Monday, January 3, 2022

A Foundation of Grace: Moses, Joshua, and Jesus

Photo courtesy of Travis Longmore at Lighstock



Here's something interesting to think about. When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, they were led by Joshua. Moses was not allowed to go. Why was that? I think sometimes we think God was harsh for not allowing Moses to go in, since he had led them that whole way. But I think there is a bigger picture here.

Joshua is a type of Christ. In Hebrew his name is "Yehoshua," which means, "the Lord is salvation." He led the Israelites into the Promised Land. It was a land of great blessings for them, that they did not work for.

To me this sounds like Jesus. Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, and also means "the Lord is salvation" or "Yahweh saves."

Jesus leads us into our Promised Land, which is life in Christ. It is a land flowing with milk and honey, a land we didn’t work for, full of the richest blessings that Jesus paid for with his life.

So, again, why couldn’t Moses go into the Promised Land with the Israelites? If you remember, once during the Gospels Jesus took Peter, James, and John up onto a high mountain. Elijah and Moses appeared and started talking with Jesus. Moses is a picture of the law, and Elijah is a picture of the prophets.

While they were talking, this happened:

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If You wish, I will put up three shelters— one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. While Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”…Matthew 17:4-5 (BSB)

The reason Moses couldn’t go into the Promised Land is because the law cannot go in with you to your Promised Land in Christ. Moses was a picture of the law, even in the Old Testament account. Joshua, a type of Jesus led the Israelites in, just as Jesus leads us as Believers into our Promised Land.

Romans 6:14 says,

For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (NKJV)

Isn’t it beautiful that God put this picture for us in this Old Testament account of us going into the Promised Land without the law?


To read more in the series, please join me here, at A Foundation of Grace.




Friday, December 17, 2021

Five Minute Friday: Announce









Today I am participating in
 Five Minute Friday, where a group of writers get together and free write about a one word prompt for 5 minutes. Today's word is "announce."

And there were shepherds residing in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night. Just then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! For behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord! And this will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a great multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace to men

on whom His favor rests!”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the Baby, who was lying in the manger. After they had seen the Child, they spread the message they had received about Him. And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, which was just as the angel had told them.
-Luke 2:8-20



This was a great announcement, the greatest announcement that has ever been issued in the earth!

For behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord!

He’s here! He’s finally here! And the angels announced it to the shepherds that were out in the field. This begs the question: why?

Yesterday I was looking at this wonderful book I have, A Visual Guide to Gospel Events. In the commentary on the shepherds in Luke 2, it said that “typical sheep and goats grazed during the day and were brought into sheepfolds for the night.” They indicated that these shepherds to whom the message was proclaimed were no ordinary shepherds. For them to stay with the sheep and guard them round the clock might have meant that they were Temple shepherds and those were sheep that would be used for sacrifice.

This would be a satisfactory explanation to why God would have angels announce the birth of Jesus to shepherds, wouldn’t it?

That would be so remarkable in itself, but I want to take this a little further. I noticed something else about this passage yesterday when I was studying. It says the shepherds “hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the Baby who was lying in a manger.”

The shepherds just leave the sheep! It doesn’t seem like they took the sheep with them. The Scripture says  they “hurried.” I don’t really know a lot about sheep, and I would have to research it, but it doesn’t seem to me that sheep are the type of animals to hurry.

Throughout the Gospels there are so many pictures of the grace of God, and the transition that was taking place between law and grace. I think that in this story, we find one of those pictures.

Those shepherds were keeping sheep. Sheep were used as temple sacrifices. Jesus is called by John the Baptist, “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29) The shepherds left the sheep and the old covenant way of life, to look for Jesus, who brought “grace and truth.”

Just like the angel announced to them, it was “good news of great joy for all the people.”

I pray this Christmas is full of great joy for you and your experience is the same as the shepherds, wonder at the birth of Jesus!

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Angels




There was so much angelic activity surrounding the birth of Jesus! Luke tells us about the angel Gabriel coming to visit Zechariah about the birth of John, and then Mary about the birth of Jesus. Matthew tells us about the angel of the Lord visiting Joseph in a dream to confirm that Mary is going to give birth to a baby conceived by the Holy Spirit, and he is to give him the name Jesus. When Jesus is born, an angel of the Lord appears to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus. And then a group of angels appears with that angel to announce praise and another message about what the birth of Jesus would bring.

Angels appear again and again throughout the Gospels and the book of Acts.

Hebrews 1:14 says, 

Are not the angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

Hebrews 13:2 says, 

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

What are some other verses that mention angels?

Do you think you have you ever seen an angel? Do you know someone who has?

Five Minute Friday: Behold

 



Today I am participating in Five Minute Friday, where a group of writers get together and free write about a one word prompt for 5 minutes. Today's word is "behold."


Behold what love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God--and we are!-1 John 3:1

Behold! When I looked it up in the Greek, it means “to see, perceive, attend to.”

Recently, someone hurt my feelings. I am not sure if they meant what they said the way I took it. It’s hard to communicate appropriately through technology. But still, I was bothered by it. I could still sense the tone, and it seemed short and curt.

A few years ago, this would have completely wrecked me for a while. I am still a little upset, but I will be okay. Why? I think it’s truly because of the verse above.

I am a child of God. I put my faith in that, not in other people’s opinions of me. I love people and want them to think the best of me, but ultimately, when it comes down to it, they don’t direct my life. Their thoughts of me don’t direct my life. God does.

If people knock me down with their words, so to speak, or attitudes toward me, I just get back up, and move forward knowing whose I am, and what I am called to do.

I am a child of God. And with that comes many privileges. Jesus purchased me with his blood, which means I am of great value to Him. And he has given me authority to act and speak in His name.

Behold. Today, child of God, behold your ancestry. Know to whom you belong, and you can smile and move forward because you are loved by the King of Kings.