God is our inheritance

 So that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints – Ephesians 1:18

When you think about the tribe of Levi receiving no inheritance except God – my first thought was wow – no place to call home.  Then you realize that home is where your heart is and what an honour to live and serve God wherever He has called you to be.  Imagine the hope this honour inspired in their hearts and strengthen their abilities to give.

But to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inheritance; the Lord God of Israel is their inheritance, as he said to them. – Joshua 13:33

All Sons & Daughters – This My Inheritance

Instrument of choice

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,[a] of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death so that we would rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.  He who rescued us from so deadly a peril will continue to rescue us; on him we have set our hope that he will rescue us again,  as you also join in helping us by your prayers, so that many will give thanks on our[b] behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. – 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

These words penned by a man who used to seek and destroy the early church.  In one glorious moment, Jesus appeared and called Saul to follow Him.  To that call he responded and turned from Saul to Paul – to be an instrument for God to use to bring the gospel to the world.

A chosen instrument with a chosen purpose.

If Paul was the chief of all sinners for what he had done before Christ changed his life and that he owes all to the grace of God – we have a great hope for us all!  For those of us who think we have no value, are broken and are old, in our Father’s hand He can make us new.

 

Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”  The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying,  and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”  But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem;  and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.”  But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel;  I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”  So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized – Acts 9:10-18

Who is like you

One has to love the blessings that Moses gives to each tribe found in Deuteronomy 33.  If you have not compared them to the blessing that Jacob gave in Genesis 49, take a look.

We can look at these promises in light of spiritual values and understand the directions given to love God with all our hearts, to serve Him with the righteousness and holiness that He imparts to us and to not be afraid for the rest of our lives.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

In his blessings, Moses offers us hope in that we can have power over false gods and Satan’s stronghold – those things that have a hold on us.  Faith and God’s Word – our shield and our sword.

Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. – John 14:23

The blessings given to Zebulon intrigue me the most as their blessings came down to their dwellings.  Trying to look at the spiritual significance of this blessing I am reminded that our own bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and we are encouraged to invite Him into our lives with His presence.  Buildings are only shells or if you will, tools.  We worship the Builder and not the building so our love is God and we keep His commandments.  I think about Jesus standing at the door of my heart too, knocking, and if I open it, He will come in.  It is this hope that invites me to practice the presence of God and to walk my life with Christ. 

Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, the shield of your help, and the sword of your triumph! Your enemies shall come fawning to you; and you shall tread upon their high places. – Deuteronomy 33:29

Laura Story – Who is like our God

My Redeemer lives

Amazing to find the Trinity here in Job.  The Holy Spirit has moved on the mind of Job and he as declared a good confession, soundness of his faith and assurance of his hope.  Somehow he knows that Jesus is his Redeemer and that his end hope is not in this world but in heaven. Somehow he knows that he is supposed to look for the resurrection and that his Redeemer would free him from the condemnation of sin and break the power and yoke of Satan.  His Redeemer was his salvation. This truth, this Holy Spirit quickening must be the root, as in a tree, in our heart too.  For this acceptance of grace in our heart will give us both the security and strength in our foundation as well as produce spiritual fruit in our lives as we live them today. Here he introduces God as his comfort and that God will avenge those who accuse him.

I can still remember the moment when I learned that love was a decision.  I am faced with a similar truth here too.  I am impressed with Job’s certainty.  This was a hope that he knew, and so in some way this was more than a hope but hope sprung from the truth that he declared about his Redeemer.

Other scholars are confident that Job anticipates the future resurrection of his body. Gleason Archer believes this passage “strongly suggests an awareness of the bodily resurrection that awaits all redeemed believers in the Resurrection” (1982, 241). Kaiser asserts: “Job was expecting a resurrection of his body! It was this which lay at the heart of his hope in God and in his vindication” (1988, 151). Andersen observes that: “The references to skin, flesh and eyes make it clear that Job expects to have this experience as a man, not just as a disembodied shade, or in his mind’s eye” (1974, 193).

In any case Job’s hope is in his present life, and in his vindication before God and man. This is not a messianic prophecy or expression of a messianic hope.

