Posts Tagged ‘israelite’

…After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. Job 42:7

What did Job’s friend Eliphaz say that got God so riled up?

Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker? If He puts no trust in His servants, If He charges His angels with error, How much more those who dwell in houses of clay, Whose foundation is in the dust, Who are crushed before a moth? They are broken in pieces from morning till evening; They perish forever, with no one regarding. Does not their own excellence go away? They die, even without wisdom. Job 4:17-21

The above passage is only a snippet of a larger discourse, but in it we see how Eliphaz took a fundamental truth of God, added his own words, and then used the mixture to verbally assault Job. There is some legitimacy in his remarks; it had an appearance of godliness, but because he contaminated it with his own worldly doctrine, it was powerless. Being half right made him totally wrong and watering down God’s word was hurtful rather then helpful.

I do however find it intriguing that Eliphaz reminded us that we ‘dwell in houses of clay’ although I doubt if he recognized the relevance of his phraseology. The fact that the Lord formed man out of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7) and that the Apostle Paul likens us to earthen vessels (2 Corinthians 4:7) puts forward the notion that we are clay houses and not merely casual inhabitants of them. But that’s not the end of it—we are clay houses with a purpose!

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

If we listen to the false teacher Eliphaz, we might believe that our brokenness is without function; that we live, we die, and we suffer in-between, and rarely, if ever does anyone care to take notice. While that is a gross exaggeration, there is a tiny morsel of truth within it. However, the world would be well served to remember that God does not exist for us, but rather we exist for Him and even in our suffering God can be glorified.

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. Colossian 1:16

Therefore, our wholeness and (as it pertains to this story) our brokenness serves a Greater purpose. Let’s go back to the earthen-vessel analogy for a moment. Do you remember the story in Judges of Gideon and his triumph over the Midianites? How he, by God’s direction, took an army of three hundred, armed with trumpets and earthen vessels, and went against a Midianite force of over one hundred and thirty thousand. Do you recall what happened next?

Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers–they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing–and they cried, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” And every man stood in his place all around the camp; and the whole army ran and cried out and fled. Judges 7:20-21

The light shone when the vessels were broken!

Therein lays our doctrine. In our brokenness the light of Jesus can shine! If we don’t understand the devise of brokenness or refuse to yield to the work God wants to do in it, we become troubled and miserable. But when by faith we chose to see the bigger picture, we are blessed—we recognize God’s divine plan and His purpose for it. We are refined, God is glorified, and non-believers are drawn to His light. For further examination let’s consider the Exodus story.

Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, ‘They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in.’ Then I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord.” Exodus 14:1-4

God purposely put His people between a rock and a hard place, or more precisely, between two mountains and the Red Sea. Why? Because in so doing His Divinity and supremacy became known to the Egyptians. Did it work? Yup. Were any of the Egyptians saved as a result? It wouldn’t seem so, but that’s not the issue—God revealed Himself to non-believers and gave them a choice to make—the fact that they chose unwisely isn’t germane to my point.

What if Israel protested; what if they said to Moses, “How dare God bring us to this place of brokenness. This is not fair!” Would that have changed their predicament one iota? No, they still would have had to endure it. Wasn’t it better to understand that in their brokenness God was doing a good work of some sort? Isn’t it a better testimony for us to bear our trials joyfully rather than mournfully?

Can we see God’s hand in our troubles? Is there a bigger picture that we’re not seeing in the loss of a job, the diagnosis, or the death of a loved one? We might never know why bad things happen, but we can find our hope, peace, and assurance in knowing that God’s ways are always righteous and true.

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at Calvary Chapel Coastlands.

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And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you.” Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal…Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” Joshua 10:8-9, 12

First Things First

Joshua made a mistake. In the last chapter, Israel, after being deceived by their enemy, made a covenant with the Gibeonites. Discovering the deception, Joshua put his mistake to work. Oh he kept his vow as the Lord requires every vow-maker to do, but he made his error his slave; the Gibeonites would forever be servants of the Tabernacle as fetchers of wood and water.

