We Have Not Gone This Way Before
By George Kirkpatrick
Vital Words to the Body of Christ
Proclaiming the Everlasting Gospel of the Kingdom
Vital Words to the Body of Christ
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give
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As we come to the end of the age of grace, we are pressed hard to know what is next. As we witness man's headlong quest to destroy the human race, it seems like a race to the next catastrophe. Will it be the financial collapse of the whole world's monetary system, the destruction of the oil supply, the constant threat of nuclear terrorism, volcano eruptions all over the earth, asteroids crushing into the earth, global warming destroying the ice caps and the threat of another ice age, tsunamis hitting coastlines all over the earth, or an interruption of the food chain?
God's judgment hand is truly at work to wake up mankind to their sin and their sinful nature. Those who depend on the government to meet their needs and solve their problems have been so betrayed by those who flout their sin and by those who are no longer ashamed of their dishonest intent.
As we witness what many seem to attribute to natural disasters such as fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, mud slides, and the loss of jobs outsourced to the other countries, can we doubt God's judgment hand?
As we scratch our heads and wonder how bad can things get, we need to heed the words of Joshua. Joshua was the leader who led God's chosen people, ancient Israel, into their promise land. Joshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus. Israel's last camp in the wilderness before crossing the Jordan was Shittim:
"And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host." Joshua 3:1-2
The officers were those who were in charge of God's people. Today this would be the pastors and teachers. It would be three days before Israel would pass over Jordan. Jordan is the symbol of the river of death we must all pass over to enter into eternal life.
"And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place and go after it." Joshua 3:3
When Israel saw the ark of the covenant being moved, they were to follow the ark. We need to recognize who the ark of the covenant is in our day. The beloved John wrote:
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." I John 4:10
The word propitiation means "mercy seat." The mercy seat covered the ark, and God met with man above the mercy seat between the cherubim.
"And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." I John 2:2
This message is for us today. When we see our propitiation (our mercy seat) move, we need to follow our ark of the covenant also.
"Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore." Joshua 3:4
There was to be a space of two thousand cubits between the ark and Israel to enter into their promise land. This is our sign that we will follow our ark of the covenant by about two thousand years into our promise land, the Kingdom of God.
Then Joshua gave us insight, " . . . that ye may know the way by which ye must go. . ." If we do not follow our ark and His direction, we will not know which way we must go (live) to enter into our promise land, because man has not passed this way heretofore.
For centuries man's only hope of entering into the Kingdom of God was by dying, but God has a living way for us to enter into our promise land. These are those who Jesus revealed to John on the Isle of Patmos, " . . . who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth . . ." Revelation 14:4. This we must do if we are to go where no man has ever walked before. Joshua gave Israel special instructions:
"And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you." Joshua 3:5
Israel was to sanctify themselves. The word sanctify means "to consecrate" which means "to set apart." We must live a separated life. By the Holy Spirit anointing, Paul informs us:
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you," II Corinthians 6:17
This is exactly what God spoke to Israel before they could enter into their promise land. If we, as God's Spiritual Israel, heed His Word, then we can expect the same promise.
"For to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you." The word wonders means "passing anything you have ever seen before." We are camped at Shittim, waiting for God's orders to cross the Jordan to enter into our promise land, but God wants us to know how we must consecrate ourselves, so we can enter in and possess the Kingdom of God.
God anointed the Apostle Paul to proclaim to us what must be out of our lives if we are to enter in. Speaking of Israel, Paul proclaims to us:
"Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." I Corinthians 10:11
We are those, upon whom the ends of the world is come. The word world is the Greek word AION and should have been translated "age." We are the generation at the end of the age, and God has given us ancient Israel as our example of what we must become if we are to cross the River Jordan and enter into our promise land, the Kingdom of God.
Paul used Israel as our example so we do not make the same mistakes Israel made, which kept them from entering their promise land.
"But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness." I Corinthians 10:5
God sent Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt where they were slaves. Egypt is symbolic of the world. God freeing Israel from Egypt (the world) is our example of God freeing us from the worldly system when we come to Christ and become part of His plan of salvation. Through God's Word we can find the way to overcome the world so we can inherit the Kingdom of God. Jesus showed us the way. We also have His life as our example. John recorded Jesus words:
"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
We too must overcome the world in our quest for the Kingdom of God. Paul informs us:
"For this ye know, that no whore-monger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God." Ephesians 5:5
With this insight, we must pay close attention as to why thousands and perhaps millions of the Israelites did not enter into their promise land. We must remember every Israelite who left Egypt had the same opportunity to enter into their promise land. It is the same as everyone who comes to Christ has the same opportunity to inherit the Kingdom of God. But as Jesus proclaimed:
"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom." Luke 12:32
Jesus warned it would be a little flock to whom the Father would give His Kingdom. God has prepared His Kingdom for all His creation, so why will only a few enter into the Kingdom of God? Jesus tells us:
"Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Matthew 7:14
The word strait does not have the same meaning as the word straight. The word strait means "close", so only those who walk in close proximity to the way Christ walked will enter the gate which leads to eternal life. As stated before:
"But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness." I Corinthians 10:5
Those who displeased God, died in the wilderness. Only two over the age of sixty entered into their promise land.
"And the space in which we came from Kadesh-barnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the Lord sware unto them." Deuteronomy 2:14
Kadesh-barnea was where Israel was camped when the spies were sent in to spy out the land. The Brook Zered was the last obstacle Israel had to overcome to enter into their promise land. The word Zered means "their bondage subdued." We must overcome every bondage in our lives if we are going to enter into the Kingdom of God.
It only took thirty-eight years for all those Israelites over the age of twenty to perish in the wilderness. The exception was Joshua and Caleb. These were the only two over sixty who entered in to their promise land. Those who were under the age of twenty did not perish in the wilderness because they were not accountable for their parent's decision not to enter into the promise land at Kadesh-barnea.
As we look at our example of not entering in, we need to ask why did all these multitude of people die in the wilderness, so we will not be found guilty of the same error. Paul gives us insight to Israel's failure to enter in:
"Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted." I Corinthians 10:6
Israel lusted after evil things. The phrase evil things means "things that make trouble." It also means "a mode of thinking." So the evil things Israel lusted after changed the way they thought which made trouble for them all their days in the wilderness. What were the evil things Israel lusted after?
"And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?" Numbers 11:4
God gave Israel manna (the bread from heaven). The manna was so nutritious it met every need of their physical bodies. But Israel lusted after meat. Like Israel, most people are never satisfied with God's supply. They always want more.
This mixed multitude caused all Israel to murmur and complain against God's leadership, and God Himself. The phrase mixed multitude means "a collection of rabble." Webster's dictionary describes the word rabble as "a tumultuous crowd of vulgar, noisy people, a confused and disorderly crowd." So this mixed multitude was a multitude of constant complainers. How true this is today of God's people. Many complain about gas prices, food prices, the government - - - yes, and even God's leadership. They seem to forget God's promises:
"But my God shall supply all your need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
So how did God deal with the mixed multitude of complainers:
"And there went forth a wind from the Lord, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day's journey on this side, and as it were a day's journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth.
And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp." Numbers 11:31-32
God sent a great wind and brought quail in abundance. There were quail three feet deep around the camp of Israel. When the people went out to gather the quail, even the least of the people gathered ten homers. A homer is about sixty-five gallons. So the least of Israel gathered six hundred and fifty gallons of quail. Like Israel, many today never have enough. Whatever God supplies, they want more. God gave Israel what they lusted after:
"And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague." Numbers 11:33
While they were "pigging out" on God's supply, God witnessed their glutenous attitude, and His anger was kindled, and He sent a very great plague among them. The psalmist Asaph recorded this event:
"They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel. For all this they sinned still, and believed not for His wondrous works." Psalms 78:30-32
As Asaph discloses, they were not estranged (strangers) from their lust, and while the meat was in their mouths, the wrath of God fell and slew the fattest of them. God smote down the chosen of Israel in His wrath. The word chosen means "young men." God sent this plague because the people did not believe God's wondrous works.
