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Psalm 1:1-6
Psalm 2:1-12
Psalm 3-4
Psalms 5-7
Psalms 8-9-10
Psalms 11-14
Psalms 15-16-17
Psalm 18:1-50
Psalm 19:1-14
Psalms 20-21
Psalm 22:1-31
Psalm 23:1-6
Psalm 24: 1-10
Psalm 25-26
Psalm 27:1-14
Psalm 28-30
Psalm 31-32
Psalm 33-34
Psalm 35-36
Psalm 37-38
Psalm 39-40
Psalm 41-43
Psalm 44-45
Psalm 46-47
Psalm 48-50
Psalm 52-55
Psalm 56-58
Psalm 59-61
Psalm 62-65
Psalm 66-68
Psalms 69-72
Psalm73-1-28
Psalms 74-77
Psalm78-1-72
Psalms 79-81
Psalms 82-83
Psalm84-1-12
Psalms 85-87
Psalms 88-89
Psalm 90:1-17
Psalm 91:1-16 Psalms 92-93 Psalms 94-95 Psalms 96-99 Psalms 100-102
Psalm 103:1-22 Psalm 104:1-35 Psalm 105:1-45 Psalm 106:1-48 Psalm 107:1-43
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Psalm 78:1-72

 

A Maschil of Asaph

 

“Give ear, O my people, to my law:  incline your ears to the words of my mouth.  I will open my mouth in a parable:  I will utter dark sayings of old:  which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.  We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.  For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:  that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:  that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:  and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.  The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.  They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law:  and forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them.  Marvelous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.  He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as an heap.  In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.  He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths.  He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.  And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness.  And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust.  Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?  Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also?  can he provide flesh for his people?  Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth:  so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel; because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation:  though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, and had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven.  Man did eat angels’ food:  he sent them meat to the full.  He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven:  and by his power he brought in the south wind.  He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea:  and he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations.  So they did eat, and were well filled:  for he gave them their own desire; they were not estranged from their lust.  But while their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.  For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works.  Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and their years in trouble.  When he slew them, then they sought him:  and they returned and enquired early after God.  And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.  Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues.  For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.  But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not:  yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.  For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.  How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert!  Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.  They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.  How he had wrought his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan:  and had turned their rivers into blood; and their floods, that they could not drink.  He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them.  He gave also their increase unto the caterpiller, and their labour unto the locust.  He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycomore trees with frost.  He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts.  He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.  He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence; and smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham:  but made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.  And he led them on safely, so that they feared not:  but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.  And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain, which his right hand had purchased.  He cast out the heathen also before them, and divided them an inheritance by line, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.  Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies:  but turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers:  they were turned aside like a deceitful bow.  For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.  When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel:  so that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men; and delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy’s hand.  He gave his people over also to the sword; and was wroth with his inheritance.  The fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage.  Their priests fell by the sword; and their widows made no lamentation.  Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine.  And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts:  he put them to a perpetual reproach.  Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim:  but chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved.  And he built his sanctuary like high places, like the earth which he hath established for ever.  He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds:  from following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.  So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.”    

 

 

Introduction: There Are Things To Be Learned From History

 

