ATTITUDE(a 3-part Bible study), PART 1
Most of the Old Testament speaks like this, "listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe…that you should act according to them…be careful to observe them…Be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you…you shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you…Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes..."
way of looking at God's dealing with
In Dt.14:22-27, In anticipation of bringing Israel into the land God directs His people each year to travel to the place where He has chosen "to make His name abide" and present a tithe of their produce. If it is too far to travel with the tithe, the people could exchange goods for money and buy "whatever your heart desires." They were to "eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household." The families were to celebrate in the presence of God by eating a portion of the tithe in happy fellowship with the priests, Levites, and the poor.
Dt.15:1-11, again in anticipation
Dt.15:12-18 continues the same
idea of generosity for bondservants due
to be released after their service period of 6 years. "you shall not let him go away
empty-handed; you shall supply him liberally from your flock, from your
threshing floor, and from your winepress." Then the reason or ground supporting these
attitudes is given, "You shall
remember that you were a slave in the
Dt.27:11-13, the tribes of
The Bible speaks of (1) actions (what we do or don't do), (2) motives (why we do or not, what governs our actions, moves us), (3) attitudes (how or in what spirit we go about doing or not doing), and (4) beliefs (ideas taken into one’s heart that govern his perception). It is this area of attitudes that we focus on here, the disposition of our mind and heart toward God. The manner in which we do a thing indicates our attitude or spirit at the time.
It is in the freedom of God's love that we enjoy Him and appreciate His sovereignty and holiness. We can understand why there could be no other way to accomplish our redemption than for Christ to bear our sins. Therefore, we know for sure two things about the events and circumstances of our lives: (1) the consequences of sin and the evil that is in the world will touch us all in various ways; (2) but, nothing "has the power to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom.8:31-39). The whole picture liberates us to place a positive construction upon the events and circumstances of our lives (ie, to construe them in a positive way in favor of God's good intent as opposed to being angry with Him and imagining that He enjoys our suffering) because "in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (Jn.16:33)
· Next time, to think further along these lines, look carefully at "attitude" in Col.3:1-7 & Phil.2:1-18.
ATTITUDE, PART 2
Last time we saw that God was very much aware of
Let us further consider
Moses understood that the people’s reaction to him was really an
accusation against God, “Why do you
contend with me? Why do you tempt the
Lord?” (Ex.17:2-3; see Ps.78:5-12, 17-19, 40-42, 56-59) Heb.3
& 4 comment on the “rebellion,”
“the day of trial.” The immediate
introduction says we are Christ’s household “if
we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the
end” (3:6). As it was with
We find the same call to become a new man in Col.3:1-4:6. Col.3:1
states the unseen reality (what we say and think we believe) and a course of
action that corresponds to it. Verse 2 continues with the mindset and
focus commensurate with that reality. Verse 3 relates the past reality with
its present results. Verse 4 expresses the future reality
and our expectation. Verse 5 is a conclusion, a necessary
internal course of action. Verses 6-7 remind us of a fact of our
personal history [old man] to reinforce commitment to that action. Note that among the things which characterize
the new man are thankfulness (3:15,
17; 4:2) and a heart full of song [joy] (3:16;
see Acts 16:25). Why song?
“In this [salvation] you greatly
rejoice”, 1 Pt.1:6. “you
rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory”, v.8. Remember how it was
around the time of Jesus’ birth. Mary
Next time we’ll look to Dt.4-9 for answers to the tough
questions. How do we do this (put on the
new man, love God, work out our own salvation, etc.) without turning our
efforts into more commands to obey, like the other duties and requirements
ATTITUDE, PART 3
“we ... are fellow workers for your joy.” (2 Cor.1:24) “Your statutes have been my songs” (Ps.119:54)
LET’S BEGIN WITH AN EXERCIZE. [answers at end of lesson]
1. List 8 nouns, like commandments, that describe the kinds of things the Bible tells people to keep or do (see Ps.19 & 119).
2. List 8 verbs, besides keep and do, that describe how we are to treat those commandments, etc.
3. List 3 verbs that call us to a certain attitude toward those commandments, etc.
4. List some nouns or verbs that honestly depict your disposition toward keeping or doing those commandments, etc.
Though translations may vary, there are 3 concepts we can use to hang our “how to” on: KNOW; REMEMBER; UNDERSTAND.
The knowledge God gives us comes in the form of personal experience interpreted by propositional truth. It is this knowledge that we are to learn, teach and remember. Remembering implies doing (obeying) [just as “hears the word and understands,” Mt.13:23 does; see “Listen” below and Jas.1:22-25] and means keeping the knowledge fresh in our thoughts. This knowledge is intended to mature and lead to understanding. Understanding means: making sense of the facts (knowledge); integrating facts so explanations and purposes are revealed; putting together what and how with why; making sense of the facts so we realize what they mean and how important they are. The secret of “how to” is maintaining awareness of (remembering) my redemption in Christ. [Though this answer raises its own question of, “How”, the answers are apparent.] “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth [About?], and the truth shall make you free [From?]” (Jn.8:31-32).
