Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


2 Comments

The Man in the Gap

The Man in the Gap - Acrylic on canvas

The Man in the Gap – Acrylic on canvas

Who can find a man to stand in the gap?

 

Where is he today?

 

He is hidden

He is not seen

He is behind the veil

Of what is seen with the natural eye

 

A hidden work

A secret mission

 

Not on stages

Not applauded

No recognition

No fame

 

Nothing

From this world

Is his

 

But him and Christ

Together

Behind the veil

One

 

That is his work

That is his joy

That is his life

 

May we be willing to join with Jesus and lay down our lives for the work of intercession!

God bless,

Belinda

Advertisements


6 Comments

Jesus and the Golden Lampstand

TabernacleLeaving the Outer Court of the Tabernacle of Moses, we now enter the Holy Place, the place of fellowship with God.

 

The contrast between the Holy Place and the Outer Court is immediately apparent.

 

The Outer Court The Holy Place
The Outer Court is outside, lit by the daylight. The Holy Place is enclosed, lit only by the Golden Lampstand

 

The furniture is made of acacia wood overlaid with bronze The Holy Place’s furniture is made of gold or acacia wood overlaid with gold

 

The Israelites were free to bring offerings here Only the priests were allowed to enter the Holy Place to minister to God and for fellowship with Him.

 

hpThe Holy Place

Imagine stepping from the daylight, through the heavy door and into the Holy Place. Here there was no daylight, only the light from the beautiful golden candlestick to your left casting a soft glow over the Golden Altar in front of you and the Table of Showbread to your right.

It takes a moment for your eyes to adjust but when they do, you see that it is positively luminous within the Holy Place. Everything is shimmering gold, reflecting the light of the candlestick. In fact the wood-panelled walls are overlaid with gold and so the whole room seems to glow in the soft, golden light.

The Golden Lampstand

The Golden Lampstand was made from solid gold. It was not cast in a mould, neither was it made from acacia wood overlaid with gold. It was hammered from one piece of pure gold. The only other piece of furniture in the Tabernacle of Moses that was made of pure gold was the Mercy Seat with Cherubim, which was in the Most Holy Place.

“You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, lampstandits branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece….It shall be made of a talent of pure gold” Exodus 25:31, 39

 

The Beauty of the Lampstand

The Lampstand had a main shaft with six branches protruding out of it, three on each side. At the top of each branch was a small gold bowl in the shape of almond blossoms which held the olive oil for burning. So in total there were seven branches and seven bowls. Each branch had ornamental knobs and flowers hammered into it.

And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side.  Three bowls shall be made like almond blossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower—and so for the six branches that come out of the lampstand.  On the lampstand itself four bowls shall be made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower.  And there shall be a knob under the first two branches of the same, a knob under the second two branches of the same, and a knob under the third two branches of the same, according to the six branches that extend from the lampstand.  Their knobs and their branches shall be of one piece; all of it shall be one hammered piece of pure gold.  You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it. And its wick-trimmers and their trays shall be of pure gold.  It shall be made of a talent of pure gold, with all these utensils.”

What a stunning piece of artwork! God certainly doesn’t do anything by halves, He is the ultimate artisan. And He is still creating beautiful artworks today in His church, ie, you and me.

Of course, not only was this lampstand beautiful, but it also shows forth significant truths.

 

How the Materials of the Lampstand Point to Christ

As we have seen from our previous studies, every single item contained within the Tabernacle had a purpose and a divine pattern. God uses the Tabernacle to reveal His precious Son; and the Golden Lampstand’s purpose is no different.

Gold: always points to deity/divinity. This shows us the divinity of Christ. The Lampstand was made of one piece of gold and hammered into shape.

Hammered: the hammering of the gold points to the sufferings of Christ

Seven: is the number of divine perfection/completion. It is the number given to the Holy Spirit, ie. “The seven spirits of God” (Rev 1:4; Rev 4:5, Isaiah 11:2-3) whom Jesus has, “He who has the seven Spirits of God…” Revelation 3:1

Almond blossom: were hammered into shape on the branches of the lampstand. The significance of the almond is also pictured in the story of the blossoming of Aaron’s rod in Numbers 17.

