The Old Testament Good News About The Kingdom

Dallas Willard Part 3 of 8

Rolling Hills Covenant Church had listened to Dallas for over ten years. For this Sunday school class, they asked him to speak less about the spiritual life and more about God and the kingdom of God, about sin and our redemption from it.


Dallas: I hope you will be able to take the sheets home and study at greater depth than we can possibly do in the time that we have available to us. Follow up on the scriptures. Add your own thinking and your own notes from your experience and that way, I believe that our series about the anchor of the soul in God and His Kingdom—an anchor which is steadfast and sure that enters into that which is beyond the veil, as the book of Hebrews tells us will be something that you will come to know by your own experience. [00:44]

God is an experiential God. He is not a God of empty words and rituals. The greatness of God is seen in His willingness and ability to enter into the smallest parts of our lives and there live with us. That’s the greatness of God. The greatness of God is not seen in how far He can get away from us and how big He can seem but how lowly He can seem. God was never greater than when He rested as a baby in the cradle in Bethlehem. Never greater! Never greater! He’s never greater than when He is engaged in communion with you personally in the quietness of your room or in your automobile or at work where He comes and speaks to you. God is a speaking God. That’s a personal relationship with God.

Now, we’ve been talking about how God is hidden to the world. The world does not know what I have spoken to you just now. One of the reasons why we have to have a Bible is because we cannot find out the nature of God from where we start in this world. We cannot find out the nature of God without Him telling us and that’s why He gave us a Bible. And that’s why He comes to us individually and talks to us and says, “This is the way I am.” See? [2:22]

Man is hiding from God and his way of treating that is to say, “Where is God? Where is God?” You see. Now, God respects mans’ will to hide and lets him hide. That’s the kind of God who is the God of the universe.

You see, we have it all wrong in the human way of thinking. We think a great God would just blast away but if the great God blasts away, there won’t be anything left, you see. We say, “I would like to see God” but if you tell someone, “God is in the next room, you go in there and you’ll see Him,” they will think twice before they go through the door because we know that the greatness of God is something that is so devastating. It calls us in such questions. It pulls us beyond our depths. [3:42]

And I didn’t get time to go through it last time but in the notes you found references to times when God in some manner showed up and one of my favorite passages is in those notes refers to the Gospel of John when they come to get Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and you’ll remember, He just let them have a little low voltage jolt and they fell over.

They said—they came into the Garden and He said, “Who are you looking for?” This is such a wonderful thing. I wish—I hope you will take time to compare the event there with God coming to Adam in the Garden—the other Garden—the Garden of Eden? And there, God said, “Adam, where are you?” In the Garden of Gethsemane, He is dealing with people who think they are in charge and He says, “Whom seek ye?” Jesus of Nazareth! And He says, “I am He.” And they all fell over. See, just a little low voltage jolt. [5:02]

See, if you watch Jesus’ procedure through the events of His death, you will see the rich meaning of His statement that “No man takes my life from me. I lay down my life and I take it up again.” He was totally in charge—totally in charge of all of those events. We may talk about that a little bit more today when we come to discuss David.

So, how does God come TO man? How does He begin to break through the veil in such a way that He will not destroy those who are on the other side? This is a very important thing for each of us personally to understand. Very often when I am dealing with people who have had in their heart struck a desire to be “like” Jesus, they become very impatient and they want it right now but God doesn’t give it to them right now and it will do you good to study the lives of the great people in the way of Christ to see how long they sought before they found. [6:27]

You see, the seeking has the function of preparing us to receive. When we first begun to seek, we don’t know ourselves. See? We are just like James and John, we say, “Ah, sure, oh, I can drink that cup. No problem, Lord.” [Laughter] You remember they said, “We would like to be your right and left hand people when you come into . . . “ I mean, they were totally united. They have not the foggiest idea what was going on and yet they were promoting themselves to their front row seat in the government and Jesus said to them, “Can you drink the cup?” “Ha, No problem, Lord. No problem.”

See, they didn’t know themselves and the primary function of seeking as we go through our lives is to prepare ourselves to receive what we seek ignorantly. It is well that we seek it and we want to be at least as patient with ourselves as God is. And we seek with all of our heart. Everything we can muster up. But we can’t muster it all up because there is a lot in us that is far beyond anything that we have any direct control over.  God has to lead us and bring us along, see. [8:09]

James and John meant well, didn’t they? They meant well. It’s so common to find good intentions but as Paul spoke of some of the Judaizers in his day, he said, “They have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge.” (Romans 10:3) Their zeal was good. Their knowledge was lacking, you see?

