|On-Line Bible Lessons|
Moses has delivered the words of the covenant as the Lord had told him to do. This was in addition to the one at Horeb, but really they are basically the same.
Moses points out that the people saw the mighty hand of God in their deliverance from Egypt. They saw His signs and great miracles with their own eyes, yet they could not grasp the power of God. Then he goes on in vv. 5-9 and points out that their provision, protection and victory came from the Lord.
1. Here is a strange statement. What did they not do that they might know that Jehovah God was the Lord their God, v. 6 (Ex. 16:12)? _________________________________________________
2. The people had seen all of the mighty works of God as listed in vv. 1-8. Why did they not have the faith to act upon God's word until this time, v. 4? __________________________
No doubt this is one of the most difficult and resisted doctrines in Scripture. We, by no means, have the answer to it all. All we can say is with Moses, v. 29, the secret things belong to God, but the things which are revealed belong unto us. We had best be busy about these things we do understand and leave the things we don't understand in God's hands.
Again, Keil's statement on this passage can give us some understanding of it. Fifth Book, pg. 331. "--The Lord had not yet given the people an understanding heart, because the people had not yet ask for it, simply because the need of it was not felt (cf. chap. v. 26)."
This is so true today. People don't have an understanding heart (of the things of God) because they do not see the need. God, in His grace, is the one who must show this need. This needs to be our prayer, for both ourselves and for others. "God, show the need to have an under&SHY;standing heart (of the things of God)". Of course this is a dangerous prayer because far more of&SHY;ten than not it is a major crises which shows the need to have the understanding heart. Each child of God can look back and see how the grace of God (divine providence) brought things together to show their need of salvation or for equipping them for His service.
This doctrine, is referred to many times throughout Scripture. There are several points we probably should examine. The basic thing here is that MAN DOES NOT CHOOSE TO SERVE AND OBEY GOD. Man, because of the fall, is totally depraved. Man's nature now is in total rebellion against his God and this leaves him absolutely incapable of seeking after God. Man just sees no need to seek after God.
3. What does the apostle Paul say about this ability to seek
after God, Rom. 3:9-19?
Paul's exposure of man's basic nature is a quote from Ps. 14. Paul uses it to prove that even the Jews did NOT have the ability to choose God. Even Abraham did not choose God. God chose him and called him out by name from the heathen around him.
This is a "hard saying" and the rebellious nature of man will FIGHT against this also. Man likes to think that he has the choice to control his own destiny. All the law and the prophets, as well as our Lord and Paul, say quite the contrary. Left on his own, and apart from God, man will destroy himself, Rom. 3:22.
Some would say, "How about the free will of man". First, we cannot speak in absolutes. Only God is absolute. Second, we wonder how many people were able to choose which parents to be born to, what circumstances to grow up in, what natural abilities to have or even how tall to be, Matt. 6:27? Third, who is whose servant? Is man the servant of God or is God the servant of man? Does God do mens biddings, or man God's? Is God for the glory of man or is man for the glory of God?
4. Who made the choice in Jn. 15:16? _________________________________________________
Moses clearly gives the reason why they had not been able to go in before now. Of course, we know from Heb. 4 why God would not take them in before this time. This was to be a picture of the rest in Jesus Christ for the many generations of God's people yet to come, I Cor. 10:11.
We are able to trace this blindness from God upon these people throughout Scripture. Follow through Ezek. 12:2; Matt. 13:14; Jn. 8:43; Rom. 11:8.
5. Who was this blindness from?
a. Why was this blindness there, Acts 28:25-28? ______________________________________
Rom. 11:11 points out that their blindness was not permanent. The "Jews" can enter into the ranks of the redeemed the same way as everyone else. This was a devastating message to the Jews who were so proud of their heritage. Their nationality meant nothing. The Gentile no longer needed to become a "Jew" in order to be an heir to the blessing given to Abraham, Gal. 3:29.
Deut. 29:4 is a doctrine which men do not like at all. Deut. 29:4 shows us that it is all of God and man just doesn't like to admit this. Man desires to believe it is his decision and choice. No matter how good a person may be, or how religious, they cannot seek after God unless God gives them HIS FREE GRACE to do so.
No doubt this will cause some to fit us into their definition of what we are. We really don't know any way around Ps. 14 and Paul's use of it in Rom. 3:9-19. To say anything less than every&SHY;thing is the result of a Sovereign God's free grace is to say that man has inborn ability or spark of good which enables him to seek after God. This we cannot find taught in the holy Scriptures. Maybe others can, but what will they do with passages like Deut. 29:4, Ps. 14 and a hundreds more like them? What about John 6:37- 44 and chapter 10? We see no way to avoid or to explain away the teachings of these passages in this area.
Really, this message of the grace of God is absolutely the greatest message of Scripture (biblicalexaminer.org, "Grace"); God working in mankind to give the will and the ability to do His good pleasure, Ph. 2:13.
Let's close this lesson with an extensive quote taken from C. H. Spurgeon's booklet, "Election" (Gospel Mission Press. P.O. Box M Choteau, Montana 59422. Pgs. 4- 6):
"It is no novelty, then, that I am preaching no new doctrine. I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines, that are called by nickname Calvinsim, but which are surely and verily the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus. By this truth I make a pilgrimage into the past, and as I go, I see father after father, confessor after confessor, martyr after martyr, standing up to shake hands with me. Were I a Pelagian, or a believer in the doctrine of free-will, I should have to walk for centuries all alone. Here and there a heretic, of no very honorable character, might rise up and call me brother. But taking these things to be the standard of my faith, I see the land of the ancients peopled with my brethren; I behold multitudes who confess the same as I do, and acknowledge that this is the religion of God's own church.
I also give you an extract from the old Baptist confession. We are Baptists in this congrega&SHY;tion -- the greater part of us at any rate -- and we like to see what our own forefathers wrote. Some two hundred years ago the Baptists assembled together, and published their articles of faith, to put an end to certain reports against their orthodoxy which had gone forth to the world. I turn to this old book -- and I find the following as the
"3d Article: By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated, or foreordained to eternal life through Jesus Christ, to the praise of his glorious grace; others being left to act in their sins to their just condemnation, to the praise of his glorious justice. These angels and men thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it can not be either increased or diminished. Those of mankind that are predestinated to life, God, before the founda&SHY;tion of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving him thereunto."
As for these human authorities, I care not one rush for all three of them [he had covered other sources]. I care not what they say, pro or con, as to this doctrine. I have only used them as a kind of confirmation to your faith to show you that whilst I may be railed upon as a heretic and as a hyper-Calvinist, after all, I am backed up by antiquity.
If a handful of us stand alone in an unflinching maintenance of the sovereignty of our God, if we are beset by enemies, aye, and even by our own brethren, who ought to be our friends and hel&SHY;pers, it matters not, if we can but count upon the past; the noble army of martyrs, the glorious host of confessors are our friends; the witnesses of truth stand by us. With these for us, we will not say that we stand alone: but we may exclaim, "Lo, God hath reserved unto himself seven thousand that have not bowed the knee unto Baal!" But the best of all is, God is with us.
The great truth is always the Bible, and the Bible alone. My hearers, you do not believe in any other book than the Bible, do you? If I could prove this from all the books in Christendom; if I could fetch back the Alexandrian library,and prove it thence, you would not believe it any more; but you surely will believe what is in God's word".
(Let us add, he referred to "The London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, freely available from Chapel Library.)