Monthly Archives: May 2014

HEBREW HONEYCOMB


 

William Andrew Dillard

 

NON-ARBITRARY AND LONGSUFFERING


How grateful every human being should be that our Great Creator and Redeemer God is a longsuffering God! From the earliest days of human history, the term “longsuffering” is brought into play often in describing the love and mercies of God. It was his longsuffering that waited in the days of Noah while the ark was in preparation. Peter says that we should account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation… 2 Peter 3:15. But perhaps the best known verse of scripture employing this term is 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”


It would be easy, and far from wrong to ascribe the attribute of longsuffering to God as a part of his tremendous patience, or foreknowledge, or eternal power and nature. However, there is another most important attribute of God that should be given priority in thoughts about this: God is NOT an arbitrary God. Please consider with me what this means.


Consulting reputable dictionaries of the English language, one learns that the term “arbitrary” is defined as: “not planned or chosen for a particular reason: not based on reason or evidence; done without concern for what is fair or right; depending on individual discretion and not fixed by law; not restrained or limited in the exercise of power,” etc. It may be said that to be arbitrary is to act on whim alone. As the Sovereign of the universe, some Christians believe He does act arbitrarily, and erroneously call upon Him to so do. It may be an affront to some people’s thinking to speak of God as bound by anything at all, but the Bible affirms that He is. He is bound by His own perfect principles of righteousness. Thus, God cannot be tempted; He cannot sin; He cannot lie, but He can deal with anything and everything perfectly within His own non-arbitrary nature and power in total righteousness.


So it would appear that being non-arbitrary goes hand in hand with longsuffering. It is also evident that both characteristics are a distinct blessing and favor to the human family in that it allows the holy will of God to be perfectly completed beyond question or recall. It also allows grace and mercy to be extended to the fullest and farthest extent for the salvation of all of “whosoever will.” 


But being non-arbitrary does not by any means indicate weakness or lack of concern. The longsuffering of God came to a just conclusion in the days of Noah. It will also come to a just conclusion upon this present evil world; a conclusion so complete in every detail that no reasoning, excuse, or cry to the contrary will have standing in it. But every knee shall bow and every tongue confess before God, even those whose eternity is one of damnation. They shall understand it and agree in it for no reasoning will be incomplete in the finished longsuffering of our non-arbitrary God. So shall those who have opened their heart to Him know the limitless awareness of joy unspeakable and full of glory! Amen, and Amen! What a Savior!

 

 

 

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Obey


 

šāma‘

Today’s Hebrew word is one of those that permeates the OT, appearing some 1,150 times, and having equivalents in Akkadian, Aramaic, Arabic, Ugaritic, and Ethiopic. Šāma‘ (H8085) basically means “to hear with the ear” with several shades of meaning derived from it that generally denote effective hearing, that is, truly listening. Ideas conveyed by šāma‘, then, are “paying attention, regarding, and obeying.”

The first occurrence of šāma‘ well illustrates the above concepts. After they sinned, Adam and Eve “heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Gen_3:8). Here was, as many expositors believe, the pre-incarnate Word, the Lord Jesus, walking in the Garden. Adam and Eve recognized Him as such and knew fully how they had disobeyed His one and only command. We find šāma‘ again in Gen_3:10 and still again in Gen_3:17, where God told Adam that he “hearkened” (listened to, obeyed, or at least followed the lead of) his wife instead of His God.

We repeatedly find this word, therefore, in reference to obeying God. We are told to “hear the word of the LORD” (e.g., Isa_66:5; Jer_22:29), “hear [His] voice” (Isa_28:23), “[hearken] unto counsel” (Pro_12:15), and obey His law and “commandments” (Isa_42:24; Neh_9:16). Two passages that sum it all up are, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deu_6:4-5), followed by the command to keep these words in one’s heart and teach them to your children (Deu_6:6-9). Those verses actually comprise the “Shema,” the basic confession of faith of Judaism recited both morning and evening.

The challenge to us today is both clear and convicting. As šāma‘ indicates “hearing with the intent to obey,” so does the Greek akouō (G191), which is how the Septuagint renders šāma‘ here. It means not only to hear in general (e.g., Mat_2:3), to hear with attention (e.g., Mar_4:3, “hearken”), and to understand (e.g., Mar_4:33), but also to obey (e.g., Luk_16:19-31). In a day when Christ is presented as a way to salvation without Lordship, and when Christian living is viewed as not involving strict obedience to anything definitive, Scripture’s emphasis on obedience has never been more critical.