"And he called the name of that place Kibroth-hattaavah: because they buried the people that lusted." Numbers 11:34
They called the place Kibroth-hattaavah which means "the grave of the lust." An unknown Psalmist wrote of this event:
"But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And He gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul." Psalm 106:14-15
God gave Israel what they asked for, but He not only sent the plague, He sent leanness into their souls. The word leanness means "disease and scantness of measure." No longer did God give them the fullness of His supply. We need to be careful what we lust after. God may give it to us, but perhaps we will not want it when we consider the price.
Paul continued God's revelation as to why Israel fell in the wilderness:
"Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." I Corinthians 10:7
People today say I could never worship idols. But we can make an idol out of anything: our home, our job, our car, our leisure and pleasure, money, fishing, golf or any sport. Whatever takes our time and our money can become an idol. Well, Israel desired an idol. When Moses went up into the mount to receive The Ten Commandments, he was gone forty days.
"And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him." Exodus 32:1
The people wanted Aaron to make them gods. Man is incurably religious. They want something they can see to worship. Many look to the man in the pulpit to tell them what to do and how they should worship and be pleasing to their God. Israel was no different. They wanted something they could see to worship.
"And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, these be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." Exodus 32:2-4
Aaron told them to break off their golden earrings. The golden earrings are symbolic of God's anointing upon their hearing. Israel was no longer willing to hear God. They wanted man-made idols, instead of hearing the anointed Word of God. How like the church system of today. They choose to listen to man and follow his man-made precepts and doctrines, instead of hearing the Word of God.
Aaron received the people's golden earrings, melted the gold, and took great pains to not only mold the calf, but with patience fashion it with graving tools. Aaron must have been proud of what he fashioned with his own hands.
"And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play." Exodus 32:5-6
Israel now had something to worship. They built an altar before this dumb idol and brought their peace offerings before the idol to appease their new god.
We must look at Aaron and know who he represents. When God called Moses to lead his people out of their bondage, Moses complained:
"And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto Thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue." Exodus 4:10
Moses complained to God that he was not a good talker, and slow of tongue. God tried to assure Moses that He would be with him:
"Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say." Exodus 4:12
But Moses refused.
"And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom Thou wilt send. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and He said, is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do." Exodus 4:13-15
So Aaron represents the pastors and teachers who are to speak for God. But too many of these pastors and teachers, with their own hands, have made gods for the people to worship. Great amounts of time and money are spent on building programs where grand mausoleums that look good to the world are constructed. And they fill their grandiose buildings with the spiritually dead. Great amounts of money are spent on evangelistic programs and missionaries who go to foreign nations to make more converts to their denominational orders.
So Israel had their god, and they sat down to eat and to drink and rose up to play, comfortable in what they had created with their own hands. What a picture of the modern day church. When Moses came down from the mount, God informed him what the people had become. In anger, Moses threw down the tablets containing the ten commandments which God had written and broke them. When Moses confronted Aaron as to what he had done, instead of taking responsibility, Aaron blamed the people.
"For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf." Exodus 32:23-24
Aaron told Moses the people cried out for gods they could worship. Aaron told Moses they gave him their golden earrings, and all he did was cast it into the fire, and out came the image of a calf. How like those who stand in the pulpits today. When they face God, what will be their excuse for not warning the people of the days ahead? Will they be as Aaron who only gave the people what they desired to do and hear? Moses told the people:
"For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the Lord was wroth against you to destroy you. But the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also. And the Lord was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time." Deuteronomy 9:19-20
God was so angry He was going to destroy the people and Aaron also. But Moses interceded for them to turn away God's anger.
"And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it." Exodus 32:20
Moses melted the golden calf, ground it to powder, spread it upon the water, and made the people drink the water. This was pure gold and was worth much money, but Moses did not want the people to forget God's anger, nor their sin.
Paul continued to warn the church at Corinth about our example, ancient Israel:
"Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand." I Corinthians 10:8
When Israel committed fornication there was a terrible price to pay. In one day, three and twenty thousand died. Paul also warned the Corinthians about their relationships:
"But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat." I Corinthians 5:11
Paul warned about six things we are not to keep company with. The phrase keep company means "to mix together, or become intimate with." The first on the list was fornication "those who are involved in an intimate relationship, outside the bonds of mat-rimony." Yet those who live together, not being married, are permitted to sit in church services week after week, and this sin is never addressed.
