Witness Him Now
Hi friends. Today is Thursday morning. It was just two days ago that God began revealing to me "The Fear of the LORD." I think somewhere along the way we lost the fear and reverence for our Maker. Maybe we never had it. I don't think I did. God is so good! He always has been so good to me, but two days ago I started trembling. I saw the God who got so angry with His people that He wanted to destroy them time and time again, and I want to know: WHAT MADE GOD ANGRY? I want to know this because I know that my God never changes. The same God who parted the Red Sea and rained Manna from heaven and caused water to gush from rocks, is the same God who caused the earth to open wide and swallow whole families. I don't know about you, but I want to know why, because the same things that made Him angry back then will make Him angry now. 1 Corinthians 10 talks about the people of Israel. All of them did eat the same spiritual meat and drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples that we should not lust after evil things, as they lusted. They were just like us - "Saved." They ate and drank of the Rock that followed them, Jesus - so do we. (1Corinthians 10) But most of them did not make it, and I don't want it to be the same for us, so I want to write down what I see.
FIRST, I SAW GOD SAY, "DON'T COMPLAIN!"
"And don't grumble and complain as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death." (1 Corinthians 10:10) When I look at the Israelites, and at our own lives, I see it riddled with complaints. We have to understand what is really happening when we complain. When we complain - against anyone or anything - we are really complaining against God and "testing" or "tempting" the LORD. (Exodus 17"2) I don't know what that means exactly, but the death angel gets involved. This is the same angel that destroyed all of the firstborn in Egypt. We have to understand. This is serious.
Right after they crossed the Red Sea, the Israelites traveled in the desert for three days without finding water. When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. Then the people complained and turned against Moses. "What are we going to drink?" they demanded. So Moses cried out to the LORD for help, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water and this made the water good to drink. It was there at Mara that the LORD set before them the following decree as a standard to test their faithfulness to Him. He said, "If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, obeying His commands and keeping all His decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you." (Exodus 15:22-26) The standard that God is setting before us all to test our faithfulness to Him is - will we complain? If we will listen to the voice of the LORD in this area and do what is right in His sight, He will not make us suffer any of the diseases that He sent on the Egyptians. Wow! What an amazing promise. If we refuse to complain about anything, we get to walk in health. As I am typing this, this truth is becoming revelation to me. I want to understand healing, and not complaining is part of that understanding. Wow!
However, a month later, the Israelites complained about Moses and Aaron because they wanted meat to eat. Then Moses said, "The LORD will give you meat to eat in the evening and bread to satisfy you in the morning, for He has heard all your complaints against Him. What have we done? Yes, your complaints are against the LORD, not against us." (Exodus 16:8)
These people complained and they turned against Moses and Aaron, but they were really turning their backs on God. Oh my goodness! Whatever situations we find ourselves in, God knows where we are. He is the one who sent us there. Sometimes we are in the places we are in because God wants to disciple us. Other times, God wants to show Himself strong on our behalf. Then other times, like Job, God wants us to know Him in ways we have never known Him before. BUT just like the people of Israel, we want what we want, and we want it now. We complain when we don't get it. We demand what our heart craves. And we fail the test. God is testing our faithfulness to Him. If we only understood that complaining stops God's hand of blessing over our lives, but praise is an open door into the heavenly places for God to work on our behalf. "God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son." (Romans 8:28-29) . With everything that is happening to us, God is using that as an opportunity for us to become more like His Son. His Son would have given His Father praise and honor for whatever provisions He had - even if it were only a few loaves and fishes, because He knows His Father will take care of all of His needs. He will also take care of all of our needs, too, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19) . But complaining ties God's hands. It not only ties His hands, but it causes judgment to fall on us - fire from heaven.
Then in Exodus 17: 1-7, we find another time they complained about no water. At the LORD's command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sin and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. So once more the people complained against Moses. "Give us water to drink!" they demanded. "Quiet!" Moses replied. "Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the LORD?" But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses, "Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?"
Then Moses cried out to the LORD, "What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!" The LORD said to Moses, "Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink," So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on. Moses named the place Massah (which means "test") and Meribah (which means "arguing") because the people argued with Moses and tested the LORD by saying, "Is the LORD here with us or not?"
When hardships come, we have a choice to make. Will we trust God and praise Him, or will we complain and test Him, saying in our heart, "Is the LORD here with us or not?" Psalm 81 says:
Sing praises to God, our strength,
Sing to the God of Jacob.
Sing! Beat the tambouring.
Play the sweet lyre and the harp.
Blow the ram's horn at new moon,
and again at full moon to call a festival!
For this is required by the decrees of Israel;
it is a regulation of the God of Jacob.
He made it a law for Israel
when He attacked Egypt to set us free.
I heard an unknown voice say,
"Now I will take the load from your shoulders;
I will free your hands from their heavy tasks.
You cried to Me in trouble, and I saved you;
I answered out of the thundercloud
and tested your faith when there was no water at Meribah.
OK. God made laws and regulations in heavenly realms for us when He comes to set us free. It is a requirement that we praise Him. We cannot praise Him and complain at the same time. It is not possible. So this is the standard that is set before us to test our faithfulness to God. Will we praise Him even when things get rough? It doesn't get much harder than not having food or water. And in the middle of those circumstances, God is asking us to praise Him and not complain. When we do this, what we are actually saying in our heart is, "I believe that the LORD is here with us!" Our faith is tested, and we pass the test. God's hand is then loosed to take the load from our shoulders and free our hands from their heavy tasks.
What I am asking myself and you is, "What are we complaining about?" What is in our heart that causes us to murmur and grumble? Did you know that it is at the LORD's command that you are in this place? He is there with you, and He has made a way of escape. "And don't grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age. If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. (1 Corinthians 10:10-13)
So if you know that grumbling and complaining is in your heart, get it out. Come to Jesus without excuse and say, "I am guilty, and I am sorry." Then begin to praise Him. Thank Him for all of the great things He has done. The LORD had just revealed His strong, mighty arm to the people of Israel, but they soon forgot. Let's not forget the miracles God has performed in our own lives, because I am telling you the truth when I say, "He is poised to show Himself strong in our life once again!" He wants to bless us. He wants to be our provider and protector. He wants to be our deliverer. He wants to be our healer. But there is an order to things. We have to stop complaining and start praising His holy name. Praise is the key that unlocks the doors for our God to move on our behalf.
Philippians 2:14-15 says, "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life." Can you see that? God makes us blameless and harmless, children without fault. Wow! Blameless. Harmless. Without fault. Lights that shine brightly in a dark world AS WE HOLD FAST TO THE WORD OF LIFE.
We cannot hold fast to the Word of Life when we are complaining. Our light goes out when we complain. We are not blameless when we argue and complain. LORD, we are so sorry. We are sorry that we have tested You. We are sorry that our light has not been allowed to shine brightly in the middle of this crooked, perverse generation. We are sorry that we are not holding fast to the Word of Life. Forgive us. Teach us Your ways and show us Your paths. LORD, help us to walk in it. Teach our mouths not to complain. But really, God, it has to start in our heart. Teach our heart to be thankful. Teach our mouth to sing Your praise.
I ask this in Jesus' name. AMEN
The scripture says, "May you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers."