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How often do I meditate upon Jesus' passion and death? Often, especially since watching the Mel Gibson film, 'The Passion of the Christ'. I contemplate His death each and every time I look up at the cross during our church services, and when I read the New Testament. Do I think we should or should not meditate upon Jesus' passion and death more often than once a year? Yes we should, to remind us that "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16.

Psalm 22

I think Ray Stedman comments on this Psalm as well as anybody.

"At least nine specific events or aspects of the crucifixion are described here in minute detail. All of them were fulfilled during the six hours in which Jesus hung upon the cross, from nine o'clock in the morning until three o'clock in the afternoon. Moreover, the latter part of the psalm clearly depicts the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The probability that the predictions of these nine events would be fulfilled by chance in one person, on one afternoon, is inconceivably small. The chance that all this could occur by accident is beyond any realm of possibility our minds could imagine. Yet all was fulfilled as predicted in this amazing psalm.....

....Then we have a most amazing and unmistakable description of death by crucifixion, written at a time when crucifixion was simply unknown. This was set down when no one, so far as history tells us, put anyone to death by crucifixion. Certainly the Jews did not, for their method of execution was to stone someone to death. But here is One who clearly describes his own crucifixion:

Yea, dogs are round about me;
a company of evildoers encircle me;
they have pierced my hands and feet --
I can count all my bones --
they stare and gloat over me;
they divide my garments among them,
and for my raiment they cast lots. (Psalms 22:16-18 RSV)

It is absolutely impossible to explain that verse on any natural basis. It is clearly a God-given picture of the crucifixion. The Psalmist says that he is surrounded by "dogs". This was the common Jewish term for Gentiles, and especially for the Romans. Roman executioners are all around the cross here. He decries the fact that he is surrounded by these alien people. They have stripped him; he is naked. He can see all his bones and, worse yet, he can feel them. And the crowning indignity is that at the foot of the cross they are actually casting lots for his garments. The calloused, hardened Roman soldiers were trying to divide the spoil of his clothing (Matthew 27:35, Luke 23:34, John 19:34). Because they did not want to rip his seamless robe apart, they cast lots for it. It is impossible that this could have been fulfilled by the collusion of the Roman soldiers. Yet here it is, clearly described 1000 years before, so that Jesus' death by crucifixion is unquestionably in view."

Full commentary at this link:

http://www.raystedman.org/psalms/0401.html

Hi I came upon your blog through google. I am a Christian in Singapore, Chinese Singaporean. I attend a Bible believing church. I plan to read your blog more often. Do drop by mine!

Hello Mel!!! Woohoo, one more member from Singapore! I'm a Singaporean too! Welcome! (too excited) =P

Care to exchange email addresses? Mine is [email protected] If you see this message please add me into your contact list.
Thanks!

I must admit that I seldom reflect on what Christ has done for me as it relates to his crucifixion and the torture in which He had experienced, yet, when I do reflect and focus my attention to this unfailing love He has shared, I cannot help but feel emotionally overwhelmed by His forgiving love and mercy to all man kind.
If we simply allow ourselves to remember that he paid the price for our sins and transgressions and call upon His name and lift Him on high, our lives will be more fullfilling. He came to bring us life more abundantly.

Proverbs 5:7-14

Proverbs 5 is about the perils of Adultery. I said yesterday that possibly we could look at this not as the seductress, but as satan - who is certainly behind the seductress. We can do that today and most of these verses ring true, but in today's verses looking at them as "sin" in general also looks valid.

As sin in general:
- we certainly want to stay clear of sin.
- lest we give our best efforts to sin rather than God, and years to one who is cruel (Satan).
- a Life of sin will take its toll on a believer. How? We will become apathetic and disconnected from God - thus losing the nourishment that comes from His Word and His blessings. There will be that constant internal wrangling between the spirit and flesh even if we ignore the prick of our conscience. We will be spent!
-if sinning long enough and often enough, the people around you will know. You will be labeled a hypocrite - if not to your face it will be behind your back. Your credibility as a believer will be zero.
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As to adultery specifically:

9 lest you give your best strength to others
and your years to one who is cruel,

10 lest strangers feast on your wealth
and your toil enrich another man's house.

