Archive for the ‘Hermeneutics’ Category

The Law of sowing and reaping seen in Israel’s unbelief

February 20, 2018 Leave a comment

In Numbers 14 a very different scene is presented to our view. There we behold the reactions of Israel unto the doleful report made by the unbelieving majority of the spies which Moses had sent to reconnoiter Canaan. “All the congregation lifted up their voice, and… wept,” conducting themselves like a lot of peevish children. Worse still, they murmured against Moses and Aaron, and spoke of appointing a new leader to conduct them back again to Egypt. At considerable risk to their lives (v. 10), Joshua and Caleb remonstrated with them. The Lord interposed, passed sentence upon that faithless generation, sentencing them to die in the wilderness. In blessed contrast therewith, He said, “But My servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed Me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it” (v. 24). Numbers 25 supplies us with another example of the same principle. Setting aside his own feelings, the son of Eleazar acted for the honor of Jehovah, and of him the Lord said, he “hath turned My wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for My sake…. Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him My covenant of peace: and he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel” (vv. 10-13).

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures


Abraham sowing and reaping

February 13, 2018 Leave a comment

Let us turn now to a different class of cases, where there was a different sowing and a happier reaping. In Genesis 22 we have one of the most touching and exquisite scenes presented in the Scriptures. There we behold grace triumphing over nature, the spirit rising superior to the flesh. It was the final and severest test to which the faith and obedience of Abraham were submitted. He was called upon to sacrifice his beloved Isaac, and to be himself the executioner. How grandly the sorely tried patriarch responded, binding his only son, laying him on the altar, taking the knife in his hand, and desisting not until a voice from heaven bade him slay not the lad. Now observe the blessed though less known sequel. Said the angel of the covenant unto him, “By Myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed… because thou hast obeyed My voice” (vv. 16-18). Thus was the Lord pleased to make mention of His servant’s submission as the consideration of His gracious reward on this occasion: not that there was any proportion between the one and the other, but that He thereby placed this honor upon that faith and obedience by which Abraham had honored Him. Later, he made gracious promises to Isaac

“because that Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge” (26:2-5).

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

The Law of cause and effect can be seen working in Peter’s fall

Let us in a similar way briefly trace the several downward steps which led to Peter’s awful fall. There was first his self-assurance and proud boast when he declared,

“Although all shall be offended, yet will not I” (Mark 14:29).

We doubt not his sincerity on that occasion, but it is clear that he realized not his instability. Self ignorance and self-confidence ever accompany each other; not until self be really known is it distrusted.

Second, he failed to comply with his Master’s exhortation, “watch ye and pray” (Mark 14:38-40), and instead went to sleep again—it is only a felt sense of weakness which causes one earnestly to seek strength.

Third, he disregarded Christ’s solemn warning that Satan desired to seize and sift him (Luke 22:31, 33).

Fourth, we behold him acting in the energy of the flesh in drawing the sword (John 18:10).

Naturally, he meant well, but spiritually, how dull his perceptions: how completely out of place was his weapon in the presence of the meek and lowly Savior! No wonder we are next told that he followed Christ “afar off” (Matthew 26:58), for he was entirely out of the current of His spirit. Solemn is it to see him disregarding the providential warning of the closed door (John 18:16). He was cold spiritually as well as physically, but how pathetic to see him warming himself at the enemy’s fire (John 18:18). That he “sat down” in such circumstances (Mark 14:54) shows how serious was his decline. All of these things paved the way for his ultimate cursing and swearing (Matthew 26:74).

What unmistakable and manifest instances are the above of the working of the law of cause and effect!

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

The principle of interpretation for the law of cause and effect will be the more easily grasped when we point out that it is much the same as the law of sowing and reaping

This principle of interpretation will be the more easily grasped when we point out that it is much the same as the law of sowing and reaping. That law operates now, in this world, and it is an important part of the expositor’s task to observe its outworking in the lives of biblical characters. Consider then some of the details recorded about Lot before his career ended amid the dark shadows of his mountain cave. After the initial reference to him in Genesis 11:31, nothing is said about him until after Abraham’s sorry sojourn in Egypt. It appears that Lot contracted Egypt’s spirit and acquired a taste for its fleshpots. In Genesis 13:6, 7, we read of a strife between the herdsmen of Abraham and Lot: the Lord’s later rewarding of the former and the subsequent conduct of the latter seem clearly to intimate which of them was to blame. The proposal that Abraham made to his nephew (13:8, 9) was a most generous one and Lot’s carnality at once appeared in the advantage he took of it. Instead of leaving the choice to his uncle, Lot yielded to the lust of the eyes, and chose the plain of Jordan, which was well watered and “like the land of Egypt”! Next, he “pitched his tent toward Sodom” (13:12). Then he went and “dwelt in Sodom” (14:12), forsaking the pilgrim’s tent for a “house” (19:3). There he settled down, became an alderman, sitting in its “gate” (19:1), while his daughters married men of Sodom.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

The law of cause and effect

24. The law of cause and effect. By this we mean the observing and tracing out of the connection which exists between certain notable events in the life of an individual or nation and what led up to the same. For instance, the closing events recorded in the sad history of Lot startle and stagger us by their deplorable and revolting nature; yet if we carefully ponder all that preceded, then the tragic finale can almost be anticipated. Or take the better-known case of Simon Peter’s denial of Christ, which seems to be altogether out of keeping with what we know of his character. Strange indeed is the anomaly presented: that the one who feared not to step out of the ship and walk on the sea to his beloved Master, and who boldly drew his sword and smote off the ear of the high priest’s servant when a strong force came to arrest the Savior, should tremble in the presence of a maid, and be afraid to own the Lord Jesus! Nevertheless, his melancholy fall was not an isolated event having no relation to what had gone before: rather was it all of a piece with his previous attitude and actions, being the logical, and virtually the inevitable, sequel to them. These are examples of a numerous class of cases, and they should be carefully borne in mind as we read the biographical portions of Scripture.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

In the seven miracles recorded in John’s Gospel we may discern a striking order of thought as they portray Christ communicating life to His people

In the seven miracles recorded in John’s Gospel we may discern a striking order of thought as they portray Christ communicating life to His people. In His turning of the water into wine at the Cana marriage feast (John 2:6-11) we are shown, symbolically, our need of life—Christ supplying what was lacking. In the healing of the nobleman’s son (4:47-54), who was “at the point of death,” we have pictured the be stowment of life. In the healing of the impotent man (5:3-9) we behold the power of life, enabling a helpless cripple to rise up and walk. In the feeding of the multitude (6:11) we see how graciously Christ sustains our life. In His going to the fearful disciples on the storm-swept sea we witness Him defending their lives, delivering them from danger. In the response made by the blind man whose eyes Christ opened (9:7, 38) we learn what is to he the occupation of life—he worshipped Him: in this way, supremely, we are to employ the new nature. In the raising of Lazarus from the sepulcher (11:44) we have the consummation of life, for the resurrection of the saints is the prelude to their eternal felicity.

The teaching of our Lord concerning the Holy Spirit’s operations within and toward the saints follows an instructive and a climacteric order.

First, He made mention of being “horn of the Spirit” (3:6, 8), for quickening is His initial operation upon the elect.

Second, by means of figurative language (cf. 3:5), He spoke of the Spirit’s indwelling: “the water that I shall give him shall he in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (4:14).

Third, He declared that there should he a breaking forth of the same, and a refreshing of others: “out of his belly [or innermost part] shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit” (7:38, 39).

Fourth, He promised that the blessed Spirit should he theirs permanently: “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever” (14:16).

Fifth, He announced that the Spirit would fully instruct them: “He shall teach you all things” (14:26).

Sixth, He declared that the Spirit should both testify of Him and equip them to testify unto Him: “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me: and ye also shall hear witness” (15:26, 27).

Seventh, Christ asserted that the Spirit should magnify Him: “He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you” (14:14), making Me altogether lovely in your eyes.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Another example of how scripture is set down in an orderly fashion

“And it came to pass, that, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).

This is one of the passages (see also the Messianic Psalms) which gives us some insight into the nature of His supplications. As they heard Him, the disciples felt they knew nothing about prayer!

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon…I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not” (Luke 22:31, 32).

There we behold Him as the great High Priest making intercession for one of His own. And He “kneeled down and prayed, saying, Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless, not My will, but Thine, be done” (Luke 22:41, 42).

There is the climax of prayer: complete surrender to and acquiescence in the Divine will.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures