Faith, Favor, Falling Part IV
Last week in Part III, we discussed more on Moses and Saul. Through their stories we learned that our disobedience not only distances us from God, but it also distances us from all that He promises - for His promises can only be found in Him. God doesn’t move, but sometimes our disobedience causes us to move out of alignment with Him, creating a distance between us and God. This,in turn, creates a distance between us and the promise as well. Our disobedience can keep us from ever possessing the promise because our obedience to God is the roadmap to obtaining all that God has for us. We forfeit what He has in store for us when we don’t follow His instructions to obtain it.
As Pastor Steven Furtick says, “Scripture and history are full of cautionary tales of people who, tragically, did not complete their assignments. God had much more in store for them than they ever experienced, because they stopped short in disobedience.”
And this is exactly what happened to Moses and Saul...
“Please, let me cross over and see the beautiful land on the other side of the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon. “But the Lord was angry with me on account of you and would not listen to me. The Lord said to me, ‘That’s enough! Do not speak to Me again about this matter. Go to the top of Pisgah and look to the west, north, south, and east, and see it with your own eyes, for you will not cross this Jordan.”
Deuteronomy 3:25-27 HCSB
Sheesh. God sounded so fed up...like a parent telling their child, “I said ‘no’ - don’t ask me again.”
What happens when we step out of the favor of God?
⁃ As my Pastor, Chance D. Lynch, says, “favor follows faithfulness.”
Could it be that our own lack of faith and obedience is what keeps us from the promise - rather than it being that “the enemy is blocking our blessing?”
Is it that we get what we “faith” for?
Moses did not get the fullness of the promise because he did not fully follow the instructions of God. However, God in His great mercy still allowed Moses to take a peek at the promise, though he could not possess it.
“At that time I begged the Lord....”
Deuteronomy 3:23 HCSB
I remember the first time I read this passage. It broke my heart. I really felt for Moses and I was wishing God would be gracious and just let him possess it anyway...“Anyway.” See that’s many of our problem. We have a skewed view of God’s Grace. Yes, His grace gives us what we don’t deserve - life, forgiveness, another chance, salvation, eternal life, etc. - but it isn’t an obligation for Him to bless us with what we want, while we live like we want and do what we want. My first inclination was that God should just let Moses get the promise anyway because “that’s grace.” But that heart posture is wrong. My first inclination should’ve been, “Moses (and we) should obey God because that’s what children of God do.” We subconsciously feel that though we are disobedient, we should still get all that was promised to us IF we were obedient, and that’s simply not fair.
“God doesn’t leave anything unfinished, but if you’re disobedient it won’t be finished with you.”
⁃ Transformation Church
Though Moses would no longer lead the children of Israel into the Promise Land, the mission must still be done...so God sent another to do the job.
“But commission Joshua and encourage and strengthen him, for he will cross over ahead of the people and enable them to inherit this land that you will see.’”
Deuteronomy 3:28 HCSB
Ouch! Not only is Moses not going in to possess the promise, but he has to prepare his replacement to do so. How do you strengthen the next man to do what God had originally assigned you to do? How do you encourage the next man to possess what God had for you, but your disobedience forfeited? If I were Moses, I’d need encouragement and strength!
What we won’t rise up to do, God will raise up another to complete. One man doesn’t stop God’s show.
“The Lord said to Samuel, “How long are you going to mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem because I have selected a king from his sons.
So Samuel took the horn of oil, anointed David in the presence of his brothers, and the Spirit of the Lord took control of David from that day forward. Then Samuel set out and went to Ramah.”
1 Samuel 16:1, 13 HCSB
In 1 Samuel 15, Saul is rejected as king. In the very next chapter, David is anointed to take his place.
It’s a different scenario but the same outcome. What is there to learn? What must we do so that we do not have a repeat ending in our lives? The beauty is, God doesn’t leave us without the answer, and the answer is simple and straight to the point...
How Do We Possess the Promise?
Simply put - obedience and faithful dependence on God.
““Now, Israel, listen to the statutes and ordinances I am teaching you to follow, so that you may live, enter, and take possession of the land Yahweh, the God of your fathers, is giving you. You must not add anything to what I command you or take anything away from it, so that you may keep the commands of the Lord your God I am giving you.
Carefully follow them, for this will show your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the peoples...’”
Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6 HCSB
Moses instructs the people to listen - we defined and discussed this word in part one - to the commands of the Lord. He admonishes them to not ADD or TAKE AWAY anything from it “so that you may keep the commands of the Lord your God.”
What does this teach us here? That we must follow God’s instructions in their original and pure form. God doesn’t need us to make any corrections, edits or add our two cents. We do His will, His way. We do what He says, when He says it. We follow His instructions fully.
Will we stumble? Sometimes. Will we fall short at times? Of course. Romans 3:23 let’s us know that all fall short, but the thing is we can’t stay there. We must seek to be obedient and when we stumble into disobedience, we must repent quickly and get back in alignment with God’s commands.
We must “trust in the Lord with all” our heart, and rely not on our own understanding. We must acknowledge and think about God “in all our ways.” When we do, “He will guide us on the right paths” to possess just what He has promised Is. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
We like to quote 2 Corinthians 1:20 that “For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” and we lean on that because it takes the pressure off of us to perform and places it fully on God to make the promise come to pass. We expect the promises to just come easy and be dropped in our lap. Although it is a fact, the responsibility is on God for working things out, we have a role to play as well. He made the promise knowing our shortcomings and sinfulness. He has also made the way that we may follow and obtain the promises. As stated before, our obedience is the roadmap to obtaining the promise. We can’t just live as we want and expect to get it by default.
Jesus in John 14:6 said, “I am the Way...”.
Along with Him showing us the clear path, He’s also given us Holy Spirit to lead, empower and intercede for us! We are not left to our own devices!!! We do not walk out this journey of obedience alone. God’s grace is sufficient!
So, what do we take from our study in this series?
God gives sure and faithful promises.
Those promises come with instructions on how to obtain them.
We must be faithful to follow the instructions if we are to achieve the promise.
Because we live under the New Covenant, we are given special grace.
- We are given the life and guidance/example of Jesus to follow.
- We are graced with the indwelling of Holy Spirit to empower, counsel, guide and intercede for us.
I don’t want for this series to scare anyone or seem down and discouraging because our story doesn’t have to end like Moses‘ and Saul’s - there’s hope. We don’t want to be rejected from our position in God’s plan. It’s not enough to peek at the promise. We want to possess it. And with obedience to Christ WE CAN!
Let’s thank God for His promises and provisions for us. Let’s follow His sure instructions faithfully, leaning and depending totally on Jesus!