“An Eye for an Eye”.

Here is the first time such a phrase occurs in the Old Testament:

If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.  But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,  burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe, Exodus 21:22-25.

“A woman with child.”

Not “a fetus,” not “a byproduct of conception” (!), not just a lump of cells, but a “child.”

Our world may have decided that the unborn are disposable at the convenience of the mother, but God considered them to be deserving of the same protection against harm and injury as anybody who had made it through the birth canal.

And, yes, I know what the Lord Jesus said about “an eye for an eye” in Matthew 5:38-42.  I doubt that He had this particular situation in mind when He said it.

There’s a lot that could be said about the text in Exodus, which we’ll not get into.

Scripture uniformly says that God is interested and involved in the development of a child from the moment of conception.  We grant this normally is through DNA and the process of development in the mother’s womb – a “natural” process.  But because it is “natural,” science says that “God” can’t possibly be involved – there is no God to be involved.  It’s a “natural” process.  That’s all.  But where did the DNA and the process come from?  Did they just conveniently evolve “naturally” along with everything else – all those countless “everything elses” that are necessary for it to work?  And all at the same time, so that it could work?

Blind, random chance?

Mutation?

It seems to me it takes a great deal more “faith” to believe in that than it does that God created it and sees to it that it keeps on working.  It’s strange how the evolutionist and the Christian can look at the same “evidence” – the marvels of “nature,” whether through the microscope or the telescope, the intricacy and complexity of the human body – and arrive at completely opposite conclusions.  The evolutionist says, “Well, that’s just because Christians are ignorant.”

I guess it depends on what one chooses to be “ignorant” about.

Here are just a few of the Scriptures which speak about God and an unborn child.

Genesis 25:23, And the LORD said to her [Rebekah, Isaac’s wife, who was having a difficult pregnancy], “Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body.” 

“Two nations.”

Not just two little boys, but “nations”.  God looked at their descendants, as well as at them.  When an unborn baby dies, he or she’s not the only one.  All those who would have descended from them also, in effect, die.

Have you ever thought about how many people it took to get you here?  You think of your parents, your grandparents, perhaps even your great-grandparents.  Just for fun, take it back 20 generations, to about the time of the Reformation.  You might be surprised at how many people were alive then, not necessarily all exact contemporaries, who contributed part of the DNA that you carry, which they got from their parents and ancestors.  They had a part in what color your eyes are, the color of your hair, how tall you are, whether you’re musical or can’t carry a tune, etc., etc.  It’s really mind-blowing when you think about it.

This generational “identity,” if you will, is how the Scripture could say that Levi paid tithes in Abraham, cf. Hebrews 7:9, 10.

Genesis 29:31, When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb…. Here is just one of several verses which describe the Lord as opening or closing the womb.

Judges 16:17, Samson, in his foolish dalliance with Delilah, “…I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb.”  Indeed, his mother had been instructed about what she could or could not eat while she was carrying him, cf. Judges 13:13, 14.  The idea that a mother’s diet could affect her child is not a new idea.

Job 31:15, in describing why he couldn’t be harsh or unjust to his servants, male or female, Job said, “Did not He who made me in the womb make them?  Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?” 

Psalm 22:9, 10, a prophecy of the Messiah, perhaps as He hung on the Cross, cf. v.8, But You are He who took Me out of My mother’s womb; You made Me trust You while on My mother’s breasts.  I was cast upon You from birth.  From My mother’s womb, You have been My God.  If it’s argued that this refers to Messiah’s birth and infancy, that’s true, but how was the Messiah conceived, that is, if Scripture is reliable?  (Just to be certain, I believe that it is.)  Cf. Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-25.  God was directly involved in this conception.

Isaiah 49:5, another Messianic prophecy, “And now the LORD says, Who formed Me from the womb to be His servant,….”   This takes us again to the virgin conception, for after His conception, the Lord Jesus developed like any other child in the womb.  All that’s mind-blowing to think about, too.

Jeremiah 1:5, the Lord speaking to Jeremiah the prophet, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born, I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”  Cf. the similar remark by the apostle Paul, But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace…, Galatians 1:15.

Ministry, whether the prophets, the Lord’s, yours or mine, may not “begin” until after we’re born, but the preparation for it starts at conception.

We don’t usually think of it like this, but there’s an entire world involved in that little “baby-bump”.

God said to take care of it.

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“A Relationship with God”

If you’ve been around more or less conservative churches for any length of time, you’ve probably heard some preacher or personal worker urge people to be saved, so they can “have a relationship with God.”  I understand where they’re coming from, but the truth of the matter is that everyone already has a “relationship” with God.  Now, this DOES NOT mean, as some believe, that we’re already all the children of God.  Nevertheless, from the most outspoken atheist to the most devoted believer, from the newly-fertilized ovum looking for a place to nestle in its mother’s womb to the most elderly person on the planet, whether historic or contemporary, ancient or modern, each and every human being has a “relationship” with God.  To be sure, it isn’t necessarily the same, but it is a “relationship” nevertheless.

What do I mean?

We live in a society which for the most part has abandoned any real belief in the Biblical God.  Almost any religion, it seems, is acceptable except that Christianity which seeks to live by the Bible.  There’s a lot of what I call “sanctified unbelief” in some churches, which seem to believe that, in order to defend the Bible, one must rip it apart.  Really, though, there’s nothing “sanctified” about it.  It’s out-and-out rebellion against the Lord. That kind of Christianity is acceptable to the world, because it agrees with the skeptic and unbeliever.  However, even churches which say they believe the Bible too often present God as if He were “out there” somewhere trying to get in.  He wants to bless us, but He can’t.  As it were, He paces on the sideline of His own creation unless and until we decide, so to speak, to send Him into the game.  We are too often practical deists, acting as if He started the whole thing rolling and then went off somewhere and left His handiwork to run by itself, even if we claim to believe in Him.

Is this an accurate picture of God?  Is it what He says of Himself?

And what about that newly-fertilized ovum?  How can a speck of protoplasm have “a relationship” with God?

Since that’s where we all start, that’s where we’ll start.

Job is believed to be the oldest book in the Bible from the standpoint of when it written. He lived before Moses.  Trying to work his way through the reason for the things he was suffering, and thinking of his relationships with various people in his life, he said of his servants, “Did not He [God] who made me in the womb make them?  Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?” Job 31:15.

To God, the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 139:13, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.”

There are several references to “the womb” in regard to different persons in the Bible. To Jeremiah, God said, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,” Jeremiah 1:5. Paul said something similar of himself in Galatians 1:15, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me by His grace….”  Even of the nation of Israel, God said, “Thus says the LORD who made you and formed you from the womb,” Isaiah 44:2.   Also v. 24.

Of course, there are those today who might respond, “Well, that’s just the ignorance of biblical writers.  We know about DNA and the development of a fetus.  God has nothing to do with it.”

Doesn’t He?

I knew a lady who had just began to understand something of the sovereignty of God in life.  In her excitement at this, she used the following illustration:  when a bullet is fired from a gun, God holds it on the way where it is going.  That’s not quite true.  God made the forces which influence and determine the bullet’s trajectory.  He Himself doesn’t “hold” it.  He seldom works directly like this.  When He does, it’s called a miracle.  At the same time, He’s in active superintendence and control of those forces – and all other aspects of His creation.  He’s not just sitting up there, as it were, playing Solitaire on His computer while the world goes its own way and does its own thing.

So it is with the development of that little fertile ovum.

Basically, what is DNA?  And I don’t mean just the name:  Deoxyribonucleic Acid.  DNA is information, information about every possible aspect of a person’s physical being.  So, as the ovum begins to develop, it does so in accord with the instruction of the DNA it received from its parents.

The thing is, information doesn’t just “appear.”  It doesn’t just “evolve” or develop.  It comes from somewhere.  It has a source.  Where did DNA come from?  Who “programs” it?

The evolutionist claims that it just happened – along with everything else – over countless billions of years.  Blind luck.  Random chance.  Roll of the dice.

The Bible says, “In the beginning, God created….”

That is our first “relationship” with God.  He is our Creator.

However, as we noted above, He doesn’t just get things started and then leave them to continue as they will.  Scripture says He is also the Sustainer of life.  In rebuking the wicked King Belshazzar, the son (actually, possibly grandson) of Nebuchadnezzar, for his wicked desecration of Temple vessels, Daniel said. “They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them.  And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified,” Daniel 5:23, 24 (NKJV).

