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Psalms 77:1-14 Search and Ponder

Posted by adventbiblestudy on February 10, 2014


Psalms 77:1-14 NLTse I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! (2) When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. (3) I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help. (4) You don’t let me sleep. I am too distressed even to pray! (5) I think of the good old days, long since ended, (6) when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now. (7) Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? (8) Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? (9) Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion? (10) And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” (11) But then I recall all you have done, O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. (12) They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. (13) O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? (14) You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.

 

As we can see, David opened his prayer with an emphasis on prayer. Cry, shout, pray, and prayed all point to the main theme. The main feelings in this prayer are a search for comfort, help, and compassion. These are the elements David is looking for from God. David also tells us why he is praying. It is a stressful time. He feels overwhelmed, distressed, rejected. David feels like God is against him and failed him. David teaches us a key element in prayer – he thinks. While in thought he recalls and remembers God’s mighty works, all of His ways, great wonders and awesome power he witnessed in his life. Since this is a prophecy about Jesus, we need to look at all the attributes David placed in his prayer and let them lead us to a parallel chapter when Christ felt the same emotions. Prayer is the key word that leads us to the time Jesus prayed in the garden.

 

Luke 22:35-47 NLTse Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag, or extra clothing, did you need anything?” “No,” they replied. (36) “But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one! (37) For the time has come for this prophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among the rebels.’ Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.” (38) “Look, Lord,” they replied, “we have two swords among us.” “That’s enough,” he said. (39) Then, accompanied by the disciplesJesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. (40) There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.” (41) He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, (42) “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (43) Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. (44) He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. (45) At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. (46) “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.” (47) But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of his twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss.

 

There’s been thousands of sermons preached and thousands of more studies written about Jesus’ prayer in the garden. Sadly most of them missed the main theme – prayer, which is one of the fundamental aspects of a relationship with Jesus. This example shows us a number of lessons by contrast. How many times did Jesus return to pray? If Jesus had gotten all the answers the first time, there would have been no need to return. If Jesus had to return to prayer three times to get the answers He was looking for, who in their right mind would put their salvation in the hands of a religious leader who looks at a text and tries to fascinate people by showing how he can derive every shred of truth without praying once? It happens all the time.

 

I’m like everyone else. I sat in church for thirty years listening to the same sermons repeated over and over again. No one ever had anything new to see or share. For the most part sermons are delivered by preachers who heard the story from someone or read it in a book written long ago. They take someone’s idea, add a few details and call it their own. Where’s the Spirit in that? When Jesus had to return three times, shouldn’t we be willing to return thirty times to listen to God’s wisdom? But many preachers think if they don’t instantly have all the answers, it’s a sign of weakness.

 

It seems the best we can do is work with God’s Spirit on our own and learn to trust in Him as we climb our personal ladder to Him. Most people are stuck on the first wrung with one foot on the ladder, the other afraid to leave this world. It takes both hands and feet to climb a ladder. This seldom used symbol illustrates total commitment.

 

We have to learn to put away influences from the world to see lessons in God’s Word. Scripture tells us Jesus prayed so hard He sweat droplets of blood. This has a number of meanings. In contrast it shows how religious leaders fight against anything new. They refuse to accept any little detail their minds didn’t conjure up or was not given to them by the governing body They forget God sent individuals to kings, not kings to individuals. Preachers with little or no concept on how to study and their own and rely on God’s Spirit oppose the slightest new detail and revelation with all their blood, sweat and tears. Jesus put so much effort into pleading with God for an answer He produced sweat like droplets of blood. It’s sad to see the contrast when religious leaders oppose and fight to shut out God’s voice with as much effort as Jesus applied to hear it.

