Tag Archives: commandments

UNEQUALLY YOKED A NO—NO!


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
UNEQUALLY YOKED A NO—NO!

In Old Testament Law, a number of commandments were written that cause modern men to scratch their head. However, they make perfect sense when considering that those things were types and shadows of the will of God for His people in New Testament times. Consider with me one such instance.
Deuteronomy 22:10 commands, “Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.” This is not an uncommon occurrence in third world countries presently. Does God pity the ox or the ass for enduring unequal yokefellows or is it said for our sakes. Perhaps a better understanding of it is revealed in specific New Testament passages such as 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:. . .” This is usually taught to mean that believers should not be married to unbelievers (which is a good thing) but doubtless greater applications are intended, as is clarified in 1 Cor. 7:12-13. The marriage yoke should not be broken if all else is compatible.
What is specifically meant is written in terms that need not be misunderstood. The context of the verse is written to the church of the Living God at Corinth, and is to be interpreted in church context. Believers in the faith once delivered to the saints are not to be yoked together with those who not only fail to believe said faith, but vehemently reject many of the tenants of it. In short, true New Testament churches should not be co-laborers with those of unlike faith, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness: or what communion does light have with darkness? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? ( 2 Cor. 6:14-16 paraphrased).
Baptist churches are NOT Protestant churches. They have never been associated with Rome, nor will they ever be. But they can go astray as did the small group of them that created the Roman Catholic church, preferring to be married to the Roman Empire than to be separated to the Lord Jesus Christ.
True churches stand or fall in relationship to their creator and founder by how they embrace or lay aside the tenants of the faith once delivered to the saints. One of the quickest ways to fall is to esteem that faith of little value or as a roadblock to progress with other unlike religious organizations in the community.
Returning to 2 Cor. 6, the conclusion is inescapable. God says, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” May two walk together in disagreement? To disregard God’s Word for the fellowship of others who disregard it, is to fly in the face of the Creator! To submit to an unequal yoke is a NO –NO!

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The Great Commandment


 

Matthew 22:36-40

 

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment,” Matthew 22:37, 38.

 

The religious elite gathered around Jesus, Sadducees, Pharisees and scribes. All of them were experts in their own eyes in one area or another in the Law of Moses. There, before them stood God in the flesh, the original giver of the Law. Foolishly, they thought they could trick Him.

 

The men of this religious club were responsible for dividing the Law into two categories, greater and smaller. But God assigned the importance when He gave the Law to Moses. It began with and where we all should begin recognizing that everything begins with God. Then, after He has been correctly seated on the throne of our hearts, we will love Him with all our heart, soul and mind, which is the précis (sum total) of our whole being.

 

Loving God first and foremost puts everything else in our lives in clear perspective. If we love God first, then loving our spouse, our children and others will be a much easier job. If we love God first, then obeying Him will not be a difficult task. If we love God first, then the financial restraints of God’s work will be removed. If we love God first, our faith will be strong and following Him will be an adventure and not a challenge.

REFLECTION

Loving God first is the foundation of all other commandments. Let us love Him with all our being with the entire ardor possible as His children.

Beverly Barnett

 

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HEBREW – Wilderness


miḏbār
The most common Hebrew word translated wilderness is miḏbār (H4057), which appears about 250 times. The literal idea, of course, is that of a desert, or other such uninhabited wasteland (Deu_32:10; Job_38:26), such as the great Sinai wilderness (Deu_2:7; cf. Exo_19:1-2; Lev_7:38), or sometimes even vast pastureland (Joe_2:22; Psa_65:12). Besides Sinai, many other tracts of wilderness are referred to including Beersheba (Gen_21:14), Sin (Exo_16:1; Exo_17:1), Judah (Jdg_1:16; Psa_63:1 title), Damascus (1Ki_19:15), Shur (Exo_15:22; Exo_16:1), and Egypt (Eze_20:35).
The figurative ideas behind miḏbār, however, provide deep application. One of the concepts represented by wilderness is that of trial and testing. A dominant theme throughout the Pentateuch, for example, is Israel’s presence in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. Deu_8:2, in fact, explicitly states that the desert was a place to prove whether Israel would obey God’s commandments. Sadly, she repeatedly failed, from grumbling about food (Exo_16:2-3) and water (Exo_17:1-3), to her idolatry at Mount Sinai (Exodus 32), to her ultimate failure in “the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh” (Num_13:26; see Numbers 13-14)), where the people were afraid to enter the Promised Land. This resulted in their having to wander in the wilderness for forty years, demonstrating that judgment is also represented by wilderness.
Two other ideas pictured in a wilderness, however, are positive, namely, solitude and preparation. David felt he could be at rest in the wilderness away from people (Psa_55:6-7) and had the opportunity to seek God early in the morning while in the wilderness (Psa_63:1). God took Moses into the wilderness to prepare him for what he would face (Exo_2:15 ff, Midian was located either in Arabia, east of the Gulf of Aqaba, or in the Sinai Peninsula). Likewise, John the Baptist was prepared in the wilderness (Mat_3:1-4), and our Lord Himself spent forty days and nights in the wilderness, where he experienced all the above (Mat_4:1-2). Further, on at least one other occasion He “withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed” (Luk_5:16).
Dear Christian Friend, even if you live in a city of a million people, you live in a wilderness—it is called the world. Your faith will be tried and tested every day, but God is using the trials and testing to prepare you and to prove He is there with you.
Scriptures for Study: What does Php_2:14 command? Read 2Co_11:23-30. Besides “perils in the wilderness,” what else did Paul suffer, and what was his attitude?

 

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HEBREWS – Commandment(s)


 

miswāh [and] sāwāh

 

The fifth term we meet in Scripture in reference to itself is commandment. This noun’s related verb is sāwāh (H6680), a general word that denotes a superior verbally ordering or commanding a subordinate. In its first occurrence, God verbally “commanded” Adam that he could “freely eat” of every tree in the garden except “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen_2:16-17). It is also commonly used of people commanding other people (e.g., Gen_18:19; Exo_1:22; Jdg_4:6; 1Ki_5:17).

 

The feminine noun miswāh (H4687), however, is especially significant. Appearing some 181 times, it speaks more of official edicts or decrees. While it is used at times of the commands of men (e.g., Est_3:3; Pro_6:20; Isa_29:13), all sixty-three of its occurrences in the Pentateuch are of God’s commands, as are all twenty-two in Psalms 119 and, of course, others throughout the OT. Further, it appears quite often in reference to the entire body of divine law and instruction (Gen_26:5; Exo_16:28; Deu_6:2; 1Ki_2:3).

 

The common expression of our day that someone is “searching for truth” is actually a misnomer. Truth is not hidden; it has not been lost. As Deu_30:11 declares, “This commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.” Truth, in fact, is quite easy to see if one simply opens one’s eyes. As Paul declares, even nature itself declares that there is a God of Creation (Rom_1:20), and as David adds, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Psa_19:1).

 

Let us meditate today on three attitudes we should have toward God’s commandments. First, let us remember them as true. As the psalmist challenges, we will “remember his commandments to do them” (Psa_103:18) simply because His “commandments are truth” (Psa_119:151). Second, let us regard them as valuable. When we truly see their value, even “above gold; yea, above fine gold” (Psa_119:127), we will “not wander from” or “err from” them but rather “learn” them (Psa_119:10; Psa_119:21; Psa_119:73). Third, let us revere them as holy. “Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments” (Psa_112:1) and that has “respect unto all [His] commandments” (Psa_119:6).

 

Scriptures for Study: What should fathers do with God’s commandments (Deu_6:6-9)? What does Deu_12:32 then declare (cf. Rev_22:18-19)?

 

 

 

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Hebrew – Testimonies


 

ēḏāh [and] ‘ēḏût

 

The second name we note for God’s Word is testimonies (or “testimony”). The Hebrew is ‘ēdāh (H5713; or ‘ēḏûṯ, H5715), another feminine noun originally meaning a “testimony, witness, or even a warning sign.” Of its twenty-five appearances, fourteen are in Psalms 119 (‘ēḏût appears sixty times, with nine of those in Psalms 119). We should also interject here that all eight of the synonyms we are examining appear in the first eleven verses of that wondrous psalm, which is devoted to praising the virtues, merits, and sufficiency of the Word of God and demonstrates the psalmist’s total commitment to it.

