Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: WISDOM: The Faithway to Eternity

Thursday, June 28, 2007

WISDOM: The Faithway to Eternity

1 A Song of degrees. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. 3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. 6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. 8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore” (Psalm 121:1-8).

In the midst of Job’s trials and the accusations of his miserable comforters, he cries out an affirmation of his faith in God, “23 Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! 24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! 25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:23-27). We have really only two choices when confronted with life’s trials.

1. We can focus on the trial and live in depression and despair.
2. We can focus on the eternal and live in hope of our ultimate deliverance from the curse.

Wisdom chooses the latter of these two choices. Life is merely a journey to eternity. The trip there will prove to be troublesome because the forces of evil will not allow for ease, except for those having been deceived. Psalm 121 is referred to as one of the Pilgrim Psalms. Psalm 121 is actually an answer to the trials of life, the satanic attacks, and the deceptive forces of evil presented in Psalm 120.

1 A Song of degrees. In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me. 2 Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue. 3 What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? 4 Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper. 5 Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar! 6 My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace. 7 I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war” (Psalm 120:1-7).

Wisdom understands that the pathway of life we choose will determine the eternal destiny to which we will ultimately arrive. The Biblical pathway of life is the faithway. There are only two eternal destinies.

1. There is the eternal destiny of the family of Adam known as the curse. The Bible refers to this destiny as Hell.
2. There is the eternal destiny of those “born again” into the family of God by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. The Bible refers to this destiny as “the regeneration” or, more commonly, Heaven.

Wisdom understands that the destiny to which a pathway leads is determined once we choose a pathway of life to travel on. The Bible refers to these pathways with the word “way.” We find the first instance of the use of this terminology right after the curse (Gen. 3:14-17) and the promise of coming of Messiah (Gen. 3:15). “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24).

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary translates Genesis 3:24, “And he dwelt between the cherubim at the East of the Garden of Eden and a fierce fire, or Shekinah, unfolding itself to preserve the way of the tree of life.” The intent here is that after the curse, the only access to God would be through the Messiah. Faith in the promised Messiah, and what Genesis 3:15 said He would accomplish at His coming, was the means God used to “preserve the way . . . of life.” The next instance of this terminology is found in Genesis 6:12. The word “way” is the same Hebrew word derek (deh'-rek) used in Genesis 3:24.

8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. 9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth” (Genesis 6:8-12).

We see in this text why God needed to end the lives of all but eight souls in the Great Flood. The reason was “for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” God flooded the earth to give mankind another opportunity through a remnant to discover the “way” of faith in the promised Messiah. From that point forward in history, God would continue to use a faithful remnant to maintain and continue to propagate the “way” of faith in Messiah as the only means of access to God’s presence and to a destiny of eternal life.

This metaphorical use of the “way” as a road or pathway through life refers to a vision of eternity that impacts, affects and determines how we live our lives and how we establish what should be the priorities of our journey through this short bit of time we call our lives. This was a primary truth that took Israel forty years in the wilderness to learn. What was that truth? The only way into the Promised Land is absolute faith/trust in the Deliverer! This way was the faithway (John 14:6). Anything less and you die in the wilderness.

This truth, typified in the Old Covenant by Israel’s Wilderness experience, is the reality that is the spiritual dynamic of every professed believer’s life down through the Ages. This is what God is doing in every believer’s life. God is working to bring His redeemed to live by faith. Faith must be real! Real faith will manifest itself by a believer following God into areas of life that demand absolute dependence on God. This is a critical aspect of wisdom few believers ever acquire. Therefore, they are seldom willing to step out of their comfort zones into areas of life requiring absolute faith in God’s provision. This shortcoming is the major reason most people will never experience God’s Promised Land blessings in this life. The Apostles were COMMANDED to live the faithway in order to be models of it.

“19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. . .24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:19-21 & 24-34).

Most people read this text in Matthew chapter six in amazement. The immediate question that rises from this text is how can God expect anyone to live this way? I mean, come on? Don’t even THINK ABOUT where your next meal will come from? Don’t even THINK ABOUT where you will find water (not something many of us consider in our travels today)? Don’t even THINK ABOUT how you will be clothed? We need to be honest with ourselves here. This is a level of faith of which most of us cannot even grasp the concept. Therefore, how can we live by a principle of life we cannot even comprehend? The question we must ask is why we cannot comprehend the faithway to eternity. The answer is simple, UNBELIEF! This is an issue that ought to cause us some fear.

1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8 For if Jesus {literally; Joshua} had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his” (Hebrews 4:1-10).

When Israel came to Kadesh-Barnea, they sent out spies into the Promised Land. The spies came back with an accurate, but “evil” report. The report was accurate in that there were giants in the land. There were powerful and fearsome city-states that would fight against them. Some of these city-states had physical resources and military might far greater than Israel’s. They were correct in all of this. The reason their report was “evil” was because it failed to enter the God-factor into the equation of their solution. Resultantly, they responded in fear of the problem rather than in fear of their God for their lack of faith in Him. It is hypocrisy to profess belief in the God of the Bible and then live in self-dependence.

Being able to live on the faithway to eternity is dependent upon our view of God. That is the message of Psalm 121.

“1 A Song of degrees. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. 3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. 6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. 8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore” (Psalm 121:1-8).

These few verses of Scripture are much more than a statement of faith. They make up more than a doctrinal statement about God. These are words of confirmation. These are words of resolution. These are words of commitment. These are not words reflecting a low view of God. These are not words of complacency or spiritual pacifism. These are not the words of the masses of mediocrity. These are the words of true, real, living, world engaging faith. These are not words merely spoken. These words are lived! These words take us to the edge of our own graves with a smile of victory on our faces with shout of Halleluiah resounding from our hearts.

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