Monday, December 14, 2015

Welcome

December is now posted.

Check out the latest Bible Study on "Dispensations"

We will be posting the Glorious Gospel articles individually below. The previous month's publication will be found under the Archive tab as pdf's. We will begin posting some studies, as pdf's and as ebooks in the coming months.

W I N G S

Jack Davis

Part 3



“And the four beasts (living creatures) had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts (living creatures) give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne…” Rev. 4:8-10.

Consider some thoughts on the spelling of W-I-N-G-S. They certainly teach us of the abundant, abounding, and ascending life.

‘W’ – Worship comes to mind as we view the living creatures ascending the heights, mounting the throne in holy heavenly praise and adoration. They sing praises for ever of Him that raised them from the depths, to reign with Him over the earth - Rev. 5:10.

‘I’ – As we consider the living creatures’ wings, we sense their Interest, and Involvement in every notion, and motion of the throne. They act in perfect harmony as does the Son, pleasing the Father in all things. They are seen in this book of Revelation carrying out the will of the throne. Willingness for God’s will is indeed an outstanding trait in His people that fully overcome.

Song of Solomon 6:9-12 – “My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners? I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded. Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib” {or, set me on the chariots of my willing people}.

The Hebrew meaning of Amminadib: ‘My willing, noble, princely people.’ It seems that when he comes down, and gets too close to His willing people, He takes off with them. Next we read, “Return, return O Shulamite.” Their attitude has long been as that of the Son, “Oh, Father, not my will but thine be done.” “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”

‘N’ – Newness – Never growing old as a new creature in Christ is far better than trying to find that fountain of youth, or claiming so-called divine health. We have the privilege of being continually renewed in the power to walk in “newness of life” – Rom. 6:4. We are made to know from Romans 12:1-2, the way of victory over conforming to this world, is being transformed by the renewing of our minds. While feeding on God’s Word, meditating therein, the Holy Spirit makes it a part of us transforming us from within. As we are renewed in knowledge after Christ’s image, we take on His holy, heavenly traits, From within we are being changed in preparation for that final outward change - Col. 3:10.

In Hebrews 10:19-22, we are urged to enjoy the presence of God by the new and living way. The believers access unto God is based upon that which is ever new. From the original Greek, we get the thought of that which is newly made, freshly slain, and yet ever living. In Revelation 21:1-5, we read of that eternal state where all things are made new, (new heaven, new earth, new Jerusalem). We will ever enjoy new surroundings of glory in that eternal abode of God among His people.

‘G’ – Glory – Wings point to the glory that excels all, and that is eternal. Yet, even now while we await that eternal state, using our wings we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Our glad expectation of a glorious future lifts our spirits to raise and reign. We have many scriptural examples, and living testimonies, of those who like Paul and Silas are in some type of prison, experiencing different limitations or hindrances. Yet their spirits soar to the throne of God. Oh, Halleluiah, with many stripes upon them, their feet fast in stocks, at midnight the prisoners heard them praying and singing the high praises of our God. For it is Christ in us the hope of glory, and we expect to appear with Him in glory. We know that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. We know that our afflictions of the present are working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

I John 3:1-3 – “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

Philippians 3:20-21 – “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

Such truths as these lift our spirits, and encourage us on.

‘S’ – The Spirit realm, with its spacious freedom, and swiftness of motion come to mind as we consider our God given wings. Our hearts long for the time when we will be changed in the twinkle of an eye. All creation awaits the glorious liberty of the children of God. That which is born of flesh is flesh, that which is born of Spirit is spirit. We have lived here in a fleshly, physical body that is subject to decay, and the pull of gravity. In earthen vessels, we have borne the image of the earthy, there is none here glorified yet. But praise God we are soon to be caught up, and changed, to live with our Lord forever in our spiritual bodies, bearing the image of the heavenly. These bodies will be without limitation, which will far exceed levitation, soaring above the power of gravitation.

What does the Bible say?


By Earlene Davis

Where Are the dead?