 

The Significance of the Almond Blossomalmond blossom

Moses’ brother Aaron was the High Priest of Israel. This was a position to which God Himself called Aaron. When others rebelled and contested Aaron’s High Priestly role, God commanded Moses to :

“Speak to the children of Israel, and get from them a rod from each father’s house, all their leaders according to their fathers’ houses—twelve rods. Write each man’s name on his rod. And you shall write Aaron’s name on the rod of Levi. For there shall be one rod for the head of each father’s house.  Then you shall place them in the tabernacle of meeting before the Testimony, where I meet with you. And it shall be that the rod of the man whom I choose will blossom” Numbers 17:1-5

The next day it was Aaron’s rod that had “sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds.” Numbers 17:8

The miracle of a long dead piece of wooden rod sprouting new life was God’s confirmation to all of Israel that Aaron was the man he had endorsed to be in the High Priestly role.

But this miracle pointed to something even more significant.

Aaron as High Priest of the Old Covenant foreshadows Christ as our great High Priest now in the New Covenant:

“…We have such a high Priest who is seated at the right had of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected and not man.” Hebrews 8:1,2

Jesus is the Man whom God has ordained to be His Great High Priest. And God’s approval of Aaron’s High Priestly role foreshadows His endorsement of Christ’s High Priestly role. That is, through the resurrection.

You see, the almond tree was the first to blossom in Israel after the cold, winter months. The first tree to bring forth life from death. So Aaron’s dead rod physically brought forth life from death to show God’s approval of him. And of course, the anti-type is God raising Christ physically from the dead after His sufferings, being God’s ultimate seal of approval.

jesus tombThe Golden Lampstand’s branches have almond blossoms beaten into their golden shape to show forth Christ’s resurrection from the dead after His sufferings.

 

Next ….

  • more on how the Lampstand points to Jesus; and
  • The Lampstand also as a picture of the Holy Spirit

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Our Kinsman-Redeemer

From the blog   http://www.abideinchrist.com/messages/lev25v25.html

The “nearest kinsman” or “kinsman redeemer” is a “Goel”. The word means to redeem, receive or buy back.

What is a Kinsman-Redeemer?

The Lion of the Tribe of Judah

The Lion of the Tribe of Judah

Provision was made in the Law of Moses for the poor person who was forced to sell part of his property or himself into slavery. His nearest of kin could step in and “buy back” what his relative was forced to sell (Leviticus 25:48f). The kinsman redeemer was a rich benefactor, or person who frees the debtor by paying the ransom price. “If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold” (Leviticus 25:25; cf. Ruth 4:4, 6).

The nearest of kin had the responsibility of redeeming his kinsman’s lost opportunities. If a person was forced into slavery, his redeemer purchased his freedom. When debt threatened to overwhelm him, the kinsman stepped in to redeem his homestead and let the family live. If a family member died without an heir the kinsman gave his name by marrying the widow and rearing a son to hand down his name (Deuteronomy 25:5; Genesis 38:8; Ruth 3-4). When death came at the hands of another man the redeemer acted as the avenger of blood and pursued the killer (Numbers 35:12-34; Deuteronomy 19:1-3).

“Goel” was used of things consecrated to God (Leviticus 27:13“31), of God as redeeming man (Exodus 6:6; Isaiah 43:1; 44:22; 48:20; 49:7), and those redeemed by God (Isaiah 35:9; 51:10; Job 19:25). The right of redemption and the office belonged to the nearest kinsman, or “near of kin, near relative” (Leviticus 25:25; Ruth 3:12; 4:1, 6, 8, etc.). Yahweh is the great Kinsman of His people. When their liberty was lost in Egypt, He rescued them from bondage. “I am the LORD . . . I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments” (Exodus 6:6).

 

“Goel” in the Bible

The ancient patriarch Job complained that no one came to redeem him! His faith is seen reaching out and proclaiming that Yahweh will provide His Goel! “As for me, I know that my redeemer (kinsman) lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth” (Job 19:25). Job’s hope looked to the coming Messiah. He affirmed his faith that his redeemer will come to the earth.

One of the most beautiful passages where the word Goel is found is in the life of Naomi in the book of Ruth. The book of Ruth is a story about Naomi’s Goel. Naomi was the poorest person in Israel, but her kinsman was the richest man in Israel. Because of the death of her husband and two sons, she and her daughter-in-laws lost all income and their homestead. Naomi was living in a foreign land and sensed the loss of her homeland and relatives. She became bitter. The secret of all her daughter-in-law Ruth had was in union with Boaz. The nearer kinsman had the first right to the property and Boaz came next after him. If Ruth’s closer relative would not redeem or purchase it, Boaz was prepared to do so. The man who was nearest of kin agreed to redeem the piece of land until he found out there was a young widow involved. He graciously backed out! That left Boaz as the rightful nearest of kin who had the privilege of redeeming her land and her with it. The Moabitess and the Jew became one. Boaz was nearest of kin to her deceased husband (Ruth 2:1). He was able to redeem by paying the price of redemption (2:1), and he was willing to redeem the land (4:4). That is what makes this epic so beautiful.

