Biblical Framework

Charles Clough

Lesson 62

 

Letís go back over what weíve done over the last year. We have worked through these events; this carries up, basically, through the end of the book of Judges.That part of the Old Testament is familiar, hopefully, and the key parts of that Old Testament section and the truths that are embedded in that Old Testament section are clear, that we know that thereís a Creator/creature distinction, that suffering, sorrow, death and sickness has a cause, we know that God has initiated a plan, and we want to think about some of the details of that.So itís going to be kind of an application time.When we talk about the flow of history, which is what weíre talking about, we came to the call of Abraham.We said that that started a process of disruption in civilization, that up until that time God had revealed Himself within cultures to different peoples, different ways, that the people who had formed what we call civilization, the descendants of Noah, went out, explored the planet, very carefully mapped, and started all the world civilizations within 100-200 years, it didnít take thousands of years.Man hit the earth after the flood running, so that engineering and technology immediately started, there was no gradual transition, it was sudden and had a catastrophic onslaught, so to speak, of something new, civilization in its form.

 

We want to review what went on in Gen. 11, the tower of Babel, that gave rise to this Abraham thing, because weíre looking at macro scale events, weíre looking at things that characterize history as a whole.We want to learn what the Spirit has to say through the Scriptures about that which we take for granted.In Gen. 11:4, you must remember this, this is a classic text, it characterizes the spirit of the cosmos, the spirit around us, and it was this spirit that must be destroyed.It will be destroyed and itís a very painful destruction, because the conflict between the Holy Spirit and this spirit starts inside each one of us in our hearts, because our flesh sucks this up just like a vacuum cleaner.Itís tough because it gets rooted in us, and God says itís going to be uprooted, and the spirit of verse 4, where it says ďCome, let us build for ourselves a city and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name; lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.ĒThat is a very frank acknowledgement of the autonomous prideful nature of man.

 

What are some things verse 4 implies, so we donít just leave it there in the text, as some sort of dead literature?What active, living consequences come out of verse 4?Some of them are that whatever meaning there is, whatever good and evil there is to be defined, itís going to be rooted in whom? This text says the final authority is man, thatís what that claim is. Verse 4 is a claim that man is the final court of appeal.Notice something interesting about that that implies inerrancy.People say is the Bible inerrant, I donít believe the Bibleís inerrant.Verse 4 implies that man is inerrant.The debate isnít over inerrancy or authority per se, the debate is over where you locate it.Itís either located in man or itís located in God, but it canít be located any other place.So verse 4 is an unabashed clear statement of the claim that man has authority.

 

Then we said in Gen. 12, when Abraham was called out, itís no accident that verse 2 uses that very same noun ďnameĒ, and who here is defining ďnameĒ, is it man or is it God?Now itís God that has the final ďname,Ē I will make of you and I will bless you, and I will make your name great. So now is the conflict.And we have tried to show the flow of Godís revelation in history in these events because from the point of the call of Abraham down is the struggle between these two spirits, the spirit of autonomy and Godís intrusion.From this point on, from the call of Abraham on in the flow of history, the Holy Spirit and the plan of salvation, evangelism, missions, and all other things are interferences into an order thatís already been pre-established.In other words, the gospel is an interference.

 

Chapter 11 sets up civilization in its wrong sense, and because civilization is set up in its wrong sense, then everything the Holy Spirit does to call people to Christ is an interference, an inter≠ruption. This theme is carried forward in all great epics of our modern time.How many science fiction epics have you seen where the alien effect, the extraterrestrial, is always evil; every one of these things, the extraterrestrial effect is always evil, that which comes down from heaven is evil.Isnít it interesting that in the Biblical symbology what comes down from heaven but Godís blessings?What comes down is from God, what comes up from below is evil.Hell is always looked upon as this earth, not the external space, itís not the extraterrestrial, itís this earth where the conflict is.So in an interesting way, as weíve had these epics in the movies and on TV, itís the same theme, donít disturb this civilization, we have built our towers, we have built this, and we donít want interference.Itís there in the very structure of these epics.

 

Itís precisely the other way, of course, because in the final analysis who is it thatís going to come from heaven and invade this planet? He who comes on a white horse.And who gathers together to fight against the King who comes on the white horse from outer space?It is the kings of the earth that gather together to fight against Him who sits on the throne.So the space stories are exactly wrong, itís nice because when somebody is exactly wrong theyíre useful.If someone is consistently wrong itís great because you always do opposite to them and youíll always be right, itís called negative genius.Itís when people are wishy-washy both ways that theyíre kind of useful.Either be consistently right or be consistently wrong, both are very fruitful positions.