Of course we are mostly concerned about our day in time, but we must see what the Old Testament has to say on this. In the original Hebrew text, the word to express the abode of the dead is “Sheol” from the root word meaning “to make hollow.” It is incorrectly translated “grave” in 3 citations, but correctly translated “hell” in Job 11:8; Ps. 9:17; 139:8; Prov. 23:14; Amos 9:2. Sheol comprised of two compartments upper and lower Sheol in the heart of the earth. Upper Sheol, the abode of the righteous dead was called “Abraham’s Bosom” in Lk. 16:23. Christ also called it “Paradise” in Lk. 23:43. Lowest Sheol is the abode of the wicked dead as to their soul and spirit. It is called “lowest hell” in Deut. 32:22 and “the depths of hell” in Ps. 86:13; Prov. 9:18. Prov. 15:24 has it, “hell beneath” and Isa. 14:9 – “Hell from beneath,” saying it holds the mighty men of the earth, kings, etc. In the New Testament the Greek text has “pit of the abyss” for lowest Sheol. When Jesus cast out the legion of evil spirits out of that man of Gadarenes, they besought Jesus not to send them into the deep. II Pet. 2:4 tells of the angels that sinned were cast into hell (Tararus in the Greek) meaning “”pit of darkness.” Other words translated hell in the New Testament are “hades” and “Gehenna.” In the book of Revelation, the term used for lowest hell is “”the bottomless pit” (Rev. 9:1-2,11-17; 17:8; 20:1). What we learn from those citations is that Satan is king of the evil spirits. Also when the beast (the Antichrist) is killed and raised again by Satan, he ascends out of the bottomless pit.

I Pet. 3:19 tells that when Jesus died, of course His body was in the tomb, but His Spirit went and preached to the spirits in upper Sheol. Rom. 10:7 says He descended into the lower (not the lowest) part of the earth. What did he preach? No doubt “It is finished,” His work on the cross. He brought up those prisoners and took them to heaven – Eph. 4:8-10. At that time we read in Mt. 27:52-53 many bodies of the saints arose from their graves and appeared in Jerusalem when Christ arose. Paradise is NOW in the heavens – II Cor. 5:6-8. Praise God! Through Christ’s resurrection “Abraham‘s Boson,” “Paradise” was taken to Christ’s bosom. Phil. 1:23 - to depart this life, the righteous are with the Lord as to their spirits. Their bodies will be raised when Christ comes for His own (I Thess. 4:14). Then the spirits of the saints will be clothed upon with their glorified bodies (II Cor. 5:1-2). We shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed (I Cor. 15:52).

The spirits of the wicked in lower Sheol will be brought up and joined with their resurrected bodies and punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and cast into their eternal abode - II Thess. 1:7-9. Rev. 20:11-15 says, “death and hell” meaning body and spirit. Jesus said, the lake of fire was prepared for the devil and his angels, but men insist on going there by rejecting Jesus - Mt. 25:41.                                                              E. J. D.

THE LAST DAYS


By Anita Clark


"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation" II Peter 3:3-4.

Apostle Peter was speaking of people of his day who were doubting that Jesus would return. How much more do we see this happening in these latter days of this age, two thousand years later. Unbelief is abounding! We hear more and more of people expressing skepticism concerning Christ’s eminent return. The Word of God predicts that many will be in a stupor of sleepiness at the time of the coming of Christ, and will not realize that they have missed out until the tribulation of judgment comes upon the world.

The word used in this text "scoffers" in the Greek means "to deride, false teachers, or mockers." This is going on all around us today. To "walk after their own lusts" means they are consumed with "fleshly desires," fulfilling their own sinful self-indulgence. The Word of God plainly teaches us, "For God has not called us to uncleanness, but unto holiness" (I Thess. 4:7). The world is increasingly getting darker and darker with people fulfilling the desires of their flesh in utter disregard of what God’s Word teaches. Apostle Paul admonishes us in I Timothy 2:1-4, to intercede in prayer "...for all men, for kings and for all that are in authority...For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." This does not mean that "all men" will accept God’s invitation to be saved, but that this is God’s will for all.

