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Wednesday: The Toils and Struggles of Law Keepers — 15 Comments

  1. We often raise the issue of persecution in the context of being faithful. In fact I have even heard people express the idea that they wish they were being persecuted because they would then know that they were right with the Lord. There is no doubt that there have been times when the faithful have been persecuted and many have suffered and lost their lives as a result. And there is persecution today in some areas of the world, although we need to be careful how we describe it because much of it is on the basis of ethnic Christianity.

    For most of us, the difficulties we face are more along the line of loss of privilege than persecution. And I have seen some situations where folk have been unnecessarily provocative in asserting their right to religious freedom.

    The problem we face today is that we are ignored. We are tolerated but our message of Christianity is seen as an anachronistic hangover from the "good old days". I contend that we struggle to get our message out to a largely secular world. And, because we are ignored we become spiritually lazy.

    Now I do not have a grand plan for rectifying the situation - I am a traveller with my fellow Christians on this issue. However, in the context of the theme for this week, maybe we should do what Josiah the King of Judah did. His workers found the book of the law, The Torah and they read it to Josiah and he led a spiritual revival of the nation.

    Why do we read the Bible today?

    • I'd like to share a few of my favorite answers for your last question Maurice. Ps 1:1-3, Prov 2:1-5, Jer 15:16, John 5:39, 2 Tim 3:15-17.

  2. Maurice you raised a good point-
    'For most of us, the difficulties we face are more along the line of loss of privilege than persecution.' Can you explain when does loss of privilege tip over or moves over to persecution? Does all persecution leads to death? abandonment? This world with many of its industrialized countries has a long history of persecuting its people whether they are Christians or otherwise.

    Persecution means- hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race or political or religious beliefs. Persistent annoyance or harassment. In some cultures when you look, dress and believe like the common people you are treated differently. In the same culture, your generation can go back hundreds of years yet you are segregated against in every aspect because of your color, way of dress or texture of your hair. You are forced to live a certain place and attend school a certain place. Interest rates are higher for some than others. I must say, persecution to some differs from others but it is still persecution.

    • It is an interesting issue Lyn, and yes, the tipping point may be different for individuals. When we were doing our study on Daniel earlier I had a look at some of the persecution episodes throughout history. Although we like to focus on the persecution of Christians because of their faith, often the persecution was much wider than that. Persecution was used as a method of control. The real sin of the Papacy through the Dark Ages wasn't that they just persecuted Christians; they persecuted everyone, often including one another in order to impose and maintain their control.

      It is probably worth remembering that today we often use other methods to control people. And while the pain of the rack, burning at the stake, being drowned on a rising tide may not be used to control people's minds, the often subliminal effects of media manipulation and entertainment are achieving the same effect. They are influencing how we think. Just something to think about - in our modern secular world.

  3. Literal Israel
    Promise of God: Love & worship only the LORD and keep His commands and you will prosper
    Freedom: from slavery in Egypt
    Journey: through wilderness, learning lessons, completed
    Promised Land: Canaan, land of milk and honey
    Result: When the nation as a whole loved & worship the LORD only and kept His commands they prospered spiritually and materially

    Spiritual Israel
    Promise of Jesus: Love me and keep my words, believe in Me and you will have eternal life, in Me you will have peace in the world you will have trouble
    Freedom: from slavery to sin
    Journey: in this world of sin, learning, developing, still in progress
    Promised Land: a new heaven and earth where righteousness dwells with streets of gold
    Result: individually spiritually participate in the kingdom of grace now, looking forward to the Second Coming

    • Freedom from slavery to sin but not absolutely free because we become slave to righteousness and as slaves our Master takes credit to His glory any righteous act we do. Holy city with streets of gold is a myth or just a symbol of what God is preparing for the saved. It is beyond our imagination of what good place the Lord has prepared but one thing is sure as guaranteed and promised to the thief in the cross when He said: "today I promise you, you will be with me in paradise" (paradise restored) Just to be able to see the creator and be with Him in paradise would be an ultimate goal...

    • Shirly, this is a great way to compare the two Israels by using the same categories when depicting the 'effects' the spiritual relationship with the Father produces. I would also add 'false gods' to the Freedom category of literal Israel.
      Underlying both of them is the same crucial criteria - both require love, faith and trust in God.

      Without accepting by faith to live the true God's Way of Life, both - the literal Israel as well as the spiritual Israel cannot 'please' God without maintaining continuous love. Even after God's Love gave His Son Jesus Christ to the world(expanded Israel), testifying that we can trust God who is sovereign and holds authority over Life, the world(expanded Israel) continues to experience the same predicament as Literal Israel - spiritual darkness without faith in the 'God who saves'.

