2000-08-12 - Mountain Peeks
Messiah: His Final Call to Israel Series, Part 2
Just a brief glance at the Bible will reveal that there are Mountain Peaks in Jewish History. In those stories are embedded certain facts that the God who knows the end from the beginning of Jewish history chose to reveal to that nation. It is important that we get a grip on a good understanding of Israels history to truly grasp how lasting peace will come to that war torn land. Let us think of the history of Israel in terms of the topography of the land. The country which God gave to Israel, the Holy Land, as is well known, a country of mountains and valleys, streams and deserts. Certain periods of Jewish history were indeed rich with spiritual blessings and may be compared with well-watered green, for instance, the period of Exodus. Some of the mountaintop experiences of Israel's history were the wars of conquest under the generalship of Joshua, who led the hosts of Israel from victory to victory, and the glorious reigns of David and Solomon. In our analogy the period of the judges would be symbolized by the dry desert sections of the country. Let us now make a journey through the country of Israels' history, stopping only to glance at mountain peaks. There are several such peaks which the glory of the eternal God flashes forth in miraculous power and works. The call of Abraham was one such mountain peak. We pray this series speaks to your heart and opens your eyes to behold wondrous things from Gods Word-amen.
We are told that Diogenes went through the streets of ancient Athens with a lamp burning at noonday. When asked why he was acting thus, he explained that he was looking for an honest man. God told Jeremiah "Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof if ye can find a man, if there be any that doeth justly, that seeketh truth; and I will pardon her" (Jeremiah 5:1). Jeremiah's search was in vain--a lamentable situation!
God is always looking for a good man whom He can trust, and whom he can use. To King Asa He declares: "For the eyes of Jehovah run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him. Herein thou hast done foolishly; for from henceforth thou shalt have wars" (II Chronicles 16:9). Note the statement particularly, God is looking for men whose hearts are perfect toward Him. The average person would look for a man with a fine physique, an excellent personality, a ready and polished speech, and the ability to win and influence people. It is not so with God. He looks upon the heart. When Eliab the oldest son of Jesse stood before Samuel the prophet he said, " Surely Jehovah's anointed is before him. But Jehovah said unto Samuel, look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him: For Jehovah seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but Jehovah looketh on the heart" (I Samuel 16:6,7). In the days of Abram, God was looking for a man -- a real man whose heart was perfect toward Him. As He searched throughout all nations, He found one man whose heart was right, and whom He could trust--Abram.
Genesis 12:1-3 Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make they name great; and be thou a blessing; and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
"The call of God to one is usually a call to separation and service. Sometimes His call is to a literal separation, as is the case of Abram: "Now Jehovah said unto Abram, get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee." Sometimes the call of God is to spiritual separation, the breaking of fellowship with evil companions and unregenerate and worldly minded kindred. regardless of the type of separation, such a call is designed for the individual's good, though it often means heart-rending experiences.
The statement "and I will make of thee a great nation," involves a biological miracle of creation, as one will presently see, since Abram was past the age of parenthood.
The promise blended with the command, "And I will bless thee … and be thou a blessing," is characteristic of God's dealings with His special servants. God blesses His people in order that they may pass on to others the blessings conferred upon them, both of a material and of a spiritual nature, whenever it will advance the divine purpose or aid and assist the needy."
God has always honored His promise "And I will bless them that bless thee" as many can testify personally, who have favored, whenever possible the Hebrew people.
The solemn warning, "and him that curseth thee will I curse," God has likewise carried out. A glance at the punishment, and oftentimes the doom of the nations that persecuted Israel bears incontrovertible evidence that God will, at the right time, punish all anti-Semitism and persecution of the Jews. Look at ancient Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Rome, Spain. And in modern times, Adolph Hitler's Third Reich. As a matter of fact, history bristles with examples of pogroms and persecutions launched against the Jews throughout the Christian centuries by certain rulers and by some modern nations. God declares that He watches over His Word to perform it, to fulfill every promise and to carry out every threat.
Jeremiah 1:11-12 Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond-tree. Then said Jehovah unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I watch over my word to perform it
The blessings connected with Abram's call reach a climax in the statements, "and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12:3) and " in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 22:18). What is meant by Abram's seed? The Apostle Paul gives us some information on this point:
Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
From this verse it is clear that the seed of Abraham is the Messiah of Israel, par excellence. The word seed in the original is in the singular number and signifies one. But this word is likewise used as a collective noun. In this sense it signifies many. After Abraham rescued Lot from his captors (Genesis 14), The Lord appeared to Abraham "And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and number the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in Jehovah; and he reckoned it to him for righteousness" (Genesis 15:5-6). In the light of this usage, it is also clear that Abraham's seed includes his literal progeny. Thus God plans to bless all families of the earth in and through the Hebrew Messiah and the faithful remnant of Abraham's literal seed. This cursory view of the call of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) scintillates with the presence and glory of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Thus from the first mountain peak of Jewish history there flash forth rays of divine glory. Next week we will look at the birth of Isaac.
In His Service,