The Day Of Vengeance Nears…Song of Moses pt 12

Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures?  To me belongeth vengeance and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.  ( Deuteronomy 32:33-34)

We have arrived at the last stanza of the Song of Moses. It is thoroughly apocalyptic. The LORD is upright, perfect and generous in all of his dealings, abundantly blessing the Nation Israel, which He created and treated as a Son, teaching him and lavishing him with blessings, privilege, and deliverances.

But Israel soon forgets His Rock and goes after worthless idols, which cannot save. He spurns and debases the Most High, who loved Israel. The LORD wooed  Israel, and wed her under a canopy, but She soon proved faithless.

Moses predicted that this would eventually bring the wrath of God upon the wayward nation and He would scatter them to the very ends of the earth. But the LORD would never make an absolute end of Israel, as He will soon with her enemies.

. The Glory of His name is bound to the Jews, the LORD will not allow His name to be debased among the heathen, Why should the heathen say that the Lord brought them out of Egypt to destroy them? The LORD has been using the surrounding nations as a scourge of His people, but as Zechariah said, They have taken it further than HE wanted them to.

…Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.  And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.(Zechariah 1:14-15 )

Therefore His purpose is to preserve the nation, and to reconstitute them in the last days, and to bring Israel to repentance after a long night of “Jacob’s trouble”. In the process The LORD has been preparing a judgment for His adversaries, who hated and persecuted Israel all these centuries. This is the meaning of the “great Tribulation” such as never seen before nor shall it ever be seen in this manner again!

Is not this laid up in store for me and sealed up among my treasures?

The LORD has seen all of the oppression, cruelties, indignities, brutalities of the persecutions wrought by the Gentile nations in this long period of judgment known in scripture as the “times of the Gentiles”. The nations are blood guilty, and the LORD has taken note of it for centuries.  He has laid up wrath for the world, the time is almost here for the LORD to open up his treasuries and begin to deal in wrath with those nations which have abused his people in their exile.

Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name.  For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling place.(PSalm 79:6-7)

To me belongeth vengeance and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste…

Vengeance is the LORDS only, but he has been storing it up in His treasuries, as well as storing up the account of the various nations which have taken advantage of Israel’s exile and punishment. He knows all about the “Everlasting hatred of Edom” (Ezekiel 35) and how they cried “Raze it, Raze it, ” (Ps 137) when the temple was being destroyed.

The Most High saw the cruelty of the Romans, and of the Muslim invaders and the crusaders. He saw all of the pograms of eastern Europe and Russia, and the antisemitic riots fostered by POPES and Metropolitans over the centuries. The Lord also took note of the Nazi’s and of the indifference of the civilized western nations. He saw Russia, Poland and eastern Europe persecute His people. He sees how the western world has turned its back on Israel to appease Jew Hating Arabs.

As Isaiah says, the Jews will soon hear their God confess to them, that in all of their affliction, He too was afflicted.

A Terrible storm of wrath is coming to the earth. The day of vengeance draws nigh. But Moses taught the children of Israel to sing about it, all along. I wonder how many who read this and have Wisdom truly consider these things?

 

 

 

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The LORD Yearns For Israel…Song of Moses pt 11

I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men:  Were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the Lord hath not done all this. For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them.  … …   (Deuteronomy 32:26-30)

In this stanza of the Song of Moses, the LORD assures that He would not totally obliterate His prodigal and rebellious son; partly because He knows that the human enemies of the LORD and of Israel would boast in the total defeat of their foe, thinking that they themselves (and their false gods) had brought the destruction of God’s people to pass, and also out of a broken-hearted yearning and a purpose to restore the prodigal, in the last days.

The rendering,  “I would scatter them into corners…”, is better rendered, “I would scatter them like the wind…” or “I would blow them away…”, i.e. “I would make an utter end of them…”.

Furthermore in the text, it is not the wrath of the enemy, which the LORD fears, but the provocation of the enemy… .

This is the incredible extent that the Most High God, has taken to get across to we finite creatures, the concept of his everlasting love. The idea that the infinite personal Creator and Governor of the universe would even so much as give one thought as to what the gentile nations think about his treatment of Israel, whether he is punishing or rewarding them, is incredible.

There were shades of this concern in the time following the ‘golden calf” incident,  when Moses pled with the LORD, on the basis of God’s Holy name and cause in the sight of the Egyptians,

And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:  Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.  And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people…and the Lord repented of the evil which He thought to do to his people .(Exodus 32:9-14)

The Most High, knowing full well the grand scope of his design to save all nations, was careful not to allow those ignorant and pagan nations to misinterpret his dealings with Israel, and to further blaspheme his name, as though he was treacherous, (luring Israel into the wilderness to slay them)or faithless to His promise.

God speaks through Ezekiel repeating the same theme, as to why He didn’t “make a full end of Israel” though they deserved it;

But I wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out. Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols. Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness.( Ezekiel 20:14-17)

We are now given a glimpse of the heart of Jahweh, yearning and lamenting over the stubborn waywardness and squandered opportunities of his own people. What parent cannot relate, as to how much better it would have been for the ones we love had they but listened? Had they just yielded and considered their ways, how much sweeter it would have been for them?

O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!

Isn’t it true to those of us who read and love scripture, that we ever hear the wail of Jahweh over his people, through the sobs of broken-hearted prophets, and even through the broken pleading of the Messiah himself? the LORD yearns over his people, that they turn to him, and be saved! He grieves at what could have been, had it not been for our stubborn insistence on our own way!

Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.(Psalm 81:13-16)

O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.(Hosea 14:1-2)

And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,  Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.  For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,  And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.(Luke 19:41-44)

That the utter calamities, and humiliations that the Jewish people have endured have come about as a result of the withdrawal of God’s presence, should be obvious to any who read the Word of God. Moses described them all, the ‘curse of the Law’ of God, in Deuteronomy 28 reads like an account of the 19- 20th century Jewish experience in Eastern Europe, Russia and of course Germany.

How could one put a thousand to flight and two put ten thousand to flight except their Rock had sold them and the LORD had delivered them up?

God had promised them the opposite, and in better times in their own history, Israel had seen such miracles, When God was in the midst of them,

The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.(Deuteronomy 28:7)

They were supposed to sing this, long before these things became concrete and bitter reality, that they might connect the dots, and understand what is happening to them…particularly in the Latter Days.

 

 

 

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The Wrath Of God… Song of Moses pt 10

For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.  I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them.  They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.  The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.   (Deuteronomy 32:22-25)

This is a poetic description of the evils which would be heaped upon Israel in her apostasy and rebellion, when the time of God’s long forbearance had come to an end, and there was no repentance on the part of the chosen people. God taught the people of Israel to sing of the coming wrath, it was part of the national catechism, the Song of Moses, the warning of future apostasy and wrath.

Other parts of Deuteronomy and Leviticus give a more detailed description of the terrors which were to come upon the nation, and which have literally and minutely come to pass down to the smallest detail.

But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.  Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.  Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.  The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.(Deuteronomy 28:15-20)

And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.  And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.  And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:(Leviticus 26:17-19)

He warned Israel that these things would eventually come to pass, not fatalistically, but that each generation might consider and be instructed and spare themselves these evils. Israel’s long, tortured history over these centuries known as the “times of the Gentiles”has born this out that all that the Song of Moses warned them of has indeed come to pass.

First, after long provocation, and in spite of the ministry of Elijah, and Elisha among others,  came the carrying away of the ten tribes, never to be seen again, by the Assyrians. Eventually the nightmare  destruction of the temple in 70 AD and the subsequent dispersion of Judah into Babylon occurred. Finally When Judah repudiated the LORD himself in the person of her Messiah, Jesus, the long night of sorrow and suffering fell. The Jewish people were scattered to the ends of the earth, the temple was destroyed, and the nations ceased to be an entity until 1948 AD.

All of these terrors are designed to bring about repentance. The Lord would not allow the chosen people to be wiped off of the face of the earth, as Sodom and Gommorah, He has always purposed to preserve for himself a remnant.

