Moving Forward in Faith
As Christians, we are on a journey of faith where our ultimate destiny is heaven. The Israelites’ exodus from Egypt is like a pilgrim’s progress that serves as a lesson for our journey today. They saw the Red Sea part. They were given manna and water in the desert. Yet when it was time to enter Canaan, they didn’t believe God—so they wandered 40 years in the wilderness.
Their leader, Moses, was a friend of God who spoke with Him face to face and received the law at Sinai—yet was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. He told the people in Deuteronomy 3:26,
“The Lord was angry with me on your account.”
Yet God also gave Moses a wonderful promise:
“I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him” (Deuteronomy 18:18).
Jesus fulfilled this as a prophet, ruler, and priest. God poured out all of His wrath on His Son, which means there is none left for you and me.
Of course, like the Israelites, we need to recognize that God is a consuming fire. We must watch to see where He is moving at every point along our journey so we can advance from glory to glory. And as we focus on our ultimate destination, we want to equip others for the journey as well.
God told Moses:
“Command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see” (Deuteronomy 3:28).
It’s vital for each generation to transmit the faith to the next generation and teach them how to inherit God’s promises. Moses said in Deuteronomy 4:5:
“I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess.”
Paul echoed this in writing to Timothy:
Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:13).
So, who is your Timothy? Who is your Joshua? May God bless you on your journey as you share your faith with the next generation.
Numbers 21:8-9 8The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.
After more wandering in the wilderness because of their refusal to trust God, the Children of Israel became impatient. They began to complain again about their conditions. It was their own actions and their own requests that had placed them there, but they began to blame it on Moses. It is always easier to point the finger at someone else than to blame ourselves.
God sent poisonous snakes amongst them as a judgment. (There are still poisonous snakes with a fiery bite in that region of the desert) The people began to cry out to Moses for help. Our song changes from a whine to a plea when we are in a life and death situation.
The LORD’s instruction was to take a pole and place upon it a bronze snake. If the people would just turn and look at it they would be healed from the deadly venom. Here is another wonderful picture of what God did for us. Bronze is representative of judgment. The snake is the cursed being that was used by Satan to trick Eve and thereby bring the venom of sin and death into the world. One day that sin would be judged upon a pole (John 3:15). All we need to do to be cured of sin’s deadly venom is to look and live. If we will have faith that sin has been judged in the One who hung there, we will live. Thank the LORD for His wonderful plan of salvation. Look and live!
Prayer: Thank You Lord, for making it so easy for me to come to You. Help me look to You daily and live.
Streams in the Desert – March 12
- 202312 Mar
So Moses extended his staff over the land of Egypt, and then the Lord brought an east wind on the land all that day and all night. The morning came, and the east wind had brought up the locusts! and the Lord turned a very strong west wind, and it picked up the locusts and blew them into the Red Sea. Not one locust remained in all the territory of Egypt. (Exod 10:13,19)
See how in the olden times, when the Lord fought for Israel against the cruel Pharaoh, the stormy winds wrought out their deliverance; and yet again, in that grandest display of power—the last blow that God struck at the proud defiance of Egypt. A strange, almost cruel thing it must have seemed to Israel to he hemmed in by such a host of dangers—in front the wild sea defying them, on either hand the rocky heights cutting off all hope of escape, the night of hurricane gathering over them. It was as if that first deliverance had come only to hand them over to more certain death. Completing the terror there rang out the cry: “The Egyptians are upon us!”
When it seemed they were trapped for the foe, then came the glorious triumph. Forth swept the stormy wind and beat back the waves, and the hosts of Israel marched forward, down into the path of the great deep—a way arched over with God’s protecting love.
On either hand were the crystal walls glowing in the light of the glory of the Lord; and high above them swept the thunder of the storm. So on through all that night; and when, at dawn of the next day, the last of Israel’s host set foot upon the other shore, the work of the stormy wind was done.
Then sang Israel unto the Lord the song of the “stormy wind fulfilling his word.”
“The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil…Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.”
One day, by God’s great mercy, we, too, shall stand upon the sea of glass, having the harps of God. Then we shall sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: “Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” We shall know then how the stormy winds have wrought out our deliverance.
Now you see only the mystery of this great sorrow; then you shall see how the threatening enemy was swept away in the wild night of fear and grief.
Now you look only at the loss; then you shall see how it struck at the evil that had begun to rivet its fetters upon you.
Now you shrink from the howling winds and muttering thunders; then you shall see how they beat back the waters of destruction, and opened up your way to the goodly land of promise.
—Mark Guy Pearse
“Though winds are wild,
And the gale unleashed,
My trusting heart still sings:
I know that they mean
No harm to me,
He rideth on their wings.”
Election and holiness
By: Charles Spurgeon
“Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.” Deuteronomy 10:14-16
Suggested Further Reading: Isaiah 45:1-13
Preaching a few months ago in the midst of a large congregation of Methodists, the brethren were all alive, giving all kinds of answers to my sermon, nodding their heads and crying,“Amen!” “Hallelujah!” “Glory be to God!” and the like. They completely woke me up. My spirit was stirred, and I preached away with an unusual force and vigour; and the more I preached the more they cried, “Amen!” “Hallelujah!” “Glory be to God!” At last, a part of text led me to what is styled high doctrine. So I said, this brings me to the doctrine of election. There was a deep drawing of breath. “Now, my friends, you believe it;” they seemed to say “No, we don’t.” But you do, and I will make you sing “Hallelujah!” over it. I will so preach it to you that you will acknowledge it and believe it. So I put it thus: Is there no difference between you and other men? “Yes, yes; glory be to God, glory!” There is a difference between what you were and what you are now? “Oh, yes! oh, yes!” There is sitting by your side a man who has been to the same chapel as you have, heard the same gospel, he is unconverted, and you are converted. Who has made the difference, yourself or God? “The Lord!” said they, “the Lord! Glory! Hallelujah!” Yes, cried I, and that is the doctrine of election; that is all I contend for, that if there is a difference the Lord makes the difference. Some good man came up to me and said, “Thou’rt right, lad! thou’rt right. I believe thy doctrine of election; I do not believe it as it is preached by some people, but I believe that we must give the glory to God; we must put the crown on the right head.”
For meditation: The doctrines of God give God all the glory. The doctrines of man seek to steal some of God’s glory to give to man instead (Isaiah 42:6-8).