Psalm 90 – From Everlasting to Everlasting

Psalm 90 begins Book 4 of the Book of Psalms.  It is one of four psalms classified as penitential in this book – the other three being 91, 94, and 101.  The superscription says it is “a prayer of Moses, a man of God.”  This is disputed by some commentators mainly because of verse 10, which says “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty,” while Moses lived to be 120.

Wilderness through which the Israelites crossed on their way to the Promised Land.

Wilderness through which the Israelites crossed on their way to the Promised Land.

But that argument is completely without merit.  First of all, after the great flood, God Himself said that man’s years would be 120 (Genesis 6:3).  That of course was not intended to be an exact hard and fast number, and certainly at the upper end of the scale, especially as more degeneration in the genome came to pass. We hear of people over 110 even today, even though 70 -80 is certainly a more realistic expectation.  Secondly, although Aaron also lived to be over 100, most of the young men 30 -40 years old died after 40 years of the wandering. Moses, obviously not dead when he wrote the psalm, was speaking in general terms.

Now that we’ve spoken our mind on that matter, verse 10 is certainly not the point of this psalm, however.  The psalmist begins with noting the timelessness of the Lord, (“from everlasting to everlasting you are God”).   It is in verse 4 that a misunderstanding of the text leads some to try to count the days of Genesis 1 as being possibly eons of time For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.”  Not only does this ignore the context of the verse, but it also ignores the fact that every other occurrence of the word for “day” in Scripture that is connected to a number is most certainly a 24 hour period. A thousand years are not a significant amount to God, certainly. But the same does not apply to us.

The point of this poetic passage is to note the brevity of man’s life compared to the ageless God and His creation.  And the plea is for the favor of the Lord, and the gift of wisdom to make the best use of the years that we have by being in His service.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Advertisements

Book of Numbers (Part 2) – Spies and Rebellion

The Book of Numbers gives us more details and fills in other information in Leviticus and the other Books of the Law.  The  key events for chapter 1:11 through chapter 19 are as follows:

Israel sets out from Sinai to Kadesh

  • The Gershonites and Merarites carry the Tabernacle – Numbers 10:17
  • The Kohathites carry the holy things – Numbers 10:21
  • The glory of the Lord was over them – Numbers 10:34
  • The people complained – God angered at their ingratitude and irreverence, fire at Taberah and plague at  Kibroth-hattaavah – Numbers 11

Miriam and Aaron Speak Against Moses

Moses sent twelve spies into Canaan to see what it was like. Ten gave a bad report of the danger, while Joshua and Caleb gave a good report. (Numbers 13).

Moses sent twelve spies into Canaan to see what it was like. Ten gave a bad report of the danger, while Joshua and Caleb gave a good report. (Numbers 13).

Spies Sent Out to Canaan

Law-giving at Kadesh – (Numbers 15)

Rebellion of rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram

Aaron’s budding staff – Numbers 17

Duties and privileges of priests and Levites

Cleansing From Death’s Uncleanness

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Old Testament Facts – Why Read Leviticus?

The third book of the Pentateuch (the Books of Law) – Leviticus – is one of the least understood books of the Bible and, not surprisingly, one of the least read.  Many “read the whole Bible in a year” reading plans have come to a dead stop in the early chapters of this book.  And without question, it can be a difficult book to get through.  But there is much to learn from it that is very relevant to our understanding of the worship of the Lord and the ultimate coming of Jesus the Christ.

Leviticus

In the Septuagint, this book is called “leyitikon,” which means “things concerning Levites.”  There is much that applies to God’s people in general, both with moral and ethical values, as well as with ritual purity.  But the name is appropriate because the Levites were those that were charged with seeing that ritual adherence was maintained. 

It is important for those who read these Scriptures today to remember that although some aspects of these rituals seem strange and difficult at times to understand, it is still the word of God, and there is much we can learn from it.  This is especially true as we relate it to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which unlike these offerings, provides for true forgiveness.  A close study of the different offerings will give the reader a deeper understanding and appreciation of the cross.  It is important in that study to know that ritual “uncleanness” and purity have nothing to do with hygiene; and equally important to know the difference (as well as the connection) with moral purity.