Job seems to perceive that the Redeemer who will advocate his case before God is none other than God Himself. It is hard to make sense of that except by the way we Christians know with God the Son as Redeemer standing before God the Holy Father as Judge. Job somehow—I suggest by the Holy Spirit—knows that his Redeemer lives and will advocate on his behalf, and that Job himself will see it in renewed flesh. That gives him hope—not mere wishful thinking but well-founded conviction, a knowing—of eventual vindication in eternal life.

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;  and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God – Job 19:25-26

Aria(soprano): I know that my Redeemer liveth

Obey God

With repentance, Jesus gives forgiveness – the word that brings hope to every heart since we have all sinned against God’s holiness.  Forgiveness means total forgetfulness, nothing will be brought forward against us in the day of judgement for Jesus paid the price that we ultimately deserved – spiritual death. There is nothing we can do about that – for God does not remove the guilt and penalty of sin, He holds our account through the actions of Jesus and now we stand before Him with His righteousness, completely clean.

Can you imagine Peter giving this message to the Jewish leaders when he was brought before them after the angel set them free from prison?  The encouragement he gave the murders of Christ was the hope of forgiveness – he preached repentance and the remission of sin – that Christ was ready to give them both.

Christ had to be taken to the cross, that is what most think about when Jesus was lifted up but Peter reminds the leaders of the temple that it was the resurrection and ascension of Jesus that placed Him with authority and power.  Because of this, no matter what the people of earth wish to do, nothing will hinder Jesus from fulfilling His mission – for He is the Saviour to those who put in Him their hope of salvation.

 

“We must obey God rather than any human authority.  The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.  God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.  And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” Acts 5:29-32

Prayer

But joyful are those who have the God of Israel[a] as their helper,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God. – Psalm 146:5

Since we have hope regarding the future – Christ’s return – we want to be found doing the work He has called us to do.  Since He has called us, we need to choose prayer and faithful proclamation of the gospel as our focus.

Not the prayer that includes gossip,whining or complaining or introduces negativity or criticism but one filled hope, supporting each other.

The Book of Acts starts with such a support.  Through chapter four there are repeated times where the author describes how much Christians shared together – one body, one Spirit, one hope and one profession of faith.

What would God have us do? Offer bold prayers that reflect a strong faith and secure hope. Let’s not just talk about prayer, and have seminars on prayer, and read books about prayer, and listening to sermons on prayer. Let us pray. The souls of men and women hang in the balance.

Our hope is that the message is heard and lives are changed.

After they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them.  When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them,  it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant: “Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples imagine vain things?  The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers have gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah.’  For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed,  to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.  And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”  When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness. – Acts 4:23-31

This will be my salvation

(Showing Hypocrites to be the prime objects of God’s wrath—and the grounds of it—with the special lessons that we are to learn from it. Expressed in a sermon preached before the Parliament of England; upon their last thanksgiving day, being the 8th of October 1650, for that recent great victory which the Lord Almighty gave our army over Scotland’s army in a battle at Dunbar on September 3, 1650. By Thomas Brooks, a weak and unworthy teacher of the Gospel.)

The wheel of providence runs swiftly, and one glorious providence does but make way for another; which should heighten our hopes, and strengthen our faith, and raise up our souls to lay out all that we have received from God, for the helping forward the design of God. Worthy Senators, never had any men on earth such glorious advantages and opportunities to act high for God and his saints, as you have. Ah, how many are there now triumphing in heaven, who, when they were on earth, would have thought it a heaven to have enjoyed the least of those advantages and opportunities which you enjoy, so that they might have put out themselves for God and his people to the uttermost! Ah, sirs, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” Eccles. 9:10. Your time is short, your task is great, your Master is urgent, and your reward is sure. The devil makes all the haste he can to outwork the children of light—in a speedy dispatch of deeds of darkness, because he knows his time is short. He will not let slip any opportunity whereby he may do mischief. Oh may you not let slip any opportunity wherein you may honor a good God, and be serviceable to your generation.

Job reminds us all that we have the right to cleave to our testimony especially when our conscience backs up who we are.  Job depended completely on God for justification and for salvation – the two most important things we hope for and comes to us through Jesus Christ.  Temporal salvation was not high on his expectations, but eternal salvation was his confidence.  He knew he was not a hypocrite and knew that he should not be rejected as one.  God was his Friend even though at the moment He appeared to be his Enemy.  This is where the words come to us that we must believe that all things work together for our good, even when all seems to be against us.  It is our time to cleave to God even though at the very moment comfort cannot be found in Him.  We need to trust Him.

