The apostle Paul was writing to a company of believers in Corinth, and he wanted them to understand more fully something of the greatness of the gospel. And so he gives them here the essence of it.
I thought it might encourage our hearts this afternoon to take account of the work of God. And start here in Numbers with this wonderful statement, “At this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!”
Of course, literally, it was applying to the end of the wilderness journey. They had come to the end of it, and God had been with them in all the way, despite all the failure and difficulties that had come in, And, as Nehemiah tells us, their footwear was not worn out and their clothes were fresh (Nehemiah
There are times when all of us are particularly aware of the weakness that marks us in our Christian pathway: weakness in our faith, weakness in our understanding, weakness in our localities, and in many other ways. There are many ways in which that is brought home to us, and that is what led me to these three Scriptures.
John the Baptist was marked by weakness of faith; suddenly his faith wobbled. Sometimes that happens to us. Then in John 6 we have Philip overwhelmed by the need that he was faced with. Finally, we see the apostle Paul at his first defence, finding that all his companions left him, and in that situation he could only rely upon the Lord. I trust, as we consider these three passages, we may be encouraged ourselves, as seeing how the Lord strengthens people and brings in help and blessing.
In Matthew 11 we see that John the Baptist is in prison. He had spoken against Herod’s improper marriage, and as a result he was imprisoned, and in the prison, reports were reaching him of what the Lord was doing, blessing and healing, and so on. Perhaps John was beginning to think, ‘Well, if this is what is happening, why is not some of this power devoted to getting me released
suggested these passages because they all speak of the journey of the children of Israel in the wilderness. It is striking how many times the journey through the wilderness is spoken of in the Scriptures. It comes into several of the Psalms and several of the prophets, and Paul draws on it in his teaching to those in Corinth when he says all “these things happened as types of us” (1 Cor 10:6), which makes the subject important in our own day for what it can teach us.
Just so that we can be clear about what the wilderness is for us – I think it is what the world becomes to the believer when the light of Christ really lays hold of our hearts and souls, so that the world is shown up for what it truly is: “Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified” (Rev 11:8). As a result, just as the children of Israel were enabled to move out of Egypt, so you and I are to be enabled to move out, in that sense, of this world. God has called us out of this world, to be a people for His possession (see Deut 7:6; 1 Pet 2:9).
This passage illustrates the wonder of the Gospel. I believe It is one the most wonderful demonstrations of the grace of God that you get in the whole of the Scriptures.
This Address is about what marked the assembly at the beginning. Earlier in the Acts we find the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost and tongues of fire sitting on each one (Acts 2:1-4). Peter (and others, but Peter in particular) preaches in the power of the Spirit, and as a result three thousand persons believed and were baptised. It was a time of great blessing and addition, and evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit. Then we find that these persons “persevered in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles, in breaking of bread and prayers.”