“Psalm 78, is the first of the historical Psalms, Psalm 105, 106, 135 after this.  This is the longest of them, written by Asaph, most scholars feel this one was the quill of Asaph at the page.  Some of the Psalms that have been named Asaph [like the last one] were written by those of the lineage of Asaph, which never changed.  You know, there was no problem with nepotism in that world, if you wanted to be a king because your dad was a king, if you wanted to be a Levite your dad had to be a Levite, if you wanted to be a priest your dad had to be a priest.  Again, interesting, that in the human genome project down at John-Hopkins they’ve discovered that “pitch” is inherited, it’s in the DNA, so people that are good singers may have kids that are good singers.  And you’re glad when you pass that down through the Levites, that the singing Levites had singing kids, that was important, because you didn’t want all the Levites sounding like some of us sound sometimes.  So, Asaph, of the tribe of Levi, this lineage, as some of these were written later, and still have his name on them.  This certainly is one of the ones that Asaph himself had put to the page.  It’s a Maschil, which means it is a song of instruction.  It is a long song, has 72 verses, I’m glad we don’t sing this whole song here, because it would be a long time before you could close your eyes and sing this song before looking at the overhead.  It tells us that there are things to be learned from history.  You know they often say if you do not learn from history you’re doomed to repeat it.  If we don’t learn the lessons of the past, we’re doomed to repeat them again in the future.  And that’s true for us nationally, sadly we see so many things going on.  But it’s true for us as individuals also.  We look around, we look at our own life, we look at things that we’ve gone through since we’ve been saved, walking with Christ, failures that we’ve had, mistakes that we’ve made, and the Lord expects us to learn from those things.  He is our teacher, we are his disciples, which means learners, and he is a father.  And it says, even when we get off course he chastens us.  It says in the Scripture ‘If we are not chastened, we’re illegal, we really don’t have a father in heaven.’  And it says ‘Chastening is unpleasant,’ when you spank your kid when they’re little, and you tell them ‘This hurts me more than it hurts you,’ no kid ever believed that.  But you tell them that, because it’s hard, you want them to do what’s right, and you discipline them.  And it says ‘The chastening of the Lord is not pleasant, but it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness’ and that God loves us enough sometimes to take us through things.  And certainly when we make mistakes and come through things, he wants us to come out the other end wiser, and learn.  With your little kids you tell them, ‘Don’t touch that, it’s hot, don’t touch that, it’s hot, Don’t touch that, it’s hot.’  Next thing you hear them ‘Aaahh!!!’ and you have to patch them up, you see, ‘Now that’s why I told you not to touch it.  Do you understand now?’  Because some kids are obedient learners, they think, ‘This person’s older than me, they’re smarter than me, if I put my hand up there I’m going to get burnt,’ so they walk away.  Some kids think, ‘I don’t know if that’s true or not, I’m gonna put my hand up there,’ I kind of learned that way, you know.  So, history, marked out now in lessons, and the LORD saying how important that it is.  In the first 8 verses it is kind of an introduction here to what the LORD has to say, and certainly in some ways it’s the epicenter of the Psalm, because if the first 8 verses don’t get it right, neither will everything that should come out of the rest of this Psalm. 

 

Fathers, Front and Center:  Fatherless Homes Are Destructive To Our Nation

 

Asaph starts by saying, no doubt the Holy Spirit moving him, God speaking, writing through Asaph, “Give ear, O my people, to my law:  incline your ears to the words of my mouth.” (verse 1)  Sounds like any parent, doesn’t it?  “I will open my mouth in a parable:  I will utter dark sayings of old:  which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.” (verses 2-3)  So as we head into this, there’s going to be a rehearsing of the past, and it’s going to take the role of the father, and it’s going to say ‘Fathers,’ many of you here that are fathers you have children, and I would include yourself if you have grandchildren, ‘Fathers, front and center.’  If there is one thing that is destructive to our nation more than we can ever imagine, is fatherless homes.  When they do surveys of people that have been in prison for armed robbery, rape, for murder, you go through armed robbery, you go through all these things, the single most contributing factor in all of their lives was no father.  It doesn’t mean that we’re trapped there or we’re sentenced to anything, because some of my favorites, Mike McIntosh, Raul Reese, Greg Laurie were men that grew up without a father, and the Lord redeemed them, and has done remarkable things in their lives.  It doesn’t mean they don’t have heartache or broken little parts or difficulties.  But it doesn’t mean we’re trapped there either.  But here is the call to fathers as we go into this.  Dads, I think we need to listen.  And moms, if you’re a single mom, and you have the job of raising the kids, you should get a mother’s day card and a father’s day card, if you’re doing both, your kid should thank you for it.  Believe me, Jesus understands, he was raised, at least for a number of years, by a single mom after Joseph died. 

 

Why The Feasts Of God Are So Important

 

