Witness Him Now
Oh my goodness. I am trembling inside. It started last night at Bible study. God is doing something deep in my heart, and it is moving me. I am shaking. As you can see from the last several posts, God is working inside of me to understand His ways and to walk in them. Last night I saw my God clearly, and I trembled - my knees shook, and my stomach turned. It still is. My heart saw - maybe for the first time - the God that I serve. The God who parts seas to rescue His people. The God who rains down bread from heaven to feed us. The God who causes the rocks to gush water so that we can have something to drink. But He is also the One sent fire in the camp to destroy His chosen people (Did you hear that? That's us!) when they complained about their hardship. (Numbers 11:1) Then the people craved meat, and He is the One who caused an east wind to blow and send quail to satisfy their cravings, but while people gorged themselves on the meat - while it was still in their mouths - the anger of the LORD blazed against the people, and He struck them with a severe plague. And He is the One who caused the earth to open wide and swallow all who incited rebellion against His chosen leaders. (Numbers 16)
Are you trembling yet? This is us. This is the same God we serve, the One who is gracious and kind, full of unfailing love - slow to anger - full of mercy. This is the God who made a way of escape for us, too. He sent Jesus to us to rescue us. We walked over on dry ground. He feeds us and cares for us. But only two of the people who left Egypt (got saved) (the older generation) made it into the promise land. They refused to believe God or to trust Him to care for them. Please, let us learn this lesson from the past so that He will not have to discipline us like He disciplined them - with terror and disease and hardship and death.
Psalm 78 tells of the rebellion of God's people. LORD, give us eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart to understand what You are saying. Show us what You want from us. Cause our hearts to tremble at Your word so that we can turn and live. Send light and truth, and let them lead us to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacle. I ask this in Jesus' name.
Verses 9-10: "The warriors of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned their backs and fled on the day of battle. They did not keep God's covenant and refused to live by His instructions." OK, let's look at our lives. When the battle gets tough, do we turn our backs and run? Do we give up? Do we check out? Do we get a divorce, quit a job, give up on our children? Do we refuse to love those who hate us, bless those who curse us, pray for those who spitefully use us? Do we refuse to never render evil for evil. Do we refuse to point the finger and speak wicked things? Or do we give in and refuse to fight? We have weapons in our hands. The Word of God is a sharp two edged sword that is able to piercing to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, the joints and the marrow, the thoughts and the intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4;12) The Word of God is Spirit and life and able to give life. (John 6:63) . The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us, and it will quicken our mortal bodies. (Romans 8:11) . And God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. He said that we will be partakers of His divine nature through His great and precious promises so that we can escape the world's corruption caused by human desires. (2 Peter 1:3-4) Friends, God is for us! He has equipped us! He has sent His Word and His Spirit. All we have to do is stand tall, with our eyes firmly set on Jesus, and begin to do what He is asking us to do.
Verses 11-16: They forgot what He had done - the great wonders He had shown them, the miracles He did for their ancestors on the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt. For He divided the sea and led them through, making the water stand up like walls! In the daytime He led them by a cloud, and all night by a pillar of fire. He split open the rocks in the wilderness to give them water, as from a gushing spring. He made streams pour from the rock, making the waters flow down like a river! Oh my goodness! Look what the LORD did for His people, but they forgot. We, too, forget. How could we forget? But we do. Life comes crashing in, the waves too high, and we don't remember. We become fat and lazy and complacent, and we don't remember. We fill our time with too much stuff, and we don't remember. We set our affections on something else, and we don't remember. We stray so far away, and we don't remember. Will you please take a few minutes and remember all of the great things God has done for you? Will you declare His greatness out loud? Will you tell of His awesome deeds? Will you shout to the nations, "Our God reigns!" When we choose to remember - and it is a choice - something amazing happens. Joy comes. Our heart begins to take hold of God's hand and we start to trust again. The Spirit then breathes life and hope.
Verses 17-22: "Yet they kept on sinning against Him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. They stubbornly tested God in their hearts, demanding the foods they craved. They even spoke against God Himself, saying, "God can't give us food in the wilderness. Yes, He can strike a rock so water gushes out, but He can't give His people bread and meat." When the LORD heard them, He was furious. The fire of His wrath burned against Jacob. Yes, His anger rose against Israel, for they did not believe God or trust Him to care for them." Wow! When we demand things, we are testing God?!? WHAT? What are we demanding? What is in our heart that we just think we cannot live without? Are we testing God, too? Then when we point our finger at God and say, "You are not able!" Oh my goodness! The God who spoke this world into existence, the One who set the sun and the moon and the stars in place, the One who spun this earth at just the right angle and speed to allow life to live, the One who took dust and breathed life into it, and it became a man, the One who gave man free will - knowing that we would rebel - and then sent His Son to make a way where there seems to be no way, the One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, the One who is the LORD of Heaven's Armies IS THE ONE WHO IS FURIOUS! Because we, like the Israelites, don't believe Him or trust Him to care for us. I don't know if you are trembling, but I am.
Verses 23-31: "But He commanded the skies to open; He opened the doors of heaven. He rained down manna for them to eat; He gave them bread from heaven. They ate the food of angels! God gave them all they could hold. He released the east wind in the heavens and guided the south wind by His mighty power. He rained down meat as thick as dust - birds as plentiful as the sand on the seashore! He caused the birds to fall within their camp and all around their tents. The people ate their fill. He gave them what they craved. But before they satisfied their craving, while the meat was yet in their mouths, the anger of God rose against them, and He killed their strongest men. He struck down the finest of Israel's young men." Oh my goodness! We have to get this one. What are we craving? A new house? Car? Spouse? Career? Fame? God gave the Israelites what they craved, but while it was still in their mouths, His anger rose against them. What if we get what we crave, but God's anger will come with it. Are we testing God in our heart? Are we demanding what our heart craves? Oh my! LORD help us! LORD forgive us! You would think that when all of this stuff started happening, that the people would pay attention and change, but look at what they did.
Verses 32-34: "But in spite of this, the people kept sinning. Despite His wonders, they refused to trust Him. So He ended their lives in failure, their years in terror. When God began killing them, they finally sought Him. They repented and took God seriously." So what is it that God is wanting us to do? He wants us to trust Him. He wants us to believe what He says. He wants us to know that He is going to do what He says He will do, and that is to take care of His people. He said, "Don't worry about everyday life - whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all His glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don't worry about these things, saying, "What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today." (Matthew 6:25-34)
God is asking us not to worry about what we eat or drink or wear. He is asking us to trust Him. But despite all of the words and warnings and hardships, we still refuse to trust God. And if we don't change, our lives will end in failure and terror too. It was not until God started killing them that they finally began to take God seriously. Is that what it is going to take for us? This is a sobering thought.
;I want to tell you what happened to us this weekend. About eight years ago we had it in our heart to start preparing for the end of the world. We, like many others, began to store food and water. It was at that time that it entered our heart to dig a basement, a place to store food. From the start, that basement was not blessed. At the time we dug the basement, we were in a seven year drought, but when the drought broke several years ago, the basement filled to the brim with water, all of the food was destroyed. We had to make a choice. We chose to rebuild it. We chose to put a pool liner inside the basement and have a brick layer come and put a new layer of cement blocks in so it would keep the water out.
As you all know, it has been raining in Texas for several weeks now. A few days ago, my husband went down in the basement to reset the water heater, and all was dry. On Sunday morning, however, I woke up with no hot water. My husband went into the basement to check on the water heater, and it was floating on it's side - so was our freezer. All of the stuff stored in the basement was floating. The water had busted up through the floor of the basement, and as I looked into the mess underneath our house, my heart grieved. I knew then what I had not known eight years ago, we had sinned against God. We tried to take matters into our own hands. We tried to be our own savior and provider. We never consulted God about what we did, we just did it, and it could not be blessed.
Now some of you will think what I just said is nonsense, but I know it to be true. Isaiah 3:1-3 "The Lord, the LORD of Heaven's Armies, will take away from Jerusalem and Judah (that's us) everything they depend on: every bit of bread and every drop of water, all their heroes and soldiers, judges and prophets, fortune-tellers and elders, army officers and high officials, advisers, skilled sorcerers, and astrologers." God is going to take away everything we depend on so that we can only depend on Him. So all of our prepping was for nothing. I know that now. We were trying to prepare, but we were not doing it in the right way. Listen to what God says:
"Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of My sight. Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. "Come now, let's settle this," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. If you will only obey Me, you will have plenty to eat. But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the LORD, have spoken!"
God, give us eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart to understand what the Spirit is saying. I ask this in Jesus' name. AMEN
The scripture says, "May you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers."