Monday, December 13, 2021

Choose Wisely

One of the greatest acts of deliverance recorded in the Bible is Israel's exodus from Egypt. There are several estimations of how many people left in the exodus. We are not given any exact number until the first census of Israel was taken "...on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt." (Numbers 1:1) However, this census was limited to, "...all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers' houses, according to the number of names, every male individually, from twenty years old and above, all who are able to go to war in Israel. You and Aaron shall number them by their armies." (Numbers 1:2-3) This total came to "All who were numbered were six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty."(Numbers 1:46) Keep in mind that the census was taken fourteen months after the exodus and was limited to men "twenty years old and above, all who are able to go to war." Notice that the men chosen were all who were able to go to war. Some have suggested that there were some men unfit for war due to some sort of aliment. This is a wrong assumption. "He (God) also brought them out with silver and gold, and there was none feeble among His tribes."  (Psalms 105:37) This tells us there was not one person who lacked in physical or mental strength. They were not frail or weak in any way.

Many have used formulas to calculate the total number of people that God delivered from the bondage of Egypt but we do not know the exact number. Based on most researchers the average number comes to approximately two million people. Although God Himself was leading Israel, He chose Moses and set him over this multitude of people to lead them on a journey to the "Promised Land." During Israel's journey through the wilderness there were faced with various trails. Although they witnessed their miraculous deliverance and Gods provision in the wilderness unbelief ran rampant among the people, even the great man Moses had his doubts. One of these happened at the Red Sea.

Israel had come to the Red Sea with impassable mountains on their left and right and the army of Pharaoh behind them. It seemed as though there was no place to go, there was no escape.In the natural it looked quite disastrous, but what God spoke to Moses is a key to living a victorious life. "And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace."  Exodus 14:13-14) At first glance it appears that Moses is trying to calm the people by assuring them that God would save them, but look what God says to Moses. 

"And the Lord said to Moses, "Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea." (Exodus 14:15-16) God is actually rebuking Moses for unbelief. Look carefully at these verse again and note that which is highlighted. The Bible record numerous times that God used Moses' rod to perform miracles, and still Moses was unsure.God did not say to Moses, stretch forth your hand and I will divide the sea. No, God said, "stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it." God was calling Moses to exercise his faith.

 Jesus' disciples were faced with a similar situation. "Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side of the lake." And they launched out. But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!" Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, "Where is your faith?" (Luke 8:22-25).

In both situation the same thing happened. God expected Moses and the disciples of Jesus to exercise their  faith, but their unbelief put the responsibility of the situation on God (Jesus). This happens to many in the church today. God has given the church His Word, His promises, the Name of Jesus, authority and the Holy Spirit, yet, when a tough situation appears, many believers cry out to God to do something, when in fact, He has given the church these five wonderful gifts to use against any of life's circumstances. This has nothing to do with petitioning God in prayer. All believers are to constantly pray. It simply means that believers are to step up as children of God and uphold and enforce what God has already given to the church. For instance, Jesus said, "And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." (Mark 16:17-18)

Based on what Jesus said, believers do not have to ask God to cast out a demon for us or to heal the sick for us. We simply follow the Lords command and do these things in the Name of Jesus. In the Name of Jesus, demon come out. In the Name of Jesus, be healed. This is the place where Moses and the disciples failed as seen in the previously two passages above. It is also the place where most believers fail. Instead of believing and acting on God's Word, many let unbelief have the ascendancy in their life and then wonder why things do not seem to happen they way they had hoped. Jesus tells us, "Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." (Mark 11:22-24)

Now your faith may not be at the level to believe God in this way, but as you feed on God's Word your faith will grow. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) So don't be discouraged, don't quit and don't speak a negative confessions. Know that your faith can grow and you will be used of God to do what seems to be impossible. "Jesus said, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." (Mark 9:23)

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