Coming out of Egypt, Israel encountered peoples and situations that were hostile; like Balak who hired Balaam to curse them.
Unknown to the Israelites, these men and the officials of Moab, were on the hill overlooking the great hoard in the valley and pronouncing curses at them. At seven different locations they raised altars, made sacrifices and Balaam made the curse.
But whom God has blessed, no man can curse!! Every opening of the mouth to curse turned into blessings to the chagrin of the Moabit King!
Indeed God makes diviners mad and frustrates the token of liars!!!
All these were unknown to the Israelites!!!
I wish Christians will focus on following God with undivided heart and stop prying into who is cursing or making enchantments against them! God knows HOW to deliver the righteous.
The bible says God did not allow any man to hurt them. Instead He rebuked Kings for their sake!
“He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;” (Psalm 105:14).
Evil people, like their master, do not rest. Seeing they couldn’t curse Israel, Balaam advised Balak to introduce strange women into their camp as this would make God angry, remove the protection and turn against them.
And truly, God turned against them! A plague was released; 24,000 men, outside women and children died.
To stop the plague God asked Moses to hang publicly, facing the Sun all the ring leaders who frolicked with the women of Moab and joined in the worship of Baal-peor, that it may be a deterrent to others.
While that was being carried out, Moses, Aaron and the leaders sat mourning in repentance, at the entry of the Tabernacle, and behold an Israeli prince, Zimri, came into the camp with a Midianitish princess named Cozby.
Also seated with them was a young man called Phinehas the son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the Priest.
Like others he saw the abomination brought into the camp but couldn’t keep still. Though his father was there, his grandfather was there, even his uncle, Moses was there! They knew this was the cause of the calamity yet they sat still crying, nobody moved!!
When he couldn’t contain it any more, he rose, picked a spear and traced the couple to the man’s tent where he killed both.
Instantly the plague stopped and God reacted: He made a covenant of peace with him, and pronounced that he and his descendants would be priests forever.
God had found a servant of honour. How did he become one?
(1) He was in the camp.
Young men are always adventurous, seeking to conquer their environment. Unlike Zimri, Phinehas stayed in the camp, not venturing away and consequently, remained in the will of God. He did not join himself to strangers.
What has Christ with Beliel or the temple of God with idols. What has light with darkness.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
Every sheep that leaves the flock and wanders off, breaks the rule and makes itself an easy target for the wolves. Christians who wander off the fold disobey God!!!
“Be separate, come out from their midst”, He says!
(2) He saw.
There is nothing as hindering as spiritual blindness!!!
Having killed the ringleaders as instructed by God, the plague did not stop! While they all sat crying, it took one young man, possibly not yet of Levitical age (30), to discern why the plague was not stopped!
Obedience to the Word of God should bring good (Isaiah 1: 19). Where and when obedience didn’t bring good, the obedience is not complete.
Phinehas saw what others could not see.
Just as in Exodus 32, when the entire camp of Israel did not see the consequence of making the molten calf and worshipping it, the tribe of Levi saw and abstained. That was how God chose them to be His vessels and representatives in place of the first born, making them a special people of God, an Old covenant “Church of the first born sons”.
Oh that our eyes may be opened that we might see through the eyes of heaven!!! What peace shall be ours!!!
No wonder Paul prayed our eyes be opened!
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” (Ephesians 1:18).
(3) He picked the spear.
The spear was a weapon of war, a rod that kills – the Word of God. Paul tells us to pick up the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6) which is the Word of God, Phinehas armed himself with the spear and with it quenched the abomination.
The work of God can only be done right and well when done according to the Word of God. Doing God’s work without His word is not only demonic, it is devilish and deathly.
Some works may be awesomely big and we allude it to the glory of God. But no. The sons of Levi were only a remnant compared to the multitude. Whereas they had the glory, the multitude were “naked to their shame”, stripped of the glory of God. Why? They did not follow God’s will and Way. They did theirs; there is a way that seemeth right unto a man….
“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 16:25).
God has specifications, even where a tiny nail should be, was instructed Noah in the building of the Ark.
Let’s not just do things, let’s do them according to His specification, and we shall be SERVANTS OF HONOUR.
The fear was incredibly thick that it became an open door for satan to come into our lives. Did God not say He will confound us in the presence of the enemy if we feared?
“Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.” – Jer 1:17
We had various forms of attacks; of roaches: big, black, hairy roaches, swarming in hordes, through windows that had mosquito nets, while the multi-tenement kitchen, just next door had no net on the window, yet no invasion of roach!! Scorpions were discovered in the house, a small wall-gecko that though it could not come in because of the net, stayed upside down on it for one week and released a vibration that affected my man-hood.
I felt embarrassed and frustrated, especially as we were only a few weeks into marriage!
Even after a cup of boiling water was poured on the gecko, it came back some minutes later to the same spot, and in the same position: upside down!!!
Indeed we should not war with the weapons of the flesh!
One night my wife found a live gecko under my pillow!!!
All these and more, are true-life experiences God used to groom us!
Having given room to satan through fear, we sold our precious sleep. Every night, either birds or pussycats will come in our window and cry like new born babies!
Like a barrage of machine guns we would rain curses at them, calling down fire and brimstone thinking that we were engaged in a warfare being “spiritual giants”. Whereas it was God who had confounded us in the presence of the enemy due to the fear in our hearts. God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of boldness.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
The mind is a dynamic force that does not sleep. Solomon said,
“I sleep, but my heart waketh.” – S.O.S 5:2
The heart continues in the night with the thought that the individual dwelt on during the day.
If you sow your thought into negative news, you will reap a harvest of nightmares and masquerades. Sow your thoughts into positive news and you will reap a harvest of sound mind and sweet dreams.
That is why we are warned to guard our hearts with all diligence.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life .” – Prov. 4:23
WATCH YOUR THOUGHTS
What thoughts have you been dwelling upon? They would either make you or mar you. You are a product of your thought.
“As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” – Luke 6:45
You need to review your thoughts. Until the meditation (thought) of your heart is acceptable (pure) before God, demons will continue to oppress you.
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” – Psalm 19:14
Think only of things that are lovely, that are positive.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8
Where are you?
“Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come:
but woe unto him, through whom they come!” (Luke 17:1).
Jesus is the door (John 10) into God’s Way.
It is easy to come to the door, but that is not the ultimate or end, rather it is the
beginning of the journey.
As Christians, we are expected not only to go through the door, but to continue
further into the life behind the door.
Many have turned back after going through the door because of the life behind it;
a challenging life, full of trials and persecutions. God dislikes those that pull back.
“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have
no pleasure in him.” (Hebrews 10:38).
Walking in the way of God while on earth makes you an enemy of the world.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the
world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Walking with God makes you a candidate of trials and persecutions.
How you react in the dark tunnels of tribulation would tell if you are matured for
promotion into the next level or not.
As you pass through the fire of affliction, would you change; mangled from what you profess to be (a Christian)? Do you loose your saltiness and drop every goodness? Or do you maintain
who you are?
Spiritually it tells if you are on top of or below the trial mark.
Adam fell beneath the trial mark when he dropped every goodness by blaming Eve, refusing to take responsibility; even when given a second chance.
Cain, reacted violently when God asked him for his brother Abel. Even when God made him know He knew what he had done, there was no remorse or goodness in him.
Abram, Called to walk with God, could not retain the word of God when the pressure of childlessness became too great for him. He followed his wife’s advice and acted according to the “culture” of the people. God “killed” Abram, and called forth Abraham.
Elijah lost his ministry to Elisha, when he allowed despair to change him from a man of Faith to a man of fear.
Hezekiah, went through a trial when on the issue of the ambassadors from Babylon, God left him to see what he would do. He got carried away by fame and affluence and could not repent of going into friendship with the enemy.
The list is endless!
However, Joseph, despite all he went through, from the pit to slavery and prison, did not stop doing good. He remained on top of his trials.
Moses, shamefully ejected and rejected from Egypt, could have charged against God for not giving him support when he tried to “liberate” Israel, walked the serpent and scorpions infested desert. Yet, in his hunger and weakness, the good in him could still be seen as he fought for the helpless daughters of Jethro.
Jeremiah, was tempted to drop the will of God, and quit the ministry to go into business. But no; he had to be the man God wanted him to be.
Steven forgave his killers, despite the pain he went through.
Our ultimate example, Jesus, went through a battle at Gethsemane. A trial that made His sweat as droplets of blood. And on the cross, with all the pain, refused to change from Whom God wanted Him to be.
We are all being measured, even through trials.
When trials come, do you lose your saltiness and change from good to bad?
to be continued …..
As a messenger who are you affecting? Every messenger carries a message. What message do you carry? When people see you, are they inspired to hope, gladness and smiles? Or does your presence stir in them hopelessness, and suggests to them they can never amount to anything in life? Does your presence encourage or condemn others?
The duty of the messenger of the Lord is to prepare His Way.
“As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.” – Mark 1:2 (KJV)
“Listen! I hear the voice of someone shouting, “Make a highway for the LORD through the wilderness. Make a straight, smooth road through the desert for our God. ” – Isaiah 40:3.
