Devotion in war time – 23 October 2023


“‘As for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots and his horsemen.’ … So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state at daybreak, while the Egyptians were fleeing right into it; then the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, even Pharaoh’s entire army that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of them remained (Exod 14:17-18, 27-28). God could have allowed the Israelites to escape, and ALSO prevented the loss of the lives of the soldiers in Pharaoh’s entire army had he not hardened their hearts. So why did God do it? An attribute of God we seldom speak about is vengeance. According to the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament (our Scriptures), God is a God of vengeance (Deut 32:35; Rom 12:19), and he has to be, because he is perfectly just and true (Deut 32:4). The drowning of Egyptian combatants in the sea is more than a just reward for a nation who callously drowned Israel’s noncombatants (baby boys) in the Nile River (Exod 1:22). Let me repeat this truth again. God is a God of vengeance. God will, in his perfect timing and according to his purposes, avenge the life of every man, woman, child, and infant who was savagely murdered on October 7. This means we can, and should, pray for the execution of God’s vengeance. But there is one important caveat. We must never allow feelings of hatred and bitterness to consume our hearts, and as a consequence, take God’s prerogative of vengeance into our own hands. Of course there are times such as now we must take up arms to defend our nation, and it is right in God’s eyes to long for his justice. But we must never stop committing ourselves, minds, bodies, and souls, to the work of the Great Commission. We find solace in the knowledge of God’s justice, but we must not forget that God longs to use us to bring the message of salvation to all the peoples of this world! “But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up” (2 Pet 3:7-10).

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The Tanakh in the New Testament

The New Testament opens with these words: “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1, NASB). With these first words from the first book of the New Testament, it is made clear that Yeshua (Jesus) is part of the Jewish people, the fulfilment of the promises made to Abraham and to David. These words also make clear that the New Testament has a deep connection to the Tanakh (the Hebrew name for the Old Testament)…

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