This Week’s Bible Verse(s) Which Will Never Appear In Your “Verse Of The Day” Email: Matthew 11:25-26
Many Christians are quite familiar with the words of Jesus when He gives a call to group of people whom He describes as “weary and heavy laden.” He says He will give them rest if they take His yoke upon them for “His yoke is easy and His burden light.” He tells them He is “gentle and lowly in heart and [they[ will find rest for their souls.” (Matt. 11:27-30)
However, what immediately precedes this is quite a contrast. Back to verse 20, where he pronounces judgment upon entire cities – cities where He had done some of His mighty works. He pronounces judgement upon Chorazin and Bethsaida, saying it will be worse for them than for Tyre and Sidon, for if the works He had done for them (Chorazin and Bethsaida) had been done for Tyre and Sidon, Tyre and Sidon would have repented, with the clear implication being that Tyre and Sidon did not repent and that the works done for Chorazin and Bethsaida could have been done for Tyre and Sidon and were not (more on that shortly). (vv. 21-22)
He then, in a form of parallelism, pronounces a judgment upon Capernaum in the same manner, stating it will be better on the day of judgment for Sodom than it will for Capernaum. This is not to say things will be good for Sodom – just that they will be worse for Capernaum than for Sodom. Why? Because if the works done in Sodom were done in Capernaum, Sodom would not have been destroyed (vv. 23-24).
Here’s the “more on that shortly” point: God sovereignly withheld these things from Tyre, Sidon and Sodom. He could have revealed Himself in the same way He revealed Himself through His Son – but He chose to not do so. Jesus, of course, knows this, and prays to His Father a prayer of thanksgiving. Quite a prayer of thanksgiving, as we see in Matthew 11:25-26:
25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
Jesus thanks the father for hiding “these things” – the “things” of vv. 21-24 – from certain people. He thanks God for certain people not having truth revealed to them, resulting in those people perishing, as the people of Sodom did. He thanks the Father for that being His will – His will which hid “these things” from some and revealed them to others.
Then He immediately goes into those most comforting words, calling people to Himself in vv. 27-30.
Shocking, indeed. But only shocking if we come to the passage with a preconceived notion of how Jesus is to behave and who God is to be. Revelation will tell us that – not carnal presuppositions.
This Week’s Bible Verse(s) Which Will Never Appear In Your “Verse Of The Day” Email: Deuteronomy 2:30
The “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” greeting would not be gladly received by the Sihon, the king of Heshbun. God indeed had a plan for his life – but one’s definition of “wonderful” would need to be stretched quite far to apply here:
30 But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him, for the LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might give him into your hand, as he is this day.
Taken out of context? Of course. Placing it in context, however, does not change the meaning. One cannot, though, at the end of the day deny that how the Psalmist chose to end this Psalm strikes us “enlightened” denizens of contemporary society as shocking, to say the least, because it still says what it says (and it is not the only time in the Scripture this subject is broached. More to come.):
9 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
and dashes them against the rock!
This Week’s Bible Verse(s) Which Will Never Appear In Your “Verse Of The Day” Email: 1 Chronicles 10:13-14
Much debate has occurred in biblical interpretation over “who killed Saul?” Was it Saul himself, in light of his severe battle wounds (1 Samuel 31:4) or was it a man from Saul’s camp (2 Samuel 1:10)? What can be overlooked is a passage which explicitly tells us who was responsible for Saul’s death – 1 Chronicles 10:14 leaves no doubt:
13 So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the LORD in that he did not keep the command of the LORD, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. 14 He did not seek guidance from the LORD. Therefore the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.
29 And they ate and were well filled,
for he gave them what they craved.
30 But before they had satisfied their craving,
while the food was still in their mouths,
31 the anger of God rose against them,
and he killed the strongest of them
and laid low the young men of Israel.
32 In spite of all this, they still sinned;
despite his wonders, they did not believe.
33 So he made their days vanish like a breath,
and their years in terror.
34 When he killed them, they sought him;
they repented and sought God earnestly. (emphasis by the present writer)
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.
This is the final class I taught at IRBC prior to my move to Texas. The first 10-12 minutes discusses the circumstances of the move and you can advance past that if desired.
I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
From The Christian’s Reasonable Service – and this is referring to church life over three hundred years ago!