It says, “We have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.  We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.” (verses 3-4)  So it says one of the responsibilities of dads is showing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, the things that the LORD should be praised for.  Look, and then he’s going to take them into history and go over all of those things, the praises of the LORD, “and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.  For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:” (verses 4b-5) God, in his actions, in giving of the Law, the things he’s done with his ancient people, it says he established in all of that, a testimony [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/lamb/exodus1.html].  That’s why the Feasts are so important, listen, God is the Master-Teacher, he’s the best father.  [I didn’t say this, Pastor Joe Focht said it.]  He’s given to the Church [Body of Christ] one feast, that’s Communion.  And he says ‘as often as you break this bread, you drink this cup, you do show forth the Lord’s death until he comes,’  ‘Do show forth’ means ‘you preach a sermon.’  Every time you break the bread and drink the cup, you are in those actions, preaching a sermon that no doubt is both heard and seen and felt and tasted, God the Master-Teacher.  So he said to the children of Israel, you get your kids, you take the lamb, you set it aside for four days, and then you take it and you slaughter it, and you shut the doors.  The kids are going to ask, ‘Why the bitter herbs?  Why the salty water?’ and he says, ‘Then you tell them, from generation to generation, what the Passover is all about.’  Or the Feast of Booths, of Sukkoth, you know, you build the booth, you take them out there, you let them lay under the stars, you tell them what it was like as we journeyed through the wilderness and God was faithful to us those 40 years, and he kept us, and so forth.  Each of the Feasts were seen and felt and heard.  You know, you hear people say, ‘It goes in one ear and out the other,’ but Spurgeon said “Nothing goes in one eye and out the other.”  [Comment:  The early Christian Church, starting out of Jerusalem in Acts chapter 2, kept the Sabbath and all the Old Testament Holy Days.  They also kept a once-a-year Christian Passover, and not a monthly, bi-weekly, weekly or daily Communion---that Communion observance came out of Catholicism.  The apostle John, his disciple Polycarp, and his disciple Policrates right into the 250s AD all observed the 14th Nisan Christian Passover once a year and not a Communion that was repeated over and over again throughout the year.  To see what the Early New Testament Church was like, see, http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/index3.htm. To see what observing the Holy Days taught this early New Testament Church, see, http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/Holydayshadows.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/lamb/exodus1.html and http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/Feast%20of%20Weeks.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/E-Mails/June%2014/FallHolyDays-short.htm.  Calvary Chapels do honestly believe, and I’ve heard it taught there, that the Christian Church that will exist during the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ will yet again be a Sabbath and Holy Day observing Church, throughout the world.  And Calvary Chapels also understand the symbolic/prophetic meaning of all these Old Testament Holy Days, much in the same way the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God do.  My question is, has the Gentile side of the Body of Christ which is extant today lost knowledge of what the original churches of God, both in Jerusalem and Asia Minor observed for “days of worship,” and the significance of what those days represent? I do think they have.  Pastor Joe and the Calvary Chapels basically understand what they represent and mean, both symbolically and prophetically, for the most part, and yet do not observe them, but instead, for some strange reason, desire to follow a custom incorporated into worship by the Catholic church during the 300s AD.  The Messianic Jewish revival is going strong, now numbering about a million believers in Yeshua the Messiah, observing both Sabbath and Holy Days.  Is God bringing about a restoration of “days of worship” adhered to by the early Christian Church?  It would appear so.  Check out those links and do a careful study for yourself.] 

 

God Is The Master-Teacher, Father’s How Should You Teach Your Children?  And Why?  God Wants Godly Seed

 

