The Biblical Examiner
An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand

August 1992



1) Experience & Tokens
2) Victorious Faith


Experience & Tokens

Experience Oriented Religion

Exodus 3:12

     Every Sunday School child knows about the life and times of Moses, so we will not spend any time "bringing him to the bush." Before we look at the Lord's command in v. 12, let us mention a few things starting with Moses' first doubt, v. 11 (although we should probably call the 5 responses, Moses' concerns).

     The once mighty prince of Egypt, Pharaoh's adopted grandson who 40 years earlier had the world by the tail, has been stripped of all self-confidence. He properly answers God's call from the bush with humility when he says, Who am I, that I should go... Forty years previous his strength had been his weakness; he sought to deliver Israel on his own. Now his weakness is his strength; he realizes that he has no strength to confront Pharaoh. His self-esteem and self-confidence are gone, replaced by nothing at this point. The Lord must now rebuild his confidence, which He will do here at the bush.

     His failed attempt forty years previous was probably still vivid in his mind, how he killed the man, how Israel tuned against him and how he speedily departed from the wrath of the king of Egypt. Therefore, Moses offers 4 reasons (and one refusal) for not wanting to return based on a genuine fear of returning rather than rebellion against the will of God. His self-confidence had been intentionally and completely devastated by the Lord; accordingly, he lacks the confidence that he can do the task.

     As we look at the Lord's answers, it is apparent that the answers are designed to build Moses' confidence in the power and ability of the Lord to use him: "This is what I can and will do through you," the Lord tells Moses.

     No doubt this is why Moses is second only to Christ (Paul ranked in here also) as the most powerful man to ever walk on this earth. Moses' self-confidence is totally gone, so before he would agree to go back to Egypt, the Lord had to convince him that He [the Lord] would work through him, and that Moses could do the job. Only one time did Moses lose this attitude of total confidence in the Lord working through him to accomplish the promise to Abraham. That one time at the rock cost him his entrance into Canaan.

     Moses left this location of the bush still a broken man (and remained a broken man except for the one instance), but he left with the confidence that the Lord would do as He said He would.

     There are two applications so obvious that they hardly need mentioning (and which we will deal with in the second half of this essay). First, our self-confidence must be dealt with. It is when we are confident that we can do nothing that the Lord can work mightily through us. If that self-confidence is allowed to surface, it will cost us our promise of peace and power in Christ. Thus, the more our self-confidence is destroyed, the more the Lord can use us. Second, it is not enough to destroy one's self-confidence, but it must be replaced by confidence in what can be done through Christ that strengtheneth us. Without this replacement of confidence in the power of Christ, a person will be a powerless wimp. Thus, a primary purpose of the spiritual leader is to build confidence in the people of God. This is done through the word of God.

     Also, look at what was required to destroy Moses' self confidence; the more self-confidence one has, the more difficult its striping away. Even though the Lord knew that His one simple command to Moses would not be enough to convince him to return to Egypt, we will examine the two major points in the original command: I) Certainly I will be with thee.., - Experience Oriented Religion and II) this shall be a token.. - Faithful service to the Lord.

     Under the first division we have these two main points:

     A) Moses was to be in the forefront, but behind him was the Almighty God of heaven and earth. Therefore, "Would the children of Israel know that he was a servant, not a master?" The invisible Christ uses visible men who may or may not be subject to Himself. The Sovereign God of the universe uses whom He will, when He will, with or without their consent, although it is much better for the man that he be subject to the Lord (cf., Dan 4:35). God's will will be accomplished, Psalms 76:10.

     B) Moses' experience at the bush was to equip him for service, hard work, and an extremely difficult task. God's emphasis is on the work Moses is called to do, not on the call to do that work. Moses does not dwell on his burning-bush experience; he never mentions it again because he is too busy with the task to which he has been called. Moses' experience at the bush was unique; imagine speaking to God face to face! But notice that his call is not to return to Egypt and tell about his experience at the bush, nor is it to gather an army of Israelites against Egypt; rather, his call is to take the command word of God to the place where God sends him, his call is to bring God's people to freedom under God.

     Observe: Man is called to a task: the task of setting people free through the applied word of God. Moses' responsibility was to speak God's command-word to the covenant people and to Pharaoh; God's responsibility was to free the people (who didn't especially want to be totally delivered from Egypt). Moses' call and responsibility was not to spread abroad his experience at the bush.