The second warning is not to keep company with a covetous person. Covetousness is lusting after things that belong to another.
The third warning is not to keep company with an idolater, those who have made a god out of mammon, desiring the things of this life and the world. Yet this is the main message of the prosperity teachers.
The fourth warning is not to keep company with a railer. A railer is one who reviles, and whose whole desire is to get even. A railer cannot control his anger.
The fifth warning is not to keep company with a drunkard, those who drink alcohol to excess. Strong drink hinders their whole life.
The sixth warning is not to keep company with an extortioner, those who do not care how they get their money or belongings.
Why did Paul warn the Corinthians of these sins? It is because all these sins can, and will alter our walk if we keep company with those who are not walking the way God has given us to walk.
Paul stated Israel was guilty of fornication and how God had punished them:
"And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab." Numbers 25:1
As stated before Shittim was Israel's last camp before they entered into their promise land. Even at this last camp, Israel committed whoredom with the daughters of Moab. God had already warned Israel they were not to give their daughters to the heathen, nor were their sons to take heathen wives. Yet today those who call themselves Christians do not follow this same advice. They watch their children marry the heathen, and their children fall away from God.
Israel disobeyed God's command and great plagues fell among them:
"And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
"And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; and he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel. And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand." Numbers 25:6-9
What is the danger of keeping company with those who sin? We discover that because these sins were permitted in their midst - - - fornication, covetousness, idolatry, railings, drunkenness, and extortion became common practice with the Israelites. How true this is in our day. Fornication has become common place. There is no shame in those who are involved in this sin. This plague killed over twenty thousand in Israel. Yes, God has warned us:
"Flee fornication! Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." I Corinthians 6:18
Those who commit fornication sin against their own body. When we hear of over twenty thousand dying of God's plagues in Israel because of fornication, we say that is terrible. But how many fornicators have died in our day because of Aids and other venereal diseases. The deaths run in the millions, and yet the church fails to warn their people because if they confront the people's sins, they may leave the church. So the pastors are paid to maintain the status quo.
Paul continued his warning to God's people upon whom the end of the age has come:
"Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents." I Corinthians 10:9
God's Word records Israel tempted God ten times in the wilderness. When Israel tempted God, He sent poisonous snakes among them:
"And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way." Numbers 21:4
The people became discouraged in the way. Today many become discouraged in their walk with God. They get tired of the testing and refinement God is bringing in their lives.
"And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness: For there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread." Numbers 21:5
Israel spoke against God and against His leadership. They began to constantly complain because they had no bread and no water. They complained about the light bread, the manna God had given them to make their bread.
We must remember they were in the wilderness because they refused to enter their promise land. When the spies returned, they were guilty of unbelief and rebellion. Now they were also guilty of complaining and condemning.
"And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died." Numbers 21:6
When these snakes bit the people, the bite was very painful and burned like fire. Today when people are in unbelief and rebellion and complain and condemn God and His leadership, God allows the old serpent, the devil, to bite His people to bring them to repentance. This is what happened to Israel:
"Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that He take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people." Numbers 21:7
Israel repented, and asked Moses to pray for them. We see this so many times today. When a personal or national disaster disrupts their lives, those who want nothing to do with God or those who are called by His name, come to have God's mercy poured out in their situation.
"And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live." Numbers 21:8
God told Moses to make a fiery serpent and place it on a pole so all who looked upon this fiery serpent would live. The medical profession has adopted this fiery serpent on a pole as their symbol. When Hezekiah became king of Israel, he began to cleanse the land of their false idols:
"He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan." II Kings 18:4
Israel had made a God of this serpent on a pole, and called it Nehushtan. Today many of God's people have made a god of the medical profession. They have forgotten Christ Jesus is our Great Physician. Paul warned us not to be as Israel, our example.
"Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:" Hebrews 3:8
Israel's heart was hardened many times in the wilderness against God, Moses, and God's supply. The word provocation means "anything that excites, angers, or resentment." We need to be constantly aware of Israel's failures, so we do not make the same mistakes:
"When your fathers tempted Me, proved Me, and saw My works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known My ways." Hebrews 3:9-10
God had chosen Israel to give the promise land, but He was grieved with that generation. But God has another chosen generation:
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light:" I Peter 2:9
Today God has called His chosen generation out of darkness into His marvelous light, and has given us His Word, His examples, and the way they should walk. Paul warned the Hebrews:
"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." Hebrews 4:1
Israel could have entered into God's rest forty years earlier, but because of their stiff neck and rebellious ways, they had to spend forty years wondering in a waste land. Today many of God's people are trapped in their religious waste land, still complaining about Gods way being hard. Paul continued His warning not to be like our example:
"Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer." I Corinthians 10:10
The word murmur means "to mutter, grumble, say anything against in a low tone, of those who confer secretly together, of those who discontentedly complain." It is easy to see murmuring has to do with the tongue. The all-wise Solomon informs us:
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." Proverbs 18:21
The tongue is a mighty weapon which can produce life in a situation, or it can bring forth death. Israel's tongue brought forth death to millions of people. The same is true today.
"And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would God we had died in this wilderness!
And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? Were it not better for us to return into Egypt?
And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt." Numbers 14:2-4
Because their tongues brought discontentment and strife, they wanted to make captains to lead them back to their bondage. The Apostle James gives us insight into the power of the tongue:
"And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell." James 3:6
This was certainly true of Israel. Israel murmured about everything. They murmured against God and Moses continually. They murmured because they had no meat. They murmured because they had no bread. They murmured because they did not like the bread made from God's manna. They murmured because their way was hard.
Yet it was their tongue that made their way hard. Now they wanted to make them captains to lead them back to slavery. How like many who come to Christ today. When God wants to make changes in their lives, they murmur against God, and declare the old ways were better.
"How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in Mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against Me," Numbers 14:27-29
Their tongues brought forth death. As Moses declared, "They were destroyed of the destroyer." It is easy to see the destroyer was their tongue. An unknown Psalmist wrote:
"Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not His word: But murmured in their tents, and hearknened not unto the voice of the Lord." Psalm 106:24-25
Israel did not believe God's promise, and they hearkened not unto His voice. Instead they chose to murmur. How like so many today who have no vision of the day in which we live, and the things that lie directly ahead of us. Paul warns us:
"Do all things without murmurings and disputings." Philippians 2:14
Do all things without murmuring, and do all things without disputings (arguing and questioning). How God's people would prosper and grow in God if they could learn these simple truths. Jude warns, God is going to judge murmuring and disputing:
"To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage." Jude 1:15-16
God is going to judge all those who murmur, complain, and speak great swelling (extravagant) words, and walk after their own ungodly lusts. These are those who follow their well-known, highly exalted leaders. These are those who follow man's ways, not God's. Jude continues:
"But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit." Jude 1:17-19
This describes most of the organized churches today. They have separated themselves, sensual (serving the natural man). These have come together and follow their precepts and doctrines of their man-made orders. They separate themselves from all others who do not adhere to their doctrines and creeds. These operate by their fleshly understanding, and not by the Spirit of Christ. They have become mockers of anything that is related to the Spirit, and only serve their ungodly lusts.
They have become as Israel became in the wilderness, and can expect the same judgment Israel received when God's judgment is poured out upon the earth. Paul reminds us all what to expect if we follow the ways of our example, Israel.
"Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off." Romans 11:22
We hear much about God's goodness and His love towards us, but we hear little to nothing about His severity. As God spoke to Malachi, He wants to open the windows of heaven and pour out His abundance upon us, just as He wanted to give Israel a land flowing with milk and honey. But as Israel, many today will have to face God's severity because they fail to hear His Word, believe in His promises, and walk in His ways.
We are camped at Shittim ready to cross the Jordan, the river of death and enter into our promise land, the Kingdom of God and eternal life. But we must follow fully our Ark of the Covenant (Christ Jesus) because He is the only one who knows the way we must go. It has been written:
"If you are looking for an example to follow, pick out a good one."
Related Books by George Kirkpatrick
Fear Not Little Flock
Children of Promise
Day of Fire
God's Judgment Written on the Wind
From Repentance to our Promise Land
The Gospel of the Kingdom
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