As you know, we can have problems and difficulties in this life. I know from personal experience that we all have times of trial, persecutions, periods of discouragement or depression. We Christians are not immune to these things. But, I hope I have some encouragement for all. The Apostle Paul wrote in II Timothy 3:12: “Yes, and all who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” Acts 14:22 “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
So, when these trials come, some despair, some become distressed, and some want to “just give up.” We can’t do that! We’ve made a covenant - a contract with God - and we can’t quit now! AND WE DON’T HAVE TO! God has made a way for us to endure to the end, and we must!
“WE CAN SUCCEED”
First, we need to look at some of the scriptures that point out the failures of the Israelites and why they never fulfilled God’s calling and purpose for them. Each year we observe the Passover and days of unleavened bread. Prior to this season, we, in the ministry explain the spiritual meaning of these days and how they relate to the physical nation of Israel coming out of Egypt. So, I just want to highlight a few passages pertaining to these events. Let’s go then to the Book of Exodus and pick up the story: Exodus 3:6 “Moreover he said, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 7. And the LORD said, I have seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; 8. And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. 10. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.” In like manner, God has brought us out of the bondage of this evil world and the clutches of Satan, the devil! Exodus 19:1 “In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. (About the time of Pentecost!) 4. Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles wings, and brought you unto myself. 5. Now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine; 6. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” (These same promises are given to Spirit begotten members of God’s Church, as you might read later, in the New Testament: (I Peter 2:9) 7. “And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.”
HOW DID OLD TESTAMENT ISRAEL RESPOND?
Exodus 19:8 “And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken WE WILL DO. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.” (Notice God “sanctified”-set apart these people - these people whom He was calling out to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” We’ll read later on that our calling is very similar!) Verse 14. “And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. 16. And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. 18. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. 19. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.”
What a colossal, literally earthshaking event! You would think these people would never forget this occurrence and forever desire to obey this Great God! They actually saw and felt His Presence! They heard His thundering voice, so that it shook that great mountain! By the way, this wasn’t the voice of God the Father, (John 5:37; 6:46) but was the voice of the One who became Jesus Christ of the New Testament. Then follows the giving of the Ten Commandments in (Chap. 20:1--17). Reading on in: Exodus 20:18 “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. 19. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. 20. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces that ye sin not.”
DID THEY LIVE UP TO THEIR PART OF THE COVENANT?
No, I’m afraid not. Even after witnessing this colossal event, they soon forgot and lost that fear and respect for God. As we continue to read about their journeying through the wilderness under Moses, they continually grumbled, doubted and disobeyed their great Deliverer. WHY? There’s a reason! (Following the giving of the Ten Commandments, “judgments” were given in Chap. 21, 22 and 23. The Sabbath and Annual Holy Days are found in Chap 23:12--17.)
In another Chapter: Exodus 24:1 “And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. 2. And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him. (Notice, that God does have rank, leadership and order in His Church 3. And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do. 7. And he took the BOOK OF THE COVENANT, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, all that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. (Shallow promises!) 8. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it upon the people, and said, Behold, the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.” So here we find the Mosaic Covenant was ratified. Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and the seventy elders saw God, but only Moses was to receive the Law! 12. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me in the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.” They still disobeyed the teachings, plus some rejected Moses leadership: Numbers 16:1 “Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, (I believe if you check the genealogy of Korah and Moses, it will show them to be first cousins!) Verse 3. And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, everyone of them, and the LORD is among them; wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?” (Not so! Everyone was not equal in the congregation! God had appointed Moses, as the leader and spokesman for the group. This same principle applies today, to those who think that they are equal to the ministry and try to usurp that office to themselves. Notice the fate of Korah! Vese 30. “But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open up her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain to them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. 31. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them. 32. And the earth opened up her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertaineth unto Korah, and all their goods.” Remember this lesson!
WHY COULDN’T OLD TESTAMENT ISRAEL BRING THEMSELVES TO OBEY?
The answer lies in this very question! NO ONE CAN BRING THEMSELVES TO OBEY GOD! Deuteronomy 5:29 “O that there were such an heart (mind, attitude) in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever.” (Just after the giving of God’s Ten Commandments!) Deuteronomy 29:4 “Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.” Physical Israel never had the heart and mind to obey!
HERE’S WHERE THERE IS A DIFFERENCE!
TRUE CHRISTIANS HAVE THE GIFT OF POWER, THE HOLY SPIRIT THAT ALLOWS THEM TO OBEY GOD! Matthew 13:10 “And the disciples came, and said unto Him, Why speaketh unto them in parables? 11. He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the MYSTERIES of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” Ver. 15. “For this peopleís heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they shall see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. 16. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.”And we can’t boast, because we have been given THIS OPPORTUNITY to “be healed”. John 6:44 “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” The Apostle Paul understood this: I Corinthians 1:26 “For ye see your calling, brethern, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS CALLING! (Isaiah 64:6) Romans 9:14 “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15, For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
Under God’s master Plan for salvation, (if you have not sent for your FREE copy of Godís Master Plan of Salvation do so immediately) the majority of mankind is spiritually blinded at this time. Romans 11:7 “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it and THE REST WERE BLINDED. They don’t have the “eyes to see”! 8. (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they SHOULD NOT SEE, and ears that they SHOULD NOT HEAR;) unto this day.” (Ver. 22) I Corinthians 2:7 “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 9. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Chapter 3:13 “Brethern, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.” “Reaching forth” or “Seeking first the Kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33)!
WE DON’T HAVE TO FAIL!
Yes, we now understand why Old Testament Israel failed. But notice these sure promises: I Thessalonians 5:8 “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, THE HOPE OF SALVATION.
9. For God HATH NOT APPOINTED US TO WRATH, BUT TO OBTAIN SALVATION by our Lord Jesus Christ.” God has given us the “extra Help” we need so that WE CAN SUCCEED! II Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the Spirit of fear; BUT OF POWER, and of love, and of a sound mind.” From “Websters”, the noun “SUCCEEDER” is “A WINNER”!!