|On-Line Bible Lessons|
As we saw last time, Moses was left with three final responsibilities. First, write the book, then transfer leadership to Joshua and the third, compose a song and teach it to the people. The purpose of the song being for a testimony against them when they went into sin. Chapter 32 gives us this song.
We might mention with Joshua. The indication is that Joshua did not know he would be the one to take Moses' place until after the forty years wandering. Joshua was just faithfully doing what was required of him by his authority, Moses. He was a faithful minister of Moses, Joshua 1:1, and God raised him up. It's safe to say that the person who seeks a position will probably find it, but Scriptures teach us that it won't be of God. We need to be content with the "room" God has placed us in as we faithfully obey Him and let Him do any moving or lifting up, Lk. 14:8- 11; Jn. 12:24-26. It is only as persons humble themselves before God, quit seeking what they want to do, and do their very best where God has them that they can expect God to exalt them, I Pet. 5:5-7.
1. What is the number one requirement placed upon a Christian
if they expect God to lift them up, I Pet. 5:6a?
This attitude is almost unheard of today among Christian circles. The feeling today would be, "Joshua, you had better submit your qualifications to Moses and butter him up if you want that position." No doubt Joshua exemplified the attitude of I Pet. 5:6. Joshua 1:9 shows us that Joshua did not feel qualified to do what God had now exalted him to do and the Lord tells him, "Don't worry, I am the One Who has placed you here. You do what I have instructed through Moses and you will succeed in all I have given you to do."
2. How did Paul consider his qualifications, Ph. 3:10-14? ____________________________
a. What was the result, Ph. 3:10-14?
Ph. 4:13 would be an easy statement for someone like us with very little, if any, human qualifications, yet they see God work through them. But this is not the case with Paul. Ph. 4:13 is written by a man who had reached the very peak of worldly wisdom and understanding. This is written by the man who wrote Ph. 3:1-6 and had it all. Is it any wonder that Paul could write so much about the grace of God? It was only by God's grace that he was able to lay all of his worldly attainment and acclaim aside, Ph. 3:7.
No doubt Ph. 4:13 (as is I Cor. 2:1-5) is a much more difficult place to reach for a person of Paul's stature in men's eyes. Yet it must be reached by EVERY PERSON who desires that God use them.
b. What is the result of being able to do as Paul did and lay
aside any human ability, I Cor. 2:4, 5?
We see the attitude which is required for God to use a person, Joshua being our example. Let's move on into the song which Moses composed and taught the people.
In this song, Moses is looking ahead. He covers the total history of the Hebrew race right up to its judgment and destruction after Christ. Really, Moses here is speaking not to his present generation, but to the future generation as a prophet. This song sounds as though they are al&SHY;ready in the land, fat, prosperous and lifted up with pride. There are a few high points which we would like to look at. Almost everything He covers here has already been discussed.
In this song Moses will contrast the unchanging faithfulness
of Jehovah God with a sinful people who are hot one day and cold
the next -- almost a perfect description of much of Chris&SHY;tianity
today, Rev. 3:15-17.
He starts by calling heaven and earth as his witnesses against the sins of the people. Remember, this is written to His people, not to the heathen, v. 9, etc.. Also, we see heaven and earth as witnesses. Here we could have two things. First, the word of God from heaven condemns sin and, second, even nature rises up in rebellion against the sins of men as we have already seen.
A good application here of v. 2 would be our Lord as He came down from heaven as a living illustration of the doctrine of Moses. Not only did He come down from heaven to live this doctrine among men, but He also sent the Holy Spirit down to live in men enabling them to live Moses' doctrine, Jn. 5:43-47; 7:28, 29; 16:13-14.
V. 4. Here we see a key word of this song. We could call this song "An Ode To the Rock". This would be true "ROCK MUSIC". The devil doesn't have anything new. He takes what God already has and corrupts it. Let us emphasize here, a parent who allows their children to listen to the devil's "rock" are cutting their own throats and destroying their ownselves. They are allowing their hope for the future to be destroyed. No matter how loud they proclaim their love for their children, what they allow them to do proclaims the truth. Their professed love for God is just that, professed.
3. This v. 4 is a strong passage. How many times does Moses
refer to the Rock here in chp. 32?
a. Moses is referring to Gen. 49:24. What is another name for
this Rock back there?