Four things were required in order for a kinsman to redeem:

  1. He must be near of kin. (Leviticus 25:48; 25:25 Ruth 3:12-13)
  2. He must be able to redeem (Ruth 4:4-“6). He must be free of any calamity or need of redemption himself.
  3. He must be willing to redeem (Ruth 4:6ff)
  4. Redemption was completed when the price was completely paid (Leviticus 25:27; Ruth 4:7-11).

Jesus Christ is my Goel.

  1. Jesus is my nearest kinsman through the incarnation.”For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3). He was like us in every way except that He never experienced sin. “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). In order to identify Himself with us He “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7). “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). “Jesus you are my kinsman redeemer. You had the right to redeem me.” Thank God, He has the right to redeem all that I have lost.

2.  Jesus has the power to redeem me. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). He assumed our debt and paid it with His life. Cf. Hebrews 1:2-3).
3. Jesus is willing to redeem me. Jesus Christ “gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14; cf. 1 John 1:7; 2:2; Hebrews 10:12; 4:16; 2:17). Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Jesus is referring to His voluntary, sacrificial, vicarious, and obedient payment to effect the release of slaves or captives from bondage. “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father” (John 10:17-18).

4. Jesus has paid the price in full and I have received my redemption. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

The invitation is still open. Jesus is the sinner’s nearest kinsman. It is our responsibility to lie at the feel of our Goel, and say, “Cover me with your blood and grace” (cf. Ruth 3:9). “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). “I have believed,” is in the perfect tense in the Greek text. Paul is saying, “I have believed and my faith is a firmly settled conviction.” God is keeping guard over him. “Persuaded” is also in perfect tense, therefore Paul had come to a settled persuasion regarding the matter and was fixed in an permanent position. You could not move him. There are some things of which I am absolutely sure.
Our redemption is precious. Our salvation has been purchased at a great and personal cost because the Lord Jesus gave Himself for our sins in order to deliver us from them. Our forgiveness is based on the ransom price of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us” (Ephesians 1:7). The redemption work of Jesus Christ delivers believers from the slavery to sin. The means of redemption is the substitutionary death of Christ as a sacrifice for our sin. It is “through His blood” which is the ransom payment (cf. Eph. 2:13; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Only the death of Christ completely satisfied God’s justice (Rom. 3:24-25).

Go back to ancient Israel in the time of the Judges. Can’t you see Naomi holding her grandson in her arms? Her neighbors said, “A son has been born to Naomi!” They named him Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of King David (4:17), of the lineage of the Messiah, Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5). God had redeemed her.

The words of Naomi’s friends are a fitting reminder of God’s grace in our lives. “Blessed is the LORD who has not left you without a redeemer (or closest relative) today, and may his name become famous in Israel” (Ruth 4:14).


Leave a comment

The Prodigals are Now Returning

“Seven times seven and the prodigals return home”prodigal son

This is what the Lord put in my spirit two weeks ago during a 7 day fast.

I asked the Lord what He meant.

He said 7 x 7 years = 49, the 50th year is the Jubilee.

We know that since Christ died about 2000 years ago, each year has been a Jubilee year in the spiritual sense. Captives have been set free every year since then. He paid the debt at Calvary for our sins and “…wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:14).

But as well as in the spiritual sense, 2016 is an actual physical Jubilee year.

God had said to the Israelites “Six years you shall sow your field and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruits, but in the seventh year that shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard.” Leviticus 25:3,4

The seventh year was a year of rest for the land. And the Jubilee came at the end of 7 x 7 years, in the 50th year.

“And you shall count seven Sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven Sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years. Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for your and each of you shall return to his possession and each of you shall return to this family. That fiftieth year shall be a Jubilee to you.” Leviticus 25:10-11 (emphasis mine)

The Year of Jubilee was the year when all the captives were set free and each returned to his family. Israelites whom had gone into slavery because of debt, were released. Israelites whom had lost their inherited land through debt received their land again in restoration.

The Year of Jubilee is a year of restoration. A Year when captives are set free, when each person returns to his family. A year of the prodigals returning.

watercolour, pencil, conte on board

watercolour, pencil, conte on board

The Holy Spirit then spoke to me clearly and definitely: “Go after them. Go after them

Blow the Trumpet in Zion conte crayons, pencil

Blow the Trumpet in Zion
conte crayons, pencil

Twice He said to go after them. Just as David went after his family when the enemy, the Amalekites had stolen them.   Just as he pursued his enemies and overtook them, neither did he turn back again till they were destroyed (see Psalm 18:37), so we must too go after our loved ones. We must too pursue the enemy, bind the strong man of rebellion whom is holding our family captive and in the Name of Jesus, set them free!