 

As we go into Gen. 12 we see the promises, and how many promises are included in the call of Abraham?What are the three great things God promises? Land, seed, and a world wide blessing. Thatís the story of the Old Testament.What has He done in the conquest and settlement? What is He attempting to do?He is attempting to give them the land.In the chapter we didnít cover weíre starting to see the giving of something else.The Exodus was His Son has come into existence, the seed is there, but then the concept of the seed narrows until it becomes centered upon the king, the anointed king, the Messianic king, and weíll pick that up in the fall. So the concept of the seed, first Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the twelve tribes, and then the concept of the seed begins to narrow down and narrow down to the Messiah who shall come.

 

Looking at this flow of history we see the Exodus event as a picture of what great doctrine?The doctrine of salvation.So by looking at the Exodus story we see what real, authentic, salvation looks like.What was the element that we noticed very strongly in the Exodus as the sine qua non of that salvation?It wasnít by power, it wasnít by Moses taking up arms against the Egyptians, it wasnít an armed revolt, there were no armies involved except Pharaohís and they drowned, they became a navy.Human works was gone.On the other side of the coin there wasnít peaceful negotiation either, it wasnít a result of the United Nations, involving sitting down for negotiations and working out a resolution to resolve this conflict.So it was neither the warrior nor the peacemaker.It was neither side of the works of men.It was a catastrophic salvation.And it was centered in what element? What characterizes the Exodus for that which was the final separator, what finally separated those who were saved in the Exodus from those who lost their homes and parts of their families? It was the blood on the door, the blood atonement. So very prominently, early on in the Old Testament itís clear, and donít let anybody dissuade you, this is not a Christian interpretation, itís there in the story, this is a Jewish story, at the very heart of this Jewish heart origin of the nation is blood atonement, and itís precisely blood atonement that separates the damned from the saved. So the gospel, when it appears in the New Testament, is not something new, itís just a reiteration of the same thing we saw in the book of Exodus.So you canít blame the New Testament for this thing, itís embedded earlier in this Old Testament text.Furthermore, the design of this nation, remember the Exodus was I will deliver you Israel, because of the promises I made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, because I made My promise to them so you are saved.

 

Which leads us to something that we stated, a point that weíve made about the Bible that we want to make again and again, what is true in the Scriptures about Godís relationship with man that is not found in any other religion, what is absolutely unique to Biblical faith?God makes a covenant, so the call of Abraham is another example of a contractual relationship.I canít say that enough because in some of the applications we want to make weíre going to use this truth, because I want to demonstrate how to take all this stuff and apply it.The contractual relationship, whatís so important about the Abrahamic contract, the Noahic contract, the Sinaitic contract, the Davidic contract, which we didnít do yet, we come to the communion at the last supper and Jesus says this cup is the cup of the new contract.So weíve got contract after contract after contract.

 

Why is the Bible so insistent on this contractual structure that is in the Scriptures?We remember

it because what is the title of the two parts of the Bible: Old Testament and New Testament.Actually ďtestamentĒ is a contract.So the Bible is fundamentally a contractual document.What does a contract do? Why do two people enter into a contract? What do you have with the contract that you donít have without a contract?A measuring device for behavior, people agree in the contract to terms.What do the terms describe?The character of the relationship, and itís there as a witness so what you have with a contract is something made here, itís a witness and the parties go their separate ways and do their living, history unfolds, but we always now have standing over history this contract.So no matter what happens in the details weíre always looking at the terms of the contract.It becomes a measuring tool.Do you see how powerful this is? None of the other religions have this, Hinduism doesnít even know about a contract, Buddhism doesnít have contracts, Confucius doesnít have contracts, he said I donít even know anything about heaven, it can be argued that Confucius was an atheist.Buddhist was.

 

The point is, the whole thing is that the Bible alone has a God who makes the contracts, although Albright said the Hebrews are the only people that make contracts with their God, actually God made contracts with them.What does this imply?It implies that God does what?He speaks. You canít have a contract by one party imagining that somebody said something.A contract implies a speaking God.So God speaks.The Bible is unique in the fact that it has a contractual structure.What also do we know thatís unique in the Scriptures? A God who speaks.And not only who speaks but He speaks over the centuries of time in a consistent way, because if He didnít speak consistently, it would be revealed by shortcomings in the contract.The contract, once made, stays. So if God speaks in this century, the next century, the third century, the fifth century, the eighth century, all those words have to fit together so we have a coherent plan of God.Thatís not anywhere else.So we have the contractual nature. We say that this grew out of Godís plan.

We also said, as we came down to the sanctification issue, in sanctification what are we as individuals have going on, whatís happening, what big thing, we always think of sanctification as some little thing, some individual personal thing, but in sanctification we said itís got to be thought of in the big picture and whatís happening in the big picture?Go back to the conquest and settlement.Think of the individual soldier marching around Jericho, think of the individual soldier on that day in the valley of Aijalon when the sun stood still.Heís wondering what all is going on in his life, but heís part of a bigger picture.Whatís our bigger picture when we think of sanctification?Sanctification is the solution to the problem that everybodyís concerned with.Whatís the problem everybodyís fussing about?The problem of evil.So everybody says oh, this is so terrible, people get angry at God for things that happen.I read somewhere where some guy said if thereís a God when I get to see Him Iím going to punch Him in the face. Good luck.In that situation you have profound anger over things that go wrong.

 

The sanctification that weíre having little pieces in our lives where God is doing this, Heís separating good from evil, thatís the meaning of sanctification.Itís not having an experience.Thereís experience there, but thatís not the purpose of it all.The purpose is every time we have a victory in our Christian life we are sealing the doom of the world, because every victory that we have in our Christian life advances Godís plan, and gets ever closer to the time when all evil will be removed.So if weíre angry and fussing about evil, the best thing to do is to follow His plan, because His plan is on schedule and keep with the program, it will be taken care of, the hard way or the easy way but it will be taken care of.So sanctification is linked to very serious business, itís not just a personal private thing.

 

Thatís the big picture; now I want to illustrate this.†† Letís be a solution shop and looking at an individual, hypothetical, letís say we have a situation and we can project ourselves in the middle of this, we want to look at slow motion of what goes on in our hearts, because I believe it happens so rapidly in a trial, a pressure situation, that weíre hardly aware of it, it probably happens within fractions of seconds, but weíre going to slow down the time clock so that what normally happens in your mind and your heart in split seconds is going to take five to ten minutes.Letís say this person has a tremendous trial and adversity, big pressure crunch.In that situation, first letís look at it from the standpoint of forgetting everything weíve learned from the Scripture, and letís try from the spirit of the tower of Babel that ďI will make a name for myselfĒ and Iím going to solve this problem.Letís start with that mentality; weíll say this is the mentality of the pagan flesh.Letís start there, forget the Bible, forget Jesus, forget salvation, start with the flesh.Weíre all trained in this because it comes naturally to our fallen natures. What are going to be some responses from that perspective?Iím a victim, Iím getting stepped on; think about whatís happened here, once you said that, this sounds very practical, what has profoundly happened the moment you said that?

 

Once we said we are a victim what have we said about ourselves, evil and God?Many times a person can be a victim, we understand that, but weíre talking about when theyíre not a victim and theyíre claiming to be one.In that situation what are we confessing about evil and ourselves? Weíre either saying that we have no connection with all this stuff thatís going on, weíre innocent victims, isnít that the adjective thatís implied here, not just a victim but weíre an innocent victim.What thereby have we denied?Weíre fundamentally at that point denying responsibility; weíre fundamentally separating our self from the complete issue of evil, that all this stuff that goes on is totally unrelated to me.Thatís what weíre saying.

 

What Iím trying to say and when we look at this framework business is that these little statements like this are tips of icebergs and we want to go down and see the rest of the iceberg thatís underneath that apparently innocent little statement.It involves an entire frame of reference and thatís why itís so persistent, thatís why itís so hard to go against it, and thatís why itís so difficult to root these out of our hearts, because we have a nerve system in our body and our brain and we learn more and more about it, that our brain accommodates itself, itís like a computer that builds circuits to compute the way we want to compute.Itís as though, instead of a desk top or laptop computer you had something that was flexible and if you wanted 2 + 2 to be 5, after you did it enough times, that sucker would produce 2 + 2 is 5, it would program itself to do what you wanted it to do.Apparently thatís whatís going on in our flesh and thatís why the Bible keeps talking about the flesh, because every time we do something we are training it.

 

This isnít foreign, what does an athlete do to get better?By repetition he goes over and over and over it so it becomes automatic, so it becomes reflex action.If an athlete does that, letís think about the implications of how weíre made.That means when we sin and we engage in these thought patterns, what are we doing?Weíre training our flesh to be very efficient computers doing all that.We speed up the program every time we practice.It becomes ever so easy the next time, and thatís the subtlety of whatís going on. Hereís the victim, and the victim is already being programmed that evil is out here and evil is unrelated to anything Iíve done, and now letís push that on back further.What does that statement say about God?Thereís only two views of evil, what are they?Either it started because of the creature or itís always been there and itís Godís fault, Heís part of it, in fact Heís evil too.Once this statement is made, itís like a vacuum cleaner, it starts to suck up all this stuff and it becomes a vehicle for loading up the flesh with whole kinds of pagan thought.

 

What would be another reaction that we could have in the energy of the flesh faced with this kind of a thing?After we meditate on that for a while and get totally depressed, what happens next? Anger, frustration, and you get this tremendous emotional buildup; weíll call it emotional noise, turbulence as a result of this.By the way, this is interesting in itself because why does this happen? If we really are victims and the universe really is normally evil, and we canít help it, if thatís really the case, why are we so upset about it?What does being upset betray about what we say; what does that show you about starting points, presuppositions, the Bible, and Romans 1?What does it show you about the fact that when we say no man is an atheist, what is that saying?Itís saying we know very well in our conscience that this whole thing smacks of evil.Here we are now torn between a false viewpoint in a brain thatís been created by God, and thereís something in the program that doesnít like that, so the program says weíre a victim, but still thatís not right, so thereís the conscience working, in spite of the fact that intellectually and in different ways we deny, basically, the authority of God, weíre accepting the presupposition that Heís a meany if He exists, and that weíre a victim.

 

We go into this emotional noise stage, and we said that there are two tendencies that we can respond with out of this.We can respond in one direction or another direction.What are the choices? Some people in some situations are going to respond by going out and tying one on or doing something with drugs or something else, and this is the licentious approach.If that happens, if the licentious approach is the approach that is used, what are some tools that people use, and what are they doing; in all of this licentiousness trying to cope with this emotional noise, what are they doing, whatís a practical word for this.Itís basically anesthetizing the pain of the emotional noise, and we take various anesthesias, some people just love to take pills, other people take drugs, other people go out and party, other people go out and do all kinds of things.Everybody has their variety, but at the bottom theyíre all the same, theyíre just varieties of the same species, and that is the licentious approach.Or the person can say Iím going to go to a self-improvement class and Iím going to go through certain techniques, power techniques, and Iím going to learn all these things and thatís going to solve my problem.Thatís legalism.So thatís the diagram of the flesh.All of this may happen very rapidly, in the course of a day you can walk into a problem and bam, within a fraction of a second youíll be sucked up into this.Itís scary because you almost donít have time to reflect on what is going on until after you realize youíre way out of it and what happened, howíd I get out here so fast, who greased my slide today.Thatís the situation that we want to slow down.

 

Letís look at the other situation.Letís take the same situation, same kind of pressure situation, this person starts with the authority of Scripture, and remembers that God is there.There are many, many different pathways.Last year we spoke of eleven different reasons why thereís suffering in the Christian life.I donít know if you recall those, but we said that all evil is due to the fall, some suffering is due to self-induced misery, thatís because we rebel further adding to the weight of the fall, thereís all kinds of other reasons, thereís reasons for undeserved suffering because sometimes God calls us to suffer to witness for Him, sometimes to unbelievers, sometimes to believer, sometimes to angels.But if you visualize eleven different reasons, I figured out if you took all the combinations of eleven you come out to about 38,000,000, something like that.So there are 38,000,000 possible reasons if we limit it just to eleven, thereís all kinds of ways, 1 & 2, 1 & 5, 7 & 8, 11 & 10, etc., and you put them all together and you come out with figures in the millions.Can we fathom if thereís millions and millions of different reasons, we canít sit here, contemplate this thing and say oh yes, its reasons 1, 2 & 8, thank you God.We canít do that because we donít have that insight, but what do we have that enables us to function?

 

What do we go back to?We go back to His character.And how do we know His character? Because of our ups and downs in our emotional life, God blessed me here and He had a problem there.I canít build my response to a pressure situation on the basis of my personal experience. Give me a break!Thatís why we have The Book, because we have centuries of experience, and viewed from the standpoint of the centuries of experience, under a contractual agreement where Godís behavior has been observed and He said He was going to send the seed of Abraham and it was going to come out of the town of Bethlehem and He was going to become the Savior and He was going to do this, and Israel was going to have the Promised Land and weíre going to have all these things, and King Davidís house would be preserved forever and all the other king dynasties would go away, and the tribe of Levi would preserve its name, etc.

 

So we have all these promises that God has stayed loyal to His contract. That gives me the assurance and itís independent of my experience.Thatís whatís so nice about this.In other words, hereís whatís happening in the process.We are enveloping all this stuff out here.Instead of reacting, remember the flesh tries to react this way, thatís a direct approach.But what are we doing? Weíre building a grid that totally envelopes that, and handling it within the framework of Scripture.Now we understand that I donít know exactly what Godís doing in this situation but I know He has sufficient reasons, I can trust His character because of these things.

 

What also have we learned about what Heís doing and can do; think of some of the things we just went through with the conquest and settlement.What happened when Joshua was deceived, entered into a contractual agreement with a group of phonies, deceivers and wound up on the short end of a contract, and he honored that contract. What do we learn about Godís character when we get ourselves in a jam, but itís in a righteous way, it wasnít our fault in that situation, and weíre not going to stray from the path.He stopped the sun and the moon. We have a right in that same situation to pray to the God of the valley of Aijalon; You stopped the sun and the moon on behalf of Joshua when He was deceived, and he got himself into this big mess, he signed a contract, he didnít really understand what he was doing but he was going to honor his word and it was going to stay and You came through.

 

Hereís what I mean about enveloping the system.God is in control of this but itís not enough to say God is in control of it, it has to come out of our faith and it takes time.So the only way you can do this is to visualize like an athlete; before an athlete learn a particular exercise to do, or a particular repetition, heís got to piece it together in his head, and then he may do it a thousand times and on the 1,250th time itís starting to go auto.†† But it doesnít come automatically all at once, he has to think about it and think about and repeat it and repeat it, and then it gradually gets automatic.Itís the same thing here, this theology doesnít come auto≠matically; it doesnít come automatically for anybody.We have to think about it and take time to do it, then it speeds up, but only with practice.Thatís the growth thing we were talking about.

 

All that weíve learned, all this framework, all these doctrines are basically to handle these kinds of situations so that we donít have to rely on our personal experience.Itís not that personal experience is bad, donít get me wrong.All Iím saying is that itís too flimsy a foundation to cope with life, because sooner or later youíre going to get something that will blow you away because itís so much bigger than anything youíve ever seen before in your personal life.Itís incomprehen≠sible, your family has no experience in dealing with this, youíve never been taught how to deal with this situation, youíve never seen this kind of situation before and lo and behold, here you are, right in the middle of it.Now what are you going to do?What happens to personal experience?It goes away, you havenít got any precedents in your personal experience to cope with such a situation.So thatís when you realize I canít cope with the situation, I have to get the big picture, so Iím going to go back to the big picture and Iím going to rememberÖ if nothing else, one exercise to do this when you canít do anything else, because remember to respond to this by faith you have to be convinced itís true, and you canít be convinced itís true until you work with it.You canít just say this, like itís some abrakadabra formula, it wonít work because in your heart of hearts youíre not convinced of it, and whatsoever is not of faith is sin.So we have to work with it until we get to that magic rest in our hearts that yes, this is true after all.

 

One way to start, and for every hundred Christians thereíll be 282 different ways to start it, but hereís just a suggestion.One way of recalling this material and the whole sweep of Scripture is to go back to the character of God and think through the most elementary and basic truths we know about Him.What do we know about Him, what are some characteristics that weíve studied?God is sovereign, and you can quote Scriptures, He works all things after the counsel of His will, pick a couple of verses for these.God is sovereign, and you have to force yourself to get back to the fact that God is sovereign; whose in charge, because obviously Iím not, so God is sovereign.Another characteristic, God is omniscient.How does that comfort me? That comforts me because I know that He knows, and I know that He knows a lot more than I do about the situation, therefore I donít know everything, but I know He does, and more importantly, if Heís omniscient what does that guarantee?That if this situation looks like a puzzle, and itís totally incomprehensible, by knowing that God is omniscient it means thereís rationality here.There is an order, there is a rhyme and there is a reason for this.That our heart demands because our hearts are made to worship that kind of a God.Our hearts canít rest, canít really rest, in the conclusion of the modern man who says that there ultimately is no purpose, and ultimately all is irrational.Your heart canít rest in that stuff, youíre just kidding yourself.

 

What else can we go back to Godís character with?God is holy, and how does that encourage us?That encourages us several ways.It says that whatever weíre going to deal with here, itís going to be in a righteous way, and thatís heart warming to know, because if itís going to be dealt with in a righteous holy way, thereís nothing to be ashamed of.So contemplating His holiness at first is terrifying because we know weíre sinners, so that drives us to the cross, drives us to appropriating the blood of Jesus Christ, cleanses us from all sin, and then we can rest in His holiness.Then we donít have to be ashamed.Society may knock us, society may pull you apart, people may talk behind your back, itís too bad but people do that but theyíre just little people and youíre charged with living your life before the Lord and theyíre not going to answer for your life, youíre going to answer for your life, Iím going to answer for mine, and 84 other people arenít involved in this thing.Holiness gives us that sense.

 

What else? God is love, and itís a love that is not fragile like human love.The problem with human love is that you can only love once youíre secure, because if youíre insecure your defense, your self-defense is a lot more important given to someone else, so if youíre insecure you canít love.No insecure person can basically love anything.The only people that can love are people that are fundamentally secure because theyíre unthreatened.Loving makes you vulnerable, and if you feel insecure you donít want to be vulnerable.

 

What are some other things?Weíre tired, God is omnipotent, He never gets tired. This phony stability, we try to root it in the government, in traditions, into our families, but come on, we all know that finally thereís going to be changes and breakdowns.The only truly unchanging person is God; He has to be the reference point.Every other reference point drifts.I think weíve done this enough to go through and see that what weíre doing here is that when we started this framework, this is a process that we call strategic envelopment, itís got to be by faith, itís not a gimmick, it can only come from our hearts when weíre convinced this whole thing that we talked about is true.If God isnít the One who set forth that rainbow after it rains, then that rainbow literally is not His signature in the clouds, then we donít really trust Him, we canít.But if we do know that the same God that puts the rainbow in the cloud is the same God that kept the sun and the moon standing in the sky over the valley of Aijalon for up to eighteen or twenty hours to keep believers in the light while they were doing battle, then I think I can trust Him.[blank spot]

 

Ö looking at Him through things like this, what He has done.And one of the ways that our heart is strengthened in this envelopment process is through worship.Thatís what worship is, worship is a concentration upon Him.I want to conclude our time together by sharing Handelís music.Weíll play some sections of a piece that Handel wrote thatís not quite well known because we all associate Handel with that famous piece, the Messiah, and in the Messiah we have the Hallelujah chorus.Itís a magnificent piece; Handel was a musician who knew his theology, unlike some modern musicians.He realized that there was a real history behind these things and he wrote moving music, not some little mealy-mouthed ditty.What he tried to do was set to music what went on in Exodus 15 at the salvation of Israel.

 

Verse 1 says ďThen Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and said,Ē and the theme of the song is ďI will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; the horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea.ĒWe just got through dealing with the imprecatory nature of Scripture, and what did we say justified the presence of this imprecatory spirit in Scripture, this viciousness that we do detect in the Scripture, that is so totally misunderstood by the world, to the point that where even Christians now want to get rid of Onward Christian Soldiers out of the hymn book.Why is there militancy and imprecatory things in the Scripture? Because itís part of the ripping of good and evil away, the process of sanctification is a war and itís only when you confront it are you solving the problem everybodyís fussing about, instead of fuss about it, resolving it.

 

The imprecatory nature is Iím glad that ďthe hose and its rider He has hurled into the sea,Ē because what had the horse and rider done? Who had they ultimately defied?Who had they said in the spirit of Babel, I will make a name, I am an authority here, I am the state, I am the final authority.The answer to that is drown in the sea.But itís not that we can say ha-ha to Pharaoh, what weíre seeing here is the holiness of God assaulting the bastions of pride and that arrogant attitude of man.The song goes on and itís all imprecatory in nature, and it finally ends in verse 18, ďThe LORD shall reign forever and ever.ĒYou can well imagine that toward the end of this piece Handel takes that verse and sets it to the music I want you to hear.

