Awesome Hands – part 65: “The counsel of God”

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Awesome Hands – Part 65

“The counsel of God”

September 10, 2014


In chapter 17 of Exodus we read about the first battle that Israel had with the inhabitants of the land.

The Lord fought Egypt for the Israelites when they were brought through the Red Sea, but the first physical battle with the Amalekites, descendants of Esau, was fought by the armies of Israel.

In the study today, we are going to see how physical war and spiritual warfare are reflections of one another and how being a part of a healthy and functioning body is so important to this battle.

Not only do we need a body, but we all need to be connected to the same Head, the same mind in order to succeed in winning.

The title of this study comes from Acts 20, and we are going to attempt to see how the counsel of God is directly connected to this spiritual concept of war.

Act 20:27  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

The Mount of God

I am going to read a few verses at the start of Exodus 18 to set the foundation for the rest of this study.

Exo 18:1  When Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father in law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, and that the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt;
Exo 18:2  Then Jethro, Moses’ father in law, took Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her back,
Exo 18:3  And her two sons; of which the name of the one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an alien in a strange land:
Exo 18:4  And the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said he, was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh:
Exo 18:5  And Jethro, Moses’ father in law, came with his sons and his wife unto Moses into the wilderness, where he encamped at the mount of God:

Everything that is about to transpire in this chapter, the chapter following the battle we just read about with the Amalekites, is going to happen at the mountain of God.

Exo 3:1  Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

Exo 17:6  Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

The mountain of God is also mount Sinai.


BDB Definition:
Horeb = “desert”

1) another name for Mount Sinai from which God gave the law to Moses and the Israelites

So, the story we are reading in Exodus 18 takes place at Mount Sinai. The importance of this identifying location is very important to realizing the spiritual admonishments we can gain from this story.

Mount Sinai is where the 10 commandments are given telling us also spiritually that we are to do and keep the commandments of God.

Moses goes on to tell Jethro all that the Lord has done in his life and the life of Israelites thus far.

Exo 18:8  And Moses told his father in law all that the LORD had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, and all the travail that had come upon them by the way, and how the LORD delivered them.
Exo 18:9  And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.
Exo 18:11  Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.
Exo 18:12  And Jethro, Moses’ father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses’ father in law before God.

The Lord causes us to witness to others what the Lord has done in our lives, to those He is working with in this age, and they will see that work and rejoice “for all the goodness which the Lord has done”.

This is at this pivotal point in our walk that the Lord reveals to us what our “walking in Faith” is all about.

It is after we have made war with the descendants of Esau, after we have witnessed to others the work of the Lord in our lives, that He then tells us how to live in our new found Faith.

Exo 18:13  And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening.
Exo 18:14  And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even?
Exo 18:15  And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God:
Exo 18:16  When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.
Exo 18:17  And Moses’ father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good.
Exo 18:18  Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.
Exo 18:19  Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God:

“The grace of rulers”

Grace is directly connected to what judges impart to those who are being judged. The judges which are being chosen out in Exodus 18 have some revealing traits.

Exo 18:20  And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.

Judges will know how to do what they have learned. Judges will learn and know ordinances and LAWS, the WAY in which we are to walk, and the WORK that must be done.

How do we know who is “appointed” to this role in the congregation?

Exo 18:21  Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:

Exo 18:21  Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
Exo 18:22  And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.
Exo 18:23  If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.

“If you do this thing …… you shall be able to endure ……and ALL THESE PEOPLE shall go to their place in peace.”

Psa 133:1  A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

Eph 4:1  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
Eph 4:2  With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Eph 4:3  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Grace is huge in all of our lives, especially our spiritual lives in Jesus Christ. Without it, we would not have salvation and we would all simply perish.

Grace and judgment are so intertwined that they are inseparable. It may not appear that this is Truth, but I am going to challenge that thought with the scriptures and thoughts that are going to be presented now.

Eph 2:8  For by grace (G5485) are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Eph 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

By the grace of God, judges are given to the people.

Grace is simply favor with God.

Luk 1:30  And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour (G5485) with God.

Luk 2:52  And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour (G5485) with God and man.

Act 2:47  Praising God, and having favour (G5485) with all the people.

And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Grace, in the Greek, has a root. That root is G5463.



From G5463; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude): – acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace (-ious), joy liberality, pleasure, thank (-s, -worthy).


A primary verb; to be full of “cheer”, that is, calmly happy or well off; impersonal especially as a salutation (on meeting or parting), be well: – farewell, be glad, God speed, greeting, hail, joy (-fully), rejoice.

Thayer Definition:

1) to rejoice, be glad
2) to rejoice exceedingly
3) to be well, thrive
4) in salutations, hail!
5) at the beginning of letters: to give one greeting, salute

Part of Speech: verb

A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: a primary verb

Citing in TDNT: 9:359, 1298

Here is an example of the “root” of grace.

Php 2:16  Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
Php 2:17  Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
Php 2:18  For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.

Now, what does favor and grace have to do with judgment? When we have been shown favor, we glorify God for this work in us and then we proceed to “work out our salvation”.

1Pe 4:16  Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
1Pe 4:17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1Pe 4:18  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

I want to illustrate why grace is important to judgment and how they are inseparable.

Judgment, as we know from the sum of the Word, comes from the North. With this in mind, I want share a little geography with you all.

Mat 15:29  And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there.
Mat 15:30  And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:
Mat 15:31  Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.

The sea of Galilee is north of the dead sea, also known as the salt sea in scripture. The sea of Galilee has a northern inlet of water provided by the Jordan river, and to the south, the Jordan river gives the sea of Galilee an outlet.

From there, the Jordan runs for a long stretch south and dumps into the Dead Sea.

The grace of God comes from His heavenly ways being above our ways, otherwise we would get what wage we were due (wages of sin = death).