      'There is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but by Faith -trust and obedience!' This same condition which established a successful relationship with the Father in the Literal Israel is still applicable in today's Spiritual Israel - 'love and worship the LORD ONLY and keep HIS commandments' if you want to "prosper spiritually and materially", "participating in the kingdom of grace now, looking forward to the Second Coming."
      Thank you again, Shirley - your contribution has prompted my thoughts to contemplate this issue.

  4. In this lesson about the Law, as if we are putting too much weight, to much importance to the Law than the Gospel or Jesus himself to the point of almost worshiping the Law than the law-giver. No wonder adventists are often considered legalists. No one can absolutely obey the law and become sinless deserving heaven. For by grace are we saved through faith and that faith is not even yours but the gift of God. So we are not free from sin by obeying the Law but by having Christ living in us by the Holy Spirit giving us power to obey then we are slave to righteousness with God getting the credit to His glory and not to our credit. The law was given for our safety so we live at peace and in fairness with others and not for salvation...

    • To the law and to the testimonies; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isa 8:20

      Alvin A- you stated "to much importance to the Law than the Gospel or Jesus himself to the point of almost worshiping the Law than the law-giver. No wonder Adventists are often considered legalists."
      I was actually trying to think about anything; animate or inanimate things that a law/s does not govern. I searched high, and I search low, but cant find any. I looked at man's ways (government) or non government, the home, the community, the schools, airports, diseases, pandemics, etc, and nature and found out everything is governed by a law. Those laws if broken has a consequence. Without a law the society becomes lawless.
      God law is there for a reason and must be kept as he ordered.
      One writer spoke about driving in his country on one side of the road, he visited another and they drove on the other side. Can he say too much emphasis is placed on the law.
      Since creation and man sin, Gen 3:15 we see grace (unmerited favor) of a loving Savior. SINNERS WERE NOT ABONDONED TO THE RESULTS OF THE EVIL HE HAD CHOSEN. Humans were shown grace (unmerited favor) before he was exiled from the garden of Israel.
      Genesis 6:8 Noah found grace (unmerited favor) in the sight of God. Grace did not come only by Jesus in the NT. God's grace existed since in Genesis and throughout the OT. Ex Gen 12:3; 50:20; Ex 4:13. If grace was not since then, we would not have been alive today. The soul that sinneth shall surely die.

      The law is a transcript of Jesus character- A doctor writes a prescription on a legal piece of paper/electronic document and sends it to the pharmacy so a pharmacist can transcribe it and issue the medication to the patient. Just imagine if the pharmacist decides not to acknowledge what is written for the right type of drug, dose, amount, time of day, and patient. The pharmacist now get rid of it and change all the rules because he did not saw it was so important for the patient. The patient then died because of wrong everything that was transcribed to him by the pharmacist.
      The more we remember the law and speak about it, the more we see a Holy God who cares for us.

  5. Only if thou carefully hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all these commandments which I command thee this day. Deuter 15:5

    Wilderness Wondering
    Numbers 13-36
    Sis Shirley you touch of some good points, those points are like a speck on the icing of the cake. The icing is just an introduction to the cake. Literal Isreal spent approx 430 years in Egypt, at that time they had learned all the evil of the Egyptians and so was Moses.
    Their journey took 40 years instead of 40 days journey. Num 1:19 says 603,550 fighting men leave Egypt, after 40 years only 2, yes 2 of those fighting men cross over into the Promised land. All the others died in the wilderness because of sin of different sorts. Even the leaders- High Priest, priest, teachers, guides, etc. Does that say something to our spirit as we journey to the heavenly land? What the Lord says he meant, what he meant he says.

    The bible gave us clear instructions on how to live in this life. We struggle with the bible because we do not know the author of the bible and we do not understand his words. Within the Israelite camp were those who have (rich) and those who did not have (poor), similar to what we have in our churches today. In the Literal Israel camp, provision was made for the poor. Do we as an organization make any provision for the poor? We make provision for the 'Have'. Deuter 15:7-11 tells us explicitly how to deal with the poor amongst them. The poor shall never cease out of the land.
    The Toils and Struggles of Law Keepers
    Our Christian journey is compared to a boat in a storm. The storm is about to destroy the boat. What is our choice? to stay in the boat, or to jump overboard? Jesus is in the boat, will we stay with him or will we leave him. He said he will never leave us nor forsake us.

