Destroy them!

We live in an age where it does not matter what you do now.  If, twenty or thirty years ago you did something wrong, you are still condemned.  You are derided as useless, fit for the garbage heap and a hypocrite.  

Let us look how the God of the Bible handles mistakes. 

Abraham is the ancestor of the Jews.  According to the standards of our day he deserves to be denounced because he selfishly put his wife in a predicament with  foreign leaders on two occasions.  He should be dismantled and removed from his position.  Well, not if God has a say.   The Lord called him ‘Abraham my friend.’  Isaiah 41:8

#  God sent Moses to free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.  He had fled Egypt 40 years before because he murdered an Egyptian.  In our time he would be shouted down, ‘You murderer!  Out!  We will not listen to you!’  Yet God used Moses to lead His people out of Egypt.  Moses was the leader of the Israelites for 40 years and wrote the first 5 books of the Old Testament. 

King David took the wife of one of his trusted supporters.  Later he caused her husband, Uriah, to be killed in war.  In our time he would be derided as a scoundrel and his history should be expunged from the Bible.  Yet God forgave him when he confessed his sins and said about him,  ‘I have found David, son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’  Acts 13:22b  

Saul was an educated, devout Jew and Pharisee.  He made it his business to persecute, arrest and even have those who believed in Jesus, killed.  If he lived in our time, he would surely be shouted down as, ‘Persecutor of Christians!  Unfit to live!  Traitor!’  Yet God stopped him in his madness, made him the apostle Paul and gave him back some of his own medicine.  God personally taught him the hidden treasures of His Gospel plan.  Paul wrote 13 of the letters to congregations in the New Testament.   

#  Jesus warned His disciple, Peter, that he would betray Him three times during the Lord’s trial.  Peter did exactly that.  If he lived today, people would denounce him and ‘send him straight to hell.’   What did Jesus do?  He gave Peter the opportunity to repeat three times that he loved him.  The Lord Jesus told Peter, ‘Feed my sheep.…  Follow me!’  John 21:15-29 

Maybe we should learn from God.  We live in a world where people search for the ‘dirty laundry’ of others and parade it for all to see.  Who cares if that person changed?  As long as he can be humiliated and degraded (tear down his monument).  Who cares that Jesus teaches mercy and said, ‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged.’  Matthew 7:1  

The lesson

We will all appear before God to give an account of what we did while on earth.  That means all people, not just some.  Maybe it is wise to leave judgement to God. 

The beginning and end of evil

I have often wondered why the Holy Spirit gave us the Old Testament?  There must be a reason because it is at least 70% of Scripture.  I found the following reasons for the Old Testament very plausible:  

#  The Old Testament reveals the origin of evil.  

  • If we ignore the Old Testament we don’t know what the origin of evil is.  So many apologists have to answer questions about why there is evil in the world?    
  • There is also a huge amount of information on the growth of evil.
  • God only gives us the wonderful news of how He will finally abolish evil at the end of this age, in the book of Revelation.  

#  The Old Testament describes what happens around us.

  • We see historical scenario’s of the Old Testament repeated in history and in the daily lives of individuals.  Even countries with their respective leaders follow either good or evil.  
  • Yet God never leaves His followers without hope.  He promises a new heaven and earth and tells us what it will be like.  How glorious it is that God clearly reveals the demise of the origin of evil, Satan.  We can look forward to the miracle of eternal life without any evil at all.  There will be only love, peace and harmony.  

#  The Old Testament proves God’s faithfulness.  

People often wonder if they can trust God’s promises?  The following are two of the many examples to show God’s faithfulness to His promises.  

  • The Old Testament covers more than 1,000 years of the history of the descendants of Abraham.  God promised Abraham’s descendants the land of Canaan.  They were exiled from their homeland the last time in 70 and 135 AD, but after about 1,800 years they again live in the land Israel.   
  • God promised in Genesis 3:15 that the Seed of the woman will crush the head of the serpent.  Jesus did come, and He did rise victoriously from the grave.  He is currently seated at the right hand of God, waiting for God’s appointed time to come for the second time to wrap up history.  Then the eternal Kingdom of God will be established on earth and will last for ever.  

#  The Old Testament is part of the big picture of the Bible.

  • We want to discuss the history of the arch rebel Satan, against God – what he tried to do to thwart God’s plans, and what we can expect in future.  
  • We do not do justice to God if we skip the Old Testament and then neglect the book of Revelation.  Both are important to complete the big picture of God’s brilliance.   

Conclusion

The following inspired words by the Holy Spirit are true, 

‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness….’ 2 Timothy 3:16

We cannot ignore the Old Testament, because it is part of Scripture.

Can we trust God’s promises?

Why do we follow Jesus?  Jesus said, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’ 1  It is a privilege to follow Jesus, pray, study the Word, et cetera, but it does cost.  As humans, we naturally ask, ‘What’s in it for me?’  (See ‘What’s in it for me?’)  Our generous, perfect Father God promised us eternal life as a reward.  Yet, what will convince us that the exciting glorious future will become true?  

#  What does Scripture guarantee us? 

‘No eye has seen, no ear had heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him….’ 2  The next verse tells us, ‘…but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.’ 3  

#  Did the Old Testament promises come true?   

  1. God promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that their descendants will inherit the land of Canaan. 4  Abraham received the promise around 2,000 BC.  Today, 2018, many of Abraham’s descendants, the Jews, live in the land God promised them.  It is a unique event in history.  Never before has a nation suffered so much and yet come back to the land God promised to their ancestors thousands of years ago.  That unlikely promise of God to a man married to a barren woman became true. 
  2. God also promised Abraham, ‘I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.’ 5 He repeated it to Jacob, ‘Your descendants will be like the dust of he earth….’ 6  It sounds like fiction.  The number of Jews today in Israel and scattered over the world cannot be like the sand on the seashore.  Could this promise become a reality?

#  God’s answer in the New Testament 

  • ‘Understand then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.’ 7  That means all followers of Jesus are Abraham’s descendants, his children. 
  • Jesus explains it in the parable in Luke 16:19-23.  The beggar, Lazarus, who laid at the gate of the rich man’s house, died.  The rich man also died and was shocked by what he saw, ‘In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.’  
  • That means Abraham welcomes to his side (in his bosom, or in his arms) every believer who dies.  The rich man correctly addressed Abraham as ‘Father Abraham.’  

Please note: There must be billions of believers at Abraham’s side already.  The numbers grow daily as believers die and translate into Abraham’s presence.  That means God’s second improbable promise to Abraham became true. 

Conclusion

Four thousand years ago God promised to Abraham a country and numerous descendants.  Both became true.  It testifies to the truth of God’s Word.  Are there more examples of ‘strange’ promises of God that became true – fulfilled promises that boost our faith in our future destination?

References

  1. Mark 8:34  
  2. 1 Corinthians 2:9  
  3. 1 Corinthians 2:10  
  4. Genesis 15:18-21; 17:8; 26:4; 28:13  
  5. Genesis 22:17  
  6. Genesis 28:14a  
  7. Galatians 3:7
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