Bible commentaries – Feb. 9, 2020

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Deuteronomy 18:15-22

Moses would soon pass from the scene, but God would raise up prophets to reveal the future to Israel. The pagan prophets in Canaan practiced human sacrifice, divination, told fortunes, interpreted omens, practiced sorcery, cast spells, consulted mediums and spiritists and made inquiries of the dead (Deut. 18:10-11). God commanded the people not to imitate these practices. God describe them as detestable or disgusting (Deut. 18:9).

Moses said God would raise a prophet like him from their own brothers (Deut. 18:15). This was the very thing the people requested at Horeb because they were afraid they would die if they heard God’s voice directly (Deut. 18:16). God praised them for their request (Deut. 18:17).

The prophet would speak for God, in His name, and the people would be held accountable for the message (Deut. 18:18-19). There is also a warning for the prophet. He is to speak only what God commands him to speak and never in the name of other gods (18:20). If he does, he must die (Deut. 18:21). To speak something that was not from God was to usurp God’s place and authority.

Since this was so important God gave the people a twofold test to test the validity of the prophets’ words. The message must be given in the name of the LORD and the prophecy must come to pass (Deut. 18:22).

Moses would be the standard for all future prophets (Deut. 18:15, 18). None would compare to him. Even Joshua could not be compared to him. When Moses died, Deuteronomy 34:10 says, “No prophet has arisen again in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” None would be like Moses until Jesus came. Philip told Nathaniel that Jesus was the prophet spoken of by Moses and the prophets (John 1:45). Jesus equated Moses’ prophecy with Himself (John 5:46-47).

When I taught Royal Ambassadors, our motto was simply, “We are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20). As Christ’s ambassadors, we are to take His message to the world (Matt. 28:18-20).


Bible Studies for Life

Does God really understand my pain and suffering?

Isaiah 53:2-12

Martin Luther King Jr. did not like to draw attention to his trials and sufferings. He knew it was possible “for one to be self-centered in his self-denial and self-righteous in his self-sacrifice.” By the time he wrote “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence,” King had been arrested five times, his home was bombed twice, he received daily death threats and had been nearly fatally stabbed. Not to mention that he received constant discrimination, insults and bullying. King said, “I have lived these last few years with the conviction that unearned suffering is redemptive. … So, like the Apostle Paul, I can now humbly yet proudly say, ‘I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.’” King knew that God understood his pain and suffering and he believed his suffering drew him closer to God.

Isaiah 53 clearly points to application beyond Israel to a person. Isaiah 53 is a picture of Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of the world (Isa. 53:12).

The Servant is like a withered plant in dry ground that is uprooted and thrown away (Isa. 53:2). He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering (Isa. 53:3). This Servant is suffering on behalf of others (Isa. 53:4). He bore “our sicknesses” and carried “our pains” yet he was rejected as one God struck down because of some personal sin (Isa. 53:4). This was not the case. He suffered because of man’s rebellion and sin (Isa. 53:5). This suffering led to the Servant’s death (Isa. 53:8).

Isaiah 53:10 might come across mean-spirited – “Yet the Lord was pleased to crushed him severely.” We are not to understand it that way. God’s pleasure is because the Servants’ death will justify many (Isa. 53:11). The Servant’s suffering culminated in the crucifixion but would lead to His resurrection.

We are not alone in our suffering. Jesus is our High Priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses and identify with our sufferings because He has been there (Heb. 4:15). He knows what we are going through. He sits upon the throne of grace waiting to dispense mercy and grace in our times of need. (Heb. 4:16).

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