Gospel Faith in the Old Testament: Moses part 2

Gospel Faith in the Old Testament: Moses part 2

Hebrews 11:24-28

Hebrews 11 is preceded, in context, by chapter 10:19-39.

 

This passage could be summed up in two ways.

 

1. We have great confidence to enter into the presence of Father because the Son has taken our sin and died and we can enter with full assurance in faith with our conscience cleansed. We can hold to the confession of the Gospel because God is faithful. Therefore we can consider how to stir each other up to love and good works by making sure we don’t neglect gathering together.

 

2. However, if people go on sinning when they know the truth there is nothing but the fearful expectation of God’s wrath because they have chosen, in their sin, to trample over the Son of God and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

 

But the writer is convinced of better things in his audience. He reminds them of their willing endurance of hardship for the Gospel and not to throw away their confidence.

 

The writer reminds them that they have need of endurance.

 

You know, we have need of endurance.

 

Whether it is ministry or whether it is life. We have need of endurance.

 

The Lord inspired the writer of Hebrews to give them and us a great cloud of witnesses who endured in the Old Testament so that we could gain courage and hope.

 

2. By Grace, Moses considered Jesus better (regeneration or regenerating grace)

 

If one follows the “process” from death to life in the Gospel it goes something like this:

 

The Gospel call

Regeneration

Conversion (faith and repentance)

Justification (right legal standing)

Adoption (membership in God’s family)

Sanctification (right conduct in life)

Perseverance (remaining a Christian)

Death (going to be with the Lord)

Glorification (receiving a resurrection body)

 

 

“By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. Hebrews 11:24-26

 

The reason this matters is that the writer of Hebrews makes a clear reference to the events of Exodus chapter 2 and then accounts Moses choosing to identify with his ethnic people as considering Jesus as greater wealth and that he was looking to the reward of Christ Jesus.

 

Exodus chapter 3 is when the Lord introduces himself to Moses in a burning bush and calls Moses to his purposes at the ripe old age of 80.

 

Moses refuses to be sided with the Egyptians somewhere, estimated, around age 40.

 

This means that when Moses leaves Egypt and marries his wife he spends 40 years tending his father-in-law’s animals before the Lord introduces himself to Moses formally.

 

The writer of Hebrews makes clear, however, that Moses is counted as having treasured Jesus greater than Egypt as faith.

 

Listen, this is huge. If the writer of Hebrews, inspired as he is by the Spirit, and writing God’s words without any mixture of error, then he is commenting truthfully about the Lord’s work in Moses’ life.

 

Father, Son and Spirit were at work in Moses awakening his dead state some 40 years before the work of conversion where faith and repentance take place.

 

This means that Moses’ rejecting his Egyptian raising, Moses’ murder of the Egyptian, Moses fleeing to Midian and his 40 years tending flocks for his papa-in-law were not wasted years, but rather, these years were years when the Spirit was blowing life into the dead soul of Moses in the glorious work of regeneration.

 

This is not a Moses highlight. This is a Father, Son and Spirit highlight. Father was busy saving Moses when Moses was not aware he was being saved.

 

The writer of Hebrews reminds his audience, with Moses’ life, that their salvation is a precious gift of grace and Father has been at work in them even when they were not aware.

 

Same way with you and I.

 

Let me give you some Scripture here to help out.

 

John 3:3-8 (Jesus using Ezekiel 36:25-27)

James 1:18

1 Peter 1:3

Ezekiel 36:25-27

Ephesians 2:5-8

Colossians 2:13-15

 

 

A. We are saved by grace (the goodness of God to not give me justice when

            I deserve justice) through faith and this is not our own doing.

 

“These empty hands I raise. Filthy rags are all I bring. I have come to hide beneath your wings.”

1. We endure because Father is able to make us endure

 

 

B. Do not take credit for counting Jesus better than anything else

 

My temptation when fighting sin is to begin to take spiritual pride in my “righteousness” and it is usually not long before I fall on my face.

 

Any temptation fighting that gets done is a gift from the Spirit not a production of my flesh.

 

The recipients of this letter got this. They know the story of Moses. They also know that they, like Moses, find themselves in a precarious situation. Some have abandoned the faith and some are hanging on.

 

Lest they be arrogant, they are reminded that it is by grace through faith alone in the providential and regenerative grace of God that they are persevering.

 

Do I have a role? Sure I do. I must fight. But my success in the battle of sanctification is not in my production of sanctification. Success is submitting to the Lord in fighting and humbly receiving the small victories over sin when they come.

 

1. I must hold on to the Scriptures, but who reminds me of them?

Holy Spirit does.

2. I must know the truth, but who guides me to the truth? Holy Spirit

does.

 

3. I must persevere, but who gives me greater desire to count

righteousness better than sin? Holy Spirit does.

 

The text says it. “By faith, Moses refused…”

 

There is no credit to be given Moses. If was by the precious gift of grace that Moses believed and therefore could take no credit.

 

C. Humbly recognize it is the Lord at work in us to do his purposes

 

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12,13

 

D. Take stock of the ways Father was at work to regenerate you before you

            believed the Gospel and how he keeps you in the Gospel day by day.

1. This is humbling

2. This is joy creating

3. This is sanctifying

E. Enjoy the security of having been rescued from the fall

 

1. John 10:22-30; John 10:1-5

 

Jesus is the door into the kingdom. His sheep hear his voice. They will not hear the voice of a stranger. Jesus goes before them and they follow him and he leads them. These, the Father has given Jesus, and Jesus gives to them eternal life and no one will ever snatch them out of his hand.

 

If you are in Christ, you are among the most secure people on the face of the planet. We cannot be taken from his hand and he has given us eternal life. He has gone before us and we follow him.

 

Moses, through all of his circumstances of difficulty and even sin, was being led in grace by the gracious voice of the Lord in preparation for the day when his eyes would be opened to behold the glory of the Lord and he would repent and believe.

 

E. Worship in song, word and deed

 

3. Moses’ lived by faith and not by sight

 

“By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:27

 

“This forsaking of Egypt must, because of the order in which it comes and of Moses alone being mentioned, be his flight related in Exod. 2:15, not the final Exodus.” – Carson

 

The only seeming difficulty is in the expression, “not fearing the wrath of the king,” whereas in the history Moses is represented as flying in fear from the face of Pharaoh, who sought to slay him. But the two views of his attitude of mind are reconcilable.

 

The assertion of his fearlessness applies to his whole course of action from the time when he elected to brave the king in behalf of Israel. In pursuance of this course, it became necessary for him to leave Egypt for a time. In this, as well as in staying, there was danger; for the king might pursue him: he might, perhaps, have secured his own safety by returning to the court and giving up his project; but he persevered at all hazards.

 

And thus the apprehension of immediate danger under which he fled the country with a view to final success, was in no contradiction to his general fearlessness. Further, his being content to leave Egypt at all, and that for so many years, and still never relinquishing his design, was an additional evidence of faith, as is expressed by the word ἐκαρτέρησε, “he endured.” The vision through faith of the unseen heavenly King kept alive his hope through those long years of exile: what was any possible wrath even of the terrible Pharaoh to one supported by that continual vision?”[1]

– D.A. Carson

 

So much of the decision-making of the Christian is founded on a King and Kingdom unseen.

 

“My kingdom is not of this world.” – Jesus

 

This does not nullify its reality. The reality of the King and his Kingdom are not visible because of the fall

 

Moses endured, by faith, not in fear of Pharaoh, but rather in faith that there was more to his created purpose.

 

Maybe what Moses did not see was that it would be 40 years worth of training in the art of shepherding animals in the desert that was in front of him, but Moses, by grace, did see that he was a Hebrew and that there was a longing to be identified with his people.

 

So the writer of Hebrews attributes Moses pre burning bush fleeing for greater things as “faith”, the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things not seen.

 

The Lord knew Moses needed training, so he sent Moses on a 40-year basic training course to prepare him for work.

 

A. Don’t over look the struggles

 

If Father is providential, he has foreseen and therefore ordained, our current state and is working for our good.

 

I’m not sure that Father is never not training us.

 

Philippians 1:6 tells me that he will complete me in the day of Christ Jesus. Meaning he is still working on me.

