Praise the Lord, Grace & Peace great people of our “Great God”…JESUS!
In my walk with Jesus Christ for over 39 years, I have had my hill, valley, and mountaintop experiences. But each experience mixed with faith in God and His word, has brought me through every situation! One of the qualities that I and any Saint must possess is an earnest to strive in the promises of God by exercising FAITH! Hence, the grand principle of our divine life is FAITH IN GOD! That’s right, the faith that puts our soul in possession of the eternal reality which maintains our walk habitually.
Therefore, for this Golden Nugget I would like to provoke a premise thought “I’ll Take the GRAPES of the PROMISE over the Flesh Pots of this World Any Day!” My premise scriptures to provoke further gospel provocation are as follows:
Num. 13:23-24 And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs. The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence.
Heb. 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
Heb. 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
During my faith walk I love Mat 9:28-29 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. I have embraced this as a divine motto! Hence, there are no limits. All that God reveals, faith may have. All that faith can grasp, my soul can enjoy!
It is so imperative that we remember this, because if we do not we will live far below our privileges. Many in these last and evil days appear to be satisfied in moving a great distance from the center of all our joy. We seem to be just content with merely knowing salvation, while at the same time, we fall short of the deep intimate holy communion with Jesus Christ. That’s right, we are satisfied with just knowing that a relationship exists, without earnestly and vigorously cultivating the affections belonging to Jesus Christ! It is because of this attitude that so many of us are cold and barren. I liken this to our solar system; the further a planet is from the sun the colder the climate, and the slower is the movement from gravitational pull. Such it is in the spiritual system, the further one moves from Jesus Christ, the colder they will be in their heart toward Christ and the slower they will move in Christ.
The more we move in the power of the love of Jesus Christ, the more we realize how His presence abides in us; hence it becomes more intolerable to be away from Him. The ones who have really learned anything of the love of Christ cannot live without it. That’s why if you have ever experienced being apart from it, you can feel the gloom and darkness of midnight, and the chilling breath of winter! GOLDEN NUGGET!
Nothing exhibits UNBELIEF in our hearts more than the fact that many of us ever think of aspiring beyond the mere basics in this walk of faith! This negates us from enjoying the absoluteness of His communion, and the void of walking in the highest level of spiritual scholarship. All because we are just satisfied with having the foundation laid, and are not as anxious as we should be to add the layers as deemed necessary to the spiritual superstructure. Note, this does not mean that we can ever do without the foundation, because this would be impossible. The most advanced scholar in this faith walk must carry the basics along with them, because the higher the building is raised, the more it necessitates a serious solid foundation.
My brothers and sisters let us look at Israel’s case. Their history is full of rich instruction for us, for Paul conveyed to us in Cor. 10:11 that It is “written for our admonition” Hence we must contemplate them in three distinct positions (1) as sheltered by the blood, (2) as victorious over Amalek , and (3) as introduced into the land of Canaan.
Now, I feel that it should be clear that the Israelite’s in the Land of Canaan did not lose anything of the value based on my first two points. They were no less shielded from judgment or delivered from the sword of Amalek because they were in the land of Canaan. The promise of milk and honey, grapes, and pomegranates of a goodly land, only enhanced the value of that precious blood which had preserved them from the sword of the death angel, and afforded them solid evidence that they had passed beyond the cruel grasp of Amalek.
Many who walk in fear and do not embrace the promises of God by faith, would say that Israel should not of sought anything beyond the blood-stained lintel that covered them in Egypt. But praise God they had a good spiritual leader Moses, like many good pastors today who lead the sheep of God by practicing faith in God themselves. Those who are convinced “There lies my destined inheritance, and by the grace of Abraham’s God, I shall never rest satisfied until I plant my foot triumphantly on it.” My brothers and sisters the blood-stained lintel was the starting post; the land of promise was the ultimate goal. It was Israel’s distinquished privilege not only to have the assurance of full deliverance from the hand of Pharaoh and the sword of Amalek, but also to cross the Jordan and pluck the mellow GRAPES of Eshcol. It was a shame and a sin to lust after the leeks, onions, and garlic in the flesh pots of Egypt, after experiencing and tasting the cluster GRAPES of Eshcol!
What kept them back? The same hateful thing from day to day and hour to hour, that robs us of the precious privilege of moving to the next level in our spiritual life; it is called “Unbelief! “ So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief according to Heb 3:19. This caused Israel to wander in the desert for 40 tedious years, representing the 40 days the spies searched the land. Instead of looking at God’s power to bring them into the land, they looked at the enemy’s power to keep them out of it. Therefore they failed because of the spies report! It is imperative to note that the proposal to send spies originated with the Israelites according to Deut. 1:22, and not God… “And ye came near to me, every one of you, and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come” It was all in vain whom they themselves proposed to send to bring back an attractive report of the description of the land. Before them stood a mass cluster of GRAPES representing the promise to be fulfilled, yet in vain the spies looked beyond the GRAPES and embraced the spirit of fear! For the word of the Lord tells us in 2 Tim. 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” GOLDEN NUGGET!
My brothers and sisters the spirit of unbelief had taken possession of their hearts. It was one thing to admire the GRAPES of Eshcol when brought to their tent doors by the effort of others, and quite another to move FORWARD in the effort of personal faith and pluck the grapes for themselves.
Some of you may ask, “Did not the Lord command Moses to send the spies according to Num. 13:1-3. True; but the Lord also commanded Samuel to anoint a king over Israel according to 1 Sam. 8:22. But did this clear them of the sin of asking for a king and thus rejecting God? Of course not! Well, then, the same holds concerning the spies. The unbelief of the people led them to ask for spies, hence God gave them spies. This same unbelief led them to ask for a king, and the Lord gave them a king. Psa.56:15 “He gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul” Wow, how often this is the case with us!
Saints, if “twelve men” could get to Eshcol, why not 600,000? Could not the same hand that shielded the one, shield the others likewise? Faith says “Yes”… but unbelief diminishes ones responsibility and accountability to the extent it becomes difficulty. The people were no more willing to advance after the spies returned than before they set out. They were in a state of unbelief. And what was the result? That out of the 600,000 men which came up out of Egypt, only two had sufficient faith to plant their foot in the land of Canaan. That means that approximately .00000333 of the total population of men stood in faith! This speaks volumes even today concerning real FAITH WALKERS! It utters a voice, It teaches a lesson. May we have ears to hear and hearts to understand! GOLDEN NUGGET!
It may be said by some that the time had not yet arrived for Israel’s entrance into the land of Canaan inasmuch as “the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full.” But this is a one-sided view of the subject, and we must look at both sides. The apostle Paul declares that Israel “could not enter in because of unbelief.” He does not ascribe to the reason “the iniquity of the Amorites” or any secret counsel of God with respect to the Amorites. He simply gives as a reason, the unbelief of the people. They would of entered IN if they believed God!
It blows my mind when we present unwarrantable and unsearchable counsels and decrees of God to abrogate man’s solemn responsibility. This will never do or be acceptable . Do we continue to fold our arms and lie back in the indolence of unbelief because of God’s eternal decrees, which we really know nothing about? We do know that unless God blesses the labor of the farmer, there can be no crop at the time of harvest. Does this prevent the diligent use of the plough and the harrow? Surely not! For the same God who has appointed the crop as an expected end result, has appointed patient labor as the means to the expected end.
My brothers and sisters it is the same also in the spiritual world. God’s appointed end must never be separated from God’s appointed means. If Israel had trusted God, the whole assembly might have delighted themselves on the cluster GRAPES of Eshcol. The grapes were lovely; this was obvious to all. The spies were constrained to admit that the land flowed with milk and honey. But there was sure to be a “nevertheless.” Why? Because they were not fully trusting in God. He had already declared to Moses the description of the land and His testimony ought to have been amply sufficient. He had said in the most unqualified manner, in Ex. 3:8 “I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good land and a large, to a land flowing with milk and honey.”This alone should of been sufficient!
