Monthly Archives: January 2017

Unbreakable Love

j0438379 January 31, 2017
Unbreakable Love
“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:23-24)

When the Pharisees asked for His view on divorce, Jesus replied by quoting our text, giving the Creator’s view on marriage and how men and women should approach it if they are to function as they were designed (Matthew 19:4-5). He added, “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (v. 6).

In some special way, known fully only to Him, a man and woman in a marriage relationship can truly become one flesh, just as Adam and Eve were one flesh after Eve had been fashioned from Adam’s side. (Christ’s doctrine of marriage has no logical foundation, by the way, nor do we have any reason to marry if Adam and Eve were not real, specially created people.)

Our text was also quoted by Paul as he more fully explained the marriage doctrine (Ephesians 5:31), prefacing it with a brief discussion of the relationship between the Lord and His Church (v. 30). Just as we are inseparably “members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones,” He designed each of us to be inseparably “one flesh” with his or her spouse.

Paul uses a forceful word for “leave,” meaning to completely leave one’s parents and “be joined” to the spouse. This word is equally forceful and leaves no room for a half-hearted commitment.

Marriage partners, in the eyes of the Creator, should be inseparable, just as the bones and flesh of a body cannot be separated, and just as we cannot be separated from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:35-39). JDM

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Lovingkindness and Tender Mercy

worship_3  January 29, 2017
Lovingkindness and Tender Mercy
“Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.” (Psalm 25:6)

These beautiful words, “tender mercies” and “lovingkindness,” may sound somewhat old-fashioned in today’s sophisticated jargon, but the divine attributes they represent have been “ever of old” and will continue to characterize our tender and merciful, kind and loving God of all grace forever. Dropping them from our conversation (even in most newer translations of the Bible) is a sad loss that, to some degree, has impoverished our speech and, perhaps, our souls.

Note some of the rich scriptural testimonies associated with them: “[The LORD] redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies” (Psalm 103:4). “Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me” (Psalm 40:11). “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions” (Psalm 51:1). “Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good; turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies” (Psalm 69:16).

Other than Proverbs 12:10 (“the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel”), all the occurrences of these two terms, either alone or together, are applied by the translators only to the Lord, never to men (the Hebrew words are rendered by other words in the King James when applied to people). This is beautifully appropriate, for our gracious God is uniquely the God of love and mercy. In spite of the fact that none of us deserve His lovingkindness or tender mercy, “the LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works” (Psalm 145:8-9). HMM

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Folly of Humanism

keep going

keep going or moving don’t quit or stop continue don’t give up sign

January 28, 2017
The Folly of Humanism
“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” (Psalm 14:1)

Despite all their pretense of scientific intellectualism, those who deny the existence of a personal Creator God are, in God’s judgment, nothing but fools. The 14th Psalm, the 53rd Psalm, Romans 3, etc., all describe the inner character of all such people—whether they call themselves atheists or humanists or pantheists or whatever. This repeated emphasis indicates how strongly God feels about those who dare to question His reality. It is bad enough to disobey His commandments and to spurn His love; it is utter folly to deny that He even exists!

The Bible describes the awful descent from true creationism into evolutionary pantheistic humanism. “When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. . . . Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:21-22, 25).

Certain atheists/humanists claim to be moral people, though their criteria of morality are often quite different from those of the Bible. No matter how admirable their humane acts of “righteousness” may seem, however, they are guilty of the sin of unbelief, the greatest sin of all. “Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is” (Hebrews 11:6). With all the innumerable evidences of God’s reality as seen in the creation and throughout history, and then especially in the Person and work of Jesus Christ, it is utter foolishness to plunge blindly into eternity to meet the God whom they deny. HMM

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Moses and the Shining Face

1195427763386030199jonadab_paul_of_tarsus_svg_med January 24, 2017
Moses and the Shining Face
“And it came to pass, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand . . . that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.” (Exodus 34:29)

Moses had been alone with God 40 days and 40 nights, simply communing with God and receiving the tables with the Ten Commandments. When he finally descended, the glory of God so radiated from him that the people could not bear to look at his face, and he had to wear a veil even to speak to them.

The council of Jewish leaders had a similar experience as they interrogated Stephen concerning his Christian testimony: “And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel” (Acts 6:15).

