Friday, September 28, 2012

Prescriptions for Stronger Faith

Numbers 11:23 "The LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’S power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.”

The Disease of unbelief needed a Powerful Prescription
In this section of Numbers 11-12 we see the situation in the nation of Israel drastically plummet.  Numbers 11:1-3  tells us: "1 Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. 2The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the LORD and the fire died out. 3So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the LORD burned among them."

For over 12 months since their deliverance out of Egypt, the people had been camped around the base of Mount Sinai.  They had every means of grace available. Yet as Hebrews 3-4 reveals, they ended up not entering into the land which God was calling them due to unbelief.  These two chapters of Numbers 11-12 are chapters about the complaining people of God. 

1. We see the Children of Israel compaining in Numbers 11:1-9
2. We see Moses companing about the people Number 11:10-15
3. We see Miraim and Aaron complaining about Moses 12:1-2

No faith, struggling faith and weakening faith
No one was happy.  These three groups of people were in a miserable condition.  The Nation of Israel camped around Sinai were operating with no faith.  Hebrews 3:19 describes the generation of Israelites coming out of Egypt being incapable of entering into the promised land due to unbelief. 

Moses was operating with struggling faith.  According to Hebrews 3:5, Moses was indeed faithful, a "faith-filled man", yet in this particular episode he was overwhelmed.  Then we see Aaron and Miriam dealing with weakening faith.  They had genuine faith, however jealousy and envy over Moses had sapped their spiritual energy. What these people needed was the same thing we need as God's people living in the 21st century: Stronger faith.

The people of Israel needed saving faith, Moses needed victorious faith and Aaron and Miriam needed greater faith.  In the middle of these two chapters we see Moses' raise further doubts to God's ability to provide.  It is in Numbers 11:23 that we see God says these words: "The LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’S power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.” 

It is from this text that I see the Lord giving us a set of prescriptions for stronger faith.  If someone is in need of saving faith, this prescription from Numbers 11:23 will guarantee salvation.  Perhaps you are reading this and are a believer in Christ already, however you are needing victorious faith or stronger faith.  May I urge you to consider the following prescriptions for greater faith from Numbers 11:23. 

1. Consider the Lord. Numbers 11:23a "The LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’S power limited?"
This was Moses' problem: He had considered his circumstance more than the Lord.  The question posed by Jehovah God can only yield one answer - of course the Lord's arm, ability, strength, is not too short.  The people needed to place their faith and trust in the saving power of the one who had rescued them out of Egypt.  Miriam and Aaron needed to be reminded that the Lord called Moses to do one thing, and they another.  The Lord's power is unlimited (Psalm 90:1). 

2. Consider the Lord's word Numbers 11:23b "Now you shall see whether My word will come true" 
Moses, the man of struggling faith, needed to hear the Word of the Lord.  The prophet of God, who had already composed Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus at this stage of redemptive history, was at a low point in his ministry.  He wanted to die. 

The nation of Israel had no faith.  Their failure to believe was not God's fault, but theirs.  Only the preaching of God's word can bring about the faith needed for the person to embrace Christ. (Romans 10:17).  That generation of people needed to be saved. (again compare Hebrews 3 and 4)  Miriam and Aaron had weak faith.  They needed to heed the Word they had received and consider their words carefully.  Dear friend, you and I need to consider the Lord's words more than our thoughts, our impressions and our opinions.  God was telling Moses that no doubt, He  was going to do as he had said.

3. Consider your heart. Number 11:23 "Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.” 
What was the Lord trying to get Moses to consider.  He was trying to get him to consider the Lord, and the Lord's word.  But He was also appealing to the court of Moses' heart.  That word "you" takes what is impersonal and distant and suddenly brings it to bear personally and near.  Somewhere along the way, Moses' let the circumstance change his understanding about the Lord, rather than let His understanding of the Lord change His circumstance.

He who had seen the Lord split the Red Sea and rain fire on the Mountain was begging God to let him die.  I do not hold Moses in contempt, for I too have had those times, and I'm sure you have as well.  It is in those times of trouble that God has had me take stock of my heart. 

Proverbs 4:23 tells us - "Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life." Whenever my heart is out of tune with the Lord, it is because I have not considered Him nor His words.  This three-fold prescription of considering the Lord, His Word and your heart will lead to stronger faith.  Take it in daily, and watch your faith grow. 

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