Verse 5, “For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:”  So the LORD here is the Master-teacher, and it says ‘he’s established testimonies, he’s established a testimony in Jacob, he’s appointed a law in Israel, his given his Word, which he commanded,’ look, “our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:” (verse 5) ‘make them known, his testimony and his Word, to their children.’  He commanded that they should make them known to their children.  You know, it says, ‘You love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, might and strength, and your neighbour as yourself, hear O Israel, the LORD your God is one God.’  And it says you should teach your children in the morning, when you’re walking in the way, in the evening, bind them upon thine hands, between thine eyes, and so forth, just it should be something you show to your children continually.  They should be able to see you, Dads, and they should see the Jesus you talk about is not just a Sunday [or Sabbath] Jesus, but is consistent in your life all week.  Because I’ll tell you something, we live in a world that lacks clarity.  Jesus said to the Church of Laodicea ‘I wish that you were hot or cold, it’s the fact that you’re luke warm that makes me sick.’  Because you know if we say one thing about Jesus, and we kind of do a Bible thing, and we live a different way, and there’s fowl language, and we’re doing stuff wrong, we’re compromising, that sends a message to the next generation that is so confusing, and what they really do understand is ‘that’s phony.’  They all have a bologna meter in their heart.  They know it’s nonsense.  And you’re better off not to say anything, than a compromised message, better at least to have clarity.  So here he says ‘God commanded that this testimony, his praises, would be made known to the next generation, to their children,’ here’s the reason, verse 6, “that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:  that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:” (verses 6-7)  You know, it’s interesting, it tells us in Malachi, the LORD says here, ‘Yet you say wherefore, because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth against whom thou hast dealt treacherously.  Yet is she thy companion, the wife of thy youth, of thy covenant.  And did he not make one?  Yet have ye the residue of the spirit, wherefore one, why did he make the husband and wife one?  That he might seek a godly seed.  Therefore take heed to your spirit, let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.  For the LORD God of Israel saith that he hateth the putting away, divorce, for one covereth violence with his garment, and sayeth the LORD of hosts, Take heed to your spirit, that you deal not treacherously…’ (Malachi 2:14-16)  You know, in our culture, for centuries, the only reason for divorce was a fault-divorce, there had to be adultery, there had to be a reason for divorce [and that would include physical or extreme emotional abuse, like wife-beating husbands, where these poor women are driven into battered women’s shelters].  The last century when no-fault divorce was instituted, the divorce rate went through the ceiling.  It just made it easier, you just get divorced for no reason at all, for no-fault divorce.  Of course you can contest it for two years, the other partner [3 months in Massachusetts for contesting it].  You know, we’ve made it so cheap, we’ve taken sexuality, which is to be contained within marriage, to be enjoyed within marriage, God the designer, a genius, and sexual intimacy to make the husband and the wife closer.  And we’ve cheapened it and put it out for display, for sale, and pushed it out in the movies, books and everywhere, so that it’s just out there, a common thing.  God said, ‘Look, I hate divorce, the reason I hate it, because we’re always one generation from extinction.’  He doesn’t say divorce is the unpardonable sin, he doesn’t say a Christian who is divorced needs to live with shame for the rest of his life, that’s not what he’s saying.  He says ‘Because I want out of that marriage a godly seed, what I want out of that marriage is the next generation whose going to give their hearts to me.’  He says it here in the Psalm, he says of God’s testimonies, verse 4, “We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.  For he established a [that] testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:  that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:” the next generation, “that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:” (verses 4-7) where we going?  You know, you think of our kids, you know, my age, or you have kids still teenagers or young adults [yup, my adoptive and real kids, young adults with kids of their own], think of our grandkids, look at the direction of our culture, and the direction that things are going in.  What will they be doing?  What kind of world is going to surround out grandkids?  Can you imagine?  But remember this, in all of this, more is caught than taught.  You can tell your kids what they should do, but if you don’t set the example, they’re not going to do it [what you tell them], they’re going to imitate you.  