 

This word, therefore, refers to “testifying to a fact or event.” It first appears, for example, in Gen_21:30, where Abraham’s gift of lambs to Abimelech bore witness to Abraham’s statement concerning the ownership of the well at Beersheba. Even more graphic is Gen_31:52, where Jacob used a pile of stones to bear witness to the agreement between him and Laban concerning land boundaries.

 

It eventually came to be used, then, for a solemn testimony of the will of God, a sober and serious expression of God’s standards for human behavior. In other words, God’s testimonies are not suggestions or optional proposals, rather His absolute standards. It is tremendously significant, in fact, that the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments are called God’s “testimony,” ‘ēḏût (Exo_25:16; Exo_31:18; Exo_32:15), God’s “solemn divine charge or duty.” It was also frequently used of the tabernacle (“tabernacle of testimony”, Exo_38:21; Num_1:50; Num_1:53) and even the Ark of the Covenant (“ark of the testimony,” Exo_25:22; Exo_26:33-34; Exo_30:6; Exo_30:26). Further, it is also used at times to refer to the entire law (February 13–16) of God (Psa_19:7; Psa_119:14; Psa_119:31; Psa_119:36; Psa_119:88; Psa_119:99; Psa_119:111; Psa_119:129; Psa_119:144; Psa_119:157).

 

The definition of right behavior, therefore, is not “up for grabs,” as relativism maintains in our day. It is rather a marked-out standard from God. This standard is also what we should be proclaiming without apology to the world, just as David did “before kings” (Psa_119:46); as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did before the king of Babylon (Dan_3:1-16); as Peter did before the religious leaders (Acts 4); as Stephen did before the council (Act_6:15 to Act_7:54); and as Paul did before Felix (Acts 24), Festus (Acts 25), and Agrippa (Acts 26).

 

Scriptures for Study: What do the verses above in Psalms 19, 119 say about the testimonies of God and our response to them?

 

 

 

 

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Live for God in This World


 

Titus 2:12

 

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world,” Titus 2:12.

 

 

Two options are presented here: (1) a lifestyle of ungodliness and worldly lusts of this present world, (2) living soberly, self-controlled, watchful-cautious, righteously (our relationship to mankind, Commandments 5-10) and godly (our relationship to God, Commandments 1-4). “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, . . . because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Rom. 1:18, 21).

 

Recently I saw a USO calendar cover of a young father-soldier holding his one year old son who reached up his hand and touched his father’s face. Someone had added a famous caption to the picture, plus an addition: “I reached out my hand and touched the face of God . . . who lives in my daddy.”

 

What greater incentive to live for God in a world stumbling in darkness?

 

How wretched of a parent, by his example, to lead his family to hell, then abandon them there and go to Heaven. King David paid for his example of lack of self-control with the lives of four of his children. To his grave His heart wept for them. “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Sam. 18:33).

 

 

Just Saying

 

As Christians, our lack of caution and self-control can invite Satan to blindside us and cast our pearls before swine.

 

 

Robert Brock

 

 

 

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Test of True Prophets


 

Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him,” Deuteronomy 13:4.

 

Help yourself to happiness.” “Save money. Live better.” “Have it your way.” “Just do it.” These are just a few slogans of prominent companies which presume to fill voids in the hearts of Americans with their products. These kinds of words, accompanied with slick advertisements and images of happy people, speak with power and authority to those watching or listening. While I assume no Christian would admit to worshiping a product, it is true that we are swayed in our decision making when we give ear to messages presented with authority. When our choices lead us to place products or people on a pedestal with equal authority as God, we have been led astray. What should we do?

 

Test the product. Test the message. Test the authority. See if what you have been led to think about a person or product is actually true. See if what you place on a pedestal of devotion is God or is simply something that God has allowed you to receive as a gift. In the text, God told His people that authoritative voices would compete for their attention and desire to guide them away from love and devotion to Him. He said He would allow it to happen as a test to see whether they were genuine in their devotion to Him. Every day, you and I observe powerful messages from our acquaintances, in print, on the TV, radio and Internet. These messages compete for our attention, claiming to make our lives more abundant, but ultimately serve as daily tests of our love and devotion to God. Have you been passing the test or have you been led astray?

 

 

JUST A THOUGHT

 

Will you hold fast to God today?

 

 

Mark Clements

 

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