God recognized the mistake too, but He chose to honor Joshua’s commitment–blessings would rise form the ashes of a bad decision. What our Father did with Joshua and Israel, He does with us as well—we have the same assurance from God that our errors can work towards some good thing despite the fact that we might not see it initially.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

In the text today, Joshua provides for us a four-part outline illustrating dynamic Christian faith in action. His example awards us the four basic components of spirited faith; one that bestows honor, glory, and praise to the faith Giver.

He Believed

It really can’t get any less basic than that. God told Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered (the enemy) into your hand.” Joshua took God at His word. He heard the word and he believed the word he heard. Do you believe God’s word?

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

He Gave His Best Effort

The passage does not imply that Joshua performed perfectly, but strongly suggests he worked as quickly and as efficiently as he could to do God’s will, “Marching all night,” until the first leg of the task was completed. God did not tell him to do that, Joshua chose to do that. The fact of the matter is that the work was finished, just like Christ’s work was finished on the cross. Remember, God said, “I have delivered,” the enemy. In willing obedience, Joshua took it upon himself to complete the mission as best he could.

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:17

He Called on the Lord

Joshua takes nothing for granted, probably learning that lesson from his bitter defeat at Ai. We aren’t privy to their conversation, but the passage hints that they must have been discussing some pretty powerful stuff. Contextually speaking, we know that it would have been impossible for Joshua to do what was done without God’s direct support, authority, and power.

…Without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5b

He Acted Boldly

Joshua could not have made the proclamation he made if a) he did not believe, b), he had not been working out his faith, and c) wasn’t checking in with the Father periodically. The kind of boldness Joshua displayed can only be manifest when the first three elements of our faith are in place. That’s not to say a person can’t ever speak boldly, but without God’s power and authority, that person operates in his flesh alone.

It’s sad to say that many Christians, having accomplished the first three steps, arrive at this same place, but shy away from the opportunity to take the wonderful leap. Why? Plain and simple: fear—the very opposite of faith. While it is true we have the ability to put our faith on the shelf, we often forget that by that same faith we have the power of God to destroy trepidation. Our Lord is gracious and merciful and He will let us wallow in this condition if we so choose—our salvation is not in jeopardy. But then again, someone might say to you and I, “Why buy a car if you’re never going to drive it?”

…And for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel… Ephesians 6:19

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Now this is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. Deuteronomy 33:1Now What?

Did you know this is the first time in the Bible the phrase ‘man of God’ is used? In autobiographical fashion and under the inspiration of God the Father, Moses writes this about himself. How come? Numerous reasons I suppose, but the passage from Deuteronomy 33, I believe, sums up the intent most excellently. Moses was, as best as any one can be, a selfless man; his heart and love for Israel an expression of God’s own heart and the final reason God directs him to record it.

What Did He Do?

God had just informed Moses that he was not going to enter the Promised Land ~and~ that he was going to die—like immediately. Moses already knew about the first part, but what’s this death-stuff he had to wonder. Yes it’s true, Moses was 120 years old, but the Bible tells us he was in great shape. He could have complained or at the very least attempted to intercede on his own behalf, but what does Moses choose to do? Nothing. Instead he turns and pronounces a blessing upon those who would be entering into the Promised Land; the nation of Israel.

What Would You (or I) Have Done?

Don’t tell me, but that’s why God has given us an opportunity to read this account of Moses—so we will know what to do when tribulation smacks home. Moses had no forewarning (and the reason that makes his case extra special), but we do—God has given us His word and in it He instructs us how men and women of God are to react. And why would we want to respond like Moses? Because it is what men of God do—we live to bring honor, glory, and praise to our Lord and Savior, with the deepest gratitude we can muster.

We don’t have to, we get to.

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Also you shall have a place outside the camp, where you may go out; and you shall have an implement among your equipment, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and turn and cover your refuse. For the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you. Deuteronomy 23:12-14

When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go

There are critical issues being addressed in this seemingly insignificant passage. The first revolves around the matter of privacy and/or those things we do that we think God knows nothing about. God knows. What better way to drive that fact home by His addressing this particular subject. Our God is omniscient–all knowing, omnipotent–all powerful, and like it or not, omnipresent–always in attendance. The biblical application is not that we merely cover-over the refuse of our lives, but we bury it as if it were worthless and as if it were dead.

It is in our gratitude and reverence of Him we clean-up after ourselves, reckoning our old man dead and buried. He is in our midst; therefore we should not subject Him to an untidy home, filthy language, and/or inappropriate television programming. And that’s just the short list. If our Lord is concerned with our basest functions (and He is), is it not safe to assume He cares deeply about purity in all these other areas of our lives.

But it Doesn’t Make Any Sense

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, ” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

To the Jews of this day, the idea of going outside the camp in order to do one’s business, and then burying it, was ludicrous. Today, we see the wisdom, but to Israel [then] it made no sense whatsoever. This passage demonstrates, as do so many others, that although we may not understand the reasoning behind our Father’s mandates, it is still a wise thing to execute them.

Consider for example the mom signaling her child from the road because she sees the truck barreling closer. She perceives the eminent danger, but in the time it might take to explain the circumstances, the child would be exposed to a great danger. Similarly, and with greatest accuracy, God sees down a much bigger road and the dangers that loom ahead for all humanity. God provides direction that may seem illogical in the present, but will be proved righteous in the passing of all time. Sometimes, God does take the time to explain, but when He does not we must trust His counsel.

Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right; The righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them. Hosea 14:9

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Now while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation. They put him under guard, because it had not been explained what should be done to him. Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” So, as the Lord commanded Moses, all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him with stones, and he died. Numbers 15:32-36Wrong Place/Wrong Time?

Occasionally we read a bit of scripture like this and suppose God’s behavior unreasonable. Other times we hear, “I thought your God was a loving God?” The truth of the matter is that God’s ways are perfect and we will fully appreciate their implications when we [Christians] get to Heaven. However, in the meantime, we can take great comfort in appreciating that God, in His grace and mercy, has provided us examples so that we might not repeat mistakes.

God Has a Plan

“…Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth–in Him.” Ephesians 1:9-10

It seems like an obvious statement, but God has a plan and we can see it plainly outlined in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Everything we do is either in agreement with His will or in opposition to it–everything. We should further recognize that there is nothing we can do to thwart His plan, but there are things we can do to delay the blessings He desires to bestow upon us. Likely the best example we have is in post-Exodus Israel. God’s intent was to bring them into the Promised Land about a year after they left Egypt, but because of their disbelief they turned a week-long trip into a forty year journey. God’s purpose was not destroyed, just delayed. The experience is recorded, at least in part, as an illustration for us.

The Stoned-Stick-Gatherer

Surely there must have been other stick-gatherers; why weren’t they stoned to death? We might never know the answer to that question, but we do know this guy’s actions stand as our example today. You could say that this man’s mission in life was to be an example. Was he damned too? Not necessarily.

The truth of the matter is that a person might be saved, but because they opted to venture into sinful territory (maybe just one time), God opted to use him or her as an example for others. Suddenly their mission field is reduced to an illustration depicting what not to do. Is their salvation still secure? If they knew Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior it is, but their ministry to God ends up becoming a shortened or radically altered life.

Teaching Our Kids

Clearly these are things we need to know, but it’s imperative that we are driving-home this notion to our kids. Far too many of our saved children, particularly teenagers and young adults, are living lives with one foot on the narrow path and one in the gutter. They (we) need to know that while their salvation might be secure, there are always consequences and at the extreme-est level, their conduct may be converted into an example for everyone else. God is not mocked and everyone saved or not, will reap what is sown.

What if you Survive?

Not every Christian who stumbles in sin winds-up a dead example for the rest of us. The reality is that most of us, gratefully, do not. However, many of us become so distraught by the repercussions of our past behavior we become mired in spiritual depression that prevents us from being of any earthly good. This is precisely where the nation of Israel found themselves in the 15th book of Numbers. Our loving God offers a remedy…

“Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners. And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined, and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God. Numbers 15: 38-40

Blue is the color of Heaven and while our Father is not mandating that we adorn our garments, herein lies an application for the Church; a remedy for what ails us. When we mess up (and we will), let us be mindful to keep our eyes on the Heavenly prize eternal. There is no need to be anxious or distressed for those who are in Christ Jesus. Remember and do.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. 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 to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3

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Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ’When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the Lord, he shall separate himself from wine and similar drink…no razor shall come upon his head…(and) he shall not go near a dead body.’” Numbers 6:1-3, 5, 6The Nazirite Vow

The word Nazirite in the Hebrew is Naziyr and simply means the one who is devoted and/or consecrated to the Lord. We are all familiar with Sampson and his life-time vow, but according to [some] modern-day rabbinical thought, a vow of this type is typically for a month, a year, ten years, etc. The rest of the chapter (Numbers 6) bears witness to that since it refers to a time of fulfillment, or when the season of a vow comes to an end. A contemporary Christian application might be that of a short (or long) term missionary, a Sunday school teacher, or even a pastor of a flock of believers.

Nazirite Qualifications

We are reminded that these things were spoken by God, to Moses, for the people of Israel, but the fact that we have been grafted into that vine makes it applicable to the us as well. As we examine the passage, three (3) distinctives leap out of the text regarding prerequisite criteria for the potential vow-ee.


There is no alcohol for the person who is going to be set apart for service to the Lord. I suspect there are some Christians who would disagree with that interpretation, but let them find some comfort in knowing alcohol is not forbidden across the board. However, for those who are dedicating a specific chuck of time to the Lord, it is exceedingly pertinent.

…It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink; Lest they drink and forget the law, And pervert the justice of all the afflicted. Proverbs 31:4-5


So if we are taking the text literally, does it mean we are not to cut our hair during this dedicated period? Perhaps, but what I really believe the Lord is mandating is that the Nazirite should be easily identified—even from a mile away. In other words, our behavior, our language, every deed should be beyond reproach consequently identifying us as God’s property. It’s so much more than hair!

A love the axiom, “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Imagine if all we had as our proof was our long hair (or our Christian bumper stickers); we would certainly be released of all charges. The follower of Jesus knows (or should know) that hair and/or bumper stickers become stumbling blocks of hypocrisy when we venture no further than the Christian labels that they are.

.For every tree is known by its own fruit. Luke 6:44


Dead bodies, ” you might say, “not a problem; I can stay away from those!” but what is God really saying to His church? Jesus said it this way; “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” In other words, the born again believer has absolutely no business hanging out with dead things—we are called to leave the past behind and to move forward towards that which gives new life.

Does that mean we should not associate with the unsaved; our own family perhaps? The Numbers verse points out that we are not to go near the dead—the implication being we are to keep a safe distance. How close is to close? That’s where Holy Spirit discernment comes into play—I do not believe we can construct any hard-set rules on the matter. Suffice it to say, it’s always better to play on your own (God’s) turf, for a wise man once said, “If you hangout in a barbershop, eventually you’re going to get a hair cut.”/

…You have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him… Colossians 3:9b-10

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And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed: of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed…the tribe of Gad…the tribe of Asher…the tribe of Naphtali…the tribe of Manasseh…the tribe of Simeon…the tribe of Levi…the tribe of Issachar…the tribe of Zebulun…the tribe of Joseph…the tribe of Benjamin… Revelation 7:4-5144, 000

Who are these 144, 000 people spoken of in the Bible? Ask the Jehovah Witness and he will tell you that it is the Jehovah Witness. Ask the Mormon and he will say it is Mormon. Ask the Seventh Day Adventist and he will say it is Seventh day Adventist. However, if we ask God, He will say it is the children of the twelve tribes of Israel—Revelation 7 cannot be any clearer. God is not through with the Jew and to believe otherwise is to call our Father a liar.

What About Me

What about you; where will you be? Well, if Jesus Christ is your Lord and your Savior, you will have been ‘plucked out’ before the seven year Tribulation period. What about this term, ‘plucked out’…I have never seen this term used in my Bible? There is nothing to worry about; it means you have been ‘raptured’ (which is another term you won’t see specifically used in your Bible).

Replacement Theology is Bogus

Replacement theology; or the notion that the Lord has forgotten about the nation of Israel and has replaced it with the Christian church, is a false teaching. It is erroneous because the Bible clearly declares otherwise and to promote it is to promote anti Semitism. And besides, if it were true, than that would mean that God has broken His promise to the Jews. Honestly, if God starts breaking promises, than we are all in big trouble.



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