And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.(Leviticus 26:23-24)

No nation on earth has ever suffered  as this nation has. For none have ever had the accountability and light that was given to Israel. To whom much is given, much is required. The curses of the law as recorded in Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26 can be plainly seen as fulfilled prophecy in the centuries of exile, enslavement, persecution, hatred, pograms, wanderings, betrayal, ghettoes,and universal calumny which continues to this day.

The letter to Hebrews admonishes us to fear God accordingly, for Our God is a consuming fire. The Holy fire in God’s being burns fiercely against sin, faithlessness and rebellion. Hellfire originated in God himself! If this is what He does to His own people who have spurned Him, what shall THE LORD do to those who rejected Him outright?

Behold in all of these prophesied plagues and curses the past two thousand years of Jewish History, the Roman dispersion, the subjugation to the Muslims, the terrors of anti-semitic persecution in Europe in the Middle Ages, the blood libels, and the Yellow Stars of Identification, the stereotypical hatred of Jews (Shylock), the Russian and Eastern European experience of the Jews, and recently the Holocaust of Hitler and even Stalin.

This is what it means to be under Divine wrath. Many European Jews say they lost faith in God during the holocaust,  how could he have allowed this to happen? But had they truly read Moses, they would see the resonance between what the Song of Moses predicted, and their current situation.

Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.  From above hath he sent fire into my bones, and it prevaileth against them: he hath spread a net for my feet, he hath turned me back: he hath made me desolate and faint all the day.  (Lamentations 1:12-13)

Yet in the face of all of this ages long death and destruction two shining and hopeful notes ring out;

1) God has never allowed the Jewish people to be utterly wiped out, nor to be assimilated out of existence. He has preserved them as a people as He promised He would, that He might bring them back into the Land in the last days.

Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.(Isaiah 1:9)

But fear not thou, O my servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid.(Jeremiah 46:27)

2) The Lord fulfilled his promise to Abraham, that He would “Bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you…”. History has born out that those who have hated and persecuted the JEws came under Divine wrath also and were utterly destroyed, such as Hitler and the Nazis.

 

 

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The Rise of The “Non People”…Song of Moses pt 9

And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith. They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.( Deuteronomy 32:20-21)

The most devastating calamity to befall the Jewish people, was predicted centuries before it happened by Moses, in the song God told Moses to teach all of the children of Israel. God said that as a result of the rebellion and repeated apostasy of Israel, He would hide his face from them.

When he says “They are a very perverse generation”, David Baron points out that literally He called them, “dor Tahpukhoth “, a generation of perversities”, that is, they became so perverted, they became perversity itself.

The 21st verse reads literally

“They have moved me to jealousy with a no-god;                                                                 they have provoked me to anger with their vanities;                                                            And I will move them to Jealousy with a no-people;                                                                  I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation”.

God would deal with the ones who had insulted His Majesty, and who spurned his amazing grace, rejecting Him,  the Living God, in favor of “no gods”, dumb idols, and even worse, horrible abominations. Therefore he would give them into the hands of the heathen which they looked down upon, as darkened, unclean, uncouth, and without the knowledge of God.

Moses predicted that a “foolish nation” and a non people would become the recipients of the grace that the ‘chosen nation’ had spurned, for God would provoke Israel to jealousy.

The prophet Hosea picked up on the theme centuries later, prophetically naming the children he bore through Gomer the harlot,  according to the Word of the Lord;

So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son… And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away… Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.  Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.(Hosea 1:4-9)

The children ,“Not my people” and “No mercy” became the prophetic messages to the harlot people in fulfillment of the Song of Moses. But Israel shall be set aside only temporarily, for Hosea tells us from the start,

Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.( Hosea 1:1o-11)

What would be the identity of  the foolish nation, the “non-people” whom God would provoke Israel to Jealousy through? The Apostles Peter and Paul tell us, that it is we, the (mostly) gentile church, who became recipients of grace, through the temporary casting aside of Israel.Peter reminds the church,

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;  Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.( I Peter 2:9-10)

It is we Gentiles who once were the bastard sons of the Harlot, the  “Non people”, and “No mercy”, who have been called into fellowship with the Father and His Son, and made into a new and holy nation, in order that we might “Show forth the praises ” of the God of mercy and truth, who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Paul reminds us that it was through the cross that a disenfranchised ‘non people’ “without hope and without God”, have become the people of God and  invested in all of the blessings and favors of the “commonwealth of Israel”.

