Possessing Our Possessions

Deuteronomy 2:14 New International Version (NIV)
Thirty-eight years passed from the time we left Kadesh Barnea until we crossed the Zered Valley. By then, that entire generation of fighting men had perished from the camp, as the LORD had sworn to them.

What happened at Kadesh Barnea?

Numbers 13:26-33 New International Version (NIV)

Report on the Exploration
They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites,Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.” Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

Israelites thought that they were like grasshoppers to the people of the land, but how did the people of the land view them?

Joshua 2:8-10 New International Version (NIV)
Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the LORD has given you this land and that a great fearof you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea[a] for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.[b]

The Red Sea happened 40 years prior!

Points:

  • Isralites spent two years walking with God and 38 years wandering. Are we walking with God or wandering? What is the difference?
  • John 5:5 – picture of Israel wandering – Jesus healed him
  • The ones against going in spoke of the difficulties everywhere
  • Joshua and Caleb acknowledged the difficulties but had faith that they could be overcome with God. They saw God and his vast resources not their limitations and circumstances.
  • Faith looks at how big our God is, his resources and that nothing is impossible with God, unbelief looks at self and circumstances.
  • God had prepared a land for them and wanted them to take possession of it but they wouldn’t, due to their fear.
  • Today God wants us to enter His rest – Hebrews 4:1. This is the only place God tells us to fear in the whole bible. Otherwise He tells us to fear not. We should fear that we do not rest, that we become fearful over life’s circumstances, we should fear that we do not trust in God!
  • We enter the rest and through entering the rest of God, He will provide.
  • There will be troubles and difficulties that the devil wants us to focus on, but we need to rest and focus on God and Jesus and their resources.
  • We need to take possession of the future that God has in front of us!

Can We Make Sense of Suffering?

Dr. David Jeremiah’s sermon on May 31st was titled, “The Affirmation of Saul’s Conversion.”  The part of the sermon related to Apostle Paul’s suffering, really touched me, and made an impression.  First a text about Paul’s suffering that Dr. Jeremiah provided:

2 Corinthians 11:23-28 (New International Version (NIV))

23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.

  • What is the point of the suffering Paul went through?
    • God allows suffering to make us into the people we need to be without which we could not be.
  • God is always up to something when he allows suffering in our lives
  • God often will not answer the question of “why,” we have to go through suffering, but he often will answer the question of “what”
    • What are you trying to accomplish in my life with this situation so that I can cooperate with it.

Finally a word from First Peter that Dr. Jeremiah provided.

1 Peter 2:20-21 (New International Version (NIV))

20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

My thoughts on this while living through a great deal of suffering, hurt and disappointment:

  • Above all else we continue to trust the Lord and have an expectation that with Him we will come out of the suffering better than when we entered into it.
  • I can not express enough how often the suffering does not make any sense at all, especially coming to terms with the suffering and the difficulty, the hurt, sense of loss, and the pain
    • Ask God the “what” of the suffering
    • Continue to persevere and to trust
    • Forgive and do not get bitter
    • Continue to hope
    • Know that God is on your side
    • Believe in God’s promises over your life
    • Believe in the grace of God in your life and the righteousness attained through faith in the Lord Jesus
    • The Lord will lead you day by day

Our Mighty Glorious Savior!

Our Jesus, He is so wonderful and powerful!  Can we even begin to understand the great love that He has for us?  Because of Him, our high priest, we can approach God’s throne with confidence!  It says in Hebrews 4:14-16,

Christ Is Our High Priest

14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Many believe that the tearing of the curtain in the sanctuary was the sign of this.  We can find this in Matthew 27:51.  Another  sign of this was when Jesus was taken before the high priest Caiaphas.  This account is in Matthew:

Matthew 26:57-67New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus before the Council

57 Then the people who had arrested Jesus led him to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of religious law and the elders had gathered. 58 Meanwhile, Peter followed him at a distance and came to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and sat with the guards and waited to see how it would all end.

59 Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council[a] were trying to find witnesses who would lie about Jesus, so they could put him to death. 60 But even though they found many who agreed to give false witness, they could not use anyone’s testimony. Finally, two men came forward 61 who declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

64 Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand[b] and coming on the clouds of heaven.”[c]

65 Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your verdict?”

“Guilty!” they shouted. “He deserves to die!”

67 Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him,

According to Leviticus 21:10 the high priest was never to tear his robes.  I found an interesting blog post on this topic if you would like to study more on this.

http://mathaytes.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-robes-of-caiaphas-matthew-2665.html

Our High Priest, Jesus, endured suffering, shame, our sins, He bore it all so that we can live today without condemnation!  When you receive this High Priest, you are forgiven once and for all (Hebrews 10).  We are not saved by what we do, but by what He did.  Do not rehash the old sins that you committed, rather believe that through Christ your sins are all forgiven.  When the Father looks at you He sees Christ in His perfection.  Christ bore it all for this reason.  Furthermore all the promises of God for us are yes and amen [2 Corinthians 1:20New Living Translation (NLT)].  Because of Jesus we live free of condemnation and in peace.  Important is that we believe this and have faith in the perfect sacrifice!  If your faith is weak and it is difficult to believe, renew your mind in God’s word, and ask for faith through Christ Jesus.

Do not doubt the power of Jesus in your life and know that you are deeply loved by the triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)!  Believe in the efficacy of this wonderful act over your life and never loose heart!

We are secure in God’s mighty hand!

Isaiah 41:8-20  New International Version (NIV)

“But you, Israel, my servant,
    Jacob, whom I have chosen,
    you descendants of Abraham my friend,
I took you from the ends of the earth,
    from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
    I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

11 “All who rage against you
    will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
    will be as nothing and perish.
12 Though you search for your enemies,
    you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
    will be as nothing at all.
13 For I am the Lord your God
    who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help you.
14 Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob,
    little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord,
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
15 “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge,
    new and sharp, with many teeth.
You will thresh the mountains and crush them,
    and reduce the hills to chaff.
16 You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up,
    and a gale will blow them away.
But you will rejoice in the Lord
    and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

17 “The poor and needy search for water,
    but there is none;
    their tongues are parched with thirst.
But I the Lord will answer them;
    I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
    and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
    and the parched ground into springs.
19 I will put in the desert
    the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers in the wasteland,
    the fir and the cypress together,
20 so that people may see and know,
    may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
    that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

How beautiful when we accept Christ into our lives, that our Father’s word from Isaiah is over us.  Often circumstances of life can overwhelm and discourage.  Sometimes even our own actions can cause this.  Remember what the Apostle Paul said, “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:14-15).  Paul had the same battles that we have every day.  He even struggled with his own thoughts and actions.  But how does Paul finish this chapter.  It is the same thought that we need to focus on when we get discouraged, when we fear the future or are troubled.  “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25).  Focus today on the finished work of Jesus over your life, believe that your sins and shortcomings are remembered no more!  Do not be paralyzed with fear and condemnation, but focus on Christ and His beautiful future for you.  Remember that the promises of God cover you today and everyday and that God has you in the palm of His hand.

(Psalm 34) Let Us Exalt His Name Together Forever

Video

The caption to Psalm 34 says “A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away”. This part of David’s life is documented in 1 Samuel 21:10-15; 1 Samuel 22:1-2.

1 Samuel 21:10-15 New Living Translation (NLT)

So David escaped from Saul and went to King Achish of Gath. But the officers of Achish were unhappy about his being there. “Isn’t this David, the king of the land?” they asked. “Isn’t he the one the people honor with dances, singing,

“Saul has killed his thousands,
and David his ten thousands’?”

David heard these comments and was very afraid of what King Achish of Gath might do to him. So he pretended to be insane, scratching on doors and drooling down his beard. Finally, King Achish said to his men, “Must you bring me a madman? We already have enough of them around here! Why should I let someone like this be my guest?”

Samuel 22:1-2 New Living Translation (NLT)

David at the Cave of Adullam
So David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. Soon his brothers and all his other relatives joined him there. Then others began coming—men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented—until David was the captain of about 400 men.

This definitely should have been a low point of David’s life. Imagine how David felt/could have felt? He was anointed to be the King, had accomplished great deeds yet was running for his life from Saul, even to the point where he went to the King of Gath. We can learn much on how to maintain our confidence when facing great challenges from David. We too face things that can test our trust and where we could loose our confidence and hope. It is interesting that David fled to Gath. Gath was one of the five city-states of the Philistines. This is where Goliath was from. So David was fleeing to his enemy. And yet even in this we see God’s blessing over his life because he escaped. However, he escapes to a cave. So this is the context in which Psalm 34 was written. In this Psalm David expresses praise, trust and confidence in the Lord.

Psalm 34 (New Living Translation)
A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away.
1 I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
2 I will boast only in the Lord;
let all who are helpless take heart.
3 Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
let us exalt his name together.
4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.
7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
9 Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need.
10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
12 Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous?
13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies!
14 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help.
16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth.
17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
19 The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
not one of them is broken!
21 Calamity will surely overtake the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

How I pray that whatever we come up against in life we may never loose confidence, but continue to trust in him the hope of our salvation (Micah 7:7).

Precious the Promise, I will guide thee with Mine eye

Verse 1
Precious the promise that God has given cheering the pilgrims while they pass by on the journey traveling homeward I will guide thee with mine eye.
Chorus
I will guide thee, I will guide thee, I will guide thee with Mine eye.  On the journey traveling homeward, I will guide thee with Mine eye.
Verse 2
Fear not the surging waters of babel, neither the tempter should he draw nigh, but remember , God gave the promise, I will guide thee with mine eye.
Chorus
I will guide thee, I will guide thee, I will guide thee with Mine eye.  On the journey traveling homeward, I will guide thee with Mine eye.

Release Bitterness, loss, Injustice (ashes), Take the Blessing the Lord has for You (Beauty)!

Isaiah 61
Amplified Bible (AMP)

61 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound,

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] [a]and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion—to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit—that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

And they shall rebuild the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former desolations and renew the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.

Aliens shall stand [ready] and feed your flocks, and foreigners shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.

But you shall be called the priests of the Lord; people will speak of you as the ministers of our God. You shall eat the wealth of the nations, and the glory [once that of your captors] shall be yours.

Instead of your [former] shame you shall have a twofold recompense; instead of dishonor and reproach [your people] shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double [what they had forfeited]; everlasting joy shall be theirs.

For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong with violence or a burnt offering. And I will faithfully give them their recompense in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant or league with them.

And their offspring shall be known among the nations and their descendants among the peoples. All who see them [in their prosperity] will recognize and acknowledge that they are the people whom the Lord has blessed.

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

11 For as [surely as] the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring forth, so [surely] the Lord God will cause rightness and justice and praise to spring forth before all the nations [through the self-fulfilling power of His word].