Why we miss out on God's promises...
Many Christians miss out on many of God's promises because
of the primary reason of not sanctifying Him in their hearts in all their
affairs, particularly in the eyes of other people.
We find it difficult to be ourselves in everyday life and
hence put undue pressure on ourselves to perform or deliver something that does
not ultimately belong to us. A lot of us have a burning desire to be seen or to
be heard, to stand out from amongst the crowd in order to be recognised. The
stiff neck of 'I' is never satisfied to be left in the background, having an
insatiable thirst for attention - "please look at me, I'm worth something
too!" Usually unintentionally, we end up busying ourselves in a never ending
pursuit of roaming restlessly from household to household seeking short-lived
pleasures - "Where's the party? What's on at the movies? Where's the
barbecue? When's the next performance? Where can I be seen next?" The end
result is superficiality and a continual void that can never be filled. We even
forget the real path God has set before us.
Emotional hype is always short lived.
Many people thrive off hype and eventually mistake it for the
real thing. Hype will eventually disappoint many who live off it. An old Greek
saying goes, "It is opportunity that opens the door, but it is character that
keeps it open". Emotional hype is always the result of failing to 'sanctify
God in our hearts, especially in the eyes of other people'. We seem to find it
difficult to achieve this due to one reason, and that is, it requires us to be
ourselves, to be real, to be able to stand alone and go against the grain, to
understand that falseness, pretence and emotional hype for self edification will
not keep the door to God's kingdom open for us. Paul's letter to Timothy
reveals that, "in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be
lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to
parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false
accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors,
heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form
of Godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away." 2 Timothy 4:5.
Sanctifying God in our hearts requires continual maintenance
and a personal devotion towards God through Jesus Christ.
In other words, a lifestyle of Godliness and developing a
character in faith that typifies that of Christ. Being prepared to stand alone
in your faith in Christ and that it is He alone that saves. Being prepared to be
singled out and become accountable for your own faith and responsible for the
building up other the faith of others. Finding contentment in where you are now,
what you have and who you are. God intends to use you as you are, not what you
want to be nor become. "...Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we
brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And
having food and raiment let us be therewith content" 1 Timothy 6:6-8.
The three characteristics that result from not sanctifying
God in our hearts are unbelief, rebellion, and trespassing.
In the story in Numbers 20 where Moses and Aaron sin, God
excludes them and the children of Israel from entering Caanan. Moses' sin is
seen in his attitude and action of striking the rock, because Moses did not
believe that God could bring forth water by him simply speaking to the rock as
he was told to do so by God. Moses was worried about not making a fool of
himself in the eyes of the children of Israel, so he struck it instead in order
to look good. The rock typifies Christ in that he was struck and wounded in
order that we may live. The sin is described as unbelief (Numbers 20:12),
rebellion (Numbers 27:14), and trespassing (Deuteronomy 32:51). The ultimate
result was that through the chiding (arguing and plotting) of the children of
Israel against Moses' leadership and God's provisions, and Moses'
disobedience, the whole lot of them missed out on the promise of God, and had to
wander the dessert for another 40 years. And this was even after they had all
affirmed that, "All the words which the Lord has said we will do." (Exodus 24:3).
Sin must be dealt with immediately or we will miss out on the
promises of God for our lives.
A fine example of a person recognising sin and taking
responsibility immediately is seen in the story about the golden calf in Exodus 32,
cf Deuteronomy 9:21. In Exodus 32, Moses was up in the Mt Sinai, and the
people thought he had disappeared forever (distrust and unbelief). The people,
in a burst of impulse cried up to Aaron. "Up, make us gods who will go before
us" (Exodus 32:1). Aaron gathered golden objects from the people and cast them
into the fire and said, "there came out this calf". They in fact corrupted
themselves and were eventually plagued by God for being disobedient. Moses
addressed the new generation who were about to enter the promised land, saying,
"And I took your sin, the calf you had made and burnt it with fire, and beat
it in pieces, grinding it very small, until it was as fine as dust; and I cast
the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount" (Deuteronomy 9:21).
Their sin was: taken (borne), burnt with fire (judgement), stamped
(crushed once and for all), ground into dust (made ineffective), cast into the
brook from the mount (people given life from the source, God). This process
typifies the work of Christ in our lives when we come before his throne of
The Calf - comes from the word "to roll"; it is
characterised by skipping and bounding in a untamed manner; indicates wild and
ragy people, swift to leap from restraint. The golden calf represents the sin
of rebellion from the true God, to worship and serve other gods of one's own
self-destruction and self interest.
The Fire - represents God's judgement on sin and
iniquity (Sodom and Gomorra), punishment (Revelation 20:14 - Lake of Fire).
The eyes of Jesus upon His return will be as a 'flame of fire'. Fire is
also a symbol of divine acceptance of sacrifices offered in substitution of a
sinner (Leviticus 10:2). Also represents the purification process that God
carries out to set apart the believer from sin in order to present themselves
faultless when Christ returns (1 Peter 1:7).
The Dust - means being rubbed into fine particles; that
which the body is formed from; symbolic of man's weakness, and also
signifies death . It is also associated with lamentation or mourning (for sins
The Brook from the Mount - washes away all sin and its
corruption from the believer. It also means a permanent inheritance, where in
this case it is eternal life. Water also has purifying power, where the
Levites used the water of separation to purify sins (Numbers 8:7). The Mount
is the dwelling place of God, a place of prayer, a place of the revelation of
God, the source of the brook, it is symbolic of a place where one can get
close to God in solitude.
The Problem... was not the actual calf itself, but the
hearts of the people. They suffered from unbelief and lack of faith in Moses and
the salvation of the Lord. They thought that Moses had deserted them and wanted
answers then and there. Aaron's quickness to order a substitute of God
illustrates his greed for power, lying to them saying that it was the calf that
bought them out of Egypt.
This story also illustrates that even though Moses
intervened and put an end to the idol worship, there were still serious
repercussions that resulted from the people sinning. Even more so, the story
reveals how God is able to save us from our sins, setting us free from bondage
through a loving process that ultimately ended in God providing another copy of
the Law, giving the children of Israel a second chance. Christ is the Father of
reconciliation, and intends to demonstrate His loving grace to all who sincerely
seek it. "..having made peace through the blood of His cross, by him to
reconcile all things unto Himself...and you, that were sometime alienated and
enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has He reconciled in the body of
His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreprovable in
His sight: If you continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved
away from the hope of the gospel..." (Colossians 1:24).
May all the promises of God eventuate in your life.