 

B. Don’t believe the lie that one is to be “on top” after finishing school

 

C. Don’t shun the menial tasks or the low paying jobs, learn and train

 

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”

Matthew 25:21

 

4. Moses’ kept the gospel in the Passover

 

“By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.” Hebrews 11:28

 

“Moreover, at the time of the Exodus, Moses was undeterred by fear of the king’s anger. By keeping the Passover, which included the sprinkling of blood, the nation avoided God’s judgment. In the same way, the readers should not be afraid of human wrath and should maintain their separateness from the surrounding world. They should persist in the worship experience made possible by the blood of the New Covenant. If they would do so, they would not fall under divine retribution (cf. 10:19-31).”

 

At the base line of all things is the reality that man is fallen and under wrath apart from the application of the righteousness of Jesus Christ’s death in the place of rebels.

 

Man, apart from the Gospel, has no hope and no purpose beyond the temporal appeasement of this life.

 

Our, our culture and man’s only hope is that we may know the bad news that causes us to look to the good news and be saved.

 

A. Never shun the keeping of the Gospel in all things

 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17

 


[1] D.A. Carson, New Bible Commentary, Hebrews.

Gospel Faith in the Old Testament: Moses part 1

Moses

Hebrews 11:23-28

Exodus 1-12

So much of today’s message is not directly applicable to specific situations.

Frankly, it’s not often one can do that from the front of the church because one is then addressing s single person and their situation and that should be reserved for private conversations.

The reality is that many of us come in to the public gathering of the saints and we bring the day, the weekend or the week or even the month’s baggage.

Weekly, my request to Father is that he would have Spirit take his word and cause it to be spoken in such a way that it would be grace in healing, instruction or correction to whoever needs it.

Today, because the Father has allowed in his providence this passage for this day that there are some even all who need the encouragement of this passage. So, here we go.

We live by faith and not by sight!

The assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen!

There is assurance that my hope in the eternal plan of God to do his people good is grounded in reality and my convictions, my actions are lined up with that hope so that the totality of my being is moving toward the kingdom of God.

By this faith through his grace we will received our commendation hearing,  “well done, good and faithful servant.”

In this section, regarding Moses and his family, faith is portrayed as a force sustaining God’s people in times of opposition and difficulty, enabling them to overcome fear and temptation and to fulfill Father’s purposes for them.

1. Moses’ parents obeyed God rather than men and trusted Father’s providence

“By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.” Hebrews 11:23 ESV

With this transition to the life of Moses, the writer began to focus on the way faith confronts opposition and hostility, a subject familiar to his readers (chapter 10).

It was by faith that his parents hid Moses and his life was, therefore, preserved.

The phrase because they saw he was no ordinary child might be better read, “because they saw he was a beautiful child.” (“Beautiful” is the Gr. asteion, which occurs in the NT only here and in Acts 7:20, which also refers to Moses.)

Happy by the precious gift of a son, which God had given them, they evidently believed God had something better for this lovely baby than death.

Not fearing Pharaoh’s law, they kept him alive, and Father rewarded their faith by their son’s distinguished vocation of leading the Lord’s people from slavery to the edge of the Promised Land.

The fearlessness in obeying the dictates of Holy Spirit heart and conscience in the face of danger, and in the reliance on the Lord’s providence, displayed gospel faith.

Moses’ parents were in a place in which, according to the government of Egypt, would not be allowed to keep their baby. The king had given the command to kill all the boy babies on the king’s dime.

However, fearing the Lord, Moses’ parents resisted and hid their child because they believed Father had plan and they were not going to submit to rebellion against the Lord’s truth.

A couple of points to consider if you have believed the Gospel:

A. Gospel faith will obey Father first and others last

This requires knowing Father and his word so that one can apply the nature and character of God to all situations.

There are things that make Father livid. We, likewise, should be livid and moved to action.

1. This gives bible-believing Christians an edge (not competitive edge

but a sharpness and pointedness in their living)

B. Gospel faith will trust the Lord’s providence

Moses family did all they could do and then put their baby in a pitch covered basked and sent him down the river in a guided direction.

Then, Pharaoh’s daughter finds him, his sister is watching. Pharaoh’s daughter sends Moses’ sister to find a nurse. Sister goes and gets mama and Pharaoh pays Moses’ mama to take care of him for her until he is done nursing (the text does not give an exact timing; it just says older).