Your duty is to prepare that dry place so the Lord might come in. Soften that situation for that brother, that sister; show the love of God, shine the light of God into that troubled soul! Give hope to people around you. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven! (Matt. 5:16 KJV)
You are a messenger, not only the “ordained ministers”!
Messengers do not do their own will, but the will of their master!
“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” – John 6:38 (KJV)
Where He sends you should go! What He desires, you should do!
Imagine Matthew the Custom officer following Jesus to the house of Peter the fisherman, a demonstration of love and humility. Or of Peter (a Jew) in the house of Cornelius (a Gentle), a proof of self-denial.
One key to being a good messenger of the Lord is to KILL SHAME!
Kill shame in two areas of your Christian Faith.
(1) Shame of the crucified Saviour.
“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” – Mark 8:38 (KJV)
“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord Jesus, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.” – 2 Timothy 1:8 (KJV)
Many do not believe in a suffering Messiah; they are ashamed to be identified with Him. By confession, many acknowledge Him Lord and Master. But in everyday practice, they deny Him, by believing no disciple of His should carry his or her cross. They believe Christianity is a call to “feel good”, a bed of roses, “at least did He not become poor that we might be rich?” they query. (2 Cor. 8:9) A highly misunderstood scripture!
Many are ashamed of the Word, yet not aware they are. When we chose our own way over the Word of God, we prove our shame for it. The rejection of the Word is a result of having a “better alternative”; a result of our intellectual prowess which we are proud to carry out. Those times we feel the Word limits us and not “befitting” our status.
Again that scripture.
“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” – Mark 8:38 (KJV)
Being ashamed of His Word is manifest whenever we disobey. Every disobedience is a mark of pride; a mark of feeling that the Word is not good enough.
Masters do the thinking and issue instructions. Servants and messengers obey. As messengers, our duty is to obey.
“If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;” – Isaiah 1:19 AMP.
THE REASON FOR THE SEASON.
Over two thousand years ago, a virgin gave birth to a baby boy; something that has never happened nor ever will again.
Shepherds came to see the Child, to worship the Child and to spread the good news that the long awaited Child has been born.
Wise men, Sages, led by a Star, came from the East to pay homage and acknowledge by submission, that this IS the prophesied Messiah and Saviour of the world. They gave Him Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh; representing wealth, worship and power.
And because He lives, we can face tomorrow.
Merry Xmas everyone!
Belshazzar threw a party and invited his nobles. They ate, drank and were merry. When they used their own vessels at the feast, God did not trouble them. They could eat their own flesh and drink their own blood; so long as it was theirs and not God’s own.
However, when he stretched his hands to the vessels of God, God reacted.
“Belshazzar, while he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink in them. Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.” – Daniel 5:2-5
And because he did not humble himself and repent, that night, he was killed.
“In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.” – Daniel 5:30.
God would always protect His own, provide for His own and build for His own.
Why would God kill a man because of ordinary cups?
These were not ordinary cups! They belonged to God; they were His!
God had put so much treasure into the cups; they had been sanctified, dedicated to God and separated for His use only. The cups were no more ordinary; they had been transformed by the purity of the Divine God into extraordinary vessels.
God invests so much into His vessels, that is why He would always rise to defend what belongs to Him.
If God so invested into inanimate objects and could kill for them, of more worth are you that fear His Name and carry His presence!
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God, and not from us.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7.
You are of greater worth than those cups. If God could kill a man because of cups, think what He would do to anyone that tries to harm you!
“He suffered no man to do them wrong: yes, he reproved kings for their sakes; Saying, Touch not my anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” (Psalms 105:14-15).
The cups had no power or say against the king; they could not resist his servants who picked them with ease. Many may think you are helplessly powerless and that they can pick on you, oppress you and get away with it. They are mistaken!! Oh how wrong they are!!! God is the same, yesterday, today and forever! He will fight for you!!!
Peter was so confident about this he said:
“And who is he that will harm you, if ye are followers of that which is good?” – 1 Peter 3:13
Its a question “who is he?” In “pidgin” English we will say “who be dat? Them never born am!” Meaning such a person does not exist and can never be born!
God will fight for you!!!
But… the cups belonged to Him. Do you really belong to Him? No, no, I’m not talking about going to Church for this is beyond that. I mean really belonging to Him. Dipped in the blood of Jesus Christ and living His life?
Those cups had no life of their own; God and His glory were their life. Do you own your life? Live for yourself? Fight to preserve your ego and self-worth? Or do you live humbly, for the One Who gave Himself for your sake?
The vessels, having no ambition, thought or desire of their own were wholly yielded to God and consequently enveloped in His glory.
It is the measure of your surrender and yieldedness that determines the measure of His presence or power in your life; which in turn determines how much attention you get from Him.
“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” – James 4:8a.
Imagine putting a cheque of fifty thousand Naira you would cash the next day, in a 1970 newspaper and the sum of five hundred Naira in a current edition of your favourite magazine. Coming home you find your children playing with the magazine and the newspaper. Which would you rescue first? The current edition of your favourite magazine holding the sum of five hundred Naira or the old 1970 newspaper holding fifty thousand Naira cheque you would cash the following day? I believe your deposit in the papers will determine which one you rescue first.
God loved all the Children of Israel carried to Babylon in the days of Daniel, but He was closer to Daniel, showed him more favour, gave him greater grace than others and granted for him to be called “a man greatly beloved” (Daniel 10:11), because Daniel “understood by books” (Daniel 9:2), he chose to retain God more than anything and was not ashamed to show it!
God will not leave you in the hand of the enemy if you retain Him in you.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” (Romans 1:28).
Your worth to God and heaven CAN be increased.
(1) Receive His Word.
(2) Obey His word
(3) Build yourself on His Word.
A regenerated mind overflows with the Word of God.
It is a mind that sees nothing of value in this world and consequently counts all things as nothing compared to the joy of knowing Christ and being in His Kingdom. Such a mind is not moved by anything else but Christ and all about Him. He holds on to nothing and “loves not his life so much as to shrink from death”. (Revelation 12:11c)
A regenerated mind is wholly and completely offered as sacrifice to God; he does not live for himself but for the Lord, acknowledging that the life he lives is not his but Christ that lives in him.
A regenerated mind thrives on the Word of God and upon it does he meditate day and night. When he opens his mouth, nothing else but the Word of God overflows from it.
“My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then I spoke with my tongue.” (Psalms 39:3).
The regenerated mind does not speak anyhow. Neither does it speak or respond to everything it hears. He weighs what he hears (musing)…
“(Oh, I know, I have been rash to talk out plainly this way to God!) I will (in my thinking) stand upon my post of observation and station myself on the tower or fortres, and will watch to see what He will say within me, and what answer I will make (as His mouthpiece) to the perplexities of my complaint against Him.” – Habakkuk 2:1 AMP
I have been much of a talkative, the Prophet seemed to say, I spoke too soon and much too much; only for my words to come out foolish and out of place. I have learnt my lesson and will be more careful next time to “muse”, to meditate, consider, ponder, over what I hear, and depend on God for the answer I will give, as His spokesman.
“…. and will watch to see what He will say within me.” – Habakkuk 2:1b
He considers his speech and the possible consequences.
“…… and what answer I will make as His mouthpiece.” – Habbakuk 2:1c
The process of “musing“, pondering, is the process of waiting to hear His word of instruction; His word of direction, which comes like fire.
“Is not my word like a fire? saith the LORD?” – Jeremiah 23:29a.
While musing; waiting for instruction, “the fire burned“, signifying the entrance of His words, bringing light and direction.
“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple.” – Psalms 119:130.
This word shines a light on our path through the darkness, and uncertain terrain of this world, showing us where to follow, what to do.
The Psalmist said “Then“:
“…… then I spoke with my tongue.” (Psalms 39:3).
Even in other tongues!
The “speaking” comes after the word of instruction or direction has been given.
Good success is a product of walking along the path of this revelation. (Joshua 1:8)
That was the path Elijah walked. His instruction to fill the trench with water (1 Kings 18:33) was not his. It was born out of divine direction. He did not pray his mind or will. As a vessel empty of self, all that poured from him on Mount Carmel were sourced from the Holy Spirit.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26).
Elijah did not depend on his ability; he depended on the leading of the Holy Spirit.
We know not WHAT to pray as we OUGHT (should). The WHAT and the HOW of prayer are not ours.
Many parade themselves as “prayer warriors”, “prayer giants” as though the ability and direction of prayer is theirs.
A regenerated mind humbles himself before God, and even in prayer he does not lean on his own understanding.
When we forget about ourselves in His presence, His fire will fall; making us speak.
The Water represents the Holy Spirit and His peace that surrounds our heart, like the mountains surround Jerusalem.
Let us learn to depend on Him; He is our guide, our comforter, our shield and buckler. He is our Rock of defence and our Rock of offence. He also will bring us to the fullness of God’s plan for us individually. Let us draw closer to Him for He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother. And , let us obey Him, no matter how “wise” or “foolish” his instruction may be.