The Land (2)

The Land (2)

Sung Psalm 105:6-12

Read Genesis 15

Note v19 where God for the first time is called “possessor of heaven and earth”, hence he is the dispenser of it. The geography is delineated─from Wadi-el-Arish? to the Euphrates.

Three great promises of the covenant:

  • Seed
  • Land
  • Blessing

Key words:

  • Give
  • Inherit

Hence all of grace according to the will of the testator.

God unilaterally and unconditionally makes this covenant and will keep it, on pain of death (cut pieces).

The programme is laid out:

  • The people (seed) will be strangers
  • They will be slaves
  • The nation who enslaves will be judged
  • There will be an exodus
  • There will be plunder

Why the delay (over 400 years)? Because Abraham’s seed must multiply and the inhabitants of the land must be ripe for judgment. Promise renewed (17:8).

In chapters 18 and 19 Sodom and Gomorrah are ripe for (miraculous) judgment c.f. II Peter 2:6

Lessons from Lot’s departure (from God):

  • Left true church (Abraham)
  • Loved money
  • Fell grievously
  • Was chastised severely-lost his family and the children of incest were ancestors of enemies of the church (Moab and Ammon v Israel).

The Land

The Land

Sung Psalm 105:8-14

Reading Genesis 12:1-20

The Holy War was for the Holy Land: We have

  • The covenant promise to give the land to Abraham and his seed
  • The promise of God to dwell there
  • The land was for a people
  • The land came with God’s law

All Old Testament history, except Esther was played out in the land. The prophets can be divided into pre-exilic, exilic and post-exilic according to when the prophesied concerning Israel and the land they were to be exiled from viz:

Pre-exilic Exilic Post exilic
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea Daniel Haggai
Obadiah, Jonah, Micah Ezekiel Zechariah
Nahum, Habbakkuk, Zephaniah Malachi

 

The land of Israel is an issue of hope and eschatology. To Abraham it was an unseen land and object of faith. To this was added the promise of Gen.13:15-16 adding that his seed would be innumerable.

Key points:

  • the seed who would inherit the land was Christ and all the elect in him (Gal.3:7, 16).
  • The land is a type/picture of heaven (Heb.11:9-10).

Holiness to the Lord

Exodus 28: 38.b874f448a16dcaf1363db4e73b09f3de untitled-png-2

And the golden plate shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, the plate of gold, with the inscription on it, holiness to the Lord, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; this supposes that the sacrifices of the children of Israel, were attended with sin and blame, either in the matter of their offerings and gifts, or in the manner in which they brought them; and which through the high priest having this plate of gold, with the above inscription on it, were expiated; they were bore away from them, and were not placed to their account. There is sin in the best performances of the saints; there is not a just man that does good, but he sins in doing that good; the best righteousness of men is imperfect, and attended with sin; and this cannot be borne, or taken away by themselves; if God should mark such sins as these, they could not stand before him; now Christ, their High Priest, bears and takes away these, along with all others, which are laid upon him, and borne by him:

Belgic Confession 24

“for we do no work but what is polluted by our flesh, and also punishable; and although we could perform such works, still the remembrance of one sin is sufficient to make God reject them. Thus then we would be continually vexed, if (we) relied not on the merits of the suffering and death of our Saviour. ” (abridged)

 

Joseph

Every time I read Genesis 45 tears well up in my eyes. The story evokes so much pathos. Joseph, the long-lost eleventh son of Jacob having been sold as a slave by his jealous brothers has risen to be prime minister of Egypt.

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He has given his brothers a taste of injustice by returning their food money in their sacks and planting his silver cup in Benjamin’s. He has been testing their characters by demanding a hostage when they return home and now for the last time, having sent his steward to apprehend them, he finally cannot control himself any longer in their presence and leaves the room to weep returning to reveal his identity with much weeping and embracing.

