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Saturday, February 7 2015
Psalm 78: The Parable Of The Rebel Sheep
"He that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of His flock ... But they rebelled, and vexed His Holy Spirit"
The first-ever human rebellion happened when a man "rose up" against a shepherd. "Abel was a keeper of sheep" until "Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him" (see Cain and Abel).
After the murder, when the LORD asked Cain where his brother was, Cain replied with his infamous "Am I my brother's keeper?" - which was actually, according to the meaning of the original words, an accusatory-tone "Am I my brother's shepherd" - keeping in mind that Abel was the shepherd. Cain's hate was for the shepherd, who could have been anyone, who obeyed the LORD.
"4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. 4:2 And she again bare his brother Abel.
Moses learned to be a political leader during his upbringing years in the Pharaoh's palace (see The Israelites Of The Pharaoh's Palace) - as well as understanding the psychology of his future opponent.
Moses then experienced many years in the Sinai as a shepherd (see Moses Of Midian) to learn all that he needed to know for the journey after the Exodus. Moses' time as a shepherd is also how he met his Arab wife who became the mother of his children (see Moses And Zipporah) and how he found the "burning bush" (see The Sign Of The Flaming Bush) on Mount Sinai (Moses was well-familiar with Mount Sinai long before the Exodus).
"3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. 3:2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3:3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
The true prophets of the LORD recognized the ancient from-the-beginning principle of the good shepherd - which was ultimately fulfilled by the Messiah (it's also no mere coincidence that shepherds were given to be the first witnesses of the birth of the Messiah; see The Bethlehem Shepherds Prophecy). During human history however, those who were given to be shepherds of the LORD's flock experienced, without exception, a rebellion from some of the "sheep." Just like Cain, the Satan-minded insurrections weren't against any mere human shepherd; they were always against the Word of God. Moses lived with such rebel fools for forty years after the Exodus (see Why A Book Of Deuteronomy In The Bible?).
"63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. 63:10 But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them. 63:11 Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him? 63:12 That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name?" (Isaiah 63:9-12 KJV)
Asaph was a Levite in the time of King David (see The Songs Of Asaph). David had been a shepherd of his father's flock until he was anointed to be a shepherd of the LORD's flock - just like Moses. In the time of Asaph, the Exodus and Moses were history. Asaph's Psalm was a warning for the "sheep" to not repeat history - the loss of the Promised Land because of rebellion (see Why 40 Years In The Sinai?).
"78:1 Maschil of Asaph.
The irony of the history lesson was that it turned out to be prophetic. The Kingdom of Israel repeated the same rebellion against the Way of the LORD. David and Asaph never saw it in their lifetimes, but it was obviously (i.e. from Asaph's stark warning) apparent to them that it could easily happen again (see Why Did Judah Fall To Babylon?).
"78:9 The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle. 78:10 They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law; 78:11 And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them. 78:12 Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. 78:13 He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as an heap. 78:14 In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire. 78:15 He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths. 78:16 He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.
"78:40 How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert! 78:41 Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. 78:42 They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy. 78:43 How he had wrought his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan: 78:44 And had turned their rivers into blood; and their floods, that they could not drink. 78:45 He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them. 78:46 He gave also their increase unto the caterpiller, and their labour unto the locust. 78:47 He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycomore trees with frost. 78:48 He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts. 78:49 He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them. 78:50 He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence; 78:51 And smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham:
The meaning of Asaph's parable was clear to everyone: "He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds." It was a warning for the sheep to not feed themselves to the wolves - again.
"78:56 Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies: 78:57 But turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow. 78:58 For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images. 78:59 When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel: 78:60 So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men; 78:61 And delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand. 78:62 He gave his people over also unto the sword; and was wroth with his inheritance. 78:63 The fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage. 78:64 Their priests fell by the sword; and their widows made no lamentation.
Fact Finder: The Messiah is the "Good Shepherd." What did He say to the rebel sheep who use His name for their man-made religions?
This Day In History, February 7
457: Leo I became the emperor of the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire was the Greek-speaking extension of the Roman Empire during the eras of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. It faded away as the power of the German Empire grew (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).
1301: King Edward I of England revived the title of Prince of Wales and bestowed it on Edward of Caernarvon, who later became Edward II.
1550: Giovanni Maria del Monte was elected Pope Julius III (see also The Struggle For The Papacy).
1668: The Netherlands, England and Sweden signed a pact against Louis XIV of France.
1783: The Spanish and French Siege of Gibraltar was lifted after 4 years.
1792: Austria and Prussia (an area of Germany, not to be confused with Russia) formed an alliance against France.
1807: The Battle of Eylau. Napoleon fought a fierce but indecisive battle against Russian and Prussian forces.
1867: The British North America Act, to create the Dominion of Canada, was introduced in the House of Lords by the Earl of Carnarvon.
1878: Pope Pius IX died. His nearly 32 year pontificate was the longest in the history of the Roman Catholic church. He was the inventor of the anti-Biblical dogma of the "Immaculate Conception" in 1854 (see What Does The Bible Really Say About Mary? and Why Call Me, Lord, Lord, and Do Not The Things Which I Say?).
1904: The biggest fire in the U.S. since the great Chicago Fire of 1871 broke out in Baltimore. It destroyed over 2,500 buildings.
1913: The Ottomans (a centuries-long ruling dynasty in Turkey; listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire and see the study Israel In History and Prophecy: Balfour Declaration) lost 5,000 men in a battle with the Bulgarian army in Gallipoli.
1926: Average wage for common labour in U.S.: 54 cents per hour.
1935: The game Monopoly was invented.
1944: During the Second World War (1939-1945), German forces in Anzio, Italy launched a counteroffensive during the allied forces "Operation Shingle" (see also Anzio).
1962: As a face-saving gesture after the failed CIA-backed "Bay of Pigs" invasion (April 17 1961), the U.S. banned all Cuban imports and exports.
1976: Darryl Sittler of the Toronto Maple Leafs set a National Hockey League record by scoring 10 points in a single game.
1986: It rained sardines in Ipswich, Australia. Scientists speculated that a violent storm caused updrafts that lifted the fish out of shallow waters and took them into the atmosphere.
1986: President Jean-Claude Duvalier fled the Caribbean nation of Haiti, thereby ending 28 years of his family rule.
1990: The Soviet communist party under Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to surrender monopoly on political power after 70 years.
1992: European Community ministers formally signed the Maastricht Treaty of European Union (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).
1999: Crown Prince Abdullah became the King of Jordan following the death of his father, King Hussein (see also Numbers 32: The Israel Of East Jordan).
2009: Bushfires in Victoria left 173 people dead in the worst natural disaster in Australia's history.