Tempting Christ

“Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.” 1 Corinthians 10:9 (KJB)

There are four “Neither”(s) in this paragraph of chapter 10.  The apostle is giving the Corinthian Christians, and Christians of every age examples of how we are not to be and live:

  1. “Neither be Idolaters”;
  2. “Neither let us commit fornication”;
  3. “Neither let us tempt Christ”;
  4. “Neither murmur”.

Each one of these have a lesson in themselves.  Paul is dealing with historical events in the journeys of his forefathers who wandered forty years in the wilderness.  Someone has said, “It only took a few days to get Israel out of Egypt, but it took forty years to get Egypt out of Israel.”

On the matter of “Tempting Christ” that is putting Him to the test.  It is not a matter to temptation of sinning.  He cannot be tempted to sin (James 1:13).

As I read these words this morning my first thought was that the apostle is recognizing that Christ Jesus was with Israel in the wilderness.  He has in these verses recognized that in 1 Corinthians 10:4 – “That Rock was Christ”.

Putting Christ to the test.  How is that done? Not trusting Him. Not believing what He says. Not walking with Him. Living as the people around us live, instead of as He teaches and lived.

In the wilderness twenty three thousand people died as a result of unbelief, because they had put Him to the test.

Let us as a Christian of 2019 commit ourselves to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength; and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves; and choose daily, moment by moment to walk humbly with God in the power of His Spirit.  When we are doing that we will not be tempting Christ.

On the Wings of Eagles

“And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man Child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:13-17 (KJV)

I have not mentioned it for some time, but one of my favorite Scripture verses is Isaiah 40:31…

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

I have come to the conclusion that if the Old Testament promises are for the Christian today, then, we need to be accepting of the negative promises as well.  If God says it; then, it is true.  It will come to pass.

The woman represents Israel (the remnant seed of the woman, and the fifth personality in this scene) and is persecuted by Satan. This is because of great hatred for the Hebrew people.

As mentioned in verse 6, though a little clearer here; she is protected by God. The Scripture gives references as to “bearing on eagle’s wings” (Exodus 19:4). This implies swiftness. The place God has prepared for them is an earthly place not known to us. Some believe it to be a place called “Petra”, but no one can be certain. God supplies them their daily needs just as when He led them out of Egypt. There are striking similarities in both deliverances.

Verse 15 mentions a “water as a flood”. It is not certain whether this is a literal flood of water. It is just as probable to be just all out persecution. The flood does represent wrath in the same sense that the “serpent” represents Satan. In that “the earth helped the woman” we can see this as, though Satan intended it for Israel, instead it affected the “earth” or the “Inhabiters of the earth”. Remember these “Inhabiters of the earth” (Revelation 12:12) are the unredeemed who have on their own, by their own choices have chosen to reject God, His Son, His love, and His grace; and hold on to the material world.  Loving the world rather than God.

It is clear from this verse that Satan’s attacks are against the godly remnant. This remnant is the Hebrews who have looked upon Jesus and believed Him to be the Messiah. Satan hates and is greatly enraged against anyone “which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ”.

It is not said, but it seems that just as in the Egyptian deliverance, so too, in this one there will be some who will not believe despite God’s providential care.  They have an “evil heart of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:12) and refuse to have Jesus as Messiah.

The persecution, up to this point has been “anti-semitic” against all Hebrews. Now it is solely against those who “Have the testimony of Jesus Christ”.

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:12).

He made deliverance for us on the wings of eagles through the atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Make haste to come to Him.

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 on the seventh 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.” Exodus 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 Savior and Lord.

Living / Walking in the Power of the Spirit

For the Christian to accomplish any thing for the glory of the Lord, and not for the glory, or boasting of one’s own self; and/or ego; it must be done by the Spirit of God in us.

It is GOD who gets things done. It is God who saves a soul. It is God who opens eyes to His revelation. It is God who gives understanding and wisdom in the ministry of His Word. How did Jesus live?

“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of Him through all the region round about. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.” Luke 4:14-15 (KJV)

Following His baptism Jesus was led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). He then proceeded to go to the synagogues teaching and preaching the Word of the Lord; which by the way was the Old Testament. There was no New Testament written at that time. He taught them things concerning Himself (Luke 24:27).

In everything Jesus did or said; He did so by the leadership and power of the Holy Spirit of God. He did not move from one place to the other, except by the Spirit. He did not speak a word, except by the Spirit. He did not do any healing without the Spirit of God upon Him.

Hear what Paul the apostle says of the Spirit of God and the Christian,

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Galations 5:16

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galations 5:25

This is living as Jesus lived. It is impossible without the Spirit of God in Christ Jesus. Walk in the Spirit; and we will have the Power of the Spirit.

Through the Bible in a Year – 022413

THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR

Things That Really Count
Numbers 11 – 30

In our world today everything is digital. What does that mean. Some how the “experts”, at least those in the know about such things have figured out how we can have cell phones digitally; with their towers digitally; televisions are digital now; the computers are digital.

A “digit” is defined in the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICITONARY as “any of the figures 1 to 9 inclusive and usually the symbol 0.”

Some how the numbers 1 and 0 are the link to it all. When you have the right equipment you can place those numbers in “cyber space”, pull them out with a CD player, DVD player, or HDTV picture, and you have music, movies in your home and over the air, sattelite TV.

We look in the Bible and we see Digital is nothing new with God. Numbers or Digits do count with God.

1. The People Count;

2. The Sacrifices Count;

3. Disobedience Counts toward Judgment (Chapters 11-16);

  • We see complaining of hunger in the numbers (11);
  • We see unbelief in the numbers (12-14);
  • We see envy of leadership (16);

4. There is a Prophet who Counted for Profit (23-25);

5. The Rock in the Wilderness Counts (20:7-11; Exodus 17:6; 1 Corinthians 10:4);

6. The Inheritance Counts for All (26-30; Romans 8:16-17).

-Tim A. Blankenship

My people shall never be ashamed

Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.  Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.  Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.  And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.  And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.  And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and My people shall never be ashamed.  And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and My people shall never be ashamed.”  Joel 2:21-27 (KJV)

There are many “Fear not” statements in Scripture.  Some one has said, that there is one for each day of the year.  I have not found them all, so I cannot point them out with their address.  Here in this passage of Scripture are two of them.

Notice that twice in these verses, God says, “My people shall never be ashamed.”  That is something for us to know, understand and practice.

-T.A.

The Gospel of Hosea

There are some who proclaim that “The God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament.”  “In the Old Testament God is distant, constantly judging His people, and angry.  In the New testament God is loving and kind.”

How many times have you heard such statements of something similar?

Listen to what the LORD spoke to Hosea,

Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.  And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.”  Hosea 2:14-15 (KJV)

In the gospel of Hosea we see GOD who chose a people who were not worthy, because He loved them, and drew them to Himself; and continues to do so.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is such a gospel [Good news] of God becoming flesh alluring people unto Himself, and taking what was a curse, and making them a blessing and glory unto Himself.

“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.”  John 3:16

That is why I have sometimes called Hosea  the Old Testament Gospel of John.

-T.A.

The Error of Balaam

The Error Of Balaam

Numbers 31:16; Jude 11

I. NO ONE CAN CURSE THOSE WHOM GOD HAS BLESSED (Numbers 22:6-14).

* + “I will bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you” (Genesis 12:3).
* + “And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.” (Numbers 24:1)
* + The thought of Balaam’s face being set toward the wilderness is that he may find a way to curse them.

II. TOO ANXIOUS, FROM GREED FOR WEALTH, LEADS TO THE ATTEMPTED CURSING OF WHAT GOD HAS BLESSED (22:15-21).

* + Remember Esau, and Jacobs stew (Genesis 25:29-34)?
* + The voice Balaam heard louder than any other was the jingle of the gold and silver coins in their purses, the position, power, prestige and profit he could receive if he would just “curse” these people wandering in the wilderness
* + There is no need to seek God’s advice again.

1. He is simply wanting God’s approval to go with the men (Numbers 22:1-21).
2. God in his patience with Balaam gives him a clear message which he disobeys (vv. 20-21).

III. WHEN THE DUMB CAN SEE AND SPEAK THE LORD MAY COME AND OPEN BLIND EYES THAT THEY MIGHT SEE (vv. 22-35).

* + “If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.” 22:20 (KJV)
* + Why is it that we can get out of the will of God, then blame God for not working in our lives?

1. “I can’t see God doing anything anymore”; someone might say.
2. It could be that God may have some “donkey” to speak to you so as to spare your life.

* + Here are some signs of the blindness of Balaam:

1. It is quite clear that the first approach was from enemies of God’s people;
2. Their payment method of divination, shows us that he was viewed by the haters of Israel as connected with sorcery;
3. He listened to them and their payment a second time without reservation;
4. When God tried to stop him, or at least to get his attention, he could not see it.

IV. THOSE WHO SAY THE RIGHT THINGS; BUT DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT HEART (vv. 23:7-12, 18-24).

* + Can a prophet or preacher say the right words without being in right relationship with God?
* + It is certain that Balaam knew the right words to say, and evidently God was giving him those words to say.

1. So the answer to those questions must be; YES!

* + Balaam’s life bore no fruit of righteousness.

Even John the apostle writing the words of Jesus to the church of Pergamum,

“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” Revelation 2:14 (KJV)

V. WITH EYES WIDE OPEN; YET CONTINUE TO DENY THE TRUTH FOR SAKE OF LUST (vv. 24:2-9, 15).

* + It is the confession of Balaam himself that says his eyes were opened.

1. It is the LORD who opened his eyes (v. 4) to see Israel for who they were.

* + Jesus said; “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 (KJV)

+ There are many who say they know Christ, but have a greater heart for making wealth than they care to know the One who makes wealth.

VI. THE FUTURE OF ISRAEL, AND THEIR BLESSINGS (vv. 24:15-24).

* + Balaam’s eyes have been opened to the blessing of God upon the nation of people called Israel.
* + In this “parable” is a prophecy of the Lord Jesus; “there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel…” (v. 17).
* + Moab and Edom had been sources of conflict with Israel; even though related; and the coming King would and will deal with them according to His power and might.
* + The mere mention of his name throughout Scriptures seem to indicate that he was false in his life, and that is one of the keys to the recognition of the man of God.

1. The man of God is true to God;
2. The man of God is faithful to God and His Word;
3. The man of God lines his life with the Word of God;
4. The man of God speaks and the Word of God comes to pass.

(Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 18:20-22)

VII. AN EVIL THAT CAN BRING GOD’S CHASTISEMENT UPON HIS CHILDREN AND THE ANSWER (Chapter 25).

* + When God’s people sin it causes grief in the heart of God.
* + Since Balaam could not curse the people of Israel; he did one of the worse things that a pretender, hypocrite can do; cause evil to come into the heart of God’s people.

1. The sin of Balaam, and Israel was the ecumenical move of bringing the unholy into the holy.
2. Moab and Midian were of the same bloodline as Abraham

* + John Baptist and Jesus said, “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” Matthew 3:9 (KJV) [words of John Baptist.]

“I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.” John 8:38-40 (KJV)

* + “If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

1. Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3; Galations 3:6; James 2:23).

VIII. THE HEART OF BALAAM WHICH WORKS RUIN (Numbers 31:16).

+ Though the heart of Balaam was with the Moabites and the Midianites; and for the wealth and perks that went along with it; there is in the midst of this immorality, and debauchery; many people who are grieved by the sins taking place in the camp of God.

* + These are found at the “…door of the tabernacle of the congregation”, and weeping because of this great sin against God and the people of God.
* + If we do things to cause a brother to sin; or to stumble and fall; then we fall into the category of the error of Balaam.

1. If we do or say something that causes us to look good while harming another; then that is the error of Balaam.
2. You may think, “I am not doing or saying it for pay?” Oh! You’re not? You have taken away something that belonged to another. You are in the “Error of Balaam”.

* + Though the child of God cannot sin successfully; neither will God overlook those who treat His children poorly.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 10 – Hearts of Rebellion

There are times we all have our complaints.  We complain about the weather.  It is either too hot; or too cold.  It is raining when we wanted to work outdoors, or picnic, or play in some fashion.  We complain because our job does not pay enough.  We  may complain because of sickness; either our own or a friend or family member.

The reading this morning is, and was for me; Numbers 10 – 23.  There is much complaining; and from what I can see the complaining is toward Moses and Aaron, and especially toward God.  Complaining against God is a pitiful thing.  It shows that you know better than God does; or at least that you think you do.  And that is the heart of the complaints among the children of Israel in the wilderness.

In chapter 11 they complain about the Manna;

“And the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.” (11:8)

That is not, however, the testimony of Scripture in Exodus 16:31;

“…and it was like coriander see, and white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.”

Manna was the sustenance which God had provided for Israel as they wandered in the wilderness.  It was sweet; at least until they began messing with it.  They wanted meat, so God gives them meat; so much it makes many of them sick unto death.  Hear what the word of the LORD says;

“And the LORD said unto Moses, ‘Is the LORD’S hand waxed short? Thou shalt see now whether My word shall come to pass unto thee or not.”  Numbers 11:23 (KJV).

Even Moses questions God about where all this meat is going to come from, thus God’s message for Moses, and the people.

In chapters 10 – 23 we see much rebellion of the children; some of it beginning with what the KJV calls “the mixed multitude”.  This “mixed multitude” are people who came out of Egypt who were not of Israel.  Some were probably Egyptians who saw the power of God, yet did not believe in Him to the point of really trusting Him.  That is a matter Christians of today need to be alert and aware of also.

When Moses sent a search committee into the Promised Land to search out its richness and possible problems (chapters 13-14) of the twelve who were sent only two returned with faith, believing the LORD was able to deliver the land into their hands.  Rebellion and unbelief are bulwarks of hindrance to the power and work of God in individual lives and a nation.  When the people realized they had sinned against the LORD, they attempted yet to rebel against God and proceeded with a contingent of people to go and take the land (14:40-45).

Three Levite leaders rebel against the leadership of Aaron and Moses; they and their followers are destroyed as the earth opens up and swallows Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, their families and their followers (chapter 16).  It is indeed “a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

Even Moses shows some defiance when instead of speaking to the rock he strikes it.  Yet God in His grace provides water from the rock for the people.

Last, but not least, was a prophet; who was a prophet for profit; or for hire is called on to curse the children of Israel. Chapters 22 – 23 begin the plot of Balak king of the Moabites to curse Israel through the use of Balaam the erring prophet.  God used a donkey to speak to this prophet.  Not to belittle the story or to deny its truth; I wonder how many times God has used an animal to speak to people and they refused to hear them?

Speak LORD, for Thy servant hears.

Rebellion is  the heart of unbelief.  When complainers challenge God, His authority, His leaders, and His people they will die.  When they challenge His promises they will die (14:36-38).  Believe the LORD, trust Him through His Son Jesus who died for your sins, was buried and rose again.  He is our only hope.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 7 – From Deliverance to Glory

The book of Exodus begins with the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in bondage in Egypt.  They are in bitter enslavement to Egypt.  Exodus ends, however, fulfilling the meaning of its title “Exodus” and the children are free from bondage.

My reading this morning included Exodus 35 – Leviticus 8.  I will not be commenting on the Leviticus reading, but only on the Exodus portion, and particularly the ending.

From bondage in Egypt the children of Israel, are delivered after many wonderful things which God performed through His servants Moses and Aaron.  Plagues which came upon Egypt; unlike anything they had ever witnessed; or ever would witness in their lifetimes.  It was God’s plan to deliver them, His way.  It would not be the way of Moses, nor the way of Aaron; but God’s.

It is God’s intention that His name be glorified and nothing else.  That is the greatest desire of God; that He be glorified.

The Exodus shows us the children of Israel on a journey from Egypt, through the wilderness; at least to Mount Sinai; receiving God’s commandments; instructions, and designs on worshipping God.

In the Exodus we see sin raise its ugly, demonic head while Moses is on the Mount receiving the law; and after they have said, “All that God commands we will do.”  They call on Aaron to make them gods (32:1-2) of gold and to honor for their deliverance from Egypt; I suppose.  God tells Moses to go down quickly, and he finds a riotous, debaucherous worship more in tune with the surround peoples than godly going on; defiling everything the people has said they would do.

Yet, God in His grace and mercy brings them to His glory.  They see His glory in the “tent of the congregation” or tabernacle,

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.  For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.”  Exodus 40:34-38 (KJV)

And, even Moses cannot enter due to His glory upon the tabernacle.

That shows us, that even Israel, and the Law cannot bring us into His glory.  The law fulfilled in God’s only begotten Son, His blood sacrifice on the cross, His burial, and resurrection can bring sinful man, redeemed, cleansed, and into the very presence of God.

“For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:15-16

Jesus Christ is our High Priest who has given His own blood that we might go into the very presence of God.  I pray you find yourself there today.

-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 – 022111

Reading Deuteronomy 1 – 3.

As I was reading this morning I noticed that the phrase “Fear not” or something similar was used at least four times.

Chapter 1 verse 21 says,

“Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.”  (1:21)

Fear is a thing that greatly handicaps many of us.  When we allow fear to have a hold in our lives it will rule, and cause us to live in defeat.  That is not something that is needed by God’s people; neither is it necessary.  When we consider all that Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross we have much to be bold, brave and courageous for and about.

Another one says,

“Then I said unto you, ‘Dread not, neither be afraid of them.'” (1:29)

The word “dread” above means to fear with trembling, affrighted, afraid, or terrified; and the other “fear” or “afraid” could be a form of reverence.  Certainly we need neither fear of the enemy of God when we have God’s promise of victory. His victory.

Chapter 3 has two more verses with the phrase,

“And the LORD said unto me, ‘Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.'” (3:2)

Deuteronomy is a reminder to the children of Israel of God’s mighty power and acts for the forty years they have wandered in the wilderness (1:1-3).  The Bible is not only a historical account of all that God has done for His people down through the history of mankind; but it is also a living word from God which gives life, encouragement, and strength for the journey through God’s Spirit.  The person of Jesus Christ is the central being of the Scriptures.

When we know Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior by believing He came, lived a sinless life, and died for our sins, was buried carrying our sins away, and rose bodily from the grave; then we can live in Him without fear.  When there is fear in our heart it is a sign that we are not right with Him.

The final verse for today;

“Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God He shall fight for you.” (3:22)

We, as God’s people are assured that the battle is the LORD’s.  How can we fear, when we have God with us.  Moses was assuring Israel and her people that just as the LORD had led them through the wilderness, and fought the battles; then He would even do so in the Promised Land which they were about to enter.

Child of God neither fear, nor be afraid, nor dread what lies ahead.  Trust the LORD.

Remember to read Deuteronomy 1 – 3.

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 020411

Reading Leviticus 14 – 16.

Cleansing and forgiveness of sin are two of the main ideas we receive from these chapters.  From leprosy to the scapegoat on the day of atonement we find the provisions of God for these things; for His people.

One thing that I observe as I read these chapters is that I am glad these offerings, and cleansings have taken place in the perfect, sinless sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  All the law has been fulfilled in Him.  There is no more need for ritual and blood sacrifices.  It was all taken care of – not done away with – but fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

One of the sacrifices mentioned is that involving two birds.  One was to be slain; the other was to live and use the live bird to dip into the blood of the slain bird with cedar wood and hyssop with scarlet; and the living bird was to be let go.  This is for the cleansing of one’s house from a plague in the house.  This was probably some mold or something of that order.

There are  matters of issues of blood, and copulation; and the uncleanness of these, and how they were to be cleansed.

In chapter 16 we come to one of the most important events or Feasts of Israel.  I believe it is  the final one of their year.  This day of atonement is a once a year event.  It required particular care from the high Priest.

“And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.”  Leviticus 16:21-22 (KJV)

This day required much sacrifice.  The blood of a bullock was offered by the high priest; first slaying the animal at the altar of burnt offering, taking the blood into the holy of Holies, sprinkling the blood seven times upon the Mercy seat, then, coming out getting the two goats; killing one goat, shedding its blood, while the priests laid their hands (as they had done with the slain goat) on the live goat.  The live goat was then taken away by a “fit man”.   There are some who believe that the man who took the live goat into the wilderness would take the goat to a bluff and push the goat over the edge so the goat would not return.

This offering of the scapegoat was and is a picture, a shadow of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of mankind.  The dead goat shows Christ Jesus as becoming our sin, paying the ultimate price for sin.  The living goat being taken into the wilderness could be a shadow of His burial, taking our sins away; never to see them; never to be bound by them again; always having forgiveness for sins committed; never to have them held against us.

One of the elements of the gospel that I see is much overlooked is the “burial”.  We say the gospel is “The death, the burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ”, but we never hear it mentioned.  The message of the cross and resurrection is powerless without the burial of Christ.  First, it shows that He died.  Second it shows that there is the cleansing and removal and forgiveness of sin; which God will never hold against us.

When we put our faith in Christ Jesus and His finished work on the cross; and  this includes the burial and bodily resurrection; then all our sins are cleansed; we are forgiven; and made righteous, just and holy in the sight of God.  As Paul the apostle has written;

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus…”  Romans 8:1

Please read Leviticus 14-16

-Tim A. Blankenship