By Elder Zack Guess
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“But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood
thereof, shall ye not eat.” (Gen 9:4).
There are several vitally interesting things to consider in
this verse. First, it confirms the inspiration of the scriptures. It is true
that the life is in the blood. How did Moses know this? Because he was writing
by infallible inspiration. Other ancient cultures had all kinds of weird and
erroneous ideas as to the nature of physical life, but the Hebrews, with their
divinely-inspired scriptures, knew that the “life was in the blood,” a fact
which became known in modern times in or around 1648 by the English physician,
This verse also tells us that when the Lord Jesus Christ
shed His precious blood in behalf of His people, He was literally shedding His
very life for them. This fact was predicted in Lev. 17:11 and was explained in
these words: “... without shedding of blood is no remission.” (i.e. of sins -
ZG; Heb 9:22).
Because the blessed Savior shed His very life for me I must
say with William Cowper “E’er since by faith I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds
supply, Redeeming love has been my theme, And shall be till I die.”
“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the
children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the
LORD.” (Lev 19:18).
The Lord Jesus explained that the commandments of God are
summed up into two -- love for God and love for one’s neighbor. (Mark 12:31). In
the Parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus explained that the neighbor is anyone
who needs help whom God has brought across our pathway in His providence. (Luke
10:29-37). So love to our neighbor is expressed in action, in works of mercy to
those who are in need.
But here we are made to understand that love to one’s
neighbor also has to do with our attitudes. We are not to avenge ourselves when
wronged. But, furthermore, we are not even to bear any grudges. If we are
bearing grudges, we are not loving our neighbor and we are violating the
commandment of God.
Let us then carefully guard both our attitudes and
our actions. Let us be as quick to forgive our neighbor as we are to
“Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek
after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.” (Lev 19:31).
We are seeing a revival of interest in the occult, with
witchcraft, seances, astrology, fortune-telling, palm-readers, mind-readers,
hypnotism, etc. Some Christians have regarded these things as entertainment or
as just harmless fun. Some of those who predict the future have claimed that
they received this ability as a gift from God. Some see no danger in following
the horoscopes in magazines and in newspapers.
But God warns against all these and similar practices; He
says that to engage in them is to be defiled. Many have ruined their lives by
becoming involved in the occult. A Christian must absolutely shun these
practices. Satan is the instigator of them. “Witchcraft” is denounced as a work
of the flesh. (Gal. 5:20). The word translated “witchcraft” is the word from
which we get the English word “pharmacy.” It refers to the taking the of
mind-affecting drugs. Satan has used these to destroy many a person.
Beware of the wicked devices of Satan!
“Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the
face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.” (Lev 19:32).
We are living in an age and in a culture when there is
little respect for old age. We literally worship youth. Anyone who is past the
age of thirty-five is regarded as “over-the-hill” and “out-of-date.” Even
children often are not taught to respect their parents, grandparents, and other
older people. Advertisers and the entertainment media glorify the cult of youth.
Older people are guilty also. They don’t want to grow older
with dignity. They want to dress and act like young people. They dread growing
old. They dye their hair and have their faces “lifted.”
Brethren, according to the word of God, these things ought
not to be! Let us respect old age. Let us teach our children to show deference
to those who are older. And let us grow old gracefully ourselves. Let us heed
the word of God!
“But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and
I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey:
I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people.” (Lev
It is not an optional matter for God’s people to live the
“separated” life. God is the One who did the separating. We must live as He has
placed us. He has not separated us physically. He has not taken us out of the
world. But He has separated us morally, intellectually, and spiritually. We must
not let the world set our standards and dictate our values. We must not think
like the world. We must not dress like the world when they dress immorally.
We must be different! To not be so is to dishonor God.
Admittedly this is difficult to do. It requires conscious, daily thought and
effort. It will involve us to a more or less degree in persecution. We will be
persecuted because we make the world feel uncomfortable when we refuse to
conform to their standards. Christ said, “If ye were of the world, the world
would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you
out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15:19).
Are you willing to be separated? Are you willing to suffer
the reproach of Christ?
“But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer:
for it shall not be acceptable for you.” (Lev 22:20).
The Israelites were forbidden to offer sacrifices which
were blemished. God simply refused to accept blemished sacrifices. There are two
important lessons for us here, one doctrinal and one practical.
Doctrinally, the Old Testament sacrifices prefigured
Christ. If there had been one blemish in the Person or Work of
Christ, His work of redemption would have been unsatisfactory. But, praise God,
His work was perfect. God accepted it on behalf of the elect people of God.
Practically, this lesson teaches us that our offerings of
service to God must be the very best that we have to offer. We cannot give God
the left-overs of our time, money, effort and concern and expect Him to accept
them. To attempt to do so is to insult God and to deceive ourselves.
God gave the very best He had for us -- His only-begotten
Son. Let us give the best we have for Him!
“And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the
morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed:
whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.”
The children of Israel were favored with visible symbols of
the presence of God. They observed these symbols (a cloud by day and fire by
night) and when God moved they moved. When God stood still, they stood still. It
would have been disaster and folly if they had moved ahead of God. They would
have gone off on their own and been liable to destruction by their enemies. If
they had remained still when God moved on, they would have been left on their
own. They had to remain sensitive to the movements of God and be ready to move
by day or by night.
God’s people today don’t have these visible manifestations
of God, but they have His blessed Presence in the Person of the Holy Spirit.
They can be sensitive to Him and discern how, when, and where He is moving. How
can they maintain this sensitivity? By constant, fervent prayer. By continual
examination of the Holy scriptures. By refusing to allow unconfessed sin to
remain in their lives. They must do this. They must move when God moves
and remain still when God remains still.
“And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite,
Moses’ father in law, We are journeying unto the place of which the LORD said, I
will give it you: come thou with us, and we will do thee good: for the LORD hath
spoken good concerning Israel.” (Num 10:29).
Moses spoke these words to his brother-in-law. Christians
today ought to be able to speak these words to those with whom they come in
contact. First, they must be sure where they are going. By study of the
scriptures and constant examination of their lives, they must know that they are
heading in the direction in which God would have them go. God has promised to
give them many things as they walk in obedience to His Word.
In the pathway of obedience they are assured of God’s
abiding presence and then can be sure that good will accrue to all who go with
Can you say this about your church? Are you journeying to
the spiritual land of God? Can you with confidence assure good to those who go
with you? Has the Lord spoken good concerning you?
“And the people spake against God, and against Moses,
Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there
is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light
bread.” (Num 21:5).
The people thought they were speaking against only Moses.
But they were also speaking against God, for Moses was God’s appointed leader
and was acting on God’s directions.
Times were hard; God was testing their faith to see if they
would be obedient and trust even in adverse circumstances. They had forgotten
the terrible conditions in Egypt from which God had sent Moses to deliver them.
Have you ever spoken against the man whom God has placed as
your leader -- the man who is doing the best he knows how to lead you according
to God’s commandments as revealed in His Word? Has it ever occurred to you that
you might be speaking against God? Have you forgotten Egypt? Are you
dissatisfied with God’s provisions? Does your soul loath God’s light bread?
“How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall
I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied?” (Num 23:8).
Balak, the wicked king of Moab, had hired Balaam, the
heathen prophet, to curse Israel. Balaam sacrificed and did his utmost to
pronounce a curse on Israel. But each time God forced the wicked prophet to
pronounce glorious blessings upon Israel. His diabolical mission was a dismal
failure. He just could not curse those whom God had blessed. Israel was
wonderfully protected from her unknown enemy by the power of God.
Wonderfully comforting spiritual realities are taught here.
The children of God have many terrible enemies who desire to ruin their souls.
Chief among these is Satan who is the “... accuser of our brethren....” (Rev.
12:10). He is assisted by a horde of demons. But all the efforts of the enemy
will be to no avail. God’s people are blessed in Christ Jesus. None can curse
them because He bore the curse for them. (Gal. 3:13).
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search
for me with all your heart.” (Jer 29:13).
Are you desiring sweet communion with God? Is your soul
lean and dry and famished? Have you sought Him with prayers and tears but just
can’t find Him? Are you about ready to give up and despair?
Wait! You must not give up. God will be found if you will
truly seek him. He has promised this in His Word. His promises are always true.
You must lay hold on these promises and persevere until you find Him.
What has been the trouble? You have not searched for Him
with all your heart. Search your heart diligently. Discover which area
you have held back from Him. What pet sin or wrong attitude have you
entertained? You must forsake it.
Beg Him to “... let me hear thy voice: for sweet is thy
voice, and thy countenance is comely.” (Song of Solomon 2:14). When you find
Him, do as the little lady: “... but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held
him, and would not let him go....” (Song of Sol. 3:4).
“And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father,
and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind....” (1 Chr 28:9).
Are any of you who are reading this fathers? Do you have a
son? Have you ever given your son any advice on how to live a successful life?
What was the advice that you gave to him? Did you encourage him to make money as
the primary goal in life?
The advice that King David gave here to his son, Solomon,
is the best advice that any father could give to his son. Tell your son to know
God and to serve Him with a perfect heart and a willing mind. This knowing God
and serving Him makes for the best life that any son could live.
But wait! Can you truly say as David did, “know thou the
God of thy father?” Is God truly your God? Have you put Him first in your life?
Can your son see that you are actually serving God as well as talking about it?
If you want your son to live your advice you must live it yourself before him.
Remember that your actions speak louder that your words. Your son hears your
talk and he sees your walk.
“And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience;
and to patience godliness....” (2 Pet 1:6).
One of the most important as well as one of the most
neglected Christian graces is temperance. Temperance is self-control.
Lack of self-control has marred the testimony of many a Christian. When a man
lacks self-control in eating he is a glutton; when he lacks self-control in sex
he is an adulterer; when he lacks self-control in temper he is a contentious man
and a trouble-maker; when he lacks self-control in the use of his tongue he is a
gossip; when he lacks self-control in the spending of money he is a poor steward
of what God has placed in his hands and is a robber of God (Mal. 3:8); when he
lacks self-control in the use of his time he wastes his very life and walks as a
fool before God (Eph. 5:15, 16); when he lacks self-control as regards sleep he
becomes lazy and accomplishes little for God.
Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:23) --
we must exercise it in all areas of life to the glory of God.
“So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel
to you that are at Rome also.” (Rom 1:15).
Too often Christians wait for a special moving from God
before doing what they know they ought to do. They try to make God their alibi
and excuse for not doing their duty. They excuse themselves by saying “I just
can’t do it unless God helps me.” While it is perfectly true that we can do
nothing without the help of God, it is also true that we often use this as a
sinful excuse for our failures.
Paul knew that he couldn’t preach the gospel unless God
enabled him to. But he said “as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the
gospel.” He would move out in faith and do the best he could, depending on God.
God has given us many commands and we are to do them
because He has said so in His word. We are to do them without waiting for some
What do you know from God’s Word that you are supposed to
be doing? Don’t wait! As much as is in you, do it. God will help you obey Him.
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also
suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps....” (1
What were Christians called for? To go to heaven? Yes, but
that is not all. They were also called to follow the steps of Christ while they
are here on earth. Christ came to save but He also came to set the perfect
example for the saved ones to follow.
How can we follow His steps if we don’t know how He walked?
How can we find out how He walked? We must constantly read the four gospels
which tell how He walked. And we must constantly read the epistles which
interpret His walk. And we must read the Acts of the Apostles to see how the
early Christians followed in His steps. And we must read the Old Testament which
prophesied of His walk.
It is not enough to merely read. This is just the first
step. We must purposefully and prayerfully use what we have learned and actually
walk in every day situations as He walked.
“And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to
appetite.” (Prov 23:2).
People sometimes laugh at gluttony and make jokes about it,
but it is not a laughing matter. Gluttony is a manifestation of lack of
self-control and it is a sin. Christians will have to recognize it as a sin
before they will do anything about it. Like many other good things that God gave
to us, the ability to eat and enjoy food can be abused and become a sin.