So what can we possibly learn from Leviticus that is relevant to New Testament Christianity?

The answer, it turns out, is plenty:

  • The Lord is to dwell with them (Exodus 40:34), so it is the duty of His people to deal with their sins and drive themselves toward holiness.
  • The Lord expects worship to Him to be done according to His will, and He does “sweat the details” (Leviticus 22:17-30)
  • As per the Day of Atonement ritual (Leviticus 16), the cleansing of sins is impossible from the human side.
  • Spiritual leaders bear a heavy burden of responsibility (Leviticus 4, Lev 21).  Compare to elders in 1 Timothy 5:17-25, for example.
  • Sin is dealt with by the grace of the Lord (Leviticus 17:11).

   Key Concepts and Events

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

 

Understanding the Cross of Christ – Part 3 (God’s Response To Sin)

cross03In part 1 of this series, we began looking for a more informative answer to my young friend’s question (“Why would God send His only son to die?”).  The answer is of course that it was God’s plan for our salvation all along.  But a better explanation would really be aided by a better understanding of sin, atonement, and ultimately, propitiation.  In part 2, we looked at what sin is, why it matters so much to God, and why it should matter to us.  And now we turn to God’s response to sin – which, come to that, is also one of the reasons that it matters to us.

What are the consequences of sin?

Adam and Eve expelled

When Adam and Eve obeyed Satan instead of God, God sent them from the Garden of Eden and posted an angelic being at the doorway of Eden to prevent them from entering it again (Genesis 3).

Of course, God’s first response to sin was to Adam and Eve after the fall of man, but He has given man many other earthly responses to sin.  God was so grieved by man’s wickedness that He “struck down every living creature” (that wasn’t on the ark) in a global flood in Genesis 6-8. God promised His judgment on the Canaanites in Genesis 15:13-21 and again in Deuteronomy 9:4-5 , well in advance of the Israelites’ entry into the promised land in Joshua 3.  And just as he warned them 1,000 years earlier in Deuteronomy 28:49-63, God had His people removed and taken captive for their continued disobedience, and their cherished holy city was burned (2 Kings 17, 2 Kings 24, 2 Chronicles 36:17-21).  Of course, all of these, and many other earthly judgments God has brought to pass, pale in comparison to God’s promise of eternal separation from Him and the punishment that awaits the sinful in the end – in contrast to the reward that awaits the faithful (Matthew 8:11-12, Matthew 25:45-46).

Why does God require a price to be paid for sin?

Abraham covenant-01

The Lord spoke personally with Abraham, entering into a lasting covenant with him (Genesis 17).

It is a fact that it is no accident that the Creator of life demands discipline, and that the blueprints He gives us for living our lives result in the best that life has to offer for us.  Godly living in the long and short-term always has born out that constant truth – His ways are best for us.  And it is His will for all of us to be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-4) So why does God demand a price for sin?  As we noted in part 2, God is too pure to tolerate sin (Habakkuk 1:13).  But just as importantly, He is a fair and just God (Psalm 25:8-14, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, Deuteronomy 32:4).  He has promised to reward us for our righteousness, just as He has promised to punish sin. He is faithful and true to all of His promises.  If it were not so – if He simply turned a blind eye to sin – how could we count on Him to keep the other promises He has made to us?

How was sin dealt with in the Old Testament?

Sacrifices and offerings to God were made by presenting them to a Levitical priest (a descendant of Levi, one of the 12 sons of Jacob).  Non-priests could not make an approach to God.  The different types of offerings are described in Leviticus 1-7.  Only the High Priest – from Aaron through the end of Eleazor’s line – approached God in the innermost part of the Tabernacle (the Most Holy place), as they did to make offering on the Day of Atonement.  This occurrence simply put off the judgment of the Lord for their sins in the past year (Leviticus 16:34).  These sacrifices and the old law were merely a shadow of the promise of what was to come (Hebrews 10:1-4).

