Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 13, 2015

The “earthly preservations” (that we receive) point us toward “Preservation of the Saints”

Today’s devotion comes from Deuteronomy Chapter 34.

“1 Now Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho.  And the Lord showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, 2 and all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, 3 and the Negev and the plain in the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar.  4 Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’;  I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.”  5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.  6 And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows his burial place to this day.  7 Although Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated.  8 So the sons of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days;  then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses came to an end.

9 Now Joshua the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him;  and the sons of Israel listened to him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.  10 Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 11 for all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, all his servants, and all his land, 12 and for all the mighty power and for all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.”  Deuteronomy Chapter 34.


Today’s Scripture reminds us of “Preservation of the Saints” also known as “Perseverance of the Saints”, the “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.  The following is a summary of this Reformed Doctrine that teaches that God preserves His elect to salvation.

Article 3.   By reason of these remains of indwelling sin, and the temptations of sin and of the world, those who are converted could not persevere in a state of grace, if left to their own strength.   But God is faithful, who having conferred grace, mercifully confirms, and powerfully preserves them herein, even to the end.  FIFTH HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Perseverance of the Saints of Canons of Dordt.

In today’s Scripture, we read:  “Although Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated.”  Verse 7.  God also protected Moses over those 120 years through all the dangers in Egypt from when his parents put him as a baby in a basket to float on the Nile to avoid the king’s decree until much later he escaped from the slavery of Egypt with the rest of Israel.  God also protected Moses through all the dangers of the 40 years in the wilderness and through all the other dangers, trials, and tribulations.  Although “Preservation of the Saints” is a spiritual blessing of salvation, God does provide earthly blessings, such as we read today, to remind us of this spiritual blessing.

Now, we certainly know that God does not give everyone 120 years of life, nor such superb health until death.  We all do not have the same earthly “preservations”.  Nevertheless, we can and should appreciate those earthly “preservations” that we do receive and not only accept them on face value as good health, nor worse, just that we earned them on the basis of our works alone of discipline in diet, exercise, and good living.  We can and should think of the earthly “preservations” that we receive as indications of something better that God has in store for us, namely spiritual “preservation”.  Moreover, we should receive these earthly “preservations” as gifts from God.  “For who regards you as superior?  What do you have that you did not receive?  And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”  1 Corinthians 4:7.

I may not have Moses’ good eyesight.  But, the LORD has blessed me with brown hair that has retained its color when most people my age have gray hair.

I hike the Grand Canyon with 7 other high school classmates every 3 years.  I may not be the athlete that some of these friends are.  But, the LORD has blessed me with vigor, a desire to go with them and hike, even though I may not hike as well as some of them.

The purpose of this is not to focus on me, but to stimulate your thoughts to meditate on what earthly “preservations” God has given you, so that you will not only be thankful and praise God for them, but so more importantly, you will also think of the more important spiritual “preservation” that God gives you.

Some of you have been blessed with a youthful spirit.

Some of you laugh so easily and deeply.

Some of you do more volunteer work than many much younger than you.

Some of you love to babysit your grandchildren or take care of the babies of your church.

Some of you have such a sharp mind.

Some of you have survived great physical dangers such as wars, accidents, cancer etc.

God has given life (a/k/a earthly preservations) to your mortal bodies.  “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”  Romans 8:11.

“How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!”  Psalm 31:19.

All of these earthly preservations (that we receive) point us to the spiritual preservation summarized in “Preservation of the Saints”.


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