Thursday, January 19, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - January 19, 2017

Today's Reading:

Luke 14:25-35

Genesis 26

Psalm 19

Listen to the Bible








Thoughts and Commentary on today's reading:

It is interesting to see how the Bible reading today in Genesis 26 connects with Psalm 19:7-12. So, for today, I would like to share the connection between Abraham's testimony and David's praise of the Law of God. I believe there are beautiful gems of Truth to be found here, which are often overlooked.

Let's begin with the testimony of Abraham. Of all the Bible Patriarchs, the testimony of Abraham should be of particular interest to Christians today. This is because Abraham is the spiritual forefather of the saved. Only to Abraham and his seed (physical or spiritual descendants) was the Promise of Salvation given.

Galatians 3:16  "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ."

Galatians 3:29  "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the Promise."

But why should Abraham's testimony be of such importance? Isn't it enough to be "Christ's" or "Christian"? Yes! And no...  

I say "no" because the depth of what it means to belong to Christ and truly be Christian is not fully realized today. Many say that you only need to "believe" in Christ to be a Christian. There is no life-change necessary. Just believe...  Scripture tells us that even the devils believe! So, if merely believing was enough, the demons would be saved! Abraham's testimony was one of faith - that works.

James 2:19-24  "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." 

On the other hand, yes it is enough to be "Christ's" or "Christian", because, when we truly belong to Christ, we will demonstrate living faith - faith that works. And the Grace-empowered works that we will do are the "works of Abraham". 

John 8:39  "They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus (Yahshua) saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham."

Personally, when I read that my Saviour identifies the true seed of Abraham with those who do as he did (by faith) I was interested to know what Abraham did. What was Abraham's testimony? The answer brings us to a portion of our reading from Genesis 26.

Genesis 26:4-5  "And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;  Because that Abraham obeyed My Voice, and kept My Charge, My Commandments, My Statutes, and My Laws."

Abraham's testimony is powerfully given in Genesis 26:5 (see highlighted portion above). It is an especially powerful testimony because God Himself spoke these words, bearing powerful Witness that this was Abraham's testimony. So, let's look at each part of what God gave as the "works of Abraham" in this Passage:

1) Abraham obeyed God's Voice

The word "obeyed" is translated from the Hebrew word "shama". But shama means much more. When we look this word up in a Strong's Concordance, we find that it means "to hear intelligently, discern, give ear, obey, to tell, and to proclaim".

shama is so important that the heart of all Scripture is called "The Shama". The Shama is
An Ancient Mezuzah upon a stone doorpost
found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. In Deuteronomy 6:4, shama is translated as "hear", although it was translated as "obeyed" in Genesis 26:5.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5  "Hear (shama), O Israel: The LORD (Yahweh) our God is one (first, supreme, and numerically one) LORD (Yah):  And thou shalt love the LORD (Yahweh) thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." 

This is the portion of Scripture which the Children of Israel were instructed to write upon the posts of their homes (Deuteronomy 6:9). It was kept in a mezuzah, which was the casing or container which held the written shama (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). The shama was also memorialized by wearing blue fringes (tzit tzits) upon their clothes (Numbers 15:38-40). 

We read the love is the fulfilling of the Law (Romans 13:10). And that if we love God we will demonstrate this by keeping His Commandments (Grace-empowered works) (1 John 5:2-3).

2) Abraham kept God's Charge

What did God mean when He said that Abraham had kept His "Charge"? The word "charge" primarily means "to watch" of to be a "sentry". This is interesting because Scripture tells us that God calls His people to be "watchmen".  A watchman's duty was to stand guard to physically protect his city. But Abraham did not stand as a physical guard over a physical city. Abraham's work as a "watchman" was a spiritual one. The work of a watchman is the work of spiritual discernment and spiritual warfare. To better explain this, please enjoy the video link below:

3) Abraham kept God's Commandments, Statutes and Laws

This is a very significant statement, especially when you consider the original meaning of these words. The word "Laws" is translated from the Hebrew word "Torah". Torah is (Strong's Concordance #8451):

תֹּרָה    תּוֹרָה
"a precept or statute, especially the Decalogue or Pentateuch: law."

What is the Decalogue? Decalogue is the Ten Commandments.

What is the Pentateuch? Pentateuch is the first five Books of the Bible, which would later be written by Moses. 

They are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. In other words, God said that Abraham kept the Commandments (10 Commandments) and Statutes (there are 613 Statutes which give greater detail on the subject covered in the 10 Commandments) of His Torah, which are found written throughout the Pentateuch:

Now, one might quickly wonder, "Since Moses wrote the Torah, how is it possible that Abraham's testimony included keeping Yahweh's Torah, when Abraham lived about 430 years before Moses?"

This testimony of Abraham is one little-known evidence that the Law of God is much older than Moses. He wrote the Commandments and Statutes, as God told him to write them, but these Divine Commands existed long before Moses and God met upon Mount Sinai! The Torah was present in the time of Abraham.

In fact, the Law of God (or Torah) is much older than our planet. Scripture tells us that Satan, then called Lucifer (who was a covering cherub in Heaven at the time), was the first being to sin (Ezekiel 28:13-16). Having such a terrible distinction, he is known as the "father" of sin and lies (John 8:44). Sin (also called iniquity) is Biblically defined as "transgression of the Law of God" (1 John 3:4). 
In other words, sin is breaking God's Law. How could Satan sin, or break God's Law, if His Law didn't exist? 

Abraham's testimony is quite a big picture. God said:

Abraham obeyed My Voice, and kept My Charge, My Commandments, My Statutes, and My Laws

Wow! But here's the personal apex of this picture: As the spiritual seed of Abraham, his testimony is to be yours and mine as well.  I think the depths of meaning in being "born of God" and "abiding in Him" are much deeper and more powerful than most understand. And I want to go there with God - by His Grace. I want for His Will to be lived out in me in every way. 

Remember, what you can be - in God's Grace - is beyond what you can be alone. He has Promised. And just as He fulfilled that Promise in Abraham, God is mighty enough to fulfill it in every spiritual seed of Abraham. What an awesome, mighty and wonderful God we serve!

May it be that God will one day say of us, "(Put your name here) obeyed My Voice and kept My Charge, My Commandments, My Statutes, and My Laws." By His indwelling Grace, it can be! Consider the powerful Promise we find in 1 John 3:1-8:

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.  And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the Law: for sin is the transgression of the Law. And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.  Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil."


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