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Although not a type of Christ there are many parallels in the two lives:

  • He is betrayed by jealous brethren (Christ and the Jews).
  • He is sold for twenty pieces of silver (Christ was sold for thirty)
  • He is unjustly bound and imprisoned
  • God is manifestly with him throughout (Chapter 39 x4)
  • Having suffered he is exalted to very high station
  • He forgives his brethren
  • He believes in the absolute sovereignty of God
  • He is a saviour to his family
  • He forgave them their sin against him

He is a godly example and man of faith (Hebrews 11:22), is there any wonder I named my son after him?

Wishing I was never born

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Jeremiah

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Rev Brian Huizinga on Jeremiah 20:13-18.

A blessed Biblical message for those who may be severely depressed and those pastoring them.

Notes:

Jeremiah’s woeful curse may have been uttered well before the preceding verses. Compare James 3:10. But this is how he felt and his later testimony must be “God lifted me out.” He had seen and experienced much to depress him—child sacrifices to Molech, ten years of the people’s hardening under his ministry, the death of the last good king of Judah (Josiah), no wife by his side and continual verbal abuse and threats to his life from his own townsfolk.

He saw no hope of relief, no end in sight, nothing positive to come, as though held down under water, never to rise.

What he needed was:

  • Comfort, encouragement and hope.
  • His sin to be exposed—his lament called down murderous curses.
  • His doubts, depression and self-centredness were from not trusting God, his promises and history of covenant faithfulness.

LESSONS:

  1. All men have only small beginning of obedience (they remain with a totally depraved old nature).
  2. The prophet was only a type of Christ  and failed. Christ won the battle through worse suffering.
  3. Look ahead. God has a purpose/ plan for all of us (Jer.29:11).

Message

 

Feast of Tabernacles

In the days of Ezra and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 8) there was a great reformation of true religion as over 42,000 returned exiles worshipped the God of Israel in Jerusalem. They kept the feast of Tabernacles in the 7th month for eight days from the 15th day onwards.images

It was a harvest feast and commemorated their pilgrimage through the wilderness when both they and the ark of God dwelt in tents.

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As with every Jewish feast it pointed to Christ. John 1:14 literally reads that God incarnate dwelt among us “tabernacled” among us. Many believe Christ was born at this season of the year, NOT Xmas!

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A sukkah or booth.

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The feast also has a future fulfilment in the great ingathering of God’s elect people at the end of the world, many believe the second coming will be at tabernacles season, when he will usher in eternity, and God in Christ will forever tabernacle with his people, he and his church will be one at the great marriage supper of the lamb (and interestingly many Jewish weddings are held under a sukkah).

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Ezekiel 41

Pillars, palm trees and cherubim

In this prophetic vision apparently shown to Ezekiel by the pre-incarnate Christ the details of this temple are described. Suffices to say that just as with Moses’ tabernacle and the building of the ultimate temple namely the church, everything follows a detailed plan decreed by the master builder Christ himself. The measurements, the blocks, the doors, the rooms, the walls and all they are used for follows a detailed plan. What interested me was:

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Upon each post were palm trees; that is, on every post, column, or pillar, belonging to the chambers; and very probably on all the other before mentioned, Ezekiel 40:9, these posts or pillars signify either the ministers of the Gospel (see also Gal.2:9); so called for their strength, being mighty in the Scriptures (Acts 5:39 they stood firm), able ministers of the New Testament, capable of retaining and defending the truths of the Gospel, and of bearing reproach and persecution for them, and also the infirmities of weak believers; and for their stability, being steadfast and immovable in the work and cause of Christ for their usefulness, in supporting the cause and interest of the Redeemer, and the minds of weak Christians, as well as the glorious truths of the Gospel; and may with great propriety be those called to make the church the pillar and ground of truth; see Proverbs 9:1, yea, all true believers, and proper members of the churches of Christ, are pillars there, and such as shall never go out, Revelation 3:12, the word used has the signification of strength, as pillars should be strong; and such believers are, not in themselves, but in Christ, in his power and grace, and through his Spirit; whereby they can do all things, perform all duties, exercise all grace, and engage with all enemies. They are like pillars that stand firm and stable; grounded in the love of God; secured in election grace; settled in the everlasting covenant; laid on the sure foundation Christ, and established in the truths of the Gospel; so that they never go out of the heart of God, the hands of Christ, the family of the saints, or church of God. They are as pillars; some more useful to support in an external way the interest of religion, giving liberally to the maintenance of ministers, the relief of the poor, and the defraying of all necessary charges; and others to strive and contend for, and so maintain and preserve, the truths and ordinances of the Gospel; and others to comfort and confirm weak believers. Now on these posts or pillars were “palm trees” painted, two on each, one on one side, and one on the other, as appears from Ezekiel 40:26, which are also an emblem of true believers in Christ; see Psalm 92:12 comparable to them for their uprightness, Jeremiah 10:5 these looking upwards to Christ by faith, and moving heavenwards in their affections and desires, and being upright in heart and life; and for their bearing pressures, and growing the more under them, as the palm tree does. Saints have many weights on them, a body of sin and death, reproaches, afflictions, and persecution; but they bear up under all, and are not left to desert the cause, they are engaged in; yea, grow the more hereby, in numbers and grace, like the children of Israel, Exodus 1:12 the force of the palm tree is in its top or head; if that is taken away it dies: Christ is the believers’ head, from him they have their life, grace, strength, nourishment, and fruitfulness; could they be separated from him, all would be gone. The palm tree grows best in sunny places, is fruitful, an ever green, and lasts long: and such are the people of God; they grow most under the warm beams of divine love, and rays of the sun of righteousness; in the churches of Christ, where the Gospel is preached, and ordinances administered, which make their hearts burn within them; they are fruitful in grace and good works, retain their leaf of profession, and never perish. Once more, the palm tree is a token of joy and victory, and has been used on such occasions, Leviticus 23:40, and may denote the victory and joy upon it, which saints have through Christ, over sin, Satan, the world, and death. This building, which represents the New Jerusalem will like Daniel’s stone smash all other empires and fill the whole of heaven and earth.

Covenant and glory

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At the heart of Solomon’s temple was the ark of the covenant (II Chron. 6:11), into this temple the glory of the Lord came as a cloud (II Chron. 5:14). It was there Solomon prayed, “There is no God like thee which keepest covenant with his servants who walk before him with all their hearts” (II Chron.6:14). Surely all God does displays his glory but central to all his work is his covenant, his unchanging commitment, love and union with his elect people who constitute his real dwelling place forever (I Cor.6:19). Check out Psalm 132:13-14.

The Wilderness Wanderings

The people of Israel left Egypt in haste and replete with Egyptian wealth around 1491BC and arrived at the edge of the promised land in 1490BC. There were 603,550 men over 20 (Numbers 1) and so total estimate over 2 million exited. Precisely this number 603,550 died as Numbers 14:29 tells us, confirmed in Deuteronomy 2:14-16. Because of their unbelief and fear, believing the cowardly report of ten of the spies, they did not enter the land but were made to wander in the wilderness of Sinai, albeit sustained by God’s provision for nearly 40 years and they were buried there. The people only began to come into their possession in 1450BC under Joshua. It is incredible that so long a time, indeed a lifetime for the adults who left Egypt, and clearly a significant and full time (10×4) could be spent going nowhere!

img018© Copyright 2006, ƙAeragon®; all rights reserved.Other possible route.

Notable is the fact that God hardened the hearts of Sihon and Og (as he did with Pharaoh), the first two kings whose people were utterly defeated and destroyed by the Israelites. It is clear all three first hardened their own hearts and God just confirmed and strengthened that hardening (Exodus 9:34-10:1). Note that during the conquest, men, women, and children were killed in their pagan reprobate state just as all will be condemned on the last day who lived and died in sin, not being elect according to God’s good pleasure. Also worth remembering that the reprobate among the Israelites, perished similarly in the wilderness, because of their unbelief and disobedience! They were church members!