Holy Ground – Marriage

In Monday’s article, we looked at the event in Joshua’s life when he was asked to remove his sandals from his feet because he stood on holy ground. Here are three observations we made Monday:

  1. God is holy.
  2. Wherever God’s presence dwells is to be regarded as holy.
  3. Changes must be made to recognize and honor the holiness of God.

Today we are going to take those concepts and apply it to how we view marriage.

But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
(Malachi 2:14-16)

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
(Hebrews 13:4)

Do we look at marriage, and our wives as holy ground?

The very idea of marriage is to be held in high honor (Hebrews 13:4). Why? Because God is in it. He serves as witness to the covenant between the husband and the wife. As you read in Malachi, a portion of His Spirit is in the union.

Your wife is to be treated in high honor (1 Peter 3:7). She is created in the image of God. Her body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and she was bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). The way we think of her, touch her, talk to her, etc., should all be in harmony with the truth that she is very precious in the sight of God (1 Peter 3:4).

The marriage bed is to be undefiled. Marriage is holy because it is set apart for a union that is dedicated to and governed by God. Only a husband and his wife can be holy while participating in sexual relations. Any other sexual behavior is called fornication and adultery and will be judged by God. Also, husbands, we must remember not to defile the marriage bed by bringing in worldly thoughts and defilement into our minds that will corrupt and pervert our marriage bed (Titus 1:15). God said, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

God’s marriage relationship that He created for us is a beautiful and very special thing. Just as Joshua was told to remove his sandals to recognize the holy presence of God, we must transform our lives and thinking to recognize God’s holy presence in our marriages.

For The Place Where You Are Standing Is Holy

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so (Joshua 5:13-15).

As the people of Israel were preparing to conquer the Promised Land of Canaan, God met with Joshua. Just like Moses, Joshua was told to remove his sandals from his feet because where he stood was holy ground. Before Joshua could effectively lead the people of Israel, he had to be reminded of and impressed by the holiness of Almighty God.

Here are three simple observations about Joshua standing on holy ground:

  1. God is Holy.
  2. Wherever God’s presence dwells is to be regarded as holy.
  3. Changes must be made to recognize and honor the holiness of God.

#1 – God is Holy

Whenever mankind was put in the presence of God and shown His glory, they immediately were brought to their knees and they trembled. But why? Because of the holiness of God. Isaiah, for example, the moment he saw the vision of the Lord, he knew right away that he was a sinful man with a dirty mouth (Isaiah 6).

Here is a passage about Jesus that I believe helps to explain holiness:

Hebrews 7:26 – For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.

Innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted. This is why as man we tremble in the presence of the glory of God, because He is sinless and completely pure. Adam and Eve, before sin, did not fear and tremble before the presence of God. Sin brought fear and separation. Through the blood of Jesus, we can be reconciled and made pure so that we can dwell in the presence of God without fear and boldly come to His throne.

#2 – Wherever God’s presence dwells is to be regarded as holy.

Was there something special about the dirt by the Jordan River? No. It was holy because God was there. Another example is in 2 Peter 1:18 when Peter was reflecting upon his experience during Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain. Peter called that mountain a “holy mountain.” It was no different than any other mountain, but what made it holy was the presence of God.

Think for a moment on just a few places the Bible says He dwells. God dwells in the heart and spirit of the Christian, we are His temple and dwelling place (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). He also dwells within the body of Christ, the church; collectively we are His temple (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Marriage is to be regarded as holy and undefiled, because God’s presence is there as well (Hebrews 13:4; Malachi 2:14-16). Where the holy God dwells is to be counted by us as holy.

#3 – Changes must be made to recognize and honor the holiness of God.

Remove your sandals, in other words, take off the defilement of this world before you meet with God. When people were going to meet with God, there were preparations that had to be made. They had to purify themselves, wash themselves, change their clothing, and put away the wickedness/idolatry of the world (Genesis 35:1-5; Exodus 19:9-15; Isaiah 1:10-20). We can’t be unholy and meet in fellowship with a holy God. Just like Moses and Joshua had to remove their sandals, we have to take off the filthiness of the world, wash ourselves in the blood of the Lamb, and put on a new man (Ephesians 4:20-24; Revelation 7:13-14; 22:14).