 

To see lessons in this prophecy about Jesus, we have to master the main theme – PRAYER! One of the main lessons brought out by Jesus is His willingness to return time after time to plead for an answer. After gathering and marking the texts, it’s time to pray and let God’s Spirit lead you to a parallel chapter. Using the key word prayer to search we find a number of chapters to choose from. This is why we need to pay particular attention to prayer as well as the introductions and summations which establish context. Later in this study we’ll cover how the summation of Psalm 77 relates to the summation in Luke 22. First we need to understand the importance of prayer. Once a parallel chapter is located, it’s time to pray again. Prayer is more than asking for things. Prayer is boldly approaching God’s throne and like Jesus did, ask a question and listen. Notice the process is asking one question and listening for God’s answer one at a time. There is a certain sequence God has to explain details. We’ve seen this detail in the time line God uses and how He uses it. We have to learn to understand in God’s time frame, not ours. If we rely on our understanding of time, we’ll be stuck on the first step with one foot on the ladder and the other in the world. We have to step up and leave the views of the world behind.

 

Many preachers are stuck in the world because of the way they’ve been taught in institutions. They haven’t been taught how to think on their own, or approach God’s throne. Their main focus in school was to finish an assignment to obtain a passing grade. Their minds are stuck on the concept of preparing a paper or study which is acceptable and graded by another person. This concept is made part of the process and continues with them until they finally find God and break the chains holding their minds in a pit of self reliance. Students develop a fear of straying away from established and accepted institutional truth. Everything they do is centered around pleasing a teacher then the world. In our previous lesson Jesus told His disciples they were going to be hated by the world because concepts and the understanding He was about to give them is way beyond worldly thoughts and accepted traditions. Prayer is the only way to break the chains of tradition and find out what God has to teach on any given subject.

 

First pray about the two introductions. Look at how God put an emphasis on the main thought with the use of key words. Look at the emotions conveyed. Put yourself in the scene. Understand how God’s time line works. Listen to how God links other verses and lessons. Much of the scripture will be in or near the chapters being studied. Previous verses and chapters show how the author led into the lesson. Following verses and chapters show how the lesson was applied. Parallel chapters fill in details people will never find on their own. Comparing time lines from the prophecy and fulfillment always brings a deeper understanding of the lesson. These are simple rules to follow. Looking at the sequence of study it’s easy to see why going back to pray is a fundamental step in the process. One that keeps us humble.

 

Once we enter into prayer we’re shown the elementary elements of the story. These are details we’ve heard and already understand. They are a good starting point for God to begin and gives God the chance to show He is communicating with you. Then God begins to reveal details you never saw before. They become so clear you wonder how you ever missed them. One of the details I was shown in prayer is another illustration of God’s timing.

 

Most of us have heard sermons or read studies where people try to explain Jesus’ three days in the tomb. When we think about those sermons and studies we see how the speaker and author used only human understanding to explain the three day time frame. They use earthly reasoning to explain a spiritual event. Does that make sense? How can worldly wisdom ever explain God’s spiritual lessons? It can’t! It’s impossible to explain spiritual lessons with human reasoning. The only thing human reasoning will ever do is create a new tradition to drive people deeper into a rut.

 

To explain this we can look at other related stories in the Bible. Jesus used a wedding a number of times to teach a lesson. When we receive a wedding invitation it tells us the hours of the reception. It may say, “Reception from 8:00 PM to 12:00 AM.” This is a reception from the aspect of the guest. It is not the full story or time line of the reception. The family preparing the reception begin planning months ahead. Arrangements are made, a location chosen, food and decorations planned. The day before the reception food is prepared and the location decorated. Hours before people are at the location making final preparations. Some people may insist the printed time on the invitation is all that matters. They may argue the printed time, 8:00 PM to 12:00 AM defines the reception. To them that’s the only time that matters. This is nothing less than on opinion based on a selfish attitude of someone who has no part in the preparations. People who argue minute details on Jesus’ three days in the tomb argue the written hours because they have no understanding what God and Jesus went through to make the necessary preparations. Jesus sweat water and blood while praying in the garden before His arrest. He bled water and blood after dying on the cross. God’s spiritual lesson included more than time in a physical tomb because God was there over seeing all the preparations. God wasn’t the only one making preparations for Jesus sacrifice. When we look at the the introduction to Luke 22 and other gospels we clearly see how religious leaders placed Jesus in a tomb long before His trial. The moment Jesus was arrested, He was tried, convicted, and condemned. In the minds of the priests, Jesus was as good as dead when they paid the ransom money.