It is significant that the Jubilee was proclaimed on the Day of Atonement when the trumpet sounded. The Day of Atonement was a day once a year when the Israelites’ national sin was purged. Although the Day of Atonement is yet to be fulfilled for Israel as a nation, Jesus Christ has fulfilled the Day of Atonement with his atoning death at the cross for every individual who will come to Him in repentance and faith.

Through the atoning death of our Saviour Jesus Christ there is still mercy available. Let us no longer look at our family and friends and think they’ve gone too far now to ever turn back. Let us not play their sins and failures over and again in our minds. Let us instead be as David, and as the Son of David and pursue them in faith.

Jesus came all the way from heaven to earth to seek and save that one lost sheep. (Luke 15) He seeks after that which is lost. Just as that woman kept sweeping her house until she found that one last, lost silver coin, (remember that silver = redemption in God’s Word), so we must too not give up hope for our children, our grandchildren, our parents our friend. So we must in the power of the Holy Spirit, go after our loved ones in prayer, in fasting, in spiritual warfare until we catch that first glimpse of them on the horizon, turning their backs on their sin and filth and returning to their Father’s house.

prodigal son2And one last thing… as our prodigals return home, as we see them coming, let us prepare our hearts to receive them.

Let us not be as the elder brother. Let us not remind them of how they’ve sinned against us and let us down. Let us not keep reminding them of their sin, but instead let us be as the Father, full of love and compassion, full of rejoicing that they’ve returned. Let them repent. Let them come.

This must sound self-evident, but consider for a moment. What if that one person who has hurt you the most, the one who has betrayed you, let you down over and again, what if that one came back to you? How would you respond? God forbid that just as our prodigals take that first tentative step to return we should chase them away with the rod of bitterness or unforgiveness or anger.

So:

  • List your prodigals, even the ones you’ve given up on
  • Ask God for scriptures to pray for each one
  • Go after them in the power of the Spirit
  • Prepare your heart to receive them when they return

In the love of Christ,

Belinda

 

 

 


7 Comments

God is a God of Encouragement

I didn’t want to go street preaching today. I actually couldn’t think of

IMG_4760

Property of graceandtruth.me watercolour, pencil, conte on board

anything less I’d rather do. I felt so oppressed, almost like I had been drugged. I had to go though, if only to show Metro-man that he hadn’t won and pushed us out of the area by calling the police on us last time. I wondered though if this may be the last time I went in.

This is how my brain was working this morning. Oh God, I’m going strictly in obedience to You and the vision You gave me. Please give me some encouragement. I can’t do it without You.

….I can never do it without You….

My friends, I am here to tell you that God is a God of encouragement. He knows when we need it.

My tactic when I get into the city (after prayer together) is always to immediately begin to preach. This is because if I wait and consider the people I will be preaching to, there is a danger I will chicken out altogether.

So I preached the gospel. The full gospel.   And the oppression I’d felt all morning was immediately broken.

God one by one sent other Christians to us to encourage us. One guy was a homeless man called Tony who lives by faith. I tell you what this guy was full of the Holy Spirit and knew the Bible inside out. He said this morning he prayed that he could somehow preach the gospel.

There’s the microphone, I said.

Tony preached. He shared that he was a former drug addict and murderer (of the heart) but Jesus had found him and pulled him out. It was amazing.

Another young guy with a guitar came and encouraged us. He is also a street-preacher/singer.

Then another guy came over to us. He was a vision impaired man in a scooter who sings gospel songs on the bridge. He said that nobody preaches the whole counsel of God anymore and was encouraged himself that we were actually preaching repentance from sin, hell, God’s coming judgment as well as the gospel of Christ and the love of God.

Well then he got on the microphone and preached too. Then off he went and came back and blessed us with McDonalds for lunch for all of us.

God certainly provides for His children.

God used a homeless man, a blind man and a young man to bless and encourage us today. And I believe that they in turn were also blessed. God is good God. So very, very good. We must always remember that. He is faithful, ever faithful and He always, always, always honours the preaching of His Word.

Needless to say, that is NOT the last time I will be going to the streets. I am back baby.

The lines from this old Christmas carol was the theme God gave me to preach on today:

“Hark the Herald Angels sing,

‘Glory to the newborn King!’

Peace on earth and mercy mild

God and sinner reconciled

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20