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.
A young man took a lady out to an ice-cream bar, settled at a table, before going to get their order. He returned with two cups of ice-cream, placed one in front of her before sitting opposite, across the table.
They talked a while, eating from their cups of ice-cream, when suddenly, she jumped to her feet, almost throwing out a mouth-full of the cream, in her struggle to bring out whatever she ate with the cream.
That was his cue. The young man was on his knee as she brought a ring out of her mouth.
“Would you marry me?” He asked.
He had asked the bar attendant to bury the ring in the ice-cream.
It was indeed a surprise for her.
That is the kind of surprise God has for us as we pass through trials.
“We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” – 2 Cor 6:1 (KJV)
The third thing to know is that with every package of trial, there is an attachment: grace!
In 2 Corinthians 6, Paul asks us not to receive grace in vain, and encourages that we stand through storms and trials.
There is certainly a connection between grace and trials.
I do not dispute that grace is God’s riches at Christ’s expense, but I believe it is more than that.
Grace is power; the power and ability of God manifested to help us stand and overcome. Like the Holy Spirit raising a standard against the flood of the enemy, grace is stirred up when we go through trials; when we KNOW it exists!!!
However most do no know that grace is available with every trials and persecution. We see and feel only the pain and discomfort. Not knowing grace abounds therein. Satan blinds us from this to make us think God has abandoned us!!!
Paul learned in 2 Corinthians 12, when faced with an infirmity which he prayed thrice to be removed, and thrice too, the Lord Jesus asked him to hold on to the grace which was abundantly available.
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Cor 12:7-9 (KJV)
Knowing grace was available, he would then “most gladly rejoice in infirmities”, knowing that in his weakness, God’s power (grace) takes over!!!
Tapping into Grace.
Finally, we need to know how to tap into grace, as it would be available, yet in vain.
In vain because we do not know how to draw from it!
Peter and James agree with Paul that only by humility can we tap into God’s grace.
“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” – James 4:6 (KJV)
“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” – Peter 5:5 (KJV)
Let us learn not to think too highly of ourselves, so that the power of God would sustain us through trials.
“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 (KJV)
Trials are a part of the Christian call; part of God’s will for us.
Promotion comes after successfully enduring trials: when we prove ourselves on top of the trial; when we go through trials without loosing our saltines, our goodness.
To be on top of the trials, you need to know four things.
(1) Know where you are.
You need to do an honest appraisal or evaluation of what has befallen you.
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” – 2 Cor 13:5a (KJV)
Is it possible you are responsible for what befell you? Could you have done something that led to what situation you are in?
“But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.” – 1 Peter 4:15 (KJV)
Be honest with yourself.
If you cannot be honest with yourself, you cannot be honest with anyone; not even with God! Self-respect comes from being true to who you are. When you respect yourself others will respect you.
Do not try to be another person or lie to yourself just because you want to avoid being blamed.
Withdraw to the deepest part of you where no man can come: your husband, your wife, your children. A place Jesus would call the “secret place”; and truly examine yourself.
“Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.” – Psalms 4:4 (KJV)
Sometimes the behaviour of people toward us is actually a reaction to what we have said or done! Clear your conscience!
Repent and ask God’s forgiveness, if you find yourself guilty in any way.
But after searching and you find no fault with you, rejoice!
(2) The second thing to know is that a better and greater life is ahead of you!
The sun is always above. After the planted seed has probed it’s surrounding with its roots and settled itself (as in confirming that its darkness experience is not its making), it looks up to the Sun!
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore “ – Psalms 121:1-8 (KJV)
Look up to the Sun of Righteousness!
It shall be well! Everything will turn out to your favour!
……… to be continued.
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 …..
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do. ” (Proverbs 4:23). TNLT
Watch the information you receive because now, man has opened the other door!
A sponge soaks in everything presented to it; water, powder, oil, dust, even sand. With a little pressure, either through squeezing or beating, it releases part of its content.
The heart is like that. It soaks up every information presented to it. With the pressure of everyday, they come out as actions and attitude. The information you digest form the actions that become you!
Because of free-will, every information or knowledge you receive comes to you as a suggestion. Not a force or a thing of compulsion. You are responsible for your actions!
Neither God nor Satan will force you.