 

To understand Jesus’ prayer we have to compare the prophecy with the fulfillment and compare similarities. We see a sequence of details repeated by David and Jesus. “I think of the good old days, long since ended, when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now. But then I recall all you have done, O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.” This is one of the rules of Bible Study we have seen taught in scripture, how to identify key thoughts that are repeated and linked by related words. Jesus used different terms, but the same thought. “For the time has come for this prophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among the rebels.’ Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.” Both David and Jesus are referred to prophets as well as personal experiences. This details reveals what was on Jesus’ mind when He prayed.

 

People like to speculate on what Jesus prayed about in the garden before His arrest, but few take time to look back in scripture for the answer. Most teachers try to answer the question with human reasoning trying to impress us with the thought they know what Jesus went through or learned the details in an institution. None of us can say we know what it’s like to be the Son of man and the Son of God. It’s an experience reserved for Jesus alone and not open to speculation. The answer can only be found with repeated prayer and scripture, the same things Jesus relied on for the answers He needed.

 

The first detail good students of the Bible will see is the prophecy Jesus quoted. One of the most important rules of Bible Study is to ALWAYS look at scripture Jesus quoted. In this case a Bible chain reference will quickly take us to Isaiah chapter 53 which in an entire chapter dedicated to Jesus. We will only look at the texts Jesus referred to.

 

Isaiah 53:10-12 NLTse But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands. (11) When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. (12) I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

 

Based on the facts and only facts in God’s written word, we’re shown beyond a shadow of a doubt Jesus knew what was happening and looked to scripture in the garden when He prayed. Jesus knew what was about to happen to Him and the final result. So now we see what did Jesus prayed about. His prayer was an example for us. We can put ourselves in Jesus’ place to look at what He felt from a human stand point. But only a human point of view because that’s all we know.

 

How would you face death if you were in Jesus’ position? We know Jesus knew His hour had come. Does everyone know what time they are going to die? Jesus also knew a lot of His followers would also know the exact time they would be executed. It’s a devious plan by Satan to inflict as much pain and suffering on Jesus’ follower. Knowing the exact moment of execution is one of the tools Satan’s agents have been trained to use. It’s supposed to make them doubt God’s power. This is why Jesus had to suffer the same fate – knowing exactly when and how He was going to die. All of His followers facing the same fate had Jesus as an example to look to. This is also why Jesus explained how to constantly return to and remain in prayer. It’s sad to think how often this lesson and secret died with Jesus’ closest followers who understood each of these details. It’s even sadder to see preachers and teachers giving people one tenth of the answers and claiming they know everything. To think Jesus died for them to. Like Jesus pointed out in Isaiah, “He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.” Preacher how far do you continue to rebel?

 

David shows us how Jesus looked back for strength in His time of need. Jesus went to scripture for strength. This shows how important Bible Study is. How are people who never put in time to learn God’s Word going to make it through a trial when all they have to rely on is a few simple details some told them? Their faith will never develop beyond an elementary level. Where will their trials lead? When they do have trails do they pray to God, listen, go back and pray more? Or do they go to people who tell them simple stories. Are people willing to look for real answers, or are they looking for the simple way out?

 

I’ve heard a few sermons that insisted Jesus was afraid and prayed for a simple way out. They completely misinterpret what Jesus said, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Some people insist Jesus didn’t want to go through with what was about to happen. This may be understandable from a human point of view, but why would the Son of God point His disciples back to Isaiah 53 then insist He didn’t want to do it? In His human form Jesus prayed to elevate the suffering. In His human form Jesus felt the pain of the whip and nails as well as His body felt the bite of cold and exhaustion of heat. Jesus prayed for the same thing He wants to give to His followers, a way to face death without physical pain and torment. But He had to suffer everything Satan threw at Him. This was a major part of the lesson we see in God’s plan of salvation which includes war between Jesus and Satan. Jesus was not afraid to die. He was not afraid of victory. Prophecies showed Jesus what He was about to suffer and when. It took an extra measure of strength to endure the physical suffering. The prophecies prepared Him for everything He was about to face. Previous studies showed how religious leaders plotted to kill Jesus. Those studies explained details showing religious leaders today betray and deny Jesus and God’s Spirit. The introduction of Luke 22 records many of the details on the surface. Comparing those details to David’s prayer in Psalm 77 adds a new layer of understanding.

