Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | February 6, 2015

Many claim that God is their refuge. But, their actions show that they really trust themselves and their alleged free-will.

Today’s devotion comes from Joshua Chapter 20 which covers the designation of the cities of refuge.

“1 Then the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, 2 “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘Designate the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, 3 that the manslayer who kills any person unintentionally, without premeditation, may flee there, and they shall become your refuge from the avenger of blood.  4 He shall flee to one of these cities, and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city and state his case in the hearing of the elders of that city;  and they shall take him into the city to them and give him a place, so that he may dwell among them.  5 Now if the avenger of blood pursues him, then they shall not deliver the manslayer into his hand, because he struck his neighbor without premeditation and did not hate him beforehand.  6 He shall dwell in that city until he stands before the congregation for judgment, until the death of the one who is high priest in those days.  Then the manslayer shall return to his own city and to his own house, to the city from which he fled.’”

7 So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali and Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah.  8 Beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, they designated Bezer in the wilderness on the plain from the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan from the tribe of Manasseh.  9 These were the appointed cities for all the sons of Israel and for the stranger who sojourns among them, that whoever kills any person unintentionally may flee there, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood until he stands before the congregation.”  Joshua Chapter 20.

——————-

Many claim that God is their refuge.  But, their actions show that they really trust themselves and their alleged free-will. 

The extent to which Reformed Doctrine trusts God as its refuge is the joyful embrace that Reformed Doctrine gives to God’s “Unconditional Election”, the “U” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

Many bristle against that predestination, that “Unconditional Election”.  They want salvation to be in their own hands.  They think that they can be either good enough:  “I am not as bad as my next door neighbor Jimmy.”  Or, they think they can be wise enough to know God and His commandments:  “I live a good moral life;  God certainly loves me.”  Or, they think that their alleged free-will is not hostile to God:  “I can and will at least wave my hand to summon God to save me.”

But, Scripture is clear about man’s “Total Depravity”, the “T” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

Man is dead in sin.  Man is not wounded in sin;  man is dead in sin.  “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”  Ephesians 2:1-3.

And, even if man was not dead in sin, only wounded and drowning, man still would not even use his alleged free-will to at least wave his hand to summon God to save himself.  Man is hostile to God.  “… you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,”  Colossians 1:21.  “because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God;  for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”  Romans 8:7-8.

And, even if man was not dead in sin and not hostile to God, man does not seek God.

10 as it is written,

“There is none righteous, not even one;
11 There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave,
With their tongues they keep deceiving,”
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”;
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood,
16 Destruction and misery are in their paths,
17 And the path of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

The stark contrast between trusting God and trusting man (including himself) is present in the following Scripture.

“5 Thus says the Lord,
“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the Lord.
6 “For he will be like a bush in the desert
And will not see when prosperity comes,
But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness,
A land of salt without inhabitant.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.”  Jeremiah 17:5-8.

“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.  Selah.”  Psalm 46:10-11.

“For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;  but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.  But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 1:26-31.

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