     We can draw three conclusions from the above:

     First, all our effort must be placed in doing what God has called us to do - WORK. Clearly it is much easier to tell people about a burning-bush experience because it does not offend people nor make them mad. In addition, many desire a similar burning-bush experience because it requires no hard work, study, and discipline on the part of either the speaker or hearer. Sadly, because study, work, and personal communion with God are not required when emphasizing "personal testimonies" about burning-bush experiences, false doctrine is able to reign supreme. Also notice that it was impossible for Moses' burning-bush experience to set others free, or God would have told him to tell Israel about his burning-bush experience. Freedom came as the Lord of the bush moved in response to Moses delivering His command-word to Pharaoh and to Israel.

     Observe: It is evident that the enemy will gladly give a near perfect imitation of a genuine burning-bush experience if it will encourage its recipient to broadcast that experience; he will do anything to prevent the law-word of God from being delivered to whomever needs it, ie., the king and God's people.

     Second, Moses told the words of the Lord and showed the signs to Aaron and to the elders, but not to his father in law, 4:18, 28, 30. Did he actually tell of the bush? Regardless, it is obvious that Moses only told what was necessary only to those who needed to know. Moses had clear instructions from the Lord; he had withstood the Lord as long as possible and lost. Therefore, he asks only permission from his authority (he was working for Jethro) to go check on his people's welfare.

     Observe: Only those who need to know need to know; therefore, beware of those who major on personal experiences at the "bush." There may be times when others need to know all the facts, but those times are few and far between. The emphasis must be on hearing, doing, and applying the command word of God if we expect to see the hand of God move in the hearts of God's people and in the hearts of God's enemies. It is God's word, not our experiences, which brings conviction and produces results. Let us summarize: A) it is impossible for an experience-oriented religion to free people from bondage, for freedom only comes from knowing and applying the truth, John 8:32; B) it is obvious that we must avoid experience-oriented religions if we desire to see people freed from bondage; and C) experience-oriented religions encourage the angel of light to give false experiences. Ask yourself this question: "If the Spirit of God works the knowledge of sin and faith only by hearing the law-word of God proclaimed (Rom 3:20; 10:17, &c.), who is at work when experience is exalted over the law-word of God?"

     Now a third conclusion from Moses' burning-bush experience: Moses' call was the most unique in all history, but has God only one method of working in revealing His will to man? (J. Parker) I think not! God's call may be through others, His word, circumstances, &c. The important thing is that we walk according to His Divine call upon our lives. We must be constantly on guard that we have not departed from His call, thereby walking according to our own call; are not walking ahead of His call; and are not refusing to walk according to His call. Is our call of God? Are we walking and working according to His call?

     The law of Faith brings victory

     The other major point to develop from v. 12, And this shall be a token.. Notice the wording: When thou hast brought.. & ye shall serve.. Moses is given one token of the Lord's presence based upon the promise that he will successfully bring Israel out of Egypt; the token is that he [Moses] will serve God upon Mount Herob (Sinai).

     We will divide v. 12b, into two parts: Israel's promised deliverance, then Moses' service, or the token of the Lord's presence. Notice Israel's promised deliverance:

     Moses was to obey the Lord because of God's promises. Jehovah God told Moses that the sign of His presence would be the fulfillment of the promised deliverance; the people would be released from their bondage and they would return to the mountain where the bush was located. By faith that the Lord would deliver His people, Moses was to do all that was required of him. Therefore, faithlessness refuses to act upon God's future promised victory. But Moses' problem was not faithlessness in this sense of the word; rather, his self-confidence had been intentionally and totally destroyed by God.

     Observe: The Lord operates according to His law of faith. We live in a faithless generation of men who believe not that the Lord is capable of releasing His people from the oppression of our day, resulting in a powerless Christianity which leaves God's people in the clutches of Egypt. This law of faith is consistent with our Lord's command to step out by faith, confident of His presence, Matthew 28:18, 19 (cf. Heb 11).

     Moses cannot go back and do his job without faith that the Lord God will deliver His people from Egypt's bondage into freedom and Canaan; for this reason, the Lord builds his faith, v. 13 to 4:17.

     The destruction of SELF-Wrong Faith, ie., self-confidence.

