Tags: Aaron, blame-shifting, commentary on Exodus, degrees of sin, Exodus 32, idolatry, Moses, Sunday School lessons on Exodus, the golden calf, true confession
And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?
Notice how Moses correctly attributed blame to both the people (it was their idea) and Aaron (he did “bring the sin upon them”). Notice also the designation “sin” and the attribution of a degree: “so great a sin.” Idolatry is indeed a great sin.
Moses was so bold as he stood alone among riotous sinners because he had been in the presence of God. You and I, as Christians, will wilt in the face of resistance, ridicule, and the threat of reprisals if we try to stand for Christ in our own strength. But if we have been alone with God – hearing His Word – forsaking earthly distractions – we will be as bold as a lion.
And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief.
Aaron deferred to Moses (“my lord”), but then tried to blame-shift. God had told Moses “I have seen this people, they are stiff-necked.” Now Aaron tells Moses, “Thou knowest the people, they are set on mischief.” This did not fool Moses. He knew that God’s assessment trumped Aaron’s assessment.
For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.
Aaron’s statement started off sounding like a confession, until he uttered the phrase, “out came this calf,” as if it’s something that “just happened.” The Bible had already told us what really happened:
And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)
This makes it sound like Aaron made them strip off their clothes, but I think it is really referring back to Aaron’s instructions to give him their earrings to make the calf-idol. Moses recognized the spiritual implications of their sin – they removed God’s protection by breaking the Covenant – and now, having foolishly pretended that the bull idol could lead them, they were conversely in a worse position: truly exposed to their enemies.
Tags: children's Bible games, children's Bible lessons, divine sovereignty, free will, human responsibility, predestination, Psalm 16, sovereignty of God, theology
When I was in elementary school, we used to play a silly little game. One kid would cross his arms in front of him, turn his palms inward to face each other, lace the fingers of his hands together, then pull his hands up and in, turning the wrists over, so that his hands were sort of held together the way we sometimes do in prayer, but reversed.
The person facing him would then tap one of his fingers to see if he could – while watching the tap – move the finger that was tapped. For most people it’s a little harder than it sounds to move the correct finger right away. I’m sure there is some scientific (and somewhat dry) explanation for why it’s difficult, and it probably involves concepts like hand-to-eye coordination and muscle memory. I’m not saying those things aren’t interesting. I’m sure to plenty of people they are. However, there is also joy and wonder and plan old fun in playing the game and trying it out.
Since you became a Christian (IF in fact you HAVE become a Christian), I hope you have been reading your Bible with diligence, fascination, and delight. I also hope you have meditated deeply on what you have read and are reading. Bible study is one of the key ingredients to Christian growth, and you will never fully experience the fullness of Christ the way He wants you to unless you engage in it.
However, as you read more and more of the Bible, and as you think more and more deeply about God, you are bound to come upon certain concepts which are difficult for the finite mind to reconcile. One of the ones I am most often asked about is the perceived tension between man’s will and God’s sovereignty. In explaining what the Bible teaches about these concepts I find it helpful if I can keep myself from beginning with a frown, a sigh, or a crossing of the arms. Though the concepts of human responsibility and Divine predestination may pose difficulties when it comes to our attempts to “reconcile” them, they are never addressed with consternation or puzzlement in Scripture. In fact, they are spoken of as plainly co-existing in blessed harmony. Therefore, as we speak about them, perhaps we should re-imagine them as something in which to be delighted as fully enmeshed – not separate and distinct and contradictory.
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Tags: commentary on Matthew, dogs in the Bible, faith, Gentiles, Matthew 15, prayer, Sunday School lessons on Matthew, women in the Bible
Was the Lord Jesus just being cruel or uncompassionate as he ignored the pleas of a Gentile woman on behalf of her daughter?
And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word…
The Lord’s silence seemed to disturb the disciples, rather than deter the damsel in distress.
… And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
To top it off, it looks, at first glance, as if Jesus called the woman a “dog,” which was a cruel name the Jewish leaders had for the Gentiles (whom they considered unclean). (Matthew 15:26)
However, Christ’s ways are always wiser than our ways, and closer inspection of the Scripture shows that Jesus was simply allowing the woman’s great faith to be revealed.
And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
When your earnest desire is to see Christ’s will done – even in your most desperate prayer requests – you will not be deterred by social status, ethnicity, gender, timing, the scorn of fellow believers, or anything else, in bringing your sincere petitions before the throne of glory, where the Savior sits at the right hand of the Father, ever making intercession for His followers (Romans 8:34).
Tags: commentary on Hebrews, eternal salvation, eternal security, Hebrews 7, inheritance, Jesus Christ, once saved always saved, preisthood of Christ, probate, Sunday School lessons on Hebrews
Why was it that the priesthood of Levi was not forever, but the priesthood of Christ after the order of Melchizedek is? Because the Law made nothing perfect (Hebrews 7:19), but the bringing in of a better hope did. The Levitical priests received authority from the Law.
For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
There was no provision for a priesthood from the tribe of Judah.
For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
That’s why the Law was not permanent; it was given to accomplish a purpose: to bring sinners to Christ. Its priests weren’t perfect, but the Priest of the New Testament IS perfect. He was commissioned by God’s personal oath.
And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
A testament is a document, or a system, or a set of principles, which takes effect upon the death of the testator (the will-maker). But Christ as Testator, empowered by the oath of God (Who cannot lie), died to make His Testament go into effect, and then proceeded to arise and live forever to probate the will as Intercessor before God – making intercession for Christians – His legatees (heirs) – those who inherit His promises and His salvation FOREVER.
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the UTTERMOST that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Hebrews 7:25 (emphasis added)
As the old preachers like to say, Jesus saves from the “guttermost” to the uttermost.
Tags: Christian music, Christian rock concerts, commentary on Exodus, Exodus 32, golden calf, idolatry, Law of God, Moses and the Ten Commandments, Sunday School lessons on Exodus, Ten Commandments
And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.
The two “tables” (tablets) were identical – five “Words” on each side. Written documents in that day were: (1) papyrus (not very durable); (2) leather skins; (3) clay tablets; or (4) chiseled in stone (only the most important documents). These were the only documents in existence actually inscribed by God Himself without any human agency. Imagine the value!
And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.
The written Word of God is not a violation of Commandment No. 2 (against graven images). God is so associated with His Word that He allows us to have it “engraved.” This refutes the accusation (sometimes made by Roman Catholics and Pentecostals) that Baptists and other fundamental Christians who hold to the Bible as the sole standard of faith and practice are guilty of Bibliolatry.
And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp.
Joshua was familiar with the sound of war. This sounded like war, even though it wasn’t. It was the first “rock concert” involving God’s people, but this type of loud boisterous worship was common in pagan idolatry – which Moses recognized when he discerned the singing amidst the din of revelry:
And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.
You can meditate on this passage of Scripture and judge for yourself how loud and boisterous Christian worship music ought to be. I would submit that it ought not to be mistaken – even from afar – for carnal syncretistic worship – a combination of worshiping the performer while ostensibly worshiping God.
There is a certain irony or at least poignancy in Joshua’s mistaken assertion that a battle was going on, because there WAS in fact a battle going on – a battle between Truth and falsehood – between the real and the fake – between God and Satan the counterfeiter. Because of Moses’s anger, you can see that he grasped this:
And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.
Moses had plead with God to turn from His anger, but now he saw with his own eyes, and heard with his own ears, and he too expressed righteous anger, breaking these unique, precious tablets in view of all the people “beneath the mount.” This was the exact same spot where the people verbally agreed to be bound by God’s gracious covenant. They broke the Covenant figuratively; Moses demonstrated it literally. We speak of breaking God’s law – but it is God’s law that will break the sinner – just as jumping upward off a roof temporarily seems to break the law of gravity, but ultimately breaks the jumper.
And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
This describes a longer process than just one verse makes it sound like, but Moses wanted to utterly desecrate this false idol.