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: (Ephesians 2:11-16)

How is it that the “foolish nation” provokes Israel to Jealousy? Consider this, that every nation under heaven, through the gospel has been called to the God of Israel, through a Jewish book , of Jewish prophets, and concerning and accepting the Jewish Messiah.

All manner of  tribes and tongues from every corner of the globe, name their children Hebrew names like Joshua,Jacob,Samuel Matthew, Isaiah and John whether they be Russian, English,Nigerian, or even Eskimo. How did the ends of the earth come to worship the God of Israel? The Messiah, Jeshua has accomplished this.

 

How I pray for the provocation to jealousy, that the scriptures foretell, and for the resurrection of Israel to his priestly role again, as the people of God and the Holy Nation. Maranatha!

 

 

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Divine Rejection and Punishment…Song of Moses pt 8

And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.  … They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.  For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.  I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them.  They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.  The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.(Deuteronomy 32:19-25)

We are looking at the Song of Moses, a panoramic prophecy of the future of the chosen people, from Moses’ day until the very last days. Though spoken in the past tense,”Prophetic perfect” tense, none of the specific things mentioned in the Song had yet happened to Israel. But subsequent history has verified that Israel has experienced all of this prophecy except the final resolution.

We come now to the fourth Stanza of the Song of Moses.  How will Jahweh respond to  his rebellious and backslidden people? How does He deal with the centuries of apostasy, faithless idolatry,  the murdered prophets, and ultimately to the repudiation of the Messiah himself by the high priest standing as representative of the Nation?

Moses told Israel that He Would see it…  This is important because sinful men over the centuries tell themselves that The LORD doesn’t see their abominations, especially when there is no apparent immediate punishment. But all of Israel was taught to sing this song, which assured them, that when the nation would defect, the Lord would see  indeed every downward step along the way of  their national apostasy.

History would reveal that the provocation to Divine wrath, would come only after much Holy forbearance, and long and repeated pleadings of the prophets, and after many repeated provocations in the very face of the LORD’s loving kindness. Indeed,

“The Lord is slow to anger and of great mercy…”.

But Moses taught the children of Israel to sing of the eventual abhorrence of JAHWEH  for his sons and daughters. HE would temporarily reject the ones whom He had chosen, and drawn near to Himself, in such grace and Love.

…he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters…

Didn’t the Most High have the right to expect love, loyalty, and fear from the nation whom He had drawn to himself,  loved, saved, chosen and taught, and revealed Himself to? These were His children in grace! As Isaiah would lament in the name of God;

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.(Isaiah 1:2-3)

The most devastating consequence to come upon Israel, would be the hiding of God’s face from them.

…And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith…(Deuteronomy 32:20)

The Divinely ordered High Priestly blessing that the LORD make His face to shine upon Israel, was a constant assurance of the Divine Favor of the Lord Himself upon His people. He was benevolently looking down upon them, He was concerned in all of their concerns, He could be refered to, sought, and consulted in all things.

But when the LORD hid his face, he turned away from Israel. He has (temporarily ) removed his favor, He cannot now be truly consulted by the nation, for there is no temple, or high priest, the LORD has hidden his face from them and it has been a long, painful nightmare for the nation.

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.(Isaiah 59:2)

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.(Hosea 3:4-5)

The History of the Jews has born this sad prediction out, first of all in the calamity of the destruction of the temple, and the 70 years of captivity in Babylon that followed. The nightmare siege of Jerusalem was exactly as Moses had foretold, women eating their own children, people turning on each other, brass heavens, slavery and conquest by foreign powers, all because God had turned his face from them.

But that was only the warm-up for the final fulfillment of the “turning of the face of God” from Israel, when the temple was again destroyed* in 70 AD . The holy nation was either slaughtered wholesale, or glutting the world’s slave markets, and dispersed literally to the ends of the earth.