And remember that they watch.  My son and I just last month did a men’s retreat, and they asked my son and Raul’s son, Raul Reese’s son to both get up and speak, both of them grew up under pastors, just what is it like to grow up and stay with the Lord and walk with the Lord.  Ryan, the complete opposite story, just a lunatic, you know, heroine, immorality, you know, almost dead, but now both of them walking with the Lord, and it was interesting to hear them both trace their journey, you know, very remarkable.  But my son shared this testimony from one of his favorite missionaries, John Patton, and I’m going to read this to you, it is pretty emotional.  Ah, he laid down his life in the mission field, great missionary over a century ago, grew up in a poor home in Scotland, but this is what he said of those early days, he said, “Our home consisted of a butt, a ben, and a midroom (or chamber) called ‘The Closet.’  The one end of the house was my mother’s domain, and served all of the purposes of the dining room, the kitchen, the parlor, and besides containing two large wooden structures called by our Scottish peasantry ‘Boxbeds.’  Not holes in the wall, as in the cities, but grand, big airy beds adorned with many-coloured counterparts, and hung with natty curtains showing the skill of the mistress of the house.  The other end was my father’s workshop, and ‘The Closet’ was a very small apartment between the other two, having room only for a bed, a little table, a chair, with a diminutive window shedding diminutive light on the scene.  This was the sanctuary of that cottage home.  Thither daily and oftentimes a day, generally after each meal, we saw our father retire and shut the door.  And we children got to understand, by a sort of spiritual instinct, for the thing was too sacred to be talked about, that prayers were being poured out there for us, as of old by the High Priest within the Veil of the Most Holy Place.  We occasionally heard the prophetic echoes of a trembling voice, pleading as if for life, and we learned to slip in and out past that door on tiptoes, not to disturb the holy moment.  The outside world might not know, but we knew whence came the happy light, as of a newborn smile that was always dawning on my father’s face.  It was a reflection from the Divine Presence in the consciousness of which he lived.  Never in temple or cathedral, on mountain, or in glen can I hope to feel that the Lord God is mourning here, more visibly walking and talking with men, than under that humble cottage roof of thatched and oaken waddles.  Though everything else in religion were by some unthinkable catastrophe to be swept out of memory, or blotted from my understanding, my soul would wander back to those early scenes, and shut itself up once again in that sanctuary closet, and hearing still the echoes of those cries to God, would hurl back all doubt with a victorious appeal.  He walked with God, why may not I?”  Why may not I?  A missionary who changed the world, saying it was those early days, it was the impressions that were made.  Years afterwards in the most strenuous and terrible circumstances, that early foundation would hurl back every doubt and push it out of the way.  He said, no holy moment, no sanctuary like that, like those early memories.  Too late?  Don’t sit there and think it’s too late?  Don’t sit here and think that can’t happen in the life of my nephew or my niece, my son or my daughter, or my grandchildren.  Don’t think that.  Because they still see, and they still listen, and they still watch, and they still know something that’s genuine.  And it’s my hope for a generation that’s younger than us, that’s out there, that they’re going to get tired of the nonsense that’s being served them, and they are going to look with all their heart for something that’s genuine.  And I pray that we’re going to see another generation swept by the Holy Spirit into the Church [greater Body of Christ], clinging to Christ, on fire in their hearts, in love with Jesus, realizing once again for another generation, what matters and what doesn’t, what’s honest, and what’s not, what’s light, what’s darkness, what’s life, what’s death.  I believe we can see that again.  For you and I, it says look, we have a history, we have memories, we have our own pilgrimage, we have the great heritage of the Word of God, our generation, it’s responsibility to continually be being giving that to the next generation, in word, in example, in demonstration, knowing that the Word of God never returns void, it accomplishes what it set out to do.  The Church is 2,000 years old [2016-31AD = 1985 years old in reality for this year 2016 in May/June], and the gates of hell have not prevailed, here we sit this evening, around God’s Truth.  Amen?  He’s been so gracious, he’s been so gracious.  Do these things, verse 7, “that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:” because the world is going to offer them all kinds of things to put their hope in.  Jesus tells us the commandments of God are not grievous, “and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.” (verse 8)  He’s seeing a generation, even beyond a failing generation, can be won back. 

