God honors His righteousness, even the righteousness He has given to people as He gave it to Moses. The Lord has rigidity and merciful flexibility. He hears prayers and relents. He builds relationships and extends new mercies. (Numbers 23:19-20; Exodus 32:9-14; Amos 7:1-7; Isaiah 38:1-3; Mark 7:26-28)
Speaker: Thomas Schaller
11:00 AM on 10/1/2023
P. Schaller –
Wow! Great to be here this morning. Praise the Lord! Beautiful worship, and great day. Tonight, there is prayer
and worship in the service, and many of you know about that, how that goes. Prayer and
worship and how good it is. That you can put in your calendar, in your memory.
This morning, I’d like you to turn to Amos. I’d like you to take note of the character of God, the
attributes of God, the nature of God. This is our theme. I’ll write – this is a five minute, seven
minute introduction. We have also a sister here from Turkey visiting us. Right down here. Years
ago, we met in Istanbul. There she is. She’s married to a pastor in Turkey, and Erhan was from
their church. Many of us know Erhan, because he came and studied here. He’s back in Istanbul.
We’re so glad you’re here. Yes. Praise the Lord. Great.
Attributes of God. The nature of God. Is God – I’ll put down these two words – is God rigid and
is he flexible? Is God rigid? And is he also flexible? I’ll explain this to you for a few minutes here.
We’ll do the offering. A couple announcements. The offering. And then the message. So, this is
an introduction. Offering and then the message and then communion at the end of the service.
So, this is not long but important. And it could be long. This message could go for hours! Could
be long. Could be. It’s not going to be.
Is God the God of truth and can he lie? No, he cannot lie. Titus 1:2. God is a God of truth. I like
to think of mathematics and also history and things that have happened. Telling the truth in
physics, chemistry, biology, sciences. You got to tell the truth. Banking. You got to tell the truth.
You run a bank, you’ve got to have the right numbers. I don’t think so. In my account, I have
$7,842 dollars in my account. The banker says I’m sorry to tell you, you don’t have that much
money in your bank account. What? What? I want this number. The banker says I don’t care
what you want, the reality is this, right?
In our culture, we have a lot of self-interest in what we believe and what we want reality to be.
But when you say I want reality this way, then it has to be tested. Here’s a good point. This is a
string with a weight on it. What do you think gravity is doing right here? It’s pulling it down. Is
gravity lying? Is that line vertical? Okay. Law of gravity, right? Law of physics. Is it lying? So,
carpenters use lasers today, but this is the old-fashioned way of finding a straight, vertical line.
So, they put it up to their work to see if the 2X4 is true, if it is true to the vertical line.
God uses this in Amos 7:7. God had a plumbline in his hand, right? We have the verse here.
What is that? That’s what this is. It’s a plumbline. Is it plumb the carpenter would say. Well, it
looks like it is. I don’t care about the way you look at it. I want to know objectively outside of
you is it plumb? This will not lie. But we have a problem with lying in principle in life. God
cannot lie. And it’s rigid. That’s the way it is. It’s called truth. God’s reality we would say. The
reality of God.
Now, a lot of people want to have God their way. So, they have God their way and they want to
live that way. And people can. They do all the time. Actually, they are reinterpreting reality. I’m
a bowl of cornflakes. Back in the days when people were taking drugs, and they are today, too.
By the way, stay away from marijuana. Just stay away from marijuana. It’s no good. It’s poison.
It produces cancer. It messes up your head. Stay away. Don’t do it. Stay away from it. I don’t
care if it’s legal in Maryland or on the moon! It doesn’t matter to me. Like don’t do it. It’s not
good. Not good. You’re going to interpret reality by a crazy mind. And live in a world that’s not
real. And what you have found, and I have found is Christ. Christ is the way, the truth, and the
life. And the reality of our new life is to walk with him and to know him. This is our joy. So, that
will be our message. God is true.
Let’s look at one more verse, Hebrews 7:2. You know how challenging it is to be able to speak to
you folks. Some of you here once a week or twice or three times a week, but then to be reading
your own Bible and learning and growing in it. It’s really fun. It’s a joy. You got to keep at it.
Keep at it. Walk with God. Walk with God. Trust him. Keep at it.
Notice this verse. Hebrews 7:2. Now, the context is he is talking about Melchizedek who is the king
that Abraham met on the way coming from a battle. Abraham coming and he meets this king.
That’s a separate message who he was and so on. But the point I want you to see here his name
is, he is king of righteousness first. After that, he is king of peace. So, it looks like he had two
names. First, king of righteousness. And then it says after that, also king of Salem. You have two
things there. King of righteousness up on the screen and then king of peace. Which comes first?
Righteousness. Where does your peace come from? Righteousness. This could be another
name for righteousness. Is it right? Is it true? Who is God? Right and true. Line up with him and
then what happens? King of peace. The peace follows the righteousness.
You cannot believe a lie. You have a wall that is crooked. Some young boy says I’m a girl. Some
young girl says I’m a boy. And you think that’s going to be healthy for that child? Are they going
to have peace? Is that healthy to interpret reality your own way, your own mind. Is that healthy
to say I’m a bowl of cornflakes or I’m an astronaut or I’m a cat? I mean is that weird? Is that
Look at the verse. It says he is first king of righteousness. He cannot lie. That’s what I want to
find. I want to find the God that does not lie. Then the result is peace. The peace of God that
passes understanding. The peace of God that comes into your heart.
So, we have the first point is rigidity or truth. This one here that he is a God of truth. I want to
show you in the message that he’s flexible. God is flexible. God is merciful. God is
compassionate. God cares about you and I. And he wants to draw us to himself, but he reaches
us by his tenderness, by his compassion. He reaches us by flexing, by being flexible, by moving.
In one sense, God does not move, and he cannot change. He changes not, Malachi 3:6. On the
other hand, he came to send us Christ, so Christ could have mercy on us. God of the Old
Testament is the same God as the God of the New Testament. He was merciful in the Old
Testament, but he was also the God of truth. And in the New Testament, he is the God of truth
but he’s also the God of mercy. So, that will be our message today. Welcome, P. Eugene.
Okay. You may be seated. Turn with me to Numbers 23. (Prayer). Allan Cole is in Poland, so he’s
serving over there for six weeks. He’s usually sitting down front here. And then the newcomers
on – is it Monday? No, Tuesday. Tuesday night with P. Roger. You want to stand for a second?
P. Roger does a great job. He does. He does a great job. And that’s in the café. If you’re a
newcomer, and want to have a little more fellowship, that’s Tuesday night at 7:00 in the café.
All are welcome.
Two words here: rigid and flexible. Our message revolves around these two realities that God is
the God of truth. We see here Numbers 23 when a king, Balak, wanted Balaam to curse the
Jews, and was willing to pay the sorcerer, Balaam to curse. Usually you go against a nation by
military force or political force, but here we have spiritual force. Is there such a thing as cursing
that that could happen, that a people would be cursed? And Balaam is on that mission. But God
does not allow him to curse them, because God has called them, and God will not allow it. So,
this is Numbers 23:19-20. That’s important.
When God promises you eternal life, you don’t want God to lie. The pagan gods lied by the way.
They did. They lied. They did human things, the works of darkness. But God cannot lie.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Tell me the truth, Lord. Tell me the truth. I want to know the truth. Jesus
said you will know the truth and it will set you free. The truth will set you free, free inside in
your heart. You find truth and you rejoice in it. But when we are left to ourselves, we are liars,
Romans 3. Let God be true and every man a liar. Every man is a liar. We are liars. But Christ is
not a liar. Christ is in you. You have Christ in you. Even the best men that tell the truth do the
best they can. Sooner or later, they tell a white lie, or they are deceitful and so on. But God is
not like that.
Vs. 19. It’s a good memory verse. God will make it good. Say it after me. God will make it good.
Turn to your neighbor. God will make it good. God will keep his promise. God will make it good.
Vs. 20. God has blessed the Jews and I cannot reverse it. They are going up into the Promised
Land. Sooner or later they are going because God promised it. Promised it to Abraham. He said
he would send them down to a foreign nation for 400 years and bring them out. And he did.
And bring them into the land that he gave Abraham. God did it and I cannot reverse it. I will
make it good. So, there it is.
Now, we have the word “flexible.” Turn to Exodus 32. Here’s the other side. God is angry with
the Jews. They worship the golden calf. God is angry. Vs. 9. Stiff necked means stubborn. Ever
have a stubborn animal? Cow, donkey. Hate to say it. Child. Spouse. Woe! Friend. Colleague.
Have you had anybody stubborn in your life?
Vs. 10. Let’s write this down this way. God and he is righteous, and he is relating to these
people. We have millions of them. We have a whole nation. God says to Moses, here’s Moses.
God says let me alone that I might destroy them, consume them. But I thought, I thought that
we just read that God is for them and he cannot reverse it. That’s true. But he’s saying
something else to us now. And it is that I would like to destroy them. He’s serious about it. He’s
saying something important. I would like to destroy them. I cannot handle it anymore.
Leave me alone, he says to Moses. So, the question arises how come Moses has authority with God?
Let me put this word here. Moses has authority with God? Why? Why does he have it? Because
God gave him righteousness. Moses is a righteous man. He’s humble, too. Most humble man on
the earth in Numbers 11:3-4. He’s the humblest man on the earth and he has authority with God
because of it, connected with it. And God is righteous. God has to obey the righteousness that
So, God is talking to Moses and in a way he’s saying I’m talking to you. I’m going to tell you I am
rigid. I am the God of truth. And these people are not lining up. They are not humble. They are
not submitted. They are not lining up. I’ve been a pastor many years, and I can tell you I am
shocked at how stubborn people can be. I am. I’m shocked at how stubborn, how stupid and
stubborn we can be. It’s amazing. Very hard to work with somebody who is like that. So, don’t
be that way. Be Spirit filled.
So, here’s the lesson. Chapter 32:10, I mean if you are really egotistical you could say, okay. If
I’m in the program, okay. Get rid of them. Let’s do a new thing with a different kind of people.
But Moses wasn’t like that. He was like Christ. Christ is saying God, I know it’s tough. These
people I understand it. I am one of them. I came into the world, and this is the Father and the
Son. And the Son makes intercession. Not that the Father doesn’t have the same heart. He has
the same heart.
But there’s a great need here for us to understand that God cannot violate himself. That God
cannot lie. That God cannot violate. He cannot compromise with sin. He cannot tell a lie. He
cannot pretend. He cannot live outside of reality. His reality. The reality that endures. The
reality that is. To be honest, sometimes we hide from it. We don’t want the plumbline. We
want it to be our way. We want to read life our way and do it our way. It is like that.
So, here it is. Chapter 32:11, you brought them out of Egypt. You sent them down into Egypt to
multiply? And you brought them out. You’re in the plan. We’re in the program. Don’t destroy
them. You made promise to Abraham. You are for them. You cannot do that. It violates your –
what will they say in Egypt about you when they find out that you destroyed the people that
you brought out. You brought them out to destroy them? No, you brought them out to bring
them in, Deuteronomy 7:22.
Vs. 11-14. Wait a minute. This is about God. God changing his mind. He repented. He repented
of the evil. Why is this written? Like God is in eternity. He knows the end from the beginning.
He knows it all. Why is this story told? Why did he say I will destroy them when he very well
knew that he wouldn’t? Why did he say that? God cannot lie.
What is going on here? It’s simple this: he wants us to understand that he is rigid. That reality is
reality. He wants us to understand that this cannot happen. It violates the nature of God.
Violates the nature of my plan. This cannot happen. But then he has Moses on the earth saying
God this cannot happen. The Lord could say – humanly speaking, it’s called an
anthropopathism. It’s like a way of communicating humanly to us about something that he
wants to communicate. That is, I can’t take it. I can’t take the lies. I can’t take the sin, the
stubbornness. I cannot take it.
And then the counter is, yes you can take it. And please continue to work with us and fulfill your
plan. Cause I know who you are. You are a merciful God. You are a God that cares about us. You
are like us in a way. Cuz we understand no, no, no. That’s not right. But I’m listening to you,
because I want to work with you. Because I am a God that is flexible. I can change. I can’t
change my reality, but I can change, I can work with you. I can have mercy on you. I can change.
Turn to Amos, and I’ll show you something there. This is preaching. Amos 7:1-2.
He talks about grasshoppers coming to eat the harvest fields in Israel. The grasshoppers are going to come,
and they are going to destroy the grass of the land in vs. 2. I’m paraphrasing it for you. Vs. 3. It
would be like the grasshoppers are coming. It’s all going to be eaten. That’s what I say to you.
God is angry with Israel, and then God repented. Another word for that word “repent” is relent.
He relented. Gave in. He said, okay. I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to do it. Okay. I’m not
going to do it. Another one is vs. 4-5. Eating up crops or whatever it was targeted for. Vs. 5-6.
And then he showed me a plumbline. He relented. He relented again and he showed me a
plumbline. Then, he relented. I’m going to do this. I’m not going to do it. Yeah.
It touches your heart. In the future weeks, maybe you want to make a note of these verses and
study them and learn what is God saying there. Turn with me to Isaiah 38. I’ve got two more to
share with you. Isaiah 38:1-5. I read it this way. I think in Kings I read it this way. Isaiah goes in and
tells Hezekiah you shall die. Then, Isaiah leaves the room and goes out in the courtyard. God
stops him. Then he says go back and tell Hezekiah I’m giving him 15 years. So, the prophet is in
the courtyard. Stop. And he goes back in, and the Lord says he’s going to give you 15 more
years. Wow! Isn’t that good?
What is that? What is that? You’re going to die. He weeps. He cries. He turns his face to the
wall. He cries. He prays. And the Lord hears him and sends the prophet back to tell him you got
15 more years. What is that? God is like us in a way. Like in our good days. Of course, God is not
like us. He said that in Number 23. I cannot lie. I am not a man that I would lie. But I am God. And
yet at the same time, the tender mercies of God touch our hearts and draw us to God who can
change. He can.
One last one. Mark 7:26, the woman was a Greek. Vs. 26-27. What? Dogs. Dogs. It sounds like a
racist comment, doesn’t it? That’s unkind to this foreign woman. Cast the bread. It’s to be
served to the Jews on the table. Put the bread out there. Not for the dogs, but for the Jewish
people. I would get offended, walk way, get angry at Jesus. Maybe say some unkind things
about him. Easily we could do that. That’s how people are with God.
But I want to make a point here that was brought out in a book that I referred to. I think I have
– I don’t think I told you this in this service. It was in this one. David Lamb is the author of a
book called, “When God Behaves Badly.” When God behaves badly. Like he calls this woman
indirectly he says I didn’t come for the dogs. That sounds bad. But David Lamb brings us a
couple points. I don’t really remember if I get this right. Anyway, I would like to say remember
he did say God is fascinating. God is fascinating. He gets our attention. He’s not easy to figure
out. It takes time to learn the theology. It takes time to understand the attributes of God and
the nature of God, because God is a combination of all of these different names. I read that
there are 300 names of God in our Bible. Many names cause he has many expressions. He is
You are a Christian. You are to grow in your knowledge and understanding of God and his grace.
You are I are Christians. We are born again Christians. We are Spirit filled Christians. We are
believers in Christ. Our Bible is open to us. Is God rigid? Is he flexible? He’s both. He cannot lie.
He cannot compromise. If the local bank cannot do it, if the successful architect or engineer
cannot do it; if the guy building airplanes cannot lie, if a mathematician cannot lie, I would
expect reality to be reality. And whether what you or I say about it isn’t the issue. It’s what’s
reality. Let’s find it. And you are not a bowl of cornflakes. And if you are biologically a male, you
are a male. And if you are biologically a female, you are a female and you can’t change it. It is
what it is. Get with God’s program. Line up with the plumbline and relate to him.
And by the way, if you have failed and you have sinned, then admit it. And confess it. He that
covers his sin will not prosper. It says in the book of Proverbs. Believing a lie is not a good thing.
You can do it, but it doesn’t work. It’s not a good thing. There is no peace saith the Lord to the
But his name is king of righteousness and king of peace. Praise the Lord! Where do you get your
peace inside? No anxiety. No fear. Where did you get that? Righteousness. God himself. The
better we line up with God, the better it is for us. The better you and I line up with God, the
better it is in life. Still, it can be hard. We have a God that will help us and govern us and take us
Okay. Let’s finish it. Chapter 7. She answered. Here it is. Yes, Lord. You can call me a dog. It’s
okay. Yes, Lord. That’s a good word, isn’t it? I got up on the screen. Fascinating. God is real. And
third thing he is personal. When you get the personal God in your life, it’s good. He’ll speak to
your heart. He’ll help you. He’s a personal God. Okay. Now, to the story.
The Syrophoenician woman said like Jesus, I got a daughter who a demon is in my daughter,
and you can heal her. You can call me anything you want to. I want you to heal my daughter. He
changed his mind. He’s flexible. He changed. He did. He offended her. He said I didn’t come for
you people. But is God a racist? Didn’t he send Jonah up to Nineveh? Didn’t he have Moses
marry into Jethro’s family? Didn’t he have the Queen of Sheba come up from Arabia? Doesn’t
God love all people? Didn’t he die on the cross for everyone? Isn’t God the God of all the spirits
of men. The Father of spirits. That’s who he is. He is not a racist or a misogynist. He doesn’t
have wrath and anger. But he does when it comes to injustice, when it comes to violating his
nature. The wrath of God is upon us even as we live. When I believe a lie, it says in Romans 1
the wrath of God is upon me.
But because you’re born again, you’ve been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the
kingdom of his dear Son. And the wrath of God is not on us, but the peace of God. We are
justified. We are reconciled. We are saved. We are forgiven. We are filled with the Spirit. We
are saying, Abba, Father. We are worshippers of God our Father. And the fruits of the Spirit are
in our life cause we have the Spirit of God in us. This woman is like this. Look at what she says.
Yes, Lord, yet the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs. I’ll take a crumb. As long as
my daughter gets free of this demon, you can call me anything you want to. I need a crumb. I
want my daughter healed. Jesus is like, woe! Yeah! Man! Yeah! I like that. That’s kind of like the
spirit of it. He’s like saying, yeah. What did he say? He said the devil is gone out of your
Let me close. I think you can follow this with me. We have both things. God is serious about
truth. He’s serious about it. And then when he sees our suffering and our trouble, he sent
Christ. He sent Christ. We could never get close to that truth. We never be humble. We’ll never
be loving it. We’ll never be relating to it in the right way. He came into the world to save us and
bring us to himself. Now, we have authority with God. Cause he will honor the righteousness that is in us. God has given us grace all the time. New mercies. Mercies are new every morning.
Let me share that, Lamentations 3:22-23. And it says new mercies every morning.
It just occurred to me recently that the mercy and you make up any date in history, April 2,
1863. Whatever. That morning there was mercy, and it was new mercy. This morning, there’s
mercy and it’s new mercy. It’s not the same mercy. It’s new every morning. Throughout the
history of the universe, there is new mercy and it’s not the same. It’s not old mercy. It’s new
mercy every morning. Great is your faithfulness! His mercy endures forever. Who are you,
Lord? There is a hell. There is heaven. There is salvation. There is no compromise. Reality is
reality and my heart is broken. I’ve done everything I can. Everything I could ever do.
Listen to me. Watch me. I’m flexible. I will work with you. Listen. I will reach down. I will give
you new mercies. I will help you. I will lead you and guide you, because I am like that. You can
change my mind. Hezekiah, you’re going to die today. You’re going to die. No, I don’t want to.
Okay, go back and tell him.
The grasshoppers are going to eat the land. Lord, Jacob is so small. And then the Lord relents.
I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to do it. America. Climatic changes. Hurricanes, tornadoes,
drought. All these problems. Forests on fire. Whatever else. All of our problems. Lord, what are
you doing? What are you doing? And he could say to us, I am the God of truth. I am reality. I am
drawing people to myself. We say, Lord, give us time. Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, please help
us and turn us back to you. Please save us as a nation and answer our prayer. The Lord could
say, no. It’s over. No, it’s over.
And by the way, that’s in Amos 4. It’s another message, but he said Amos 4:6-12. He said you
will not return to me. This is what I will do. You will not return to me. vs. 6. You will not return
to me. vs. 8. I do this. You will not return to me. vs. 9. I will do this. You will not return to me.
They will not return. And then, he said vs. 12. Prepare to meet thy God. Prepare to meet thy
God. So, it’s a mix. Rigidity and truth and mercy and grace and flexibility and patience and
Let’s use this message to talk at our working place. Let’s talk to people that we know. Let’s use
these thoughts to build us up, and let’s pray for our people and hope that people will turn to
him because he is such an awesome God. The more we know him, the more we will love him.
So, today we have our communion service right now for a few minutes. Without any hurry, the
ushers will come forward and give out the elements. You’re welcome to partake of communion.
And please keep the message in mind. If you want to for a few minutes, turn to your neighbor if
you have something to say. Repeat the message to them or something. You can do that for a
moment and then start coming up and take the communion. You’re free to talk if you want, and
then at the same time, come up.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.