Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Missing Greater Life in God’s Great Promise

Greater Than or Less Than

One of my favorite math and logic problems growing up were the greater than or less than problems. They were usually pretty easy to figure out.


Spurs > Cavaliers

Chicago Cubs > ? –the Bad News Bears

These are comparisons we make every day. Something is better or greater than something else.

Numbers 13

A Greater Life in a Great Promise

God made promises to the Israelites

Exodus 3, God said--“I Will be With You”—God is Greater than the god’s of the Egyptians—He proved it in the plagues—proved it in the destruction of Pharaoh’s army and the parting of the Red Sea.

God promised that their Lives would be Greater than they were Egypt—they won’t be slaves—where they had to hide their children, couldn’t worship without permission, were second class citizens subject to the whims of the Pharaoh.. God promised the Israelites would be fruitful, that they will be able to worship in spirit and in truth, they will experience the blessing of Abraham and experience victory.

There is no doubt that God had brought them to this moment.

He Promised to bring them to a Land flowing with Milk and Honey—and He was willing to make it happen—13:1-3

Notice the sending of the spies was God’s Idea—not a lack of faith on Moses’ part. What do you think God wants them to see? The Good things—the Greater Life than what they have experienced so far. He wanted them to see the vision of where God was taking them. God’ wants Israel’s Leaders to see what He has promised so they can lead the people with confidence.

They saw this Greater Future and Great Provision—13:23—they saw the provision and goodness, vs. 27—they recognized the what God was trying to show them.

This is what God wanted them to see-the mission ahead of them. Don’t you believe that God has a mission for you, for us? God has brought us to this point in time for a reason—to accomplish some task. Do you believe that God has a vision that He wants us to see as a church, as believers and people in His Kingdom? Knowing God’s pattern it’s probably a task that looks daunting and difficult. It is not for our greatness but for His greatness. God’s vision is about His glory and about His kingdom transforming the lives of those who need Him. All we need to do is be willing to Cross Over into the promise.

God said, “I AM giving to the Israelites.” The giving was ongoing, immediate and certain. It had already begun—He had led them there, prepared them to cross over and advance His kingdom. But this Great Promise had a Great Problem

A Great Problem--13:17d-29

Fearful of Where God is taking them

The Enemy is Too big for us--We Can’t Do It—We’re not Ready.

READ 31-33—for them—the threat, the daunting task ahead of them outweighed the promise of great blessing. For some reason, they trusted only what their eyes saw in the moment and not what their eyes had seen in the last few years.

Their problem was looking at the enemy, and the obstacles rather than looking to God. It’s not like the 10 Spies were wrong—this may come as a shock to you, but The 10 spies were right—the enemy was too big for them. They would not be able to do it.

The land and the inhabitants were too much for Israel to conquer on her own. But Israel was not on her own—God was with them. The daunting task, the giant people and fortified cities were no match against the Spirit of God. Luke and the other Gospels remind us that "What is impossible with men is possible with God."

Somehow, they were Forgetting that their own strength had not brought them so far—their strength did not defeat and bring them out of Egypt—their strength did not part the Red Sea, their strength did not feed and lead them to this point. They would never have made it out of Egypt on their own strength. They never would have survived Pharaoh’s chariots

Their whole experience was never dependent on them or their strength but on God. And we have the same problem they do when we look through our own eyes at the problems and fail to see God’s Provision, fail to see God’s Power and fail to see God’s Promise.

Any accomplishment we as a church have will be because of His efforts—sure we can do a lot of things, but if we are not doing so in the power of the Spirit of God—we are wasting our time—spinning our wheels. They will often be in spite of our efforts. It is when we look and depend upon our own strength that we will fail and not truly experience the blessing of God—

But the flip side must also be true—when we look and depend upon the strength and power of God to accomplish a task—nothing is impossible.

The Task is too Daunting and the Mission is Too Important for us to be relying on our own Strength and Wisdom. God has brought us to the point of the Crossover and wants to see us trust Him despite the daunting task before us.

If you’re waiting for all your financial problems to go get settled before you start tithing… you’ll never tithe and you’ll miss the blessing. If we as the church wait for financial bliss before taking on a some project—we will never do anything. If we wait for numbers to come before we make preparations to receive them, then we are seeing the problems and not trusting God.

So many times farmers plant their crops before the first rains of the season—in anticipation and faith for what God will be providing. If they wait for the rains, their fields will not be prepared to receive it, nor will they experience the harvest.

Last year, one of my first sermons to this congregation looked at Ezekiel 47 and the River that flows from the Temple of God and how He measured a distance and took Ezekiel out into the water to see how deep was. I compared to our walk of faith that at various times we are willing to go out into the deeper water, but other times we’re content with water up to our knees or even ankle deep—like trying to swim in the kiddie pool.

In moments of Decision, in Great Crossroads, you and I exercise our faith in our decisions—are we going to go forward into the Deeper Water and walk with confidence in the Promise of God or are we going to retreat back into the shallows and miss our God given opportunity?

If we retreat from what God has for us, real briefly, we experience consequences. The 10 spies convinced everyone—we can’t do it. They refused to follow the Leading of God and so

they experienced defeat instead of promise,

they experienced the desert instead of abundance.

They were capable of great things—but that whole generation—except for Joshua and Caleb, missed out on those great things.

The response of Moses to this is vital

14:5—Moses and Aaron fell on their faces in the presence of all the assembly of the congregation and the sons of Israel”—This is what we must do—fall on our faces before God and seek Him

Which is the one who believes in the power of prayer? The farmer who prays for rain and sits on his porch watching for it or the one who prays for rain and goes out and plows and sows his field. If we have no expectation of God doing anything—we don’t really believe that He will and we will not be useful when the time comes. That is a great problem for us.

God, may it never be for us. Let us not refuse your Greatness, Your Great Promise, Your Great Provision. Lord Jesus, may we live out Your call without fear.

Pray that we Will We See God’s Heart for our Church

Pray that we Will We See the Promise & Provision more than the Problems

Pray that we will Crossover instead of Retreat

No comments: