Statutes? What ….?

Abraham kept God’s commandments, statutes and laws (Genesis 26:5).
He is the Father of the Faithful so

hopefully you’d like to faithfully keep them too.

After 45 years as a Christian, the thought occurred to me: “Commandments & laws I know. But which statutes are you keeping?”

There’s no doubt the Bible says the statutes of the Lord are vital. They are “right, rejoicing the heart” (Psalm 19:8).

“Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’” (Deuteronomy 4:6).

Which statutes are we talking about?

 The English word “statute” is translated from the Hebrew words choq (pronounced khoke, 127 times in the King James Version) and chuqqah (pronounced khook-kaw’, 104 times). Statute refers to an authoritative enactment, decree or ordinance. Vines Compete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words states that chuqqah can possess a more exact meaning than choq.

Psalm 119 uses eight different words to designate God’s revealed instruction to humankind. In Ps. 119:33 David asked God to teach him His statutes.

“Not easy to distinguish”

Vines cautions, “It is not always easy to distinguish between these synonyms, as they are often found in conjunction with one another.” For example, Deuteronomy 5 advises us to be careful to do all these statutes and judgments and then proceeds to give the 10 Commandments.

Statutes are primarily given in the Pentateuch, especially Leviticus & Numbers.  They are extremely rare in the poetic and prophetic books except for Jeremiah & Ezekiel.

Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology notes that ignorance of a statute was no excuse. Oops! That’s why I want to know which ones I hope I’m ignorantly keeping!

This reference says Israel understood that the statutes applied to everyone equally, whether native born or resident alien.  In a lesson for today’s controversy about refugees, Israel welcomed strangers as long as they assimulated in and wanted to be part of God’s special nation.

Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies says a statute is: “something decreed, prescribed; a statute, ordinance, law; usually applied to the positive statutes appointed by Moses…”

A statute defines how principles of God’s law are enacted in given situations.   The statutes explained how the commandments were to be applied in their circumstances.

My mission was to find things I believe and do that are specifically called statutes in the Bible:

  1. Don’t eat fat or blood (Leviticus 3:17).
  2. Priests are to drink no wine or strong drink when performing their duties (Leviticus 10:9). Hopefully you will find only water on the podium!
  3. Ministers live off tithes and offerings (Numbers 18:23-24).   Deuteronomy 16:12 says “be careful to observe these statutes” and commands offerings during the three Festival seasons of the year.
  4. It also describes the Holy Days! Leviticus 16 and 23 call the Holy Days “statutes” in numerous verses.
  5. Ezekiel 20:19 commands “Walk in My statutes … hallow My Sabbaths.” Of course the Fourth Commandment says to remember the Sabbath. Ezekiel says “Sabbaths” plural. The Sabbath and Holy Days hang together.
  6. Leviticus 18-20 sometimes says “statutes” and sometimes “statutes and judgments.” Many verses sound like reading the New Testament! For homework, study these chapters for statutes you should be keeping.

We must be like Abraham and keep all of God’s commandments, statutes and judgments. “Because Abraham did everything I told him to do” (Contemporary English Version).   That’s what I want to do!

It’s not always easy to know exactly which is which, but I have shown you some examples where the Bible specifically says something is a statute.

“And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes to fear the Lord our God for our good always” (Deuteronomy 6:24).

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Robert Curry

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ThanksGIVING

Out of all the inspirational messages I’ve heard in my life about Thanksgiving, the best was a very simple one:     This is ThanksGIVING not ThanksFEELING.

We must actually give thanks to those we feel thankful for.  Number one should be our Father and Jesus Christ.

I am thankful also for you for following this blog!    Your encouragement keeps me writing and you have only yourself to blame.

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Robert Curry

Can You Hasten the Coming of the Lord?

In April U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann accused President Obama of hastening the end times because of his policies.
Imagine that, the President mocked, me having such power and influence.

What did Peter mean when he wrote “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:12)?   Do you have power and influence to hasten the coming of the day of God?

The Greek word for “hastening” is speudo. Vines defines it as “earnestly desiring, urge on diligently, await eagerly.” We are “instruments through prayer and service for the accomplishment of His purposes, purposes which will be unthwartably fulfilled both in time and manner of accomplishment.”

Jameson Faucett & Brown says pseudo means “with the utmost eagerness desiring … The Greek may mean ‘hastening’ (that is, urging onward the day of God; not that God’s eternal appointment of the time is changeable, but God appoints us as instruments of accomplishing those events which must be first before the day of God can come.”

Like preparing for a big dance that is taking place on a special date and you must arrange and prepare the hall, the food and the band before that date and hasten its success.

We serve in 3 ways that must be done before Christ returns.