INCREASE IN KNOWLEDGE/NEW TECHNOL-OGIES – The Word of God says in Daniel 12:4, that in the time of the end, "...knowledge shall be increased." The technology of this world is hard to keep up with. A study has shown that human knowledge is doubling every 8 years. Buckminster Fuller and author of "Knowledge Doubling Curve" writes of how that human knowledge doubled every century up to around 1900. He says, "The end of World War II reduced that time frame to every 25 years. Now some technical advances are doubling the knowledge every 2 years, while advances in clinical knowledge doubles every 18 months. Current numbers show that all of human knowledge is doubling about every thirteen months. So, whatever you knew last June is obsolete." Even the written page in books and especially the Bible is being discarded by some for the use of electronic devices. I know that I may be old fashioned, but I think that it is important to read the literal pages of our Bibles to accustom ourselves with meditating on and finding the texts ourselves without the technology.

The knowledge we get from the Word of God is timeless because we are not just taking it into our human brain, but into another dimension - that of our New Creation life. The Word must first be entertained in our human mind, but as we give our mind over to Christ, we are renewed in our mind, and the Word becomes apart of us. It then changes our actions into living for Christ. Apostle Paul says in Romans 12:2, "And be not conformed [molded to] to this world: but be transformed [metamorphosed] by the renewing of your mind..."

We can see how far advanced technology has come with creating devices to identify humans being one from another through electronics. Back in 1998 a British Scientist created implants for patients. In 2009 devices were being surgically implanted Recently, the head of Master Card commented that microchip implants under the skin could be used for commerce soon. United States Food and Drug Administration has approved the Verichip in 2009 to be placed in humans for medical information, but they have not been injected into but a few persons who paid to have one put in. One company required it for access to specified places in their building for security reasons. Some states have set up laws to prevent them from being injected into persons against their will.

Of course the concerns of Christians is that Revelation 13:16-17 states that the False Prophet will promote a mark on the head or hand of all who will buy and sell during the tribulation when the Antichrist is ruling. Somehow, the image of the Beast (Antichrist) will be able to speak and put to death anyone that will not worship it (Rev. 13:15). We don’t know exactly how this will be accomplished, but it will be done through advanced technology, no doubt.

INCREASE OF EARTHQUAKES – The Rim of Fire is the giant ring that runs around the outer perimeter of the Pacific Ocean called that because of the volcanic activity in those areas around the Pacific Plate. At this time there is a tremendous increase in earthquake activity in this area. Also, there are 40 volcanoes erupting right now around the globe 34 of which are active along the Rim of Fire area. In recent months there has been significant earthquakes in Michigan, Texas, Mississippi, Idaho and Washington. Also, in Oklahoma there have been several mild earthquakes. San Francisco has had increased earthquake activity lately. Matthew 24:7 tells us "...and there shall be famines, and pestilence, earthquakes in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows" Matthew 24:7-8.

WARS AND RUMORS OF WARS – the war with ISIS rages on. Fifty-nine nations, focused to defeat ISIS, are joined as participants in the war to destroy the radical jihads, with Russia entering in more recently. The main super powers involved have met together recently, to try to work together to prevent air tragedies between themselves, as different nations are mounting air raids on ISIS, and collisions could occur in the sky as the bombers go flying over such a small area.

Much talk has been going on about the refugees form Syria coming into various countries, after fleeing from atrocities brought on by the terrible acts by the jihadis. Much fear from citizens of countries, where these displaced persons might end up, is being voiced, and the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and the bombing of the Russia Airline plane by ISIS has caused many to reject the idea of bringing these refugees into various countries. Many in the United States are very fearful about the possible terrorist that might come in as refugees, and then do some terrorist act here in the U.S.A.

The world is full of unrest. Satan tries to take our peace continually. We must triumph over his devices. Remember the Scriptures, which comforts our hearts. "For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (II Timothy 1:7). "Be anxious for nothing, but by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your heart and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7). Jesus Christ is coming soon to catch away His bride. Be watching and ready.

Unspeakable


“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” 2 Corinthians 9:15

In this time of year, we celebrate a holiday called “Thanksgiving.” Everyone stops to be thankful. Just one day a year. How hard can that be? Everyone should be able to be thankful one day a year. How about every day of the year?

We are encouraged so much in God’s Word to be thankful, and we have so much to be thankful for. It is not my intention to write down here every little thing that I find in God’s Word to be thankful about, but I think it is safe to say that we cannot hardly read any passage without learning about something that God has, is or will do for us for which we should be thankful.