This is where Job excels above his friends – he does trust God unreservedly, in spite of the circumstances.  God Himself is the sinner’s hope.

This is the hope that those who reject God, in all of their narrowness and parochialism, have lost long ago.

I only shared the verse of hope below but maybe I should share verse fifteen as well —

“Behold, he will slay me; I have no hope; yet I will defend my ways to his face.”

Job is determined to defend himself and that expression of hope is so powerful in verse sixteen.

This will be my salvation, that a godless man shall not come before him. – Job 13:16

Rock of my Salvation (Teknobeat Mix) – Nitro Praise

If we will only heed

We live in two words – blessing and curse.  They are real and they have real effects.  With them or behind them is the character of God – first came the blessing and only then followed by the curse.  God is slow to anger, swift to show mercy, delighted to bless.  It is better for us to be drawn into Him and His blessing by a child-like hope in His favour.  That blessing is promised as we listen, trust and follow in obedience the word of God.

 When this first appeared to the people of Israel in Deuteronomy, their hope totally depended on and was completely placed in the faithfulness of God and His promise.

So when we look at the law of God’s Word that produces blessings when we follow in obedience – which commandment is the first of them all?  That question asked by a lawyer to Jesus is still what lies at the very heart of what we believe.  Hard to believe for some of us that Bishop David Jenkins could quote such an orthodox statement, but it is quite the contemporary statement of our time —

There is God; He is as He is in Jesus; there is hope

 The feasts established in the Old Testament took moments out of the lives of the people and turned the concept of time being busy towards repentance and to one of hope.

God is trying to get His voice into our hearts to say to us that He will meet our needs – He is our source.  How many times do we see hope almost disappearing – feeling our source was running out – and God would rain from heaven, if you will, blessing us, restoring us.

If you will only heed his every commandment that I am commanding you today—loving the Lord your God, and serving him with all your heart and with all your soul— then he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, and you will gather in your grain, your wine, and your oil;  and he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you will eat your fill. – Deuteronomy 11:13-15

God loves me

The redemptive acts of God were Israel’s great hope as they were a fulfillment of the promise to Abraham. They were the inauguration of the national covenant.

That covenant is also the same hope we have too.  It is not because we are special, or more wonderful or more deserving than anyone else – God loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us so that we may receive the gift of eternal life with Him.  It was a promise He made to us in Genesis, even before the covenant made with Abraham. 

How deep and wide is that love that He has. It is a love I can place my hope in.

It was not because you were more numerous than any other people that the Lord set his heart on you and chose you—for you were the fewest of all peoples.  It was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath that he swore to your ancestors, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.  Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who maintains covenant loyalty with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations – Deuteronomy 7:7-9

Chris Tomlin – Jesus Loves Me

Fear and hope in God

Following God is not something we do just once, or at certain times, it is a lifestyle that continually embeds all of our activities.  It has faith and love as principles with the idea that our lives and all that we do will bring glory to God.  Our strength to live such a life comes from Jesus.  The underlying move of the Holy Spirit is to make sure that we never lose that fear of God, to have reverence for His name, and to regard His word for where there is no reverence for God will we really find faith, hope, and love?  For if the Holy Spirit enables us to walk a walk that follows God, then we know that walk will be one that comes out of the sense of His incredible love and desire to bless us and keep us.

God is pleased when we come to Him with reverence for and fear in His divine majesty.  He would like that to be in our lives always knowing that this is the move of the Holy Spirit in our lives that enables us to stay steadfast in our walk with Him.  It is here that He can bless us as promised. God can transform us easily enough, but He is looking for that desire that comes from our will to follow Him even in the midst of our own nature. He is looking at us as His creation, designed to be rational and intelligent beings knowing that we are influenced by moral motives, reason and argument, persuasion and conviction and especially as seen in the life of Job that I have been reading lately, hopes and fears.

So out of the Old Testament we found ourselves in a New Testament world that proclaims good news.  God has called us to walk with Him in a New Covenant through Jesus.  It is now in Him that we have hope for eternal life and intimacy with God.

If only they had such a mind as this, to fear me and to keep all my commandments always, so that it might go well with them and with their children forever! 

Deuteronomy 5:29

Fear of the Lord by Tommy Walker