Mark R Lindsey

Archive for 2019|Yearly archive page

“God, prove yourself.”

In Bible Study, Trust on March 5, 2019 at 11:30 am

Deuteronomy 6:16

You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.

We have a heavenly Father who, under dire circumstances, may test us. He may even given us a task and then prevent its completion. Is that even fair?

He tested Abraham by commanding the awful killing of his son; then interfered in the obedient action, and rescued them both. And he seemed to test the disciples Mary and Mary when they found the empty tomb. These two obeyed, trusting the message of the angel, but Jesus stopped them on the way and rewarded them by showing himself. 

Test of Moses

From Genesis 22:1-12-

  • TEST: God tested Abraham and said to him, … “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering …”
  • OBEDIENCE: Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 
  • REWARD: But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” … He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

Test of Mary and Mary

From Matthew 28:1-10 — Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. … But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.”

  • TEST: Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 
  • OBEDIENCE: So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
  • REWARD: And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

The essence of these tests are the same: God has given a command to act, so will you trust Him and obey?

But if God may test us, can we test God? The Israelites were in the desert when they decided to try; this is recorded in Exodus 17:2-7. They had run out of water, and they tested God — trying to disprove God. The key question in Exodus 17:7: “Is the Lord [Yahweh] among us or not?”

In that case at Massah, God graciously provided water, and went further: God stood before them on the rock (Exodus 17:6). He proved his presence by providing and (in some way) by standing in their midst.

So the Jews camping were greatly blessed, but we’re told never to repeat this test of God: Deuteronomy 6:16 — “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.”

When God tested Abraham, God was asking whether Abraham trusted God. 

When God tested the two Marys, God was asking whether they trusted Him.

But when the camping Jews at Masah tested God, they were doubting God. They were demonstrating that they didn’t trust him.

How do you come to trust God? 

He gives us evidence, and His words. Examine the Bible and see if it’s worthy of your trust. Does it correspond with the reality you live in? Would a trustworthy document survive the test of time?

Examine the world, and recognize the God who made it. Is that God, who provides for all these animals and flowers, trustworthy?

Examine your life in the parts you keep from God. Are your decisions trustworthy? Does your heart convince you that your judgment is better than the wisdom of God who wants to be your Father?

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What Collateral Should you Ask from God?

In Bible Study on February 26, 2019 at 11:00 am

How is God’s credit line with you? Do you trust his word, or, do you need some collateral?

If you buy a house with a mortgage, the house is given in security. The bank doesn’t have to trust you: if you fail to pay, they’ll just take the house.

Faith is confidence in God — but not because he puts down security. “Faith [deals] with Christ and heaven in the dark, upon plain trust and credit, without seeing any surety of dawn,” Samuel Rutherford, a Scottish pastor of the 1600s.

God has given us many reasons to be confident in Him and his promises. But he doesn’t promise to give us guarantees: we have to trust the Word he’s already given, and the evidence he’s already given.

Can you trust when God takes the old assurances away?

At times, it appears God is taking the assurances away. The blessings from him that you depended on in the past can disappear. Psalms 46 talks about confidence in God, even when the earth is crumbling beneath us —

God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,

though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam,

though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

Faith — Trusting God — is the confidence in, and assurance of, things we cannot see — but that we know to be true because God has told us (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is not faith if it demands guarantees from God, so he can establish his line of credit. Psalm 46 shows us that even when God removes the comforts, he is still trustworthy.

Stumbling to Reconciliation, & Acceptance for Resurrection

In Uncategorized on February 23, 2019 at 9:10 am

11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!

13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? 16 If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. — Romans 11:11-16 (ESV)

Paul is talking about the way the vast majority of the Jewish people stumbled and trespassed, and that meant riches for the world.

We would expect Paul to say: that failure is permanent, so you should beware that you, the non-Jws to whom the gospel has been offered, do not fail and lose out as well. We want to imagine that stumbling means falling, and entering a state of non-grace.

Yet God’s word is clear: “did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means!” The offer to the Jewish people has not meant they have lost any chance for acceptance.

By God’s power, the rejection means the reconciliation of the world, but it isn’t any final failure. This is the God who reigns over death. So the stumbling, the trespass, the failure leave the door open to a dramatic acceptance and life from the dead.

The first-century failure has brought reconciliation of the world; the acceptance by many Jewish people will mean life from the dead.

How Great is our God, who describes the widespread rejection among the first-century Jewish people of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a mere stumble, and promises victory that is more vibrant and beautiful than what we have seen before.