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|Posted on November 14, 2016 at 10:30 PM||comments (0)|
Psalm 106:32-40 – Spiritual Adultery
Psalm 106:32 They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes: 33 Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.
Once again the Israelites complained because they were without water, saying it would have been better if they had died and that Moses had led them out of a land of plenty (Egypt) to die in the wilderness. They had prayed for a deliver, and now they grumbled to the one God had provided. God instructed Moses to speak to a rock, and it would give them water. Moses was so angry with the people that he struck the rock with his staff instead of following the Lord’s instructions. Therefore, the Lord told Moses that he and Aaron would not be allowed to enter the promised land. Moses’ disobedience cost him life in the promised land. He gave into his anger rather than following God’s clear instructions. We may want to recall that the rock is often symbolic of Jesus. In John we learned that Jesus provides rivers of living water (John 7:38). The full account of Moses’ striking the rock can be found in Numbers chapter 20. I am beginning to understand why the Lord often called Israel a “stiff-necked people.” They stubbornly held on to rebellion and doubt rather than holding on to God and His promises. He was consistently faithful to them even when they were unfaithful to Him.
2 Timothy 2:13 (NASB) If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
Israel was consistently unfaithful to the Lord with brief times of repentance and obedience as the following summary shows.
John MacArthur Study Bible:
106:34–39 This section describes the general sins of Israel from the time they entered the Land (Josh. 3, 4) until they were exiled to Assyria (2 Kin. 17) and Babylon (2 Kin. 24, 25). They failed to expel the heathen and sadly conformed to their idolatry.
Psalm 106:34 They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them: 35 But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. 36 And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.
God instructed His people to completely wipe out the pagan nations because He knew the influence they would have on the Israelites. They did not obey this command; and rather than converting the other nations to follow the one true God, they began worshipping the idols of the nations. God’s chosen people were self-destructing from disobedience within their own nation and within their own hearts. Sounds much like America today. We, as Christians in this nation, need to take heed to 2 Chronicles 7:14.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV) If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Notice that this verse does not call on the heathen to repent but tasks God’s own people with the responsibility to return to Him and pray.
Psalm 106:37 Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, 38 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.
Human sacrifice was common in the religions of Canaan. Many of the Israelites, God’s chosen people, even sinned to the point of sacrificing their own children to idols! Instead of serving a loving, merciful God, they gave their devotion to idols who could do nothing for them. God used the prophet Jeremiah to remind them of the uselessness of worshipping idols.
Jeremiah 10:5 (NIV) Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.”
John MacArthur Study Bible:
106:36–38 idols…demons…idols. Demons impersonate idols and encourage idol worship (cf. Deut. 32:17; 2 Chr. 33:5–7; 1 Cor. 10:14–21; Rev. 9:20). The sacrifice of children was not uncommon (cf. Deut. 12:31; 2 Kin. 17:17; Ezek. 16:20, 21).
Psalm 106:39 Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.
God is often compared to being a husband to Israel, and in the New Testament, believers are called the bride of Christ. The Israelites were unfaithful to God, committing spiritual adultery by worshipping idols. As we will see in the next section, God punished them for their sinfulness; but He never abandoned them completely. He always saves a remnant.
This is why Susan refers to what remains of her legs as “remnants.” She says, “Stumps are something you pull out of the ground and get rid of, but God saves the remnants!” I admire my roommate’s sense of humor!
Challenge: Christians in America are often guilty of spiritual adultery. Our idols are not stone or metal, they are money, sex, alcohol, drugs, and anything else that turns us away from dependence on God and glorifying His name. This week, pray for our nation. Examine your own heart and see if there are “wicked ways” you should turn away from. We need to humble ourselves before our Lord and pray for Him to heal the strife in our land.
|Posted on November 11, 2016 at 11:35 AM||comments (0)|
Psalm 106:24-31 (KJV) - Judgment at Kadesh-Barnea
John MacArthur Study Bible:
106:24–27 This portion recounts 1) the nation’s rejection of Joshua’s and Caleb’s positive report from the Land, and 2) their desire to return to Egypt (cf. Num. 14:1–4). God responded with judgment (Num. 14:11–38).
Psalm 106:24 Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: 25 But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord.
The nation of Israel discounted and ultimately rejected the affirmative report of Joshua and Caleb and believed the faithless, fearful report of the other ten spies. Here they were, on the verge of entering the promised land, having witnessed God’s miracles and provisions along their journey, and they doubted His ability to deliver a few gigantic people into their hands! It seemed they were more familiar with fear than they were with following God in faith. This, even though He had led them through the parting of the Red Sea, water from the rock, manna from Heaven, and quail in abundance. They did not understand that every exercise of God’s sovereignty was for their benefit. They did not have a vision of the priceless jewel He wanted to shape and polish them to be.
Psalm 106:26 Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness: 27 To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands.