God is continually involved with all created things in such a way that he (1) keeps them existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them; (2) cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do; and (3) directs them to fulfill his purposes. – Grudem (Chapter 16, Systematic
Theology)

1. This looks like doing all you can that is within your sphere of

work.

This means you can’t control what happens outside of your sphere. All you can do is do your absolute best to be as right and clear and on as you can be in so far as it concerns truth and your behavior. When this is the case, the Christian can relax and believe that Father is at work outside of themselves and he will not fail.

2. This looks like letting Father be sovereign over the outcomes

This means that the Christian does not have to deliver themselves by manipulating circumstances outside of one’s control.

3. This looks like refusing to fret because of what we can’t control

1. Matthew 6:25-34 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his

righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” 6:33

 

Gospel Faith in the Old Testament: Jacob

*The study for this passage was completed by the author and applied in the adaptation of a work published by Desiring God Ministries. Footnotes are placed where material has been quoted. However, much of the content communicated here has been learned from and adapted from the resources quoted and noted below. Please see the link to order the book for a fuller treatment of this subject.

Gospel Faith in the Old Testament

Jacob

Hebrews 11:21

Genesis 48:8-22; 49

 

  1. 1.  Jacob blessed his children in faith

A. What is a blessing?

(for a fuller treatment of blessing see Rolf Gorborg, The Family Blessing (Dallas: Word Publishing Company, 1990. See also “A Father’s Guide To Blessing his Children” from www.childrendesiringgod.org the points of application are taken from “A Father’s Guide to Blessing his Children”)

 

There seem to be a couple of categories of blessing in Scripture.

 

There is the more prophetic blessing and an ordinary blessing.

 

Let’s distinguish between them.

 

There is a distinction between a prophetic blessing and an ordinary blessing.

 

Prophetic blessings were extraordinary and mainly associated with God’s covenant purposes as they unfolded from one generation to the next.

 

For example, when Isaac blessed Jacob (Genesis 27) because of being tricked by Jacob, this prophetic blessing was not revocable.

 

Even when Isaac realized he had been tricked, he could not reverse this prophetic covenantal blessing (Genesis 27:33ff).

(There was also something deeper and grander happening in this blessing as well regarding to the establishment of Father’s rule over his creatures, see Romans 9:11 and surrounding passages)

 

This is seen again at the end of Jacob’s life when he blesses Joseph’s sons.

 

Jacob puts his right hand of blessing on Ephraim, the younger one, rather than Manasseh, the older, in a prophetically significant event that would cause Ephraim and Judah, who was blessed positively as well, to be at the head of Israel’s exploits as a people and nation.

 

Now, in no way do I want to minimize the spiritual significance of an ordinary blessing.

 

But when I place my hands on my boys or look them in the eyes and say,

 

“May the Lord make you worthy of his calling and may he fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

I am, in a Gospel purchased faith, calling down Father’s favor on them in the HOPE, that by the work of the Gospel, they will be a men who are strong in the Lord and fulfills their created purpose in the Kingdom.

 

I am NOT declaring, in a prophetic sense, that they will become that just because I have pronounced this on them.

 

Much of what Jacob did was prophetic in nature. However, that is not the only place in Scripture where the people of the Lord and the servants of the Lord blessed each other and the people in general.

 

The ordinary blessing is spoken by one person to another and should be done in the name of the Lord.

 

Rolf Gorborg gives a great summary of this type of blessing by defining it as “the intentional act of speaking God’s favor and power into someone’s life, often accompanied by a symbolic gesture such as laying hands on the person.”

 

 

How are we to understand the blessing?

 

Blessing – family inclusion (can include provision of resources, gifts, abilities, etc.), being treated as a member of the family with all the benefits that come from being a member of that family as well as all of the purpose of being a member of that family.

 

A blessing is not a prayer. In a prayer we ask Father for things.

 

A blessing, however, comes from Father and is directed toward his people.

 

When we bless we are invoking, summoning or calling on Father’s blessing for the benefit of another. When we bless, we become an avenue for Father’s blessing through us to another. Our words are powerful and full of life and death.

