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Showing posts from June, 2017
Reflections on the Old Testament: Daniel
It becomes evident very early on that the main point emphasized in the book of Daniel is that God alone grants knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Moreover, all throughout the Bible we see a pattern in the men to whom God grants these great gifts—the key verse in the book of Daniel, for example, is: “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard….”(Daniel 10:12, NKJV.) 1) “Daniel set his heart to understand”: what exactly is meant by this statement? Jeremiah 17:9 denotes the heart as “wicked and deceitful above all things”—therefore, how can Daniel himself set his heart to understand? By surrendering it entirely to God. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,” Prov. 9:10. 2) “Daniel humbled himself before God”: in other words, he recognized his lowly estate, his unworthiness to receive the Holy Spirit, and surrendered himself as vile cl…
Reflections on the Old Testament: Ezekiel
“Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the LORD God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’” Ezek. 33:11; “When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die,” Ezek. 33:13, NKJV.
Wickedness is the natural state of the human spirit, manifested by the activity of body and mind. It is in this state that we are first placed before the perfect, sinless God, who accordingly pronounces upon us the awful judgment: “O wicked man, you shall surely die!” Nevertheless, God does not intend to completely annihilate His creation. Having originally created only good things, although that creation fell (a discussion for another time), He, being almighty as well a…
Reflections on the Old Testament: Lamentations
“I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath. He has led me and made me walk in darkness and not in light. Surely He has turned His hand against me time and time again throughout the day. He has aged my flesh and my skin and broken my bones. He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and woe. He has set me in dark places like the dead of long ago. He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out; He has made my chain heavy. Even when I cry and shout, He shuts out my prayer. He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked. He has been to me a bear lying in wait, like a lion in ambush. He has turned aside my ways and torn me in pieces; He has made me desolate. He has bent His bow and set me up as a target for the arrow. He has caused the arrows of His quiver to pierce my loins. I have become the ridicule of all my people—their taunting song all the day. He has filled me with bitterness, he has made…
Reflections on the Old Testament: Jeremiah
“Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: ‘Like these good figs so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive from Judah, whom I have sent out of this place for their own good, into the land of the Chaldeans. For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up.’”—Jeremiah 24:5-6, NKJV.
Too often we wonder why God places us in difficult positions when we have done nothing deserving of punishment (for whatever reason, we naturally associate discomfort with punishment). Or else, we feel “unfairly treated” when we must suffer the repercussions of someone else’s sin. Indeed, such circumstances are difficult to understand, and every day we feel the injustices and slights of a sinful world. But God’s recurring promises of “sheltering” His children from harm are not just a lot of empty words. In Jeremiah 24, God shows Jeremiah tw…
Reflections on the Old Testament: Isaiah and Jeremiah
“For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,’ says the LORD, your Redeemer.”—Is. 54:7-8, NKJV.
In our natural sinful state, we are cut off from God. The sinless God cannot associate with sin, but hides His face from it, and forsakes those who are clothed in its filthy rags. Recall the words of Christ upon the cross—“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Because He had become sin, Christ suffered the same anguish as our sinful race: separation from God. The consequences of sin are terrible, because sin is opposite to God’s nature. God is life and goodness, therefore sin is death and wickedness. God holds no communion with that which is opposite to Him. He rejects it, forsakes it, and turns His face away. Thus we are cut off from Him, and are subject to His holy wrath.
Reflections on the Old Testament: Isaiah
“And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or whenever you turn to the left.”—Isaiah 30:20-21, NKJV.

These verses succinctly describe our pilgrimage. Not the broad path bordered with flowers, but the narrow path upon which we must humbly eat the bread of adversity and drink the water of affliction. No longer is God’s Word suppressed and “moved into a corner,” but, rather, it is daily before our eyes and speaking softly behind us, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever we are tempted to stray from the narrow path.
We exchange the false delicacies of the world for the bread and water of adversity and affliction. Does it seem cruel of God to give us such bitter sustenance? Nay, for while the unbeli…