God declared that all those 20 years and older at that time, would die while wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. They would not enter into the promised land. The exceptions were Joshua and Caleb who had given a report based on faith that God would enable them to conquer the inhabitants of the land. Once again, we see the mercy of the Lord in not killing off the entire nation. Moses had interceded on their behalf this time as well as the other times they rebelled. Had you ever thought of Moses as an inspiration for intercessory prayer before? No, I had not; but his prayers must have been heartfelt and convincing to save the nation of Israel from the wrath of God. He demonstrated true servant leadership by interceding for people who falsely accused him of self-aggrandizement. Moses either had huge chutzpah to intercede in this way or had an amazing intimacy with the Lord that enabled him to feel free to approach a Holy God frankly and earnestly.
Psalm 106:28 They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead. 29 Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them.
They began worshipping Baal and even ate food sacrificed to him. They took wives from the pagan people as well. Once again the Lord sent judgment in the form of a plague killing 24,000 people.
Psalm 106:30 Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed. 31 And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore.
Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, was zealous for God and slew an Israelite man and his Midianitish woman with a javelin. This ended the plague, and God blessed him by continuing the priesthood through his line. You will find the entire account in Numbers 25.
Chew on This: Over and over, the Israelites witnessed the fact that their sovereign God must execute judgment in response to sin, yet they continued rebelling against Him. Do we do that in any way? Is there a sin, you need to confess, repent of, and ask the Lord to deliver you from? Take an honest look at your life. You cannot and should not judge other people, but you must judge yourself. (2 Corinthians 13:5, 1 Corinthians 11:27-32)
|Posted on November 9, 2016 at 9:05 PM||comments (0)|
Psalm 106:16-23 (KJV) – Rebellion, Judgment, and Mercy
Psalm 106:16 They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the Lord. 17 The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan and covered the company of Abiram. 18 And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.
The incident referred to in verses 16-18 is recorded in Numbers chapter 16. Here are the basics of the account:
Korah, Dathan, and 250 men, community leaders of the Israelites were jealous of Moses and Aaron and accused them of setting themselves up as the aristocracy of the group and the rest as mere peasantry.
Moses instructed these Levites to prepare their censers with coal and incense to burn before the Lord at the tent of meeting. He and Aaron would be there as well. Dathan and some others refused to present themselves.
Numbers 16:19 When Korah had gathered all his followers in opposition to them at the entrance to the tent of meeting, the glory of the Lord appeared to the entire assembly. 20 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 21 “Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.”
Sounds like God was ready to extinguish everyone but Moses and Aaron! What happened? We know He didn’t destroy all His chosen people and start over with Moses and Aaron. Moses and Aaron fell facedown and interceded for the people.
God then told them to have everyone move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Moses told them the Lord was going to authenticate Moses and Aaron’s positions of leadership. After everyone moved away, the three men, their entire families, and all their possessions were swallowed alive by the earth! There would be no chance of future rebellion by their descendants.
In addition to this, the 250 men who had followed Korah in this rebellion were miraculously consumed by fire.
When the people grumbled that Moses and Aaron had killed the Lord’s people, God sent a plague among them. Moses took the only position of strength he could as a human being – he and Aaron fell face-down and prayed. Moses then instructed Aaron to run out among the people while burning incense in his censer to make an atonement offering for them. The plague stopped, but 14,700 people had already died from it. God is sovereign and has the right to judge those He created. His judgement was tempered with mercy because there were those who survived the plague.
Psalm 106:19 They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image. 20 Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.
Do these people never learn? You would think after seeing the earth swallow people and fire consume others, they would have a little reverence for the Lord’s power! Plagues, parting seas, destroying trouble-makers…but the Israelites remained clueless!
According to the account in Exodus 32, Moses did not come back from meeting with the Lord on the mountain as soon as the people expected, so they asked Aaron to make them a god to worship. He melted down their gold jewelry and fashioned a calf. They worshipped it, feasted, and reveled in front of it with drunkenness and unholy intimacies.
When Moses came down, what did he make them do? He made them own up to their sin by melting the calf, grounding it into powder, adding water to it, and making them drink it. He also had the Levites that were on the Lord’s side kill several of them with the sword.
106:21 They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt; 22 Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea. 23 Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.
God said He would wipe out this people and start over with Moses, making a great nation of him; but Moses interceded by reminding God that He had a reputation to uphold of justice tempered with mercy which annihilating Abraham’s descendants would not project. The Egyptians might accuse God of leading His people out of captivity only to destroy them in the wilderness. The Lord told Moses He would punish the people who had actually sinned against Him. Once again, He sent a plague among them.
Chew on This: We may think the Israelites were pretty dense to keep on challenging Moses and, therefore, God, and to disobey the Lord so blatantly. However, are their times we know what God’s word says to do and deliberately do the opposite? Do we intercede for those we know who are in rebellion against the Lord as Moses did?