The thing that we need to remember, is that we need to and can be thankful every single day. Our attitude of gratitude is not conditional on the circumstances of the day or the  moment, or on our feelings. Our gratitude is brought forth by a complete understanding of who God is, and His relationship to us.

We are God’s creation, and as such, He has complete Sovereignty over us. As a fallen creation we deserved to be eternally expelled from God’s presence, but in His grace and mercy, He sent His Son to reconcile us. This alone should exact eternal gratitude from our heart. How ridiculous man is to think that maybe God owes him something.

The culture in which we live tries to get us to think this way. I am owed something. How foolish. Not only are we not owed anything we don’t even deserve anything, and yet, God sent His only Son to provide us everything. How sad that many of God’s precious people do not understand this truth.

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” Colossians 2:13-14.

Nothing in this world should be able to bring us to the place where we cease to be grateful for this. He took everything that was keeping us from Him out of our way, and forgave us ALL trespasses. David tells us that we are extremely happy if we know that our sins have been forgiven.

God’s gift is “unspeakable.” We will never be able to express complete gratitude for His gift of His Son. In this season where we think about thankfulness, and about giving and receiving gifts, let us first consider God’s gift and express our gratitude every day.

Gordon Crook

RUTH



By Debra Isenbletter


Ruth 3:4 – “And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.”

Wait for him:  After Naomi’s  gives instructions to Ruth about what she needs to do to prepare to meet Boaz, Naomi goes on to tell Ruth to wait for Boaz to rest.  Naomi says:  “And it shall be, when he lieth down,” she knows what “shall be,” what will happen, she knows what Boaz will do after all his labors.  Boaz will rest, the word “lieth down” speaks of “rest” or “sleep.”  The lord of the harvest has finished his work, all has been harvested, threshed and winnowed.  He will now rest from his labors and guard what is his.

Watch for him:  Naomi tells Ruth to watch for Boaz and mark the place he picks to rest.  “that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie.”  Remember that this threshing floor, was large, it was used by the community, many were there that night threshing and winnowing and each person would set aside a place to rest and guard the grain that had been labored over.  The threshing floor was probably filled with people and with activity.  Ruth was to carefully watch Boaz and “mark” the exact spot Boaz chose to rest.  The work “mark” can be translated “notice,” “note,” or “observe.”  She will watch and follow him alone; she will know where he has chosen to rest so that when she comes later, it will be to Boaz and no other.  There will be no mistake about the one that she chooses.  Ruth will come to Boaz and reveal herself not veil herself.  In the Song of Solomon the Shulamite cries, “Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest … for why should I be as one that turned aside (who veils herself) by the flocks” (Son 1:7).  Ruth doesn’t have to ask “where,” she knows where Boaz has fed and where he rests and she knows that when she comes to this place it is where she too will find rest.  Ruth will come quietly, secretly, softly in the night when all are asleep and she will know exactly who she is coming to, she has unveiled herself to the one her “soul loveth” and she has come to the place where he rests and there she will find rest.

Go to him:  Naomi tells Ruth that once she marks the place where Boaz has chosen and waited for Boaz to eat and drink and lie down to sleep, that “thou shalt go in.”  This is a personal and private entering in to his presence.  Naomi tells Ruth to “go in” and she can only do that by faith.  Ruth’s faith has been activated by the words of Naomi.  Paul writes that “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Ro 10:17).  The word has been presented; Ruth has heard it, now she exercises faith and must “go in” with boldness and claim what is hers.  This is how we enter into the presence of the Lord Jesus, of our Boaz.  Through faith “we have boldness and access with confidence” (Eph 3:12) and through faith we “come boldly unto the throne of grace and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16).  Ruth comes boldly and finds help to meet her need.  She is to “go in” with faith and lay hold of God’s promises.

Rest with him:  Naomi tells Ruth to “uncover his feet and lay thee down.”  Ruth will do two things, and both are done by faith.  She will “uncover his feet” – this is her Revelation.  She will “lay down” at his feet – This is her Submission.  This is the place she chooses, “his feet,” and there can be no other place and no better place.  It is in this place that she will lay claim to the greatest blessings.  The place at his feet is a wonderful place, this place reveals things about us and to us. 

It is the place of a servant:  In those days and even today it was the custom for the servants to lay down to sleep at the feet of their masters.  Jamieson, Fausset and Brown writes:  “Ruth lay crosswise at his feet, a position in which Eastern servants frequently sleep in the same chamber or tent with their master; and if they want a covering, custom allows them to benefit from part of the covering of their master’s bed.”  The first thing you see concerning Ruth is the place she takes, and the place she claims, that of a servant, and not just any servant, but Boaz’s servant!

It is the place of petition and submission.  It is from this place (at his feet) that Ruth will make her request and present her petition.  We see examples of this throughout the Word of God.  Abigail took this place before David to apologize for her husband’s behavior.  When she saw David she fell “on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and fell at his feet” (1 Sam 25:23-24).  She did this first before she spoke.  Esther took this place before her husband when she came before him to petition for her people.  She “fell down at his feet and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman…” (Esther 8:3).  The woman called “a sinner,” that came to Simon’s house to see Jesus, came to the feet of Jesus.  She “stood at his feet behind him weeping and began to wash his feet with tears and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet and anointed them.” (Luke 7:38).  Mary, the sister of Lazarus, came in sorrow to Jesus and “fell down at his feet” (John 11:32) and declared in faith “if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”

It is a place of learning:   The man who was delivered of demon possession was found “sitting at the feet of Jesus” (Luke 8:35).  He was clothed and in “right mind.”  We don’t know how long he had sat there but what things he must have heard from the lips of Jesus before others came to interrupt that time of communion.  Mary is seen earlier, before Lazarus’ death along with her sister Martha and her testimony was that she “also sat at Jesus feet and heard his word.” (Luke 10:39).  She sat “also,” like the disciples did, she sat to learn and what a revelation she had!  She saw things they did not and Jesus’ words concerning this place she chose was that she “hath chosen that good part (portion, better portion)” and that it “shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42).  Paul testified later that he had sat “at the feet of Gamaliel” (Acts 22:3) as his student and been taught the law.  Later he would sit at the feet of Jesus for three years in Arabia and there receive “the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal 1:12-18).

It is a place of worship:  The leper who was healed took this place at Jesus feet, when he came to give thanks and worship he “fell down on his face at this feet, giving him thanks” (Luke 17:16).  Again we see Mary, and this is the place she took when she came to anoint Jesus with that costly perfume that filled the room.  She came “and anointed the feet of Jesus” (John 12:3).  That is worship!

It is the place of a wife:  Adam Clarke, a Biblical scholar and theologian writes:  “It is said that women in the East, when going to the bed of their lawful husbands, through modest and in token of subject, go to the bed’s foot, and gently raising the clothes, creep under them.”  Ruth takes this place through Naomi’s instructions, it is ultimately the place of a wife.  Matthew Henry writes:  “She was his wife before God and there needed but little ceremony to complete the nuptials; and Naomi did not intend that Ruth should approach to him any otherwise than as his wife.”

Wait on him:  “and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.”  She had waited for him, now she is to wait on him.  This is the last thing Ruth must do.  She must wait for Boaz to “tell” her or “explain” to her what she is to do.  And he does!   Boaz knows exactly what Ruth is asking and Boaz tells Ruth exactly what she is to do.  It is nothing!  From this point on Boaz will do everything and Ruth is to “sit still” and simply wait! She will wait with hope and expectation for Boaz to do what needs to be done, to go before her and act the part of a “kinsman-redeemer” and elevate her from the place of a servant to the place of a wife! 
To be Continued

Bitterness Made Sweet


By Earlene Davis

After the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt’s bondage, they traveled three days in the wilderness and found no water (Ex. 15:22). They had to go through this strange land to get to the promise land God had given to Abraham and his seed, it was their inheritance. This speaks of our experience. This world is not our home, we are just passing through this wilderness. There is nothing down here that refreshes our spiritual life. This world’s shallow cisterns have run dry unto us. Like the cry of the Psalmist in Psalm 63 -“Oh God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee; my soul longeth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” For God alone can satisfy. Jesus said in Jn. 7:37, “If any man Thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.”  May we continually go to Him for the water of life.

This was a sore trial, three days in the hot and sandy wilderness without water and they finally reach the waters of Marah and they were bitter (V. 23). Marah means ‘bitterness.’ We often set our heart on something and obtain it expecting satisfaction, to only find bitter disappointment. We like Israel began with light hearts after deliverance from Egypt, a type of the world. We like they may have thought God would provide smooth sailing from then on. Yes, our sins have been forgiven, but tribulations lay before us. We learn that it is at God’s right hand and not in this world, that there are “pleasures for evermore” – Ps. 16:11. For drought and bitterness (Marah) are all we can expect in this world that owns not Christ. God does not mean for us to settle down and be content in a world that cast out His beloved Son.

“And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?” (V. 24). Just three day before they were singing. They seem to have forgotten passing through the Red Sea and seeing the Egyptians drowned and being led by the Pillar of Cloud. Their murmuring against Moses was in reality murmuring against the Lord, so it is with us. Every complaint against our circumstances in our daily trials is against the One Who “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” – Eph. 1:11. May we remember that what is recorded of Israel’s history is “written for our admonition” – I Cor. 10:11. What was the cause of Israel’s murmuring? Their eyes were no longer upon God. May we keep “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” – Heb. 12:2.

“And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: (V. 25). Moses did what the people should have done, “cried unto the Lord.” This is what our Marah’s are for to drive us unto the Lord. We are so prone to be absorbed with blessings instead of the Blesser Himself. Somber yet true, that it would take a Marah to made us cry unto God in earnest.

Moses did not cry unto God in vain. The Lord showed him a tree, a type of the One who provided redemption for His people. He was cast into the bitter waters of this world and sweetened the bitterness through His substitutionary death. He is the God of all grace and with long suffering bears with His people. God’s people today may fail to trust the Lord and give way to murmuring, but when we cry unto the Lord, God answers. Moses was an interceding mediator, and God acted. Praise God, we have One who “ever liveth to make intercession for us” – Heb. 7:25. On this ground God deals tenderly with us.

The tree was there all the time, but the Lord had to “show” Moses the tree. Does this not show how dependent we are on the Lord and how blind we are in ourselves? When the tree was cast into the waters, they were made sweet. There are several scriptures that present Christ figured by a tree. I will only mention one – Song of Solomon 2:3 – “As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my Beloved among the sons. I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste.” Life’s bitter experiences are sweetened when we sit down at His feet. We find His words are sweeter than the honey-comb.

Of course the tree also speaks of the cross of Christ. I Pet. 2:24, He bore our sins in His own body on the tree. His substitutionary death on the cross makes that which is naturally bitter, sweet to us. I speak especially of the fellowship of His sufferings (Phil. 3:10) the sufferings that result from being linked with Christ in His suffering path here. “If we suffer with Him we shall also reign with Him.” The reality of being linked with Him makes “Marah” itself drinkable. Acts 16 gives an illustration, Paul and Silas in prison, cruelly scourged and thrown into the innermost dungeon. In the darkness with feet in the stocks and backs bleeding, it was “Marah” for them. They sang praises so lustily that the other prisoners heard them. How were they able to sing under such circumstances? Acts 5:41 – They rejoiced that they were “counted worthy to suffer for His name.” Our trials and afflictions are opportunities for fellowship with the sufferings of our Savior.

“He made for them a statute and an ordinance and there He prove them” (V. 25). The Lord dealt with them in grace. Grace makes us more indebted to God. Grace reigns “through righteousness” not at the expense of it – Rom. 5:21. The Lord showed them that there is no bitterness which He could not sweeten with the provision of His grace. Let me make it clear – God’s commandments had nothing to do with our salvation.

Israel was already under the blood and was on resurrection ground. As we yield to  God and to His Word, the Holy Spirit does a work in us. “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us (not by us) who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” – Rom. 8:4. “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord (in God’s Word) are changed into the same image (we see in the Word) from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” - II Cor. 3:18. Thank God! For the working of His Spirit in our lives. We then can glory in tribulations because of the Spirit’s working – Rom. 5:1-5.
E. J. D.