Thursday, 10 August 2017

The whole of life is to be arranged according to God's perfect plan.

Numbers 35:1-36:13
The whole of life is to be arranged according to God's perfect plan. This principle underlies all the detailed instructions given here. We see it, first, in Numbers 35:1 - "The Lord spoke to Moses ... " It is repeated in Numbers 35:9 - "The Lord said to Moses ... " It is emphasized in Numbers 36:5-6 - "So Moses gave the Israelites a command from the Lord ... This is what the Lord commands ... " It is seen in the response of "Zelophedad's daugthers" who "did as the Lord commanded Moses." It is found in the concluding verse of the book of Numbers: "These are the commands and rules the Lord gave the Israelites ... " (Numbers 36:13). Life may be very different today. Still, the spiritual principle remains the same: Our life is to be lived according to the teaching of God's Word.

How are God's people to remain true to Him?

Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20
The contrast between God's people and those who worship false gods is so strong. It would be easy for God's people to feel superior. God's Word gives us no encouragement to have a superiority complex (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). How are God's people to remain true to Him when there are so many pressures to conform to the world? - We must remember that we need the Word of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3). Without His Word, we will be easy victims for Satan. The Lord warns His people - We must remember to obey Him, or we will, by our disobedience, bring ourselves under His judgment (Deuteronomy 8:19-20).

Keep on following the Lord.

Deuteronomy 4:1-6:25
There is a real challenge here - Continue in the way of the Lord. Don't turn back from following Him. This is important - not only for ourselves but for generations to come. The Word of the Lord must never be dismissed as something which is to be left in the past. Love for the Lord is not to be set aside as a thing of the past. We are to preserve the Word of the Lord for the next generation. The call to love God must be passed on those who come after us.

Before we can hear the Lord speaking to us, we must stop speaking against Him ...

"We have spoken against the Lord" (Numbers 21:7).
Before we can hear the Lord speaking to us, we must stop speaking against Him. How can we hear what the Lord is saying to us if we keep on speaking against Him? If we are to speak for God, we must begin with listening to Him.
"Speak only the Word that I tell you" (Numbers 22:35).
If we are to bring the Word of God to others, we must pray that He will speak to us. We must pray that He will give to us His Word - "the Lord put a word in Balaam's mouth" (Numbers 23:5). At the heart of our ministry of God's Word, there must be this firm conviction: "God is not a man, that He should lie or change His mind" (Numbers 23:19). Who are we to call in question the Word of the Lord? When God speaks to us, He calls us to believe His Word. We are to trust Him. If we question the Word of the Lord, and, then, attempt to speak His Word to others, we're asking for big trouble - "If the trumpet doesn't sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?" (1 Corinthians 14:8). We do not help the people of God to triumph over Satan, if we do not speak to them the Word of the Lord.
"All that the Lords speaks, I must do" (Numbers 23:26).
There needs to be obedience to God's Word. This is not only speaking God's Word. It's doing what God's Word says.
"The Spirit of God came upon him" (Numbers 24:2).
There needs to be empowering by the Spirit of God. Without His power, our words will never speak to people as the Word of the living God. With His power, everything changes. It is His power that carries home His Word to the hearts of our hearers.

God Is Not Exalted Because We Exalt Him. We Exalt Him Because He Is Exalted.

Psalms 92:1-93:5
‘You, O Lord, are exalted for ever… The Lord reigns, He is robed in majesty…’(Psalm 92:8; Psalm 93:1-2). You, Lord, are ‘exalted’. Help us to exalt You in our worship. You are not exalted because we exalt You. We exalt You because You are exalted. You are ‘exalted far above all gods’. That is why we sing, ‘I exalt Thee, O Lord’. ‘He is exalted, the King is exalted on high’- This is the truth concerning You, Lord. ‘I will praise Him’- This is our response to Your truth. We sing, ‘Jesus, we enthrone You, we proclaim You our King’. This is our response to the eternal truth concerning our Saviour: ‘The Lord is enthroned as King for ever’. ‘From all eternity’ the Lord is ‘robed in majesty’. Help us, Lord, to respond to His majesty. Help us to ‘magnify’ You, Lord – ‘O Lord our God, how majestic is Thy Name’(Psalm 97:9; Psalm 29:10; Mission Praise, 158,217,388,507).

Belonging to the Lord

“The days are coming”: These words introduce a prophecy concerning the land (Jeremiah 30:3). The greatest blessing is not being in the land. It is belonging to the Lord. This is the blessing, spoken of by Jeremiah. When, speaking God’s Word, he writes, “You will be My people, and I will be your God” (Jeremiah 30:22).

Good News - Reaching Out To Us And Reaching Out Through Us

“Good News” - “the forgiveness of sins” and “baptism with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:1,4,8). This Good News is centred on Jesus Christ, God’s beloved Son (Mark 1:11). Jesus was empowered by “the Spirit” (Mark 1:12). He comes to us with “the Good news of God” (Mark 1:(14). He calls for our response - “Change the way you think and act, and believe the Good News” (Mark 1:15). Where does this change come from? It comes from the Good News. This is what changes us. By becoming Christ-centred (following Jesus), we become less self-centred and more other-centred. Jesus teaches us “how to catch people instead of fish” (Mark 1:17).

God is working out His plan.

In Ezekiel 38:23, we read about God's purpose in history - "I will show My greatness and My holiness. I will reveal Myself to many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord." It is important that we see the divine dimension in the events which take place here on earth. There are political events, but politics isn't everything. There's more than politics. There's the work of God. He is working out His plan.

The river of God's blessing

In Ezekiel 47:1-11, we have a wonderful picture and an encouraging message - the river of God's blessing. In Ezekiel 48:35, we have a wonderful presence and an inspiring message - "The Lord is there."

"I will pour out My Spirit on the nation of Israel" (Ezekiel 39:29).

True blessing comes when God pours out His Spirit. This is something for which we must always - the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
In Ezekiel 40-43, we have a description of the temple. We can measure the physical dimensions of the temple, but there is something that we cannot measure: "I saw the glory of the Lord fill the temple" (Ezekiel 43:5). This is the spiritual dimension. This is the presence of the Spirit of the  Lord. We look beyond the temple. We catch a glimpse of the glory of God. The glory of the temple fades. The glory of the Lord remains forevermore.

We cannot change ourselves. We must be changed by the Lord.

The great miracle of the new birth is described in Ezekiel 36:26 - "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you." We cannot change ourselves. We must be changed by the Lord. He forgives our sin. He gives us His Holy Spirit. He enables us to put the past behind us and live the new life in the Spirit.

The darkness of our sin is great. The bright shining light of God's love is greater.

In Ezekiel 35, we learn that it is through His judgment as well as His salvation that we learn that the Lord is God. It is important that we remember two things - (i) God's purpose is salvation (John 3:17); (ii) His judgment comes upon us as a result of our sin (John 3:18). The light of God's love shines brightly. It is sin which brings darkness into our world. The darkness of our sin is great. The bright shining light of God's love is greater. This is the great love of God, revealed to us in Jesus Christ, the Light of the world.

God's Word Of Warning Is Spoken As The Voice Of His Love.

Again, in Ezekiel 32, we read about God's judgment on Egypt. God's Word of judgment is awesome. There is a real sense of the holiness of God. Men cannot do what they like, and expect that God will not punish them. When we read of such things, it becomes clear to us that it is better to listen to God and obey His Word than to ignore him and invite Him to send His judgment into our lives.
In Ezekiel 33, we read about the ministry of "the watchman." He listens to God's Word and speaks the Word of warning  to the people (Ezekiel 33:7). He declares the love of God - "I don't want wicked people to die ... I want them to turn from their ways and live" (Ezekiel 33:10). The warning is spoken as the voice of love, calling sinners to draw back from the way that leads to death, to turn to the Lord and live.

Featured post

The Lord has sent His Spirit of power to live in us.

We read about Elijah in his high-points of strength - the triumph over the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:36-39) - and his low-points of w...