April 4, 2019
WHY WERE THE STONES TO BE NATURAL AND UNCUT? Moses instructed Israel to build an altar of “natural, uncut stones” after they crossed the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land. They were to offer burnt offerings on it to celebrate God’s law and provision for his people. But why did God insist that the… Read more »
March 30, 2019
CAN POVERTY BE ELIMINATED? According to God’s Word, poverty will never be eliminated in this world. Yet, this fact is stated not to excuse our responsibility to the poor, but to encourage our ongoing generosity towards them. As the Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land, God made provision for every person and tribe… Read more »
March 27, 2019
OUR SUCCESS IS IN THE LORD’S HANDS The Lord encouraged the Israelites not to fear their enemies as they prepared to enter the Promised Land. He reminded them of how He had brought them out of Egypt. He promised that He would be with them in the same way to take the land from their… Read more »
April 1, 2018
GOD HAS RAISED UP THE CHRIST JUST AS HE SAID
On this Easter morning let us remember that God promised the Israelites that He would “raise up” one from among them as the Messiah, the Christ. And now, some 2,000 years later, we look back on the fulfillment of this Mosaic prophecy, written 1,400 years before He came.
Jesus is the fulfillment of this Scripture. He was born into the tribe of Judah. He spoke all that the Father “commanded” Him to say (Deut. 18:18, John 12:49). And on occasion referred to Himself as a “Prophet” (Luke 13:33). Moses was a foreshadowing of the Christ. But Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the ultimate revelation of God (John 1:1-18, John 14:9). This is why the LORD instructed the disciples to “listen to Him” on the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:35).
God has not only raised Jesus up from among His people, He has raised Him up from the grave. His empty tomb is proof of the promise that we too shall be raised up one day. As the Scripture says, “And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead” (1 Cor. 6:14).
April 7, 2017
Moses was 120 years old when he passed the reins of leadership to Joshua. He was forty years a prince of Egypt, forty years a shepherd of Midian and forty years leading Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness. Now his job was finished. Moses, the Lawgiver and the Levite, had led Israel to the Promised Land, but Joshua, the faithful servant of Moses, from the tribe of Judah, was the one to lead them into it.
Two spiritual types are seen in these two men. Moses represents God’s law. And Joshua, whose name means, “Jehovah’s salvation,” represents Jesus (essentially the same name in Hebrew: Joshua – “Yehoshua” and Jesus – “Yeshua”). The law can only lead one to salvation, but is powerless to save. Whereas, Jesus saves.
The apostle Paul described this relationship between law and Christ (i.e. “grace”). He said that the law was like a “tutor” leading us to our need for Christ (Gal. 3:24), but was “powerless” to save us. Therefore, God sent Jesus.
“For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering” (Rom. 8:3).
March 31, 2017
The month of Abib was the month that the Lord had delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt. It was therefore to be counted as the first month of the Hebrew year. Since the religious celebrations given by Moses were linked to certain times of the year, it became the role of the priests to certify the beginning of each new month based on the lunar cycle. The word “month” and “moon” are cognates in both the Hebrew and English language, and since the lunar cycle is 29.5 days, announcing the start of a new month was both science and art.
The word “Abib” means “fresh heads of grain,” or “green ears,” referring to the time of the year when crops of grain begin to come to a head. Today’s Jewish calendar no longer uses the name “Abib,” using the name “Nisan” in its place, which has been in use since the time when the Jews were released from Babylonian captivity (see Esther 3:7). The month of Abib corresponds to our months of March/April. Since the Jewish calendar is based on the lunar cycle and our calendar is based on the solar cycle, the date for Passover varies each year, and with it, the date for Easter does as well.
Passover was to be always celebrated in the month of Abib to remind Israel how the Lord had “passed-over” the homes whose doors were covered with the blood of the Passover lamb. This foreshadowed Jesus, the Lamb of God, who was given for the sins of the world.
So, the timing of the celebration for Jewish Passover and Christian Easter are linked. And their dates continue to move around in our modern calendar. This explains the 35-day span where Easter can occur (March 22 – April 25, inclusive).
It was in the month of Abib, meaning “new heads of grain,” that Jesus fulfilled His saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12:23-24).
March 29, 2017
Farming in Egypt involved the use of irrigation. The river Nile was the source of water for the region and the fields were “watered by foot,” meaning they were watered by the effort of those who either carried the water or dug the irrigation ditches.
But the Promised Land was not like the land of Egypt. It was not a huge plain watered from a river, but a land of hills and valleys, fed by the rains of heaven. It was a land that the Lord Himself would water and care for; therefore, the people would need to focus on obeying and worshiping Him in order for their fields to prosper.
The Lord wanted to raise up a people that would learn to completely depend on Him. He sought a people that would Him to supply all their needs. They were not to trust a land, or a river, nor their own ingenuity for irrigation, but the Lord.
The Lord still seeks those who will fully trust Him.
March 27, 2017
Moses told the Israelites that the Lord would deliver seven nations greater and mightier than they over to them when they entered the Promised Land. He would do this because He had chosen them to be His “special treasure” in all the earth. Yet, Moses quickly corrected any misconception this might imply, lest they think God saw something inherently special in them. He didn’t. In fact, they were the “least of all peoples.” They weren’t special because of who they were. They were special because of who God is. They were special because He had “set His love” on them. God’s love made them special.
Not many of us were special or wise or noble before we were called. But the Lord has chosen the “weak things of the world,” that He might get the glory (1 Cor. 1:26-31). Therefore, let us glory in the Lord!
March 26, 2017
After Moses reminded the people of the “words,” which were the Ten Commandments and other instructions from the Lord, he commanded them to teach their children what he had taught them. They were to be diligent in teaching them, both formally and informally, as a way of life. They were to weave this teaching into every facet of their day together with their kids.
This is still the job of parenting. The responsibility for educating our children belongs not to the school, nor the church, but to us. We may include the school and church in our efforts, but the primary role belongs to fathers and mothers.
Are you teaching your children and grandchildren the “words” of God as a part of your everyday life?
March 24, 2017
The word “Deuteronomy” means “second law.” Moses wrote this fifth book of the Torah to remind the Israelites of what they had learned from the Lord during their wilderness travels and to prepare them to enter the Promised Land.
But Moses would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land. He had disobeyed the Lord at Kadesh by striking the rock when God had told him to speak to it to bring forth water. He blamed the people for driving him to anger. He pleaded with the Lord to let him go into the land, but the Lord told him to stop asking. Instead, the Lord instructed him go to the “top of Pisgah,” whose peak was called, Mt. Nebo, so that he might see the land beyond the Jordan. This was as close as Moses, who had led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness for 40 years, ever got to the land flowing with milk and honey.
I stood on Mt. Nebo in 2005 while visiting missionaries in Jordan. From its height on a day with a clear blue sky, I could see the land that Moses was never allowed to enter. It was beautiful. Moses must have thought so too.