Levitical_priesthood_diagram-01

The Levitical Priesthood

God had set apart the Levites (Numbers 3:12) and established the priesthood for His people through the lines of the three sons of Levi – all with special duties.  These were the Gershonites (Numbers 4:24-26; 7:7-8), Kohathites (Numbers 3:29-32, 1 Chron 15:1-15), and the Merarites (Numbers 3:36-37; 4:29-33).  Moses and Aaron were sons of Kohath; and it was through Aaron’s line that the priesthood continued until the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., by way of his sons Eleazor, Ithamar, and Nadab and Abihu. The latter two met their end (and that of their lines) in Leviticus 10.  Ithamar’s line ended  in 2 Kings 2:26-27 with Abiathar.  Eleazor’s line lived on until the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

All through these ages, the promise loomed ahead of something better.  A promise that was made first in Genesis 3:15-17, and would be repeated and expounded throughout the Old Testament.  We will look closer at that promise as this series continues in part 4, taking a look at how Jesus fits into God’s plan for our salvation.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Exodus 40 – The Tabernacle Erected

The Tabernacle, Camp, & c.

Image via Wikipedia

Chapter 40 is extremely momentous in the story of God’s people and our salvation.  After the golden calf disaster, the covenant with the Lord has been renewed, the instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle were given; and in verses 16-19, it was erected as the Lord commanded a year after they came to Sinai (verse 17 – “the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month”).  The previous chapters were rich with the description of the tabernacle in every particle, showing us that God does indeed care about the details of his commands.  Here too, in verses 18-33 much detail is given; and the important preparations for Aaron and his sons to assume the role of priests for generations to come is given.  This is described further in Leviticus 8:1-13.

The Glory of the Lord in verses 34-38 is an important sign that the Lord is now dwelling among His people after He approves of the Tabernacle.  It is a presence that the people will cherish as their relationship with Him has been restored, and this momentous occasion will be repeated with much celebration after Solomon builds the Temple in 1 Kings 8:10-11.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Exodus 32 – The Golden Calf

English: Worshiping the golden calf, as in Exo...

Image via Wikipedia

It is hard to believe that these are the people who in Exodus 20:18-19 were so fearful and in awe of the Lord; and that in Exodus 20:23 were explicitly warned not to make idols.  Could it be any coincidence that the disaster of Jeroboam I making the two idols was done with him using almost the exact words of verse 4, when he said in 1 Kings 12:28 “Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt”?  The golden calf was probably the Egyptian bull “deity” Apis.  Sadly, Aaron’s confession to Moses about what they had done is so lame in verses 22-24 – He just threw their gold into the fire, and out comes this calf!  Does any of that remind you of Adam in Genesis 3:12, as it does me?

Joshua had been waiting for Moses at his post on the mountain when he remarked to Moses that the noise from the people below sounded like war.  Notice that Moses, having been informed by the Lord, asks in verse 26 “Who is on the Lord’s side?”  When the sons of Levi come to his side, he orders them to put to death a number of those who did not come at that time – an easy detail to miss with so much happening.  In verse 29, he blesses them, saying that they have been ordained for the Lord.

But the Lord is rightfully hot with anger at this “stiff-necked people” and He wants nothing more to do with them.  Stephen refers to those who had rejected Jesus in the same way in Acts 7:51, before he is stoned.

(Side note: more information about the Egyptian idol that the calf may have been fashioned after can be found in this Wikipedia article)

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Exodus 10 – The Eighth and Ninth Plagues

Moses and Aaron return to Pharaoh at God’s instruction; and in verses 3-6 they tell him of the great destruction that the locusts are about to cause on the land because of his defiance of the Lord.  In verse 7, his servants come to the same conclusion that his “magicians” did previously, and basically ask him how much longer he plans to keep this up and let the people suffer.  So Pharaoh calls Moses and Aaron back in, but still he thinks he is the one that is in control, rather than the Lord, and tries granting them half-concession (v. 8-11).  Partial obedience is no obedience where the Lord is concerned!

Not a green thing remained, neither tree nor plant...

“So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt” (verse 13-15), and the destruction by the locusts is devastating.  Pharaoh offers fake repentance; and the next plague – of darkness – makes foolish their worship of the sun, as the people of Israel enjoy light through it all (verse 23).  Still, he tries partial obedience.   But Moses, having now matured in the Lord, lets him know this is not acceptable in verses 25-26.

