Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday, May 20 ~ tammi

Today's reading from the Chronological OT/NT Reading Plan is 2 Samuel 23-24; John 6:41-71 .

So in our Old Testament reading, we come to the end of David's life and a recap of his mighty men, some of their deeds, and then the sad tale of one more failure.  It's interesting to me that here in 2 Samuel, it says God was once again furious with His people, so "God incited David against them" and ordered the census that they were all later punished for.  But in 1 Chronicles, it says "Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census."  Interesting, eh?

These accounts are presumably written about 500 years apart, so obviously the authors are different, but I find it curious that the author of the story written several hundred years after the fact (according to Jewish tradition, this was the prophet Ezra) has a very different view from the first-hand account author's!  Somewhat controversial.

And speaking of controversy....  Not to stir any up or anything, but did anyone catch the teaching of divine election in Jesus' words in John?  ;)

John MacArthur has a FASCINATING 3-part series of messages on this passage (I only got through the first two before my mp3 player needed recharging, but seriously, REALLY interesting stuff!  John 6:41-50, vv. 51-59, vv. 60-71) and he makes a couple of really interesting points that I want to draw your attention to.

First, this message is given to the Galileans who just the day before, had been a part of Jesus' 5-loaves-and-2-fishes lunch program.  The next day, they boat over to Capernaum and want breakfast, too.  So Jesus opens with this "bread of life" talk and they're instantly interested, because they figure there's another miraculous and free meal in it for them.  They want something for nothing.  They want a socialist welfare program.  Jesus doesn't give it to them.  Instead, He explains what He means about being the Bread of Life.  And suddenly they're not interested.  They begin to grumble.  A little more teaching, and people begin to walk away bitter and unbelieving.  The Galileans are now hostile to Christ.

The second point in MacArthur's sermon that really hit me ties into the first one:  as the people's unbelief becomes more and more obvious, Jesus' teaching gets more and more difficult to understand.  This is a perfect example of God confounding the minds of the unbelievers, very similar to the hardening of Pharaoh's heart in Exodus, actually.  MacArthur says:

I want to show you two fantastic passages, two of the most important passages in all of the Bible will illustrate this. John 12:37, I want you to get these because these are basic doctrine, this is doctrine and this is heavy, as the vernacular goes. Verse 37 of John 12, now watch this, "But there He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him." Now watch this, "That the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled which he spoke, 'Lord, who had believed our report and to whom at the arm of the Lord been revealed?' Therefore they...what?...could not believe."

What do you mean? They would not, so...what?...they could not. What is that? That is judicial blinding. They hardened their hearts, so God hardened their hearts. You harden your heart against the gospel of Jesus Christ after you have heard it, you are on dangerous ground-dangerous ground. Verse 39, "Therefore they could not believe because Isaiah said, 'He hath blinded their eyes and...what?...hardened their hearts that they should not see with their eyes, or understand with their hearts and be converted and I should hear them.'" God actually prevents them from being saved, that's serious stuff.

Now you can go back to John 6. Now that is tremendous...that is tremendous truth to grasp. You say, "Well why would God do that?" Well the heart that hardens against God is confirmed in hardness. In the case of Israel, judicial blindness. Well, did it have a purpose? Is God just doing that? Oh it had a great purpose. The purpose of Israel's judicial blindness is indicated in Romans chapter 11 verses 8 to 11, where God says in blinding Israel salvation came to the Gentiles. By setting Israel in its judicial blindness, God then moved to the Gentiles with the message of Jesus Christ. You say, "Yeah, but that's kind of hard on Israel." Well ultimately the Bible also says that this blinding is not permanent and it's not total. You know there are some believing Jews right now coming to Jesus Christ. There have been a remnant in every age. It's not total blindness. There are a few who come to Christ, very few. But beyond that, Romans 11:26 says, "Some day, so all Israel shall be...what?...saved." So the blinding of Israel has a purpose, it is to allow the gospel to move to the Gentiles. (all emphasis added)

Isn't that absolutely incredible??!  It is exactly because of this rejection from His own people that WE were able to hear the gospel!!  Once again, we see the sovereign hand of God, even in the things that don't honour Him, but will eventually work with everything else to bring Him greater glory than if it hadn't happened.

Awesome God by KPMoorse @ DeviantArtGod is so amazing!!

Tomorrow's passages: Psalm 4-6; John 7:1-27.


Jody said...

Amen - our God is so amazing!! I learned something today. Judicial blindness is scary stuff!! And yet, we have reaped the benefits. Great post.

LaughingLady said...

No KIDDING, scary stuff! I'd never actually heard the term before and certainly never heard it explained as clearly as MacArthur does either. I mean, I know those passages are there, but now it's just a little terrifying!!

Especially when I think of loved ones who have known the Gospel message, have chosen not to believe it, and are getting sucked further and further into a God-DIShonouring life. I prayed for them before, but I FEAR for them now!

But maybe that's exactly how we should have been thinking of them all along. Like Tammy mentioned the other day, are we begging for people's souls like we do for their physical healing?

TammyIsBlessed said...

One thing that hit me that I don't think I've noticed before - Uriah the Hittite was one of David's Mighty men! Wow, that just makes David's affair with Bathsheba and his murder of Uriah even that much worse. To do that to one of his best men - a trusted, competent, faithful warrior?! :(

Judicial blindness - wow, definitely heavy stuff. I'll have to check out those sermons.

Miriam said...

Great post, Tammi.

I totally did not remember the last chapter of 2 Samuel from last year, with the 3-day plague after the counting of the fighting men. Just goes to show that you can't rest on your laurels after having read through the Bible once! There is always more to be learned and things you don't remember, or stand out more because of a certain situation in your life or that of someone you know. The Word is living and always applicable to everyone in every situation!

Pamela said...

Awesome post. Scary stuff indeed.

Tammy, when Uriah was mentioned I reread it too and realized what it meant for David to do what he did.