What happens next in the story of the Moabites and the Israelites speaks volumes of both groups of people.
Subversion has always been and is today a common strategy used to overthrow an enemy. Identify the weaknesses of your enemy and use that to weaken their positions of strength. Weaken the walls. Play to the things they want to keep hidden and secret.
For the Israelites, that weakness was a temptation of the pervisions offered by the Moabite women. They quit thinking with their heads and began bowing down to the gods of Baal.
Their aversion (turning away from the correct path) and reversion (inability to maintain a higher state), resulted in dire sin and the wrath of a just God.
God had prepared this generation their entire lives to enter the promised land. A people set apart, fed, clothed, cared for day and night. Their enemies fell down in terror before them. They enjoyed freedom to grow and multiply and look forward to the great gift and reward to come. And, they were willing to sacrifice all of that for food and carnal lust.
But think about what that also says about the Moabites. Balaam counsels them on the Israelite weakness, but the Moabites are the ones who willingly pimp out their mothers, wives and daughters for military gain. Who does that? Most societies protect women and children, not send them out to sleep with the enemy.
God could not allow this. In every way it was wrong, destructive and undermined the very nature of a holy people. Found guilty by multiple witnesses and by the judgment of God, a sentence of death was imposed by God and a plague began.
Sexual immorality with Moabite women, invited them to sacrifice to their gods, yoked themselves with Baal
To reject God
Chose to delay worship rather than putting God at the beginning of every day. I also chose to trust in him for housing and care of mom/uncle : missed blessing of daily walk, frustration, trust and peace in things I have turned over to Him
God said to – it is always wise to be obedient. God also was teaching them through this, the consequences of yoking themselves to the heathen people and their gods
I think it is important to understand that the woes in Matthew 23 are not curses, they are warnings, very serious warnings with very serious consequences, but not a sentence to be served. (see Isaiah 6:4-7, Woe reversed power of God)
None of this was new. For example, at the center of the woes, in verse 23, the warning addresses tithing on spices but not giving justice, mercy and faithfulness. Turn back to Micah 6:8, “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Jesus began this warning with the parable of the tenants and the wedding banquet. Flip back to Matt 21:45, “When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them.” Matt 21:43, “the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.”
The wedding feast is starting. Christ is being married to His church, the body of believers and the religious leaders will not see Him again until He returns as the righteous husband returning to redeem His bride. On that day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Philippians 2:8-11)
13. shut the door to the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces – open
14. devour widow’s houses and make lengthy prayers for show – care for widow’s pray quietly
15 travel over land and sea to win convert, then make them 2x more child of hell – be missionaries, but feed and nourish them in the scriptures
16 value gold over temple, altar, God – value God above all else, Don’t swear
23 tithe spices, but don’t give justice, mercy and faithfulness, strain out a gnat, swallow camel – Put Jesus First, love with all heart, soul, mind, strength
25 clean outside of cup but inside full of greed and self-indulgence – repent and ask for a clean heart and for God to renew a right spirit within
27 place selves above ancestors – not killed prophets – go ahead, finish what your ancestors started – Accept the prophets and the one they prophesied
Jewish leaders = vipers, Sending = disciples, apostles
They rejected the prophets, the scriptures and Jesus – His blood will be on their heads
We are given free choice. If we choose to reject Jesus, He honors that decision, even though it means separation from Him until judgment day and then for eternity
There will come a day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. God has kept the door open until the final measure of believers has come to Christ
1. Measure for Measure: This reminded me of the days of the gold rush. Miners would pan for gold and, hopefully, find nuggets. They would then bring these in to town where someone would purchase them., The price was based on weight and the purchaser of the nuggets owned the scale. It was often a simple balance and they used counter weights to determine the weight of an ounce of gold. If their counter weight was a bit heavy, say 1.5 ounce or 2 ounces instead of 1 ounce, then when they put the gold on the other end of the scale, they would get that much extra for the price they paid. But Jesus explains that this manipulation is all for nothing, because the same set of weights, the measure, they use for others will be the same set of weights used to evaluate their worth. In this situation the only thing that makes sense for fairness to abound is to use weights that are true and accurate. The only source of that measure that is true is the Word of God.
2. I just finished reading a book called Allegiant, and one of the lines in the book really stuck in my mind in regard to our lesson this week. “Everyone has some evil (sin/fault) inside of them and the first step to loving anyone else is to recognize the same evil (sin/fault) in ourselves, so we are able to forgive them.” We have spent 4 weeks on the Sermon on the Mount and it is easy sometimes to compartmentalize the lesson of three weeks ago and this week, but they are all the same sermon. In Matt 5, Jesus explained this principle in the extreme. You may not have murdered someone else, but have you been angry or thought of another as being a fool? If so, it is the same thing, the same sin, the same evil, with the same just punishment (the fires of hell 5:22). To minister, to love, to forgive another; we cannot do it from a position of superiority because that is a lie. You cannot speak truth and lie at the same time. It starts by seeing our own need for forgiveness.
3. Pearls to Swine: When thinking of unbelievers we often think of the Gospel as mad tasting medicine. They don’t want it but it is good for them and they really should take it. We know what is best for them. Take your medicine and be grateful. But, we forget or neglect the tremendous value and worth of the Word of God. It is not something to be pushed on other people. Would you force another against their will to take gold from you? Would you force them to eat from an amazing banquet of the finest food? Of course not. You would recognize that as ridiculous. You may invite them, offer, encourage, teach, prepare them for the gift, but if they don’t choose to take your gold, you wouldn’t force them. But how much more valuable and precious is the gift of the Holy Spirit than gold or silver. How much more nourishing is the Word of God than earthly food. When we treat it as bad tasting medicine, we dishonor its true worth and value.
To put yourself in the position of being over another person, particularly a fellow believer, for the purpose of demeaning or disparaging them. i.e., don’t have a “holier than thou” attitude
same way judge others will be judged, measure for measure. Focus on the plank in your own eye over the speck of sawdust in another (judge yourself first and foremost and right the situation). Do not give dogs what is sacred, don’t throw pearls to swine
forgive and you will be forgiven, give and it will be given to you (blessing of measure). Can the blind lead the blind, will they not both fall into a pit, Student is not above the teacher, but everyone fully trained will be like their teacher
Matt: brother or sister within the church, but as a brother/sister, a confidant, friend
Gal 1: Preachers (people or angels) – that they stay true to the word of God
Gal 6:Someone who has been caught in a sin. Also, yourself (test your own actions)
2 John: Deceivers, antichrist, false teachers
Take the glaring sin out of your own life first ( hidden can be glaring). Point out their sin to them with compassion and nurturing. If ignore, join with 1-2 in the body privately to intervene, expand to church, remove from fellowship.
Each of us is given our own free will and choice. No one can force or coerce another into accepting the gift of salvation or force them to truly repent. They must choose. If they fail to choose or choose the wrong path, leave them be (although you can continue to pray for them). “Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.” Prov 23:9