Relaxed Mental Attitude,
No. 5 -
The facet of a relaxed mental attitude. We’re going to pick up the story where
left it off last Sunday morning. Israel
has been freed for one year, you will recall, from her slavery in Egypt. She is now at the port of entry to the
Promised Land at Kadesh Barnea.
Open your bibles to the book of
Numbers, chapter 14. God has told Moses to
send out a recon patrol
of twelve leading men who went out for forty days to secure information
the terrain of the land, the inhabitants, and their fortifications. When the patrol returned, the whole group
agreed that God told the truth indeed about the fertility of the land. There was however a majority report of ten
spies and a minority report of two spies.
The majority report declared that it was impossible
to take the land
from the inhabitants. They compared
themselves as grasshoppers to the people who lived in the land. The minority, Caleb and Joshua, disagreed.
Now because the people lacked this
quality of spiritual
maturity that we’ve been studying over the last few weeks: faith rest on the basis of the promises, the
doctrine, and the prophecies of the word of God. Because
the people lacked faith rest, they
believed the majority report.
So you remember that we read in the
first verse of Numbers
14 that the congregation lifted up their voice and cried and the people
that night. Now this was in the category
of sinful weeping. We looked at some
weeping which is legitimate, and some weeping which is sinful. It is always to weep for an extended period
of time without terminating it and picking up the threads of life and
Now these people were guilty of
negative volition toward the
Word of God, and there is nothing worse.
Negative volition, I remind you, creates a spiritual
vacuum in your soul
as per Ephesians 4:17-18. It creates a
spiritual vacuum in the soul. This
causes human viewpoint to be sucked into your mentality about the
in your life. The result is that Israel
could have been in a position where she was not worried about the
giants or the
warriors or the fortifications. But once
human viewpoint has been drawn in, then we develop callouses on our
and on our emotions and on our will, so that we’re insensitive
to the plan of God, and that’s the condition of these people. They went on negative volition.
They would not operate on faith rest, and
immediately there was a hardening in their soul as Ephesians 4:17 tells
Now faith rest requires information
for you to
function. It requires doctrine which
explains how God operates, his modus operendi.
It requires promises which stress the essence of God. And it requires prophecy which reveals the
plan of God.
So we pick up the thread of the story
here in verse 2 of
Numbers 14. The people have cried all
night. Now it’s the next day. And verse 2 says, “And all of the people
Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron,” against the
against the high priest of the people.
Sinful weeping is usually followed by frustration
which in turn produces
mental attitude sins which bring on self-induced misery.
This is because sinful weeping drains a
person’s mind so he’s open to sins of the mind.
Now these people here responded with
the particular mental
sin of bitterness. They actually
suggested that God had brought them from Egypt to die by violence in
Promised Land. Verse 3 says,
hath the Lord brought us into this land to fall by the sword that our
our children should be a prey.” Now
faith rest would have preserved them from frustration over the giants,
chariots, over the armies, and over the fortifications.
But when they became bitter, as when we
become bitter, they lost their spiritual poise, they lost their ability
think with discernment, to relax, and to orient themselves on the basis
the Word of god had to say to them.
And, as often happens when we are
frustrated and bitter, we
look around and say, “Now I wonder why this is.” And we look around to see who or what we can
blame for it. So they had someone. They looked for someone to blame for their
situation, and it was natural to zero in on Moses and Aaron.
Now there was nothing really wrong
with the situation they
were in. But the lack of faith rest in
their own being convinced them that they had a disaster on their hands
they had no such thing. People are
easily convinced, and these people were easily convinced, because of
of faith rest, that there was a bull to be taken by the horns and to be
Now they were going to discover in a
very short order as we
shall see, that the only bull around was themselves as they barged into
china shop and created a problem that really didn’t exist. They created a bad situation—one so bad
there was no retreat from it. This is
what’s unfortunate when you decide to play the role of the bull
in the china
shop in reference to the plan of God rather than acting by faith rest. Here’s where they came to.
Numbers 14:22 says, “Because all
those men who have seen my
glory and my miracles which I did in Egypt, and in the wilderness, and
me to the test, now these ten times, and have not harkened to my voice,
they shall not see the land which I swore to give unto their fathers;
shall any of them that provoke me see it.”