Scriptures for Study: Who hears God, according to Pro_1:5 (cf. Pro_1:7)? To what should we hearken and what is the result in Pro_1:33; Pro_8:32-35? What comes by “hearing” in Rom_10:17?

 

 

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150 – May – 30 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

Montanye, Thomas B.Thomas and Mrs. Thomas Montanye

 

A Chaplain Challenges the Command

 

Thomas B. Montanye was seventeen years of age when he was saved and then baptized by John Gano in the First Baptist Church of New York City. Young Thomas Montanye revealed the gift of preaching and in his nineteenth year he was ordained as pastor of the Baptist church in Warwick, New Jersey, where he served for more than twelve years. His preaching was powerful, and the work flourished. In one year alone, more than a hundred and fifty were added to the membership of the church. During this period, Pastor Montanye served in various offices of the Warwick Baptist Association, as is revealed in the minutes of that organization for May 30, 1797. His abilities and successes attracted the attention of others, and in 1801 he was called to the church in Southampton in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where he served until his death on September 27, 1829

 

When the War of 1812 broke out with Great Britain, Montanye received a chaplain’s commission. On one occasion, “a general drill and review of the army had been ordered for the morning of the Sabbath at the same hour when preaching had hitherto been the ‘order of the day.’” He went to “the quarters of General in command and stated to him, in a dignified and courteous manner, that he held a commission from his country, and also from his God; that, by virtue of his latter commission, he was superior in command on the Sabbath to any of the military; that the general order for a review would interfere with orders from a higher source; and that, consequently, the review could not and must not take place.” The Word of God was honored and the review postponed.

 

Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/ Cummins) pp. 221.

 

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Power in the Word


 

Hebrews 4:12

 

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” Hebrews 4:12.

Now and again a thorough cleaning of the heart does us good.

Psychologists and those in the mental health field say that denial can be the stumbling block to overcoming harmful habits. Denial often keeps us from becoming our personal best. Christians are no different. We should know better, but because we are human, we suffer the same faults and failures as unbelievers. Each of us needs God’s Word to clean out our dark thoughts and reveal to us the true intent of our hearts.

For this reason, Bible preachers and teachers are relevant to a healthy society and to a healthy church. When pastors and teachers obey the Holy Spirit and preach thus saith the Word of God, He can sweep the corners of our minds and hearts and alert us to the sins we may deny and conceal from others. For this reason, they should preach unapologetically God’s message to sinners and saints alike for the hearer’s good and His glory.

In the past, the people of Israel did not always appreciate the prophet’s message from God, but they needed to hear and heed it, if not for themselves, for the next generation’s benefit.

 

REFLECTION

Lord, thank You, for sweeping through my thoughts and the intents of my heart, and revealing every thing I was denying. Heavenly Father, as You revealed my sins, You also promised not to leave me in my sins and to be my strong help in my time of need.

Beverly Barnett

 

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God Is Faithful


 

1 Corinthians 1:9

 

“God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord,” 1 Corinthians 1:9.

 

The Greek translation of this verse begins this way. Faithful is God. Faithfulness is an attribute of God. He cannot be any other way. God is faithful the same way that He is love. Who, in their right mind, would want to put his life in a wishy-washy god?

 

I do not know about you, but I am a high maintenance child of God in need of a faithful Father. Thankfully, I am not alone. You need Him, too. God fills this need completely and perfectly. As hard as he might try, an earthy father can only do what is humanly possible but our Heavenly Father is not bound by humanity. He is always available to help us, to hear us and to keep us.

 

Have you ever seen two siblings competing for their father’s attention? Well, we do not have to compete! God’s schedule is always open for each of His children. He does not have to change an appointment, clear His list or fit us in between other commitments. He is one hundred percent in tune with us at anytime. He is not distracted by anything, even by Satan.

 

When Satan tries to discourage us, all we must do is remember that God is faithful. He will never leave us or forsake us. We are His children and He is our Father.

 

REFLECTION

 

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it 1 Cor. 10:13).