2 Corinthians 7:1 – “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”

Hebrews 12:14 – Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

1 Peter 1:15-16 – but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

This week, we are going to focus on this passage, and use the concepts from today to apply to our various relationships in life.

Let Them Measure the Pattern

“According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it” (Exodus 25:9).

Moses was commanded by God to make the tabernacle according to the “pattern,” God’s pattern (See also Exodus 25:40; Numbers 8:4; Acts 7:44). Everything God told Moses to do had a specific point, because God was looking forward to Christ and His church. The Hebrew writer taught that the things of the Mosaic law, tabernacle, sacrifices and priesthood served as a “copy and a shadow” of the heavenly things (Hebrews 8:5).

This same expectation of building after the pattern was placed upon King David as he began all the preparations for the temple which his son Solomon would build.

“All this,” said David, “the LORD made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, all the details of this pattern” (1 Chronicles 28:19).

In contrast to the obedience of Moses and David in following God’s pattern, there was a king years later named Ahaz who disobeyed God by seeking another pattern. He traveled to Damascus, and met with the King of Assyria. He came back with a pattern for a different altar and had it built (2 Kings 16:10).

During the days of Ezekiel the prophet, God’s people were in complete defiance of His laws, and because of it God punished Judah through the kingdom of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and Solomon’s temple and took thousands of the people of Judah into captivity. God looked forward, though, to the days of their return and the days of the Messiah. Through Ezekiel, God called His people back to the “pattern.” If they would examine the words of God which contained that pattern, they would hopefully be ashamed of their sins and turn back to God (Ezekiel 43:10).

Let Them Measure the Pattern

“Son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern” (Ezekiel 43:10).

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul served as a pattern for us in many ways:

  • In his salvation (1 Timothy 1:16). The longsuffering and grace extended by Jesus to Paul serves as a pattern for all who will believe in Jesus Christ.
  • Through his life and character (Philippians 3:17; 4:9). Men like Titus and Timothy were also to serve as a pattern in their behavior (1 Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:7).
  • The doctrine and sound words he taught (2 Timothy 1:13). These were to be taken by men like Timothy and taught to others so that the pattern of sound doctrine would be repeated for generations to come (2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Corinthians 4:17).

God has a pattern that He wants us to follow. How we are saved. The way we behave and talk. Our worship to God. It is important for us to examine the Word and to find that pattern of sound words and follow it. As men and leaders in homes and churches, we are to have the courage and love for Christ to lead others in following God’s pattern, which first and foremost comes by living the pattern ourselves.

Like Yesterday

For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night. You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; in the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew. In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew; toward evening it fades and withers away (Psalms 90:4-6).

For all our days have declined in Your fury; we have finished our years like a sigh. As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away. Who understands the power of Your anger and Your fury, according to the fear that is due You? So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom (Psalms 90:9-12).

Like yesterday

Time, space and matter are all things God created. He created them all at the same time. “In the beginning (time), God created the heavens (space) and the earth (matter)” (Genesis 1:1). In order for God to create them He must be outside and independent of space, time and matter. That whole concept simply blows my mind, I just cannot fathom a Being like that. I believe it, but I just don’t comprehend it.

Since God is outside of time and independent of time, He has a completely different perspective of time. Moses said that 1,000 years are “like yesterday” to God. It is just a blip on the radar, it is the same as one day to God. Peter also repeated this concept in his second letter (2 Peter 3:9). A millennium to God is like grass that springs up and is cut down and withers.

In contrast to God, we humans are all about time. Have you stopped recently to ponder how obsessed we are with time? Sometimes we are just so impatient and in a hurry because of our mixed up earthly perception of time. It affects our decision making at work and school, we get in a hurry and make mistakes. Our lack of perspective on time gets in the way when it comes to how we deal with others. Instead of giving them time to grow and develop, we want instant change…this minute! We also at times lose sight of how brief our time is on this earth.

This Psalm of Moses is there to help sober us up a little bit. Moses’ prayer to God in this Psalm was for God to help him and all of us to have a wiser perspective on the brevity of life and to see time how God sees it. Hopefully we will become more patient because of this renewed perspective. With God’s help we can see how precious each moment is and to “number our days.” Make the most of the very brief time God has given us.

According to this Psalm, we generally live 70-80 years. Think about that for a moment. If 1,000 years is like a day to God, then 70-80 years is like the blink of an eye.

“Making the most of your time…” (Ephesians 5:16).

 

The Tongue of the Wise Promotes Health

There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health (Proverbs 12:18).

The focus for this week has been complaining. Words as we all know, have incredible weight and influence. The above proverb provides a great contrast. A stab wound doesn’t promote health, does it? My words can be a sword thrust through someone or I can promote health. Our words at work and school today can promote health: healthy attitudes, healthy dialogue, healthy teamwork, etc. Or, our complaining and criticizing words will just bring everyone down in the dumps.

Here are a couple of examples:

10 of the 12 spies sent by Moses to look over the land of Canaan brought back a bad report. They were faithless and their words discouraged the hearts of the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 1:28). Caleb, one of the 2 faithful spies, said decades later that the discouraging words of those 10 spies “made the heart of the people melt” (Joshua 14:8).

In contrast, consider King Hezekiah. When surrounded by the powerful army of Assyria, Hezekiah took his stand in faith with God. Not only did he prepare the people militarily, he spoke words of faith and encouragement to the people and directed their hearts to God’s power. “And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah” (2 Chronicles 32:6-8).

See the contrast? I think we all, that means me too, sometimes lose sight of how powerful and influential our speech can be. That’s probably why there is so much in Scripture about our words and their power. Hezekiah strengthened his people while the 10 spies made the hearts of Israel melt into discouragement.

The Tongue of the Wise Promotes Health

I found an interesting passage in Isaiah where the Messiah (Jesus) is speaking in the 1st person about what He is coming to do. In that section there is this statement:

The Lord has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary (Isaiah 50:4).

Jesus, the Messiah, has the tongue of the learned (educated, trained, wise). He knows how to speak a word in season (at the right time) to him who is weary (considering the audience and what is appropriate).

May the Lord give us this same tongue today! Let us train and educate our tongues and hearts. Consider what would be the right thing to say, not what would be the easy thing, or sarcastic thing or funny thing to say.

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones (Proverbs 16:24).

Past articles that might be helpful to you in connection to this topic:

 

Our soul loathes this worthless bread

Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died (Numbers 21:4-6).

God provided manna, bread from heaven, for the children of Israel. Every day was a miracle. Their food was miraculously provided for 40 years. Do the math. 6 days a week (extra manna provided on Friday for the Sabbath day) for 40 years. That’s a myriad miracles, and a gazillion tons of manna. They called it “worthless.” On top of that they said, “our soul loathes” it.

I was reading 1 Corinthians 10 yesterday where Paul reminded the Corinthian Christians about the Israelites in the wilderness. The sins they committed were recorded for us as examples, Paul explained, so that we do not repeat them. One of those sins Paul specified was complaining.

It just reminded me of how serious God takes complaining. If you haven’t done this lately, look through the Bible and do some word searches for words like grumbling, murmuring and complaining. See what God says about it. Look at the consequences. Lots of people died at God’s own hand because of it.

Our soul loathes this worthless bread

So, here we are, living under Christ, walking in His grace, and Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10 to remember how God views complaining. It is still a serious thing to God, just as serious as sexual immorality and idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:1-12). Sometimes we are tempted to think that the big sins are sexual immorality and murder, but complaining is just a little sin. We would be well served to take a walk through Exodus through Deuteronomy with the children of Israel to refresh our memories of God’s view of complaining.

Today, let us take a moment to thank God.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

If we recognize that we are living an ungrateful life, and have a complaining spirit, we should get down on our knees and ask for the Lord’s forgiveness and mercy. We also should ask the Lord to teach us to be more thankful. May God help our hearts to be content, and may our words express that daily. It is helpful for us to take regular inventory of how richly God has blessed us. That old song still rings true, “Count your many blessings.”

Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name (Hebrews 13:15).

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits (Psalm 103:2).

Not A Hoof Shall Be Left Behind

“…not a hoof shall be left behind…” (Exodus 10:26)

I’m sure a lot of you reading this are involved in or have been involved in negotiations at work. It might have been for your own salary and contract or a labor dispute. Maybe it was with a parts supplier. Regardless, negotiations are part of our everyday life. Give and take. Compromise. “Meet in the Middle” as the Diamond Rio song says.

We are used to seeing this around us, even on television shows like American Pickers. Frank and Mike go around the country and the world haggling to get some valuable piece of history they can resell later for a higher price.

Even the Proverbs talks about it. “It is good for nothing,” cries the buyer; but when he has gone his way, then he boasts (Proverbs 20:14).

There are even men who successfully negotiated with the Lord. Abraham was one of those examples who pleaded for God’s mercy upon Sodom and Gomorrah because of his nephew Lot (Gen. 18:22-33; 19:29).

But there are other times, like the one we will consider today with Pharaoh and Moses, that negotiating is out of the question. Pharaoh kept trying to negotiate the terms of release for the children of Israel, but God wasn’t going to bargain.

When Pharaoh was first approached, he arrogantly declared, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go” (Exodus 5:2). As the plagues progressed however, Pharaoh began his attempts to negotiate. After the plague of the flies, Pharaoh said, “Go, sacrifice to your God in the land.” Moses replied, we are not going to do that. The response of Pharaoh was, “I will let you go…only you shall not go very far away” (Exodus 8:24-28). Of course, Pharaoh changed his mind after the plague was removed.

When Moses warned Pharaoh of the coming locust plague, the servants of Pharaoh reasoned with him to let Israel go. At least someone had some sense! Once again, Pharaoh attempted to cut a deal by saying, “only the men can go” (Exodus 10:8-11). No deal…the terms are the same, everybody leaves together (Exodus 10:9)!

Eight devastating plagues were followed by the ninth plague of darkness which debilitated Egypt for three days. Pharaoh still tried to set terms with God and Moses. Ok you can go, “only your flocks and your herds shall be kept back” (Exodus 10:24).

Pharaoh just didn’t learn, did he? There was not going to be a meet in the middle compromise. God wasn’t going to give a little. Pharaoh was given the terms of release, and with great pain and sacrifice he had to submit to the conditions. Everybody in Israel goes, “not a hoof shall be left behind” (Exodus 10:26).

Not a hoof shall be left behind

In order to apply this to our lives today men, let’s do some comparing. Consider Pharaoh to be like Satan, and Moses to be like Jesus. We are like the children of Israel, and the slavery in Egypt is like our slavery and bondage to sin (John 8:32-36; Hebrews 2:14-16).

Here are a few observations:
  1. God didn’t negotiate terms with the Devil. He crushed Satan through the cross of Jesus Christ. Our Lord doesn’t want any part of His people in “Egypt” (sin) under Pharaoh (the Devil).
  2. Satan will hold on to any part of you that he can, even a hoof. Remember the rich young ruler? He kept “all” of God’s commandments, at least so he thought. But Jesus knew part of him was still not out of Egypt yet, and the “hoof left behind” was the young man’s attachment to money and things.
  3. You and I are not to leave a “hoof behind” in that old world of sin. God wants to deliver us completely from sin. If there is still a part of us that we have not completely given over to God, then we need to stop trying to negotiate terms. Stop flirting with Egypt, and get out of there, not a hoof shall be left behind. Don’t be like Israel and leave your heart in Egypt (Acts 7:39). “Resist the devil,” James says, don’t try to negotiate with him.

Not a hoof shall be left behind…

Getting Defensive and God’s Holiness

What does it mean to treat God as holy?  Holy is a word used to describe God in the bible more than any other.  We could spend an entire gospel meeting exploring the subject and still just scratch the surface.  I’d like to explore one practical observation as I’ve been reading through the book of Numbers.

In Numbers chapter 20 verse 8, God instructs Moses and Aaron to “Take the rod and…assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water.  You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink.”  In verse 9-11 the text says that Moses took the rod and assembled the congregation and said “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?”  Then Moses struck the rock twice with the rod.  God responds in verse 12 “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

Getting Defensive and God’s Holiness

This transgression is also mentioned at the deaths of Aaron and Moses.  In Numbers 20:24 “for he (Aaron) shall not enter the land which I have given to the sons of Israel, because you rebelled against My command at the waters of Meribah.” In Numbers 27:14 “for in the wilderness of Zin, during the strife of the congregation, you (Moses) rebelled against My command to treat Me as holy before their eyes at the water.”  And again in Deuteronomy 32:51 “because you (Moses) broke faith with Me in the midst of the sons of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, because you did not treat Me as holy in the midst of the sons of Israel.”

People often simplify the cause of the punishment saying that God told them to “speak” to the rock and Moses “struck” the rock.  I find it interesting that when God instructs Moses in Numbers 20:8, He starts by saying “Take the rod” and then in verse 9 it says “So Moses took the rod from before the Lord, just as He had commanded him”.  God wanted the rod with Moses and Aaron at the rock and they obeyed.  We gain additional insight in Psalm 106:32-33, “They also provoked Him to wrath at the waters of Meribah, so that it went hard with Moses on their account; because they were rebellious against His Spirit, he spoke rashly with his lips.”  Psalm 106 says that Moses “spoke rashly with his lips”.  It is interesting to me that in God’s rebuke and in the Psalmist’s summation, striking the rock is never pointed out specifically as the transgression.  Numbers 27:14, God’s command was to treat Him as holy and Moses failed to do that by speaking rashly with his lips.  Going back to the original event in Numbers 20, we see that demonstrated in that Moses said “Listen now, your rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?”  Please don’t miss my point, I’m not trying to cause a debate regarding whether or not “striking” the rock was wrong or not.  I’m simply trying to get to the underlying cause of the problem that is demonstrated in the text.

In Numbers 20:3-5, when the people complain they focus their complaint on Moses.  Verse 3 says they “contended with Moses and verse 4 “Why have you brought the Lord’s assembly into this wilderness” and verse 5 “Why have you made us come up from Egypt”.   Even though the complaint was focused on Moses, in reality, they were complaining against God.  They were not satisfied with His provision, His care, and His time table.  In most all other instances Moses recognizes this and appears not to take it personally.  For example, in Exodus 16:8 when the people complain about the lack of food, Moses says “for the Lord hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him.  And what are we?  Your grumblings are not against us but against the Lord.”  Moses’ ability to endure the grumblings, complaints and personal attacks from the people and continue to honor God and strive for the best for the people is one of his greatest examples of leadership.  Yet in this instance, Moses’ response reflects selfishness.  His response rings with personal offense as he calls them “rebels” and says “shall we bring forth water”.  In this moment, he fails to keep God in His proper place.  He fails to treat God as holy.  In a way, as Moses defends himself, he elevates himself and brings God down.

God is holy.  He is set apart, He is consecrated.  As I live my life, trying to serve God and treating Him as holy, all that I do and say reflects on Him and who He is.  Keeping His commands, worshiping according to His authority, speaking where He speaks and being silent where He is silent are all essential to treating God as holy.  But the greatest of tests will come when I stand for His truth and I am personally attacked.  When I boldly proclaim His morality and people point fingers at me.  When I speak out against sin and false accusations are made.  When I try to lead people towards Him and the complaints start flying.  Will I still see God as holy?  Will I trust that He can defend me, fight for me, and help me to stand?  Or will I do what I far too often do?  Return insult for insult, revile in return, go on the attack and, in essence, remove God from His proper place.  It’s not about me, it’s all about Him.

Moses was faithful even when…(6 of 6)

Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant… (Hebrews 3:5)

#6 Moses was faithful to God even when things did not work out as expected.

Consider the past 5 articles leading up to today:

  • Would you be faithful to God even if you don’t want to do the job?
  • Would you be faithful to God even when the enthusiasm is gone?
  • Would you be faithful to God even when you receive little appreciation?
  • Would you be faithful to God even when you begin to doubt your own value and effectiveness?
  • Would you be faithful to God even when you lose support of those closest to you?

All of us would naturally struggle with one of these more than another. What we mean is that some will endure everything as long as they have their family. Others can endure a lot of junk thrown their way as long as they feel appreciated and valued.

So, what if you go through all of the above things, and things still don’t work out like you planned and hoped? Would you be faithful to God?

After 40 years of leading Israel, and after all of the heartache, sacrifice and pain, Moses was not able to go into the Promised Land. Because of a moment of weakness and exasperation toward the people of Israel, Moses had at one point taken the glory for himself and God told him the consequences for doing this (see Numbers 20).

Later, near the end of his life, he begged for God to change His mind. “Let me I pray, cross over and see the fair land,” and God replied “Enough! Speak to Me no more on this matter…for you shall not cross over this Jordan” (Deuteronomy 3:25-27).

How did Moses respond to this?

What does a real man do? What does a real man do when things don’t work out like he planned?

This is so important for those of us who are driven by results and “success” (as we define it). What happens when the road we have carefully and methodically plotted out takes a wrong turn and we are left with broken dreams? What happens when God says “No” to our heartfelt requests? Lesser men will throw up their hands, quit and walk away.

Moses asked God to appoint a good leader to succeed him, because he did not want Israel to be like sheep without a shepherd. When God told Moses that Joshua would be the new leader, Moses spent a great deal of time encouraging and strengthening Joshua because of the awesome task at hand. Moses remained humble, focused on God’s glory, and always thoughtful of what was best for God’s people…even when things did not work out like he hoped for himself. Moses gently submitted to God’s decisions, even when he didn’t agree.

That is a faithful man. Are you like Moses?

Moses was faithful even when…(5 of 6)

Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant… (Hebrews 3:5)

#5 Moses was faithful to God even when those closest to him turned against him.

Sometimes standing for something means you will be standing alone.

Miriam and Aaron, Moses’ own sister and brother, turned against him at one point. Amazingly, when God punished Miriam because of this with leprosy, it was Moses who prayed for her to be healed. He was faithful to God even when those closest to him opposed him.

It is at this point in Moses’ life that the Bible says that Moses was the most humble man on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3). Moses’ heart was truly set on God – even when his own family turned on him, he did not get defensive or proud. He did not make it about him, he turned his heart toward God in prayer. Moses still loved his family even though they behaved this way toward him.

Moses was not the only person in Scripture who had to stand alone.

  • Jesus’ brothers thought He was crazy, and His closest friends abandoned Him when He was arrested. Jesus kept His focus on the Father and doing His will.
  • The apostle Paul wrote that during one of his trials in Rome that “no one stood” with him. However, the “Lord stood with him and strengthened him.”
  • Samuel was deeply hurt and felt rejected when the Israelites asked for a king. God reminded Samuel that the people had rejected Him, not Samuel.
  • Job’s wife said to curse God and die. Job kept his eyes on the Lord.
  • David’s most loyal soldiers at one point all turned against him and wanted to kill him. Yet, David “strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”

People won’t always understand your priorities.  Your fellow Christians sometimes won’t be going the same direction. We can’t force what is important to us to be important to those closest to us.

Humble service can shed light on lack of commitment in others.  Without saying a word our actions can make those around us feel guilty and that guilt will often be displayed in criticism and disapproval.

So, the question comes, will you be faithful even when you have to be faithful alone? Remember, though, that with God you are never alone. We truly learn to find our peace, comfort, joy and strength in God during the times we are not finding it in those closest to us.

Moses was faithful to God, even when:

  1. He did not want to do to the job.
  2. The lack of enthusiasm made the job even harder.
  3. He received little appreciation.
  4. He doubted his own value and effectiveness.
  5. Those closest to him turned against him.

That is a faithful man. Are you like Moses?