They went so far in tearing the china shop that God
says, “There’s no
retreat. You will never see the
land. You had no bull whose horns had to
be taken hold of. You created one, and
now you’re going to suffer and live with what you created, for
Verse 40 says, “And they rose up
early in the morning.” They
wouldn’t listen now to what they were
told. So they said, “Oh, we were
wrong. We’re going to go in.” So, “they rose up early in the morning
went up into the top of the mountain saying, ‘Lo, we are here and
will go up unto
the place which the Lord hath promised, for we have
sinned.’” All of a sudden they
stood there and they
looked around the wreckage of the china shop and they said, “What
no-good fools are we anyhow? We
have any problem. We had no critical
situation. We had no bull to take the
horns ahold of. And what we have done is
destroyed what God was really working because we were going to go big
time. We were going to make it different
than what it has always been. We were
going to advance ourselves, instead of letting it stay in the kind of
littler rinky-dink operation that God has brought upon us.”
Moses says, “Forget it.
You’re through. What
in (upon) is never to be restored.” Four
hundred years they waited for this beautiful moment.
Four hundred years of slavery they were
waiting to come out (of). And now the
had come. And without faith rest they
tore it to shreds.
Verse 44 says, “But they
presumed to go up into the
hilltop. Nevertheless the Ark of the
Covenant of the Lord and Moses departed not out of the camp. Then the Amalekites came down, and the
who dwelt in that hill, and the smote them and routed them even unto
Hormah.” And their bodies were
strewn across the
Well, the principal of modern
psychology is that a person’s
tension has to be released—the tension which has been created by
wrongdoing. So the way to do this is to
blame someone else for the tension that’s in him and the
condition of his
wrongdoing, or to blame it on his environment.
You know the old story about the ad that you hear on
the radio about the
person who leaves his keys in his car and this good boy comes along and
the car. It’s not the boy’s
the fault of the one who left the keys in the car.
Now the idea here is to release pressure by
absolving from responsibility for your current situation.
You’re not to blame for the situation that
you’re in, is the thought that is projected.
Now this is a false concept because the fault for
any situation that we
are in is the result of the wrongdoing of our own sin nature. And our sin natures operate in the present,
not in the past. This is a totally
deceptive psychological concept. People
are responsible for what they do. The
Word of God always makes you responsible for what you do.
And the result in your life and the situation
with which you are surrounded is the result of your own decision-making
So what these people did is murmured
against Moses and
against Aaron, and the word “murmured” means “open
verbal abuse,” and they’re
good objects to blame for the disaster that they thought they faced. Now this is not unusual for leaders to become
the objects of blame and attack of a spiritually disoriented people. Moses after all had simply responded to the
Lord all along. So what’s to
criticize? What should he have done
better if he was responding to the Lord all along?
As a matter of fact, if it hadn’t been for
the responsiveness of Moses to the Lord, the Jews wouldn’t even
standing there … (in) freedom. They’d
have still been slaves back in Egypt if it hadn’t been for the
Moses. It is always pathetic to see
people who are going to rise up and grab the bull by the horns in order
straighten out something that they wouldn’t have even had to
consider had it
not been for somebody who had been responsive to God’s leading in
place before they ever showed up on the scene or were able to respond
Now these people simply hadn’t
caught up to a perceptive and
a discerning godly leader, so in their human viewpoint they were
certain that they should complain about what he was doing.
When in reality, something else was going on
in the mind of God, because God was taking a look at this people. He took a look at Israel and He saw something
as they moved through that year in the wilderness.
He saw that this gang was the most
unappreciative ungrateful group of ingrates that you could have ever
the face of the earth. There was
something in this group of ex-slaves that they did not have the
appreciate what God was bringing them to.
And I suspect that God sent the patrol out to survey
a land that He had
already committed to them. They could
have gotten it without the patrol’s reconnaissance.
He sent the patrol out, I suspect, in order
to bring into the open the incapacity, the spiritual lack of capacity
part of this people to appreciate the Promised Land, and thereby to
from the privilege of that land.
You and I have giants in our lives
today. There’s no need for me to ask
you to tell us
whether you have giants in your lives.
If we could have listened in on your secret
conversations, on your
private conversations, heaven forbid, we would have very readily
kinds of giants that you have been dealing with in your life this week. I tell you this morning that it is necessary
that we identify the giants in our lives that prevent our entering our
spiritual heritage of grace. So stop
sending out a smokescreen that enables you to hide the giants and live
self-delusion basis of something that you are not.
Any time we break down in this technique of
faith rest, Satan brings the giants up.
Our fears, our worries, our anxieties, our
resentments, and our
restlessness are our lot instead of the peace and happiness of the Word
The constant potential presence of
these giants make it
absolutely essential that we learn how to live by faith rest. That’s why we’re spending so much
it. The Jews had been given a year of
in order to enable them to come to this point where they could rest
upon God in
this way—a year in the wilderness of all kinds of demonstrations
provision, and yet they lacked the spiritual quality to appreciate what
saw, and to rest upon Him and to anticipate the joys of the land. So God removed them from the land. For 39 more years He sent them back out into
the wilderness to wander around because the wilderness was a fitting
people in their spiritual condition.
Now many a Christian today—and
you’d better listen carefully
lest you join their forces. Many a
Christian today has gone from a milk-and-honey local church ministry to
and leeks. Like a pig heading for his
wallow, exhilarated by what he thinks he is returning to that is so
and so much more satisfying. And in his
spiritual condition, the wallow is more satisfying.
That’s the pathetic part.
These people were completely happy to return
to the leeks and garlic of Egypt and they just wished they were there. And they would have been so overjoyed. Over the hill lay the land of milk and honey
where real happiness and real satisfaction was to be found.
Well Satan brings the giants out to
plague us in order to
drive us from the real thing. Negative
volition to doctrine, breakdown of faith rest, callouses on our
things destroy our capacity to appreciate a truly productive and a
ministry, and to embrace instead some phony backscratching operation.
I’m kind of hot on this subject
this morning because I had a
couple of experiences this past week in operations that just depressed
me. Just walking around the facilities
me. Let alone what was going on in the
program of Christian activity. And in
the pathetic site of seeing boys and girls, men and women, like dumb
sheep, being given a phony backscratching religious experience and
their life and pouring their money and pouring their efforts into a
honkytonk operation. You wonder how
people can be that stupid. Why they
would not rise up and say, “Never. I
a child of God.” It was just
to the point where I almost felt like I wanted to sit down and cry. Just depressing. And
yet it happens all the time.
Here’s a Christian with ample
experience, as were the Jews
here with a year in the wilderness—ample experience in the
genuine working of
the Lord, and when the time comes they descend to their own true level. How come?
Well people are released often from a temporary
restraint by vested
interests. God knew the caliber of these
Jews and He knew they were unable to rise to the happiness of the
Promised Land. They couldn’t
appreciate it. You can justify people all
you want, and you
can justify all your good friends who are Christians that you want, who
know better, but who are wondering around in the desert wilderness of
church operation. It would be kinder to
pity them when you meet them than to kid yourself that they have
loss, because discipline, a phoniness, has become their lot, by their
They have lost very frequently a
ministry that prods them to
sound doctrine, to the use of promises, to the grace techniques, to
which produces divine good, to genuine fruitfulness, because we see our
true character, freedom from the taste of the fake image and the inane
stereotype. If you get out and see the
operations that are conducted under the title of local church ministry,
got any sensitive spiritual quality, you’ll be depressed too, and
some of them
teach the Bible too.
People have vested interests. They have a certain level of lack of
appreciation, but they’ve got children.
So they’ll come to a place that is productive
for their kids, but while
they’re sitting there, you notice that they have a tendency to be
all the rebels and all the … incompetents and all the
stiff-necks. And you wonder how come
there’s this comradery
with offbeat characters. Well their
children grow up but they have a vested interest of ministry. They have opportunities for creative
expression of their being. They
find someplace else so they kind of grind along and stay with it. But finally they retire and they get out of
the swing of things or something happens.
Their vested interests are gone, and they descend to
level. You would have thought that two
million people in this wilderness, after what they saw that God had
bringing them out of Egypt, that they would have never turned from that
plain and gone back to leeks and garlic, even if it was in a dignified,
cultured, seemingly sweetness-and-light surrounding.
What did they decide?
Well the people decided that they wished that they
were dead. Numbers 14:2 says, “And
all the children of
Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, and the whole
said unto them, ‘Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt,
or would God
that we had died in the wilderness.’”
Now notice that everybody’s in on the act. It’s the whole congregation.
I want you to notice a Proverb that we
have called your
attention to before that it would seem fitting to remind you of once
more. Proverbs 24:6 says, “For by
wise counsel thou
shalt make thy war and in multitude of counselors there is
safety.” “In multitude of
counselors there is safety.” Now
this is not a good translation and it
gives a totally false impression. Here
the whole congregation of Israel was dead wrong but they were unitedly
in their sincere error. The proper
translation here should be “Victory is in the greatness of the
one counseling.” That’s what
the Hebrew says. “Hebrew is in the
greatness of the one
“greatness,” how do you
get great? That’s a matter of
positive volition toward doctrine.
Notice Proverbs 24:3.
“Through wisdom (Bible doctrine) is a house
built, and by understanding
(positive volition) is it established.”
Verse 4 says, “And by knowledge (divine
viewpoint) shall the chambers of
the human spirit be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” Then verse 5 says, “A wise man is
strong. Yea, a man of knowledge (a full
knowledge grasping the word) increases in spiritual stamina and
Now here you have a group of people in
Israel who are
totally united in what they think. And
they’re wrong. These people decided
they wished that they were dead, but they can’t die because God
them out of Egypt. They can’t die in
Egypt, rather, because God has brought them out by grace, and what
you can’t undo, and that’s eternally secure.
They want to die in this desert, and they will.
Numbers 14:2c, the latter part of
verse 2, says they wished
that they had died in this wilderness.
They’re speaking from a disoriented mind. They don’t really mean this. If they really wanted to die they could have
walked into the land and let the giants do the job for them. Not believing doctrine, being negative to
doctrine is very very bad on your judgment and on your discernment and
consistency. These people simply
mistrusted God and it spell their own doom.
And I want you to notice verse 3, that
it was embarrassing
to them to say, “We don’t trust you God.”
And while they were returning as bulls in the china
shop to their own
level of spiritual capacity, where like somebody has a terrible itch on
back. And he just doesn’t want to
it, and he’s told not to scratch, it just doesn’t look
nice, and finally he
just gives in to it, and he can’t stand it any longer. That’s the kind of an itch of a low
mentality that eats away at people amazingly who can be in a gold mine
opportunity for a long time. But
not very complimentary to say, “I’m kind of going down to
where I can get my
So one of the things people often do
is use their children
as the purported reason for their refusal to enter a place of happiness. Verse 3 of chapter 14 says, “And
hath God brought us into this land to fall by the sword that our wives
children should be a prey.” (This
the old device of trying to dignify departure from a spiritual oasis
spiritual desert. The real reason was
found in a certain fouled up condition of their spiritual life. The children that they are here whining about
are thirty-nine years later going to defeat the very giants that they
Numbers 14:31 says, “But your
little ones whom ye said
should be a prey, them will I bring in and they shall know the land
have despised.” If you were twenty
old and up, you were held responsible, and you were dead, for this
Now you have excuses, don’t you? Why you can’t bring your kids to church
to prayer meeting. Well, someday you
have to worry about that because they won’t be coming, and
you’ll have other
reasons to be thinking up excuses. These
people were worried about falling by the sword, but their mental
sin of cowardice, had already doomed them.
“The Lord brought us,” notice in verse
3a. They became so warped.
They said, “Wherefore hath the Lord brought
us into this land.” They became so
warped that they actually blamed God.
They impugned the motives of God for the condition
that they found
Well, the worst is yet to come. We have not yet begun to fight.
Because I want you to notice now if you will,
in verse 4, the decision of this people.
Now have you got the picture?
They have spent all night crying.
They’re all mentally drained.
Their minds are open to mental sins.
So in comes bitterness.
Bitterness causes them to draw in human viewpoint. They harden in their souls so they’re
insensitive to responding to the plan of God.
They express their bitterness by attacking
God’s leader and God’s high
priest. And they long for going back to
the leeks and garlic of Egypt, to descend to their own real spiritual
level. The report of the spies has
actually shown what was corrosively eating away on the inside that
years had suspected was there. But now
all their friends are going to try to justify and to veneer this over,
this is really a fine upright straight Christian. Instead
of pitying for heading out into a
desert dryness of spiritual backscratching.
Now they have a decision to make. Now notice the mentality of this people. “What we need is to elect a new
leader.” They said to one another,
“Let us make a
captain and let us return into our wallow in Egypt.
Let’s get a new leader who will lead us back
to all that Egypt stands for.” Now
you got the picture of what they’re saying?
“Let’s get another leader who’s
going to take us. This leader wants to
take us over the hill
into the land of milk and honey, the place of happiness.
Let’s get ourselves a leader who will give us
all of the paraphernalia of religious life and of human social
interrelationships, but who will dignify our retreat back to leeks and
garlic. And while we have the stench
upon us, we will meet one another, and we will smile upon one another,
have comradery with one another, and we will rejoice in what we are
in. That’s the comparison,
difference in what they were asking for.
And you notice that they “said
one to another.” Here you’ve
got a bunch of spiritually disoriented
sheep and they’re advising each other, fully confident of their
to do so. And they decided to have
someone else take over the operation so that things could be done right. So that all would not be lost.
So what were they going to do? They’re
going to elect a leader, mind you, in
place of the one that God had appointed to grab hold of their imaginary
Now who were they talking about, dear
friends? You just think of whom they are
here. They’re talking about Moses. Moses who’s had forty years of training
experience in government and leadership.
That’s the man they’re talking about.
And what are they going to elect in place of
God’s appointed man? What have they
got to choose from? Some slave with one
year’s freedom out of
This is a fantastic passage of
Scripture. When you stop and meditate and
it, you read it over again and say, “I can’t believe this. This cannot be what I’m reading
here.” When a people let someone
disorient them from
God’s mind through the rejection of faith rest as they face some
go unbelievably mad in the zeal to take over and make things right. Though someone may appeal to you and me, that
doesn’t qualify for spiritual leadership in God’s eyes. Man looketh on the outward appearance, but
God looks on the heart. That person that
you may look at that may be very impressive to you outwardly because he
the ball game right with people may be so filled with human viewpoint
and be so
conning you in his religious operation that it’s pathetic. His techniques are to use the human devices
and sneak around to do them.
Now in the Lord’s work,
it’s only divinely given authority
that counts and you’re wrong if you think it isn’t. It’s not election by the people.
Now how did Moses respond to this? Well what would you do if you were in
place? Well for one thing, you notice,
he did not argue back, but he used faith rest.
Because Moses operated on the principal that David
did years later when
he faced the giant Goliath. I remind you
of this precious statement in 1 Samuel 17:47.
David said, “And all this assembly shall know
that the Lord saveth, not
with sword and spear, for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will
give you into
our hands.” “For the battle is
and He will give you into our hands.
Any time church rebels want to start
taking over, this is
the verse they should learn first of all.
They would learn not to fight on human basis
techniques. They would learn that the
battle is the Lord’s. I’ve
seen more church rebels delivered into
our hands because they made the mistake of thinking they could operate
like they do in their business out in the world, in the institutions of
world, and they forgot that God plays a different kind of a game.
Well Moses didn’t argue back. He said, “The battle is the
Lord’s.” Instead, he and Aaron
went on their faces in
prayer, as the people should have done, and put it in the Lord’s
direct them in what they should do next in getting things right.
In Numbers 14:6, Caleb and Joshua were
horrified. They were the minority report. They’re horrified by what they have
they try to turn the tide of the attitude of the people.
“And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son
of Jephunah who were of them that searched the land tore their
clothes.” Joshua and Caleb expressed
their grief in the
ancient manner of tearing the clothing.
Things were clear to them because of their divine
viewpoint. It was as clear to them as it
was confused to
the people because of their human view.
Verse 7 says, “And they spoke
unto all the company of the
children of Israel saying, ‘The land that we passed through to
searcheth, it was
a very good land.” What they were
telling the Jews was, “Look, friend, across the hill. That’s where happiness lies. All you’ve got to do is believe God and
moving. Don’t go back to leeks and
garlic. Don’t go back to some lower
grade ministry and think that you’re going to improve your lot. That’s not the way to meet your giants
are eating away in your own being.”
Verse 8 says, “If the Lord
delight in us, then He will bring
us into this land and give it us, a land which floweth with milk and
honey.” It requires faith on our
part to accept what
God has. “Milk and honey” is
for an agriculturally fruitful land. Now
this was the promise of the Palestinian Covenant. They
had long been told this when God made
this agreement with them concerning the land of Palestine, that it
this kind of a fertile land (Exodus 3:8, 17:13, 33:5).
All of these were promises of the kind of a
land that God had for them.
So Caleb and Joshua in verse 9 said,
“Rebel not ye against
the Lord. Neither fear ye the people of
the land for they are bred for us. (We’ll
eat them up.) Their defense is departed
from them. The Lord is with us. Fear them not.” Now
do you notice what he called them? What he
termed what they were doing? When you do
not act in faith rest and you
proceed to take charge on your own you are a rebel, and you are
against God. You have no right to refuse
to enter the land just because you can’t see you way clear to
success. They were not to fear because
fear is a
mental attitude sin. The enemy would be
eaten up by them as bread.
Verse 10: Now
you to notice that these men have stood up and they have made an appeal
change the direction of this people because much was to be lost
them. Now here are two godly men who
stand up and tell it to people like it is.
Now how are they going to respond?
Well they’ve got two courses of action.
They can say, “You’re right. We’re
disoriented and we’re going to get back to a right course of
action.” Or they could have ground
their teeth and
gone after Caleb and Joshua, which is what they did.
They proceeded to kill them. Proceeded
to try to kill the two men who were
speaking the only brains that that whole group of people had in that
“And all the congregation
demanded to stone them with
stones.” Now this is
Procedure. When a preacher says what you
don’t like to hear, the procedure is to silence him.
Now I want to tell you how to silence a
preacher. (There are) three techniques.
1) Get rid of him.
That’s simple. Then
you’re no longer disturbed by what he
has to say. Because if you get rid of
the preacher you can get somebody else who will really tell you the
2) Flee to another church. If you flee to another church, you won’t
exposed to yourself. You can find a
church where the preacher isn’t forever blowing away the
smokescreen that you
placed around your character. That
smokescreen we call our personality.
All of us are born with certain innate
temperaments. Our environment and our
experiences take our
inherited genetic temperament and it creates a certain character. We look at this character which is the
functioning expression of the old sin nature within us, and we
don’t like what
we see. We’re not very proud of it. So we say, “My goodness, I can’t
into the world. I can’t leave my
looking the way I am. This is the
character I am. The kind of things I
think. The kind of things I do. The kind of feelings I have.
The kind of expressions I use. The
whole bit of what I really am. The sneaky,
the underhanded, the purported, the
front. So what do we do?
Well we put on a little clothing outside we
call our personality. If you have the
kind of mouth set for it, you get a mouth set full of teeth, and you
use the “brother”
and “sister,” and you praise the Lord, and you move out
into a certain little
climate that you create, and you butter people up and all that goes
it. So now you project a
But if you sit in church and somebody
keeps blowing your
personality away, that’s terrible. And
you’re sitting there trying to cover yourself up because
you’re looking around
to see whether everybody else has noticed what you really are. Which doesn’t matter, because God has. So you want to flee to another church where
somebody’s not going to blow away your personality smoke screen.
3) And a third way is to cut off funds
so that you put
pressure to tone down what the preacher has to say.
Now that’s good human viewpoint.
It just doesn’t work when God’s in the
picture, and God came into the picture while they’re picking up
the rocks to
bash out the brains of the two men that told it to them in truth. The glory of the Lord suddenly appears in the
Verse 10 says, “But all the
congregation demanded to stone
them with stones, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle
congregation before all the children of Israel.”
Verse 11 says, “And the Lord said unto Moses,
‘How long shall this people provoke me, and how long will it be
believe me for all the signs which I have shown them?’” The lack of faith rest in these Jews. It provokes divine discipline.
(After) all the signs during that year
in the wilderness and
they still haven’t learned. It’s
monstrous thing to ignore, when you see God blessing in the past, to
that it never was an experience of blessing.
When you ignore the fact that God has blessed in the
past, this is when
you get pushy and start trying to muscle your way in to improve. This is when you start going around saying,
never seen it change. It’s always
like this. In all the time I’ve been
here this is how it has been. Now
going to get this thing rolling and get it big time.”
The further I go in the ministry, the
more I tend to—I’m not
absolutely sure this is true—but I have increasingly a sneaking
you cannot have a genuine in-depth quality ministry and get very many
in it. As soon as you get a few hundred
people, you have to start accommodating to such a multiplicity of
personality fronts that quality of ministry goes down the drain.
And I suspect that Dr. Lewis Sperry
Chafer must have
discovered this too, and was inclined to think this when he founded
Seminary, and that’s why he insisted that the constitution of the
include the statement that it could never have more than 100 men
at one time. It’s not true of it
today. But I wondered why he put that
in, and I’m beginning to think that I have some idea of why he
did it. Numbers are destructive of
for some reason.
