Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Tag: Psalms 31

Baptism

February 1 – Today’s Readings – Exodus 13-15 and Psalms 31

In Chapter 14 of Exodus, we find one of the best illustrations of Baptism in all of Scripture. 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 tells us, “Our forefathers – all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” This is a direct reference to Moses in Exodus yet Paul calls it “Baptism”. The reason for this is that the truths about Baptism are clearly seen in this historic event:
Israel was living captive in ancient Egypt and this slavery is a type or symbol of the darkness we found ourselves in before Jesus rescued us.
God’s desire was, and still is, to set people free from the kingdom of darkness.
Once Israel was delivered from Egypt and was on the way, the Egyptians chased them. This speaks of a further deliverance (Baptism)needed before we are truly free from Satan’s tyranny.
God’s “way out” was through the waters of Baptism (the Red Sea)
Satan’s forces and all sin’s dominion followed Israel into Baptism but they were buried there in a watery grave. The truth here is that when you obey the Lord and are baptized, there is a separation that takes place. God makes your hearts soft and writes His law there. Sin no longer has dominion over you and you have become a citizen of a new kingdom.
On the other side of the Red Sea, there was great victory and celebration but also a desert place and trials to face. We really should not be surprised at trials that may follow baptism. After all wasn’t Jesus led into the desert, and tempted by the Devil right after His Baptism?
Without Baptism there would not have been a “setting free” for Israel. Baptism was part of the salvation package.
We need to commemorate our Baptism and remember it as a pivotal event in our lives. The first thing Israel did after their “Baptism” was to hold a great worship service – a great deliverance had taken place. We won’t fully appreciate our baptism till we get to heaven and see our deliverer face to face! Remember this however – Even though this nation had been “saved” from slavery, this did not mean that sin was out of the picture because these people ( and we too) did sin and had to repent over and over again.

As we read through the Old Testament we must continually remind ourselves that it is full of New Testament symbolism. Who would have thought that we could find the doctrine of Baptism in the middle of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt?

By the way, if you haven’t been baptized, now would be a great time to do it!

Questions:

1. What are some other illustrations of what Baptism is like in a Christian’s life?

2. What areas of your life were left behind when you were baptized. What do you do with the sin you still struggle with?

Object Lessons From God

August 1 – Today’s Readings – Jeremiah 13-15 and Psalms 31

In the Old Testament, Prophets were often told to do things as object lessons in support of the prophetic word God had asked them to speak. These picture illustrations probably meant more to the general population than did all the long prophetic sermons these men would deliver. The “linen belt” in Chapter 13 is one such illustration. – “Take the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist, and go now to Perath and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks.’ So I went and hid it at Perath, as the LORD told me. Many days later the LORD said to me, ‘Go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there.’ So I went to Perath and dug up the belt and took it from the place where I had hidden it, but now it was ruined and completely useless.” (Jeremiah 13:4-7)

Priests always used linen when they were going to enter the presence of the Lord. It was considered the “holy” clothe in the Old Testament because it had properties of “breathing” and did not irritate the skin. Jeremiah wrapped one of these around his waist and declared that this was how God dealt previously with His people – considering them “holy” and wrapping them close to Himself. The belt however was not washed, and after some time became very dirty. The prophet then told the people that they too had not been “washed”, the cleansing that comes from repentance and turning their hearts faithfully to the Lord.

Next Jeremiah took the belt off and placed it out into the elements – in a crag in a rock where birds and little creatures could have at it – where the dirt, rain, wind, dust, and perhaps snow and mold could disintegrate, discolor and putrefy the belt till it was “ruined and completely useless”. Because of their own spiritual neglect, these people received the message that they too were being rejected by the Lord and would be ruined.

Throughout these doom and gloom prophecies we get the impression that all these things were happening to Israel because they continued to be obstinate and did not repent. We know enough of the character of God to know that if God can forgive Nineveh, he could certainly have forgiven Israel and not brought about the judgment that was prophesied. What was the problem then? It was the false prophets! They were all “prophesying” peace – peace – all is well – don’t sweat it – God is happy with us. Only one man was speaking the truth but no one would listen because of the “noise” being made by the false prophets.
In our day too, there are many “voices” that are not telling it like it is. People are distracted from God’s concern and heartache because they continually listen to voices that only want to satisfy the hearers. This is why we should keep ourselves in the Word of God and why we should learn to “turn off” voices that lead us off the path and purposes of God. Refuse to fill your minds with only the things that seem to feed your ego and lustful desires. Make sure you have a steady intake of the real heart of God.

Questions:

1. Name some other Biblical illustrations that Old Testament prophets used to illustrate a message from God.
2. Give an example of how God has spoken to you personally through an illustration.

The “gods” Of This World

July 31 – Today’s Readings – Jeremiah 10-12 and Psalms 31

Chapter 10 of Jeremiah paints a great picture of what God thinks (and what we should think) about the “gods” of this world – “For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.” (Jeremiah 10:3-5)

To this day, millions of people are enslaved in the worship of these “gods”. They cook for them, carry them, kiss them, rub their bellies, set them up in “shrine” rooms in their homes or restaurants, burn incense to them, dress them up, talk to them and in all other ways imaginable make fools of themselves. Why? Because they believe that there is power in the man-made god or a man-made religious philosophy. Indeed there are evil spirits behind the idolatrous images that people set up and worship, but CHRISTIANS SHOULD NEVER FEAR OR BE ALARMED by the so-called power of these gods for there is no life in them and we ought never to fear spirits because we have THE HOLY SPIRIT. Many Christians concern themselves with these things – some even fearing evil spirits or the people who would “curse” them. Do not fear these things – and never expose yourselves to things that would stir fear up in you (horror movies or sci-fi books that are designed to make you feel powerless and insignificant). Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. You are not powerless! You are not insignificant! You have been given power now that the Holy Spirit has come upon you. (Acts 1:8) As Winston Churchill once said during the Second World War – “the only thing to fear is fear itself”. Let me add my bit to this. Have great respect for what God thinks and what God’s opinion is. Never fear anything else – ever again. Think, for a moment of the young man, David, who faced the outrageously fearsome Goliath. Within himself, he was not a warrior, but he had confidence in a big, big God. Remember Zerubbabel in Zechariah 4:6-10 – “So he said to me, ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’ Then the word of the LORD came to me: ‘The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.” Here was a man facing tremendous obstacles and yet having the confidence that he was more than able because of the power of the Lord. There is no place for fear when facing the gods or philosophies of this world – we need to foster confidence in God Almighty.

Questions:

1. Give an example from Scripture of people who feared and therefore failed.
2. Give an example from your own life where you needed to remind yourself to not fear in the face of difficulty.

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