Unbelief blocks our entrance into Canaan's Land
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
(Note: this lesson is the continuation of lessons 118 and 119. Please read them if necessary)
In Exodus 4:9 the LORD gives Moses the third sign. If he were to take water out of the river and pour it out on dry land, the water would be turned into blood. Blood is life. Blood makes organisms living and viable. The LORD was intent upon healing Moses of his unbelief. Consequently, the third sign of pouring out blood would help accomplish this. God was asking Moses to willingly pour out his life; lay down his life for the children of Israel. If he became liquid life for the LORD's captive son, Israel, he would be rewarded with new life from the Father. When we lay down our life, pour out our blood in service to others in bondage, we are given new life to replace what we have given.
Exodus 4:10-11 we read about the fourth and final sign. Moses continues to justify his unbelief by claiming he was not eloquent and possessed a slow tongue. In modern English, Moses stuttered. Moses could not imagine going before the rulers and principle men of Israel with a stammering tongue. How humiliating! But God had a plan and that plan included Moses' stuttering speech. The LORD intended to use the stuttering to differentiate between words spoken by God and words spoken by Moses. If he was in a casual conversation his stuttering would persist. As soon as the LORD annointed his speech with a message of truth to Israel, the stuttering would cease and his speech would become eloquent. This was to be a sign to Israel that the God of their fathers was truly speaking and had remembered the covenant he made with the patriarchs. With this sign, Moses could powerfully persuade Israel that God had indeed visited him and sent him to deliver them from bondage. Thus, he could help them overcome any unbelief and skepticism they had about how authentic he was.
These four signs were given to Moses, so that he might first believe and then lead Israel to conquer their unbelief. If we will only believe Who He is and what He can do! Please read Hebrews 3:17-19. Did Israel believe? Verse 19 says that the original crowd that exited Egypt did not enter into his rest or Canaan's Land. What barred them from reaching the Promised Land? Their refusal to acknowledge that God was speaking through Moses' mouth when the stuttering stopped and their persistance in questioning his authority and position. In other words, their staunch unbelief! God, help us all! What is the one word that will take us to the Promised Land? BELIEF!
Unbelief can be healed through four signs!
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
(Note: #119 is a continuation of lesson #118. Please read #118 if necessary.)
In Exodus 4:1-11, four signs were given to Moses so he could have an experience and believe the LORD. These signs would prepare him to go back to Israel, held captive in Egypt, and help them to also believe. You can lead someone else to an experience if you have had one. A sign is defined as a forecast, a prognostication. To convince Israel that Moses had seen the LORD and believe, God gave him the following four signs.
Verses 2-5 identify the first sign: the rod. Verse 5 says, "that they (Israel) may believe. . . ". A rod is most useful in an upright position. Moses had used his rod for 40 years as a shepherd and was accustomed to the support it provided. It was a tool to lean on. The rod is a picture of Moses' government, authority, and earthly wisdom. It represents his thoughts, his education, his power. To be delivered from unbelief, God asked him to throw all this down. Moses was a prince of Egypt, highly educated and trained in war. As an army general, he conquered Ethiopia (where he got his Ethiopian wife). He was accustomed to the finer things in life that came along with being raised as Pharoah's son. The LORD told him to cast down all his learned earthly wisdom to a subdued, horizontal position. In verse 3, the rod became a serpent. We know from past lessons that the Son of God, Jesus, is the Heavenly Serpent, the Wisdom of God. Notice the LORD said to pick up the serpent by the tail. Pick up wisdom with a "tail" revelation---that God is the Head over all things. Moses didn't need a whole revelation of the entire Serpent of Wisdom, just the beginning to recognize He is the Head! The LORD was saying He was going to take Moses from Midian to Egypt and then to a promised land. It wasn't so important that he go from point A to point B. What was important was what Moses would become through the journey. The journey would allow him to receive a greater and greater revelation of the Serpent of Wisdom. To be a candidate to dwell in Canaan's Land, earthly wisdom, thoughts, authority and education must be thrown down.