 

Then in verse 20 the text reports something else happened musically. ďAnd Miriam the prophetess, Aaronís sister, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing.[1] And Miriam answered them,Ē and the idea there with ďansweringĒ is what we would call antiphonal song, where the men, it says in verse 1, sang this whole thing down through, and then when they were done, in verse 20-21 itís a response to that, Miriam and the women took up the change, so the women joined in the imprecatory chorus, and notice what they sing in verse 21, precisely that theme, ďĎSing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; The horse and his rider He has hurled into the seaí.ĒYouíll notice that the horse and his rider being hurled into the sea is explained theologically by the first verse, itís not just that theyíre rejoicing that the horse and his rider has he thrown into the sea, itís theyíre rejoicing for that because who is highly exalted as a result of doing that?It is God, God has bared His mighty arm, and itís that that excites them. The horse being case into the sea is simply a symptom of the exercise of the mighty arm of God.Follow this in the Scripture, because itís all Scripture.[music starts playing]

 

Turn to Rev. 15 thereís an interesting historical note about what you just heard.At the end of history when the wrath of God has been seen in a very public way again, itís interesting that the song you just heard apparently is sung once more.Rev. 15:3, ďAnd they sang the song of Moses the bond-servant of God and the song of the Lamb, saying, ĎGreat and marvelous are Thy works, O LORD God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Thy ways, Thou King ofthe nations. [4] Who will not fear, O LORD, and glorify Thy name? For thou alone art holy; for all the nations will come and worship before Thee, for Thy righteous acts have been revealed.íĒ So itís been combined somehow, and it gives you the text as it will be rewritten, but the theme that we heard from the old, the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb will be sung.It figures very prominently because obviously chapter 15 is reporting this.And in verse 5 watch as the song progresses, ďAfter these things I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened. [6] And the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, clothed in linen, clean and bright, and girded around their breasts with golden girdles. [7] And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowlsĒ and it becomes the pouring out of the wrath of God.

 

But youíll notice what precipitates it, and this what we want to see. What did we say was true of this piece?This is why this piece, the piece you heard, is called Israel and Egypt, itís not well known and itís not well appreciated, I think because precisely itís very imprecatory.Look in Rev. 15 and notice what happens historically after the song is sung.Notice the drama that unfolds beginning in verse 5, suddenly as John looks the temple of the Lord is suddenly opened and out come the angels with the vials of wrath to pour upon the earth.In other words, the wrath of God is poured out in response to the cry for justice, the cry that now is the time to put evil aside, now is the time for the vindication of the righteousness of God.And itís done in song, and out of this musical song this imprecatory appeal comes the wrath of God here in the book of Revelation.

 

Itís a marvelous passage, but it shows you the consistency of Scripture, that this music is deliberately imprecatory and how silly and how immature for the church to dare to say that it wants to eradicate these militant music pieces from its hymnology.This is blasphemy against the theology of God; itís always done in the name of love, but what a sick, impotent, unbiblical love is mentioned here.How can people say that thatís love, not to be imprecatory.To say love is to be separated from the imprecatory is to say that evil shall be perpetuated, that God is to be eternally tolerant of rebellion against Him, He is to be eternal tolerant of death, cancer, and all kinds of evils, deaths and diseases.Thatís love? Iím sorry.

 

When you say this, understand this is a part of the Old Testament that is very difficult, even for Christians to go through. Weíve gone through in the last 5 or 6 weeks probably the most severe passages of the Scriptures, the most looked down upon, some people are shamed as Christians to carry around a book with this stuff in it, but they donít understand, thatís the answer. Donít be ashamed of it, that IS the answer, nobody else has an answer, and itís precisely this cry for vindication, even if it means God rend my heart and make the changes in my life that have to be made, but in so doing I submit myself to His authority and in so doing the kingdom of God is advanced.What we donít realizeÖ how many times have we prayed the Lordís Prayer?In the middle of that Lordís Prayer thereís a passage and a petition for an imprecatory judgment.ďThy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven,Ē let Your will be done, and how do you suppose thatís going to happen without imprecatory disturbance?So the very Lordís Prayer that everybody glibly cites, unknown to them, is coding and saying, and petitioning God for judgment, ďLet Thy kingdom come, and let Thy will in heaven be done on earth.Ē

 

I hope this has been a beneficial series for you.In the fall weíre going to do David so that we can understand the Messianic picture, because David is a type of Christ.Then weíll go on, actually weíll go through the entire Old Testament, weíre going to start with the days of Solomon, about 1000 BC, go through a survey of what happened to the nation Israel, the meaning of the exile and the preparation toward the end of the Old Testament for Christ.