In Deuteronomy 11:26-30 we see the prophesied establishing of the mountain of curses and the mountain of blessings. Mount Gerizim was to be the mountain of blessing and Mount Ebal the mountain where the curses were read. These were real places in the promised land with epic implications. These were mountains and so were big, unmistakable, indestructible. They were there for all to see and were always a reminder of a God who loves righteousness and hates sin.
So what of me? When I see Ebal how do I respond? At Ebal I see me in all my sin. I see at Ebal that in my flesh in my natural state, I am properly set for judgement and under the curse of God. I see my just desserts I see me as the cause of all my peril and I grieve and mourn and tremble and am petrified.
When I see Gerizim I see a total contrast. At Gerizim I see Christ. I see the One who, not only is the source of any blessing, but is the One who is my blessing. I see in Jesus Christ my Lord the one who takes away my sins and gifts the Holy Spirit to me. I see One who has given me eternal life and in Him I have all spiritual blessings. And when I look at Gerizim I am thankful. And I proclaim without Him I am nothing and I can do nothing.
So go and ponder upon Gerizim and Ebal today!
I was clearing some things out at home yesterday and decided to discard an old frame with a decorated text in it. The frame was falling apart and so I thought I would throw the whole thing away. So it ended in the bin.
However, I pondered upon it this morning and felt uncomfortable about binning the text. And as I have pondered I felt I needed that text. So I have retrieved it from the garbage and have placed it in front of me at my desk. The text is: Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1).
This justification is ours now if we are in Christ. The acquittal before the judgment throne of God took place those years ago at Calvary’s cross. And I stand righteous before God in Christ totally righteous. Amazing. Whether I feel it; whether I remember it; or whatever, I am accepted and that forever. Praise the Lord.
Worth taking a look at at least once day I reckon.
In Joel 1:15 we read:-
Alas for that day!
For the day of the Lord is near;
it will come like destruction from the Almighty.
The shocking thing about this verse is that we read about destruction coming from the Almighty. We so very easily operate on a dualistic approach to life. This means that we determine that anything bad that comes into our lives comes from Satan and anything good comes from God. Verses like Joel 1:15 upset that reasoning. Here destruction (and that sounds pretty bad) comes from the Lord.
So our notions of a dualistic universe need to be corrected. A better way of expressing the reality of how things function is to say that this is a unitary universe with one Lord and King who determines all. He is the sovereign Lord.
Moreover, we read that the Lord did not just allow destruction He is the author of such destruction. If we have a thorough Biblical theology this should not surprise us because it is established that God’s whole nature is repulsed by sin. Sin is an offence to His holy being. Sin is a breaking of His holy law; that law reflects who God is through indicating what he loves and hates. When His law is broken His holy wrath comes forth and is poured out upon all those whose lives are contaminated by sin.
Thus we return to the day of the Lord which Joel speaks of. The day of the Lord is a time when God breaks openly in history. It is a time when the curtain which hides His workings is removed and His workings are “in your face”. What we see in Joel 1:15 is eternal judgement invading time. Today, we see, God’s workings hidden in so many ways. Faith can see them, but the natural eye does not. In the day of the Lord the activity of God are indisputable.
As we ponder on the reality of God’s judgment against sin and sinners, well might we be led to thanksgiving when we realise that all destruction from the Lord fell upon my Saviour, the Lord Jesus at Calvary. He was destroyed for me there, so that I might never need to be under destruction. Praise Him.
It is one of the great travesties of how the Bible is commonly appreciated by people that the account of Noah and the Flood is represented to be a fairy story about animals and boats. In Scripture it is not so. It is an utterly frightening event and when we read it we should be shocked to our core. And we should be provoked to be asking lots of questions.
Consider this scripture in Genesis 7:20-23:
The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. Every living thing that moved on land perished – birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.
Please ponder that scripture and be sobered by it. If you had not entered the ark then you were wiped out: Every living thing (including mankind) that moved on the earth perished. Ponder the account as it developed in Genesis 6-7:
- The Earth was wicked
- Noah sought to follow the Lord and was found to be in His favour.
- The Lord promised judgment.
- The Lord commands Noah to build an ark
- The requisite animals and birds went in the ark
- Noah and his sons and the four wives went in to the ark
- The Lord shut the door.
- Then the rain came.
- Then utter total devastation.
If you went into the ark, you had salvation! If you did not go in you perished! Today if you respond to the gospel and go into Christ you are saved. If not, if you refuse the gospel offer, you face a greater perishing event than those in Noah’s day; an eternal perishing.
Please ponder that.