Everywhere there have been pockets of Jews. For nearly two thousand years, the nation has remained in a kind of living death, intact and yet unassimilable among the gentile nations they have tried to settle in. Jews are ever hounded and driven to and fro, they have been hated, abused, lied about  and cheated and even murdered in pograms in most of the places they have been driven to.

Yet, wherever people have blessed them, those people have been blessed, but wherever people have cursed the exiled seed of Abraham, they have been cursed.

We know from the song of Moses and other places in Holy writ, that Israel’s long night of weeping and disfavor is almost over, the nation is destined to once again have the blessing of being the people whom God’s face shines upon, in favor and love. Hasten the day Oh Lord!

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. O Lord God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people? Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure.  Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves.  Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.(Psalm 80:1-7)

 

* Ironically on the very same calendar day the 9th of Av, in both 530 BC and 70  AD!

 

 

 

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A Meditation on Romans 1:16 “What God demands…God Supplies”

HAve A Happy Sunday Everyone!

I WILL SERVE No FOREIGN GODS

Holy God We Praise Thy Name

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for therein the righteousness of God is revealed…Romans 1:16

The book of Romans is unique among the epistles in that it isn’t polemic, that is it isn’t trying to refute any error. Romans is therefore a clear rendering of the Gospel of salvation . Paul calls it the “Gospel of God” , and takes us from the bankruptcy of Jew and Gentile to the glorification of man and creation, all realised by the gospel.

Paul begins with the declaration that in the Gospel, “the Righteousness of God is revealed”. In order to appreciate and grow in the gospel, a thorough grounding in the teaching of Romans is necessary, and for that to happen, the meaning and use of the term “Righteousness” has to be defined. Biblically, there are several possible definitions;

* Righteousness, dikiaosune – refers to uprightness of conduct, equity of character. It means to have all good qualities in perfection.

* Righteousness- can also mean uprightness, rectitude, conformity to God’s standards.

* Righteousness- is also a status- Right-Standing- being “in the right”,”Right with” a law , authority or person in authority.

The Beginning of the Gospel in Romans is an emphasis on the bad news first. God is a Holy God and can only accept perfect Righteousness from man. There is a saying that illustrates this and is quite profound

“The Righteousness that He (God) requires , is the Righteousness that His Righteousness requires Him to Require.”

Furthermore we are warned of the coming day of Judgment, in which the standard will be absolute Righteousness and Truth. At the great accounting God will require perfect Righteousness of each person.

But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;Who will render to every man according to his deeds…(Romans 2:5-6).

This is the bad news, that we are all on our way to a Judgment of our lives by a Holy God who can accept nothing less than absolute Righteousness from those whom He made in His Image. Eternal, happy Fellowship with Him requires total Righteousness and we have none to offer Him. We have not been morally upright, we have not conformed to God’s standards, by our sins we have forfeited the right to dwell in God’s universe. What are we going to do?

God himself offers to us the answer. Romans declares that it is Jesus,

…Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; Romans 3:25

Jesus is the offering God made unto Himself. God has “set him forth” as the ‘satisfaction ‘ offering, His life offered to God for us satisfies the requirements of the Righteous nature of God, the broken law of God, the offended Holiness of God.By the resurrection God testified that He is satisfied in the offering of Jesus.

In short, here is the Gospel .A Righteous God, has made a righteous way to cleanse and renew unrighteous sinners, by exchange. In God’s plan, Jesus assumed our unrighteousness before God, and was judged with our judgment, so that we could be given as a gift ,his Righteousness the very status before God that He rightly deserves. As Paul put it,

For He hath made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Him.(2 Cor 5:21)

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The Dreadful Reality of Idolatry…Song of Moses pt 7

They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.  Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.  And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.(Deuteronomy 32:16-19)

Man was made to worship, we were created with a need to adore something greater than we are, to open up our souls, and to bare the inner man to someone above us, who is Holy, True and good; ie God. The highest good is the glory of God, to love and to acknowledge Him is why we are here.

We become like that which we worship. As we worshipfully acknowledge and behold Him, we are conformed to His image in the soul, we become holy, good, true, and so do our desires, thoughts,wills and emotions.

Moses predicted that Israel would turn from the Worship of the only true God, and give  themselves over to the worship of idols.

…They moved Him to jealousy with strange gods, With abominations provoked they Him to Anger…

First of all God is a jealous God, and His jealousy is Holy and good. He is Jealous of our hearts and affections, in the sense that a husband or wife would be  jealous to preserve a legitimate marriage/family.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.( Exodus 20:4-6)

Notice that the second commandment is about loving or hating God.

Man’s hearts were made exclusively to put all absolute faith, hope, Love, and adoration in the only one worthy of such absolute devotion, God himself. TO Love God is to love goodness, truth and beauty. To not love God is to hate Him. One cannot be indifferent about God.

To hate God is to hate goodness, truth, beauty and justice. One cannot hate God and love these virtues.  To turn from God is to turn also from these very virtues.

After bringing them out of bondage in Egypt, God made a covenant in the wilderness with Israel. The giving of the Law of God was a marriage, complete with a Canopy (The glory cloud), vows and promises. Israel was to love Him exclusively, there was to be no ‘Pantheon’ of ‘gods’ of which Jahweh was but the chief God.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.(Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.(Isaiah 54:5)

Thus Idolatry is disloyalty, and faithlessness, just as Adultery would be, in a marriage.

What were the nature of these “idols’ which Moses predicted Israel would giver herself over to? According to Deuteronomy 32:16, They were

*  “Strange gods” , that is foreign, with the thought of alien, without affinity and without sympathy. (To be contrasted with JAHWEH who is infinite in his compassion and tender mercies).

* “Abominations”- Because the worship of Ashteroth, Molech, and Baal among others, often involved cruel orgies, human sacrifice of the most helpless(Babies), homosexual rites, temple prostitutes and the deepest debasement of the worshippers.

Worshipping the LORD of the Bible elevates men, makes them aspire to holier, higher and nobler sentiments, we want to become more like Jesus! Men become what they worship.True worship tenderizes the hard heart, and constantly awakens holy desires and affections.

What happens to men and women who worship Moloch?

We need not look far, for in our own generation, millions in the west have done just what Moses predicted Jeshuran would do, they have forsaken the Judeo Christian concept of God, and embraced strange and abominable gods such as Moloch( Abortion), Baal and Ashteroth (pornography, Sexuality divorced from context of marriage).

Such worship has rendered millions of people as the Apostle Paul predicted in 2 Timothy 3:1-5

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.(2 Timothy 3:1-5)

But the description of idolatry given by Moses in His prediction goes beyond the fact that the idols are foreign and abominable.

* Idols are demons- (Shediim)   “They sacrificed to demons Which were no God, to gods which they knew not, to new gods that came up of late, which your fathers dreaded not..”

The real power behind the worship of other gods, is demonic. Therefore Idolatry is trafficking with the enemy of God and the enemy of humanity. False worship is spiritual intercourse with Evil itself. All false gods or anything spiritual which isn’t Biblical, is demonic. The New Testament affirms this,

But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.  Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.(I Corinthians 10:20)

So also the Psalms,

And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.  Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,  And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.(Psalms 106:36-38)

This is why there can be no interfaith ecumenism, which is one of the modern forms of idolatry. How can light fellowship with darkness or Christ with Belial?

Moses predicted that the power of the idolatry which would constantly enslave Israel would be fear. When Moses said, “…gods which your fathers dreaded not…”, he used a word that is never used in connection with the “fear of the Lord”. 

The word rendered dreaded, se’arum, means to shudder , or to be horrified.

The true “Fear of the Lord” is clean, it is a filial reverence, an honoring and treating the LORD and His Word as profound or ‘heavy’, and leads to worship and adoration which is elevating.

Idols are horrifying and rule by sheer terror. Those who fear the LORD need not fear demons, nor false gods such as idols.

But those who are enslaved in a system of animism, Ancestor worship,  or Allah worship or any other form of idolatry or the occult live in constant fear, and their world is a haunted and tormented world of fear and superstition. Behind these gods are demons, and such as in the case of Islam, they demand bloody, murderous sacrifices of their worshippers.

The only way to be “free indeed”and to be allowed to be fully human, is to return in humility to worship the true God.

 

 

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