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Matt 26: 73 was my key verse for the day. Have you been in the presence of God to the point that with your way of life, people can testify that you have been with the Lord. Are you becoming more like him. Peter's accent gave him away, he stayed long enough with the lord that his accent now was like the Lords.

Psalm 33:1-11

The Sovereignty of God in Creation and History.

The Psalmist calls for the righteous to sing and praise God. Why?

"For the word of the LORD is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does."

This is a great reason to sing and praise. Would you want the one who created the Universe, and who has a sovereign plan to be a liar and unfaithful?
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"By the word of the LORD were the heavens made,
their starry host by the breath of his mouth."

Sound like Jesus?
John1:1
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." NIV

David says it, it is recorded in Genesis, John Says it, Paul says it - that is more than good enough for me. The God of the Bible - the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob created the Universe.

Creation stands firm because He commands it to stand firm.
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Sovereignty over Nations and History

10 The LORD foils the plans of the nations;
he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.

11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Early on after my salvation, a fellow Christian told me that God's plan was like a Decision tree. Man would make a decison, and if that decision was not in God's plan - then God had A,B,or C options to deal with man's decsion and bring the plan back in line.

That is not what it says in verse 11. The plans of the Lord STAND FIRM FOREVER. No wiggle room. God's plan does not change. If a nation or people's plans and devices go against God's plan - then they are foiled and thwarted. Yes, we have free will, and we can make plans - but our choices and plans do not trump God's plan for us, nations, or the world.

God's plan was not designed based on his knowing how we would decide things in life. The best explanation I have heard follows:

Scientists claim the Univers is probably 19 dimensions. If so, then God must be at least 20 dimensions. The Creator is always greater than the created.

20 Dimensions is outside our realm of comprehension. But the idea is God does not look back and forth through History and into the future. God sees it all at the same time. It is like his plan for creation, earth, mankind, and the end are one big movie stretched out frame by frame, and God sees it all at the same time.

God had his plan before creation began, it is His plan, it has not changed and will not change for it is perfect, and to God it is already done. (just some conjecture on my part:)

Prov 8:35-36

"For whoever finds me finds life
and receives favor from the LORD.

But whoever fails to find me harms himself;
all who hate me love death."

Pursuing wisdom leads to God and righteousness (which we know is imputed in OT and NT). The only other path is "folly" which leads to death.

There is no grey area, you either pursue wisdom or folly. One may bounce back and forth, but ultimately it comes down to decision time. Pursue wisdom or pursue folly. Attain (eternal) life, or opt for death. Accept God, or reject God.

Matthew 26:69-27:14

Peter and Judas

Both had sinned, each in their own way had rejected Jesus. How did each react?

Peter went outside and wept bitterly. "bitterly" - Greek - "pikros" is only used twice in the Bible. Here in Matthew and in Luke, and both describe Peter's weeping. The word has the meaning of one "wailing", sobbing heavily, it is an extreme form of crying. Peter had a heart for Jesus. Peter realized he screwed up not while he was sinning, but when he saw the face of Jesus, and his repentance was born out of a recognition of whom he sinned against.

Judas saw Jesus was condemned and he experianced remorse (regret)over the situation. Judas was not happy with the results. Perhaps he hoped the trials would spur Jesus to ake on his Kingly Messiah role and lead a revolt. Judas was not a believer. Judas did not have a heart for God, and did not repent or cry like Peter. Judas was just sad.

We will see later during the ressurection that Jesus mad a special effort to include Peter. Peter was a believer,and God had accepted Peter's repentence and Jesus provides us a lesson on being restored into fellowship with God.

I believe that if Judas had experianced heartfelt remorse and turned to God for forgiveness, then even at that point Judas would have been saved. Instead, Judas had superficial regret. The regret was in his head and not his heart. Judas died, not being saved, and faced eternal separation from God. As Jesus said earlier, 'it is better that Judas had not even been born than what Judas faces in eternity.' (paraphrase)
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Judas' Death

Some skeptics claim a contradiction in judas' death. They claim Matthew and Paul (in Acts) describe two different deaths.

I think it is explained pretty well in a short page at this link:
http://www.carm.org/diff/Matt27_3.htm

[email protected]
2008

I haven't done this in a very long time, but today, I have felt a need to not only pray, but fast - most especially for our country. In this time of elections, I think more is at stake than many realize, and I ask for God's people to repent and call on Him, that He might have mercy on us. I was especially taken with the verses:
10 The LORD foils the plans of the nations;
he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
There is widespread belief among experts that our country will experience another 911-type attack,and that we are basically sitting ducks for such an event. There is a faction of radical Islam whose sole purpose is to "destroy the infidels", ie, America. But God can thwart the plans of nations. Will He? That is my prayer - that He will have mercy because of the great number of believers still active in this country, because of the many, many good things that are going on here. However, as we all know, there is also great sin among us, and as a nation we have strayed far from the faith. God's people must have a change of heart. It can no longer be "business as usual". Please pray with me for our country - and for these elections, that God will put the right person in the position of leadership. And that God's people will experience a renewal of commitment to Him.

I suppose it is just serendipitous, but the Exodus and Psalms readings today are apparently contradictory:
Psalm 33 verse 11 says:
"But the LORD's plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken."

On the other hand, in Exodus 32:13, Moses asks God to change his mind regarding His plan to 'destroy them all':
Turn away from your fierce anger. Change your mind about this terrible disaster you have threatened against your people!
And in Ex 32:14, Moses succeeded in convincing God to change his plan of destruction:
"So the Lord changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people."

So, can we sometimes convince God to change His plans or not?

Jeff,

You might want to check the definition of serendipitous :)

An excellant observation, and another reason why you can not just pick up the Bible read a verse and expect to know the interpretation. We must study the bible, and in this case know the whole story of Moses from Midian to this point. Then the supposed contradiction can be explained in context.

God's plan does not change as Psalm 33 indicates. So what is going on?

Moses was broken in Midian. He was so humbled that he had no confidence. I wrote back then, that Moses was like the vase that is smashed down into a lump of clay on the potter's wheel. Moses is a believer, and God is using Moses as an illustration, and will be built back up from the lump of clay - being conformed into the image of Christ. There was a lot of changes that needed to be done in Moses.

God has been gradually building confidence in Moses. Letting Moses gain knowledge of God, Standing with Moses at the Rock, granting Moses' different requests for food. Getting Moses to trust God in the battle with the Amorites.

Here God says - "Leave me alone", so I can destroy these people. What would Christ do here for His chosen people? Christ would intercede.

That is what Moses did - intercede. Up to this point Moses had griped about the people with the Lord, gone to the Lord, but he had never interceded for the people. Moses interceded here and is now becoming more and more a "type" of Christ.

Did God change His mind? Nope. It was a conditional sentence based on "leave me alone". Moses did not leave God alone - so the latter half of the clause never comes into play. "changed his mind" or "relented" in the Hebrew roots actually connotes "being comforted". God had brought Moses along slowly. Now was the time for Moses to step up, and He did.

God put Moses in the place to advance in His walk - and Moses responded. God was comforted by the fact Moses began acting like Christ - and the second half of the conditional clause was not enacted.

CARM has another explanation - take your pick.
http://www.carm.org/diff/Mal3_6.htm

Jeff,

Bob Deffingbaugh gives much te same explanation I did (just read it) at Mike's link above. It is this section:
Divine Indignation and Human Intervention
(32:7-14)
http://bible.org/page.php?page_id=158

Exodus 32-33:23

Aaron is also a believer and has been used by God with Moses in leading the Chosen people. However, Aaron is also flawed, but God will also be building Aaron up into the image of Christ. Aaron will become a type of Christ as "High Priest".

Here Aaron flat out lied.

Exodus22:24
"So I told them, 'Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.' Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!" NIV

This is an outrageous lie. Aaron grumbled with Mriiam and he will screw up some more - but God will bring Aaron along patiently and with mercy.

There will be consequences - Aaron like Moses will not see the "Promised Land", and the Levitical tribe will not get actual land to own in the chosen land.
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The LAW and the HOLY SPIRIT.

Exodus22:28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died.

Acts2:41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

I think God is so neat the way He bookends things in the Bible.

Symbolically
The Law came down from Mt. Sinai, and three thousand died. The LAW does not save it condemns.

The Holy Spirit came down at Pentecost, and three thousand believed - had eternal life. The New Covenant does not condemn it gives eternal life.

The Law Condemns, Christ gives eternal life. Amen.

John, thank you so much for the explanations -- they are each very, very helpful for my understanding.
Godspeed,
Jeff

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