Notice Gen. 29:24 and compare with Dan. 2:45. Here we see the Stone (Rock) showing up again. The significant thing here is that the Stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands smites the image, then grows to become a great mountain which fills the whole earth, 33-45. There is no break in time from the time the small Stone is cut out until it fills the whole earth. NT doctrine must fit within the framework which is already established in passages such as Daniel.
b. What does Moses say about the Rock, v. 4? _________________________________________
c. This is a reference to God's unchangeable faithfulness (to
His Word, we might add). If there is any thing taught about the
God of Scripture, what is it, Mal. 3:6?
This theme is carried on into the NT. Remember, the early church was a large percentage Hebrew or Jewish. All of the apostles lived before 70 A.D.. The new church started out of the old Jewish, Hebrew religion based in the Hebrew Scriptures. Therefore, the crowds which followed Christ were Jewish. The epistles were written to primarily Jewish groups. Every references to the OT by both Christ and the apostles would be identified by their hearers who knew the OT Scriptures very well.
4. Christ came upon the scene, and in His first major sermon pinned down the Rock, Matt. 7:24-25. How does one build upon the Rock, Matt. 7:24? _________________________________________
a. Going further, the apostle Paul said what about the Rock,
I Cor. 10:4?
Let us not suppose for a moment these folks didn't catch this.
This would have spoken im&SHY;mediately to the Hebrew hearers
of the Immutability (unchangeableness) of God. He is as firm as
the greatest of rocks, the majestic mountains. In fact, the picture
of this firmness of God goes further. The mountains will move,
and heaven and earth pass away before one Word of God changes.
The conclusion in this for us would be any doctrine which teaches
a changing God in any way is a very dangerous doctrine.(Lesson
Moses has emphasized the Rock and ITS stability. We will also see this emphasized in the Psalms, such as 31:3, 4 etc.. As the world goes crazy, it is all the more call for God's people to obey Him and claim the promises of His Word, hiding themselves in His Mountain, the Rock of our salvation.
5. Notice Deut. 32:27-29. What is the mark of a wise nation,
V. 29 (4:6)?
The natural man, when it comes to spiritual matters and making proper decisions is extremely short sighted.
6. What is contrasted with the stability of the Rock, Matt. 7:26?_____________________
7. What would the "spot" be which separates His people from the crooked and perverse generation, Deut. 32:5; Matt. 7:26; Ph. 2:12-16? __________________________________________________
We need to note the context of Moses and of what Paul uses in Ph. 2:15. Again, Moses' reference in his song is not to those outside of the nation Israel. Moses is chastising those among the nation who claim to be God's people, yet their "spot" doesn't prove it as they forsake their God, Lk. 6:44-49. This nation rejected the Son of God and God's vengeance fell upon them, Matt., chps. 22-24. Therefore, Moses is referring to those who claim to be part of the people of God, yet their lives show that they have turned their back upon Him.
All of that to say this. Paul's admonition in Ph. 2:15 is for God's people to be faithful even though those who claim to be God's people aren't. The "crooked and perverse nation" among whom we live and are to shine is the "crooked and perverse nation" of the "church", or those who claim to be Christians. They make that claim, yet live in a world of compromise of His authority over them. Both Deut. 32 (35, 36) and Heb. 10 (25-31) will confirm this.
As many of God's people today are finding out, it is from the professing "church" that the harshest attacks and pressure to compromise comes from. Those who have compromised are "the crooked and perverse." Vine's (pg. 852) confirms this as he gives the meaning of perverse: "to distort, twist; to turn aside or; literally, "turned aside,"" and gives Matt. 17:17 as a reference. Here our Lord called the disciples a perverse generation. Stronger, yet is another usage, Acts 20:30. We should read vv. 29-31, but let's only quote v. 30. As Paul prepares to depart, he gives a fine charge to the elders here at Ephesus. Notice what he says, "also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."
Look at what Paul says here. 1) He is addressing the elders of the church, v. 17. 2) He had preached to them the whole counsel of God as the Jews did all they could to withstand him, 19-20, 27. 3) His message was repentance and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, 21. 4) His basic mes&SHY;sage was, the kingdom of God, v. 25. 5) He now gives counsel to these elders to; a: take heed unto themselves; b: to all the flock which God has set them over; c: feed the church which God has purchased with His blood (this "feeding" being done with the Word of God, of course). The sixth thing Paul now does is give them a warning, v. 29. After Paul is gone, wolves will enter in to destroy the flock. They will speak things contrary to the gospel of the kingdom of God, con&SHY;trary to the Word of His grace, vv. 25, 32. They will draw disciples after them. This is exactly the warning of Peter, II Pet. 2:1-3. They will deny the authority of the Lord and His Word over them as they attempt to serve God the way they feel is best. The seventh thing here is v. 30. "Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." Even from among the elders who love God these perverse teachers will arise. Men who turn aside from the principles of God's Word for the benefit which is involved and "with feigned words" justify their covetousness, I Pet. 2:1-3.
Back to Ph. 2:15. In the context of both this passage and the concerns of its author, Paul, the "crooked and perverse nation" are those WITHIN the professed "church". Paul's call here is to those who are trying to serve their Lord and Savior, yet those around them who also claim to be His people are putting the pressure on them to compromise, even ridiculing them for their stand. (What do the unsaved say? " Dr. So and So is a Christian and he doesn't see it that way. What makes you think you are better than Dr. So and So?")
Is this not Moses song in Deut. 32:5? "They" is referring to those among the congregation. Their "spot," outward actions, do not confirm that they are submitted to God's authority over their every action. He calls these people within the congregation (not the Egyptians, nor the Canaanites) a perverse and crooked generation. He then calls their attention to the might of their God with "Remember--." Their God delivered them from the heathen around them, gave them an inheritance, took care of them "as the apple of his eye." He bore them on eagles wings, led them and they served Him. He performed great and mighty actions for them.
V. 15, but, His people waxed fat. They prospered and forsook their God which made them. They turned from their Rock which begat them and started serving strange gods. This provoked the Lord God to anger. Was this not the situation which our Lord found when He came? Those who He came to claimed to be God's people, yet they rejected their King as they cried out, "We will not have this man to reign over us, Lk. 19:14; Jn. 19:15." The people who had the vineyard cast out the owner's son and killed him; the owner slew the people and gave the vineyard to another nation who would deliver the fruit to the owner, Matt. 21:33-46.
Moses, in his song, Deut. 32:21, spoke of this taking place. Isaiah uses Moses' song as he pronounces judgment against this nation, chp. 65. Paul also reaches back and takes this in Rom. 10:19 as he referred to this foolish nation. Grafting the Gentiles into the Church, Titus 3:3; I Pet. 2:9.
CONCLUSION: This perverse and crooked generation which Moses refers to are those within the congregation who prospered and turned from God and His authority over them, His rule over them. Rather, they submitted to the false, empty gods and the Lord God's wrath came upon them.
This crooked and perverse nation which we live among are also those of the congregation of the Lord. Those who claim to be His, far too often prosper and wax fat. Now they deny His authority or rule over them for their every rule of life. Paul gives us our call. It is to let our light shine by doing His Word in the face of all that man might place upon us to hinder that obedience, especially the men of the "congregation", Matt. 5:16. The crooked and perverse genera&SHY;tion (within the church) who deny the authority of the Word of God over them will do their best to put out the light of those who are trying (by God's grace, Ph. 2:13) to keep their heart and ac&SHY;tions right toward their God. Our danger is from within.
Paul gives the instruction for those who are facing "persecution from the brethren" for their stand upon the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word, Ph. 2:16. "Holding forth the Word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain".
Let us stand firm upon His authority over us and over His church which HE BOUGHT WITH HIS BLOOD. Even if every "brother" in the world stands against us, our Lord remembers us and knows we are here. Let us not let the "crooked and perverse nation" which has compromised make our decisions for us. Let us stand firm upon His Inspired Word as our every rule of action. The Church (nor even our own body) is not ours to do with as seems best at the time. His Word directs us in every area, I Cor. 6:19-20.
We almost expect the world to attack and ridicule us for our stand. We expect them to break off "fellowship" with us for our stand. This is not where our danger is from. It is from within the "church". It is from those who claim to love God. When they attack, ridicule and yes, even break fellowship with us for our stand for God's Word and His sovereignty, here is where the real question arises in our mind, "Am I right?" We have been warned, so let's keep our eyes upon Him. Let us shine as lights in the midst of the crooked and perverse church of our day -- those of God's people who have turned from Him and His Word.