Mankind’s Future Episode 9
Salvation in the Old Testament
We have seen in a previous episode that man, unaided by God, is incapable of keeping the Ten Commandments.
We now know the Commandments are to make us aware of God’s standards, and to make us realise we fail God by not keeping them.
Since God is a God of Justice, a penalty has to be paid for not keeping the Commandments, also referred to as the Law.
We have already seen that a blood sacrifice had to be made, in faith that the blood would ‘cover’ the guilt of their sin.
The question is asked, how big a sin is God willing to cover?
King David is a good example to use to answer that.
He committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of his loyal servant Uriah the Hittite. When David learnt that Bathsheba was pregnant with his child, he arranged for the murder of Uriah.
Remember David was not only a courageous King, who as a lad had killed a giant called Goliath, but he was also known for being just and righteous.
Even ‘good’ people can commit heinous sins. Like many of us when we sin, he tried to cover it up. But nothing can be hidden from God, or as the Bible puts it, “Be sure your sin will find you out.”
God sent a prophet, called Nathan, to let David know that his sin was not hidden from God.
Being a king, David could have struck Nathan dead so that he couldn’t tell anyone else. But notice what he did?
He repented and wrote Psalm 51 so everyone would know his guilt, and his repentance.
It is worth pausing and reading the whole of this Psalm. The following is an extract from the NKJV.
Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your loving kindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me hear joy and gladness,
9 Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart —
These, O God, You will not despise.
You will have noticed David recognised an important part of having his sin dealt with by God is that of acknowledging his sin, as sin.
He knew to have fellowship with God required God to not just forgive him, for that would still leave him plagued by feelings of guilt, but to cleanse his heart, removing the sense of guilt and shame from him.
Countless Christians have found that by faith in Jesus' atoning blood, they too have been restored to fellowship with the Creator, and had their guilt removed.
But there is more.
God promises a restored David that an offspring of his would be the Messiah, the God-Man, who would reveal the Father to the world as He had never been seen before. Isn’t that God’s grace?
Isaiah, the 7th century prophet, revealed this coming Messiah would be born of a virgin in Isaiah chapter 7. And in chapter 9 he tells us that this messiah had always existed, and one day He would rule from the throne of David.
How He will rule from the throne of David we will leave for a future episode. To finish this episode of we will consider what Messiah means for the present.
Matthew tells us this Messiah, is to be called called Yeshua or Jesus. His adoptive father Joseph is descended from Solomon, the son of David and Bathsheba.
Luke informs us Jesus is born of Miriam, or Mary, who is descended from Nathan, another son of David and Bathsheba.
The angels testified that this Child was the promised Messiah, as did the wise men from the east.
We also learn from Matthew that King Herod attempted to have the Child killed.
In Genesis 3 we learnt God had promised a saviour would be born who would defeat God’s arch enemy Satan. Throughout history Satan has attempted to stop the Messiah being born and often this has involved him attempting to destroy the Jews.
Since the death, burial and resurrection of the Saviour, Satan has concentrated on destroying the witness of believers in Jesus and in persecuting the Jews, even sometimes, unfortunately, using the church to do it for him.
Jesus came to this earth, not to call those who believe they are righteous, but those who acknowledge they are sinners to repentance and everlasting life.
He took twelve men from different walks of life to be his first disciples, and with them the world was turned upside down.
Before He left to die on the cross he told His disciples that He would not leave them as orphans but would send the Holy Spirit to comfort, guide and empower them in their daily walk with God.
We read in the book of Acts of Jesus’ disciples performing miracles like Jesus had after He received the Holy spirit following His public immersion in the river Jordan.
The call to follow Jesus is a call to die to self and to live for Him. That is going to sound strange to some as it doesn’t sound a good deal.
If you have ever been truly in love you will know the joy of denying self to please the one you love. The pain, agony and perhaps disappointments endured are swallowed up by the presence, the encouragement, the warmth, of the one you love. You may avow that you would gladly die for the one you are in love with.
All this is but a shadow of the love of Jesus, who actually died for you, and the love for Jesus that you can experience.
The Bible tells us that Jesus endured the agony of the Cross for the joy that was set before Him. What was that joy?
Surely it was the knowledge of wooing you to Himself. Of knowing that you would spend eternity together with Him. Sharing your joys and disappointments, knowing He understands you, as no one else can.
Next time we will start to take a glimpse into that eternity. Till then may you experience the Peace and Joy that only a relationship with the Saviour and Creator of the world can give.