None of us today ever seem to exhibit such glowing faces, nor is anyone likely to mistake us for an angel. But perhaps this is because we have not spent the time in His presence that Moses did, nor preached the Word in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit as Stephen did. Nevertheless, we should have a different countenance than before we met the Lord. Men should be able to say of us as it was said of Peter and John: “They marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (4:13).

In fact, God even promises that this will be so to the extent that we spend time in His Word, which itself is alive with the light of His glory. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

May God enable us, therefore, to be “holding forth the word of life,” even “in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15-16). HMM

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Queen of Sheba

bible_02 January 23, 2017
The Queen of Sheba
“And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.” (1 Kings 10:1)

A thousand years after the famous visit of Sheba’s queen to the court of King Solomon, Jesus made a remarkable spiritual application of her experience. “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:42).

Solomon had prayed for wisdom, and the Lord gave him such legendary wisdom that the news even reached the distant land of Sheba, south of Ethiopia. We do not know what hard questions were confronting Sheba’s queen, but she finally decided she must find their solutions through Solomon and his God. God honored her searching faith, “and Solomon told her all her questions,” so that she could testify that “the half was not told me. . . . Blessed be the LORD thy God” (1 Kings 10:3, 7, 9).

In Jesus Christ “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). He who had given Solomon his great wisdom promises us that “if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).

Truly the queen of Sheba will be a witness against our present generation in the coming day of judgment. People today turn to every variety of humanistic counselors for their training and guidance but refuse to come to the one who is “made unto us wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:30). The “Wonderful Counsellor” (Isaiah 9:6), who is far greater than Solomon, who said “I am . . . the truth” (John 14:6), and who promises that “the truth shall make you free” (8:32), is still inviting all from the uttermost parts of the earth to come. HMM

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Mercy

images January 21, 2017
The Mercy Seat
“And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat.” (Exodus 25:21-22)

In the “holy of holies” of the tabernacle, God would meet with Israel’s high priest once a year to commune with His people at a meeting place called the “mercy seat.” The Hebrew word was derived from the word for “atonement,” which in turn meant essentially a “covering” for the Ark of the Covenant. On the great day of atonement each year, the high priest was commanded to sprinkle the blood from the sin offerings on the mercy seat (Leviticus 16:14-15) to make an atonement for all the people.

This annual ceremony, of course, merely prefigures the full atonement that Christ would make one day when “by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12). Since this blood has been sprinkled once for all on the heavenly mercy seat, as it were, we are now “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (Romans 3:24-25).

In this verse, the word “propitiation” is the Greek word for “mercy seat” (and is so translated in Hebrews 9:5). That is, Christ Himself, with His atoning blood, is our mercy seat, where we can meet with God. Thus, the golden, blood-stained mercy seat becomes the very throne of God Himself, where He meets with those who believe on Him for salvation. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (4:16). HMM

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Jacob’s Plain Life

dd9 January 19, 2017
Jacob’s Plain Life
“Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.” (Genesis 25:27)

Jacob has often been given a bad reputation for his deception of Isaac. He is branded a liar and worse, while the Scriptures describe him very differently. To begin with, the Hebrew word translated “plain” in our text is tam, everywhere else rendered as “perfect” or “upright.”

The same word is used most often by God Himself of Job—a “perfect” and “upright” man (Job 1:8). All other references in the Bible where tam is used verify this upright and undefiled character. The deception is not rebuked by God, and Jacob is honored by God far more than Isaac. In fact, Jacob is renamed “Israel” by God—hardly a punishment for a bad life, but rather a recognition of a great life (Genesis 32:28).

The sin of Isaac and Esau is infinitely greater. Esau has “sold” and “despised” the birthright (Genesis 25:33-34). Isaac would have given that blessing to Esau (Genesis 27:1-4) in spite of God’s plan (Genesis 25:23). The intention of Jacob and Rebecca was to prevent a horrible disobedience and catastrophe.

Jacob’s action gave him no temporal advantage and was taken at great personal risk. Jacob spent 20 years in exile and servitude to his wicked uncle Laban, 14 of them for Rachel and Leah (Genesis 29:20-29). While there, he endured the awful trickery of Laban, but God gave him 12 sons and one daughter (Genesis 29:31–30:24).

God’s intervention and Jacob’s careful attention to detail brought wealth and a growing confidence that God had turned his life around, providing the leadership his family needed to leave suddenly and go with confidence back to the land of Abraham (Genesis 31), having received personal assurance from God (Genesis 32:24-30).

May we all have the reputation of a “plain” life. HMM III

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized