Sunday, June 13, 2010

Twice . . .

God must have wanted me to learn something today. This was preached in church this afternoon and when I looked at Shepherd Hill, Brother Paul Burrell spoke on it also.


Scripture Text – June 12-2010

Numbers 13

1And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.

3And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men were heads of the children of Israel.

18And see the land, what it is, and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many;

19And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds;

20And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes.

23And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.

24The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence.

25And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.

26And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land.

27And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.

28Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.

30And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

31But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.

32And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

33And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

Numbers 14

1And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.

2And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!

3And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?

4And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.

5Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.

6And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:

7And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.

8If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.

9Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.

10But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.

11And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?

12I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.

13And Moses said unto the LORD, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;)

14And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou LORD art among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.

15Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying,

16Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness.

17And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying,

18The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

19Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.

20And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word:

21But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.

22Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;

23Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:

24But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.

Yes, it’s good. But..

Hello to all in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are glad that you paused today to meditate on God’s Word. God promised that His Word would never return to Him void but would accomplish His will. I pray that the passages I present to you this week would move you into His will and purpose.

This week we are looking at the Promised Land and what the scripture teaches about the passage over to possess it. Our reference is Numbers chapter 13 and 14. In the first verse of chapter 13 the Lord told Moses to send spies out to look at the land of Canaan to view it. Then the following verses tell of the men that went and what tribe they represented. I think it’s very interesting when you consider the whole story of God delivering His people from slavery and what He delivered them from and to. Anytime a person is delivered from something he is also delivered to something.

This great lesson in history is repeated over and over again in men’s lives on a smaller scale. First, they were in slavery for 400 years. Their entire culture was molded by others who told them what to do and when to do it. They had no freedom for their own wishes or dreams in life. Their lives were for someone else’s desires and not for their own. You would think that anyone would want to get out of a life like this. And yet, even today we see people who have a way out of bondage and stay where they are. Let me elaborate.

There are those in our society today who choose to stay imprisoned. If you go to the correctional facility in your area you will meet people who are repeat offenders. They don’t learn from their first poor choices and do some other crime to go right back in. Perhaps you even know someone who is like that. Our family does. We know several people who can’t seem to break lifestyles and they choose to make mistakes with crimes, knowing that they will end up back in prison. It doesn’t make sense to those of us on the outside. The truth is that it takes courage to live on the outside. With freedom comes responsibility. Responsibility takes courage to continue.

We make choices to do whatever we want in doing or even not doing something. When completing a task, we decide when something is “good enough” or if we need to work harder to finish it. Let’s take education as an example. People choose to educate themselves in whatever matter they desire. It seems that if someone starts to study the Bible they never keep going. A lot of people make excuses saying, “I can’t memorize that. It’s too hard for me.” And yet they know a lot about un-important things because that is what they focus on. If you look at the newsstand in the grocery store you’ll see stories about movie stars having affairs, rich people and what they’ve bought, the latest dress styles and other menial items. None of this is important to a person’s life or the happiness he or she could have.

Another thing we could spend time on would be television shows including soap operas, sporting events and entertainment amusements. I am saddened at how many Christians know who the American Idol is but don’t know the Ten Commandments. We decide that a once a week service where a preacher talks for 30 minutes is enough Bible study for us. And then when our lives fall apart we don’t understand it. We really choose what is important to us and allow ourselves to live a life in the prison of sin, don’t we? Instead of following the Word, we choose what the world dictates. Instead of living in responsibility, we choose irresponsibility in our actions. The Children of Israel, of course, were in bondage and could not get out of it. But history shows that their minds were still in bondage with a slavery mentality long after their bodies were emancipated.

There are many accounts of prisoners of war who, even though they had to suffer until their freedom was won, did not give in to a slavery mentality. When they came out of the prison camps they lived lives that were worthy of the battles fought. Their wills were never broken. Their minds remained on the outside. I hope you are following me on this because there is deep spiritual truth here. We all have a way out of the pit. His name is Jesus! He will deliver us as The Lord lead the Nation of Israel out of Egypt.

That “slavery mentality” is one that prisoners can have, even after they get out. Someone can be so engrained with the idea of being a slave that they continue, generations after the fact, to whine about how they are mistreated. Nothing is ever their fault. They want special treatment and demand that justice take place. They overlook the fact that they are out of bondage and are getting out of life exactly what they put into it. The Nation of Israel was just like that.

Getting back to our story, the twelve tribes each had a representative to spy out the land. You will notice that the Lord never told Moses to send men to see if it could be done. He sent them on a trip that was designed to be a trip of encouragement. He was showing His promise to them and His goodness. God always tests us when we are about to be blessed. But the test is not for His sake; it’s for ours.

Of the twelve spies that went in, only two saw the goodness of God. Only two saw the possibilities and remembered that God had been faithful in every need. Only two had overcome the slavery mentality. What made the difference? What was it about these men that caused them to believe? There is a clue hidden in chapter 13. Look in verse 23. It states that they cut down a single cluster of grapes and that it took two men to carry it out. I have said many times that there is never any information in God’s Holy Word that is un-important. There are no trivial details that are there for filler. In this case, the Spirit is showing us something. Who do you think the two men were?

No, really! Which two men carried the cluster of grapes? I believe that it was Joshua and Caleb! I think that they looked more on the benefits of overcoming giants in the land than they did the risks. Can you imagine having a giant cluster of grapes swinging in front of you? On the other hand, what about sneaking around in fear that around every corner was a giant ready to attack? If you spend more time looking at what it might cost as opposed to what would be gained you are still living as a slave. You, dear friend, are still in bondage.

Look at verse 27 and 28. Their report was “yes it is good, but…”. God’s plan for you life is always for good. The path that gets you there has challenges, risks and unknown elements. But He walks with you on every step. In verse 30 Caleb stood against the majority and declared that they could overcome the enemy through God’s power. Do you see yourself on the side of the majority or the minority? Does your life resound of the faith that you have in The Lord or does it show doubt? Friend, people are watching your life just like a story. They see what you really believe by how you live.

In chapter 14 the majority begins to whine. They actually begin to talk about returning to Egypt and the slavery that was there. It’s hard to imagine such foolishness when you read the story as a third party. But we all live one way or the other. Our lives could well be written for others to learn by. We can be one of the spies that no one remembers the name of or we can be Joshua and Caleb.

What will make the difference in you and me? How can our faith be built up so that we can take possession of God’s promises? Go back to that thought of carrying the grapes. If God has shown you what He has for you; if He has been faithful in your past and you know that He always came through, then begin doing the work to take what He says is yours. I like a story that was told a few weeks back about two farmers and faith. Two farmers went to the Lord during a spring drought and prayed for rain. One went ahead and plowed his field and planted the seed and the other one waited. Which one had faith? Of course it was the first one. James tells us that faith without works is dead. If we really believe God on a matter, we will do anything that it takes to succeed.

I get so irritated at the Israelites and how they whined before God. But, at times God reminds me that I have done that, too. I have told God in past times that it was too hard and that I shouldn’t have come this way or made that decision. The example is recorded here for all time to show that God wants people who are willing to not give up just because they are in need. He never promised us room service! Just think how much better it would have been to have read that they were out of water and they humbly ask the Lord to provide their needs. They would have been the ones to enter the Promised Land.

In chapter 14 God declares that this generation would not inherit the promise. It would their children who would possess it. Of course, you know the story. Joshua led these people into Canaan. So what is here for us to learn today?

We all have been in bondage. We were born in sin and only the Blood of Jesus will deliver us. Once out of bondage, it’s possible to still not have your mind renewed (Romans 12:2) and to live as if you were still a slave. In other words, you can be a repeat offender who habitually goes back to the life you should be delivered from. You will not receive the promises of God if you don’t believe that He will take you to them. If you look at the giants and not the grapes you will surely loose out. Only through pushing ahead will you overcome. This is no place for cowards!

So where are you today? When there is a need in your life do you whine that you’ve been mistreated? Do you wish that you were back where you came from? Or do you humbly ask God to give you the strength and provision and faithfully wait on Him to answer?

Today I am asking you to compare your life with the spies of Israel. You will be like the ten or the two; it’s up to you! You have the same opportunities as every other person in God’s sight. He is no respecter of persons. Keep your shoulder to the staff and don’t trip over the grapes!

Prayer-Father God,

I humbly ask that today someone who has never trusted fully in You would have their eyes opened. I pray that we all would see where we come short of having complete faith in Your plan and the unknown areas of our lives. As we have needs, let us be able to remember times when You took care of us. Help us to live a life worthy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

It’s in that name that I ask this-Amen

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