     It is interesting that Moses, while still in Egypt, had plenty of faith that the Lord would use him to deliver the covenant people from bondage, Acts 7:25. Unfortunately, rather than Moses' faith being in the Lord, he had faith in his own abilities. The contrast between Moses 40 years earlier and at the bush is striking; now at the bush the Lord must convince Moses that he can accomplish what he had earlier failed to do in his own strength. Moses' sincere answer in 3:11, Who am I, reveals that all his self-confidence has been destroyed.

     We will not go through the exchange between Moses and the Lord at the bush at this time; rather, we will skip on down to Moses' departure from the bush, Exodus 4:18, and Moses went.. As we look at Moses' response to the Lord's words, we see that Moses' basic problem was that his self-confidence had been destroyed and the Lord had to build confidence in Himself.

     We can imagine how Moses must have felt (a poor choice of words) at this point: "OK Lord, if I have to, I have to. But all I am going to do is speak to Aaron. You will have to speak to me; he will have to speak for me." Moses departs with the knowledge and assurance that he is only a channel for the Lord to deliver His message and signs through.

     Accordingly, God turns Moses' weakness and fear into two significant strong points. First, God sends both Aaron and Moses to Egypt, providing the required two witnesses concerning any fact and the added strength of two people. Second, Moses yields to God with absolutely no self-confidence. All of his confidence is in the Lord speaking to him and Aaron speaking for him; he has nothing of himself to add or take away from what the Lord will teach him. No doubt we cannot imagine the emptiness of self-confidence with which Moses departs the bush. Cf. Gal 6:3; Phl 3.

     Observe: The more we can be emptied of self-confidence, the more the Lord can use us. First, notice that it is the Spirit of Christ working in us which must strip away all self-confidence. Second, notice 4:14 does not say and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and he said, "OK Moses, if that's the way you feel about it, then I will find someone else." Indeed, Moses' fear of not saying the right thing or that the people would not listen to him is the very thing that caused him to depend totally upon the Lord making him the meekest of men.

     Also, notice the situation with the circumcision of Moses' son. Moses departs for Egypt with two sons, 4:20. One son, evidently the youngest, was uncircumcised, v. 25. From the time of Abraham, the rite of circumcision was the outward sign of faith in the covenant-promise of God. When the covenant people fell into faithlessness, they also departed from the rite of circumcision (Ex 12:48). Moses' circumcision of his first-born implies that he at one time had had faith that he would go back and deliver the people. But as time went on, and on, and on, he lost his hope; therefore, he failed to circumcise his second-born son. Did he, in his opinion, reach the point of no return? He is 80! What can he do now? Did his dream evaporate as water in the desert by the fear that he was alone and forsaken by God and man? He had become at home and content in a Midian. Has his big plans been dashed to pieces causing him to think, "Why circumcise this son? I circumcised the oldest in the hope that the Lord would fulfill His covenant, but He hasn't. It has been many years, and He has forgotten all about me. And besides, I killed a man and the king will kill me if I try to go back. Since I am not going back, there is no need to circumcise the youngest." Moses' failure to circumcise his youngest son indicates that, in the solitude of the wilderness, he lost his confidence that he would ever do anything for the Lord. Furthermore, he failed to circumcise his son before he left Midian, 4:18.

     [T]he second [son] he called Eliezer, "my God is help" (xviii. 4). Banished to a strange land, far from his brethren and the land of promise, Moses longs for his real home. Yet this feeling issues not in despondency, far less in disbelief or distrust. On the contrary, "the peaceable fruits of righteousness," springing from the "chastening" of God of my fathers," said he, "is mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh." The self-confidence and carnal zeal manifest in his early attempt to deliver his brethren in Egypt have been quenched in the land of his banishment, and in the school of sorrow. And the result of all he has suffered and learned has been absolute trustfulness in the God of his fathers, and the God of the promise, Who would surely fulfil His word. Edersheim, pg. 44."

     Observe these two points while we are here: 1) Hopelessness on our part that God will ever do anything for or through us is no excuse for not presently obeying the law-word of God; our obedient faith in God's word must be kept alive, although self-confident faith must die. 2) Notice that when the Lord gave the details to Moses for going back to Egypt, He made no mention of Moses circumcising the son, 4:19-23. The Lord placed the responsibility for obedience to His commands upon Moses, so there was no need for Him to speak to Moses about circumcision; in fact, the Lord was going to kill Moses for not fulfilling his responsibility. How many times have we heard people say concerning an obvious law of God, "I will do that if the Lord speaks to me about it?" The Lord did not speak to Moses telling him to obey, yet He is going to kill him if he did not obey, v. 24.

