Why is this “excursus” inserted in the story of the appointment of Moses as the leader of God’s covenant people? Is there anything to learn from this incident?
To thousands of new Jewish converts to Christianity, this was the meaning of believers-only baptism: as soon as they believed in Christ, their children, formerly members of God’s own treasured people, now have become unclean, detestable pagans, cut off from God’s covenant promises. And not one of them dared question the apostles; they just sheepishly accepted this horrific fact.
God instructed Moses to go to a mountain where he will show him the extent and the beauty of the Promised Land he is giving to Israel before he died. But beyond this disappointment, God also assured Moses that Israel, after he died, will be ably led by Joshua, a Spirit-filled man, in their conquest of the Promised Land.
Beneath Matthewâ€™s genealogy is the story of Godâ€™s salvation plan through Abraham, David, and Christ. Notice that the record includes not only Jews, but also a few Gentiles, all of them women who had tarnished reputations. But as Paul says, all those who are Christâ€™s are Abrahamâ€™s offspring, heirs according to promise (Gal 3:29).
Dr. Michael Horton, in the latest White Horse Inn broadcast (“Christianity Confronts Islam”) on November 29, 2009, interviewed Muslim scholar and former professor of Shari’ah law Sam Solomon, who had to flee his own country after his conversion to Christianity.
Christian, Jesus is your “spy” who knows everything about your Promised Land because he came down from there. He assures you that your Promised Land is the heavenly city, beautiful and abounding in Godâ€™s blessings. Its inhabitants are not wicked enemies you have to fight and conquer, but righteous friends with whom you will fellowship for eternity. Its fortifications do not just reach up to heaven, but the city is in heaven itself, safe and secure from all evil.
Reacting to a post by Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., Dr. Scott Clark of Westminster Seminary says that he is not offended by Dever’s assertion that the presbyterians’ practice of infant baptism is “a sinful (though sincere) error.”
Desmond Tutu writes in the foreword, “It is possible to have a new kind of world, a world where there will be more compassion, more gentleness, more caring, more laughter, more joy for all of God’s creation, because that is God’s dream. And God says, ‘Help me, help me, help me realize my dream.'”