Now, God comes to us—each of us individually. Now, we will be dealing with this more next time and He reveals Himself. He speaks to us. He comes to us through nature, through the events of our lives. He comes to us through the Bible and He whispers to us and says, “Here I am. Here I am.” Wouldn’t you like to have a covenant with me—you individually? [9:08]

See, many folks can’t begin to address that because what they’ve been through has lead them to think that whoever it is that might have an agreement with God; it isn’t them. It’s nice to talk about a personal relationship with God but that’s exactly what we are talking about here you see? A personal relationship with God doesn’t mean an agreement with God, which will get you off he hook at the end. See? It doesn’t mean that. That’s not a personal relationship.

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is not a story about how to manage sin. It’s a story about life.  It’s a story about life in a Kingdom. It’s a story about life in the Kingdom of God.  That’s what the Gospel is about. [10:08]

Now, this morning, we are looking at the Gospel in the Old Testament and that Gospel has primarily to do with Abraham. It does not have primarily to do with Moses but that’s a big part of the story. We really have three people to look at—Abraham, Moses, and David.  It is so hard to make these people accessible to the traditions and the associations that have been built up but I want to tell you the one thing that these people have in common and it is something that is caught up in the Abrahamic covenant—a tender and sensitive heart before God—a tender and sensitive heart before God. Uppermost in their lives was the will and the ability, no doubt given by God Himself to be sensitive and tender towards God. [11:40]

What is the mark of the Abrahamic Covenant? The law? The Ten Commandments? What is the one thing that is the mark of the Abrahamic Covenant? Faith is the heart of the Abrahamic Covenant. What is the mark of the Abrahamic Covenant?

Comments: Inaudible

Dallas:  Circumcision. Now, you see, we are apt now not to understand the importance of this because we are apt not to understand the centrality of this. That’s what this is about. It’s about tenderness, tenderness and sensitivity. Let’s try to illustrate that. [12:47]

When Jesus came—and we could, I mean there are so many places we could begin but let’s just take whatever comes to mind—when Jesus came, He found a lot of practices that the people of Israel were involve in. One of their practices was that if you had needy parents, there was an arrangement whereby if you were to take the $50.

I’m going to just—don’t worry too much about the details—I’m just going to use this—it’s true in its application. If you had $50, which you were going to give to your parents, the legal religious system would say, “Well, why don’t you sort of give us the $50 and we will kick you back $20, hmmmm?”  So, you see, if you give us the money, you will be free of your obligation to your parents. This is one of those places where Jesus really bawled some people out—really bawled some people out. [14:01]

Substituting the word of man for the word of God. God said, “Honor your parents.” Care for them. Love them. Cherish them. And here you come along with an arrangement, which allows people to fulfill their obligations with a little benefit on the side—a little benefit on the side.  See? Sometimes I wonder if we wouldn’t be much better off if we could get rid of tax-deductible gifts to the church? I’m not running for office or against office. [Laughter] [14:41]

What happened to the tender heart in this case? What happened to the tender heart? I don’t know what happened to it. I guess it just was never there. How could one do that sort of thing? How is it possible that one could do that sort of thing?

See, Stephen—just to do in a summary way what we could do in great detail if we were to start at the beginning and come all the way up. Stephen has this marvelous summary of the history of the Jews but it is of course the history of mankind, isn’t it? This is Acts 7:51—“Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears!”—Uncircumcised in heart and ears —

“ . . . ye do always resist the Holy Ghost . . . ” The Holy Ghost comes and speaks and the hard heart is not sensitive. It does not hear. See. [16:03]

Now, Abraham was a man who heard God. You know, there isn’t really any indication in the story that Abraham was necessarily any better than other people at that time but God came to him and called him out and the Gospel of the Kingdom of God—the Good News about God’s Kingdom in the Old Testament—and I have marked it in your sheet there right in the first paragraph—the Good News.

The Old Testament Gospel is the covenant with Abraham and the covenant with Abraham is simply an agreement with an individual man—an individual person. I will enter into your life and allow you to work and live with me—to live in my power, to work with my power, to show forth the glory of God through you, an individual and through your family and through your past. That’s the Gospel of the Old Testament. [17:18]

Notice right away it is restricted to a particular group of people—Abraham and his descendants but on the other hand, it was not restricted because the whole point of God making a covenant with Abraham, an agreement with him, was that all of the people of the earth should be blessed. It was particular but it was not exclusive. It was particular in its opportunities and responsibilities but it was not exclusive of anyone—the whole point of it was to bless all nations of the earth. Everyone was to be blessed in Abraham. See?

One of the things that’s interesting; we’ve talked some about angels. You know that there is no—the word “angel” even doesn’t occur in the Old Testament until after the Abrahamic covenant. Did you know that? The word “angel” does not occur in the Old Testament until after the Abrahamic covenant and the first entrance of an angel into the pages of the Old Testament is with reference to Hagar. [18:46]

Hagar was running from Abraham and Abraham’s unhappy wife, Sarah and is out in the desert about to die and what happens? Anyone remember that story? Let’s look at it. It’s worth time I think to just have a look at that story.

This is Genesis—well, I know it’s got to be in here somewhere—yes, 16—Genesis 16:6—“ . . . Sarah dealt hardly with Hagar and she fled from her face” and verse 7—“ . . . the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness . . . “ and said, Hagar, “ . . . whence camest thou? And wither wilt thou go?” (Genesis 16:8) And Hagar pours out her pitiful story. [19:54]

Now, this is the first entry of an angel. I want you to take that seriously and think about it a bit, you see because what are angels in relation to man?  Hebrews 1—they are a little lower—now, read me the last verse of Hebrews 1 though. Anyone find that?

Comment: Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)

Dallas: How many of them? [20:28]

Comment: All of them

Dallas: All of them are ministering spirits? See, that’s why they show up in human history. The angels show up to serve those that shall be heirs of salvation. Now, what’s Abraham’s role here? Well, he is from the human side, the primary conveyor of that life which will bring forth eventually Christ, isn’t he? Right? So, the angels are on time. [21:00]

Do you know after that—after that, Abraham ‘s life is full of angels? I’ve given the scriptures and the notes so we won’t go over them all but angels everywhere. Well, they are everywhere anyway. You see the thing is now they are concerned with Him. And they even care about Lot, don’t they?

Lot is a relative of Abraham. He’s his family. See, family matter. When Jacob has his vision of the ladder, remember that?—The vision of the ladder. It isn’t that this is something new.

Look at verse 28 of Genesis. We were there last week but let’s go back and visit it again. It’s a good place to visit. Genesis 28 and the 11th verse is telling the story about—there is another person on the run—Hagar on the run, Jacob on the run—man’s on the run, you know? People are running. That’s what goes with hiding, isn’t it? When you are hiding, you are running.  So, God has to send out an angel to head them off sometimes. Wait a moment. We have a little something to say to you, would you sit down and listen a minute? [22:34]

So, here’s old Jacob. Running, running, running and he winds up in a gully with the scorpions, and the snakes slithering around and he puts up a stone to lay his head on and what’s on his mind? Oh! Awful! Life is awful. I’ve made so many mistakes. I lied! That brother of mine is going to catch up with me and part me from my head . . . or worse. [Laughter] He might make me a slave; and I’ve done him wrong. I cheated him.

Maybe he didn’t want to wake up. That’s the way we do sometimes with sleep. Sleep is sometimes a person’s substitute for suicide. There is running, hiding; much sleeping is for sorrow. And when the disciples were depressed because of all of this bad news Jesus had just brought down on our head, they couldn’t stay awake and watch. They slept. They were depressed. [23:52]

God had a way of even getting past that one. Right? And so, in sleep, verse 12, he dreamed, “ . . . And behold a ladder . . .” Now, the ladder came first. Do you know why it came first? It came first because Jacob’s ears and mind was full of all those stories about Grandpapa and the angels. Did you know that?  You don’t think Abraham kept that to himself. You don’t think no one knew about that? No! Jacob knew all about the angels and God is going to give him a covenant, which will come in just a moment. He is going to make an agreement now with Jacob and in order to help him receive the covenant, he assures him with the vision of the ladder and the angels. See, Jacob it’s going to be just like your Grandpa. It’s going to be just like your Grandpa. Ah!

“And behold, the Lord stood above (it) the ladder,” verse 13 and said, “ . . . I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father . . . thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth . . . and behold I am with thee . . .” (Genesis 28:13-15) Verse 15 is one of the sweetest verses in all of the Bible. If you have any concerns about yourself, any alarm, memorize this. Put it on your wall. Take it before you go to bed at night and when you get up in the morning. “ . . . Behold, I am with thee, and (I) will keep thee in all places wither thou goest, and will bring thee again unto this land, for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee.” [25:45]

Oh, I wish every one of you could say, “That’s my verse.” Memorize it.  The Lord didn’t put you here for nothing. There aren’t any unwanted children in the universe and you are not one of them.  Nobody is. They are all wanted. God wants them. They are precious to Him, you see?