 

Proverbs 18:21
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat it’s fruits.”

 

The reason our words are powerful is because language and communication is an “Imago Dei”, image of God, issue. Father is a communicator and words, language and literature are works that exist because Father communicates and made us in his image with the ability to communicate as he does. Therefore, when we communicate, we either communicate out of the life of the Gospel or the death of the fall. Be careful how you communicate.

 

This is why the preacher must be right and must not take this office without fear and trembling.

 

Therefore, often when we speak a blessing we are speaking the inspired words of Scripture over a person and therefore, speaking life to them.

 

Sometimes when we speak a blessing we are speaking ideas inspired and adapted from words of Scripture over a person, and likewise, speak life to them.

 

Let’s take a look quickly at one of the blessings spoken in Scripture.

 

Numbers 6:22-27

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

The LORD bless you and keep you;

the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

“So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”

 

1. Blessing is the work of the Lord, ultimately

2. Blessing is putting the Lord’s name on the Lord’s people

3. Blessing is something we, as priests of the Lord, can be part of as ministers

of his grace to lead, heal and comfort

4. Blessing, as putting the Lord’s name on his people, invites the tangible

evidences of the Lord’s blessing (family inclusion)

5. Blessing is a verbal action coming from the heart transformed by the Gospel

6. Blessing is a physical action coming from the heart transformed by the

Gospel

 

Jesus gives this authority to his disciples to bless

 

Luke 9:1

And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.

 

Acts 3:6

But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!

 

We have a responsibility and authority to bless

 

It was the Levitical priesthood that was giving the instructions to bless.

 

Because the Scriptures affirm that through the work of the Gospel all believers are priests to the Lord (1 Peter 2:5) and the general instructions given by the Lord himself and the Apostle Paul (Luke 6:28 “bless those who curse you…”; Romans 12:14 “bless those who persecute you…”) it is fully appropriate for New Covenant believers to bless others biblically, particularly us fathers.

 

What are some results of blessing?

 

1. The blessing exalts Father as the source of all blessing for the joy of his people [1]

Psalm 145:19

He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.

 

2. Blessing helps us think eternally

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills.

From where does my help come?

My help comes from the LORD,

who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;

he who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, he who keeps Israel

will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD is your keeper;

the LORD is your shade on your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day,

nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all evil;

he will keep your life.

The LORD will keep

                        your going out and your coming in

                        from this time forth and forevermore.

As we bless our children we can be sure that Father hears and remembers these biblical blessings. He remembers today and will remember decades from now.[2]

 

These blessings can extend far beyond our time into times of deep legacy when our great grand children will be kneeling over their children and blessing them with these rich hopes for the future of them in the Kingdom of God.

 

Psalm 112:6

For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever.

 

Psalm 23:6

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

 

3. Blessing gives our children a vision for what we desire most for them

Psalm 125:1

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.

 

4. Blessing can be a means of comfort and reassurance that Father is present and at work

Psalm 16:7

I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.

 

5. Blessing can help strengthen bonds of affection between children and parents

There is something magical that happens when you look into your kid’s eyes and bless them with the divine and holy words of Scripture.

 

I can see it in their eyes and feel it as we communicate over this stuff.

 

6. Blessing encourages men in their roles as spiritual leaders

Men, this is a great responsibility and joy you have to be an ambassador of Father’s blessing to your children.


[1] FGBC, points 1-6 are adapted from “Father’s Guide to Blessing his Children”

[2] FGBC

Secret of the Psalter, by Bonhoeffer

This is a section from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s work called “Life Together”. The book is about Christian fellowship. Bonhoeffer was a pastor in Germany during WWII. It’s a classic and a must read. If you don’t know anything about Bonhoeffer, it is important to know that after his incarceration in April, 1943, in Tegel the guards there were friendly to him and secretly took Bonhoeffer to cells of prisoners to minister to them. These guards did preserve his papers, essays and other works and they established a network to take his works outside of the camps to his family and friends. This stopped after he was transferred to the Gestapo prisons and all contact with the outside was stopped. Bonhoeffer was hung on April 9, 1945 the day after he conducted a service for fellow inmates.