 

Beverly Barnett

 

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149 – May – 29 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

John, Gano

 

A Hostile Investigation Produced an Ordination

 

John Gano professed conversion to Christ at a young age and was strongly inclined to unite with the Presbyterian Church; but doubting the scriptural authority for infant baptism, he entered into an elaborate investigation of the subject. He became convinced of Baptist principles. He soon received permission from his father to be baptized and unite with the Baptist church at Hopewell, New Jersey.

 

Soon Gano became much exercised in mind about preaching Christ to dying sinners. One morning while plowing, the words, “Warn the people, or their blood will I require at your hands,” came to him with such force that he became insensible to his work. Soon, after applying himself to study for the call, and before he was licensed to preach, he accompanied David Thomas and Benjamin Miller on a missionary tour of Virginia. Their principal mission was to set in order a small church on Opecon Creek which was in a deplorable condition. The church had only three members able to give an account of their conversion. On this occasion Gano exhorted the people. Upon returning home, his church called him to account for preaching without license but before proceeding to condemn him, they requested that he preach to them. His preaching so favorably impressed the congregation that they called for his ordination which took place on May 29, 1754.

 

Sometime later he was sent south as a missionary and came to Charleston, South Carolina, where he preached for Mr. Oliver Hart. In his journal Gano wrote of the service: “When I arose to speak, the sight of so brilliant an audience, among whom were twelve ministers and one of whom was Mr. George Whitefield, for a moment brought the fear of man upon me; but, blessed be the Lord! I was soon relieved of this embarrassment. The thought passed my mind, I had none to fear and obey but the Lord.”

 

Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/Cummins) pp. 219 -220.

 

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148 – May – 28 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

A Ferocious Don Manuel Gayoso de Lemoso

 

Foe, a Fearless Woman, and a Fainting Wife

 

 

 

Baptists from the Pee Dee region of northeastern South Carolina arrived at Cole’s Creek near Natchez in the Mississippi territory beginning in 1780, almost forty years before Mississippi became the twentieth state in the United States of America on December 10, 1817. These Baptists had served the American colonies in their opposition to the British in the Revolutionary War. Simultaneous with the Baptists’ arrival to Mississippi in 1780, the English were losing their control of the area to the Spanish.

 

Among the Baptists who left South Carolina were Richard Curtis, Sr., his step-son John Jones and his wife Anna, his sons Benjamin Curtis and family, Richard Curtis, Jr. (born in Virginia on May 28, 1756), and family. Enforcing Roman Catholicism on the newly acquired area, the Spanish did not recognize non-Catholic forms of religion. Problems started for the Baptists when Richard Curtis, Jr., a licensed Baptist minister, began to attract attention with his preaching ability. By 1790, various people in the area had asked Richard Curtis, Jr., to preach for them. Later, Curtis officiated at the baptisms of a prominent man William Hamberlin and Stephen De Alvo, a Catholic-born Spaniard, who had married an American woman, and Curtis led worship in private homes. In 1791, the Baptists established a small church at Cole’s Creek approximately eighteen miles north of Natchez near the corner of contemporary Stampley Road and 4 Forks Road.

 

The Spanish governor, Don Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, wrote a letter to Curtis in 1795 ordering him to stop preaching contrary to the laws of the Spanish province, and went so far as to have Curtis arrested April 6, 1795. Gayoso threatened Curtis, Hamberlin, and De Alvo with the penalty of working the silver mines of Mexico, especially if Curtis failed to stop preaching contrary to the provincial law.

 

Richard Curtis Jr., Bill Hamberlin, and Steve De Alvo fled the Natchez Country. Cloe Holt, Volunteered to fearlessly take supplies to the men in concealment. When the territory passed under the control of Georgia and was recognized as United States property, Curtis and his companions returned with joyful hearts. Curtis’s wife, not knowing of his return, fainted when she saw him standing in the pulpit to Preach.

 

Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. Thompson/Cummins pp. 218 -219

 

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The Word of Truth


 

Ephesians 1:13

 

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” Ephesians 1:13.

 

When does the truth become a lie? It becomes a lie as soon as something is added or taken away from the truth.

 

We have the completed Word of God. It is the Bible. Contained in the Bible and especially in the New Testament is the true way of salvation through Jesus Christ and Him only. To change any part of salvation is to change the truth into a lie. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to never add our personal philosophy or religious traditions to the gospel of salvation. It is what it is. Salvation is through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, nothing added or taken away. Furthermore, salvation is a free gift that comes with multiple blessings.