While most commentators talk about prostitutes, STD's, and blackmail, one fellow wrote about these verses relating to a sentence of slavery. His claim is that a sentence of Stoning (penalty for being caught in adultery) could be commuted to life-long slavery.

Need to research this and intitially have found no other sources. Anybody ever heard about a commuting of a sentence from what God's Word decrees????? I will keep looking over the next few days.

[email protected]
2008

When I was reading today's psalm passage this morning I read it a few times over once I realized that it sounded out of place yet familiar. I realized it was similar to what Jesus went through during his crucification, and I'm excited to see that you all saw that too! I believe that's Jesus revealing Himself in His word. Another proof that the Old Testament is most importantly a foreshadow of Jesus Christ, and that His Spirit wrote it.

Exodus 2:11-3:22

In Antiquities of the Jews - Josephus talks about Moses' education in the court of Pharoah. Josephus wrote Moses was an exceedingly quick learner, skilled orator, great military mind for tactics and a natural leader: charasmatic, tall, and beautiful.

http://www.interhack.net/projects/library/antiquities-jews/
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If Josephus is correct, then Moses time in the court may have instilled in Moses a great deal of pride.

God had a mission for Moses predestined before the beginning of time. While the above qualities would be useful in the wilderness, God first needed a broken humble man that he could conform into the image of Christ. A man that would acknowledge God, let God make the decisions, and be a faithful servant to the Lord's plan. Moses had to be humbled.

Moses knew who his people were, and on his first recorded visit to them - Moses tries to protect them by killing an Egyptian. This did not go over well. Why? I see God's hand behind the reaction. God did not want to use a hot-headed hotshot military guy to lead a revolt of the Jewish people. That is not how God wanted to deal with Pharoah. On top of that Moses wrecklessly murdered a man, and shedding of anyone's innocent blood in the act of murder is a no-no for God. That authority is God's through natural means or through a societal government decision. So Moses had to be scared into fleeing so he could be humbled.
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Moses and the Burning Bush

Is there anything more humbling to a man who after forty years in Midian was out performing the lowliest job (shepherding a flock) of not Moses' animals but his father-in-laws animals?

Moses was 80, had no assets, and was performing menial tasks for his relative. A far cry from Moses' heyday in Pharoah's court.

NOW, Moses was humble enough. God, the Supreme potter, had smashed the clay vase down, and was ready to build Moses back up to the man Moses needed to be to lead the Exodus, a man in the foreshadowed image of Christ. [note: This rebuilding of Moses was only started here at the burning bush. conforming to the image of Christ is a lifelong work of God in a believer - then and now.] Moses is now a work in progress.

One small problem, Moses was now not only humble but insecure. Moses, at 80, does not really want to go back to Egypt (possibly still facing a murder charge), and lead his own people who had already rejected Moses once 40 years ago.

Moses starts making excuses for not going:

Ex 3:11
But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"

Contrast this with Isaiah's response to the Lord.
Is6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

God had to start instilling some confidence in Moses based on trusting in the Lord. "And God said, "I will be with you."

He gave Moses his name, a sign, the words to say, and assurance that the elders of Israel would listen to Moses and heed God's Words. Pretty strong stuff to fortify Moses.

Matt 17:11-12
"Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. "But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." (NIV)

Quick hit

Which Elijah? How many Elijah's? Is the Lord confusing things in this verse. Many skeptics point to this verse as a contradiction.

Let's look at the verse:
"To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things...." The apostles are asking about the teachers of the Law's reference to Elijah from the prophecy in Mal 4:4-6.

Jesus answered in a complete sentence and says - Yes, that is true. Elijah will come prior to my kingdom (the Second Coming) and he will restore all things.

But wait a minute guys, you are putting the cart before the horse. Quit looking ahead to the kingdom and realize that there is some salvation work that needs to be done first. First, I must come as the sacrificial lamb, then return as the Lion of Judah in the Second coming.

Let's focus on this trip. There is an Elijah prior to this trip that was also foretold. Huh? Where was that?

Luke 1:17
"And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." (NIV)

So Jesus is not contradicting or confusing us here:
1) Prior to this trip there was one that came in the spirit and power of Elijah - that was John the Baptist as foretold in Luke by God's angel.
2) Next time around - yes, there will be a literal Elijah who will restore all things - this Elijah will restore the hearts of Israel to the Lord as foretold in Malachai.

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