 

Luke 22:1-6 NLTse The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is also called Passover, was approaching. (2) The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Jesus, but they were afraid of the people’s reaction. (3) Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, (4) and he went to the leading priests and captainsof the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. (5) They were delighted, and they promised to give him money. (6) So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him when the crowds weren’t around.

 

David cried out to God in his introduction. He Shouted and searched for the Lord! Why? Because he was in trouble and needed comfort. When Jesus quoted scripture, He showed us He knew He was in trouble. Jesus knew the leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Him. This shows us another important aspect of prayer, the preparation. Other gospels tells us how Jesus sent Judas out of the room. Jesus knew who would betray Him and when. Jesus learned all of this from prayer and scripture. God’s Spirit revealed all the details to Jesus the same way He will reveal all of those details to you when you pray and study scripture. It wasn’t by accident Jesus was betrayed by one of His disciples. People can know Jesus, they can listen to Him and still not understand. Is there one verse in the Bible showing how and when Judas prayed? Judas had a plan of his own. He didn’t go to Jesus to confirm his plan, instead he went to the religious leaders. We see this process repeated throughout scripture. We saw it when Solomon built his temple. When did Solomon pray? After the temple was build. His prayer is filled with the main theme repeated time and time again when Solomon claims it was, “the house I built for the Lord.” Did Solomon build the house? Did he lift the stones? Did Solomon cut and finish the wood? Did Solomon labor over a hot fire to purify the gold? Did Solomon labor long hours on his hands and knees to lay the gold? Did Solomon face the sting of the whip? No!. Solomon took a census of all foreigners in the land of Israel, like the census his father had taken, and he counted 153,600. He assigned 70,000 of them as common laborers, 80,000 as quarry workers in the hill country, and 3,600 as foremen. (2 Chronicles 2:17-18 NLTse).

 

Solomon followed in his father’s foot steps and went a step further. The gold his father left him wasn’t enough. Solomon added taxes to the people’s burdens while he and his government officials lived in luxury, “All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were solid gold, as were all the utensils in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. They were not made of silver, for silver was considered worthless in Solomon’s day! (1 Kings 10:21 NLTse). Solomon made up his mind to build a stone temple, a house for himself and elaborate houses for his wives while his kingdom squandered in poverty.

 

Solomon’s wives brought more than their idols with them to Israel. His wives brought a tradition called slavery. Each wife he married from different kingdoms brought their own slaves. Solomon mentioned God’s deliverance from Egypt a number of times in his prayer, but did he realize what it meant? No! Solomon took a bad idea from his father, justified it by linking it to tradition and took his own census. This time he counted up people he could enslave. Once Solomon instituted slavery like Israel suffered in Egypt, he reached a point when a clock began ticking. Time was running out on his kingdom.

 

Solomon moved his wife, Pharaoh’s daughter, from the City of David to the new palace he had built for her. Then he constructed the supporting terraces. (1 Kings 9:24 NLTse). Solomon broke God’s commandment by marrying for selfish gain rather than love and the relationship with God marriage represents. Solomon had a conscience but wasn’t wise enough to know how to follow it. He became embarrassed by his marriage to his Egyptian wife, so he moved her out of the city. Solomon was supposed to be the king of peace, but he didn’t trust God or His promises, so Solomon purchased chariots and horsed from Egypt. Another detail God warned about. Did any of this preparation do any good? No! God taught a lesson by returning all the gold and treasure back to Egypt.

 

Pharaoh paid close attention to everything that happened in Israel. Not only did Egypt have a financial stake in Israel, they invested one of their greatest treasures in Israel’s future – Pharaoh’s daughter. When Egypt heard news of Solomon moving their princess out of town, they were enraged. Solomon thought trade with Egypt more than made up for the insult, but he was wrong. Egypt didn’t easily forget how Solomon insulted them. Egypt waited for the right time to exact revenge. When the time was right, God lifted his hand and allowed Egypt to carry out their plans. In the fifth year of King Rehoboam’s reign, King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem. He ransacked the treasuries of the LORD’s Temple and the royal palace; he stole everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made. (1 Kings 14:25-26 NLTse).

 

If Solomon prayed at the right time, he could have seen this coming. All of that could have been avoided, but Solomon had a desire to finish his plans before praying. I see people making this mistake all the time. They have an idea — like some kind of vision where they may see one of the deceptions in this world. Instead of praying on the subject which would have allowed God to lead them to scripture, they say, “don’t need your help God, I can handle this one on my own.” They wind up taking a text here and there claiming it supports their study. Like Solomon taking credit for building the temple, they take credit for every detail of the study. But does it really teach something, or is it something the author thinks the world will agree with and accept? If you disagree with them or try to add a point, they throw on their Pharisee hat – they don’t want anyone to think there is a detail about our Infinite God they don’t know. It’s as if they place their salvation in knowing everything. Come on now – Jesus had to go back three times to get the answers.

 

The leading priests and teachers of religious law couldn’t be told a thing. They plotted to kill Jesus because He told people details they missed. I see the same attitude almost everyday. People’s comments are so shallow and their studies are out of context. They claim Satan is working through a single agency to overthrow the world and anyone who disagrees with their findings is an agent of Satan. People have been mesmerized by their own concepts. They have to learn to cry out, shout and pray to the Lord for answers like David pointed out. With all his efforts, David still made mistakes. It makes me think of what David looked back on and what he learned from it. David repeated the process twice, but did he follow his own advice? It’s a trial we all face.

 

Jesus also knew the trials His disciples were about to face. Jesus knew the suffering they were about to witness would give them the strength they needed in their ministry. Everything Jesus did had a purpose. Some are able to see the reasoning, others cannot. We see some of those details when we compare the summations of these two parallel chapters and learn how and where they branch out.

 

Another illustration showing how important it is to pray in sequence is the sweat and blood. As discussed, the symbols of water and blood were repeated after Jesus died on the cross. To understand this point we need to follow clues found in the summations of these two parallel chapters.

 

Psalms 77:15-20 NLTse By your strong arm, you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. (16) When the Red Sea saw you, O God, its waters looked andtrembled! The sea quaked to its very depths. (17) The clouds poured down rain; the thunder rumbled in the sky. Your arrows of lightning flashed. (18) Your thunder roared from the whirlwind; the lightning lit up the world! The earth trembled and shook. (19) Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters— a pathway no one knew was there! (20) You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.

 

You may be asking yourself why David closed this Psalm by making references to Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea. We can’t find an answer until we follow general Bible Study rules and look back in scripture.

 

Exodus 15:3-13 NLTse The LORD is a warrior; Yahweh is his name! (4) Pharaoh’s chariots and army he has hurled into the sea. The finest of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea. (5) The deep waters gushed over them; they sank to the bottom like a stone. (6) “Your right hand, O LORD, is glorious in power. Your right hand, O LORD, smashes theenemy. (7) In the greatness of your majesty, you overthrow those who rise against you. You unleash your blazing fury; it consumes them like straw. (8) At the blast of your breath, the waters piled up! The surging waters stood straight like a wall; in the heart of the sea the deep waters became hard. (9) “The enemy boasted, ‘I will chase them and catch up with them. I will plunder them and consume them. I will flash my sword; my powerful hand will destroy them.’ (10) But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters. (11) “Who is like you among the gods, O LORD— glorious in holiness, awesome in splendor, performing great wonders? (12) You raised your right hand, and the earth swallowed our enemies. (13) “With your unfailing love you lead the people you have redeemed. In your might, you guide them to your sacred home.

 

We see two things in David’s summation. Key words sea and water pointed us to the event he is referring to. David concentrated in other key words, trembled, quaked, rumbled, and shook. Of course those key words refer to the earth and its elements. They can also direct our attention to previous events and stories following that point in time.

 

Once again God is revealing lessons on how He views time. We have one time line established by the prophecy David wrote. This takes us to Jesus’ time in the garden. This time line shows Jesus knew religious leaders were plotting against Him. Jesus quoted a prophecy which led us to Isaiah 53, another intersecting line in the moment of time in our study. David’s Psalm also led us to scripture about the Red Sea which also crosses the time time we are working on.

 

By His sacrifice, Jesus open a way through the spiritual sea in this world for us to travel to the real Promised Land in Heaven. By pointing us back to Isaiah 53, Jesus shows us how to study and understand scripture. Part of the lesson Jesus is teaching shows how the spiritual sea is parted. Understanding God’s time line is part of that lesson.

 

In God’s time line, when one point in time is shown to cross another point in time, we have to look at previous and following verses, paying particular attention to key words and repeated theme. In this case we see one theme repeated before and before Israel crossed the Red Sea. When we look at the summation of Exodus 15 it shows that theme. Then the people complained and turned against Moses. “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. (Exodus 15:24 NLTse). We see the same theme in the previous chapter. As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the LORD, and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!'” (Exodus 14:10-12 NLTse).

 

Israel complained before and after crossing the Red Sea. It’s an habit they kept repeating. We find it again in the following chapter. Then the whole community of Israel set out from Elim and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai. They arrived there on the fifteenth day of the second month, one month after leaving the land of Egypt. There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron. “If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.” (Exodus 16:1-3 NLTse).

 

One of the details Israel hadn’t learned was how to look back which happens to be one of the most important details in Bible Study. Instead of complaining, they should have prayed and looked back at what God did for them. David reminded us about this. If they would have looked back they would have remembered all the miracles and plagues God used to free them from Egypt. They would have seen how some of the plagues effected Egypt but not Israel. They also would have seen how they were freed without raising a weapon. Even when Egypt pursued Israel thinking they were trapped by the Red Sea, God didn’t raise a hand. He parted the waters with His breath then closed the waters over Egypt’s army. The first plague turned water to blood. The last plague Egypt faced was water crushing the life out of their army. Water and blood flowing from Jesus’ side points us back to physical plagues in Egypt, the physical crossing of the Red Sea and pointed forward to our journey into the promised land. The fulfillment is always greater than the symbols. What does this story have to do with the summation in Luke 22?

 

Luke 22:63-71 NLTse The guards in charge of Jesus began mocking and beating him. (64) They blindfolded him and said, “Prophesy to us! Who hit you that time?” (65) And theyhurled all sorts of terrible insults at him. (66) At daybreak all the elders of the people assembled, including the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. Jesus was led before this high council, (67) and they said, “Tell us, are you the Messiah?” But he replied, “If I tell you, you won’t believe me. (68) And if I ask you a question, you won’t answer. (69) But from now on the Son of Man will be seated in the place of power at God’s right hand.” (70) They all shouted, “So, are you claiming to be the Son of God?” And he replied, “You say that I am.” (71) “Why do we need other witnesses?” they said. “We ourselves heard him say it.”

 

Luke used key words mocking, beating, hit, hurled, and insults which relate to Israel’s complaints. After all God did for Israel, their complaints were like a slap in the face. The religious leaders who arrested and tried Jesus shared the same attitude towards God some of the people who came out of Egypt had. Both had the Son of God in front of them. Israel had a pillar of fire as well as hearing God’s voice from the mountain. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw Jesus teach and heal. Israel had manna from Heaven in addition to flocks of quail. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law heard how Jesus fed thousands.

 

Learning more about God’s timing shows us how His Word is arranged to lead us to texts explaining details few people have seen. As we progress through the prophecies Jesus fulfilled, God builds one lesson upon another using simple illustrations everyone can understand. God’s Spirit shows how He wants us to understand the relationship between these stories and how they open up the spiritual interpretation to us. There’s no reason to take one or two verses from a prophecy then add all kinds of personal ideas, call it a study then insist it is the only true interpretation. How can anyone refer to those types of personal opinions as a Bible Study when they ignore every study rule God placed in His Word? Have people considered – maybe God has not spoken through prophets in such a long time because He’s already placed everything in His Word – it’s just sitting there waiting for someone to find it? God doesn’t need to add any more prophecies, He’s already covered every detail we need to know how we’re going to Heaven and how He will recreate this world. What more do we need to know? Some of us are smart enough to know God also placed the interpretation to every single prophecy in His Word. That’s one of the things we look at to know and use to prove He is God. 

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