Prosperity, Eternity (13): Old Testament Saints had Bosoms

Meek Moses had Bosom
Moses had bosom; so great a bosom, he was simply overwhelmed by it and rendered a prayer with almost unimaginable full weight of compassion for his flock to the extent he was willing that God take his life if He will not meet with the needs of his people. Moses was ready to die so that Israel could have bread. Think about it! It is a prayer that used every conceivable means of bringing God to act. It is a prayer from the man’s innermost being:

“And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? And wherefore have I not found favor in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? Have I conceived all this people? Have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the suckling child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? For they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat. I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand (i.e. at once), if I have found favor in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness” – Numbers 11:11-15. Parenthesis is mine.

Do not fail to learn here about this man’s great bosom; his affliction and burden (v. 11) his breast feeding (v. 12), care (v. 13), burden-bearing (v. 14); ‘wretchedness’ (v. 15). Have we been so burdened halfway? Why not? God wants us to. This is no time to live in ceiled houses, luxury when the houses and vineyards of God lay waste.

Remember this man forsook Egypt with its knowledge, riches and even throne which could’ve been his and chose to suffer with the people of God for He had respect unto the recompense of the reward, for “he endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible”. (See Hebrews 11: 24-29). He chose to lay treasures in heaven; and his heart was there; and so could see Him Who is invisible.

He could see his God from afar. Do you know partly why? Moses had a bosom: a bosom for the people of God! He was properly laying up treasures in Heaven by faithfully giving himself to His people and managing them and the commonwealth God’s perfect way. All who do likewise will always have their hearts in Heaven. Let’s learn from this father of faith. ‘Faith of our fathers living still’! We have no alternative.

Do you have a bosom? Do you bother that the people of God are unfed, unclothed, un-housed? Are you pained at all? Are there not many Moses’ today appropriating God’s rich provision for the Church to themselves and families? Are there not ministers having respect for millionaire members of their denominations and forming clique with them ostensibly for their own (ministers’) survival while the vast majority of the people of God are virtually uncared for? Not Moses! Moses chose to sacrifice that the people of God may live. Moses laid treasures in heaven and so his heart was there. He also made sure all with him did same: For none had too much and none had too few. Everyone had just enough:

“And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating. And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them” – Exodus 16:15-20

Though this community-lifestyle lasted only while the manna from God lasted for forty years (i.e. from Exodus 16 to Joshua 5); it was however to form a kind of model, an ideal that society must approximate after the manna eventually ceased. It got some forms of expressions in the laws; formed some of the meditations of the Psalms, the wise writings of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes etc: which Boaz knew and engaged in, put him in the ancestry of the Savior of humanity; which Nabal was not ready to comply with, paid dearly for it and that with his life; and which Abigail obeyed, ‘ascended royalty’. You can go on and on. And at the fullness of time that lifestyle became the perfect pertain of living in the early Church:

“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need” – Acts 4:32-35. “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God” – 2 Corinthians 8:1-5.

And as we said elsewhere in this series we will say again: ‘May these Scriptures still be relevant, valid and remain the compass in our age’. God’s provision is given to us: To be channeled or distributed according to needs in God’s vineyard (especially the mission fields) and God’s household (especially the missionaries). We are simply caretakers. The life and ministry of Moses sets a pattern:

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned” – Hebrews 11:24-29.

And this man became the best epitome of meekness among all men. He had a very rare bosom that complemented that. He was a good shepherd and faithful steward; not one that smites or starves the servants or the brethren; not one appropriating the commonwealth for himself and family; and not one living in ceiled houses and leading a flamboyant life at the expense of the people.

Of course, his meekness and bosom won’t allow all that. Instead, he became among men the unequalled nursing mother, burden bearer, affliction sufferer and of course, law giver. To say it again, ‘He chose to lay treasures in heaven; and his heart was there; and so could see Him Who is invisible’. That was enough for him! All the mundane things around could not therefore turn off his gaze from Him that all things consist. There is a righteous that must compare with al

l our getting and use them according to God’s purpose or we make shipwreck of our faith.

Upright Job had Bosom
In Job 29: 11-17 we read and very instructively too: “When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widows heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out. And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.”

Yes, Job was stupendously rich. First of all, his riches were commensurate with his righteousness. He sought the Kingdom of God and its righteousness. And with this Job knew all he had was for the benefit and in defense of the poor and helpless! Job was rich unto God. That is why God exonerated Job of all the charges of his wise friends including their charge in Job 20: 15: “He has swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again. God shall cast them out of his belly”. That is ordinarily a statement of fact, but here addressed to the wrong person: Job. But do they describe us: You and me? Certainly, not Job! Hear him: “But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” – Job 23: 10.

In Job 29: 11-17 which we have read already and shall now read again for its instructiveness Job didn’t only thoroughly debunk his accusers but lay bare the purpose of wealth from God with his wonderful example, and there can hardly be a better message on giving and on the working of the bosom: “When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widows heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out. And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.” In all our getting let us get commensurate righteousness!

How are you, with your riches? Or, what will become of you when you get what you are craving for? Job was a man of like passion as we. If men have made shipwreck of their faith in pursuit of riches, the want of commensurate righteousness in that ‘pursuit’ and the way they use the riches when gotten is the reason. But remember anyway that righteousness does not pursue wealth but are rather added to it. If men have made shipwreck of their faith after God has blessed them, it is because of lack of commensurate righteousness.

And when the Savior says that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to make it to heaven, the whole thing almost boils down to righteousness: the righteousness to package, employ and handle God’s riches the way God wants it packaged, employed and handled; a righteousness void of surfeiting, selfishness and holding more than we need in relations to other members of the household (especially the missionaries, persecuted, holy and zealous but needy brethren, etc); orphans, widows indeed, the physically challenged, and others genuinely in need etc.

Job laid treasures in Heaven and so his heart was there. You wonder why he knew his Redeemer lives, and that He will stand at the latter day upon the earth; and that though after his skin worms destroys his (first) body, yet in his flesh (i.e. a new spiritual body) shall he see God? (See Job 19: 25-26). Of course, this mortal flesh of the saint shall be gone and in its place shall be an immortal body that shall house the spirit, an incorruptible body like the spirit; and with the spirit it houses shall live eternally with God.

Job could see his God from afar. Do you know partly why? Job had bosom! Let us learn from this father of faith. ‘Faith of our fathers living still’! We have no alternative.

All these men: Lot, Joseph, Moses, Job and David; all with bosoms like Abraham whom they were all hewn from, are today in the bosom of the God that inhabits eternity. O that we could join them there!

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