     The Self-Confidence Gospel

     Moses' self-confidence is destroyed; the Lord can now use him in a mighty way.

     Observe: The self-confidence which Moses had 40 years previously could not set the people free, nor can self-confidence free God's people today. "Christian" and pagan humanists are spending billions of dollars trying to build self-confidence in every person possible. They desire to mold people into the image of Moses before he had to flee or into the image of Paul before he wrote Philippians 3. The intent is evident: convince people that they can do all things. Godless self-confidence and self-help programs build confidence and pride in one's birth, race, education, works, abilities, &c. Rather than building self-confidence, the Spirit of God must destroy it before one can be used of the Lord. Furthermore, it is the spiritual leader's responsibility to build confidence in God's people; not confidence that they can do anything, but rather confidence that the Spirit of Christ working through them can do all things, Deuteronomy 20:1-4. Do we fulfill this responsibility?

     Philippians 4:13 & 19.

     I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me, must be kept within the context of Scripture (Ph 4:13). In his letter to the Philippians, Paul had previously emphasized the necessity of God working in His people to give them both the desire and the power to do His perfect will, 2:13. In chapter 3, he stood hard against any and all confidence in the flesh, and for seeking the mind of Christ. In chapter 4, he presented the necessity of keeping the body and mind under the control of the Spirit of God according to the word of God at all times. Only after firmly establishing 3 1/2 chapters of foundation does he say, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

     Not only did the man Paul fit the same pattern as did Moses (ie. stripped of all self-confidence before the Lord could use him), but he taught the message that required Moses 40 years to learn: the absolute requirement that every child of God must lay aside all self-confidence if they desire the power of God to do God's word (work). On the other hand, the pagan and Christianized humanists of our day seek to build the very confidence which God had to destroy in both Moses and Paul. God worked mightily through both in providing redemption and deliverance for others, but only after their confidence in the flesh was devastated. Paul's marvelous statement in Ph 4:13, is a result of the devastation of his self-confidence.

     Furthermore, the promise of God's supply of all our needs (4:19) is conditioned upon the destruction of self-confidence, and that self-confidence replaced by dependance upon the Spirit of Christ to do HIS good pleasure.

     I recently heard an immensely popular radio speaker say that his ministry is now on over 1850 radio stations in the US. In addition, he just went on 2500 radio stations in the former Soviet Union. The striking thing about this radio speaker is that he is the primary promoter of the gospel of SELF: self-esteem and self-confidence. Would it be feasible that the enemy knows the destructiveness of the gospel of SELF, and, accordingly, opens the door for the SELF gospel to spread?

     We would be fools to think that the enemy of God knows not how the law of God works and how to use it against God's people. The enemy is at least as smart today as he was 3000 years ago when he advised Balak how to work on the inside to destroy God's people. What would happen if he could get the whole Christian world to follow after his SELF gospel? But we also know that God used Balaam to bring judgment upon the ones who had Baalpeor in their heart. If they had not Baalpeor in their heart, they would not have rushed to him. The result of the experience with Baalpeor was the destruction of the adulterers from among God's covenant people, the revealing of the ones who were zealous for the law of the Lord, and the vexing of the enemies of God (Num 25). [Circumstances do not make us what we are, they reveal what we are; therefore, circumstances are today revealing the SELF love among God's people.]

     In other words, the Lord will use this modern false gospel of SELF to judge the evil hearts of His people and to bring in His righteousness. Even though the many false gospels of our day are being presented and accepted by multitudes of people, they fit into the Lord's plan and purpose.

     [Personal note: Although I find it hard to believe that the Soviets would allow anything which might threaten their 75 year hold on the people, if "reforms" continue to take place for the next 10 or so years (lay hands suddenly on no man), we can believe that this new religious freedom is real.]

     As I talk with likeminded individuals, we find a common ground: most people would do far differently if they were properly instructed. The false shepherds promoting their SELF gospel have abundant funds to lead people astray, yet those with the ability and desire to change direction have not the funds. We have found this remarkably true in our county. If we had the funds to consistently proclaim the truth of what is taking place, we could control our county for righteousness. We cannot get around it, the Lord's hand is stretched out in judgment as He withholds funds from those who could turn things around.

     Among other things, paganized Christianity seeks to claim Philippians 4:13 & 19, apart from dealing with the flesh and self-confidence as described by Paul in the preceding laws and precepts of Philippians.

