The Lord Jesus led me to read Psalm 95 (vv. 7b-11 NASB).
Has God blessed us today with life? Is there food in our stomachs? Do we have roofs over our heads? Do we have warm places to sleep? Are we adequately clothed? Not everyone is so blessed!
How often do we, who are so blessed, take these blessings for granted? And, how often do we grumble and complain because what we have is not as good as we would like, or because we don’t have more or better?
Today, if you would hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,
“When your fathers tested Me,
They tried Me, though they had seen My work.
The Israelites were so richly blessed of God. They were his chosen, his select people, for his very own. He had just miraculously delivered them from slavery in Egypt, and had defeated their enemies who were hotly pursuing them. The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. So, they were under his protective care.
But, once delivered from slavery, the people began to grumble and complain. In fact, they wanted to go back under slavery in place of being delivered, because there they were well fed. Then, God rained down manna from heaven so the people could eat. Then, the people had no water to drink, and so they grumbled against God and his servant Moses yet again. They questioned even if God was among them. Then, God gave them water from a rock, in order to quench their thirst. He took very good care of them.
Today, believers in Jesus Christ are the people of God. God also delivered us from slavery, only not from physical captivity, but from spiritual bondage. We were all born into sin. We, thus, came up short of attaining God’s divine approval. So, Jesus Christ, God’s Son, came to earth, took on human flesh, and eventually was put to death on a cross, although he had done no wrong. But, when he died, he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus took our place on that cross so that we could be delivered from both the punishment of and our bondage to sin.
So, when we put our trust in him, we die with him to sin, and we are resurrected with him to new lives in him to be lived to his righteousness. Now sin should no longer be our master, for Jesus set us free. We are, thus, born again of the Spirit of God, and now God, in the person of his Spirit, lives within us. The Spirit, thus, leads us in the way that we should go. Our Lord provides for our needs, comforts and encourages us, and he strengthens and empowers us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to him. He takes really good care of us, too, but he also allows us to be tested.
So, when we are tested, do we grumble and complain against God? Do we charge him with abandonment? Do we wish he had never set us free, and think how we were better off when we were still under slavery to sin? For example, maybe when we were still addicted to sin people liked us, and things seemed to be going well for us, and we were not having to suffer like we are now. Have you ever felt that way? And, do we want to go back? Or, did we go back? Have we returned to walking in the ways of the flesh instead of walking according to the Spirit? Because we feel it is easier?
But, easy is not always best. And, easy in this life does not get us comfort in the next life if we are still bound in our sins and living to please ourselves.
“For forty years I loathed that generation,
And said they are a people who err in their heart,
And they do not know My ways.
There is a popular teaching today that says that God is pleased with us no matter what we do, even if we are engrossed in sinful addictions. But, this is just not biblical. The Bible teaches us to find out what pleases the Lord and to do it. We are to make it our goal to please God. We are to please God, who tests our hearts. We’ve been instructed in how to live, in order to please God. As well, “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:8; 2 Co. 5:9; Eph. 5:10; 1 Thess. 2:4; 1 Thess. 4:1).
So, God can be displeased with us when we choose to follow after the flesh rather than to follow after the Spirit. It is possible for us to quench and to grieve the Holy Spirit, too, by our refusal to listen to God’s gentle prodding, urging us to throw off those sins which entangle us, and to cut out of our lives those things which continually lead us into sin.
And, there are many warnings written to believers in Jesus Christ, and to professed Christians, cautioning them against hardening their hearts against God and against falling away from pure devotion to Christ. And, warning them, too, as a reminder, that if they continue in a course of sinful practice that they should know that those who practice such sins do not have the hope of eternal life with God (1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-6).
“Therefore I swore in My anger,
Truly they shall not enter into My rest.”
Too many people get this idea that our salvation (our deliverance from slavery to sin) is merely about God’s forgiveness of our sins so that we can go to heaven when we die. But, they forget that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. They forget that scripture teaches that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. And, they often ignore the scriptures which teach that if we walk in the flesh, we will die in our sins, not live with Christ for eternity.
And, that is why this warning from Psalm 95 is repeated for us, the church, in the NT in Hebrews 3. And, we need to take this seriously! We need to know that scripture teaches us that if we walk (in lifestyle) in disobedience to God, in in our flesh, and in sinful practices, that we don’t know God, we don’t love God, and we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God.
So, make sure today of your salvation. True faith in Jesus Christ wants to please God, not the flesh. This is not to say you will never sin, but that sin should no longer control you. But, when we believe in Jesus, we die to sin so that we might live to righteousness. So, true faith involves both repentance and obedience. If you are being told otherwise, you are being lied to. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we will live with Christ for eternity (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Lu. 9:23-25).
My Jesus, My Savior / Michael W. Smith
My Jesus, My Saviour,
Lord there is no one like you,
All of my days, I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love.
My comfort, my shelter,
Tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You.
Monday, November 20, 2017, 8:02 a.m. – Thank you, Lord, for all your bountiful blessings which you have bestowed upon us, your people, in forgiving us our sins, and in giving us new life in Christ, abundant life in him, to be lived for his purposes and for his glory. Amen!