God punished Adam and Eve, not just because they received information from another source but because they CHOSE to believe that voice! It was a suggestion that Eve received from the serpent. A suggestion or advice. An advice, is a thing that can either be accepted or rejected. The point where the suggestion is received and begins to be “desirable” is the point of choice; the point of “open eyes”, where the “door” of evil knowledge is opened.
Through your thought, you surrender to either side. Your actual person is determined by your thought. You cannot be bigger, better or different than your thought.
“And remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else either. Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. These evil desires lead to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death.” (James 1:13-15 TNLT).
“The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust.” (James 1:14 MSG).
It is your own evil desire, the final conclusion of your thought process that drags you away from God.
Though your thoughts are not visible in that they cannot be seen physically, your actions play them out!
The process starts as a suggestion or advert; aimed at making you participate or patronize.
“Will it, really?” You reply, curious.
“Someone may be hiding in the dark!”
“Oh, that’s true!” You reply in fear.
Every suggestion or advert targets your will. You either walk away or participate. The decision is always yours!
Every time you respond positively to a suggestion, good or evil, you make it your own, and will not remain the same afterwards. It leaves you better or worse.
This is the process that opens the door!
This is the reason we should be careful what we hear and how we interpret what we hear!
To be continued.
WHAT IS FRUIT?
“”Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are really wolves that will tear you apart. You can detect them by the way they act; just as you can identify a tree by its fruit. You don’t pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles. ” – Matthew 7:15-16 (NLT)
True believers are known by their fruit: their character: “the way they act”!
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” -1 Corinthians 13:1-2.
Gift is not fruit!
You may be gifted to move mountains, heal the sick, raise the dead, speak with tongues of fire, and all; if you do not have a good and godly character you are nothing! Gift can never equal Fruit! Godly fruit is your Visa into Heaven.
Fruits are cultivated, gifts are given.
We should cultivate godly character, and keep it even in extreme conditions. That is why Jesus said “if your fruit remain”. (John 15::16)
Everyday, things threaten your fruit; your character! The North and South winds would always blow upon you. What fragrance (character) would you display?
“Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.” (Song of Songs 4:16).
People, things and circumstances would be used against you; how would you react?
Your character would either make the Holy Spirit take delight in you or get repulsed from you!
WHAT KIND OF TREE IS MAN?
Man as a tree, is the moveable double or replica of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Tree, though rooted to a spot in the garden, has the power of knowledge: good and evil knowledge. Man not rooted at a spot, has the power of knowledge: good and evil.
In Ezekeil 8, God took the prophet into a wall and showed him a chamber.
“Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door. And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here. So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about. And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up. Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.”
“…. Every man in the chambers of his imagery?”
Should your heart be split open, what kind of images would be found there? Would they be things you would be proud of? Would they give glory to God?
“Every man,….. his imagery.”
This is the CHAMBER OF THOUGHT in the heart of Man; where he thinks, imagines and creates his actions; where his secret motives are rehearsed before being played out!
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” – Proverbs 4:23.
It is the power house in Man, from where the issues of his life flows! Whatever a man is, is from here, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7)
If a man is godly, it is from here, if he is ungodly it is from here! Man becomes what is in this chamber!
“A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. ” – Matthew 12:35.
He is THE product of his thought. His emotion, intellect, imagination, memory and will are rooted here.
A Chamber is a Judge’s room for hearing cases that need to be taken out to Court. It is a place for private hearing; a room where two parties are listened to privately. It is a secret place.
The mind is like a Judge’s Chambers. Here two parties, good and evil, are heard without any one else knowing or hearing. But you, the individual, being the Judge presiding over the Chambers, hear both parties in order to make a decision.
It was not supposed to be so! We were not supposed to be there, judging good and evil.
“And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.” – Genesis 3:22a.
“Man is become”, has become; meaning he was not like that before! Not like what?
“To know good and evil”, he now judges!
Man has usurped God’s place: to judge situations, take decisions and lead himself!
It was not so!
This was exclusively God’s Chambers! God desires to be here; alone. The place He called “My Sanctuary”.
Paul, speaking by the Spirit of God confirms:
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” – 1 Corinthians 3:16.
But another image is seen here! An image that desires to have the place, by manipulating man, putting him there and turning him against God!
“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:” – Isaiah 14:13.
Man has glorified himself under the influence of Satan!
For as long as man sits there against the will of God, he remains under the control of Satan.
The question is, how did the image get here?
Man brought it in when he opened a door that should have remained shut!
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.