This kind of makes you recognize that we have it made and maybe that is not so good because our zeal is not as high as Bonhoeffer’s. It’s just a fact. How many of us would gather under the threat of arrest? How many of us would still write sermons and spiritual instruction while incarcerated by a regime contrary to our beliefs and values? Just something to stew on.

Anyway, I’m going to reproduce for you a section on common worship for the community of Christians from the Psalms. The section’s title is “The Secret of the Psalter”. This section will transform how you read the Psalms and worship with them. Maybe you’ll be intrigued to read the whole book.

I’m going to reproduce it as is with the version of Scripture he used (a German translation) and the roughness of words and grammar translated from German to English.

Here is goes!

The Secret of the Psalter

“The New Testament laid emphasis upon “speaking to yourselves in psalms” (Eph 5:19) and “teaching and admonishing one another in psalms” (Col 3:16). From ancient times in the church a special significance has been attached to the common use of psalms. In many churches to this day the Psalter constitutes the beginning of every service of common worship. The custom as been largely lost and we must fund our way back to is prayers. The Psalter occupies a unique lace in the Holy Scriptures. It is God’s work and, with a  few exceptions, the payer of men as well. How are we to understand this? How can God’s Word be at the same time prayer to God?

This question brings with it an observation that is made by everybody who begins to use the psalms as prayers. First he tries to repeat the psalms personally as his own prayer. But soon he comes upon passages that he feels he cannot utter as his own personal petitions. We recall, for example, the psalms of innocence, the bitter, the imprecatory psalms, and also in part the psalms of the Passion. And yet these prayers are words of Holy Scripture, which a believing Christian cannot simply dismiss as outworn and obsolete, as “early stages of religion.” One may have no desire to carp at the Word of the Scriptures and yet he knows that he cannot pray these words. He can read and hear them as the prayer of another person, wonder about them, be offended by them, but he can neither pray them himself nor discard them from the Bible.

The practical expedient would be to say that any person in this situation should first stick to the psalms he can understand and repeat, and in the case of the other psalms he should learn quite simply to let stand what is incomprehensible and difficult and turn back again and again to what is simple and understandable. Actually, however, this difficulty indicates the point at which we get our first glimpse of the secret of the Psalter. A psalm that we cannot utter as a prayer, that makes us falter and horrifies us, is a hint to us that here Someone else is praying, not we; that the One who is here protesting his innocence, who is invoking God’s judgment, who has come to such infinite depths of suffering, is none other than Jesus Christ himself. He it is who is praying here, and not only here but in the whole Psalter.

This insight New Testament and the church have always recognized and declared. The Man Jesus Christ, to whom no affliction, no ill, no suffering is alien and who yet was the wholly innocent and righteous one, is praying in the Psalter through the mouth of his Church. The Psalter is the prayer-book of Jesus Christ in the truest sense of the word. He prayed the Psalter and now it has become his prayer for all time. Now do we understand how the Psalter can be prayer to God and yet God’s own Word, precisely because here we encounter the praying Christ? Jesus Christ prays through the Psalter in his congregation. His congregation prays too, the individual prays. But here he prays, in so far as Christ prays within him, not in his own name, but in the Name of Jesus Christ. He prays, not from the natural desires of his own heart; he prays out of the manhood put on by Christ; he prays on the basis of the prayer of the Man Jesus Christ. But when he so acts, his prayer falls within the promise that it will be heard. Because Christ prays the prayer of the psalms with the individual and the congregation before the heavenly throne of God, or rather because those who pray the psalms are joining in with the prayer of Jesus Christ, their prayer reaches the ears of God. Christ has become their intercessor.”

Think on this and see if it changes how you read, pray and worship with the Psalms.

Gospel Faith in the Old Testament: Joseph

Gospel Faith in the Old Testament

Joseph

Psalm 105:12-22

Genesis 50:22-26

Genesis 37, 39-50

Hebrews 11:22

 

It is important to remember that Joseph and these saints of the Old Testament are not just tightening up their bootstraps and making things happen. These are not human achievement stories. These are not trophies of the human spirit. These are not stories of moral champions whose morality set the pace for their generation and led moral reform. These are saints who imitated the second person of the Trinity and found their human failures and triumphs to be monuments to the grace of God to save and redeem their existence for Father’s glory and their joy. 

 

Joseph spoke of the future with a Gospel saturated faith that Father would visit his people and deliver them in order to bring them to himself. Remember, “Let my people go that they may worship me.”

 

Joseph spoke so confidently in the Lord that he gave instruction to his family to make sure they didn’t leave his bones in Egypt. Joseph, whether he fully comprehended the full scope of the global work of Father’s kingdom, believed the Lord would save his people and take them to his land and Joseph didn’t want to miss it.

 

In fact Father did visit his people, and according to Jude 5, Jesus visited his people and he rescued his people when he executed justice on all those who did not believe and passed over his people who were covered by the blood of sacrifice.

 

This glorious event of the Passover looked forward to the day when Jesus himself would come and be the sacrifice in order to spill his blood in perfection so that all who would come to him and take shelter under his sacrifice would be pardoned from the rebellion incited by our parents and be accepted as the justified child of Father and given the inheritance of his Kingdom that is an everlasting Kingdom.

 

Joseph’s looking forward to this glorious work of the Gospel made his life one that is not wasted nor lacking purpose in every detail.

 

Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus.

 

This meaning, Joseph’s life was lived and that life would find it’s meaning in the work of salvation that he is looking forward to in faith.

 

Now, Joseph’s life is one of the Lord’s great illustrations that we find great hope in. The reason is because that no detail of Joseph’s life is arbitrary or wasted.

 

The Gospel that Joseph was looking forward to purchased everything good in his life and it also purchased everything bad that Father turned for his good so that in all things good was working for Joseph and his life was not arbitrary, rather purposeful at every turn, and no hurt was wasted.

 

Joseph’s life points us to the hope purchased by the gospel that our successes, failures and forced hurts even by the hands of other people are not purposeless and in fact are redeemed and turned for our good.

 

What do we take from this for us today?

 

1. If the Gospel is your hope, then good things are glorious gifts of the Gospel to be enjoyed by the people of God through gospel generosity

James 1:17 ESV

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

 

1 Timothy 6:17-19 ESV

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy (the next verse defines enjoyment not as hoarding but as sharing with God’s people the abundance). They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

 

Joseph, given a glorious gift of being second in command, used that good gift to preserve the people of God.

 

1. Don’t hoard good

2. Give good

 

Let me be clear. This is not redistribution, that some have wrongly read onto the teaching of Scripture. Scripture does not advocate for communistic forced redistribution nor does it advocate for greedy capitalism either.

 

The Kingdom of Jesus Christ operates on stewardship. He is owner and we are managers of his resources and among the people of God there is to be full enjoyment by all of his people of all of his resources.

2. If the Gospel is your hope, then your hurts are events that will be turned for your good as glorious gifts of the Gospel

Romans 8:28-30

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

 

  1. Being hurt stinks. But the promise of the Gospel is that those hurts have good as their end
  2. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:5 ESV)
  3. Do not rescue yourself from suffering in order to grow your trust in the Lord

(Please don’t hear in this statement that a person should not try to get themselves to safety if they are in danger. That is not what I’m saying. If you are in danger, then by all means, seek rescue from that situation)

The point here is that we can be tempted to manipulate our circumstances in order to make our situation fit us better.

 

Illustration: If you are obedient, following the Lord, exercising wisdom and difficulty comes upon you, trust in the Lord for your delivery not in your ability to rescue yourself. George Muller’s life purpose was to show that Father is faithful and answers the prayers of his people, so Muller set out to minister to orphans, a biblical mandate, to show Father was trustworthy. So, Muller met the orphan’s needs with asking Father and would not resort to raising funds by his own means. That, he considered, was self-rescue. And Muller believed that if you were going to grow in trust you could NEVER RESCUE YOURSELF!

 3. If the Gospel is not your hope, then Father is not working for your good. Rather Father is working to bring you to justice

 

  1. Repent and believe the Gospel

 

4. If you have believed the Gospel, Father is a work in your life in ways you can’t even begin to imagine for supreme good in spite of what you perceive and know

 

“Judge not the Lord by feeble sense but trust him for his grace. Behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face.” – William Cowper, God Moves in a Mysterious Way