 

Salvation, an extravagant gift from God, must first be accepted before it can be a blessing. Like a beautifully wrapped gift, it is layered with certain blessings, such as, being accompanied by the Holy Spirit who dwells in each believer. He resides in us to comfort us and intercedes in our prayers and groanings, sealing our souls forever., And, hallelujah, it does not depend on our good works! Salvation is a completed package when we believe in Jesus as our Savior. Our only responsibility is to believe. God is responsible for maintaining, that is sealing, redeeming and teaching (Rom. 8:35-39).

 

 

REFLECTION

 

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 6:23).

 

Beverly Barnett

 

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The Working of Affliction


 

2 Corinthians 4:17

 

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” 2 Corinthians 4:17.

 

Do you know what a diamond must endure to be a beautiful, shining, sparkling gem? First, after a diamond is mined and before it is processed, it must be separated from the ore by comminuting and liberating the ore. This includes crushing and sometimes recrushing the ore. Then, the crushed ore is placed in a ferrosilicon mixture to be scrubbed, cleaned and processed. The heavier minerals will sink, and a more concentrated amount of diamonds will emerge.

 

This concentrated mix will go through an x-ray sorter. The reflected light from the diamond will set off a sensor, and the diamond will be separated from the other matter. A profitable diamond will now be acid washed.

 

After the acid wash, a diamond is now ready to be cut, ground and sanded. Since diamonds are the hardest substance known to man, a special tool with a blade coated in diamond dust is used to cut the diamond. Then, polishing and more polishing is done before the diamond emerges its fiery, faceted object of beauty.

 

Like the diamond, a believer’s scrubbing, grinding and polishing (our light affliction) yields a useable gem in the service of God.

 

REFLECTION

 

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6).

 

Beverly Barnett

 

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HEBREW – LORD of Recompense [Jehovah-Gemula]


 

Yāhweh Gemûlāh

Jeremiah 51:56

  1. Because of His perfect, absolute righteousness, God is also called by two names that speak of His judgment upon unrighteousness. 

    A. First, for example, in Jer_51:56, where He is called Jehovah Gemûlāh. The prophet foretells that God will come “upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, every one of their bows is broken: for the LORD God of recompences shall surely requite.”

    B. The Hebrew gemûlāh (H1578)—a derivative of gāmal (H1580), “to deal, to recompense, to ripen”—speaks of full repayment for what is deserved.

     

  2. There are many instances of this word (and other derivatives) that speak of recompense, both of judgment and blessing.

    A. Used positively, for example, when David was fleeing from Absalom, Barzillai provided him with supplies (2Sa_19:32), and David returned the favor (2Sa_19:36).

    B. It is even used to speak of benefits God has given (Psa_103:2). Here, benefits is the same Hebrew word as recompense.

    C. At times, the positive and negative are actually contrasted, as in the Virtuous Woman, who “will do [gāmal] him [her husband] good and not evil all the days of her life” (Pro_31:12).

     

  3. It is the negative, however, that is truly sobering.

    A. The instance here in our text speaks of God’s retribution on His enemies, as does Isa_59:18 : “According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence.”

    B. The psalmist calls upon this God of Recompense to “give [the wicked] according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert [gemûl]” (Psa_28:4).

  1. We cannot help but make special note of Psa_94:2 :

    A. “Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward [gemûl] to the proud.”

    B. Pride is never used in a positive way of man in Scripture.

    C. Here we read of, in fact, its costliness; God will recompense it, judging it as harshly as He did the Babylonians. How this should show us what a serious sin pride is!

  2. The New Testament has – antapodidomi – translated as reward.

    A. Romans 12:17 leaves us with a positive virtue to all that are believers in the Lord. “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

    B. We further find the Lord claiming the right to recompense the enemies of believers. II Thessalonians 1:6 – “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you.

    C. We often hear the phrase, “Vengence is mine sayeth the Lord.” Hebrews 10:30 is very effective in showing God’s attitude to the enemies of his people and also the judgment that will be brought to bear on His people. “For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belogeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

  3. Being “born again” by trusting in Jesus death, burial and resurrection has the greatest recompense. Luke 14:14 “And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompense at the resurrection of the just.

     

  4. Scriptures for Study: On the positive side, what does Psa_116:12 command? On the negative side, what does Isa_3:9 warn?

 

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