In this new series, we shall attempt to look at the Israelites in our eyes and compare ourselves with them and perhaps consider how we would have reacted differently in their circumstances.
God gave the children of Israel laws to govern them. He gave them assurance that if they kept the law, then their relationship with Him will be preserved and He would keep the covenant He entered with their forefathers.
In the first commandment that God gave Israel He said that: “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them and worship them; for I the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments Ex. 20:1-6
God made this commandment as the first law because however you work hard to keep the other nine commandments, if God Almighty is not your only God, then you have kept no law. The Israelites had come from Egypt where there was a god for everything. They had become accustomed to many gods but here God is teaching them to forget all other gods and worship Him only.
The greatest god that we have grown and kept feeding, is the flesh.
Gal 5:24 says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” Another version says, “those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passion and desires.” It is an action call deliberate to each one of us to make a choice of who will reign in our lives, Christ or the flesh.
For Christ to be our Lord, we must willingly nail our flesh to the cross. This does not mean that we have no capacity or potential to sin NO! but we are asking the Lord to help us win our battles daily transforming us “Little by Little” until we are fully redeemed when He returns. Through the cross, we have been set free from the power of sin over us and we no longer have to give in to it. We must daily commit our sinful tendencies to God’s control crucifying them moment by moment as we discover them.
Some may not know that they have “power and control” weakness until they are promoted. Others may not know they have a weakness of pride until God gives them education or riches. Others may not know that they have anger issues until God puts them to test by taking away everything. Others may not know they have jealousy issues until they see others rise above them. Paul said in Gal 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Today, money, fame, work, success, a good name, pleasures have become gods that have replaced God at the seat of the throne of our lives.
The Desert time
When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come make us gods, who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”
Moses had only been gone for 40 days, not years! But the people of Israel were prepared to move on.
In a way, God has put us on a lockdown of some kind. He has commanded us to slow down and consider our lives. Have you considered the space God occupied in your life before covid-19? Will you put Him in the same space past this season or there is going to be a new beginning?
God said in Ex 23: 20 “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you along the way and to bring you to a place I have prepared. Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against Him; He will not forgive your rebellion, since my name is in Him.”
Yet they said, “Come make us gods who will go before us.”
God knew that there were many dangers in the desert, yet they were important in shaping the life of the people of Israel.
God tests our faith and trust in Him through our patience. The end is determined, there is victory but before the victory there is a battle. “My angel will go ahead of you.” why? Because there are bobby traps, because you do not know the way, because the enemy is raging and thirsty for your blood!
My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites and I will wipe them out.
God will give you many victories, He will open doors for you, you shall rule and reign, you will have riches and prosper BUT “Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. Worship the Lord your God, and His blessings will be upon your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.” Ex. 23:23-26
But here is the secret of God: I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land will become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. “Little by Little” I will drive them out before you until you have increased enough to take possession of the land. Ex 23:29-30
God’s solutions are not sporadic or instantaneous. They are well thought out for our good and protection.
The truth of the condition of our hearts:
- Just as the old inhabitants of the land of Canaan were to Israel, such the old inhabitants of our hearts are to us.
- The advancement of your holiness is made perfect in your pardon. God deals with our sin weakness as we continue to surrender.
- When Christ takes the throne in our hearts, sin is overthrown; but the flesh continues in its rebellion and in conflict with the Spirit and against the dominance of the grace.
- The spiritual battle continues little by little until the rebellious nature of the flesh is expelled and put down. How do we win this battle? By immersing ourselves In the word of God and prayer where we are equipped for battle.
- The benefit of little by little is the discipline attained through grace until we are made perfect. That gradual overcoming of sin is very important in building our patience, faith and confidence in the Lord.
- Just as the old Canaanites were kept in the land of Canaan that they might be thorns in the side of the Israelites, and whenever the Israelites fell into idolatry–for their grievous sin some were allowed to rise up and overcome them for a while, till God raised up some judge to overcome that nation, so it is in your heart. And not just for discipline and punishment–but for the manifestation of the glory of the Holy Spirit who exhibits His power and grace in the process of converting sinners into saints.
- We need to acknowledge that we are work in progress. We have weaknesses of secret sins that God want to deal with so that we can be made perfect in His sight.
- Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. (Rom 13:14)-many times we leave some room reserved for sin. We must resolve to pursue righteousness.
- Rom 8:5-8: For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile towards God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so. Those controlled by the flesh cannot please God. What choice will you make this season? The flesh or the Spirit?