April 27, 2016
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
My dear wife and I were discussing the events, questions and reasons behind the last four blogs, Protecting The Seed. That series was based on God giving King Saul the command, “…attack Amalek… kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” (I Samuel 15:2, 3). She said, “I don’t understand the severity of the punishment when in the Bible a man was sentenced to die for gathering wood on the Sabbath day.” I told her, “That would make a good blog, especially following the four I just wrote!” Here then is Numbers 15:32 through 35 where the incident is described:
Now while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man
gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. And those who found him gathering
sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation. And
they put him under guard, because it had not been explained what should
be done to him. Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must surely be
put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the
So the question again comes up: “Why is God so severe in what seems to be a minor offense? Is this a different God in the Old Testament than what Jesus presented in the New? ” For in the New Testament, God is shown forth as a God of love and forgiveness! (See Mattthew 9:2; Colossians 1:13; I John 4:8).
We have to understand two issues here – the holiness of God and the seriousness of sin!
• The holiness of God – God is absolutely pure and holy! “God’s holiness is His most exalted and emphasized attribute, expressing the majesty of his moral nature and character.” (Emory H. Bancroft, Elemental Theology, p. 54). All the other characteristics of God flow out of His holiness! So holy is the Lord that this attribute is ascribed to Him some 209 times in the KJV Bible! (concordance search of holy, holiness). Some of the more outstanding Scriptures are…
➔ Levitcus 19:2 – “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.”
➔ Psalm 99:9 – “Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at His holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.”
➔ Psalm 145:17 (KJV) – “The LORD is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works.”
➔ Isaiah 6:1-3 – “…I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim….And one cried to another and said, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.”
➔ Isaiah 57:15 – “…thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”
➔ The Father, Son and Spirit (the Trinity) as revealed in the New Testament are ascribed holiness (see John 17:11; Acts 3:14; Ephesians 4:30).
• The seriousness of sin – “Sin is any transgression of, or want of conformity to, the revealed will of God, either in condition or conduct.” (Bancroft, p. 188). Man does not just do wrong against God, but is wrong by his own sinful nature compared to God’s standard! What is God’s standard? Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:48: “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Be as perfect as God – as holy as God! Who can live up to that?! No wonder the Bible tells us…
➔ Ecclesiastes 7:20 – “For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.”
➔ Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart [of man] is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”
➔ Romans 3:10, 23 – “There is none righteous, no, not one….for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
By our sinful nature which produces acts of sin against God (commission as well as omission) we are declared enemies of God (see Romans 8:7; Colossians 1:21) and are under His condemnation of death – physical and eternal! (See Genesis 2:17; Isaiah 59:2; Ezekiel 18:4, 20; John 3:36).
What a dilemma! How could utterly sinful men possibly be reconciled to an utterly holy God? We will continue this discussion, solving this dilemma, in our next blog on Friday. And we will apply what we learn to the severity of the judgment that our featured Scripture puts forth.