His ways are above our ways, and I want you to recognize what judgments Jesus passed on to those who met Him at Galilee. Grace was imparted to the multitudes at Galilee and many glorified God there.

The dead sea is dead because it is being fed from the north but doesn’t feed that water to anything else. It becomes stagnant and lifeless; hence, the name – the Dead Sea.

The way grace is manifest in us is that it comes out of us to others, just as it dwelt in and came forth from Jesus.

When we are shown mercy, we are able to show others this mercy. When we are shown grace, we are able witness to this grace for others to see. Likewise, when judgment produces life in us, we want to share God’s judgments with others.

Heb 4:15  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Heb 4:16  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

This is the SAME GRACE Jesus was given, and He was able to JUDGE the words of the devil AGAINST the Word of God.

Luk 2:40  And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Joh 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Joh 1:15  John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
Joh 1:16  And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
Joh 1:17  For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Mat 3:13  Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

Jesus was baptized in the Jordan after coming from Galilee, and this is what happened next.

Mat 3:16  And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
Mat 3:17  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Mat 4:1  Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

I want to you to imagine that this story we are reading here in Exodus is a parallel to Jesus being led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the traducer, the devil.

The traducers job is to mix truth with lies and tell you, “this is what the Word of God really says”.

However, in this JUDGMENT trial with the devil, Jesus passed His trial and temptation by speaking the unadulterated Word of God.

After having overcome this trial, Jesus goes on to reveal to us what we are to do as we face a battle or war such as this. We must follow the same pattern.

When a storm or tempest comes up against our sinking ship, we must keep the Faith.

Mat 4:11  Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Mat 4:16  The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
Mat 4:17  From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Mat 4:18  And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
Mat 4:19  And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

When we follow Jesus Christ, we are to do what He commands us. As such, we then become His cloud of great witnesses.

A cloud is made of water, but in a physical sense (and spiritual), water goes through a process of life.

We see water on the earth, the Sun and light heat it up, it evaporates, gathers in the heavens to form clouds, and at times, is used to bring storms to replenish the earth with the life of water.

With this type and shadow in mind, how do judges use water to judge? Here’s a hint …. “Washing of water by the Word”.

Hos 6:1  Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for HE HATH TORN, and he will heal us; HE HATH SMITTEN, and he will bind us up.
Hos 6:2  After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
Hos 6:3  Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.
Hos 6:4  O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.
Hos 6:5  Therefore have I hewed them by THE PROPHETS; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth.
Hos 6:6  For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, which symbolizes our baptism by water, but He then is given the power to go beyond only water baptism.

Mat 3:11  I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

“Knowledge, wisdom, understanding”

With all of that being said, how then does the grace of God have anything to do with judgment which begins at the house of God? God is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29 / Deu 4:24).

Before we can make that concrete connection, let us see how wisdom, understanding and knowledge connect the judgment and grace together.

First let us start with wisdom and understanding in the house of God.

1Ki 3:5  In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.
1Ki 3:6  And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.
1Ki 3:7  And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.
1Ki 3:8  And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.
1Ki 3:9  Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
1Ki 3:10  And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
1Ki 3:11  And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;
1Ki 3:12  Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.

1Ki 3:28  And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.

1Ki 5:5  And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name.

So, the “house unto the Lord’s name” has wisdom which comes from understanding and produces proper judgment, and of course 1 Ki 5:5 is speaking about Solomon but also in Spirit about Jesus.

Next then, let us seek for knowledge in the house of God.

Psa 119:64  The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.
Psa 119:65  TETH. Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word.
Psa 119:66  Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.
Psa 119:67  Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

Php 1:9  And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
Php 1:10  That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;

Rom 15:14  And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish (G3560) one another.

1Th 5:14  Now we exhort you, brethren, warn (G3560) them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

We can see that knowledge, wisdom and understanding are all connected with proper judgment.

How then are joy and grace connected to judgment?

Pro 21:15  It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.

Col 1:4  Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
Col 1:5  For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
Col 1:6  Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:

2Jn 1:1  The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;
2Jn 1:2  For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.
2Jn 1:3  Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
2Jn 1:4  I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.
2Jn 1:5  And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
2Jn 1:6  And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

Grace, mercy and peace come from God the Father and Jesus Christ in Truth and Love.

How then does that happen?  We walk after His commandments.

What do judges have to do with any of this? How are judges connected to wisdom, understanding, knowledge, truth, love, mercy and grace?

Exo 18:20  And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.
Exo 18:21  Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
Exo 18:22  And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.

Judgment must begin at the house of God. Don’t you know that you are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you?

I ask you plainly then, are you a judge? Yes, Moses was “practically” picking out judges to judge the physical congregation, but we are ALL being made to know how to judge in the Spirit.

We may not all be given the appointed gift in the body of Christ to judge the “small matters” between one another, but we are still to start judgment at our house, the temple of God of which we are.

When the time comes that we must all collectively pass judgment on a matter, then the Lord will work out that discernment by working in us to know the “good and evil” of the matter.

How is that accomplished in us all?

Eze 43:10  Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and LET THEM measure the pattern.
Eze 43:11  And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and DO THEM.
Eze 43:12  This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house.

When we are shown the pattern we must all keep, it is shown to us by comparing spiritual with spiritual, line upon line, here a little and there a little and it is taken from the sum of thy Word.

When any of those of the congregation stray away from the pattern which has been shown to us as “the house” (that would be Jesus Christ), we are to show them the pattern so that they may be ashamed of their iniquities, and they themselves are to MEASURE THE PATTERN for themselves.

This all happens at the mountain of God, by the counsel God gives to His judges.

This is what “righteous judges”, who walk in the scriptural righteousness’ of God, have as instructions to give to the congregation, “that they may do them”.

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