Scriptural Balance to Hard Sayings
The way the Bible is written makes some Scriptures difficult to understand without studying other Scriptures. This is especially true in the Old Testament. Some Scriptures don’t always give a clear meaning on the surface, but require some digging into to discover the intent of what is stated.
Paul admonished Timothy, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15)
God said, through the prophet Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...” (Hosea 4:6) They are destroyed for a lack of knowledge, not because the devil is so great or so powerful that they couldn’t overcome him.
Sometimes we need to take a second look at things that are stated in the Bible. We have all heard people say, “You know what the Bible says.” Many times their quote was what they thought the Bible said. It may have been in the Bible, but the statement itself may not be true. For instance, the Bible quotes Job as saying, “...the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21) It’s true Job said that, but what Job said was not really true. He thought the Lord had taken his possessions and family away from him, but he was deceived. That was only his assessment of what had happened to him. It was NOT the Lord, but satan who had taken his possessions away.
Sometimes Scriptures, on the surface, seem to say one thing, but when you study the context closely and relate it to other Scriptures, you will find the true intent was different than what appeared on the surface. In many cases, God permitted it because man permitted it... but He was not the cause of it at all. Then, in other cases, it seemed to say God did it; when in reality, satan did it or was the cause of it.
There is a classic example of this found in II Samuel 24:1, “And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.”
Why would God move David to number Israel and then be angry with him after he did it? Finis Dake has the following note in his Annotated Reference Bible: It seems from II Samuel 24:1 that the Lord moved David to number Israel, but we must understand this is only in the sense of His allowing it to happen without definitely interfering. By Hebrew idiom (and also modern usage) a person is said to do that which he permits to be done. The anger of the Lord would not have kindled against Israel... if He had been the one to move David to do the numbering. I Chronicles 21:1 makes it plain that it was satan who stood up against Israel and provoked David to number them... “And satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.”
It is clear in this verse that satan provoked David to number Israel. This is why so many things are misunderstood and people get wrong ideas about some things found in the Old Testament. The New Testament sheds more light on Old Testament Scriptures, and many of these wrong ideas are dissolved in New Testament Scriptures.
For instance, let’s look at what is recorded in Isaiah 6:9-10, and analyze it in the light of what Jesus taught... “And he (God) said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.”
Who Did It?
Well, it sounds like God commissioned Isaiah to close the eyes and ears of their understanding so they couldn’t understand or be converted and healed. But let’s go to the New Testament and see how Jesus understood this Scripture.
In Matthew 13:9-13, after He finished the parable of the sower He said, “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” When people close their minds to God’s Word, they are in danger of losing what understanding they have. The real reason they didn’t hear and understand began with the attitude of their heart.
Jesus gives the true meaning of Isaiah’s prophecy... “And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (Matthew 13:14-15)
So Who Closed Their Eyes?
Jesus said, “Their eyes, they have closed.” God didn’t close their eyes, they closed their own eyes. The word “closed” comes from the Greek word from which we get the word “squinted.” Isaiah 9:2 prophesied of great light that would come: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Jesus came preaching new light and revelation. But, because they were accustomed to darkness, they squinted or closed their eyes to that Light. If the TRUTH is brighter than what they’ve known, people tend to close their spiritual eyes. A thorough study of the Scriptures will always bring out the whole truth.
Exodus 9:12 says, “And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had spoken unto Moses.”
This 12th verse states that the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but let’s investigate further. Moses again stretched forth his hand and hail and fire came on the land, and Pharaoh showed no signs of giving in. “And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go...” (Exodus 9:34-35)
These verses reveal the real truth about who hardened Pharaoh’s heart. It was not God, but Pharaoh who hardened his own heart. What actually caused his heart to be hardened? It was the condition of Pharaoh’s own heart that caused him to rebel against God and hardened his heart. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might show these my signs before him.” (Exodus 10:1)
You may wonder what’s the deal here? One verse says Pharaoh did it, and another says the Lord did it.
Here is a natural illustration that will help you understand the hardening process and who was responsible for it. If you put wax in hot sunlight, it becomes soft and pliable. If you expose clay to the same sunlight, it becomes hard as a brick. Does the sun do anything to the clay that it doesn’t do to the wax? The answer is obviously – no. The same light and heat were on both. The wax became soft and pliable while the clay hardened. Why? Because the ingredients of clay react differently when heat is applied. So Pharaoh, being rebellious at heart, became more rebellious when God sent His Word by Moses. The heat was turned on to make him pliable, but because of his rebellious reaction to God’s Word, his heart was hardened.
Don’t Blame God
There is always Scripture that will bring balance into God’s Word if you let the Bible interpret itself. “And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.” (Exodus 8:32) The real truth about the matter was that Pharaoh was responsible for his heart, not God.
So, we must be careful that we don’t get the idea that God makes people the way He wants them against their will. If you develop this mentality about God, you will be crippled in your prayer life and probably will not resist anything the devil brings your way.
The real danger in this is that you tend to believe that whatever happens to you is the will of God for you. If you cannot determine the difference between that which is of the devil and that which is of God, then you have no faith or Scripture for resisting it.
When someone tells you, “The Bible says...” do some research. The enemy would like to pervert your thinking to keep you from resisting him. James said, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
Peter gives us some more good advice in I Peter 5:8-9, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
The bottom line is this: When you submit to God, you must submit your ideas to His Word. When you do that, you won’t blame God for the adverse reactions of the rebellious hearts of the wicked who bring judgement upon themselves.
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