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Vol.  9  No. 12 December 2007  Page 15
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Tim Childs

Your Adversary, the Devil

By Tim Childs

    When we read, study and meditate upon the text of Scripture, we need to be alert and prayerful, desiring divine illumination. God’s Word enables you and me not only to learn the difference between good and evil (Hebrews 5:14), but it additionally gives insight into the devices Satan uses in his efforts to gain the advantage over us (2 Corinthians 2:11).

    God has a plan. We know it by Divine revelation as one he formulated in the person of Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world. God’s plan is one characterized by love, mercy and grace to reconcile sinful men to Himself and to one another in one body. God wants to bless all of us with abundant life presently and eternal life when Jesus comes again.

    Satan has a plan. We know it as an alternative plan he has devised in his attempt to counteract, disrupt and frustrate God’s plan of salvation. Satan’s plan is to harden hearts so they become unresponsive to heaven’s call and directives; drive wedges to create disunity among God’s children; and, bring together in fellowship those he has begotten with those the Heavenly Father has begotten (Matthew 13:24-30).

    Isaiah writes how God’s thoughts and ways are higher or superior to our own. His plan is superior to Satan’s plan. Satan is a loser and all those who allow themselves to be deceived by his lies will suffer enormous loss together with him.

Andy RobisonObedient Rechabites

By Andy Robison

   Among the many object lessons God employed through his prophet Jeremiah (figs—Jeremiah 24, bonds and yokes—Jeremiah 27) was a family of people loyal to the commands of an ancestor (Jeremiah 35). God told Jeremiah to offer wine to the house of the Rechabites, and Jeremiah did (35:1-5). These noble nomads refused on the grounds of a forefather’s directive. Rechab’s son, Jonadab, who had lived in the time of Jehu, some two hundred years prior to this event, had instructed them to live in tents as sojourners and to drink no wine (35:6-11; 2 Kings 10:15-17). Though several generations removed, they obeyed.

    One might observe from the Rechabites some parallel with the sojourn of a Christian on earth. Christians have their primary citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20), and confess that they are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13). Earth might be compared to a campground. Christians are just camping here, temporarily, awaiting an eternal, incorruptible abode in heaven (1 Peter 1:3-4). Too many Christians, however, are all too caught up in the amenities of affluent societies. They feel too much at home on earth, and thus, they do not prepare for an eternal abode. Christ’s disciples would be well served to remember they are but nomads wandering on God’s temporal campground.

    However, that is not the point God makes with this account. His point is even more simple and basic: If Rechabites can be obedient to the long-removed commands of a dead ancestor, why could not the children of Judah be obedient to the frequently reminded demands of a living God (35:12-17)? The merely human Jonadab had been dead for some time, but his descendants honored him as if he were there watching every move. The divine God of heaven indeed was watching and renewing His commands through the prophets, “rising up early and sending them” (cf. 35:15).

    That is such an interesting figure of speech. It is not as if God needs to “rise up” in any morning. He never sleeps (cf. Psalm 121:4). The phrase simply indicates that God was, so to speak, “on the ball” in keeping His demands fresh on the people’s minds. They would have had no excuse to disobey. The family of Rechab could more reasonably have claimed forgetting a command than could the family of Judah. However, the Rechabites had, with apparent effort and purpose, remembered. God’s children had to muster rebellious effort and purpose just to forget God’s commands (cf. Jeremiah 5:30-31; Isaiah 30:8-11).

    Oh, the folly of suppressing the truth (Romans 1:18b) and obeying unrighteousness (Romans 2:8). Obedience to God’s commands is a must in every age. The New Testament records God’s instructions for Christians. Obedience is the path to salvation (Hebrews 5:8-9). Where God has made His word readily available, woe to those who neglect or ignore it (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Rom. 2:8). The Rechabites were blessed by their respectful obedience (Jeremiah 35:18-19). God’s people will be blessed by their loving submission to His will (John 14:23).

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