EXERCISE IN DEUTERONOMY [Not everything of importance is typed, the rest of these verses are helpful also]: find the above 3 concepts in the following verses and mark them to distinguish one from another.
4:1, “…listen to the ________ and the ________ which I teach you to ________...” [The command to listen to Jesus (Mt.17:5) is parallel] Listen in the Old Testament is comparable to “He who has ears, let him hear” in the New. Listen! Something is being said, taught; something to hear, to learn as well as to do >> v.8
4:2, Don’t alter or modify the word commanded [as the Pharisees did], but think about it as He gave it in its context and carry it out completely (5:33) without rationalizing changes (5:32). [God has carefully drawn patterns of substance in this realm to convey truth pertaining to His unseen nature and character (Ex.25:40).]
4:3-4, you personally experienced God’s judgment and are alive because “you held fast”.
4:6, God’s statutes and judgments are wisdom and understanding for us. [??]
4:7, Our God is real and approachable.
4:9, “Only take heed to yourself [How?], and diligently keep yourself [?], lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart…and teach them”.
4:10, ‘Gather the people...and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me...and that they may teach’.
4:11, You were there at the mountain.
4:12, The Lord spoke, you heard.
4:13, He declared His Covenant and wrote the ten commandments.
4:14, Moses taught them (4:5).
4:35, “To you it was shown, that you might know...” [What?]
4:39, “Therefore know this day, and consider in your heart...” [What?]
6:6, “these words ... shall be in your heart.”
6:7, “You shall teach them...” [How?]
6:8, “bind them...” [Say what?]
6:9, “write them…” [Where? What for?]
6:12, “beware, lest you forget the Lord who”
delivered you from bondage in
6:20-25, When your son asks you the meaning...[What will you reply?]
7:9, “Therefore know...” [What?]
8:11-14, “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God...” [In what way? What is the emphasis?]
8:18, “You shall remember...”
9:3, “Therefore understand...”
9:7, “Remember! Do not forget...”
NOTICE The Interplay of these Concepts in Other Scriptures and Their Effect on Our Lives.
KNOWING - Read aloud 2 Pt.1:2-9; 2:20; 3:17-18 and discuss. What does “life” in 1:3 refer to?
REMEMBERING - Read aloud 2 Pt.1:12-18; 3:1-2, 8 and discuss. [Note the parallel between Dt.4:11-12 and 2 Pt.1:16-18]
UNDERSTANDING - Read aloud 2 Pt.3:16; Lk.24:45 and discuss.
PRINCIPLE – A love does not need to be supported by discipline, but discipline is necessary to learn to love. [Apply this to yourself in the area of meditation.]
ANSWERS TO EXERCISES
1. 8 nouns - Statutes, laws, ordinances, judgments, testimonies, precepts, ways, word
2. 8 verbs - Observe, walk in them, listen to, obey, take heed, act in accord with, seek, turn from, meditate on, remember, do not forget
3. My disposition - Lack of motivation (desire), guilt
4. 3 verbs - Love, delight in, rejoice, incline my heart, hate (reject) false ways
“that through these you may become partakers of the Divine __________”, 2 Pt.1:4; “but grow”, 3:18. “be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” Rom.12:2. “we...all are being transformed,” 2 Cor.3:18. “Now I rejoice...that your sorrow led to repentance...for Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation [growth and progress in the Christian life],” 2 Cor.7:9-10.
Many years ago, my boss used a number of adjectives that exactly described my negative, sultry attitude at work. It was obvious that he had rehearsed his comments and that he had been praying about it. I realized that God had so blessed me in Christ that I had no reason to be negative, and from that day I decided to go to work each day with a grateful heart and maintain a joyful spirit. And by God’s grace, I did. Every once in a while the old discontent begins to surface, so I have a little talk with myself. I remind myself of the huge thing God did for me in opening my eyes to the Gospel, of forgiveness and righteousness before Him. My life changed and I bless God as a regular natural part of secret worship.
One Sunday this year, while I was staying at a friend’s and
working on his house in
This principle of the second look (giving more careful consideration) is really what meditation is about. Thinking about things (things you know) is the process of remembering and leads to gaining understanding (realizing the meaning). It is the focus of Jas.1:22-25, where the end result [purpose] is to become “a doer of the work.” …“that He might...purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works,” Tit.2:11-14...“be careful to maintain good works,” Tit.3:4-8. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,” Eph.2:8-9.
One thing is certain: A true believer is deliberate in following Christ.