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Think On These Things, Issue #005
July 01, 2014

Think On These Things

A Bimonthly E-Zine of Bible Studies With Chris

Table of Contents

Fear God and Keep His Commandments
Not Only In My Presence
Did God Compel David to Sin?

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Fear God and Keep His Commandments

Most will agree that life is about being happy. It is the search for that one thing that gives our life meaning and pleasure, satisfaction and fulfillment. Most go through their lives searching for that one thing and never finding it. On occasion they may discover that which gives them a temporary sense of happiness, but in time it loses its luster and one again finds himself looking.

Solomon was a man who had it all. He had all that man typically seeks after to obtain happiness. He had wealth, family, power, and wisdom. But even with all that he had, he still felt there was something missing. So Solomon embarked on a search to find what makes man happy. At the end of his long and burdensome endeavor this is what he concluded. ECCLESIASTES 12.13,14: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.”

Why ought we to fear God and keep His commandments? There is a day coming in which we are all going to be judged for the things we say and do. Paul warned that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may receive the things dome in the body…” (2 Cor. 5.10).

God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17.31). Everyone will stand in judgment where it will be determined if they have feared God and have kept His commandments. However, while God is a God of judgment, He is also a God of mercy and grace. It is not His desire that we spend eternity in torment. God does not want for anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance (2 Pet. 3.19). Through Ezekiel, God said, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezek. 33.11).

To save man from his sin (defined as breaking God’s commandments 1 John 3.4), God gave forth His Son Jesus who died on the cross. Through the shedding of His blood, the cleansing agent was provided (1 John 1.7). And those who obey the gospel are cleansed of their past sin and can then begin a new spiritual life fearing God and keeping His commandments. Why? Because this is man’s all.

Not Only In My Presence

Perhaps you have heard the expression, “When the cat is away, the mice will play”. How true it is that when the boss leaves the office, or if the teacher leaves the classroom, the employees and students abandon their responsibilities. However, one tends to be more serious and productive in his work when he knows the boss is watching.

Paul did not want the same mentality held by the Christians in Philippi. To them he writes, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;” Paul did not want them being faithful only because he was with them. But also in his absence they were to continue to be diligent.

What do you suppose your attitude would be if Christ were sitting in your home with you or sitting in the drivers seat with you? Would you be more careful with what you say? Would you be more conscious of how you treat others? Would you be more interested in doing good and resisting temptation? Would you spend more time reading the Bible and less time watching television?

The fact is that Christ is sitting next to us. He is in our homes. He is driving to work and school with us. He is looking over our shoulder every moment (Prov. 15.3). Does He approve of the things that you do? Are you doing anything that you would be ashamed to do if you knew He was with you?

Christians always ought to be faithful because the presence of Christ is everywhere.

Did God Compel David to Sin?

2 Samuel 24 contains the record of David numbering Israel against the will of God to which God punished David by sending a severe plague on the land (2 Sam. 24.11ff). The very first verse contains a puzzling statement: 2 SAMUEL 24.1: “Again the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, "Go, number Israel and Judah." Did God compel David to number Israel and sin?

The inspired word is clear that God does not tempt man to sin (James 1.13). However, the Bible is also equally clear that God allows us to be tempted (1 Cor. 10.13). And when God allows one to be tempted and does not intervene or prevent it, the text often gives God the credit for the temptation.

Consider the example of Job. When Satan entered into the presence of God, He accused Job of being faithful only because God protected him (Job 1.9,10). However, Satan suggested that if His protection was removed, Job would curse God to His face. (Job 1.11). At that point God gave Satan permission to strike Job (Job 1.12). Satan struck job taking away his possessions and his family, but “in all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong” (Job 1.22). When Satan approached God again, God reminded him that Job “still holds fast to his integrity although you incited Me against him to destroy him without cause” (Job 2.3). Notice that it was not Satan who was credited for bringing tragedy to Job, but God. Although it was Satan who actually brought these things against Job, it was God who took credit, for He allowed Satan to do so.

How does this concept apply to our text? It was not God who compelled David to sin by numbering Israel. God merely allowed Satan to tempt him. How do we know? The parallel text states in 1 CHRONICLES 21.1: “Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.” It was Satan who tempted David, but because God gave permission, He is given credit.

God does not tempt man to sin, but he allows man to be tempted. The skeptic attempts to discredit the word of God. But when his arguments are examined in light of a careful study of the text, his arguments fall by the wayside.

Interested to learn more about David? Be sure to read...
David: A Man After God's Own Heart
How To Be A Good Friend

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