Throughout this month, we have learnt how God walked with Israel as He led them from the land of slavery to the land of freedom. Of particular interest was their journey and especially their response, character and behavior in times of trouble.
As a reminder, we have drawn parallel and learnt that God has a PLAN; God has a TIMING; and God has a REASON for everything He allows to happen.
All these were tools to equip us to respond to the battle within. When we face trials and challenges we wonder where God is. The flesh urges us to question God because it wants a quick solution. However, we have learnt that God little by little fulfills His purposes in every person. We therefore must learn to patiently wait on God. We also learnt that God established Himself to His people as the ONLY God. He in particular was very firm with Israel when He gave instruction on their worship because He does not share His glory with others.
Finally, last Sunday, we learnt about confidence through faith and we said confidence is self-assurance brought about by the belief that we are in the right direction on our journey. We looked at the journey of life and saw that a journey is made more pleasant by the company we keep. Likewise, a journey can be difficult and very challenging if we do not choose our company well. We must define our destination and the purpose of the journey.
A Heart turning away
“Beware lest be there among you a man or a woman or a clan or a tribe whose heart is turning away today from the Lord our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit, one who when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart. This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike. The Lord will not be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and the curses written in this book will settle upon him and the Lord will blot out his name under heaven. And the Lord will single Him out from all the tribes of Israel for calamity in accordance with all the curses of the covenant written in this book of the law.”
These scriptures concern a man who turns away from the Lord, or one who stubbornly opposes God. Though in the new covenant God entered into with Israel was for the entire nation, every individual was expected to choose to obey. Today, though Lord Jesus Christ died for the whole world, but it is upon you to enter into a relationship with God. God desires that we participate in the new covenant through faith in Jesus Christ as believers, but He will hold each one of us separately to account for our journey in life.
- The journey of faith is a personal choice: Each one of us must make an individualistic decision to follow Christ. An individual within God’s chosen people participates in the promised blessings only as he or she enters into a faith relationship with God and perseveres to the end. (Read Rom 3:23-26)
- Eternal life and blessings can be lost: Any individual who turns his or her heart away from God or a believer who once followed the Lord and willingly walked away from the faith and does not return to the faith, may lose their inheritance with God.
For those in Israel who belonged to God and then turned away from Him and stubbornly continued to go their own way, there remained no longer any opportunity for forgiveness. They could only expect God’s wrath and the blotting out-removal of their names under heaven. (Vs18-19)
In the new testament similarly, those within the body of believers and profess to have faith, peace and salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ, yet make no effort to follow God’s will; God says that their profession of salvation is not valid and compares them to a root that spreads defilement and death like a poison throughout the congregation. Heb 12:15 “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and courses trouble and by it many become defiled.”-This refers to an attitude of deep seated resentment in one’s heart and continues to grow and has consequences for others.
A Heart Restored
“When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, 2 and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, 3 then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes[a] and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where He scattered you. 4 Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. 5 He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors. 6 The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love Him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.”
Moses prophesied restoration and renewal of Israel if they returned to the Lord. He prophesied that God will restore fortunes and release from captivity.
This God has not changed. He hears the cry of His people and helps them to fight and win their battles. We do not need to remain defeated in life, we can turn back to God and He will regather us again and give us the same promises:
- Spiritual renewal– vs 6: “The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love Him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.”
- Prosperity and blessings-vs 9-10 “The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hands, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as He took delight in your fathers, when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes that are written in this book of the law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
- Align yourself to the PLAN of God-Win the battle within by resisting the flesh. Gal 5:16-18
“But I say walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for they are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law.
- Accept the TIMING of God- Psalm 37:4-7 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart…Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him..
- Understand that God has a REASON for everything: Ecc. 3:1 “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
Let us trust God to change our circumstances “Little by Little” as He prepares us for His Kingdom.\
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”