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.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” – Eph 3:20 (KJV)
God can do much more than we can ever ask or think!
But why are we not experiencing it?
The power in you! God can work only to the extent of His power in you!
You and I are the limitations to God’s work in our lives.
How can we grow this power?
First we need to know what the power is.
“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” – Heb 1:3 (KJV)
His Word or plan has been set in motion and things unfold accordingly. He does not need to come uttering His voice every time for things to move. No. All things are upheld by the “Word (that came) of His power.”
Joel tells us that whosoever carries out His word is powerful!
“….. for he is strong that executeth his word.” – Joel 2:11b (KJV)
The word of God we retain is His power in us!
So we should:
(1) Digest His word for it is the source of Faith.
No amount of tongue-talking can produce faith. Yes; tongues can build Faith, but not produce it! Faith comes only by the Word!
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” – Romans 10:17 (KJV)
(2) Pray from your heart!
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” – Jude 1:20 (KJV)
The revelation that comes from the Word should inspire you to pray not just with your lips but from the overflow of the heart!
“My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue.” – Psalms 39:3 (KJV)
Beloved, build yourself and see God do for you, beyond your wildest imaginations!
Our God is awesome!
What you see is what you get!
Imagination supplies you the mental pictures that you alone can see – in your thought Chamber! It is the “evidence” of what you desire; the “evidence” of your faith. If you cannot see it or “imagine” it, you cannot have it!
Faith cannot operate without spiritual sight. That is where imagination comes in.
Everyone has imagination. When properly used or directed, it can carry you from the visible, physical realm to the invisible spirit realm. It can also transport things from the invisible spirit realm to the visible physical or natural realm. Everything in the physical realm first existed in and came from the spirit realm.
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” – Heb 11:3 (KJV)
Imagination is a visible picture seen only by the creator, the “visioneer”. The more the picture or image is “retained” (Rom. 1:28) and nurtured, the more life it is given.
That is why Jesus said, if any man look lustfully at a woman, he has done it!
“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” – Matt 5:28 (KJV)
It is not just that one looked; but HOW the person looked: LUSTFULLY! In other words, creating, or raising a mental picture of the woman without her clothes. This employs the imagination.
Physically, visibly, people see the person as innocent; not committed adultery. But in the invisible realm, the spirit realm, such a person is guilty, and has committed adultery!
There may be no “evidence” of what has been done. But spiritually, there is “evidence”!
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Heb 11:1 (KJV)
“.. evidence of things not seen”!
Faith is thought that is hopeful, anchored on the Word of God and backed up with love.
With the “evidence”, your thought, you can be convicted; “accused” by the accuser of brethren. Your thought can convict you in the spirit realm!
Hate or hatred is a negative emotional thought toward someone or something.
“Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” – 1 John 3:15 (KJV)
The person is called and judged a murderer; though has not physically killed anyone! Negative thought or imagination, not pulled down or destroyed can convict you in the spirit realm!
Here the Holy Spirit reaffirms that our thought can act in “evidence” against us. Physically, you can be smiling with a person, but spiritually there is “evidence” that you have killed the person!
“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.” – Heb 11:17 (KJV)
Was Isaac really, naturally “offered up”? No!
The concluded thought in Abraham, and the sweet surrender of Isaac rose to God as a sweet smelling savour; it is as good as done!
Your thought goes beyond what you do in the natural realm. It enters into the spirit realm and opens you to either Faith or fear. It tells God continually who you are.
“The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.” – Psalms 94:11 (KJV)
Demonic forces also see your thought!
“….. he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.” – Prov 11:27b (KJV)
They see your thought, else they will not have “evidence” with which to accuse you.
What you think will come to you: good or bad. So:
(1) Cast down imaginations and put thoughts into captivity.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” – 2 Cor 10:5 (KJV)
(2) Entertain only good and pure thoughts.
“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.” – Phil 4:8 (KJV)
May God help us keep our thoughts pure. Amen.
“And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.” (Genesis 32:30-31).
Running from his brother Esau, Jacob left alone, encountered the Lord and wrestled with Him. This was the day Jacob “saw God face to face”. Yet we know no man can see God and survive.
“And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” (Exodus 33:20).
So what could he mean?
It was the day he “saw” God’s plan for him and accepted it; the day he made his ways right before the Lord: the day he got born-again.
All his life he had been controlled by situations and circumstances, and what people thought about him. He lived in the paradise of other people’s imagination, consequently ended up supplanting his brother, deceived his father and cheated his uncle. He was on his way to inherit God’s possession (Canaan) pronounced on him by their father, Isaac. Indirectly, he was going to possess God’s gift by manipulation. Yes, God had him in mind for that land but not through lying and deception. He connived with his mother to lie to his father; certainly God cannot be in a lie, this was not His way! Again, no unclean thing can inherit the possession of God.
“And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called, The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the way-faring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” (Isaiah 35:8).
“Who shall ascend upon the hill of the LORD? and who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul to vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” -Psalms 24:3-5.
This was a land that God chose for Himself before the foundation of the world to be His headquarters on earth; a land that rejected and “vomiteth” the inhabitants whose ways were not right with God.
This was the land Jacob, in his carnal, “fleshly” nature was going to inherit?
