Suff. Bishop Faulk's Golden Nuggets
The Wilderness Will Prove Who You Are, or Not, In Jesus Christ
Praise the Lord, Grace & Peace great people of our Great God…JESUS!
As we approach the end of this year, I am sure that we all have experienced some parched, and dry seasons that have not resonated well in our spiritual and natural life. Life in this flesh will always desire plush and lucrative things, that bring nothing but comfort. But we must remember that the first Adam had all these things, along with an exceptional access to God in His full glory! But in order to remain in this state of perfectness, Adam had to obey. It was Adams own choice not to obey the word of the Lord; and hence, initiated his own wilderness experience! But God shows us Grace due to Adams sin, by incarnating himself in human flesh, and becoming the Last Adam; Jesus Christ, in order to reconcile us back to himself. However, the wilderness experiences in this life still remain for us to experience, until the coming of the Lord. Hence, for this Golden Nugget the Lord has impressed upon the thought “The Wilderness Will Prove Who You Are, or Not, In Jesus Christ” To provoke further gospel provocation, I render the following scriptures to establish my premise.
(Num. 20:1-3;6-8) “Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there. And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD! And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.”
(Num. 20:10-12) “And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.”
As I began to read and meditate on the 20th chapter of Numbers, I notice that it furnishes what a wildness experience can bring out of individuals. Exodus 15 exemplifies something totally contra wise to this chapter! Hence, it furnishes a very remarkable record of wilderness life and experience. In it, we see Moses, the servant of God, passing through some of the most trying scenes of his eventful life. First of all, it is brought to our attention that his sister Miriam dies. The female who rendered a hymn of victory in Exodus 15, after Israel came through the Red Sea, “Sing ye to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider has he thrown into the sea.” Yet, we also see that she rebelled against her brother Moses in Numbers 12! Her timbrel is laid aside. The voice of song is hushed in the silence of her death. She can no longer lead in the dance. She had sung sweetly the key note of such a magnificent song of praise on the resurrection side of the Red Sea!
But now this prophetess passes off the scene, and the voice of melody is exchanged for the voice of murmuring by the children of Israel. The wilderness life has become irksome, and many of the trials in the wilderness has put many persons flesh to the test. I’m sure that you, and I know that all wilderness experiences will bring out what is really in the heart. It took forty years of toil and travail, due to the lack of faith, and disobedience to bring about a change! It is very rare even today to see people who exemplify earnest in the verdure, and the spiritual renewing needed for spiritual warfare in our lives!
Saints, given the times we are living in, which point to Jesus imminent return; our need to strive in Jesus Christ should not lack. Nothing can exhaust His providence, nor the will of His counsel; for God will never cease from being who He is, regardless of our waywardness. God will be God!
This was a deeply trying moment to the spirit of Moses. We can form no conception of what it must have been to encounter six hundred thousand murmurers, and to be obliged to listen to their bitter invectives, and to hear himself charged with all their misfortunes which their own unbelief had conjured up before them. This was no ordinary trial of patience; and we most definitely should not be astonished that the servant Moses found these situations in the wilderness very overbearing for him.
But it is so refreshing to see Moses, again and again, on his face before God. These examples render such a sweet relief in knowing that in spite of any tumultuous host, that we can escape to Jesus Christ! During this crisis the Word states “and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them! Please note that they had to remove themselves from that negative environment temporarily to consult the Lord, but it is obvious that there was a root of bitterness that had formed in the heart of Moses, due to the perpetual complaining and bickering from the people! I believe when we go to God in prayer, that we should first PETITION Him concerning the issues that are deeply within us, so that we will not carry negative residue into our servitude for Him. GOLDEN NUGGET!
Moses knew that only the God of all grace could meet the ten thousand necessities required in Israels wilderness life! Moses had already declared in Exo. 33:13-15 “Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.”
The Lords divine presence was the only answer to the demands of such a great congregation. Hence, God’s treasury is absolutely inexhaustible. He can never fail those that trust in Him completely. It is imperative that we remember that God delights to be used. He never grows weary of ministering to the needs of His people. We who are people of Gods’ great name (JESUS) should always be expressive with language that represent thankfulness and praise! Our life in the wilderness will continue to entail various test to prove what is in us, and it reveals what Jesus Christ can do for us!
The wilderness caused Moses to take his eye off the very one who he requested to render too him divine presence and guidance. Moses reacted just like many of us, due to past situations, emotions, hurt, and disappointments that people have brought on us. This caused Moses to take his focus off God, and lock in on the people! Their perpetual disregard for his authority delegated by God, and their non-appreciative spirit for what the Lord had done for them, got to him. This is good food for thought for all of us who have been chose by Jesus Christ to carry out various task in the Kingdom of God! The Apostle Paul, based on his assignment put it like this in Rom. 8:31-36 “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
These scriptures rendered by Paul based on his own experience, should render comfort, joy, and a source of strength, as we serve our living God. Hence, this is our reality! Come what may, He will prove Himself to answer every emergency, based on His WORD, which is amply sufficient “for exigence every hour and day.” As being a pastor, I have learned that Jesus’ patient Grace can bear our manifold infirmities, failures, and shortcomings; and that His strength is made perfect in our utter weakness. His faithfulness never fails; His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting. Many friends come, fail or pass away, in this cold and heartless world. In the case of Moses, Miriam and Aaron died; but God remained the same. It is because “The Lord is my (our) shepherd,” we can be assured, “we shall not want.”
“And the Lord spake to Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye to the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. And Moses took the ROD from before the Lord as he commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the ROCK; and he said to them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly; and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.” Verse 7-11.
My brothers and sisters, let us now take the Two objects, in the foregoing scriptures, which demand serious attention; namely, “The Rock,” and “The Rod.” Hermeneutically they both present to us Jesus Christ, in two distinct aspects. Please note what Paul writes in 1 Cor. 10:4 “They drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” This is plain and clear. It leaves no room whatsoever for misinterpretation. “That Rock was Christ”, yes that’s right, our Lord Jesus Christ was smitten for us.
Now let’s look at the second object, “The Rod” It is imperative that we remember that it was no need for the rod of Moses, nor the rod of authority, nor the rod of power. Those descriptions at this designated time for this event, could not be adequate for this occasion. In other occasions the Rod had done its work. It had smitten the rock once, and that was enough! This is validated in Exo. 17:1-6, “And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD? And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
It is also validated in Exo. 7:20 “And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.”
Saints, here we definitely have a typology of Jesus Christ who was smitten for us, by the hand of God in judgement. “Thy rod wherewith thou smotest the river.” Why the river? Why should this particular stroke of the rod be referred to? “And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.” It was the Rod which turned the water into blood, that was to smite “that Rock which was Christ” in order that streams of life, and refreshment would flow for us. Glory! GOLDEN NUGGET!
Now, this smiting could only take place once. It is never to be repeated. Rom. 6:9-10 “Knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dies no more; death has no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died to sin once: but in that he lives, he lives to God.” Heb. 9:26-27 “But now once in the end of the world has, he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself … so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.” 1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.”
There can be no repetition of the death of Jesus Christ; and hence, Moses was wrong in smiting the rock twice with his rod! He was commanded to take “The Rod,“ Aaron’s rod, the priestly rod, and speak to the rock pointing to Jesus Christ figuratively. The atoning work has been done for us, and now our great High Priest has passed into the heavens to appear in the presence of God for us, so that the streams of spiritual refreshment perpetually flow to us; based on the ground of Jesus’ accomplished redemption in conjunction with His priestly ministry; of which Aaron’s budding rod was an exquisite figure.
Hence, I reiterate as food for thought, that it was a grave mistake for Moses to smite the rock a second time; it was a total mistake to use his rod on that occasion at all. To have smitten with Aaron’s rod would have spoiled its lovely blossom. Hence, a word would have sufficed, in connection with the rod of priesthood, and the rod of grace. Moses failed to see this, and hence, failed to glorify God. He spoke unadvisedly with his lips; and as a consequence, he was prohibited from going over Jordan. His rod could not take the people over the Jordan. It has been proven that finite authority often fails with murmuring people. Moses proved, that a man’s finite flesh against finite flesh, without heeding to the voice of God is a futile effort. Therefore because of this, Moses failed to sanctify JESUS in the eyes of the congregation, and could not cross over into the Canaan the Land of Promise. GOLDEN NUGGET!
This took something from Moses while in the wilderness, but we see the Grace of Jesus Christ shine through even in his failure. In Deuteronomy 34 we see that Moses is brought to the top of Pisgah, and Jesus shows him the Land of Canaan from there. We can also see the Lord showing continued GRACE, as He provided a grave for His servant Moses, and buried him.
Saints, it is amazing that in spite of our failures in the wilderness, how our Lord Jesus Christ still performs things for His Name Sake, so that He may sanctified Himself before the people; regardless of our open rebellious murmurings! Regardless of Moses’ mistake, and failure to follow the Lord’s instructions; He still provided a gushing stream of water from the smitten rock for the people!
My brother and sisters, it is imperative that I note that we need the GRACE of Jesus Christ in our wilderness experiences! Moses was prevented from entering the land because of the unadvised speaking. God, in government Law, kept Moses out of Canaan. But the God of Grace, brought Moses up to Pisgah. These two facts in the history of Moses, illustrate specifically, the distinction between Grace and the Law! Grace pardons and blesses; but the Law must take its course. Let us perpetually remember this, that… “Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.” This principle has proven to be sustained through the ways of God in government, for this is relevant! Nevertheless “grace reigns through righteousness, to eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
In the closing paragraph the 20th chapter of Numbers, I noticed something deeply touching. When I compared this closing scene with the scene in Exodus 4:1-17, I noticed that Moses deemed his brother Aaron’s companionship indispensable; but he experiences Aaron to be a liability, many times in the wilderness during his leadership! We see that God informs Moses that he is to strip Aaron of his priestly robe before the people, so that they could witness the assignment of a new high priest, prior to Aaron’s death in the mountain. Aaron had proven not to be very refined through his wilderness experience, for he often succumbed to the mind of rebellious people, and not God!
As I summarize, it is imperative that we all understand that our wilderness experience can draw us closer to Jesus, or if we develop a negative mindset, it can alienate us from Him. I often adduce to the statement that “Mindset is causative,” whether The Lord, You, Me, or Satan by the permission of the Lord; renders our wilderness experience! My brothers and sisters, regardless of the source, we got to walk through it! Hence, it’s a fact that our wilderness experience will only reflect two categories, Fruits of the Holy Spirit, or the Works of the Flesh, which are both expounded upon by Paul in the 5th chapter of Galatians. Let us all strive to get the best out of our wilderness experience in the Holy Spirit, because “The Wilderness Will Prove Who You Are, or Not, In Jesus Christ” Please strive to have a “JESUS DAY”