Jesus said, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life”…

God calls His people to obedience…

Quote
“The humble heart is [God’s] throne in regard to his gracious presence, and heaven is his throne in regard to his glorious presence, and yet neither of these thrones will hold him, for the heaven of heavens cannot contain him.” — Thomas Watson

God appeals to Israel to recognize his uniqueness, to respond in loyal love on the basis of that uniqueness, and to serve Him faithfully and exclusively because of it.

It is in the interests of those who know Him well to cleave to Him only and exclude all other deities from their affections.

In the years between the writing of the Old Testament and the New Testament, the Roman Empire came into existence.

Built out of the disappointments of the old republic and its continuing civil wars, the Empire struggled to recruit troops to defend and expand its far-flung borders.

Eventually the Roman emperors, beginning with Augustus Caesar, offered special incentives to join the legions.

Those who served a full term would receive full Roman citizenship with all its rights and privileges.

In order to receive these privileges, however, the veterans were expected to settle into special cities called colonies.

By their presence on the Empire’s frontier, the retired citizen-soldiers would become a “little Rome” and represent the great city and its culture before the distant masses.

The purpose of such colonies was twofold: to preserve order on the frontiers and to extol the virtues of the homeland.

By the time of the New Testament, the city of Philippi had become such a Roman colony.

There the apostle Paul founded a church during his second missionary journey.

Eventually, the apostle would write to the little group of Christians there and describe their role in Philippi in terms they could appreciate:

“Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).

The veterans must have nodded their heads at those words, because they had come to Philippi for a similar purpose.

Paul was calling them to a still-higher end, to represent their real homeland, heaven itself.

As one translator rendered Philippians 3:20, “We are a colony of heaven.”

As Israel drew near the promised land, Moses reminded them that their real purpose in that land was to serve as representatives of their God.

They could, by their behavior and devotion, appeal to the hearts of their neighbors; or, by their spiritual laxity and disobedience, they could abandon such a noble purpose and be drawn into useless and destructive pursuits.

Christian believers are to form, in effect, a little colony of heaven where they live.

By their godly conduct, they are to disarm critics and win friends and new citizens for their true homeland.

That process starts with the realization of the immense privileges and standing that they possess at the moment of their conversion.

Deuteronomy 4

Chapter 4 introduces Moses’ rehearsal of the law.

Here he dealt particularly with the worship of the one true God and with the penalties that would follow any turning to idolatry.

What is meant by adding to or subtracting from God’s commands?

These laws were the word of God, and they were complete.

How could any human being, with limited wisdom and knowledge, edit God’s perfect laws?

To add to the laws would make them a burden; to subtract from them would make them incomplete.

Thus, the laws were to remain unchanged.

To presume to make changes to them is to assume a position of authority over the God who gave them (Matthew 5:17-19; 15:3-9; Revelation 22:18-19).

The religious leaders at the time of Christ did exactly this; they elevated their own laws to the same level as God’s.

Jesus rebuked them for this (see Matthew 23:1-4).

Do the laws God gave to the Israelites still apply to Christians today?

God’s laws were designed to guide all people to live lives that are healthy, good, and devoted to God.

The purpose of the laws was to point out sin (or potential sin) and show the proper way to deal with it.

The Ten Commandments, the heart of God’s law, are just as applicable today as they were 3,000 years ago because they guide us to live in ways that demonstrate love and respect for God and for the people around us.

They are a perfect expression of who God is and how He wants people to live.

But God gave other laws besides the Ten Commandments.

Are those just as important?

God never issued a law that didn’t have a purpose. However, many of the laws we read in the Pentateuch (the five books of Moses) were directed specifically to people of this particular time and culture.

Although a specific law may not apply to us, the timeless truth or principle behind the law does.

For example, Christians do not practice animal sacrifice in worship, but the principles behind the sacrifices—forgiveness for sin and thankfulness to God—are still important for Christians today.

The sacrifices pointed to the ultimate sacrifice made for us by Jesus Christ.

The New Testament says that with the death and resurrection of Jesus the Old Testament laws were fulfilled.

This means that while the Old Testament laws help us recognize our sins and turn from them, it is Jesus Christ who takes our sins away.

He is now our primary example to follow because He alone perfectly obeyed the law and modeled its true intent.

It was our sins that separated us from God.

God is morally perfect, He hates sin and cannot accept those who are tainted by it.

Moses’ sin kept him from entering the Promised Land, and no sacrifice could remove that judgment.

Sin has kept us from entering God’s presence, but Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for our sin and removed God’s judgment forever by His death.

Moses, long after His earthly death, appeared with Jesus and Elijah on the mountain where Jesus was transfigured (Mark 9:2-4), so it’s clear that he was not banned from God’s presence.

To the contrary, Moses was welcomed into God’s presence for eternity because of his great love for God and Jesus’ payment for the penalty of his sin.

Trusting in Jesus Christ will save you from God’s anger and judgment and allow you to begin a personal, loving relationship with Him for eternity.

God is a “devouring fire.”

And jealousy is a demand for someone else’s exclusive affection or loyalty.

Some jealousy is bad. For a person to get upset when his or her spouse casually talks to someone of the opposite sex is usually a sign of excessive jealousy, which can be destructive to a relationship.

But other jealousy is good. A married person should expect their spouse to be faithful only to him or her.

Usually we use the word jealousy only for the bad reaction.

But God’s kind of jealousy is appropriate and good. He is defending His Word and guarding His high honor.

He makes a strong, exclusive demand on us:

We must treat only the Lord—and no one else in all the universe—as God.

Do you want to know God?

God promised the Israelites that they would find Him when they searched for Him with ALL their hearts and souls.

God is knowable and wants to be known—but we have to want to know Him.

Acts of service and worship must be accompanied by sincere love from the heart.

As Hebrews 11:6 says, “Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.”

Those who pursue a relationship with God will most certainly gain one.

How tempted we are to look everywhere else but to God for our guidance and leadership!

We trust medical doctors, financial advisers, websites, and friends on social media, but do we trust God?

Get God’s advice first, and recognize His authority over every dimension of life (4:39-40).

Idolatry makes anything but God the highest priority in life.

Do you value your relationship with God more than anything else?

Or have you allowed money, leisure, friendships—or anything else—to rule your life?

Smash the idols in your life and make a fresh commitment to put God first.

He alone is worthy of this position! He alone died for you.

Jesus gave us prophecies regarding the last days, in order to prepare us so that we would not worry; but that we would know that when we see all these things come to pass that He is near even at the door.

However, one cannot be truly prepared to experience the end of days without knowing the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9).

This means placing one’s trust in God, believing in the resurrection of His Son, and confessing Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-13).

Even in the face of calamity and persecution, the believer has hope in the coming of Christ in His glory and spending an eternity with Him in a way that the non-believer does not.

In order to be free from the power of sin and death, be made in the newness of life, and hopeful of the resurrection to come, we must first take Jesus at His Word:

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35).

Selah (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
____

Monday, May 30
Worthy Brief

SEEK HIM NOW, AND DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE RESTORATION!

“When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice (for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.”
— Deuteronomy 4:30-31

We’re hearing a lot of talk lately, on the internet and elsewhere, about the “End of Days”.

The Hebrew phrase, “acharit hayamim”, often translated, “latter days” refers to the “end of days, or “last days”, mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments, and refers to a critical period late in human history which is characterized by a great “pandemic” crisis and an ensuing panoramic recovery.

First used in Deuteronomy 4:30, quoted above, “acharit hayamim” entails a prophecy of “tribulation” which eventuates in God’s people turning back to seek Him with all their hearts, bringing about their restoration.

This theme of “tribulation” and “restoration” may be the most significant in all of scripture.

The above passage, written to the people of Israel, prophetically encompasses their entire history and eventual recovery, salvation, and Kingdom restoration.

This theme of “tribulation” and “restoration” may be the most significant in all of scripture.

The above passage, written to the people of Israel, prophetically encompasses their entire history and eventual recovery, salvation, and Kingdom restoration.

At the present moment, we may well be focused on the “tribulation” part of “acharit hayamim”.

Yeshua (Jesus) prophesied specifically that famines, pestilences, and earthquakes would precede His coming, and were but the “beginnings of sorrows” [Matthew 24].

At this very moment many of us may be trembling at these developments and the “doom and gloom” which they portend…yet might we miss the significant fact that both testaments predicted exactly what we are seeing?

The sovereignty, omniscience, and revelation of the Creator have been downloaded to humanity through the Scriptures, clearly pointing to His existence and redemptive purpose.

There lies our opportunity and blessing. Yeshua, who knows all things from the beginning to the end, revealed all the relevant details of the “acharit hayamim” (Last Days).

Why?… so that we might quake in terror as they begin to transpire?

But He says, “…So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!” [Matthew 24:33]…the promise of His return!

That is where our focus must remain.

Our God will restore all things, both for Israel and for us according to the covenants He has made….when He returns!

Restoration is the unequivocal promise of Heaven.

The “tribulation”, “beginning of sorrows”, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, WHATEVER!…. All these are signs, portents, and even promises, that our God is real, true, and utterly faithful, and we must declare, encourage, and stand in the knowledge of Him.

The troubles themselves are a powerful testimony of the Messiah’s identity, His redemption, and His promises.

So, if the days are evil, make the most of the time! These are days of tremendous opportunity.

Remember His promise of restoration!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love,

George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah
Baltimore, Maryland
____

Come join the Adventure!

Skip 🕊️

Author: SPARKS FROM THE ANVIL OF LIFE

This is an open forum where we look into and investigate the Rhema Mysteries of God's Word; and also other issues of importance for our day and time.

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