3 P’s in the hastening pod

1)Preach the Gospel: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

Clearly the gospel of the kingdom must be preached with urgency and passion so that the Father deems the world has been properly witnessed to and warned. Our prayers are compared to incense which should be beaten fine—in heartfelt detail.

If we accomplish 20 goals during a day, it will seem to have sped by rather than sat around watching TV all day and the same 24 hours crawled by in boredom.

2)Prepare a people: “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11).   Peter asked this pointed question of us right before he said to hasten the coming of Christ.

God is preparing a people to be His kings, priests, judges and teachers in Christ’s coming millennial government and Great White Throne Judgment. First of all, Peter is saying: hasten to make sure you are part of this family crew!

Isaiah 16:5 shows that a king hastens righteousness by being swift to do it.

In John 4:35 Jesus said the fields are white with harvest and we should pray God send laborers!

In 1 Corinthians 3:6 Paul said we must plant and water.   May we do that with passion and urgency! But it’s God Who gives the increase. Nobody can come unless the Father calls (John 6:44).

3)Praying

Peter warned that Christ is coming like a thief in the night and we must be “looking for” (“watching” in Luke 12:39).

Jesus said in His model prayer that we must daily pray fervently and urgently “Thy kingdom come.” The Bible ends with “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).   Not that the Father needs reminding—we’re the ones who need to be fired up for His return!

Psalm 122:6 commands “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Since peace in Jerusalem and the rest of the world will only come when Jesus comes back and sets up righteous government, we are to be praying for Christ to return!

Amos 5:18 cautions “Woe to you who desire the Day of the Lord.” We must not try to bring about the fulfillment of prophecies in some human or political way or desire for unbelievers to “get theirs!”

Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible and John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible both say: “Christians should keep looking out for it … for though the day is fixed for the coming of Christ, nor can it be altered, yet it becomes the saints to pray earnestly for it, that it may be quickly, and for the accomplishment of all things that go before it… saints should be hasting to it by their readiness for it, having their loins girt, and their lights burning, and their lamps trimmed, and they waiting for their Lord’s coming, and going forth in acts of faith and love…”

The same Greek word SPEUDO is used in five other places in the New Testament, several in the story about Zacchaeus who looked for Jesus and hasted down from the sycamore tree to be with Christ. He didn’t speed Christ’s coming. It was about him making haste to be ready for Christ’s arrival.

So can you hasten the coming of the Lord?

The Father will send His Son at the right time! Psalm 102:13-16 says “the set time.”

Ernestly desire it! Preach, prepare & pray! As Vines puts it so well, “In this way the earnest desire will find its fulfillment.”

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Robert Curry

Count It All As Nought and Crosses

Stuck somewhere in waiting mode and somebody scrounges up paper and draws a Tic-Tac-Toe.   The challenge is too much to resist!

Tic-Tac-Toe was played in Egypt around 1300 B.C. and similar grid games show up in ancient carvings of the Roman Empire.   Some call it Noughts & Crosses or 9-Man Morris.

tic-tac-toe

There are 765 essentially different positions (state space complexity) or 26,830 possible games up to rotations and reflections (game tree complexity).

Yet the winning strategy is easy:

1) If the offense doesn’t take the middle, the defense should.

Corollary:  If offense takes #2 and defense blocks in 4, 6, 7 or 9 instead of middle, offense can win.   Same goes for the other 3 inside spots.   Defense should avoid confusion and always take the middle if it’s untaken.

2) If offense takes the center, defense must block with an outside corner, not one of the four inside spots.

If both combatants know these simple rules, game after game ends in Cat’s Game until persistence wins or somebody goes comatose!

It’s just a game to amuse ourselves and pass the time.   But we must live for a higher purpose.

Paul said he had counted everything life has to offer as nought and crosses (Philippians 3:8, 10).   He considered “all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus …”  He wanted to “know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”  Like him, I take up my cross daily and follow the One crucified (Matthew 10:38).

Here, too, persistence wins out.  “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

The joy of making three O’s or X’s in a row and slashing a line through them with Zorro flair will not even compare to being resurrected to a new powerful spiritual body into the Kingdom of God!

The next time you enjoy playing Tic-Tac-Toe, remind yourself of the nought and crosses that really matter.

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Your encouragement will keep me writing &
you’ll have only yourself to blame!

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Robert Curry

The Weeping Prophet Cries out to Us Today

Robert Curry

Robert Curry

Jeremiah is called “the weeping prophet” though he was rightly
“sighing and crying for all the abominations” in Jerusalem & Judah (Ezekiel 9:4).
If his book were nothing more than good literature or history,
we should learn the lessons from it.

“I brought you into a beautiful country, to eat its fruit and its goodness… those who handle the law do not know me; the rulers also transgressed against me … and walked after things that do not profit” (Jeremiah 2:7-8).

“Have you not brought this on yourself, in that you have forsaken the LORD your God when He led you in the way? … Your own wickedness will correct you” (2:17, 19).

“The LORD has rejected your trusted allies, and you will not prosper by them” (2:37).

“The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” (5:31).

“Behold the word of the LORD is a reproach to them” (6:10). “Where the word of the LORD offends, judgment will surely fall” (Bible Reader’s Companion).

“Everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely… Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! … Nor did they know how to blush” (6:13-15).

“My people do not know the judgment of the LORD… The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken. Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD; so what wisdom do they have?” (8:7, 9).

“Do not learn the way of the Gentiles…For the customs of the peoples are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple” (10:2-4).

“O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. O LORD, correct me, but with justice; not in Your anger, lest You bring me to nothing” (10:23-24).

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings” (17:9-10).

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.   I will be found by you” (29:11-14).

“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah … I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD’ for they all shall know Me from the least of them to the greatest of them, says he LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (31:31-34).

Jeremiah cries out to us today.  His book is not just good literature and history.  Revelation warns of a coming Babylon in our day.

How about we bless God by learning the lessons from the Weeping Prophet!  Who will cry out to God to put His laws in their minds and write it on their hearts?  Who will seek God for His “future and a hope” with all their heart?

To fail to do so would be a crying shame.

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Another Fall of Man

Robert Curry

Robert Curry

PTDC0437Across from me as I sit on my favorite bench are huge cottonwood trees glistening amber gold as the sun is setting an hour earlier.  “Fall back” timed in at 2 a.m. Sunday, and boy am I glad that fall is back!

A brisk breeze russles through the leaves doomed to drop and makes them shimmy like Tevia when he sang “If I Were a Rich Man.”   Another fall here in Canon City, Colorado makes me feel like one because you can’t buy such pleasure.

There’s nothing to compare with the colorful trees along the Arkansas Riverwalk, and it’s only about a mile or so from our home. I’ve always dreamed of having my own mountain stream, and until such a miracle comes, this is not bad! Treat yourself to the approaching view of our small town shaded by all the reds and golds as you descend into Canon City via Highway 50 from the east, and you might be compelled to renumber the Wonders of the World.

OK, granted, Canon City is no Garden of Eden. But it’s interesting that tradition says Adam and Eve’s fateful decision between the two defining trees –Tree of Life vs. Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil—occurred at the time of God’s fall holy days.   Those two trees were about eating, but they must have been a sight for the eyes also.

If the Father chooses to send back His Son Jesus to this earth on a Feast of Trumpets and if He times it so that it exactly ends 6,000 years of man’s misrule, then it would have started on a Feast of Trumpets.

A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden and became four rivers: Gihon, Hiddekel, Euphrates and Pishon, the last one skirting the whole land of Havilah where there is gold (Gen. 1:10-14).

ViviLnk

I’ll settle for the Arkansas River before me, and believe me there is gold! Wondrous gold! Not only on the banks but in the reflections in the water. Just took these pictures a few minutes ago and wish they could do justice to what my eyes were treated to.

“I think that I shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree” (Joyce Kilmer).   Surprise, Joyce is a man, and he must have been penning in the autumn.

Ah, Lord God, what a spectacular creation! (Jeremiah 32:17). It reminds me to choose God’s way which is a Tree of Life.

“He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3, New International Version).

This man thanks His Creator for another fall.

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“Well Good on You, Let Me Help You Any Way I Can!”

Robert Curry

Robert Curry

In 1995 my pastor Paul Butler made a comment that I’ve never forgotten:
“If someone says ‘I’m trying to be a Christian,’ then I say ‘Well good on you, let me help you any way I can!’”

Wouldn’t it be better to do this than judging who is Laodicean?

Since this much maligned era of the Church of God is the final one before the return of Christ, maybe we should all be alert to the tendency to be lukewarm and think we are in need of nothing.

Marci Sidars, a fella Christian, astutely observed “We’re all Laodiceans.”

All of us should heed all of the messages to the seven churches and be corrected by them (Revelation 2-3).

The amazing rewards for overcoming as each era was commanded will be well worth it.

  • The right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
  • Not be hurt at all by the second death.
  • Given some of the hidden manna and a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.
  • Authority over the nations.
  • Dressed in white, name never blotted out from the book of life.
  • A pillar in the temple of my God, godly names written on him or her.
  • Right to sit with Christ on His throne.

Jesus said “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:16).

We should help each other any way we can.

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and please go to the bottom of that page.

Thank you for sharing this blog with your friends & family!
Your encouragement will keep me writing & you’ll have only yourself to blame!