 

Some History, Some Lessons He Turns To

 

Seeing Is Not Necessarily Believing

 

He goes now into some of the history, here’s some of the lessons that he turns to.  He says this, he says “The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.” (verse 9) they had weapons, they had bows, look what he says, “they turned back in the day of battle.”  Verses 10 and 11 tell us why.  “They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law;” look what it says, “and forgot his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them.” (verses 10-11)  David, as a 17-year-old, would go out and face a giant, and said ‘You come and defy the LORD God of Israel, you uncircumcised Philistine?  I’m gonna have your head in my hand by the time this day’s over.’  This is a 17-year-old kid with a slingshot.  And the whole army is standing there scared to death.  It says here, the men of Ephraim, they had weapons, they had bows, and it says they drew back in battle, it’s because they didn’t keep the covenant of God, they didn’t realize that God’s Word is the same yesterday, today and forever, they weren’t holding onto that truth, they refused to walk in his law, they forgot his works.  Hey, this is the God that parts the Red Sea, this is the guy that destroys the whole Egyptian army in one night.  We got nothing to be afraid of.  They “forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them.  Marvelous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.  He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as an heap.” (verses 11-13)  Now let me ask you a        question, kind of think, if you were there, and you got to pass through the Red Sea, and you saw the ocean like walls on either side of you, as you’re passing, you tend to think, ‘This is going to be good for me.’  Right?  I would have way less struggles if I could have been there, if I could go through, if I could see that, no problem.  It’s in less than a year that they’re making a golden calf, they’re turning from the LORD, they’re worshipping other gods.  You follow the children of Israel, with all the miracles they saw, you know, you figure the pillar of cloud is giving them shade during the day when the sun is blistering, there’s a pillar of fire leading them by night, scaring off their enemies, no doubt, there’s food, literally tons of manna has to fall every day to feed them, and they still keep going away, going astray.  Why?  Because all of that demonstration, outwardly is not enough, without the Word of God being planted inwardly.  [Comment:  and this inward planting has to be through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit which imparts spiritual understanding to the mind, and power to obey from the inside out.  The Holy Spirit also implants a degree of faith not found in ordinary humanity.]  And over and over they were warned of that, and again, God said, ‘Don’t you diminish from it, even take a little bit away from it.’  That’s our job with the next generation, ‘Yea, this is the Word of God, I don’t care what the culture says, I don’t care what the culture says, ‘Ya, you need to soften that up a little, ya, you guys are Victorian, You mean you believe what’s written in that book?’  Ya, I believe it, and I don’t even want to diminish from it, not even a little bit, because heaven and earth is going to pass away, and the Word of God is going to stand forever, and it is THE LIGHT in a dark place.’  And if we talk about a God who is great and powerful, even seeing some of those things, if we don’t have this working internally [via the Holy Spirit], it’s not the combination it needs to be.  So it says ‘They saw incredible things, he divided the sea, caused them to pass through, he made the waters to stand in a heap,’ “In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.” (verse 14)  Just imagine, “He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths.  He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.” (verses 15-16)  Isn’t that interesting, when Moses struck the rock, and the water came forth, you realize you have 2 to 3 million people, this was not a water-fountain.  If you got to the end of the line you’d have been dead by the time you got up there.  This was a river, is says, that broke forth in the wilderness.  And he says here ‘it came out of great depths,’ it was waiting there.  You know, God must have had just the right amount of pressure on it, it was waiting for them to get there and start griping and complaining, it was pushing on the rock, and all it took was a smack from a wooden staff to put the right pressure on the outside to crack it, to have this river come forth.  “He brought the streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.” (verse 16)  You know, you have the devotional “Streams in the Desert.’  What are we supposed to learn from that?   You know, somebody says ‘I’m in a really dry place, I just feel like I can’t find the Lord’s presence, I feel so dry, I feel like I’m having this desert experience with God.’  My counsel is ‘Great, be dry, be dry with God,’ I’d much rather be dry with God than wet with the world.  [i.e. they were in the desert of Midian, what is Saudi Arabia, rather than in Egypt, and all its wrong society.  That’s the lesson.]  Be dry with God.  Because there are lessons you will only learn in the desert.  You won’t learn them anywhere else.  It says in Deuteronomy 8, ‘he led them that way to teach them that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,’ that he fed them with manna, that he led them and their clothes didn’t wear out, for 40 years.  If I could have gotten my kids into clothes when they were growing up that didn’t wear out for 40 years, do you know how much money I would have saved?  They would go through sneakers in two weeks.  Imagine if the sneakers just kind of got bigger and bigger and never wore out, even when they grew up.  There are lessons in the desert that are not learned anywhere else.  And when you realize that, that’s when the Rock brings forth, ‘Christ was that Rock,’ Paul tells us, ‘that followed them in the wilderness.’  When you realize its ok to be dry, it’s ok to be in the desert with Jesus.  It’s not, because you’re thinking, ‘I did this, I yelled at my aunt Sally when I was 4-years-old,’ or ‘I stole something from the drug store when nobody was watching,’ you got all this [baggage], no, no, no, no, you’re there [in the desert] because he loves you, and it says in Deuteronomy 8 that he was instructing them.  The Hebrew word means “everything necessary for proper instruction.’  That as a teacher and as a Father, he took them there, because there were lessons they could only learn in a desert, about who he was, and how he could sustain, and how he could care for them.  You’re going through a dry place?  He’s able to make water come from great depths.  That’s who he is, that’s what we’re to learn.  Teach your children, say it to them, streams can break forth from the Rock, Christ is that Rock, and rivers can run.  And also you realize it’s ok to be dry, the water starts to gush over you, it becomes so wonderful. 