    Solution to the problem- sometimes I want to help the entire world but I can't so I try to do what I can as the Lord laid on my heart. We are stewards, it does not belong to us. If we all can reach one, Jesus' name will be exalted among the heathen.

    What I have done- the bible tells us Hezekiah prospered because he sought the Lord with all that he had. He took the letter to the wise men who walked with God and the prophet. They went into the temple and prayed for help. I too pray for help in all my situations, I gave thanks for the little things of life to the greatest. I testify of the goodness of God. I try to sow bountifully as the bible says. Remember, I am not perfect. Bible says, my people, perish because of lack of Knowledge.

  6. First, we must have fear of the Lord. Second, we must always be thankful for everything we are going through. And ask for wisdom from above in order to do the will of God in our lives!

  7. The lesson writer uses the quote from 2 Chronicles 31:20,21 to ask “What were the key reasons in this passage as to why Hezekiah prospered?”
    KJV – (20) “And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God. (21)”And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did *it* with ALL HIS HEART, and prospered.
    To answer the question why Hezekiah prospered – he did it with ALL his heart!

    This passage relates Hezekiah’s activities to the ‘service of the house of God’. It appears to me that this ‘house of God’ included work needing to be done ‘throughout all Judah’ not just to the physical temple in Jerusalem and its services.
    It also appears to me that all the cleaning work he did in Judah was an effort to bring about the cleaning of the spiritual house where God resides, the heart of the people. His authority and responsibility to God included to provide an environment conducive to keeping his people close to their God. He did this by ‘cleaning up’ (removing high places for worship of false gods etc.) their physical environment which helps to bring them back into the spiritual relationship with their true God.
    Heb.11:13-16 –
    (15)”And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.” The satisfaction which material prosperity can give is reduced to its proper place when satisfaction is experienced from being a citizen of the Kingdom of God.
    (16)”But now they desire a better country, that is a heavenly; … .” We, the faithful who have established a spiritual relationship based on loving our Heavenly Father with ALL our heart, have become a citizen that is willing to accept and trust the love of the Father and can give praise to Him in whichever circumstances we find ourselves.

    Our children need to know that diligently maintaining the Love with the Father comes first! When their obedience sprouts into truly loving the Father, their close, spiritually nurtured and physically expressed relationship with their Heavenly Father will remain strong in times of adversities and struggles which we all inevitably experience on our Walk of Faith.
    The key source of this strength comes from – vigilantly maintaining faithfulness in the unrelenting Love, Mercy and Grace by the Father released to those who seek to love Him with ALL their heart.

  8. 1 Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! 2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.

    Psalms 128:1-2

    Prosperity is a life that is rich in soul-sharing moments reaping the fruit of labor with Jesus, full of His Spirit, and satisfying because we know we are walking with Him. This is God’s plan for us. We find it in the Kingdom of God… not just someday but here and now within His church, not by going to church but by being the Church.

    17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

    Revelation 3:17

    The church at Laodicea was one of the seven churches addressed by Jesus in Revelation and called lukewarm – neither hot nor cold. Apathy. Boredom. Weary. Many of us today are just like that because we have so much and we’ve forgotten why God gave it to us.

    As a contrast there’s the Macedonian church in 2 Corinthians 8:1-9. “So they have been going through much trouble and hard times, they have mixed their wonderful joy with their deep poverty, and the result has been an overflow of giving to others.... You know how full of love and kindness our Lord Jesus was: though he was so very rich, yet to help you he became so very poor, so that by being poor he could make you rich.”

    Following the Law of loving God and our neighbor looks like this....

    “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. God is able to make it up to you by giving you everything you need and more, so that there will not only be enough for your own needs, but plenty left over to give joyfully to others.

    2 Corinthians 9:6-8

    Here’s a quote from a devotional that reminds me of what Jesus said to the rich young ruler about following the Law:

    “If you hold on to every dollar so tightly that Washington can’t catch his breath then you’ll discover that there is no joy and no sense of prosperity no matter how much you have.

    Your prosperity is directly connected to the decision to let go of something you possess (time, money, life) so that you can provide something for others that will prove to be of greater value than what you would receive by keeping it for yourself.

    It isn’t forced and it isn’t mandatory. It is a freewill decision to put God and others first.

    Prosperity isn’t so much a state of possession as it is an attitude of custody. We aren’t owners… we are caretakers of what God has allowed us to have and to hold.”


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