     So what can we do in the face of what we see going on around us? Romans 10:17, faith commeth by hearing and hearing by the word of God. We must continue to faithfully proclaim the total of God's law-word. He is the One Who must move in the hearts of mankind and destroy the gospel of SELF as He did for Moses.

     [The account of the circumcision of Moses' son in Ex 4:25, raises a difficult question: which son was this, Eliezer or Gershom? Edersheim identifies this son as Gershom, "of course." But note these reasons to believe that it was the second son, Eliezer: 1) Would Moses circumcise the second son and not go back and circumcise the first in obedience to God if his hope in the Lord, reflected in the name Eliezer [my God is help], had been renewed? 2) The reason Moses named the second son Eliezer is given: for the God of my father was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh. In other words, the reason Moses named this second son "My God is an help" was because he realized that God was the one who delivered him from the sword of Pharaoh, not because he had a strong confidence in the covenant-promise of God. 3) Moses' reluctance at the bush shows us that he had no hope. Whenever God's people laid aside their faith in the covenant, they also laid aside the rite of circumcision. 4) Finally, observe the problem with the fallen nature. At the beginning, confidence is strong but dwindles to nothing without intervention by the Spirit. The Lord did not intervene in Moses until the bush.]

     Godly Service

     The second part of v. 12, is the promised token: ye [Moses] shall serve God.. Where? upon this mountain. When we find what Moses did upon this mountain when he returned with the nation of Israel, we will know what God defines as service to Himself. (Although ye could refer to Moses and the people, we will use ye as a direct reference to Moses for two reasons: the people were never permitted to ascend into the mountain, Ex 19:23, and because of the NT references.) The mountain where Moses is going to serve God is identified as Mount Herob in Exodus 3:1. After Moses returns with the nation of about 3 million people which the Lord sent him after, the same mountain is called Mount Sinai, Exodus 19:1. Moses parks them at the foot of the mountain, and according to the promise that he will serve God upon this mountain, he ascends the mountain where the Lord originally spoke to him, 19:3. The Lord again calls unto Moses out of the mountain to give him further instruction, 19:3-6.

     Moses' service to the Lord is to speak to God's people for God, v. 3. The words he is to speak are in vs. 4-6. Basically Moses is commanded to remind them of their marvelous redemption from Egypt by God; that He chose them out of all the earth, all the earth is mine; and the purpose of His choosing of them, ie. to be a kingdom of priests and an holy nation. The purpose of God contains an if - then, or a covenant, v. 5; the agreement is that if they will obey His voice and keep the terms of His covenant, then ye shall be.. In other words, Moses is to serve God by telling the newly redeemed people of God that the Lord redeemed them, the purpose of their redemption, and the LORD's conditions (the terms of the covenant) upon their being a peculiar treasure, a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation unto Himself. They inherited the then part of the covenant not by their redemption but by their fulfillment of the if part. (Cf. Ex 34:28; Le 26:15; De 9:9, 11, 15; 29:1ff; Isa 43:6 & 49:8 - Christ; He 8, the new covenant is better because the law of God is now written on the heart by the Spirit, not on stone as under Moses, 2 Cor 3.)


     Therefore, it is obvious that Moses' service to the Lord is to deliver the terms of the covenant, ie. God's law-word, to the newly redeemed people of God so they can hear, understand and do it. As they fulfilled their conditions of the covenant, then they would become a peculiar treasure, a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation unto the Lord God Who delivered them from bondage.

     Peter's quote of Exodus 19:5b & 6, is significant because it is the then part of the covenant given to Moses. 1 Peter 2:5, 9, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, [God has, by His marvelous grace and mercy, chosen and redeemed you above all the people of the earth; therefore, if you will obey His voice and keep His covenant, then ye shall be] an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ... But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: [Cf. Titus 2:14. We can be assured that those to whom Peter & Paul spoke knew the reference; knowing the reference, they also knew the if-then conditions which were already established by the law. Therefore, neither 1 Peter 2:5, 9, nor Titus 2:14, can stand alone without wresting them from their OT context; they must both be accepted with the if part of the covenant or God's word is violently destroyed. Furthermore, note that Christ, when asked Which is the first commandment of all, quoted the if part of the covenant between God and His people, Mk 12:30 & Deut 11:13, 14 (10:12, 13). Clearly, Christ applied the covenant to all of God's people of all time, cf, Gal 6:15, 16.]

     There was no written law code of the covenant yet which spelled out the if side of the agreement, so Moses must receive the if ye will obey part of law code before he can deliver it. In other words, Moses' service to the Lord was to deliver the law of God to God's people which the Lord would then use to make a holy people for himself.

     As we read from Moses on through the Scripture, we will find that the primary service to the Lord of every man of God is the same as Moses', ie. deliver the law of God to God's people so He can make of them a holy nation unto Himself. The farther the man of God departs from this service the farther he departs from being a servant of God in the area of his calling. It is the washing of the water of the word which cleanses a people for the Lord, Ephesians 5:26; furthermore, the purpose of the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors-teachers is to teach and apply the law of God for the people of God until we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, Ephesians 4:11-13. If the spiritual leaders do not fulfill their responsibility, then God's people will remain children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, v. 14. (Not that it is the law of God which cleanses, Ps 119:9-16, 142 &c.)

     Moses' had a token of the Lord's presence, ie. he would serve God upon this mountain. Upon his return, Moses served God by delivering all the counsel of God to the people of God. The token of the Lord's presence for the men of God down through the ages is the same as Moses': delivering the whole counsel of God to God's people. Anything less is not service to the God of the Scriptures (cf., Acts 20:17-27).


Victorious Faith

     We live in a in a tumultuous time of history. The word of God has not only clearly delineated the way to victory amid all the turmoil, faith, but has given us examples for our encouragement.

     Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

     Christ, the author and finisher of faith, completed His work by faith; His faith in His final victory over death caused Him to be faithful to the will of the Father; His faith caused Him to endure the cross, despise the shame.. which was involved in obedience to the Father. (He lightly regarded the shame that was involved in the cross because of what lay before Him: the joy of His exaltation to the right hand of the throne of God.)

     God of the futhure.

     We must remember that the everlasting God is also the God of the Future: God Who appeared in the Garden to Adam, Who appeared to Noah both before and after the flood, Who appeared to Abraham and Who appeared to Joseph, was the God of promise (Gen 50:24). In fact, the God of Hebrews 11, the "Faith Chapter," is the God of promise. Notice Hebrews 11 is followed by chapter 12:2, Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, was a faithful high priest because of a promise.

     In other words, faith must be defined as hope in the future: the future will hold the fulfillment of God's promises. Therefore, to limit the Lord to the present is anti-Christian, for the Christian God is the God of the FUTURE. Notice the many things from Hebrews 12 which are based upon faith that the future, both immediate and distant, is controlled by Divine Providence:

     1) v. 3, faith provides strength to endure: without faith one will grow weary and faint in his mind.

     2) v. 4, faithlessness results in an inability to resist and stand against sin.

     3) v. 5, faithlessness results in faintness in the chastening of the Lord.

     4) vs. 6-12, faith strengthens the individual in the Lord's chastening. Note that only by faith do we understand that the chastening of the Lord is for our future good: that we might be partakers of his holiness. Faith looks past the present chastening to the resulting peaceable fruits of righteousness. (Cf. v. 6, Rom 8:28.)

     5) v. 13, faith straightens our path and heals the lame because the lame will wander from the "straight and narrow."

     6) v. 14, faith leads to peace (and holiness) with all men (except, of course, those who are against God's law, Pro 28:4).

     7) vs. 15-18, faith is God's condition for His grace which enables one to turn from the lusts of the flesh and the profane things of this world. Faith results in holiness, without which no man shall see God.

     8) vs. 19-26, faith looks to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant. Faith will not refuse to obey the words spoken by the Lord from the new city of the living God, the church, as Israel refused to obey the words spoken from the mount.

     9) v. 27, faith will not be shaken as the kingdoms of men around us, built without Christ and His law-word, shake so hard that they collapse.

     10) v. 28, faith provides the grace to serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

     The first promise given to Adam was of future victory to the obedient people of God; every promise, including the promise of the Father to the Son, was of future victory to the obedient people of God. Without this faith in the God of the future, it is impossible to please God.

     Source of Strength

     Our strength to stand comes from faith in the future victory of our Lord over all the opposition of the enemy. Without faith in the covenant-promise, Christianity loses its strength to stand against the evils of our day. The so called faith of our day which has no hope in the future is no faith at all.

     Is it any wonder that the above mentioned hopelessness has overtaken the church? Obviously, sin will not be purged until faithlessness is purged.

     Pastor Ovid Need.

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