And that’s what He is saying to you and you may feel like you’ve been driven out of the land. You are in exile and the happy times of your youth or whatever, or perhaps you didn’t have any happy times in your youth. You just got kicked out before you were born and God says, “I will bring you into the land. I’ll not leave you until I’ve done.” [26:32]

Now, see, that’s God approaching you and God approaches man in the Abrahamic covenant and He approaches him in a family. God would be known through all of the ages now as the God of whom? Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—[Laughter]—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That’s how he was to be known.

Listen to this—Exodus 3—Moses had some knowledge of the God of Abraham and it got him into trouble and he wound up in the desert. He got kicked out of the land, too. Anyone here hasn’t been kicked out of the land? No, don’t say it. [Laughter] [27:23]

We all are trying to get back home. You know? We are all trying to get back home and so he’s out here tending the sheep and God draws near to him. Again, I want to emphasize in what a gentle way God drew near to Moses. A little old bush over here on the mountainside burning—Moses said there is nothing, bushes burn all the time out in the wild, lightning strikes and the bush catches on fire. That’s nothing new. What was strange about this bush?

Comment: It didn’t burn. [28:03]

Dallas: It wasn’t consumed. [Laughter] So, Moses probably looked at it three times and the fourth time he looked over, he said, “What’s wrong with that bush? I better go check it out.” And so, he went over and one of the great themes of the Bible is fire and God as fire, power, energy transforming, reality, fire and a fire that did not consume. And as he got near, you know what happened.

See? God didn’t jump on him one day from a rock, did He? He didn’t do that. And God’s way is not to do that. God’s way is to get your attention and give you a chance. Now, what are you going to do? You are too busy with the sheep, okay? You miss the show. Ummm. [29:03]

You say, “Is it that casual?” It isn’t casual. The question is, “Where is your heart?” There is nothing casual about that. Moses’ heart was not with his sheep. Moses was a dreamer about God and what God was going to do for his people and he sought God in the best way he knew but he was ready to see something different. A lot of folks are not ready to see anything different. They got it planned out—got it in control. They know how it’s going to be and that’s a large part of their hardness of heart. Nothing hardens the heart like righteous plans. Nothing! [29:57]

You may recall that at one point, Jesus had just performed some miracles and fed several thousand people with a few loaves and fishes and so he gets in the boat and He’s riding along here with the fellas and He says, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.” (Matthew 16:6) And what do they say? “We forgot bread.” (Matthew 16:7) [Laughter] That’s what they said. See, in that—see, they were caught up in their responsibilities, their duties. And Jesus chided them for their hardness of heart. Were they mean? No, their hard heart is not necessarily a mean heart or a wicked heart by the standards that we would ordinarily judge.

The phrase, “stiff necked and uncircumcised of heart”—stiff necked—stiff necked is unbending. It knows where it is going. It has its righteous plans. You see, plans are very important and God help us to have righteous plans—that our plans are not our life and when they become our life, then we are stiff necked and hard hearted and become incapable of hearing God, see? [31:44]

I want to just reiterate. The Abrahamic covenant is about a tender and sensitive heart before God. Abraham was a tenderhearted man. You see this all over. When he went up against the kings to do battle and he saves some of the—kings, that’s pretty small change in those days to tell you the truth—more like mayors or little villages with mayors. But in any case, you remember that there was a time when some robbers took over a number of neighborhood kings and Abraham went after them and brought them back and the kings wanted to give him money and he said what? “Not a penny.” Verse 23 of Genesis 14—“ . . . I will not take from a thread even to a shoe latchet . . . I will not take anything that is thine, lest thou should say, I have made Abraham rich.” Abraham was very sensitive to who made him rich. Who made him rich? [33:06]

Comment: God

Dallas: God! Abraham was rich. He was an incredibly wealthy man. He was one of the wealthiest people in the whole area but he was very sensitive to the issue of who made him rich. He was not grubbing after things.

When Lot got it in his head that he should have his “own show,” what did Abraham do? Abraham said, “Choose, you choose.” See? That’s the spirit of Jesus. Jesus said, “Agree with thine adversary quickly whiles thou art in the way with him . . . ”(Matthew 5:25)—before you get to the courthouse.  And of course, one would say, “What will happen to me if I do that?” God will take care of you. Would you like to know the provision of God? Then go God’s way and God will take care of you but if you want to take care of yourself, that’s what you’ll have for your provision. And you have to decide whether you want your provision more than you want God’s provision. Abraham wanted God’s provision. [34:17]

We could just go on through. I mean, Abraham standing up in the face of the angels who were going to destroy Lot and whittling down, “Well, you know if you find 50 righteous men, would you destroy it? Well, how about 45?” All the way down, he keeps working. What was back of that? Abraham’s statement in that passage was, “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25) Abraham was sensitive to the issue of right doing. He knew the heart of God.

It is very interesting. This is one of those many places in the Bible where you see a relationship between an individual and God that many theology books condemn. You see, in effect God and man talking together as friends, as friends. And you know, that’s what Abraham was called by posterity, he was called, “the friend of God—the friend of God.” (James 2:23) [35:28]

Friendship is a tender relationship. The point of circumcision is to guarantee a tenderness of the part of a man’s body, which is constantly present to remind him of his heart.

You read the notes. Some things are too nice to discuss. Some biblical topics are too nice to discuss in church. You read the notes and you think about this, okay? [36:05]

Now, it wasn’t the literal circumcision that made the difference. That was a symbol but it was a very important symbol. Look what happened to Moses. Moses had already been called of God and he was going, it seems to carry out his business and look with me at the fourth chapter of Exodus. This is—again you have to prepare yourself if you are going to leap through and enter into the life of the God of the Bible. You have to prepare yourself for things that don’t fit in with the orderly arrangements of theology books. See?

Now, theology is extremely important. We don’t have a choice about whether we will have a theology; its just a choice of which one we will have. And the sort of cosmic “stuffed shirt theology” is the one, which does not fit with the Bible. [37:14]

Listen to these words—verse 21 of chapter 4 of Exodus is restating what Moses is to do—verse 22—

“ . . . Israel is my Son, even my firstborn . . . I shall say unto thee, Let my son go (unto Pharaoh), that he will serve me and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn. And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him (Moses) to kill him.” (Exodus 4:21-24)

What’s going on here? Well, first of all, let’s be clear about this. You think God couldn’t get along without Moses? When God chose Abraham, God chose Moses. He chose them for His purposes. If God has called you to perform some purpose and you don’t do it, God will find someone else. You need God and God invites you to enter into a free agreement to occupy where you are, to live there until He puts you someplace else and you can do that. But if you don’t do that, God’s purposes are not going to wither and die on the vine. [38:32]

What was on God’s mind? Well, we don’t have a very clear description of the events but it was clear that Mrs. Moses, otherwise known as Zipporah understood what it was all about. Their son had not been circumcised. “Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, surely a Bloody husband art thou to me. So, he let him go.” (Exodus 4:25-26)

What was God concerned about? He was concerned about circumcision and He was concerned about it because He wanted—it wasn’t for any little reason that you may hear discussed with reference to circumcision. I occasionally—it’s a wonderful thing to be in southern California because if there is any topic whatsoever, no matter how bizarre, it will sooner or later be discussed on a talk show. [Laughter] If you’ve got something you are aching to hear discussed by people who know absolutely nothing about it, just wait. Tune in. It will come around. But you find silly things said about this. [39:58]

But in any case, the whole point was simply that for God, there was to be one mark of one reality. That mark was circumcision and that reality was a tender, sensitive part before God. It’s all you need. That’s why little children were held up by Jesus and He said, “Unless you repent and become like a little child, you can’t enter the Kingdom of God.”  (Matthew 18:3)

Ummm . . .  [40:29]

What is it about a little child? Well, until they get worked on, they have a tender sensitive heart. You watch little children together. You know, especially if you have raised them together in a family—how tender they are—oh, I don’t mean they don’t get mad and they want to bash one another around but they are so tender about the feelings of others and the well being of others. Over a puppy dog or anything of that sort, their little hearts are very tender—a plant, a goldfish—why is that that they act like that? It’s because their hearts are tender and they are sensitive.

We learn how to be big and tough, right? By learning how to be big and tough, we cut ourselves off from God. And we say, “Well, I don’t want to suffer.” Oh, you will suffer. Again, you don’t have a choice about suffering in this world. You do not have a choice about suffering. You will suffer. If you have suffered and you are suffering now, you may feel like there is something unusual about you, I want to assure you, there is nothing unusual about you. Everybody is suffering. [41:51]

What you do with your sufferings is another thing. One of the worst things you can do is to harden your heart because hardening the heart is not a selective process. Hardening the heart is something that pervades the personality. You can’t decide to be hard hearted about one thing and not about another.  Hardness of the heart is a pervasive quality.

Moses was a tender man. Moses was a tender man. He, like Paul is often presented in such a way as if he were a hard hearted brut of some kind—some legalistic, hard-nosed, miserable person but when you look into the lives of these people, you see how tender they were towards the presence of God and towards others. Love of God and love of others is a matter of having tender hearts toward them. [43:07]

Listen to these words from Moses in Exodus 33. This is a situation where the Israelites had disobeyed again and we are now moved beyond—see, the interesting thing about Moses was that Moses in his relationship to the people of Israel was no longer anybody’s Papa or GrandPapa. The patriarchs—at that point, God’s entry into human history was still organized along family lines. Now Moses, when he came along, he was not in a position to pull family authority on the people he was leading. You have to understand that a father in those days had the power of life and death over the rest of the family.  It was a tremendous power.

Moses had no such power. His power came from his friendship with God because guess who else was a friend of God? Moses! Moses talked to God face to face as a man speaks with his friend. Are you beginning to see the heart of the Gospel now in the Old Testament? Moses—personal relationship with God and out of that, he drew the power to do what had to be done but he himself was a very tender man. He was not a self conscious, arrogant person. He is described as the meekest man in all the earth. [45:03]

Listen to these words. God is sort of angry at the Israelites and He says, “Moses, go on up and lead these people up.” (Paraphrased) But Moses says in verse 12 of Exodus 33—“See, you are telling me, bring those people up and you have not let me know who you are going to send with me.” (Paraphrased) [Laughter] Isn’t that precious? Moses was not about to charge off until he found out who was going to go with him. That’s like a little child, isn’t it?

A little child wants to know, if something big is up who is going to go with me? In particular; how about Mommy or Daddy, right? And what’s going to happen if they leave me at that big place over there? Hmmm? Who’s going to look out for me? {46:05]

I look back and I think that one of the greatest blessings—humanly speaking, at least in my life was the fact that I started school in a one-room schoolhouse with my older sister and brother in that same room. I never worried, “What’s going to happen “if” because I knew—if what happened, happened—I knew that my sister, Mary Francis was a few seats back of me and my brother, Dwayne, was over in the row just over there. I didn’t have anything to think about. If I needed to go visit the little room, I didn’t say anything to the teacher, I said, “Francis.” (He whispered.) She would talk to the teacher. [Laughter] That’s right. It’s the way it works; it was a wonderful arrangement—a wonderful arrangement.

In a sense, it’s only one Gospel. It is the person in the Kingdom of God. You can come into the Kingdom of God. Now, as various arrangements are made to reach people, to help them come in and the history of the Jews is designed to make it possible for all people everywhere to come in so we wind up at the last book of the Bible with the wonderful words “whosoever will, let him come and drink of the waters of the river of life freely.”(Paraphrased) (Revelation 22:17)—whosoever will may come. [47:46]

You still sing that song here?

“Whosoever will! Whosoever will! Send the proclamation over dale and hill. See the (Tis’ a) loving Father calls the wanderer home. Whosoever will, may come.”

You see? That’s the Gospel. That’s the Gospel. Now, Moses knew about that. He didn’t want to get very far away from God and I am not going to take time because it’s running out so fast but I do hope you will read the rest of this—the rest of this passage. [48:22]

Now, the tenderness of Moses towards God and of God towards Moses—notice verse 20—this is what I’ve been talking to you about, God dealing so tenderly with Moses. Moses wanted to know the presence of God but God knew He couldn’t just turn the—you know, the guns loose and blow him out and so he says, “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” (Exodus 33:20) People die of less things than that but I’ll make an arrangement. [Dallas chuckles.] The Lord says, “Ill make an arrangement. I’ll fix it up where you can see as much of me as you can stand.” Isn’t that wonderful?  [49:10]

See, that’s why Jesus came into the world. He came in so that people could see as much of Him as they could stand until they could stand more and the whole new Testament is just a story about the believers trying to come to grips with who this person is. All those little questions, “Who do they same I am?”[He laughs.]—campfire discussion questions—Who do they say I am? Jesus was working on them.

And you come down to the book of Revelation and what do you have? What is the revelation in Revelation of? Jesus! But He looks a lot bigger there than He did a few years ago around the Sea of Galilee and teaching in the temple and the synagogue—a lot bigger. And even there—remember, John passed out. Right? He just whoooop….. [50:12]

Well, God made an arrangement. He said,

”Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, (that) while my Glory passeth by, (that) I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you (thee) with my hand while I pass by.” (Exodus 33:21-22)

“He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, in the midst of a dry thirsty land. He hideth my life in the depths of his love and covers me there with His hand.” You see?