Was not God’s description alone much more trustworthy than man’s? YES!, to those who walk by faith, but NO!, to those who are inundated with unbelief. Unbelief can never be satisfied with a divine testimony, it can only render the testimony of the flesh! God said it was “a land flowing with milk and honey.” And when the spies came back they admitted that it was. But what is magnified in Num. 14:28 is the “Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land and the cities are walled and very great; and moreover, we saw the children of Anak there …. and there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so were we in their sight”
Saints they only “saw” the frowning walls and towering giants. They did not see God because they looked with the eyes of flesh and not with the eye of faith. My God was shut out. He never gets in the equations during their calculation of unbelief. Hence, in their calculation all they could see were walls and giants, but not God! My brothers and sisters it is only faith that can “endure as seeing Him who is invisible.” The spies could declare what they were in their own sight and in the sight of the giants, but not a word was rendered about what they were in God’s sight. They never thought of this. The land was all that could be desired, but the difficulties were too great for them. The mission of the spies proved to be a failure. Hence Israel “despised the pleasant land” and “in their hearts, turned back again into Egypt.”
My brothers and sisters let us fervently ponder on this. My objective in writing this is to encourage all who are willing to arise with fervent energy and trust in Christ, to walk in the highest level of a life of faith in Christ Jesus! Knowing that our solid foundation has been laid in the blood of the cross, hence it is our privilege not only to be victorious over Amalek (i.e. a type of indwelling sin) but also to taste of the old corn of the land of Canaan, and to pluck the GRAPES of Eshcol, and delight ourselves in its flowing tide of milk and honey; In other words, let us enter into the living and elevated experiences which flow from a habitual fellowship with our risen Savior with whom we are linked in the power of an endless life. It is one thing to know that our sins are cancelled by the blood of Christ. It is another thing to know that Christ has destroyed the power of indwelling sin. And it is still the most ultimate thing to live in unbroken fellowship with our Lord.
It is not that we lose the sense of the two former when living in the power of the latter. Quite the opposite. The more closely I walk with Christ, the more I have Him dwelling in my heart by faith, hence the more I value all He has done for me, both in the putting away of my sins and in the entire subjugation of my evil nature. Please be assured that the higher the superstructure rises the more we should all value the solid foundation beneath. It is a great mistake to assume that those who moved in the higher spheres of spiritual life could ever undervalue the title by which they walked in. Oh! no; the language of those who have passed into the innermost circle of the upper sanctuary is, “Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” They talked of the love of Christ’s heart and the blood of His cross. The nearer they approached the throne of God, the more they entered into the value of that which placed them on such a delightful elevation. And so it should be with us; the more we breathe the air of Jesus’ divine presence of His spirit, the more we walk in the courts of the heavenly sanctuary!
Let us not be deterred from aiming after higher levels in Jesus Christ by a false fear of undervaluing the precious and profound truth which fills our hearts with the peace of God which passes all understanding. Satan will use anything and everything to keep us from planting our foot of faith in the spiritual Canaan. He will strive to keep us occupied with ourselves and the surrounding circumstances to impede our forward and upward progress in Christ. The devil knows that when one has really eaten of the GRAPES of Eshcol, it is no longer a question of escaping from Pharaoh or Amalek. So he sets before us large walls, and giants, but the SIMPLE answer we give Satan is conclusive, and that is: in God we TRUST! TRUST! THRUST!
For the 11 Chapter of Hebrews states “By faith they kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood” and “by faith the walls of Jericho fell down” From the starting post to the goal, and at every intermediate stage, “The just shall live by faith.”
Let us never forget that this faith walk involves full surrender of self to Christ. If this does not exist, it is like “like a rowboat with only one oar, which goes round and around, but makes no progress. The rowboat only drifts with the stream, whirling as it drifts. It is also like a bird with a broken wing, whirling over and over, and falling as it whirls.” My father in the gospel Pastor Claude Allen Sr. would often say a man without faith in Jesus Christ is like “Jack the bear, making tracks and getting NOWHERE”…there just is no progress! Hence an individual cannot expect to walk with Christ in one hand and walk with the world in the other hand. One can never feast on “the GRAPES of Eshcol” while still longing after “the flesh pots of Egypt” (the world).
I pray the Lord will continue to grace all of us with a wholesome heart, and a upright mind that is determined go much higher in Jesus! Regardless of what our situation or circumstances may be. Knowing that if we walk in earnest with this mindset, we will perpetually “strive toward the mark, for the prize of our high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Hence; because of these realities in Christ Jesus we can tell anybody that may offer us otherwise, with this response.. “I’ll Take the GRAPES of the PROMISE over the Flesh Pots of this World Any Day!” Please strive to have a “Jesus Day”