Steve Ellison: Little Classroom In The Wilderness

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The descendants of Abraham left home and went to Egypt looking for food in a time of famine.  There were likely less than one hundred of them.  Soon thereafter they wound up enslaved to the same Egyptians who fed them.    About 400 years later, God chose to display His glory so Abraham’s descendants, now about two million strong, walked out of Egypt loaded down with gold and silver freely given to them by their former masters.

  Can anyone shout, “God provides!”   He knew that gold and silver was not all they needed.  They had an inheritance of land waiting, but they needed a great deal of training before they would be able to receive it.  God kept them in His classroom in the wilderness for forty years. 

 

The book of Numbers covers the vast majority of this forty year class.  It records the Israelites being made “able to go to war”.  They learned that Yahweh and Yahweh alone was God.  They must trust Him, take orders only from Him.   God was preparing them to enter the land He promised to their ancestors and to them.  It truly was a land flowing with milk and honey.  It was also a land inhabited by people engaged in the vilest types of sinful behavior.   These enemies lived in fortified cities.  Giants lived there also.  It would be of the utmost importance that the Israelites would fully trust God, immediately obey Him, and completely eradicate sin.  Anything less would invite disaster.            

The book of Deuteronomy gives an account of the last five weeks of this forty year class in the wilderness.  I find it interesting that immediately after the baptism that marked the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry; the Holy Spirit took Jesus to the wilderness.  There the devil tempted Jesus.  Jesus answered each of these temptations from the devil by quoting from the book of Deuteronomy.  That is a story for another time, but it does indicate that there are certainly some valuable lessons that can be learned in this classroom in the wilderness.

 

The name Deuteronomy is a Greek word meaning a repeating of the law or a second copy of the law.  Moses is traditionally regarded as the human author.  He records again the law given to him by God Himself at Mt. Sinai.  Absolute obedience to God and His law is the clear theme of this book. 

 

The key verses being verses 26-28 of chapter eleven, “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse:  the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today;  and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God”.  (NASU)   

 

God beautifully illustrated the significance of this choice between being blessed or cursed by commanding that upon entering The Promised Land, they were to build an altar in a certain valley and inscribe the law on it.  Six tribes were to ascend one mountain; the other six tribes were to ascend another mountain directly across the valley.  The priests were to remain in the valley.  The priests would read a list of blessings for obedience.  At the pronouncement of each blessing, the six tribes on Mt. Gerizim would respond in unison with “Amen”. At the pronouncement of each curse for disobedience, the six tribes on Mt. Ebal would respond in unison with “Amen”. What an awesome way to burn this truth into the minds of the people!  The unified voices of three large groups echoing over and over again across the still, crisp, clear, mountain air of the wilderness.  God really is the master teacher.  It’s my choice, it’s your choice; obedience or disobedience, blessings or curses. 



Steve Ellison: Blind Crossing

The fact that the Messiah will open the eyes of the blind is a recurring theme of the book of Isaiah and the Gospels.  The Bible clearly describes the person who is lost in their sin as being spiritually blind.  The Bible speaks figuratively of the lost person having scales on his eyes that must be removed before he can come to faith in Christ.  Three years ago, I ... (click for more)

"The Holy Spirit ... Then And Now" Is Message Sunday At Metro Tab Church

The public is invited to worship at Metro Tab Church this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The message, preached by Pastor Steve Ball, will be "The Holy Spirit....Then and Now."  (click for more)

City Stormwater Board Approves Water Quality And Development Fee Increases

The city Stormwater Regulations Board on Monday recommended that the city approve water quality and land development increases sought by the Berke administration, though board members said there had not been enough time for the board and the public to study the fee hikes. Bill Payne, city engineer, said the water quality fee increase would amount to an average $11 per year per ... (click for more)

Blakemore Gets 23-Year Prison Term For Selling Heroin That Caused Death Of Red Bank Man

Federal Judge Sandy Mattice on Monday sentenced Darius Jermaine Blakemore to 23 years in federal prison for selling heroin to a Red Bank man who overdosed and died.   Blakemore, 29, had gone to trial on the case, but it was announced in the middle of the trial that both sides had agreed to the 23-year term. Blakemore had faced 30 years to life.   Blakemore ... (click for more)

Liberal Conspiracy Afoot

According to Roy Exum’s Sunday column, there are now upwards of six or seven Democrats in Hamilton County, and all of them have secretly maneuvered their way onto the boards of a couple of dozen local organizations. Unlike Republicans, some of them serve on multiple boards and some of them serve with one another on the same boards. This is outrageous. We all know that boards and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Words For The Ages

I was probably one of few people in the entire world who didn’t get caught up in the Royal Marriage of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry this weekend. I got over having any semblance of ‘pomp and circumstance’ a long time ago and, as a rule, studiously avoid those apt to ‘put on airs and graces.’ By ignoring the magnificent occasion, I made a big mistake and today it is with delight ... (click for more)