Sunday, April 25, 2010

Is it Wrong to Wish for Things or Events to Happen?

Is it a sin to say, "I wish for this thing or that thing?". I'm paraphrasing but it was a legitimate question sincerely posed by an individual, let's call him "Charles", who was just coming into the truth of God and was examining all aspects of his life and was striving to get it right. Charles then posed the question, "Is it okay to say that you've been fortunate?". Fortunate being the operative word and being derived from the name of the Roman goddess Fortuna. Would it be an affront to God to say that you have been fortunate when good things happen in your life?
God has told us on several occasions that He wants things to go well with us and even wants to give us the desires of our hearts. (Deut 5:33; Psa 37:4; Mark 11:24) So it is perfectly natural and is not wrong to desire better things in life. God wants the best for His children.

We must be careful, however, that we don't reach the point of covetousness. (Exo 20:17; Joshua 7)

The Lord abhors those that covet (Psa 10:3), and wants us to appreciate that which He provides for us. Though the children of Israel were fed with manna in the wilderness, they provoked God's anger by murmuring that they had no meat. (Psa 78:18) God provided it but destroyed the complainers with a plague. (Num 11:33) We should be grateful for whatever God provides for us and be happy regardless of our state. (Php 4:11)

Using the word, "fortunate", to describe our "good fortune" is another matter. Our God is a jealous God (Exo 34:14) and is not pleased when we attribute His blessings to a false god or even to our own efforts (Amos 6:13). Who was Fortuna? Fortuna (equivalent to the Greek goddess Tyche) was the goddess of fortune and personification of luck in Roman religion. She might bring good luck or bad: she could be represented as veiled and blind, as in modern depictions of Justice, and came to represent life's capriciousness. She has even been traced back to the Egyptian goddess Isis from whom evolved many false gods and goddesses.

Much of our English language has been derived from Greek and Roman cultures, among others, and is rife with pagan references and origins. So if we were to attempt to avoid ALL such references our ability to communicate would be severely hampered. However, the use of the word "fortunate" to describe our blessings may be tenuous. All blessings come from God and to attribute them to any other source is to invoke His displeasure and possibly His wrath.
That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them: (Josh 23:7)

We are also cautioned to be mindful of the words we speak as that which comes out of a man is what defiles him and we will all be held accountable for every idle word we speak. So we do need to let our words be few and choose them carefully. If we desire something we are to make our requests to God for it is He alone who can bring it about.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Php 4:6)

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (James 4)
So it is not wrong to desire or wish for things, but it does matter from whom you expect the wish to be fulfilled.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3John 1:2-4)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Denied! - Why Moses Was Not Allowed To Enter The Promised Land

Moses was chosen by God to lead the captive Israelites out of Egypt to meet with Him at Horeb and then on to the Promised Land. He put up with the people complaining and whining all along the way. He even interceded on their behalf when God wanted to destroy them for rebelling and making a golden calf idol while Moses was receiving the ten commandments from God. So Moses saw favor in God's eyes. Why then after all Moses had put up with did God deny him entry into the promised land?
Was God unfair when He did not allow Moses to cross over the river Jordan into the promised land? Many have wondered what offense did Moses commit that was so egregious that even after confronting the Pharaoh of Egypt, the most powerful man in the world at the time, leading over a million people through the Sinai desert, and caring for them for 40 years all at God's command and under His divine providence, that when he finally reached the very brink of the land of milk and honey, he was denied access by the very God that called him to service. In fact, God lead him to the highest point from which he could see far and wide the whole of the luscious land that God was about to give to His people. There He reminded him of the offense and that he was not to cross over into that land but was instead to die on that very mountain from which he surveyed the promised land. Let's take a look at that fateful offense at Kadesh in the desert of Zin -
Num 20:7-12 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, (8) 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. (9) And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. (10) 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? (11) 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. (12) And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
Wow, no wonder he was punished! Anyone who would do that must surely be put to death and completely denied access to anything great and wonderful. It appears to us at first reading that Moses did nothing wrong. God told Moses to get water from the rock and that's just what he did, so where's the offense?

A closer examination reveals an offense that truly was punishable by death but God was actually being merciful in letting Moses live as long as he did. First of all, God told Moses to "speak" to the rock, yet Moses struck the rock with his staff not once, but twice. Why strike the rock, when he was told to speak to it? The answer may lie in an event where Moses had performed this feat previously at God's command.

At Horeb, the children of Israel complained so bitterly to Moses about the need for water that they were at the point of stoning him. (Exo 17:1-7) This is the time where it is said that, "the people did chide with Moses" and "they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?". Moses was told to strike the rock, which he did as commanded and the rock brought forth water. So by the time Moses got to Kadesh, he had already seen that if he struck a rock with his staff, water would come out of it.

The children of Israel were a stiff-necked lot, disobedient at every turn and intent on returning to their slavery in Egypt if their every need were not immediately provided. One can only imagine what Moses must have felt after being recruited reluctantly, having to deal with this bunch of heathens whining, complaining and accusing him for every inconvenience. So the stage is set for Moses fateful offense.

As usual, the children of Israel were murmuring again against Moses and how he had brought them out into the desert only to die of thirst. Moses and Aaron went to ask the LORD for water and got their instructions as we saw above in Numbers 20. So in time of need he went to the LORD as he should but it was the implementation of His instruction that was his downfall. Notice what Moses said and did, exactly.

Moses "smote" the rock twice instead of "speaking" to it as instructed and he said, "Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?" God's specific instructions were such that God would be sanctified and glorified by this miracle. Instead, Moses took the glory for himself in response to the vexation by the people and in anger called them "rebels" and struck the rock as he did at Horeb, once, then twice. "See here you heathens what I have to do for you?". So in a moment of anger, rather than obey God's precise instructions in humility so that God could be glorified in the eyes of Israel, Moses demonstrated a lack of faith and exalted himself in God's stead.

Num 20:12 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
We are not to exalt ourselves -
Matt 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Only God is worthy of our praise and worship. We are not to worship God as heathens worship their gods but only in the manner God has instructed us. Moses surely knew this as he had witnessed Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, killed by God himself when they offered strange fire before the LORD, in the wilderness of Sinai.

Man's conflict from the garden of Eden to today has been one of trying to be like God or to worship God on man's own terms. Every struggle you have in this life is a struggle against God, your will against His will for your life. Yield to His will that it may be well with you.
Deut 5:33 Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Unleavened! Now what?

Now that the Feast of Unleavened Bread is over and we have practiced removing leavened bread (sin) from our lives and have practiced putting unleavened bread (Christ) in, how do we keep sin out and righteousness (Christ) in? We have removed leavening from our homes (Lev 23:6; Exo 13:6-7) and our bodies (1Cor 3:16-17; 1Pet 2:5) but how do we continue to walk an "unleavened" path?

Mark 14:22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.

Jesus told us that He is the bread of life and that bread is without sin (unleavened) -
John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
Heb 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

We also are told that man shall not live (physically) by bread alone but (spiritually) by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God -

Matt 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

And that He is the Word -

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

So then it follows that if we are to continue feeding on the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1Cor 5:8), we must feed on the word of God daily.

Father, give us this day our daily bread. (Matt 6:11)



Who Am I

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I strive to be as the Bereans spoken of in Acts 17:10-11 receiving the word with all readiness of mind, and searching the scriptures daily, whether those things are so. Check up on me in your own bible. Should you find me in error please let me know immediately. We must prove all things (1Thes 5:21) and rightly divide the word of truth (2Tim 2:15) together lest we be deceived. (Matt 24:24)

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Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

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