God does not change; in nature and in principle. Jacob had to be stopped: hence the wrestle with the angel; in which Jacob was brought down “dead” while “Israel” came to life. Jacob did not inherit Canaan, because of his supplanting nature; Israel did!
After this experience with the angel, he became transformed, he became changed, he became a brand new man.
“Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17.
For the first time in his life, he noticed the Sun rise upon him. He had been in the sun before however this was no ordinary sun, but the Sun of righteousness, giving approval of the new man who has come to know the Lord for himself: a man who now has power “of agreement” with God to enter Canaan and possess it. For the first time, he saw himself in a different light.
God had been walking with him like He walks with everybody today; to lead, to guide, to protect and to bless. But we have to mend our ways: to agree with Him.
“Can two walk together, except they are agreed?” – Amos 3:3.
The blessing of God does not come by how much we work; even for the Lord: how much we run around, where we go, who we meet or associate with, or by what methods we employ. No. The blessing of God comes by obedience and agreement with Him.
“If ye are willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:” – Isaiah 1:19.
“Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: by this good shall come to thee.” – Job 22:21.
The word “acquaint” is old English for “agree”. In other words “agree with Him then good shall come.” Good comes only when we are in agreement with Him.
“By this” (Websters)
“By that” (Amplified).
Just this one thing: agreement!
Whatever comes outside agreement with Him, does not stay, yet multiplies sorrow.
Jacob was at the verge of losing everything to Esau (a man of the flesh; a man of the world), thanks to God for His mercy, his life was preserved.
If we have to experience not just success but growth: the increase that establishes success, we MUST AGREE with Him. Only by agreement with Him do we have the Sun of righteousness lead us.
“But to you that fear my name, shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” Malachi 4:2.
“Breaking forth” and “growing up” are things we pursue everyday, but can only get when the Sun of righteousness rises over us, taking the lead and ordering our affairs.
The Sun rising upon Jacob means he agreed to walk with God in total surrender, led by God. Not like before when God walked with Him; no, it was different now: he walked with God!
His conduct and character changed. He began to see things from a new perspective, his mode of dressing changed, his language and speech changed; all reflecting his new found life in God. Even his manner of walk changed! He began to limp: unable to do certain things he did easily in his former way of living, or should we say he felt ashamed of those deeds and could not indulge in them anymore. However way we interpret it, Jacob became a new creature and old things passed away, paving the way for the new – Israel.
The power to live holy comes, when we surrender to the Lord and agree with Him to drive our life. Let us learn from Jacob so that the sweet fragrance of God “shut” in us would find expression.
When professionals finish their work they say it is finished. Jesus partnering with God said “it is finished”.
However that is not the end. It only marked the end of an era, the Old Testament and Old Covenant era; and marked the beginning of another. (Rev. 3:7-8)
Picture two rooms. Eternity has two rooms. Christians are in the first room governed by the prince of this world, with all of its trials, persecutions and evil.
When you ask “why me?”, it is because you are in this first room!
For as long as you are in this first room, you will have tribulation.
“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.” – John 16:33 KJV
Here in this first room, there is misery, pain, persecution, and trials.
Jesus said “but”.
“But” carries you by faith, into the second room where you are untouchable; where you cannot be sick, a place where you can not fail, a place you can not be defeated, caged or go hungry: a place of victory.
This second room is the place reserved for those who do know their God.
“….. but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” – Daniel 11:32b KJV
It is the room of exploits! (Isa. 35:8-9)
If so, why have we all not entered into it? SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS!
“Behold”, see, consider, stare at.
Rev. 3:9; Isa. 43:19
Isaiah, in his days, could not see the ultimate plan in God’s heart. He could only relay what God asked him to write but did not have the fullness of God’s mind like we do today. The “New Thing” did not spring forth in his days. In our days, the Kingdom of God has sprung forth. We ought to “see” (Eph. 1:8) it because “IT IS FINISHED!”
Paul prayed that our eyes be opened for us to see it, implying we do not see it!
Though “it is finished”, we still do not see it, why?
Firstly, our free will is standing against us! How?
In Deut. 30:19, God set a choice before us. He is not forcing us but rather gives us the choice to make. We choose! Jesus had a choice to make in Matthew 4, He rejected the world and its glories. Many of us His followers, on the other hand embrace what He rejected!
Our eyes are not seeing what Jesus saw; what God wants us to see, what Paul prayed that we might see.
In the parable of the sower of seed, the third category of seeds were choked and became unfruitful because of the thorns which by interpretation, means the cares of this world: materialism! This was the reason Lot’s wife looked back.
We are too attached to this world! Materialism has eaten deep into our hearts. We are satisfied with being in this first room, just because of the temporal treasures and pleasures! That is why we are not seeing the door into the second room!
Jesus said “Behold I set before you an open door.” – Revelations 3:9
The door into the second room is standing open before us yet it would take “BEHOLD” for us to see it! “Behold” means focus, attention, concentrate, stare till you see! We need to pull our faces from the distraction or attraction of the first room. The Cross of Jesus is the key that opened up that door but until we reject the “glories” of this world we may not see it.
So many things are behind the Cross, the second room, stored up only for as many as are able to “find” it.
May we strive harder, stare harder to see the OPEN DOOR, that peace and victory be ours. Amen.