It’s one story. He just put Moses over here and sort of hid him while he got by and then took His hands off and Moses got to peek around the corner and see the back of God going in that direction. You say, “Well, that’s sounds like Cecil B. DeMille;” well, we do the best we can. [Laughter] We do the best we can and God helps us and that’s what He says, “I will pass by and as I pass by, I’ll put my hand over the rock—you are in the hole in the rock now and I’ll put my hand and when I get by, I’ll take my hand away and you can see my back parts, but you can’t see my face.” [51:35]

I wish I had time to just stop on that business of the face and the back parts of God and teach for a couple of hours. The face of God is so important and the turning away of the face. How we are to understand these things of course is something that we will never be able to fully apprehend but we get here an idea that God can approach us when we can’t approach Him and He knows how to show Himself to us and Moses was able to see God. He was a tenderhearted man.

One of my most favorite passages—I have so many of those, I’m not sure whether the word “most” is proper in all of that. One of the sweetest stories about Moses here is in Numbers 11 and then Numbers 12. Numbers 11 is the story about where Moses was not about complaining. He had too much work to do and these people were quite obstreperous and so God told Him to call the elders out and the Lord came down in a cloud, verse 25 of Numbers 11 “ . . . and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him . . . “—because there was a spirit upon him. You see he worked in the power of Gods’ Kingdom. It was not his power and it was something that was really on him. [53:06]

And again this is nothing knew, Jesus said, “He that believeth on me .  . .  out of his innermost parts (belly) shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38) It’s a presence that is there for us; if we don’t decide to quench it and resist it, it will be real in response to our faith. Don’t be misled by all of the high jinks and silliness. Remember, every good thing Satan perverts it so that your faith will not rise to meet it.

The Gospel is not the gifts. The Gospel is not the power of God. The Gospel is the Kingdom of God and life in it. But if you have that life, some strange things are going to happen. [53:45]

Moses had something that was on him and God took it and put it on the elders—got sort of slapped around and it even rolled outside the camp—verse 26—“there remained two men in the camp,” not in the Tabernacle or near the Tabernacle—old Eldad and Medad—and they were just walking along and little of this stuff that God was putting on the elders got on them.

You know, Saul had something—the Old Testament Saul had something like that happen to him. It didn’t straighten him out but it sure gave him something to think about for awhile. [54:24]

Well, these fellows started prophesying and it’s so typical of those of us as human beings who want to sort of manage things, they ran in and said, ”Moses, go get them.”—verse 28—and Moses, very gently, he said, because he understood that probably these people loved him so much that they didn’t want others butting in on this, see? He said, “ . . . Envious thou for my sake? . . . ” (Numbers 11:29) See, he recognized the good intentions of their hearts and said, “ . . . would God that all of the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them.” When did that happen by the way?

Comment: Inaudible

Dallas: That happened, didn’t it? Right, Absolutely. It is still happening. [55:16]

Chapter 12—Miriam and Aaron, they get a little envious and they start a bad report. They said, “This man Moses, he’s got him an Ethiopian woman and they used that as a basis to say, “ . . . Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses?” (Numbers 12:2) Now see, Moses didn’t say “he had spoken only by me.” He didn’t say that. He’s happy for God to speak by anyone, you know.

But they got out of line and so, here we have this wonderful passage about God’s way of dealing with Moses, My servant Moses is not so and I won’t speak to him in visions and dreams. I will speak with him mouth to mouth and obviously—obviously “not in dark speeches.” Behold Miriam became leprous, Aaron cried out to the Lord. (Numbers 12:4-10) (Paraphrased) And here’s the part I like—verse 13—“ . . . Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, Heal her now, oh God . . . “ heal her now, now—don’t let her suffer. Get her out from under this. Moses’ heart was tender towards his sister. He didn’t care what she had done. [56:44]

You remember the wonderful words of Luke 6:35—“ . . . He (God) is kind to the unthankful and to the evil.”  God is kind to the unthankful and to the evil.; He’s kind to people who don’t thank him for it. He gives them things and then gone, you know. He’s kind to them. The evil—God is kind.

Well, even God thought Miriam deserved a little more than Moses did here. “ . . . The Lord said . . . If her Father had spit in her face, she would be ashamed for seven days so let her be shut out for awhile.” (Numbers 12:14) (Paraphrased) But Moses cried out, “Heal her now. Heal her now.” [57:32]

I’ve got three minutes for David. [Laughter] I just hope you will take the notes and study David. Oh wonderful, wonderful tenderhearted David. I guess that in David’s life, my most favorite verse is his final prayer in

1 Chronicles 29. It’s remarkable how similar this is to the way Jesus taught us to pray in so many respects but of course again, there is one Gospel, there is one Lord and when David comes down to the end of his life and he is working on this little project of a house which God has helped him to get straight in his mind because God certainly wanted David to know that he didn’t need a house. David may have needed a house. The people of Israel may have needed a house but God didn’t need a house. But now, look at what David says—verse 10 of 1 Chronicles 29—“Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord  God of Israel our Father, forever and ever.” [58:48]

Listen to these words—

“ . . .Thine, O Lord is the greatness, and the power and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the Heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the Kingdom—thine is the Kingdom—O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.” (1 Chronicles 29:11)

Verse 15—“ . . . we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our Fathers: our days on the earth are as shadow, and there is none abiding. “ See, David knew. David knew the Lord so well. He trusted Him so completely. It never really seemed a thing for him to do to pose as anything on his own. He was always such a humble and sensitive man, even when he was wrong; and he was wrong sometimes. [59:53]

Then the most important thing in the world was not to be right. Remember that? Cause you know, if you believe that, you’ve already shot it and you don’t have anything left but to fake it from here on. See? The most important thing in the world is to love God and to love others with the love of God and to live in faith and the daily experience of a Kingdom such as David had in mind. I wish I had time to just go through so many things.

Very quickly, I’ll just mention three wonderful Psalms of David.—the 22nd, the 23rd, and the 24th Psalms. These are prophetic Psalms. They are Psalms, which are expressive of the Messiah and of what would happen to the Messiah. [1:00:49]

Everyone is familiar with the 22nd Psalm because that is the crucifixion Psalm and everyone is familiar with the 23rd Psalm but they don’t normally, I believe understand it’s connection with the Psalms on each side of it—the 22nd Psalms is the crucifixion Psalm when they pierced me, they parted my garments among them and cast lots for my vesture—verse 18—I am a worm and no man. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Jesus took this to His heart and arranged the circumstances so that the words would literally be true.  “They have parted my garments from among them and cast lots for my vesture.” (Psalm 22:18) (Paraphrased) He didn’t really leave much to chance for the person who wants to know what’s going on. He arranged it very nicely so that people who wanted to know would say, “Yes that all fits together.”  [1:02:00]

The 23rd Psalm is the Psalm of Jesus in the time when His body was in the tomb. He wasn’t in the tomb, by the way during that time. You know that. He wasn’t in the tomb. Where was he?

Comment: Hades [1:02:18]

Dallas: OK; what did He call it though? What did He say to the thief on the cross?

Comment: Today!

Dallas: Today. Now, paradise isn’t that hole in the ground, was it? He was in paradise. Now, with that in mind, remember the wording.

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters . . .” (Psalm 23:1-2)

See, that’s where Jesus was. He was in paradise.  He was in Abraham’s bosom that He taught about in Luke 15 and He was there with confidence. [1:03:05]

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou are with me: thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” (Psalms 23:4-6)

See, that expresses the experience of Jesus between His death and His resurrection. You ever worry about what you are going to do when you are in the grave? Learn from Jesus and David who was a prophet. You remember; he was a prophet. And when you lay that body down, remember God is still in charge. [1:03:57]

And then finally and we will quit just very quickly with this. The 24th Psalm is the psalm of the first ascension. Jesus ascended to His father. You will remember, he told Mary, “Don’t touch me because I must ascend to my Father.” What we call the ascension was something, which was done for the disciples benefit so they would know where He was—He was up there in Heaven. How do you know? Well, we saw Him go. [1:04:19]

The first time they didn’t see Him go. The first time He went out, He went to be with His Father, “I ascend to my Father” and your Father, my God and your God now. And when He ascended, they greeted Him with the words—or He greeted the gates, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates: and be lifted up, ye everlasting doors: that the King of Glory shall come in.” (Psalm 24:9)

“Who is the King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates: even lift them up, ye everlasting doors: and the King of Glory shall come in.” (Psalm 24:8-9)

Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of what? [1:05:05]

Comment: Hosts.

Dallas: Hosts. The Lord of Hosts. That’s Jesus; He is the King of Glory.

And the gates opened and I’m going to leave you to ponder on whether or not these are the gates of hell or the gates of Heaven. Didn’t he say something about the gates of hell not prevailing against my church? [1:05:32]

“Jesus, help us to know you. Help us to learn, to receive and to have the faith of Abraham, the Father of the faithful. Help us to live with tender circumcised hearts. Amen.”

Listen to all parts in this The Soul’s Eternal Anchor series