13 “With your unfailing love you lead the people you have redeemed.
In your might, you guide them to your sacred home. — Exodus 15:13 NLT
God led the Israelis through the Red Sea and across the desert with the physical presence of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. It was possible for them to travel twenty-four hours a day without getting lost. It must have been very reassuring to see the presence of the cloud and the fire and know that they were traveling in the exact direction God wanted to travel at all times. God did not lead them in a straight path from Egypt to Canaan. There were detours that avoided certain areas and dangers. There were delays and a lot of murmuring and complaining. We have a guide that is with us twenty-four hours a day as well. He lives inside us. But for us to know and understand His directions, we have to spend time talking with Him and meditating on His Word. There will be detours in our lives as well. Some of those detours are caused by God and are designed to teach us and to keep us safe from harm. But just as the Israelis spent way too long in the desert because of their disobedience, some of our detours are caused by our mistakes and bad decisions. Most of us will probably spend more time complaining than we do studying the Word. Nevertheless, God is faithful and forgiving and just as He eventually got the Israelis to the Promised Land, He will guide us safely to His eternal, sacred home. He has never failed and He never will. Trust Him with all your heart, mind, soul and body.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. — Hebrews 12:1, 2a NLT
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” — Matt. 11:28-30 NIV
God has made great promises to us if we will learn to lean on Him. We get so wrapped up in our work and making our own plans for the future, that we have no time left to enjoy today. We carry all this baggage with us all the time, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We say we trust God, yet, we worry when the bank account is low and we feel we have to have weeks worth of food stored in the house. Remember when Jesus sent the disciples out? He told them not to take anything with them, no food, no money, not even a change of clothes. I must ask myself, “would I be willing to start out on a trip like that?” Sadly, the answer is no. We are so concerned about things that we rarely ever get a good night’s rest. We worry about things over which we have no control and a lot of those things never happen anyway. The scriptures above are not meant to be just some “pie in the sky”, future event. They are for now. They are the way we should be living our lives today. We wear ourselves out trying to do God’s job. Just as the Israelis who refused to believe and were not allowed to enter in Canaan physically, we never reach a place to rest here on earth because of our unbelief.
16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. — Hebrews 3:16-19 NIV
When life seems more than we can bear, we have a place of quiet rest prepared for us, near to the heart of God. “Come unto me and I will give you rest”. Come now, don’t be like Pharaoh and spend another night with the frogs.
10 “Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said. — Exodus 8:10a NIV (Exodus 8:1-12)
1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. 2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. 3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. 4 It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith. 5 It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. 6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him–Hebrews 11:1-6 (NLT)
Hebrews, Chapter 11, is known as the great faith chapter. It lists those that are in God’s Hall of Fame for the Faithful. We must stay grounded in the Word and continue to ask God to make us more faithful. Our prayer should be like the cry of the Father of the boy possessed by a demon. He said, “I do believe, but help me over come my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Unbelief or no faith is the sin that caused Jesus to die on the cross for us. All of our sins are just outward expressions of our unbelief. We fear because we do not believe that God can and will take care of us. Over and over in the Bible, God tells us “do not fear”, yet, we fear anyway. He tells us “do not worry” about physical needs, yet we spend a lot of time stressing out over whether we will have enough of this or that. Think about this: “If we can’t trust God to provide the little things, how can we possibly believe that He can save our soul”? What part of “do not” do we not understand? When Jesus, while on the cross, said “It is finished”, He was serious. Our part is to “seek you first the Kingdom of God and all its righteousness”….. The rest of that verse (Matt. 6:33) is God’s business and He is always faithful to take care of His business.
45 “Yet it isn’t I who will accuse you before the Father. Moses will accuse you! Yes, Moses, in whom you put your hopes. 46 If you really believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. 47 But since you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”–John 5:45-47 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
It wasn’t necessary for Jesus to accuse us or condemn us. Our unbelief has already condemned us. Just as the religious leaders were condemned by their unbelief of the Old Testament Scriptures, we are condemned by our unbelief. We have even more reason to believe the truth about Jesus than the people that Jesus was speaking to then. If we believe in Him, there is no condemnation or judgment for us.
18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.–John 3:18,19 (NLT)
33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.—Romans 8:33, 34 (NLT)
Will the world accuse us and condemn us? Will we be offended? Of course, but we must remember that the words they speak have no authority in the courts of heaven. If we believe, there is no condemnation for us. This is the Good News that we need to spread to a world full of people searching for something to give them hope in a world filled with violence and discord. There is someone who can give them the peace for which they are so desperately searching.
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, 13 even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. 14 Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.–1 Timothy 1:12-14 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the way.
We were all born as sinners into a sinful world. We all have sinned. Paul was a murderer of Christians, but God doesn’t have “little” sins and “big “sins”. He just sees sin. In the book of the Revelation, chapter 21, verse 8, we are told:
“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur
. Liars and those who participate in immoral acts are treated just as if they were murderers or idol worshipers. We all need to come to the same understanding that Paul did. We are saved by faith in God’s mercy and grace. He no longer remembers our sins of the past. He sees us as the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We are “in” Christ Jesus. That is the mystery of the love and mercy of God. We are accepted by God because of the perfection of Jesus Christ and His obedience, even unto death on a cross. We should always be thankful, have joy in our hearts and a song of praise on our lips.
27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” 28 When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly ordered them, “See that no one knows of this.” 31 But they went away and spread the news about him throughout that district. Matthew 9:27-31 (NRSV)
12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:12, 13 (NRSV)<
God is waiting to show you the way.
In the passage above from John, Jesus tells us that we have access to the power to do greater miracles than He did because He is going to the Father. In the passage from Matthew, he asked the blind men if they believed that He was able to heal them. Their response was “Yes, Lord”. Simple, childlike faith and Jesus responded by touching their eyes and they both could see. As He touched their eyes, Jesus made this statement: "According to your faith let it be done to you". We say we believe the Word of God is inerrant and infallible. If that is true, then why don’t we see more miracles performed today? Perhaps we need to look deep inside ourselves and see what we really believe. In verse 13 above, Jesus made a statement that has only 1 condition to it, "ask in My Name and I will do it". Are you having any kind of problems this morning? Do you believe the Bible is inerrant, immutable, and infallible? Jesus also said "you have not because you ask not". Commit yourself totally into the Father's hands, ask in the name of Jesus, without doubting, and you will receive. If you can't believe it, then ask God to help your unbelief. Humble yourself under His mighty hand, believe it and receive it.