and trust Him.  Joseph died in Egypt with the promise of God and hope that one day Israel would return to the land of Promise – the land of Canaan.

Because of the sin in the garden death came to mankind, and every man, and woman since that time has gone the way of death; with the exception of two men – Enoch (Genesis 5:21-24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:1-15).  Then there was Jesus the Christ, Son of God who died and was bodily raised conquering the power of death for all who would trust in Him.

One day those who believe and follow Jesus will look upon His face.  We will see Joseph, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the prophets, David, friends, family, and many people we never expected to find there.  All are there through the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross, His burial and bodily resurrection.  Death is conquered by the resurrected power of life through Christ Jesus.

That coffin in Egypt which held Joseph will be empty.  Those coffins which have held the bodies of your loved ones who loved Jesus will be empty when Jesus comes for His own.  Contrary to what some believe there is a “First resurrection” (Revelation 20:5), and there is a “second death” (Revelation 20:6, 14).  Which will you have part in?  The second death is the eternal absence of meaningful life and God.

GOD loved us so much He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.  Believe Him and live forever. Reject Him and die forever.

Israel; Jacob’s Fear Not

“And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I. And He said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.” Genesis 46:2-4 (KJV)

Israel is the new name God had given to Jacob.  Jacob had been a “supplanter” a deceiver; and had tried to have things his own way.

Jacob’s life had now changed at the end of his life.  He had just heard that his son Joseph was not only alive, but was a ruler in the land of Egypt, and due to famine throughout the Middle Eastern countries was being invited by that son and the Pharaoh of Egypt to come into the land and dwell there.

Now there was no more scheming, no more planning and or plotting to achieve his desired path, but now Jacob was in the hands of the Sovereign hands of GOD.  “Fear not to go down into Egypt…” were the words of God to Jacob.

God promised Jacob that when he died Joseph would be at his side.  He also promised that it would be in Egypt that “I will there make of thee a great nation”.  He also promised that they would come out of Egypt, to the land He had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

We can learn from these passages; as Joseph’s brethren had learned – You cannot thwart the  plan of God.  Instead they were used in their evil plot to work the plan of God.  How do I explain that?  I do not even try.

It is best for me and all God’s children to leave these matters in His hands; to trust Him, and believe that whatever happens is going to be for our good and His glory.  It was, for example, our evil that caused Jesus to be nailed to the cross; however it was the plan of God that His Son die for our sins, that we might have access to the very throne of God.

God speaks, and He sees to it that what He speaks comes to pass just as He has spoken.  Just as Jacob/Israel saw his son Joseph again; so too will Jesus come again.

Believe God and trust Him today.

The Greatest Desire

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God. Psalm 42:1

This Psalm’s title is “For the sons of Korah”.  Korah was a leader in rebellion against Moses’ leadership through the wilderness journey (Numbers 16).  There were three men who are noted for that rebellion; Dathan and Abiram being the other two.  All who joined these three in the rebellion were destroyed when the ground opened up and swallowed them alive.  Some of Korah’s sons evidently did not join their father, and lived.  They had a heart for God; which was given them by God’s grace.

There are human desires aplenty in our times.  They have in fact run amuck.  Many think that life is all about having their desires fulfilled.  The greatest desire for which I am aware is the desire to know God.  Many will deny that of course.  The desire for God is usually masked by craving other things to find fulfillment.  They do not.

Whether it is beer, wine, hard liquor, cannibis, cocaine, heroine, or any other mind robbing drug; there is no fulfillment for the human mind and heart until we find our rest and peace in GOD.

The deer, or hart as the text says, after running through the woods, or across the plains, or the meadow longs for that fresh, flowing stream of water for a drink, for refreshment.  Just as that deer desires water, and finds refreshment the one who knows GOD seeks fulfillment in Him.  Once you are fulfilled in Him, you long, you desire to know Him even more.

You can look in religion, but you will not be fulfilled there.  You can look in nature you will not find fulfillment there.  You can look wherever you choose, but you will not find fulfillment until you believe what God says about His Son Jesus Christ.  “This is my beloved Son, hear Him.”

In Jesus Christ Son of the Living God there is fulfillment, and everlasting life.

Jesus Through the Bible – Even the Vision of Balaam

“And he took up his parable, and said, ‘Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: ‘He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.  And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come He that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.'”  Numbers24:15-19

Often the words of a false prophet are not worth posting; however in this case they are documented in Scripture and the prophecies of true prophets to be considered worthy.

