Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 10, 2016

“Look to the rock from which you were hewn”

Today’s devotion comes from Nehemiah 9:21-31.

21 “Indeed, forty years You provided for them in the wilderness and they were not in want;
Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell.
22 “You also gave them kingdoms and peoples,
And allotted them to them as a boundary.
They took possession of the land of Sihon the king of Heshbon
And the land of Og the king of Bashan.
23 “You made their sons numerous as the stars of heaven,
And You brought them into the land
Which You had told their fathers to enter and possess.
24 “So their sons entered and possessed the land.
And You subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites,
And You gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land,
To do with them as they desired.
25 “They captured fortified cities and a fertile land.
They took possession of houses full of every good thing,
Hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive groves,
Fruit trees in abundance.
So they ate, were filled and grew fat,
And reveled in Your great goodness.

26 “But they became disobedient and rebelled against You,
And cast Your law behind their backs
And killed Your prophets who had admonished them
So that they might return to You,
And they committed great blasphemies.
27 “Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their oppressors who oppressed them,
But when they cried to You in the time of their distress,
You heard from heaven, and according to Your great compassion
You gave them deliverers who delivered them from the hand of their oppressors.
28 “But as soon as they had rest, they did evil again before You;
Therefore You abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they ruled over them.
When they cried again to You, You heard from heaven,
And many times You rescued them according to Your compassion,
29 And admonished them in order to turn them back to Your law.
Yet they acted arrogantly and did not listen to Your commandments but sinned against Your ordinances,
By which if a man observes them he shall live.
And they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck, and would not listen.
30 “However, You bore with them for many years,
And admonished them by Your Spirit through Your prophets,
Yet they would not give ear.
Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.
31 “Nevertheless, in Your great compassion You did not make an end of them or forsake them,
For You are a gracious and compassionate God.”    Nehemiah 9:16-31.

——————

The people of Israel continue their confession of sin in today’s Scripture.

They recognize God’s great goodness to them in verses 21 -25.  But, despite this great goodness, they became disobedient and rebelled against God as they confessed in verses 26-30.

“But Jeshurun (Israel) grew fat and kicked—
You are grown fat, thick, and sleek—
Then he forsook God who made him,
And scorned the Rock of his salvation.”  Deuteronomy 32:15.

God did indeed punish them.  Verses 27-30.  But, they praised God for His great compassion, because He did not make an end of them or forsake them.  Verse 31.

Other doctrine just points to our foolishness and sin and exhorts us to just try harder to obey God.

But, Reformed Doctrine points to God, “the Rock of his salvation”, and exhorts us to believe more in His salvation which is “Unconditional Election” to “Limited Atonement” to “Irresistible Grace” to “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

“1 Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,
Who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were hewn
And to the quarry from which you were dug.
2 “Look to Abraham your father
And to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain;
When he was but one I called him,
Then I blessed him and multiplied him.”
3 Indeed, the Lord will comfort Zion;
He will comfort all her waste places.
And her wilderness He will make like Eden,
And her desert like the garden of the Lord;
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
Thanksgiving and sound of a melody.

4 “Pay attention to Me, O My people,
And give ear to Me, O My nation;
For a law will go forth from Me,
And I will set My justice for a light of the peoples.
5 “My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth,
And My arms will judge the peoples;
The coastlands will wait for Me,
And for My arm they will wait expectantly.
6 “Lift up your eyes to the sky,
Then look to the earth beneath;
For the sky will vanish like smoke,
And the earth will wear out like a garment
And its inhabitants will die in like manner;
But My salvation will be forever,
And My righteousness will not wane.
7 “Listen to Me, you who know righteousness,
A people in whose heart is My law;
Do not fear the reproach of man,
Nor be dismayed at their revilings.
8 “For the moth will eat them like a garment,
And the grub will eat them like wool.
But My righteousness will be forever,
And My salvation to all generations.”  Isaiah 51:1-8.

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