Verse 12 says, “I will smite
them with a pestilence and
disinherit them and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier
than they.” “Pestilence”
is disease of plague-like
means that God
would remove them by death. “Make a
greater nation.” Now here’s a
temptation to Moses.
When Moses went back to Egypt, his
wife left them. His wife broke the
marriage responsibility of
going home to her father. She took the
two kids with her as a matter of fact.
Moses never saw those children again after one visit. (He) never saw the wife, never saw the
children. And he had to move out into
the Promised Land without his wife, without the family, never to see
again. Now that wife needed to listen to
some tapes on marriage because she was way out of line in leaving him
refusing to go with him. She was way out
of line in making decisions, that she could decide where to go and
come. She didn’t even have a right
her own body. That was her husband’s
right now, as it was her right over his body.
But we won’t get into that subject this
morning. But here’s a prime example
of people who
needed to know something about divine principals of marriage. We’re revising those tapes.
You can get them if you think you need
them. And somebody has told me recently
that some of you think you do.
But here’s a tempting
opportunity for Moses to say, “Now, I
can get a new family. I can start over
again. I can build right, and I will be
a great nation.” But I want you
this great man Moses—what he did.
“Moses said unto the Lord,
‘Then the Egyptians shall hear
it. For thou broughtest up this people
in thy might from among them. And they
will tell it to the inhabitants of this land, for they have heard that
Lord art among the people; that thou Lord art seen face to face, and
cloud standeth over them; and that thou goest before them by daytime in
pillar of a cloud, and a pillar of a cloud by night.
Now if thou shalt kill all these people as
one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak,
‘Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land
swore to give unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the
now I beseech thee to let the power of my Lord be great according as
spoken, saying ‘The Lord is longsuffering and of great mercy,
iniquity and transgressions, (but) by no means clearing the guilty,
the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth
generation.’ Pardon, I beseech thee,
iniquity of these people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and
hast forgiven these people from Egypt unto now.’” That’s a magnificent speech.
Moses had accepted the divine call to
be responsible for
this people. So he pled in their
behalf. A great man does not walk out on
his congregation even though they’re rebels to divine viewpoint
walking out on him. Moses preferred to
appeal to the grace of God, and if the people went down, he says,
“I’ll go down
with them.” He was concerned with
the heathen Egyptians would be able to say if God did not come through
Israel. God who brought them by grace
out of that land. He was concerned for
God’s glory and the benefit of the people.
I know it is common practice for the
ministry, and we’ve got
seminary students here this morning who are going to have to learn how
with this in their own life. It is
common practice in the ministry to walk to ever higher professional
bigger churches, to walk there over the backs of one congregation after
another. Any church that finds itself in
a position where it’s constantly switching pastors every few
years has got some
serious spiritual disorientation, or it would sit down and take a look
and say, “Now just a minute. Something
has got to be wrong here. Why are we the
stepping stones and the springboards of some professional minister
walking on our backs in order to step up to a higher professional
The Tenure of
When God calls a man, he doesn’t
call him for two, three,
four, ten years. He calls him there for
extended periods of time, and He gives them a commission and He gives
performance. You just look around and
find where the smokescreens are being blown away. Those
are the ministers that you find that
are staying. The boys who aren’t
smokescreens around and out of the way, so people can see themselves,
ones who are climbing on peoples’ backs to step up to the next
Answers to Prayer
God says, “I’ll disinherit.
I’ll kill all of them.”
says, “I’m concerned of your fame and what is common
knowledge.” So Moses prays. How does he pray? He
says, “God, this is what you have
said. I remind You of Your Word. Your pattern of dealing since we came (out of)
Egypt was forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness; I ask you to do it
again.” So verse 20 says, “And
the Lord said, ‘I will
pardon according to thy word.’” Moses
used Bible doctrine in his prayer. And God
is always true to His Word. If you use
doctrine, promises, and prophecy in your praying, those are prayers
be answered, because God cannot deny Himself.
So our prayer life has to function on
the faith rest
technique of believing doctrine, promises, and prophecy which you
if you never took the trouble to be pretty regular in church to learn
the first place. Faith rest.
A lurid vivid example here of what happens
when a people forget it.
John E. Danish, 1971
to the Basic Bible Doctrine index
the Bible Questions index