Sometimes God’s people will single out drinking alcohol and
smoking tobacco as sins and they will loudly denounce them. Some of these same
people are gluttons. While it is true that the use of alcohol and tobacco damage
the body (the temple of the Holy Spirit) and are therefore sins, it is also true
that over-eating and eating the wrong kinds of food also damages the body and
they are sins.
If gluttony is one of your problems “put a knife to your
throat.” In other words, discipline yourself and reduce the in-take of your food
to the glory of God. He will help you.
“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth
not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.”
What a sobering portion of scripture this is! It indicates
that a man may be very faithful to attend religious services, may be generous in
financial contributions for the Lord’s service, may read the Bible faithfully,
may pray regularly, and may visit the sick and afflicted, and still have a vain
(empty and worthless) religion.
The tragic part is that such an individual is
self-deceived. He thinks that he is doing fine, but God regards all his efforts
as nothing but vanity.
Why? Because he doesn’t control his tongue. Improper use of
the tongue can tear down in a few minutes all the good works that we have built
up over a period of years. We all need to talk a lot less, and when we do speak,
we need to be very careful what we say and how we say it.
Remember, when you speak in private or public, God hears
“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good
things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Mat 12:34).
This scripture, carefully observed by us in our daily
lives, is a wonderful instrument whereby we can accurately gauge the condition
of our hearts. We all need to listen to ourselves talk more often. We ought to
constantly analyze our own speech.
What do we talk about most of the time? Do we talk about
material things -- houses, clothes, cars? Do we constantly criticize and find
fault? Do we talk about other people in a derogatory way? Do we murmur and
complain? If so, our heart is in bad shape. It is sick and needs the medicine of
confession, repentance, prayer, and reading of God’s word.
What kind of speech will indicate a healthy heart? “... The
sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving
thanks to his name.” (Heb 13:15).
Let us pray as David prayed “Let my mouth be filled with
thy praise and with thy honour all the day.” (Psa 71:8)
“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words
in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be
ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark
It is certainly true that we are living in an adulterous
and sinful generation. Movies, plays, books, and magazines openly blaspheme God.
Divorce, adultery, cursing, homosexuality and such things are more and more
becoming socially acceptable. Christianity is less popular in our nation than
What is a Christian to do? To remain silent? To refuse to
speak up in behalf of Jesus Christ and the gospel? To retreat into a shell of
silence and timidity?
No! A thousand times, no! We must speak up for Jesus every
time we have the opportunity, and we must boldly seek such opportunities. We
must not be ashamed of Jesus. We must not fail Him.
If we do so we will face the awful prospect of the blessed
Son of Man being ashamed of us.
“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against
them.” (Col 3:19).
Bitterness toward their wives must be one of the besetting
sins of husbands, else the scriptures would not have specifically warned us
against it. The word translated “bitter” means “sharp, harsh, pungent.”
The wife is the weaker vessel. The husband can usually
overpower her with words and with violent force of personality. He has the
sinful ability to “put her down” and to “crush” her with force of words. We
often see a little wife who is abnormally silent and cowering in the presence of
her husband. She is often afraid of speaking her opinion.
Husbands who profess Christianity, this must not be true of
you! If it is, you must repent and ask God and your wife to forgive you.
God did not call you to abuse your wife either physically or verbally. He called
you to protect her, to love, cherish, and nurture her. You must die for her, if
necessary. She must feel comfortable and safe when in your presence. God has
“He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep,
and laid the foundation on a rock....” (Luke 6:48).
Digging is hard work, particularly when one must dig deep.
But we must put forth this strenuous effort if we want our lives to stand the
test when the trials come. Those who take the easy way out and refuse to dig
will be destroyed when the difficult times and the troubles come.
Christ is here speaking of building our lives on Him in
accordance with the principles which He has set forth in His Word. How can we
dig deep? We must spend much time studying His Word -- even when we are weary.
We must pray diligently. We must work at prayer and wrestle with God in prayer.
We must root out sin from our lives. That is hard work to get rid of a
deeply-established sinful habit. But we must do it. We must be sober and
vigilant and constantly flee from temptation.
We may have to dig through dirt, mud, clay and rock, but we
will be safe when we have reached bed-rock. Dig, brethren, dig!
“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in
the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” (Psa 51:6).
Sometimes, we conform our life outwardly to laws of God and
we think we are pleasing Him and are in good spiritual shape. We speak and act
correctly. We pay our debts, are law-abiding, provide for our families, and are
not involved in gross immorality. All is well. We are respected by the community
and by the church members.
But this is not enough! God desires truth in the inward
parts. He knows whether we are conforming to His laws because we love Him from
the heart or because it is expedient for us to do so. Do we resent any of our
service to the Lord? Do we serve Him with a grudge in our heart? Do we secretly
harbor a spirit of bitterness or of unforgiveness toward anyone? Do we have any
Remember, God knows what is in the deepest places of our
hearts. He desires truth there. He will teach us wisdom there. We must cultivate
our souls on the deepest level. This will require much private prayer,
confession and repentance.
“Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against
the commandment of the LORD your God....” (Deu 1:26).
We often think of rebellion against God as something like
breaking one of His moral commandments. Or when a person blasphemes God in his
speech we know that he has rebelled against Him.
But, here, when the children of Israel refused to go into
Canaan, God called it rebellion. They would not go into the beautiful land which
God had promised them because of the fear of man. They feared "Because they
believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation....” (Psa 78:22). They
refused to walk out on the promises of God, "Yea, they turned back and tempted
God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.” (Psa 78:41). And God called this
Are we living on the very highest spiritual plane? Are we
strenuously exerting every spiritual effort to serve God? Are we pleading God’s
richest promises before Him in prayer? If not, we are rebelling against God.
“And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD
hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into
the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.” (Deu 1:27).
Satan has a very dangerous device that we need to be
constantly aware of. Satan continually tries to make God’s people think that God
hates them. In doing this, he is attempting to destroy their faith.
When we run into adverse circumstances or get into trouble,
Satan, is going to be there saying, “See, didn’t I tell you that God really
hates you?” The people of Israel got into trouble and they listened to Satan.
They began to murmur and to say that God hated them. They forgot that God had
proved His love to them many times as He delivered them from Egypt and took care
of them in the wilderness.
We, too, tend to forget God’s proofs of love to us when
things get rough. We need to remember the greatest proof of His love -- the gift
of His Son Jesus! We need to remember past mercies. And we need to trust Him, no
matter what happens. Like Job, we must say, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust
in him....” (Job 13:15).
“But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he
shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.” (Deu
Moses was here speaking to the children of Israel who were
about to go into the land of Canaan. Moses, himself, was not allowed by God to
go in. He told the people that Joshua was going to lead them. He would “stand
before them” as their leader. Furthermore he said that Joshua would “cause
Israel to inherit” the land. Joshua was the God-appointed leader. Much depended
on him. The nation as a whole would rise no higher and go no further than he
In view of this important fact, Moses told the people to
“encourage him.” Joshua had a very difficult job at best. He needed all the
encouragement that he could get.
The same holds true of your pastor. He is God’s appointed
leader over the flock. Generally speaking, you will rise no higher in
spirituality than he will. God will use him to cause you to inherit many of the
blessings of God. Do you see the vast importance of encouraging him in his work?
Have you done so recently?
“But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him:
for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the
land which thou shalt see.” (Deu 3:28).
This verse is very similar to the one we looked at
yesterday but there is one notable difference. Here God is talking to Moses and
He is telling him to encourage Joshua. This is a case of an old preacher
encouraging a younger one. How important it is for younger preachers to be
encouraged by their older brethren. An older minister’s work is simply not
complete until he has done all he can to assist those young men whom the Lord
has raised up under him.
This reminds one of Paul’s second letter to Timothy. It is
significant that the last letter which the great apostle wrote was written to a
Notice what Moses was to do. He was to “charge” Joshua of
his high calling and his solemn responsibility. He was to “encourage” him and to
“strengthen” him by prayer and by reminding him that the Lord would ever be with
him in his work.
