Thursday, October 20, 2011
My journey through the Bible has brought me to Numbers. Over and over again, the writer Moses notes that "the Lord spoke" to him. Through his servant Moses, God spoke His law, and Moses delivered His Word to the children of Israel.
This recurring phrase, "the Lord spoke," is significant. The LORD as Master is establishing His authority to instruct His people on His rules and regulations for living: everything from the Ten Commandments to regulations concerning offerings, atonement, and the practical matters of life.
To simply say, "Be moral, be nice, be good" would not be enough. His law had to be stamped with His signature, "Thus says the Lord."
This teaching occurred to me, after the fact, when my grandchild was acting up in the back seat of the car. Finally, I turned around and said, "Be nice; don't act ugly." The next morning it dawned on me that a better thing to say would have been, "It hurts grandma when you disobey your mommy. Jesus says in the Bible to obey your mommy and daddy. He wants you to listen to them because it is the right thing to do and because it will be good for you. And you will be happier for it."
With these words, I would be stating the authority upon which morality and goodness rest: the Lord Jesus Christ.
When we try to be moral and good in ourselves we fail miserably, and we are miserable. Only the righteous God of heaven can make us righteous. And this goodness comes through His perfect Son's atoning work on the Cross. It is by His authority that we can be righteous and live righteously.
Sadly, those who have taught the importance of morality without citing the authority upon which that morality rests have been deceived and are deceiving. Self-effort alone can never produce lasting goodness. Sooner or later, all human effort fails.
In Christ's righteousness alone do we stand. It is in Him that we find our life, joy, peace, and goodness.
Chuck and I viewed a movie last night that perpetuated this biblical teaching. According to the back jacket blurb, TIME CHANGER takes place "in 1890 where Bible professor Russell Carlisle has written a new manuscript entitled 'The Changing Times.' His book is about to receive a unanimous endorsement from the board members of the Grace Bible Seminary until his colleague Dr. Norris Anderson (Gavin MacLeod) raises an objection. Dr. Anderson believes that what Carlisle has written could greatly affect the future of coming generations. Using a secret time machine, Anderson sends Carlisle over 100 years into the future, offering him a glimpse of where his beliefs will lead."
Sadly, we are living that projection.
If you haven't seen this eye-opening movie, I highly recommend it, for young and old alike. We must move people back to the authority of the Word of God, for therein lies our goodness, hope, life, and future.
Thus says the Lord . . .