It amazes me that the godly in the Netherlands have so little desire to sing, and also engage in this very infrequently. It is true that singing little is consistent with the lackadaisicalness of our nation (compared to other nations). Nevertheless, worldly people sing quite a bit, but they sing vain songs which stir up the heart toward vanity and immorality. The godly are, however, generally silent in these parts. The one says, “I am too busy”; the other, “I have no voice”; the third, “I do not know any of the melodies”; the fourth, “I do not dare for fear the neighbors would hear me and deem me to be a hypocrite.” All of this is, however, not truly the problem, but it is a lack of desire. If the heart were more spiritual and joyous, we would more readily praise the Lord with joyful song and thereby stir up ourselves and others. I am here not only speaking of singing in church. (Even there many do not sing; and for some the very best they can do is read the psalm silently.)
Exhortation to Sing
It is thus needful that I stir up everyone to sing — not only psalms, but also spiritual songs. Therefore, believers, dispense with this listlessness. “Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing” (Ps 100:2).
First, you must know that singing is not a neutral matter in which you may or may not engage. Rather, it is God’s command. As we have shown you before, God requires this from you and desires to be served by you in this manner. Consider these and similar quotes and impress them upon your heart as being mandatory. Begin to engage in this duty with an obedient heart; break open your mouth and your closed heart will open as well.
Secondly, God has created this ability in the very nature of man. This is to be observed in children of three or four years old. Take note of how they walk around the house while singing at the same time. Observe how even in nature the birds in their own way already praise their Creator early in the morning by way of singing. If you go outside in the morning, or if you have birds in your home, you will hear it. Will the birds and small children rebuke you, and would you, who have the greatest reason in the world to sing joyously, be dumb and silent?
Thirdly, it is the work of angels, for they glorify the Lord in song (cf. Job 38:7; Luke 2:13-14; Rev 5:11-12), and it is the work of the church upon earth and in heaven: “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev 5:9); “And they sung as it were a new song before the throne … and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth” (Rev 14:3); “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty” (Rev 15:3). If you have no desire to sing, then what will you do in church and in heaven? Furthermore, if you are desirous to magnify the Lord with an eternal hallelujah, you should presently begin upon earth.
Fourthly, God is particularly pleased when His children praise Him in song. There where the Lord is sweetly praised in song, there He will come with His blessings. “But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel” (Ps 22:3). It is noteworthy to consider what transpired at the dedication of the temple. “It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one … that then the house was filled with a cloud … so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God” (2 Chron 5:13-14). When Jehoshaphat, together with his army, lifted up their voices in joyous exclamation and song (2 Chron 20:22), the Lord defeated their enemies. When Paul and Silas sang praises unto God in the middle of the night, the doors of the prison were opened and the bands of all the prisoners were loosened (Acts 16:25-26). Therefore, if you are desirous to please the Lord, and delight in having the Lord visit your soul and desire to experience His help, then accustom yourself to singing.
Fifthly, singing will move a heart which frequently remains unmoved during prayer. It can be that while singing the tears will drip upon the book. Have you not frequently experienced this? Have not you been stirred up by hearing the singing of others? Others will therefore also be stirred up by your singing. The Papists in France knew this, and therefore they strictly forbade the singing of psalms and meted out cruel punishment for this — even prior to massacring the church. Therefore, no longer be silent, but lift up your voices — in spite of the devil and all the enemies of God — to the honor and glory of your God, as this has done you too much good already (and still does) than that you would refrain from thanking the Lord with songs of praise. You must furthermore do so in order that you might stir up others to serve the Lord with gladness. It will then become manifest to all natural men that godliness is a joyous rather than a grievous life, and they will become desirous for this as well. And if you sing, sing with understanding, with a fervent desire, conscious of the presence of the Lord (and thus reverently), with a modest demeanor, and with both inner and external attentiveness, so that it may all be becoming before the Lord and to the edification of others who surround us.
The Lighthearted Calvinist – reading to grandsons Cade and Caleb recently – an excerpt from “Help! Arminians are giving me nightmares again!“, a children’s book courtesy of J.D. Hall at Reformation Montana/The Pulpit & Pen blog.
Mr. Hall is also the of “Help, Mom! There are Arminians under my bed!“
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.