Tags: Biblical mysteries, Charles H. Spurgeon, Charles Spurgeon quotes, Job 38, mysteries of God, pride, providence of God, sovereignty of God, Spurgeon Quotes
Some of us are lured by pride into believing that we are “deep” thinkers. We ponder the mysteries of God. We believe we have “figured out” some of the inner workings and mysteries of His providence and sovereignty. We are quick to pontificate, but reluctant to utter the dreaded inquiry-stifling words: “I don’t know.”
Certainly we want to immerse ourselves as deeply into Biblical doctrine as God would have us to go, but we must be careful not to dive down into sinful frustration, nor to burst up in a splash of hubris, claiming that we are masters of the deep, smugly certain and unteachable.
A god who could be completely fathomed would not be a real God at all. He would be encompassed and susceptible to explanation by the finite minds of creatures. The true God reminds us of our inferiority and our place of abject humility before His majesty.
Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?
Some things in nature must remain a mystery to the most intelligent and enterprising investigators. Human knowledge has bounds beyond which it cannot pass. Universal knowledge is for God alone. If this be so in the things which are seen and temporal, I may rest assured that it is even more so in matters spiritual and eternal. Why, then, have I been torturing my brain with speculations as to destiny and will, fixed fate, and human responsibility? These deep and dark truths I am no more able to comprehend than to find out the depth which coucheth beneath, from which old ocean draws her watery stores. Why am I so curious to know the reason of my Lord’s providences, the motive of his actions, the design of his visitations? Shall I ever be able to clasp the sun in my fist, and hold the universe in my palm? yet these are as a drop of a bucket compared with the Lord my God. Let me not strive to understand the infinite, but spend my strength in love. What I cannot gain by intellect I can possess by affection, and let that suffice me. I cannot penetrate the heart of the sea, but I can enjoy the healthful breezes which sweep over its bosom, and I can sail over its blue waves with propitious winds. If I could enter the springs of the sea, the feat would serve no useful purpose either to myself or to others, it would not save the sinking bark, or give back the drowned mariner to his weeping wife and children; neither would my solving deep mysteries avail me a single whit, for the least love to God, and the simplest act of obedience to him, are better than the profoundest knowledge. My Lord, I leave the infinite to thee, and pray thee to put far from me such a love for the tree of knowledge as might keep me from the tree of life.
Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening
“Evening Devotion for September 5”
Tags: Biblical walking, Christian blogs, the Christian walk, walking, walking by faith, walking in the Bible, walking in the Spirit, walking with Jesus, walking with the Lord
Yesterday was the 7th anniversary of The Deep End. Once again, I must express my sincere appreciation and thanks to those of you who subscribe, read regularly, and share some of the posts. Most of all, I must give praise and glory to God for allowing me to continue managing a blog which really belongs to Him. He was faithful in 2015. Of course, He was faithful every year before that, and He will be faithful in every year to come and throughout eternity as well!
I try to do some “sharing” and some promotion from time to time, but social media is not really my forte’, and there are time constraints. If I had to give a “pitch” (a persuasive salesman-type argument) for why you should take the time to read anything that the Lord has allowed me to write on this site, the best thing I could say would be: Give it a try. Pray about it. See if what you are reading matches up to what the Bible says. Look for the variety in the subjects and categories. In the land of the internet there is certainly no shortage of Christian websites and blogs! The Deep End is a comparatively small, backwater outpost, I know. There are times when the number of views picks up to a jogging and even a sprinting pace, but for the most part, the number of views and viewers progresses at a steady march. In honor of the occasion – as I look forward to another year of humbly studying the Bible, trying to share its truths, and walking with the Lord – I thought I would provide a table of contents for the category called Biblical Walking:
1. Like Father, Like Child (Ephesians 5:1-2)
2. Two “Right” Feet (II Chronicles 16:12)
3. Faithful Wounds (Proverbs 27:5-6) *
4. The Never-Ending Walk (II Kings 4:9)
5. Beware Whose Feet You Follow (Proverbs 5:5)
6. A Closer Walk with Thee (Amos 3:3; Psalm 139)
7. The Path of Sacrifice (Proverbs 4:23-27)
8. Beware Flaky Firmness (John 5:5-15)
9. The Particular Path (John 14:4-11)
10. All Dressed up and Nowhere to Go (Ephesians 6:10-14)
* most-viewed post in category