In verses 6&7 we see the next sign. Moses was to take his hand and put it in his bosom. Bosom signifies the heart. His hand, when it was removed, displayed the condition of his heart. His heart was full of leprosy---unbelief. The LORD was showing Moses that it was a heart problem. The condition of the heart was the root of his unbelief. Hands speak of service. To influence others, Moses needed a clean heart and clean hands (service). He could not serve Israel with dirty hands. After removing his hand from his bosom the hand was once again clean. The LORD was proving to him that He could cleanse a leprous hand as well as a leprous heart. Are our hands (service) different with different people? Do we greet some and purposely pass by another because of anger or dislike? Do we ignore some and gush over others? It is a heart problem---it is what we become through the journey. Will the journey make us more like Him or bitter and resentful? Notice, in verse 8, that the first two signs have a voice.
We will continue with the last two signs in sermon #120. Meet you there!
How to have sweet counsel and unity!
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
In Exodus 29: 10-12, we read that a bullock was slain and its blood was applied to the horns of the Brazen Altar. After the application of the blood the remainder was poured beside the bottom of the altar. The Altar had roots, so to speak, or a foundation of blood. There are four types of offense, directed at the LORD, that mankind exercises in his fallen state: iniquity, transgression, sin, and trespass. Each one of these types fits with a horn on the Altar. As the blood dripped off the end of the priest's finger and made its way toward the base of the horn; when it finally dropped to the bottom of the Altar, it cleansed the offense and deposited it into a pool at the bottom. Thus, Israel's iniquities, transgressions, sins, and trespasses went into a no-form sea of blood. This word "bottom" in verse 12 is a Hebrew word yaw-sad. In English, it is tranlated "counsel".
Please read Proverbs 15:22. Counsel is the same word for bottom in Exodus 29:12. Counsel can or can not be established. It is possible to have counsel but it not come from the bottom of the Altar. Disappointment comes when we counsel ourselves with advise not established in the bottom of the Altar. In other words, counsel that doesn't come from the pool of blood after iniquity, transgression, sin, and trespass has been washed away. Sweet counsel, unity, truth, comes when all offenses are in the no-form sea at the bottom of the Altar. There is no true unity other than at the bottom of the Altar. Desiring unity with the brethren is good and right but, it comes after spending time at the horns of the Altar. Iniquity, transgression, sin, and trespass can be turned into sweet unity and counsel.
Please read Psalm 55:12-14. David is speaking of Ahithophel. When David approached the house of God, being King, he was before everyone else. Being out in front was natural and appropriate given his position. But there was one man who was his equal, guide, aquaintance. In 2 Samuel 15:12 we see that Ahithophel was David's counsellor. Ahithophel walked with David shoulder to shoulder on their way to the house of God. As they walked in tandem they enjoyed sweet counsel. They were able to share and receive the deep revelations of the Word that came from the bottom of the Altar as they walked in unity. Their counsel was established because it originated from repentance of iniquity, transgression, sin, and trespass. 2 Samuel 16:23 gives us another clue about the counsel of Ahithophel: "it was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God: so was ALL the counsel of Ahithophel". As long as Ahithophel and David regularly visited the Brazen Altar and made their wheels around the horns, the power of the bullock blood cleansed their offenses as they disappeared into a sea of forgiveness. Sweet counsel and unity with each other was the fruit of their repentance.
Exposure of sin gives opportunity for an experience!
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
Please read Exodus 4:1 & Exodus 3:18. In these two verses we read about the opinion of Moses and the truth of the Almighty God. Moses has an opposite opinion to the truth spoken by the LORD. God said, "And they shall hearken to thy voice". Moses said, "But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice". He essentially called the LORD a liar while standing in His presence at the burning bush. Moses pointed the finger at the people of Israel and accused them of unbelief. He deflected the exposure of his own unbelief by the LORD and accused Israel of the very thing he was guilty of. God appeared to Moses at the burning bush for the purpose of exposing his unbelief in the nature and power of His Holy, Omnipotent Name! He quickly transposed his own guilt on to the people. At this point he has been a shepherd in Midian for 40 years---how could he possibly know how Israel would respond to him? Could he really say, with any authority, that he knew how they would react to his re-appearance in Egypt? Truthfully, he was saying, "I don't believe!" Likewise, we point the finger and blame others, deflecting the exposure of our own sin on to other people. In reality, we don't know anything about anybody else. We don't know how they were raised, their education, their pain, their victories, etc. When we blame others we are accusing them of what we are unwilling to admit to ourselves: we are guilty of the same offense. Moses was pretty sassy at the burning bush---just like us. He was more concerned about what the people thought of him than what God thought. Yet, the LORD kept right on talking and reasoning with him, hoping Moses would identify his own unbelief. It is better to be more concerned with what God is thinking than those we know nothing about. Is the LORD pleased with this? How will the LORD react if I do this? Can I do this and still be in the will of God? Moses put the people above God. Still, He came to Moses, in his unbelief, and started a conversation. When the LORD points his finger and exposes our sin, it is for the purpose of giving an opportunity to love self and love God. We should give our self to Him and bring Him near to perform His acts of redemption. At the Great White Throne Judgement, Christians will blame and accuse the Just Judge, pointing an angry, recalcitrant finger of obstinance in the holy presence of the Ancient of Days. Sometimes, we are just as sassy, and more so, than Moses.
The LORD continued on with His conversation. His objective was to give Moses 4 signs. These signs were designed to give Moses an experience; to help him identify his unbelief. They were also given to help him persuade Israel to believe in the God of their fathers---after he had conquered his own unbelief. The LORD wanted Moses to overcome his unbelief so he could be sent to Israel and help them with their unbelief. A leader must believe in the nature of the Almighty God to be able to assist others with the same problem. The LORD had deliverance in mind for Israel, but Moses had to be delivered from unbelief first. These are the four signs: the rod, put hand in the bosom, water on the ground turned to blood, stammering tongue being changed. We will discuss the signs and how they apply to us in sermon #119---see you there?!
"Fret not thyself. . . "
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
(Note: #116 is an expansion of same subject discussed in lesson #115. Please read #115 if necessary.)
Please read Mark 12:28-31. To love is to give self and bring near to oneself. We love our self by giving our exposed flesh to God which, in turn, brings Him near to us. Our flesh is exposed to give us an opportunity to love our self. If we give our sins and failures to the LORD, He will draw near to us and provide redemption. The tendency is to conceal our sin or blame others for its exposure. By doing this we aren't fulfilling one of the two greatest commandments: love thyself! In addition, by blaming and concealing, we forfeit the opportunity to bring God near with His acts of redemption.
Please read Psalm 37:1,7-8. Fret means burn, blaze, kindle. By not giving our exposed sin to the LORD we fret, burn and blaze in our unconfessed state and sinful drama. The human heart can think of a multitude of reasons not to confess sin; pride being among the first. When confession is not made after exposure, we "stew in our own juices" so to speak, and eventually begin to hate. Hate will lead to murder which the human tongue is quite familiar with. Slaying someone physically is remotely possible, but the human tongue routinely kills and murders others' reputations with its words.
Please read I John 1:7-10. The LORD manifested His love by giving us His Son. He GAVE of Himself to draw us NEAR to Himself: this is the definition of love. He gave us His Son in the form of the Mosaic Tabernacle with seven pieces of furniture so we could love self and love God! The SELF is our ticket to love God!! We can climb His Stature and draw near to the Heavenly Father.
Please read Genesis 4:1-6. This is the story of two brothers, Cain and Abel. In verse 5 we see the word "wroth". This is the same word as "fret" in Psalm 37 (#2734 in Strongs Concordance). Cain burned and blazed in his hatred for his brother Abel. Abel was the father of the seeds of mercy and Cain was the father of the seeds of wrath. While Cain was fretting and kindling in his hatred, see what happened? It was an opportunity for the LORD to come down and have a conversation with Cain. God talked to Cain, not Abel. When we fret, God will initiate a dialogue with us and try to reason with our burning heart! Fret leads to hate and progresses to murder if not confessed. The end of the story is that Abel was murdered because of the fretting of Cain's heart.
We know the story of Jonah. In Jonah 4:4 the LORD initiates a conversation with him by saying, "Doest thou well to be angry?" This word "angry" is the same word for "fret". While Jonah was fretting over the repentance and redemption of Ninevah, this invited the LORD to talk with him. God simply asked Jonah (and Cain) a question. Questions pull from the inside out and gives the respondant an opportunity to confess what has been exposed. In the midst of Jonah's fretting, the LORD proved He still loved him by starting a conversation with him. This whole episode with Ninevah was for the purpose of allowing Jonah to love self and love God. There is a higher purpose, an ethereal force, a guiding love that is above all personal events and circumstances. The Love of God entreats us to give our self so He can draw near and provide the remedy and relief of our malady: indwelling sin!