| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 53 - Page 199 of 215 Index | Zoom | |
The Lord is a righteous Judge, One Who delights in mercy and has infinite patience,
but this people were stiff-necked and entirely committed to going their own way. We
have already seen that the loss of the Ark had been due to the fact that they were a
permissive society, with no restraining irksome rules. Discipline was absent, and they
felt free to enjoy the pleasures of their community as they thought right. How similar this
is to today. We are fortunate that no judgment falls upon us as it did upon the chosen
people of Israel.
We must remember that in I Sam. 6: God is dealing with His earthly people with
whom He had a covenant relationship. With them He is JEHOVAH, the covenant God.
They had entered into a special relationship with Him:
"Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall
be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: and ye shall be
unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation" (Exod. 19: 5, 6).
"Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments . . . . . keep therefore and do them;
for this is your wisdom and understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all
these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For
what nation is there so great, who had God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in
all things that we call upon Him for?" (Deut. 4: 5-7).
All the covenant and promises made to them could be summed up in the words: "If
you remain faithful to Me, I will abide in your midst. I will dwell in the sanctuary in the
Holiest of All, beyond the veil. If you obey My laws I will watch over you and you will
be My special people. But if you turn away from Me and as a nation blot Me out of your
life, I will forsake you and give you up". This was to be a special relationship between
Jehovah and the nation of Israel and has no connection with the present dispensation of
Grace. Although we Gentiles are no better than Israel, because of this no judgment falls
upon us as it did upon them.
Israel today is temporarily blinded. During this interim period until they are restored
once again to their earthly kingdom to be a blessing to the nations, we Gentiles, once
foreigners and strangers to covenants and promises, are offered an inheritance in
heavenly places "far above all" (Eph. 1: 21; 2: 6). We worship at no earthly sanctuary,
but there, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. He is denoted as the Head of
the Church which is His Body, a perfect Man (Eph. 1: 22, 23; 4: 13). Its members are
being built up into Him for a habitation of God, through the Spirit (Eph. 2: 21, 22).
In order to appreciate in all its fullness this holy calling, we have need, as good
workmen, to rightly divide the Scriptures in order that understanding may be given
concerning the hope of this calling (II Tim. 2: 15; Eph. 1: 17, 18). The vast majority of
Christians may not have had this particular hope and calling brought to their notice, or if
it has they may not have had the spiritual insight to receive it. They have the inestimable
gift of resurrection into eternal life, and of being in one of the many "abiding places"
referred to by the Lord (John 14: 2), but may not have been specifically chosen by God
to be placed in the church which is the Body of Christ, a calling kept secret until revealed
to the apostle Paul (Eph. 1: 4, 11; 3: 1-10).