Paul refers to God like this is 1 Timothy 4:10, calling Him the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.  The word translated “savior” carries the idea of “preserver,” and not just “savior” in a spiritual sense.  This used to be known as “the providence of God.”  He is the Savior in a spiritual sense of those who believe, and they only.  Referring to Christ, the writer of Hebrews says that He upholds all things by the word of His power, Hebrews 1:3.  In that verse alone, there is enough material for a lifetime of study.  God upholds and sustains His creation moment by moment.

God is our Preserver.

There are some who are upset by the idea that God could “own” the ways of a drunken idolater.  Others say, “Yes, but what about our free will?”  As to the first, God did not approve of nor accept what Belshazzar did.  But Belshazzar couldn’t have done it if he were dead.  Daniel simply reminded him that every breath, every heartbeat, every second of life, ultimately came from God.  As to the other, each man did what he wanted.  Nebuchadnezzar wanted to become ruler of the world.  He did.  Belshazzar wanted to throw a party.  He did.  Neither were compelled by God in what they did. Neither was outside the superintendence of God in what they did.

There is more.

When God created, He set into motions the laws and principles by which His creation would operate.  For example, like begets like.  That is, a bear never gives birth to a puppy or a trout or a canary.   Nor to something that will develop into one of them.  Even that favorite of the evolutionists, the eohippus, was still just a horse.

There are also physical laws, like gravity.  Even though man has learned to use gravity, he will never change it.  Further, if you break that law, like jumping from a tall building, there will be consequences.

God is the Governor of His creation.

This isn’t just limited to physical or natural law.  There is also a moral component – exemplified in the “thou shalls” and the “thou shall nots” of the Ten Commandments.  This is where our difficulty lies.  We don’t want to be limited by those old puritanical ideas.  We want freedom!  We want to live our lives, do our own thing!  We are “the captains of our souls.”  We are “the masters of our fate.”  Strange how those words of defiance to “whatever gods there might be” are sometimes used by Christians. Just goes to show how deep-seated our rebellion against God is.

However, actions have consequences.

So.

God is the Judge of His creation.

Not forever will mankind thumb its nose at its Creator.  Not forever will men and women flout their wills over the will of the Creator.  Judgment is coming.  Every thought, word and action will be judged by a righteous, holy and just God.  Every hidden thing will be analyzed in the light of impeccable holiness.  Nothing will be overlooked, missed or ignored.

Nothing….

Yes, but what about those who have never heard the Gospel or perhaps even seen a Bible?  Throughout the course of history, that probably describes the majority of mankind.  Paul addressed this situation in Romans 2:14, 15, when he refers to Gentiles who, though they don’t have the Mosaic Law, nevertheless have the work of the Law written in their hearts.  This simply means that every person, no matter who or where they are, whether “primitive” or “civilized,” has a concept of “right” and “wrong.”  Now these may not agree with what God says is right and wrong in His word.  Nevertheless, the concept is there and when one violates even that concept, he or she is guilty before God.  And every one of us has violated that concept.  Haven’t we?  Can any of us say that we have ALWAYS lived as we should?  Or do we have to admit that we’re “not perfect”?  What shall we say then to the violation of the Word of God each of us is guilty of?

God is the Judge.

There’s a popular idea that “all roads lead to heaven.”  That is, it doesn’t matter what “religion” you may have, you’re on your way to heaven.

Is that true?

Is that what the Bible teaches?

If it is, the Bible is unnecessary.

The Lord Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me,”John 14:6.  In Matthew 7:13, 14, He said, “Enter by the  narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  Modern unbelief may think it has bulldozed a few more lanes to the “way to life,” but Peter put it like this in his defense before the Sanhedrin in Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is NO OTHER NAME under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (emphasis added).

I’ve heard this idea labelled as bigotry, and even heard the Lord called a bigot.  But, in spite of the world’s idea to the contrary, there are absolutes, and this is one of them. There’s only one way of salvation and that is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who He was and what He did for sinners.

Even the most “tolerant” person, when he goes into the pharmacy, expects the pharmacist to be “narrow” in fulfilling his prescription.  He is concerned, rightly, that the pharmacist give him, say, aspirin and not arsenic.

It’s only in moral and spiritual things that it doesn’t seem to matter.  Indeed, when it comes to their souls, men and women seem to prefer arsenic.

All kinds of people have visited this blog and read posts.  I thank you for this visit and reading the post.  Just let me say this.  You have a relationship with God.  Is it the “right” one?  The one that will get you to heaven?

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