Spiritual Rants: March 26 “The Purpose of the Bible” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Deuteronomy 5:1-6:25 Luke 7:11-35 Psalm 68:19-35 Proverbs 11:29-31

Old Testament: Deuteronomy 5:1-6:25

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Deut. 5:1-32   The Purpose of the Bible

I heard an extremely popular preacher say recently that the purpose of the Bible was to save people from Hell.  It is not.  The purpose of the Bible is to give mankind information to be able to have a relationship with God.  The way to have a relationship with God is first, admit that we are sinners (Rom. 3:23), second, to understand Christ died in our place to bear our sin (Rom. 5:8), thirdly, to personally trust and believe that He did that for ME (Rom. 10:9b, 10a).  The purpose of the ten commandments is to show us our sin.

Moses repeats the Ten Commandments found in Exod. 20.  They are of two parts.  The first part concerning God and the second part concerning man.  That is why Jesus was able to sum them up as love God with all your heart, mind, and soul and the second as love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31).  Paul said they could all be summed up as “do not covet” (Rom. 7:7-9).  Francis Schaeffer says in his book True Spirituality (p. 8) that Paul saw he was a sinner when he “read that the last commandment was not to covet.”  Schaeffer says, “there are two practical tests as to when we are coveting against God or men.  First, I am to love God enough to be contented; second, I am to love men enough not to envy.”

All the Israelites who heard Moses said they would perform the law (Deut. 5:24-27).  Moses concluded the sermon, “So you shall observe to do just as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left. You shall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you will possess” (Deut. 5:32-33).  Obedience leads to blessing.  The blessing is a relationship with the Lord.  It’s what the Bible is all about.

Deut. 6:1-25  Live Longer and Prosper

If you want to live a long life, obey the law and fear God.  As I write this, I can only think of how foreign this is to modern-day thinking.  Ours is a “pursuit of happiness” at any cost.  The afterlife and pleasing God does not seem to factor in anymore.  It is only through pleasing God that we arrive at “a land of milk and honey” (Deut. 6:3).

Deut. 6:4 is often referred to as the “Shema” which is the Hebrew word for “hear.”  ““Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!”  It points to the uniqueness of Yahweh.  The neighboring  pagan countries were polytheists.  No one could ever be sure if they were pleasing one God but ticking off another!  Yahweh was one.  He was the only One.  This does not deny the concept of three persons in the Godhead but does emphasize His unity and uniqueness.  Can you “hear” me now?

We are to love God with all our heart (cf. above and Mark 12:30) and teach the Word to our children (Deut.6:7).  Instead of ashes, the Israelites actually taped the Scriptures to their forehead!  They were to write them even on their doorposts (Deut.6:8).

Moses reminded the people that when God blessed them, they should not forget God (Deut. 6:12).  If they fell prey to false gods, God would “wipe them off the face of the earth” (Deut. 6:15).   “Fear” is the first step in remembering God (Deut. 6:13a) and being thankful is the second (Deut. 6:13b cf. Eph. 5:20; 1 Thess. 5:18).

Jesus quoted Deut. 6:15 to the devil when He was tested, “you shall not put the Lord to the test.”

Many think that God gave us marriage for our happiness.  He did.  But we fail to realize that it is for the glory of God, to raise godly offspring (Deut. 6:20-25). 

New Testament: Luke 7:11-35

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Luke 7:11-23  A Window On A Widow

Jesus witnessed the only son of a widow being carried out of the gate of the city of Nain in an open coffin.  The widow would have had no male in her family to protect her and provide for her.  He got up and started to speak.  Jesus had compassion on the widow and her son and told him to get up.  Most dead people don’t do that after their funeral.

There are three accounts of Jesus raising people from the dead.  One is Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:40-56), another is Lazarus (John 11:38-44). This is the first account.

Fear gripped everyone.  The word for fear was phobos which means “fear, reverence, or awe.”  It sometimes even means “terror.”  They were definitely impressed.  The verbal response was “a great prophet has arisen amongst us!” (Luke 7:16) indicating that “God has visited His people!” (Luke 7:17).  Jesus had proved that the Messiah had come and that the Messiah has compassion on women, a major theme for Luke.

Luke 7:24-27  Heh, huh?

John the Baptist was wasting away in prison.  His active ministry was no more than a year (BKC).  JB was probably itching to hear that Jesus had brought in the kingdom.  He knew that the Romans had not yet been overthrown and wondered what was going on.  So he sent messengers to Jesus to make sure he understood how things were to transpire.  Was Jesus the Christ or was there another to come?

Jesus was in the midst of performing various miracles, healings, and casting out demons.  He told John’s messengers to go back and tell JB what they had seen and heard.  He said that the happy people were the ones who didn’t stumble or become scandalized (“scandalizo” what does that sound like?) on account of Him and His signs.  In other words, “John, buck up!  It’s me!”

After this, Jesus commended John in case they thought John was a weak sister for asking such a question.  He wasn’t a reed blowing in the wind or someone living the easy, rich life or royalty.  He was a first-class prophet.  Jesus applied the prophecy of Malachi 3: 1 to John.  He was the messenger who prepares the way of the Messiah.

Luke 7:28-35  Tribute To A Baptist

Up until that time there was no one greater than John.  Jesus said, however, after John, everyone who lived on into the Church period would have more understanding of God’s ways and be the benefactor of better blessings.  The down-and-outers were able to relate to what Jesus was saying.  Those who were full of themselves and hadn’t submitted to baptism by John like the religious leaders just didn’t get it.

That led Jesus to rant on the generation of His day.  They were like children who sit in the mall and no matter what tune they play, they can’t make people happy.  He said JB fasted and was serious so people accused him of demon-possession.  On the other hand, Jesus was joyful and liked to be with people so people accused Him of being a glutton and drunkard and hanging out with the scourge of the earth.  Jesus, characteristically cryptic, said, “Wisdom is vindicated by all her children” (Luke 7:35).  That meant, in the vernacular, “like what-ev-er!”  (Everyone reads their own thoughts into things.  Those who followed Jesus or John would understand both approaches.)

Psalm 68:19-35   A Song Of Yahweh’s Kingship by David

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Psalm 68:19-35  March Of The Monarch, Part 2

Remember this psalm is not only a picture of David in victory over his enemies but also a picture of Jesus as He marches into Jerusalem to rule on earth for a thousand years.

Verse 19 is memorizable.  The Lord daily bears our burdens . . .  if we let Him!  Then He is our salvation from death and all our difficulties in life. Sometimes it can be very difficult to turn our burdens over to Him!  For some reason, we want to hang on to them!

1 Peter 5:7 tells us to “cast [our] anxiety on Him because He cares for [us].”

Matthew 11:28-30 gives us a picture of an older stronger ox guiding a younger, weaker ox though their common yoke.  That picture reminds me of the Hebrew word hesed which expresses God’s binding, covenantal love for us.  He takes our burdens and helps carry them while He also helps to show us which way to go (cf. Prov. 3:5-6).

If we trust him with our troubles, He will deliver us (v. 20).  If we have our heads run over (cf. Ps. 66:12), He will shatter the heads of those who have harmed us (v. 21).

Young, strong men were attacking the Jews (v. 21b).  They had “hairy” pates as opposed to weak, fat, middle-aged, balding guys like me.  The Lord will bring His enemies from the highest mountains like Bashan and from the bottom of the ocean (v. 22) so that when they are destroyed the Jewish dogs can have bloody meals (ugh, v. 23, cf. 1 Kings 22:38).

We discussed Yahweh’s victory march in yesterday’s commentary (March Of The Monarch, Part 1).  David calls from the smaller tribes in southern Israel, Judah and Benjamin, to praise Yahweh as well as the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali in the northern part of the kingdom (v. 27).  So the phrase is a metaphor signifying all of Israel, like “sea to shining sea” or “from New Jersey to California” would represent all the of U.S.

Singers, musicians and pretty young girls playing tambourines will all praise the Lord following David’s victories (v. 26).  When the Lord comes back, multitudes from all nations will praise Him (cf. Rev. 7:9; 19:1, 6).  People from all nations will bring Jesus gifts (v. 29b, cf. Ps. 72:7-11).  All the countries of the world will praise Yahweh aka Jesus (v. 32).

Israel’s old nemesis who had enslaved her, Egypt, will be defeated (v. 1).  A temple will again be erected in Jerusalem during the Millennium (v. 35, cf. Ezek. 40-48).  It will be the center of worship for the nations (vv. 33-35).

Are you blessing God through your life and with your words (cf. Heb. 13:15)?

Proverbs 11:29-31    Inheriting The Wind

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Verse 29 was used for the title of a popular anti-Creationist movie from 1960 (based on a 1955 play).  In the script, the line from Proverbs was quoted to a preacher who was condemning an adherent of evolution.  The quote from Proverbs was used to rebuke the pastor for not being forgiving.  Of course, we need to forgive those who do not adhere to our interpretation of Scripture.  For one thing, we might be wrong.  For another, it is God’s forgiveness that really matters, not ours.  Someone who knowingly and willfully rejects the Word of God will not be forgiven, though.  But the movie and play make a mistake of logic.  To believe in evolution can be forgiven but it doesn’t make it right.  And . . . Christians are not being intolerant to believe in Creation or anything else explicitly stated in the Bible.

Of course, the preacher in the movie should not have been so insensitive in his condemnatory sermon.  But, then, he was a figment of the playwright’s imagination.

Believers are righteous in Christ by faith.  They should perform life-giving acts (v. 30a).  That kind of a life will draw others to Christ and faith in Him will save their souls for eternity (v. 30b).

Have you ever heard that you reap what you sow (cf. Gal. 6:9)?  Well, imagine that on steroids and you have the Judgment.  There will be a special rewards ceremony for those who have done good in the power of the Spirit (cf. Rom. 14:10, 1 Cor. 3:10-15, 2 Cor. 5:10).   The Judgment you will want to miss will be the White Throne Judgment for those who have rejected Christ (cf. Rev. 20:11-15).  There will be only one verdict at that trial (see The GWT).

Choose Life: Scripture:  Deuteronomy 5:9  NASB    “American Idle”

“‘You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me”   Deuteronomy 5:9

The second commandment God gave Israel prohibited them from having any idols.  The pagan nations were worshipping gods that were not God.  Israel was not to do that.

In our country, we are guaranteed the “pursuit of happiness.”  Many take that to mean that they should always be able to have whatever they want.  Christians should understand it as meaning that we are free in this country to worship the way we want.

Notice that our verse today says that God is a “jealous” God.  That’s a good thing.  Don’t you want Someone Who is jealous over you and doesn’t want you to worship anything besides Him?  He is jealous of you.  And to remind us, he allows sins from our families to continue to several generations.  If you are a Christian, the buck stops with you!  You are the one to clean up the sins in your family.

Of course, many Americans are not so much as worshiping idols (they are) but they are just plain idle.  They don’t do anything.

Do you love the Lord?  Are you considering what you can do about it?

If you are, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:    A few verses into the next chapter we read a command to the Israelites, “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.” (Deut. 6: 8).  Find some verses today, the book of James may be a good starting point, that will remind you to act out your Christianity from your love of the Lord.  You don’t have to write them on your forehead but you could put them on cards and carry them with you or set them on your dashboard to memorize them.

The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:  Live Longer And Prosper

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