Posts Tagged ‘Hermeneutics’

Deity hesitates not to take as one of His titles “the Lord God of recompences” (Jeremiah 51:56), and has shown, all through His Word, that He deals with sinner and saint as such

Deity hesitates not to take as one of His titles “the Lord God of recompences” (Jeremiah 51:56), and has shown, all through His Word, that He deals with sinner and saint as such. Unto Joshua He said that if he gave His Word its proper place, meditated in it day and night, that he might observe to do according to all that is written therein, “then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (1:8, and cf. Job 36:11; Proverbs 3:1-4). On the other hand, He said to wayward Israel

“Why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the Lord, He hath also forsaken you” (2 Chronicles 24:20).

That is an unvarying principle in His government. Of Uzziah we read,

“as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper” (2 Chronicles 26:5).

The judgment of God even upon Ahab’s kingdom was postponed “because he humbled himself before Me” said God (1 Kings 21:29). Contrariwise, He told David that the sword should never depart from his house “because thou hast despised Me” (2 Samuel 12:9, 10). The New Testament teaches the same thing.

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).

“If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (6:15);

“with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (7:2).

“Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee” (Revelation 3:10).

God has established an inseparable connection between holiness and happiness, and it is no small part of the expositor’s work to point out that as our ways please Him His smile is upon us; but when we are wayward, we are greatly the losers; to show that though God’s people are not under the curse of the rod they are under its discipline; and for him to note scriptural illustrations of that fact. It is one thing to have our sins pardoned, but it is quite another to enjoy God’s favors in providence and nature as well as spiritually, as the lives of biblical characters clearly exemplify. God does not afflict willingly (Lamentations 3:33), but chastens because we give Him occasion to do so (Psalm 89:30-33). When we grieve not the Holy Spirit, He makes Christ more real and precious to the soul; the channel of blessing is unchoked, and real answers are received to prayer. But alas, how often we give God occasion to say “your sins have withholden good things from you” (Jeremiah 5:25). Then let the preacher miss no opportunity of proving from Scripture that the path of obedience is the path of blessing (Psalm 81:11-16), and demonstrate that God orders His ways with us according to our conduct (Isaiah 48:10) — He did so with Christ Himself (John 8:29; 10:17; Psalm 45:7).

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures


David recognized the laws of cause and effect and sowing and reaping in God’s governing of mankind

David acknowledged,

“The Lord recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His eyesight” (Psalm 18:24).

He was alluding to God’s delivering him from his enemies, particularly from Saul. How had he conducted himself toward the king? Did he commit any sin which warranted his hostility? Did he injure him in any way? No, he neither hated Saul nor coveted his throne, and therefore that monarch was most unjust in so relentlessly seeking his life. So innocent was David in this respect that he appealed to the great Searcher of hearts:

“Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me” (Psalm 35:19).

Thus, when he said, “The Lord recompense me according to my righteousness” he was far from giving vent to a pharisaical spirit. Instead, he was avowing his innocence before the bar of human equity. Since he bore his persecutor no malice, he enjoyed the testimony of a good conscience. In all that he suffered at the hand of Saul, David retaliated not: he not only refused to slay, or even injure, him when he was at his mercy, but he took every opportunity to serve the cause of Israel, notwithstanding the ingratitude, envy and treachery he received in return. In his deliverance and in having the throne conferred upon him, David recognized one of the basic principles operating in the Divine government of this world, and owned that God had graciously rewarded him because of his integrity.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

The Laws of cause and effect and sowing and reaping are clearly seen in the governmental ways of God

February 27, 2018 Leave a comment

Now it scarcely needs pointing out that neither Abraham, Caleb, nor Phinehas brought God into his debt, or placed Him under any obligation to them. Yet their cases illustrate a most important principle in the governmental ways of God. That principle is stated in His own declaration:

“them that honor Me. I will honor, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed” (1 Samuel 2:30).

Though there be nothing whatever meritorious about the good works of His people, God is pleased to bear testimony of His approval of the same and make it manifest concerning His commandments that “in keeping of them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:11). Thus the Lord witnessed to His acceptance of the holy zeal of Phinehas by putting an immediate stop to the plague upon Israel, and by entailing the priesthood on his family. As Matthew Henry pointed out, “The reward answered to the service: by executing justice he had made an atonement for the children of Israel (v. 13), and therefore he and his should henceforth be employed in making atonement by sacrifice.” Proverbs 11:31, states the same principle, “Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth.” As Spurgeon remarked, “Albeit that the dispositions of Divine grace are to the fullest degree sovereign and irrespective of human merit, yet in the dealings of Providence there is often discernible a rule of justice by which the injured are at length avenged and the righteous ultimately delivered.”

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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