Balaam prophesied of Jesus.  Jesus is the “Star out of Jacob”.  He is also the “Sceptre” that “shall rise out of Israel”.  Jesus is the Conqueror of the enemies of Israel, and forever shall be.

If a false prophet has some vision of who Jesus is why do you not have the heart and vision to see, that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, crucified, buried, raised bodily from the grave; and coming again.  Jesus is the conqueror of all sin, and the Victor over all enemies of God and His people (1 Corinthians 15:51-58;  Romans 8:35-39).

Jesus Through the Bible – The Scapegoat

Scapegoat “A person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.”  From Dictionary.com  We hear the word “Scapegoat” many times.  Someone was a scapegoat for an evil political action that was done, or something of that order.  Someone was a scapegoat for a bad business decision, etc.

There is, however, a certain “Scapegoat” mentioned in Scripture.  This scapegoat gives us a picture of Jesus Christ; at least a picture of His work on the cross, and His burial.  In Leviticus we read…

And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.  And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.  But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.”  Leviticus 16:7-10

The first goat was to be a sin offering which would bear the sins of the sins of Aaron and his house (Leviticus 16:6), and they were to “cast lots” to determine which goat was to be the sin offering, and which was to be the scapegoat.  I want us to deal with the scapegoat, though we must understand they are both necessary for this part of redemption.  We do not often picture a goat as having redeeming qualities; but let us see the goat as representing the sin which our Saviour bore on the cross.

The sin offering died, thus through Christ sin was put to death (Also read Romans 6:1-16), it has no more power over those who are the redeemed.  Sin also lays on us death, sin, guilt, condemnation, and O, such sorrows.  The scapegoat was taken alive into the wilderness to never be seen again.

When the child of God has laid on her or him these condemnations; then we must remember that all our sins were laid on Him who died, was buried; and in His burial He carried all our sin, death, shame, guilt and condemnation away, and He arose bodily alive, victorious over all of death’s vices.

Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, God incarnate became on the cross the very thing which He and His Father hated: Sin (2 Corinthians 5:21); was judged by the Father; the Father resurrected Him, and by His resurrection we are raised with Him.  Cleansed, forgiven, and in fellowship with God for now and all eternity.

Jesus Through the Bible – What is it?

And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.”  Exodus 16:15

The question above is the meaning for the word “Manna”.  It means “What is it?”  This was a new thing for the delivered children of Israel.  This “Manna” is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ.  At the time Moses and the children of Israel experienced this wonder from heaven it was an actual substance which the LORD provided to satisfy the needs of His people.  It only appeared six days of the week – Sunday through Friday – with none of the seventy day; the Sabbath for Israel.  They were to gather plenty on the sixth day for the Sabbath day.

And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” 16:31

The name manna stuck.  Even after 4000 years or so it is still called by that name.  It was to supply a means of sustenance for the children all forty years of their journey through the wilderness, until they reached the Promised Land of Canaan.

Jesus Himself refers to this and calls Himself the bread come down from heaven.

“I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.  This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”  John 6:48-51

For all who will follow Him there is sustenance and strength through our life’s journey until we reach heaven, the abode of our Saviour and Lord.

Jesus Through the Bible – The Lamb of God

“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.  And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.”  Exodus 12:5-7

The final plague was coming upon Egypt.  Moses had received instruction from the LORD for the deliverance from this final form of judgment on Egypt; it would affect all in the land of Egypt, even Israel.  None can stand before the final judgment without the redemptive power of the blood of the lamb.

Note in the above verse the placing of the blood on the “two side posts”, and on the “upper door post” of their homes.  Within that alone we have the sign of the cross.  It was on the cross of Calvary where our blessed Saviour bled out His life’s blood for our redemption.  The perfect Lamb of God who willingly gave His life for my sin and yours.

John the apostle wrote of John the Baptist as he said,

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”  John 1:29

Your sins and mine have been paid for by the blood of the perfect, sinless Lamb of God Jesus Christ.  You are lost and condemned without Him.  Repent, believe Him, and be saved, today.

Jesus Through the Bible – Isaac’s Third Day

Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.”  Genesis 22:4

Abraham, the father, had been directed by God to sacrifice his only son.  Father and son were going to a certain place, to carry out the command of the Most High God.  Remember Abraham had been promised that through “Isaac his seed would be called”, and that God would make of him a great nation.

Remember now the third day following the sacrifice of God’s only Son Jesus, if you will; now consider this.  When Abraham and Isaac went on together; in the mind of Abraham Isaac was already sacrificed, that is what he was doing, where he was going.  On this third day Isaac was delivered by a ram caught by his horns in the bush; now consider this Isaac’s resurrection .

Jesus and the Father were at the cross, the sacrifice for our sins.  What Jesus did He did alone for you and me.  He bled, He died, He was buried, and three days later He came out of that grave bodily; and He forever lives.

Believe Him and be saved.

Jesus Through the Bible – Isaac the Promised Seed

“And God said, ‘Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.”  Genesis 17:19 (KJV)

Yes!  Abraham had other children.  His first was Ishmael; due to the impatience of Sarah and himself, thinking to take things concerning the promise of God into their own hands.  God had better things in mind.  Sarah was to have a son of promise.  It was and is through God’s promise of a Saviour that the covenant was made with Isaac as the son of promise.

Just at the time you think it cannot happen; with God nothing shall be impossible.  Jesus is the Son of the covenant of promise and grace.  Paul the apostle has written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit…

“Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”  Romans 9:6-7

It is by the promise of Jesus, and no other way that one will be forgiven all sin, cleansed, and imputed all righteousness and have fellowship with God.

-T.A.

Thus Saith the LORD… 012014

“Thus saith the LORD, ‘In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in Mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood. And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river.’ And the LORD spake unto Moses, ‘Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.’  And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.  And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.  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.”  Exodus 7:17-22

Thus saith the LORD…

“And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, ‘Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let My people go, that they may hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness. And Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.'”  Exodus 5:1-2

Heaven’s News – No Condemnation

“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that We do know, and testify that We have seen; and ye receive not Our witness.  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” ~Jesus (John 3:11-21)

Day 12 – Remember God is Gracious

Remembering that God is gracious should not be too difficult of a matter.  However, when we as human beings and as Christians get side tracked from the obvious, ie., God’s grace; it is generally due to blessings we have received.  We tend, at times, to be side tracked, and caught up in the blessing rather than the Blesser.

My reading for day 12 consisted of Deuteronomy 1 – 14.  The reading of Deuteronomy is of Moses reminding the children of Israel of the events of the past 40 years wandering in the wilderness.  He reminds them of their deliverance from Egypt; of times when God supplied them water; when there appeared to be no water.  How God supplied them bread when there was none to be had; and He, the LORD, gave them Manna – bread from heaven; and they ate it each day.  He reminded them of their past failures; particularly of their sin with the golden calf.  He also reminds them of God’s grace; and His promises to give them a land “flowing with milk and honey”.

“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.  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.  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.” Deuteronomy 9:4-6 (KJV)

In the four hundred plus years since Jacob entering Egypt God was providing grace to the people of the land of Canaan.  Someone may ask the question, “Does scripture tell us that anywhere?”  I do not have a particular verse or verses in mind, but scripture always assumes and promotes the wonderful grace of God; so that is what I stand on here.  While God is preparing Him a people, a nation of people He is also giving the nations in Canaan opportunity to repent; but rather than repent their sin escalates toward destruction.

God reminds Israel of His grace by reminding them that He is giving them this land, and driving out its inhabitants; not because Israel is a righteous people, but because of the “wickedness of these nations”.  God does know that the children of Israel are a “stiffnecked” people – a stubborn, obstinate, rebellious people.  Yet, God in His grace blesses them with His grace.

God has blessed the world with His grace.  It is available to all who will believe in, trust His Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins, was buried – carrying our guilt and condemnation away, and rose bodily from the grave to ever live making intercession before the Father for all will believe.

Grace is God’s undeserved favor toward those who believe in Him.

People today are a stiffnecked, obstinate, stubborn and rebellious people.  We are undeserving of God’s grace, yet He offers it freely to all who will trust in His Son and His finished work.  Jesus said,

“This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.”  John 6:29

The presence of God, His glory, and righteousness is for us because of the cross of Jesus, His burial and bodily resurrection.  Remember God’s Grace.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Day 5 – Mediator Desired

It seems in the reading in early Genesis that Adam must have had a fellowship with God; walking with Him in the garden on a regular basis; before there was sin in the garden.  After their rebellion and disobedience, God came walking to them, they heard His voice, and they hid themselves.

The voice of God is a fearful thing to sinful man.  Nothing vile, and unclean can stand in His presence, and it seems that is ingrained in every unredeemed heart.  It is seen in Exodus following the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt.  After the powerful and fearful working power of God in the land of Egypt you would almost think that there would be a heart that longed to hear the voice of God, but no, that did not happen.  Hear their voices;

“And they said unto Moses, ‘Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.’  And Moses said unto the people, ‘Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.  And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.”  Exodus 20:19-21 (KJV)

We can see in this that what the people wanted was actually a Mediator.  Someone to stand between them and God, and someone to speak for God, rather than hear Him themselves.  Moses says to them, “‘Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.”  Another translation says it like this,

 “Don’t be afraid,” Moses said, “for God has come in this way to show you his awesome power. From now on, let your fear of him keep you from sinning!”  Exodus 20:20 (NLT)

It is definite that we do need a Mediator between us and God; and God has provided His Mediator.  That Mediator is Jesus, and makes it so much different.  The apostle Paul has written by the inspiration of the Spirit of God,

“For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”  1 Timothy 2:5-6

We need to see sin as a very fearful, hurtful, destructive, eternally deadly thing in our lives.  We need to see that we need God in our lives, lest we go to death and destruction – eternal death and destruction.  God requires perfection by the law.  The law shows that we are imperfect, and cannot reach God; however God has provided a way; the Mediator who gave Himself a ransom for all who will believe.

Look at the difference the apostle John offers in the New Testament;

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.  And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.”  1 John 3:1-3 (KJV)

Those who are redeemed through the blood of Jesus are the “sons of God”, unknown by the world, because it knew and knows not Christ.  The son of God seeks God out; and seeks to be just as pure and holy as He is pure and holy.  No more fear to hear His voice, because of the Mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ and His shed blood on Calvary’s cross.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 2 – Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and Esau

One of the things that crossed my mind as I was reading this morning was how these men all had something in common.  What is that commonality?  They are all sinners, deceivers, liars and tricksters.  Yes!  Even Abraham the patriarch of Judaism and Christianity.

Abraham had the promises of God for the land of Canaan.  Verse 18 of chapter 15 of Genesis states,

“In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:'” Genesis 15:18 (KJV)

Yet Abraham is fearful for his own life, lies to Abimelech about Sarah only being his sister, causes a curse on the people of Abimelech (chapter 20, Genesis).  He is a man of faith.  God had given him great and precious promises.  Promises of protection, power, wealth, and generations.

Abraham and Sarah laugh at God’s promise of a child, with both of them as parents of the child.  Abraham laughs in 17:17, and Sarah in 18:12.

Ishmael is the offspring of an unholy act of unbelief in the behalf of Sarah and Abraham.  Despite this God gives Hagar many promises concerning Ishmael, and they are fulfilled just as God has promised.

Isaac, the son of promise ends up in a lying mood as well (chapter 26:6-13).

The name Jacob means “supplanter” equaling trickster, deceiver, you can get the message from that.  That name really fits Jacob.  He first trades his elder brother Esau out  of his birthright; which he eagerly sells for a bowl of soup.  Which does not say much about Esau’s character.  Jacob thought more of it than Esau did; or he would not have sought it.

The reason I point this all out is, that, the Bible pulls no punches when it comes to mankind’s need.  Our greatest need is grace.  There is none who is righteous.  We are all condemned in sin.

It is God in His grace who came down to sinful, lying, fearful, Abraham and makes him faithful Abraham, “friend of God”.  It is God in His grace who chose the lying Isaac to be the second patriarch of the faith.  It is God in His grace who chose Jacob, and changed his name from “Supplanter” to later “Israel”.

It is God in His grace who reaches down to liars, cheats, harlots, adulterers, adultresses, murderers, drunks, thieves, and the worst among us; and says to all who will hear,

 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Romans 10:13 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Scarlet Thread – The Rock

Moses stood in the “cleft of the rock”  (Exodus 33:22); and there is much of the Rock which followed the children of Israel through the wilderness on their 40 year journey.  The Rock is a very important part of the Old Testament history and of our LORD.

“Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.” Deuteronomy 32:18 (KJV)

It was the Rock which Moses was commanded to strike which followed them:

“Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”  Exodus 17:6

It was also the Rock which Moses struck when he was commanded to speak to it that was with them in the wilderness.  The Rock a source of survival, life, living, hope, sustenance.  The image of God’s presence and sovereign power.

“Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.  And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as He commanded him.  And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, ‘Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?’  And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.”  Numbers 20:8-11

So many times the children of Israel rebelled against the leadership of God and Moses.  So many times God in His grace and mercy reached down to Israel and supplied their every need in a dry and thirsty land.  Always, God is working to supply the needs of His children.

Those who know God through His Son Jesus are His children; and are children of this Rock.  This Rock is Christ Jesus who died on the cross in our stead.  He had no guilt, but suffered with our guilt, shame and sin on Him.  He became our sin.  He became unjust; the Just for the unjust.  His righteousness is imputed to you and I who trust and believe in Him; and all our unrighteousness was imputed to Him.  Which goes along with what the Psalmist wrote:

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.   Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.”  Psalm 32:1-2

Jesus is our salvation, our strength, our defender; He is our sustenance;  by Him “all things consist” (Colossians 1:17).  Jesus is that Rock.  Hear what the apostle Paul says of the Rock –

“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.   But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.”  1 Corinthians 10:1-5

Just as Moses said, “…thou art unmindful”.  So does Paul mention this; but the real picture is that “That Rock was Christ”.  It was Christ who was with them in the wilderness.  It was Christ who was with the Jew all through their journeys; in the wilderness; and throughout all their years of blessing; and He is their Rock even today when they look upon the One who was pierced for our sins.

That Rock is Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 030211

If you are following my Bible Reading plan today’s reading is Deuteronomy 29 – 31.  I pray you are learning and growing in our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord is giving Moses some final instructions before he dies.  Moses will not be allowed to cross into the Promised Land which He is giving to the people of Israel, due to his sin of striking the rock, rather than speaking to it (Numbers 20).

The verses I want us to observe from today are,

“For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.  It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, ‘Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?’  Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?’  But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”  Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (KJV)

The LORD has just given them promise that He will make them plenteous in the works of their hands, the “fruit of their body”, and fruit of the land, if they shall hear and do and keep His commandments (30:9-10).  Then, the LORD proceeds to tell Moses that the command is not hidden, nor far away.

So many people want to blame God for sin in the world.  Sin is due to the transgression of the human heart against God.  We are all born with that transgression.  To those who want to argue against that think of this:  Do we need to teach children to lie if they are going to lie?  NO!  Every child will practice the deceit of lying without being taught to do so.  They will even steal to get what they want.  The reason for that is because there is evil in every human heart.  Children must be taught to be truthful and honest, and it does not happen easily.  There are many adults who must learn these truths.  There is only one child who ever lived who was truthful and honest, faithful and true until His death; and that was Jesus Christ; because He was the Son of God, had the heart and blood of God; and God cannot lie.

Since the word, the commandments, are not hidden, neither are they far away the children of Israel are without excuse concerning any disobedience.  They have heard God speak.  They have heard His commandments.  Yet, we will see as they enter into the Land of Promise they still struggled with obedience.

Christians struggle with obedience today, due to the sinful flesh.  We hear God’s Word, but do not obey.  We see God’s work in our own hearts and lives yet fail Him.  It is sad to say, however, those who profess to know Jesus Christ, and can disobey/sin against Him without regret or remorse and repentance have never experienced the saving faith possible only through the blood of Christ.

For the Christian we have the Spirit of God; the Holy Spirit; living within us.  We are empowered to live the life of Christ within us (Read Romans 8:1-15).  He is our Comforter, Guide, Counselor, and Corrector and points us to our Lord and Savior.

James wrote,

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”  James 1:22-25

Let’s be sure to hear God’s Word, hide it in our hearts; that we might do it, and live a Biblical, Christian life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 030111

Today’s Bible Reading is from Deuteronomy 26 – 28.

In Deuteronomy we find, as you remember, that Israel is nearing the day they will enter the Promised Land.  The Lord is giving them final instructions for their entrance into this new land.  There are laws, commandments, ordinances, statutes, judgments, etc. which they are to follow.

There is many a time I have heard someone; even professing Christians; say something like this, “If it looks good, taste good, feels good, then it is a sin.”  Now, that is being cynical or sarcastic to say the least; if not downright disrespectful to God and His clear teachings on sin.  If God calls something sin it is sin.  Every time God forbids something it is due to His care and caring for us.

The following are the verses that we will look at today,

“This day the LORD thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.  Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in His ways, and to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and to hearken unto His voice: and the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be His peculiar people, as He hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all His commandments; and to make thee high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as He hath spoken.”  Deuteronomy 26:16-19 (KJV)

The best  place for the people of God to be is in close communion with our LORD.  When He sets boundaries, gives us commandments, judgments, statutes, ordinances, laws it is for our well being and protection.  It is never to deprive us of life or its pleasures.  He has made us to experience pleasures, however, they must always be within the parameters He has given.

One of the things we can learn today from the laws and commands the LORD gave to Israel is that they failed to keep and obey them.  We are no more perfect than they.  We have sinned.  God is full of grace and mercy.  There are several times through out the Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy that the children of Israel say, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do”.  Well they failed to do it.

We must realize, as a Christian, we are empowered by the Spirit of God within us to overcome sin, and disobedience to God; however, we still live in a body of flesh and bone that is still encumbered by the dead corpse of sin.

The reason we are to obey God and keep His commandments is because of His love for us; and our love for Him.  We praise Him, we honor Him when we love Him and keep His commandments.  If we labor to keep the laws to gain His favor, however, we will fail miserably.

In the New Testament we hear this,

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:4-10

Only through the grace of God in Christ Jesus can we be saved, delivered from the condemnation of sin and death, and given eternal life.

Read Deuteronomy 26 – 28

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022811

Reading today from Deuteronomy chapters 23 – 25.

In the reading today we find many different laws.  Some dealing with those who cannot enter the congregation; and matters of holiness concerning possessing of material things which are considered unclean.  We also find laws concerning divorce and remarriage of women.  Matters of usury [interest] from members of the tribes, and family are include; and laws of gleaning crops.  Laws concerning payment of hired servants are to be made at the end of the day, because of the poor and their great need.  Laws concerning  judgment that is to be fair and just for the stranger, orphan and widow.  There is also the law of levirate marriage where a brother was to take his belated brothers wife, if that brother had gone childless, and raise up a child in that brother’s name.

I want us to look at one verse,

“The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”  Deuteronomy 24:16 (KJV)

Most people in the world of today would agree with this law.  Why should the parents of a disobedient, rebellious, murdering, raping child be “put to death” for them?  There are many parents who would lie for their murderous, child; and even go to prison for them; and possibly even die for them.  God says that each one is guilty for his/her own sin.  There are not many children who would be willing to die for a parent.

Truth be told this is just and right for all people.

This is further stated in the book of Ezekiel,

“Behold, all souls are Mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4

“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”  v. 20

For some reason there are many cruel, and unreasoning people who believe God is only out to get; out to punish; out to be a vicious and cruel lord over all who are against Him; however, if we continue in Ezekiel we read this,

“Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?”  Ezekiel 18:23
“For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”  v. 32

The LORD does not delight in the death of the wicked, but that they might turn to Him and live.  He has made it all possible through the death of His Son Jesus Christ; His burial and resurrection.  The Just for the unjust.

God’s wonderful gift of grace.

Read Deuteronomy 23 – 25 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022711

Reading today from Deuteronomy 20 – 22.

The people of the day in which we live often think of hanging as a rope around the neck.  That is my thinking as well, however, I do know that Scripture speaks of hanging on a tree in a much different light.

We are told in the following verses of hanging,

“And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.”  Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (KJV)

As I read these verses the first thought I had was of the death of Jesus Christ.

In this Old Testament law when a man was judged worthy of death by hanging on a tree it was because of some grievous sin he had committed against God and man.  If he were hanged he was “accursed of God”.

Jesus Christ had done no evil to GOD or man.  His life was without sin.  He had no blemish or mark on His life, yet He was found guilty by guilty men who were jealous of His power, and influence with people; and there were many  who called out for Him

The text above says, “If a man have committed a sin worthy of death…”  All those who accused Jesus, plucking the hair from His face, beating His face, whipping His back and finding Him “guilty” of blasphemy were the ones guilty of sin against GOD and man.  They were the ones worthy of death and hanging on a tree.

The Accused never spoke a word for His defense.  Heaven never said a word for His defense.  However, when He died the earth groaned and shook with great intensity.  While He was hanging there all the earth turned black as dark night in the middle of the day.

What do other Scriptures say?

“Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.   All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of My people was He stricken.   And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.”  Isaiah 53:4-10

“The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.  Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.  But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.  And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.  For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”  John 19:31-37

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, ‘Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree’: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”  Galations 3:13

The salvation provided to us by God is truly gracious.  We can do nothing to earn God’s favor.  He has done it all; even to the point of having Jesus His holy and righteous Son become our curse; that He might redeem us from the curse of sin.

Believe God today, and be saved.

Please read Deuteronomy 20 – 22.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022611

Reading today from Deuteronomy 17 – 19.

People of our world today are searching for answers.  They want answers concerning their future.  Who will be my spouse?  How will this investment I am about to make turn out?  Will it make me wealthy, or will it leave  me in bankruptcy?  We all have this inkling to know what tomorrow holds.  Some turn to horoscopes, also known as astrology, reading of signs, and forms of witchcraft and sorcery.

God forbids His people to have part in these things.  The LORD even tells us that He is driving out the Canaanites because of this very thing.  Their abominations/evil practices.

Yet, there are professing Christians who dabble in these “dark arts”.  They say things like, “What does it hurt?” or “I just do it for fun” or “It doesn’t affect my fellowship with God or other Christians”.  In this study today we will make some observations which will show  us that even the early church shows us that these were evil things, and are not for the dabbling of those who love Jesus Christ.  Today we look at…

“When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.  There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.  For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.  Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.  For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.”  Deuteronomy 18:9-14 (KJV)

There are nine practices which are named in the above text.  The first of which is the offering of one’s child in the fire.  The Canaanite worship had involved the worship of  at least three deities which were Baal, Moloch, and Ashtoroth.  I am not going to get into their worship practices because they are vile, immoral and not worthy of any recognition.  All we need to see is that first one listed involved the offering of children to the fires, and this was to Moloch.  It is amazing how we can make laws or gods convenient for out beliefs.  I heard it said, “Man makes god after his own image”; and there is a small element of truth to that.

Those who worship false deities have made these gods to suit their own hearts.  They fashion the gods to find their pleasure, comfort, and convenience.  Isn’t it amazing that in the Canaanite forms of worship they had a god like Baal who offered them all the sexual immorality in worshipping this deity and that of Ashtoreth; and children were born as a result of all this immoral conduct; then, they didn’t want the children and offered them to Moloch.  How convenient.

The GOD of heaven; who created all things created mankind in His own image.  That image has fallen into sin and no longer glorifies Him.  He called out the people we know as Jews or Hebrews, and through them has sent a Savior into this world as an offering for our sins.

The MacArthur Study Bible notes for these verses tells us,

18:9-12 the abominations of those nations. Moses gave a strict injunction not to copy, imitate, or do what the polytheistic Canaanites did.  Nine detestable practices of the Canaanites were delineated in vv. 10, 11, namely: 1) sacrificing children in the fire; 2) witchcraft, seeking to determine the will of the gods by examining and interpreting omens; 3) soothsaying, attempting to control the future through power given by evil spirits; 4) interpreting omens, telling the future based on signs; 5) sorcery, inducing magical effects by drugs or some other sort of potion; 6) conjuring spells binding other people by magical muttering; 7) being a medium, one who supposedly communicates with the dead, but actually communicates with demons; 8 ) being a spiritist, one who has an intimate acquaintance with the demonic, spiritual world; and 9) calling up the dead, investigating and seeking information from the dead.  These evil practices were the reason the Lord was going to drive the Canaanites out of the land.”

From page 276 NKJV edition.

Christians, listen to the Lord here.  It was forbidden by God for the Israelites to take part in this evil.  It was at least part of the reason God drove the Canaanites from the land, and gave it to Israel.  If Israel participated in the evil they then would be chastised, sent into captivity, and suffer much until they returned to the Lord.

There is a portion of Scripture in the book of Acts which tells us what some new believers in Christ did with books concerning sorcery and such;

“And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.  And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.  Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.  So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”  Acts 19:17-20

I am not advocating the burning of books.  I am, however, asking Christians to forsake these dark arts; and trust only in the LORD.  He alone knows our tomorrow.  It does make a difference what you believe.  Your beliefs will have a part affecting your morality and life.  I am advocating for a fire of passion for our Christ, our Lord and Savior.  One of the verse of Deuteronomy says, “Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God”.  Jesus even said,

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  Matthew 5:48

The only way of “perfection” with God is through the cross of Jesus Christ.  He is perfect and by His death, burial and resurrection we are made perfect before the LORD God.  Obedience is not optional.

Please read Deuteronomy 17 – 19

-Tim A. Blankenship