September is our month of possessing new ground. Where any of us has been lacking in progress, influence, favour, achievement God will give us the testimony of achievement to the glory of His name. It is the promise of God to us that He will increase us numerically, grow us spiritually, spur us on to attain a deeper level of intimacy with God so we can hear Him clearer and follow Him more closely. In these our driving force will be His power and grace. We will not struggle. Our strength shall be renewed. We shall soar above weaknesses. Failure shall be a forgotten thing of the past. We will know the Lord Himself has achieved this.
In our previous exhortation we considered the state of God’s earth. Multitudes are blind to, and so ignore the spiritual battle for their souls while they observe and lament about conflicts going on for territories, influences, power, resources and all sorts of provisions. They forget, ignore, or even disrespect the legitimate owner and creator of the resource; and exert all their power and abilities to gain ‘the whole world’. Psalm 24~ The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. We saw the deliberate plan God employed in giving unto His own chosen group of people ‘land and territory’. God was concerned about their vulnerability to disobedience, which would lead to sin and idolatry. Exodus 23.32-33. If His beloved humble themselves in obedience, maintain clean hands and pure hearts God promises blessings and righteousness! Psalm 24.4-5.
Last week we were further reminded that just like God changed plans and opened doors of opportunity to Apostle Paul, diverse opportunities exist here in our city to further the work of God. There will be conditions, errors, situations, regulations and sundry adversaries attempting to resist the work we do for God. But with perseverance, prayers, diligence and with the help of the Holy Spirit of God we will benefit from that great and effectual door opened unto us. 1 Cor 16. 5-9. Not only will we have access and right of way to more influence in gaining new ground, we shall also have a door to escape trouble, persecution and all undesirable situations. Importantly, God has promised to be with us all the way, and follow us with signs to confirm His approval, support and encouragement as we preach the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Mark 16. 16-20. Mat. 28.20
Today we shall encourage ourselves from the scriptures and consider the pitfalls of not letting the ‘King of Glory come in’, or being reluctant in taking advantage of this ‘Great and effectual door that is open before us’.
1st part of Responsive reading: Numbers 13. 1-3
God sent representative team of scouts to search the land God has already given to the children of Israel. (There is a possession with someone’s name written on it. God requires them to prepare for possession by familiarizing with it. In the context of the children of Israel they needed to prepare psychologically for their physical settlement. They needed to remember how to organize, plan, build, and follow God’s instructions without complaining. What ground is God giving you? What possession is God granting unto you?)
2nd part of Responsive reading: Numbers 13. 25-33
Gifts or presents are to be received. Israel failed to reason or recognize that since the land had already been given to them, the current occupiers must have already been dispossessed. The representative scout team entertained doubt, and fears. That doubt led to exaggeration and lies. Rather than prepare for victorious possession of the free gift of God, they entertained an evil report, and manufactured self-defeat.
They admitted that Canaan surely flowed with milk and honey. They however entertained a ‘but’, a ‘nevertheless’, a ‘however’… “The land be good, but the people be strong, the city be walled, Children of Anak be there!”. Rather than see a divinely dispossessed temporary residents they saw “Trouble to the south”, “difficulty on the mountain side”, “danger by the sea”, and “problem by the coast!”
The consequences were very grave as the children of Israel incurred the wrath of God (Numbers 14). They forfeited a lifetime of advantages, privileges, riches and fulfillment. Their inability to break free from past weaknesses and slave mentality cost them everything. It took the intercession from Moses to prevent their complete immediate destruction.
It is dangerous to doubt God, fear your enemy, exaggerate your difficulties and invent self-defeat.
In this month of possessing new ground, God is determined to help us. We ought to fearlessly demonstrate our faith and righteousness. We must show our boldness and determination. We must toil hard for our Lord and master in prayer, fasting, evangelism and the labour of love toward one another. God wants to give us victory.
We have to first believe Him, understand the advantage we have (The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof), understand the opportunities before us and take advantage of them (great and effectual door of evangelism is open before us), and take possession of His promises for our lives, our individual evangelism assignments, banish excuses and fear, avoid exaggerations and stop inventing the beginnings of self-defeat.
Like Caleb in Numbers 13.30 let us arise and with understanding and conviction declare that ‘Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are able to overcome it’
I pray (in the name of Jesus) against the stronghold of oppression, slavery, fear, reluctance, sin, worldliness, spiritual blindness and self-defeat.
Ask God ‘what have you given me, that I have faltered in accepting?’. Ask God to open you eyes and help you receive it.
Rom. 11.29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
Message delivered on September 21, 2014