My Father, My Journey
Today is Father’s Day, and we will be talking about Your heavenly, eternal Father. The greatest weakness in the church is that believer’s do not know God. If we don’t know God, then we are tempted to judge His ways and become discouraged on our journey just like the children of Israel did when He brought them out of Egypt. Can we learn something from them?
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.”[a] We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ,[b] as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.
/// 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 (NIV)
All the children of Israel experienced the same miracles, the same care of God. So, what happened to many of them? They walked with God without knowing Him! While we know that miracles and signs are a part of the true testimony of Jesus, we also know that signs and wonders in-and-of themselves will not save us. Preach to your neighbor! Say with us:
KNOW YOUR GOD!!!
Okay, let’s think about the journey of the children of Israel. First, they were slaves in Egypt for 430 years. Then, because of God’s promise and mercy, they were released through a series of miracles that brought the greatest nation on Earth at that time to its knees! It was an 11 day journey to the Promised Land. They were only 11 days from God’s promise. 11 days! But, the fact that they went straight from slavery in Egypt into the wilderness bummed them out. This was not what they signed up for! Depending upon God for everything! God provided for them in powerful ways in the wilderness. But they thought: Who wants to go from slavery straight into the wilderness!? At Mt. Horeb or Sinai, they were invited to intimacy with God. Instead, they chose to exist spiritually upon what Moses regurgitated to them. Once again, they chose not to know God. All it would take was 11 days of patience and God’s power and they would arrive at the promise. Let’s pick up the story:
Then, as the Lord our God commanded us, we set out from Horeb and went toward the hill country of the Amorites through all that vast and dreadful wilderness that you have seen, and so we reached Kadesh Barnea. Then I said to you, “You have reached the hill country of the Amorites, which the Lord our God is giving us. See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Then all of you came to me and said, “Let us send men ahead to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to.”
The idea seemed good to me; so I selected twelve of you, one man from each tribe. They left and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshkol and explored it. Taking with them some of the fruit of the land, they brought it down to us and reported, “It is a good land that the Lord our God is giving us.”
But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. You grumbled in your tents and said, “The Lord hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. Where can we go? Our brothers have made our hearts melt in fear. They say, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.’”
Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”
In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.
When the Lord heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: “No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, except Calebson of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly.”
/// Deuteronomy 1:19-36 (NIV)
Moses told the Israelites, “God carried you like a father carries his son, all the way! He fought for you in Egypt and in the wilderness. He went ahead of you on your journey.” Then, Moses said, “In spite of this, you did not trust the Lord your God, who went ahead of you on your journey.” Two things kept them from their promise:
1. Their journey offended them.
Okay, we go from slaves to the wilderness. Then, we go from the wilderness into Amorite territory! Have you seen the Amorites? We go from one beehive in Egypt to another! Some of you are offended by the journey that God has you on!
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. /// Deuteronomy 8:2-3 (NIV)
God is doing something new in this time! Don’t judge what is happening to you by what He did to others. He needs a generation willing to be set apart and intimate with Him.
2. They didn’t know God.
After all that had happened, their view of God is found in Deuteronomy 1:27: The Lord hates us! Some people can be carried by God, sheltered by God, provided for by God, fought for by God and still they don’t know Him! So, what is the byproduct of not knowing Him? They grumble, they lust after comfort, they are too lazy to go to the mountain top. They would rather live on regurgitated revelation from some preacher. Here is a lesson for the journey: God is bringing us into a good land with houses we didn’t build and wells we didn’t dig! But, beware lest you fail because your journey offends you. And one more thing, beware that you ignore the call to the top of the mountain to be with God.
Until you are satisfied with intimacy with God, then no amount of signs and wonders will be enough to satisfy the longing you experience through not knowing your Father! Don’t allow your journey to create an offense in you against God! Let your journey be a key to humility.
- 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 (NIV)
- Deuteronomy 1:19-36 (NIV)
- Deuteronomy 8:2-3 (NIV)
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