The events of God’s word as written in Hebrew are not always chronologically placed in succession; and some believe that the exchange between Pharaoh and Moses in 27-28 actually occurred during the warning about the tenth plague in 11:8.  This seems to be given some credence by Moses’ statement in verse 29, “As you say! I will not see your face again.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Exodus 6 – God Promises Deliverance

Speaking of Himself in third person in verse 1, God tells Moses that he will see what the Lord will do, as he delivers them with “a strong hand”.  God is very patient with Moses and his doubt, as He is building faith – the faith, not only of Moses and Aaron, but of the people of Israel as a whole.   He restates His covenant with them in verses 3-4.

God is specific about what He wants Moses to say to the people in this chapter, as others.  But verse 9 says that “they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery”.  This did not come as a surprise to Lord.  He knew they would not listen at that point, but He also knew that they and their children’s children would remember the things that He had Moses tell them over and over (as in verses 6-8) – “I am the Lord” — “I will redeem you” — “I will take you to be my people” — “I will deliver you”  — “and you shall know that I am the Lord your God”.

Moses is discouraged, but God tells him to go again to Pharaoh, and tells him in no uncertain terms that he and Aaron will in fact be bringing the people of Israel out of Egypt (verse 13)!  The genealogies beginning in verse 14 are intended to demonstrate to the reader how Moses and Aaron descend from the house of Israel (Jacob), just like any one of more than 600, 000 others (Exodus 12:37).

Verse 30 shows that Moses is still not convinced that anyone will listen to him now.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Exodus 5 – Making Bricks Without Straw

Just as God had told Moses would be the case, Pharaoh does not let the people go, or even grant the request to let them go worship (verses 3-4).  Instead, he states that because of Moses and Aaron, they are idle now; and he orders that they make their same quota of daily bricks without being given any straw.

Sun-dried mud bricks that could be similar to what was made in Biblical times

This means they have to labor and spend time to gather their own straw before they can even begin the work they were already doing previously (verse 11).  When they are not as productive, they are then beaten.  The foremen of the people then grow angry at Moses and Aaron for getting them in this situation.

Moses is discouraged and seems to think that he was right in the first place – surely God had made a terrible mistake in sending him to speak in His behalf – and now look what has happened to the people!  Moses has some growing to do before he will learn to trust the Lord any better than they have so far (verses 22-23).  Like Moses, we do not know all of God’s intentions, or understand all of His reasons or His timing.  But He is going to accomplish what He wills, and He will use whoever He chooses in order to do it – and in His own time.

(Side note: Interesting – to me at least – article in this link about brick making at BibleStudyTools.com)

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

 

Exodus 4 – Moses Given Powerful Signs

Moses begins objecting to his mission first by telling the Lord that nobody will believe that He has spoken to him.  God answers this one by showing him signs, and telling him of more that He will show him (verses 2-9).  He continues to object in verse 10 that he is not eloquent in speech, to which the Lord replies that He will be his mouth and teach him what to say (verse 12).  Then, Moses just tells God what is on his mind – he doesn’t want to do it!  He angers the Lord when he asks God to send someone else (verse 13), and He tells Moses that his brother Aaron, the Levite, will speak for him, and that Moses “shall be as God to him” (verse 16).

With those seeking his life dead now (verse 19), God tells him he can return to Egypt; and Moses goes back to let his father-in-law, Jethro, know that he will no longer be tending his sheep.  God sends Aaron “into the wilderness” to meet him, in order to hear what the lord has said.  Aaron and Moses go back and gather the elders, and tell the people all that had happened – showing them the signs.  They believed, and “they bowed their heads and worshiped” (verses 29-31).

Much time can (and has) been spent, and even wasted, puzzling over verses 24-26.  Both the text and its timing can be confusing.   Whenever we come across one of the few passages in scripture that are just that way for us, we always want to ask ourselves the same question.  What about the passage is important as it relates to serving the Lord, and therefore, salvation?  That criteria will usually help us move on.  In this case, all we know for certain is that for whatever reason, Moses had not (at the time that verse 25 refers to) circumcised at least one of his sons.  The important point is that Moses’ house was fully following the Lord’s commandments before he went to Egypt to carry out God’s will.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.