“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you,
neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of
the LORD your God which I command you.” (Deu 4:2).
This scripture is much more important and much more solemn
than any of us realize. God doesn’t want His sacred Word to be tampered with
either in the reading of it or in the practice of it.
Some people are so bold as to actually tamper with the
sacred text itself. They issue “translations” which are different from the
manuscripts in many particulars. Examples of these are “The Living Bible” and
“Good News for Modern Man.”
Most of us wouldn’t dare to tamper with the text of
scriptures but we diminish and add to the words of God in a practical way. We
tend to take from the Bible what we want and to leave the rest alone. If the
Bible commands us to do something that we don’t want to do, we just put that
part of it into the back of our minds. This is dangerous business! We must
humble ourselves before God and His Word. We must examine ourselves to see where
we may be, more or less consciously, adding to or diminishing from the Words of
our blessed Lord.
“Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear
my words, that they may learn to fear me....” (Deu 4:10).
The fear of the Lord is a very wonderful thing. Those who
have it are very blessed. “The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the
judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” (Psa 19:9). Many times
in the scriptures, the promises of blessings are to those who fear Him. Proverbs
states that the beginning of both wisdom and knowledge is the fear of the Lord.
The striking thing about this passage is that it indicates
that the fear of the Lord must be learned. No one can learn the fear of the Lord
except those who have been born from above. Speaking of the unregenerate,
scripture says, "There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Rom 3:18). When
one has been born again he has an innate fear of God, but this fear must be
developed, it must be learned. How is it to be learned? By constant study of the
scriptures and prayer. The closer one gets to God, the more he fears and loves
Him. This fear is manifested by changes in his life. How much do you fear God?
“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,
and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest
by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deu 6:7).
The job of parenthood is one of the most awesome
responsibilities that God has placed on anyone. “As the twig is bent, so the
tree grows.” The very youngest days of childhood are vitally important in the
training of children. Children are to be trained both formally and informally.
They learn by both precept and example. A parent’s teaching won’t stick if his
example is no good.
Christians have a particular responsibility to bring their
children up in the nurture and in the admonition of the Lord. This is a constant
work as indicated here. Not only must a parent systematically and formally teach
the things of the Lord, but this teaching must also be constantly incorporated
into the daily life. When the family sits at the table together (and time must
be found for this) the talk should be on the things of the Lord. When the family
is going somewhere together the talk must be of God. Devotions must be had
evening and morning. Nothing less will satisfy the command of God.
“Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the
people which are round about you....” (Deu 6:14).
The people of Israel were surrounded by pagans who were
steeped in idolatry. They were forbidden to serve these strange gods which in
reality were no gods at all.
Today we don’t think that we could possibly be in any
idolatry. We are much too enlightened for that, we are too educated and
scientific. We would never worship an image or a golden calf.
But, in truth, there is a good deal of idolatry in all of
us; we must be constantly on our guards against this tendency.
What are some of the gods of the people which are around
us? The god of materialism. Many professing Christians put their jobs, their
houses and other possessions far ahead of service to the Lord. The god of
evolution. Many are not aware that it is impossible to be consistent and hold on
to the Bible and evolution at the same time. The god of modern education. Many
would rather their children to have a good secular education than to be
“That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready
to distribute, willing to communicate....” (1 Tim 6:18).
Money is put into our hands for a reason. We are never to
spend any money without prayer. We are not to spend money so as to “consume it
upon your lusts.” When we don’t spend money in the right way we are robbing God.
When a person has been blessed with a good job or with a
lot of money this places a great responsibility on him to spend his money as God
would have him to.
Here Paul is telling Timothy to charge them that have some
money or a good job. These people are to “do good.” They are to be “rich in good
works.” The way they are to do this is to be “ready to distribute” their
material goods. They are to be “willing to communicate” their money to the
Lord’s cause in general and to those of the Lord’s people who are in need in
particular. There are wonderful blessings in this. A person who loves the Lord
with a heart that is on fire will not die with a lot of accumulated money.