(Sermon excerpts | 04.10.16)
Last week, we left our corporate worship gathering with a keen awareness of God’s delivering ability. A powerful and prophetic word was given that brought a wonderful spirit of celebration! God had promised a great victory to Israel and had instructed Moses to declare, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:13-14 ESV)
After church, and throughout the day I received several texts, emails, and conversations that revealed several levels of reception of the prophetic word given. Many were ecstatic about new-found hope. Others were generally positive that God would deliver on the promise, while others were doubtful that God would (not could) correct their very difficult situation.
Today, I want to follow up that message with some practical insight on what to expect now, along with the temptations that exist after God has spoken a personal word to you.
First, let me remind you that there are two types of “words” that we observe in Scripture. They are
- Logos – Which typically refers to the written and recorded word as delivered through individuals who were moved upon by the Spirit of God. It is meant to be considered within the context of history, and is given with specific intent.
- Rhema – Which typically refers to a confirming unction of the Spirit in relation to a specific command or principle as described in Scripture. It must always be connected to the original intent of the author, but can be referenced by the Holy Spirit to speak to a contemporary set of circumstances.
In our message last week, we discussed the promise given to Israel through Moses concerning the deliverance from, and the defeat of the Egyptians. The promise was given personally to Israel for a set time and purpose. God’s purpose for removing these Egyptians was, at least, two-fold.
- He needed them out of the way so that the advancement of Israel would not be delayed.
- He wanted to prove to the remaining Egyptians that He was the only true God.
The promise can also be considered principally by all of God’s people when dealing with similar situations. Let’s not forget that Holy Spirit still speaks today.
Let’s consider four typical human responses that can affect the way we respond to God’s promises.
DOUBT: A feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction.
(Matthew 21:18-21 ESV) 18 In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. 19 And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. 20 When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” 21 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.
DISILLUSIONMENT: Disappointment resulting from the discovery that something is not as good as one believed it to be.
We sometimes become disillusioned with God when he does not provide the blessing we hoped for. God provided supernatural manna for the children of Israel. Yet, in time, they came to loath the very thing that came from God’s hand.
(Exodus 15:23-24 ESV) 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore, it was named Marah. 24 And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”
(Exodus 16:2-3 ESV) 2 And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, 3 and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
DEATH: The destruction or permanent end of something.
Sadly, I’ve watched people become convinced in their own mind that God is not faithful, He does not save, and He is not worthy of their trust. This is exactly what happened to Judas, who witnessed the prophetic fullment of the long awaited Messiah. Yet, he chose the path that led to death.
Death to faith can happen when we allow experience to determine what we believe, rather than belief determining what we experience.
DISCOVERY: To find (something or someone) in the course of a search. Also, to recognize potential.
Sometimes we struggle because we have misidentified our Egyptian. We waste positive energy fighting battles that don’t exist; against issues that are not the root problem.
(Ephesians 6:11-12 ESV) 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
The good news is that we have the ability through Christ to properly identify the real issues and access supernatural resources that will produce positive resolve.
PRAYER: No matter the foe, You have given me Your great and precious promises that are designed to provide a consistent flow of victory. Thank You! Amen.