 

Israel’s Lessons In The Wilderness Of Sinai

 

He says, “And they sinned yet more against him” look what they did,  “by provoking the most High in the wilderness.”  you think if you saw all those things you wouldn’t, they were provoking him in the wilderness, “And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust.  Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?  Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also?  can he provide flesh for his people?” (verses 17-20)  What he says, they get to the point where they say ‘Ok, ok, we were thirsty, he gave us water, that’s great, we got water, water and manna.’  And it tells us, they’re complaining, they’re tired of manna.  Manna in the morning, manna in the evening, manna at supper-time, you know.  And it says in Numbers 11, they start to gripe and complain, they say ‘Oh, that we were in Egypt,’ they said ‘there were leeks, and onions, and garlic,’ you have lost your mind, there was the task-master’s whip, there was death, there was, you know, slavery, and all you could remember is garlic!?  That’s what happens, when you get saved, we get out of drugs, we get out of the world, we get set free, and as soon as there is a little bit of struggle or we’re not happy with something, then we’re saying ‘It was so great back there, in the good old days.’  You’re mentally ill, there were no good old days, we were in bondage, we were lost, Jesus set us free.  What do you mean?  That’s what they do, they have a selective memory, ‘Oh I wish we could go back, I wish we could go back, there were the fleshpots there, there was garlic, there was leeks, there were onions.  God can give us water in the desert, but can he set a table?  We’re tired of this manna, we want corned beef, we want pastrami, we want Italian sausage.’  That’s what they were doing.  ‘Can God set a table in the wilderness?’  ‘He smote the rock,’ verse 20, ‘waters gushed out, streams overflowed, can he give bread also?  can he provide flesh?’  “Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth:  so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel;” (verse 21)  Now, just on your own someday, not now, you’ll notice in verse 21 it says “wroth,” verse 31 it says “wrath,” in verse 38 it says “wrath,” in verse 49 it says “wrath,” verse 50 says “anger,” verse 58 says “anger,” verse 59 says “wrath,” 62 says “wroth,” and they’re all different forms of words, it’s a very interesting word-study if you want to do it on your own sometime.  They provoked the LORD, imagine what they’re saying here.  He heard their cry in Egypt, he sends Moses to deliver them, he does miracles beyond anything the world had ever seen before to bring his children, you know, the children of Israel out of Egypt, to set them free, leading them in the wilderness, caring for them, feeding them.  Now they’re griping because they don’t have any meat.  They don’t like the menu.  ‘It’s great being free, it’s great being out of Egyptian bondage, oh it’s nice, it’s great that he can bring forth rivers out of rocks, that’s really cool, and this manna, we’re kind of tired of that, what else is on the menu?  If we knew the menu was going to be like this, maybe we’d just stayed in Egypt.’  “Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth:  so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel; because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation:” (verses 21-22) there was a bigger thing than the menu at stake here.  “though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, and had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn [grain] of heaven.  Man did eat angels’ food:  he sent them meat to the full.” (verses 23-25) not angels’ food cake.  “He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven:  and by his power he brought in the south wind.  He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea:  and he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations.  So they did eat, and were well filled:  for he gave them their own desire;” (verses 26-29) not his desire, not his desire.  It takes us back to Numbers chapter 11, on the edge of the Promised Land, where Joshua and Caleb were going to go in with the other spies, and the other spies were going to say ‘We saw giants, we’re not going to go in,’ they’re right on the edge, that close to everything God had, and they’re griping about the menu.  So it says then God caused quails to come, and started to crash on the ground, and God says ‘You’re going to eat flesh, you’re not going to eat it for a day, or for a week, you’re going to eat it for a whole month, you’re going to eat quail until it comes out of your nostrils.’  You really gotta do some pulmonary exercise to get quails to come out your nostrils, ‘till your sick of it, till you can’t stand anymore.  You wanted it, you cried for it, you begged for it, you put me down, you didn’t believe, you belittled me, you turned away, now you’re going to have what you wanted.’  And it says, look at what it says here, “he gave them their own desire; they were not estranged from their lust.” i.e. they held tight to their own lust, “But while their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.” (verses 29b-31)  It says he, in Psalm 106 ‘he gave them the desire of their flesh and sent leanness to their souls.’  He gave them what they wanted, and while they were chewing they choked on it, thousands of them died.  And it says they buried them there, at Kibroth-hataavah, which means “the graves of lust.”  What are we supposed to learn from Kibroth-hataavah?  You don’t want to go there.  You’re driving down the street and you see a sign that says “Kibroth-hataavah, 5 miles to the left,” do not make a left, you don’t want to go there.  We have buried some comrades at Kibroth-hataavah, people who had flourishing ministries, who let themselves be overcome with the desires of the flesh.  And God comes to us when we do that.  You know it says, when Jacob was left alone God wrestled with him.  God doesn’t want to embarrass anyone, he comes to me when I’m alone and wrestles with me, I’m thankful for that.  And he’ll do that with you.  But by his Spirit he’ll say ‘You turn back from this, don’t mettle with this, don’t talk to this woman, don’t talk to this man, don’t play this game, your defenses are coming down, you’re gonna fall, you’re going to blow it,’ and he warns and he warns and he warns.  He warned them and warned them, but the lust of their flesh ends up becoming the dominant thing, and God finally says ‘Have it, have it, have it.’  All through the Old Testament he said to the children of Israel, he said, ‘I’m going to bind you over to your adultery.  Is this what you want?  And you’re not gonna stop?  You’re going to hassle and hassle and hassle and hassle?  Have it!’  And he said to the children of Israel [Judah] as they were taken to Babylon, ‘I’m going to bind you over now, to your adulteresses.’  In other words, God saw spiritual adultery, you know, idolatry like that, he said ‘You want idols, you want idols, you want idols, I’m going to carry you away to the capital of idols, you’re going to the land of idols for 70 years, see how you like idols.  By the time you’re done with Babylon, you’re not gonna have a problem with idols anymore.’  But how many have we seen, you know, Paul will say to Timothy, ‘godliness with contentment is great gain, godliness with contentment is great gain.’  If you’re not content, once in a while go down to Shriners Hospital, see if you can volunteer there, help all those crippled kids.  If you’re not content, and you can’t thank God every day that you can get up in the morning and breathe in, and you breathe out, even if you need to put your faith back where it belongs in the morning, there’s people that you can minister to that are less fortunate than you that will keep life in perspective.  There’s testimonies that you can hear from people.  But God says here ‘You teach this to your children, you make sure they understand,’ because if they start, and they disdain the things that God provides, even bread from heaven, the Word of God, and they want no part of it, they want flesh, and that’s all they want.  God says, I finally come to the point where I give them over, and they choke on what they wanted,’ and it kills them, and they end up buried at Kibroth-hataavah.  We have seen too many good solid people buried there, the graves of lust, and their ministries have been ruined.  You know, it tells us this, in the Book of Proverbs it says ‘Whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding.  He that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.’  It’s nobody else’s fault.  ‘A wound and dishonour shall he get, and his reproach shall not be wiped away.’  Now, thank goodness, now in Christ, there’s forgiveness, with restoration.  We serve a gracious God.  But there are too many that were effective for the Lord, that were taken down, and they’re buried at Kibroth-hataavah.  We should thank God sometimes for unanswered prayers, ‘Lord, give me flesh, give me flesh, give me flesh,’ and he doesn’t do it, and sometimes finally we get to the point, and we look back, and we think ‘Man, Lord, am I glad you didn’t give me what I wanted.’  You know, my Pastor, Chuck used to talk about this woman, and he said “I was a young man, and prayed ‘God if you love me, give me this woman to be my wife, Lord I want this one, you have to…’ and he said, you know, ‘Sixty some years later,’ he said, ‘I ran into her again,’ and he said, ‘the years had not been kind to her,’ and he said “I thanked God that he did not answer my prayer.’  And I’m sure in all of our lives we could think of prayers we’re glad he didn’t answer.  We should take that into account here as we look at this. 

 

In The Most Perfect Church Environment, People’s Hearts Can Turn Away

 

Verse 32 says “For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works.  Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and their years in trouble.” (verses 32-33)  You know, if you can’t accept God’s grace, you can’t see his power, if you’re not willing to let your heart go where the Holy Spirit wants to take your heart, where the written Word of God wants to take your heart, it says ‘their days are consumed in vanity, their years are in trouble.’  “When he slew them, then they sought him:  and they returned and enquired early after God.” (verse 34) when the really tough times came, some of them turned back, and it says “And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.” (verse 35)  Isn’t it funny, all they had remembered was Egypt before that, now they’re remembering something else.  “they remembered that God was their rock,” what a wonderful day it is, look, if you’re backslidden here, you’re away from the Lord, you’re compromising, let me tell you, it is a wonderful moment, in the middle of all of that, and we serve a gracious God, that he’s willing to bring that to your heart, ‘we remembered that God was our rock,’ what a thing to remember, ‘that the high God was their redeemer.’  “Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth,” their praise wasn’t any deeper than their teeth, “and they lied unto him with their tongues.  For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.  But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not:   yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.” (verses 36-38) so many times, God was not acting out in anger, didn’t do that, “For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.” (verse 39) it doesn’t say anything about reincarnation there, does it.  It says a human being is just flesh, and it’s like the wind that passes away, you can underline it, “and cometh not again.”  You ain’t coming back as a goat or a cow, it says here, “cometh not again.”  “How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert!” listen, “Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.” (verses 40-41)  Interesting, you won’t find that name for God, the Holy One of Israel, anywhere in the first five books of Moses.  Isaiah is one who loves that title.  But he is the Holy One of Israel.  And it says here, and Jesus for us is the Holy One of Israel, ‘they turned back, tempted God, limited the Holy One of Israel.’  Can we do that?  Look, isn’t it interesting, Paul says ‘Demos hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.’  The idea is, ‘in contrast to the One to come.’  Demos couldn’t say ‘Well Paul grieves the Spirit, he doesn’t let anybody talk in tongues,’ no, no, he was with Paul, he was in one of the most balanced, charismatic movements that there ever was.  He couldn’t complain about teaching.  He couldn’t complain about anything that was going on, he’s with Paul the apostle.  And still, in the most perfect church environment, people’s hearts can turn away.  He says “Demos hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.”  Because this present world offers things.  You know, the writer to the Hebrews tells us that Moses chose rather to suffer the reproach of Christ, rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.  Sin is pleasurable.  That’s why the Bible warns us over and over and over and over and over to stay away from it.  The Bible doesn’t say anywhere ‘Do not eat carpet tacks, Do not eat carpet tacks.  Do not pound your forehead with a hatchet,’ it doesn’t say that anywhere.  Because that hurts, it feels bad.  Sin feels good, so the Bible over and over and over warns us.  But it says ‘The pleasures of sin,’ understand, sin is pleasurable ‘for a season.’  Everybody, someday, is going to face their mortality, getting shot, in a car wreck, laying in a hospital getting morphine, struggling to breathe.  The only thing that is going to matter then is Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ’s forgiveness, his love.  Because all of life is beyond that, ahead of us.  This little season of sin that is pleasurable, this tiny little physical experience, you can’t even measure with a micrometer, next to eternity.  You look at world history, and presidents in power, and armies and nuclear bombs, it’s this little thing with all this noise and sparks shooting out of it, and eternity’s next to it, which is immeasurable.  That’s where our lives are hidden with Christ in God, it says. 

 

History Of God’s Deliverance In Egypt

 

It says “Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.  They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.” (verses 41-42)  We wrote, ‘Fathers, you gotta get your kids to remember, you need to talk to them, tell them, then you need to demonstrate to them, they need to see it’s real in your life.’  “They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.  How he had wrought his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan:  and had turned their rivers into blood; and their floods, that they could not drink.  He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them.” (verses 41-45) not just flies, but all kinds of flies, I hate flies, he said “divers”…you like flies?  I hate flies, and so they bother me, the enemy sends them to hassle me because I hate them.  I remember a couple years ago, drinking, you know in the summer you’re kind of drinking iced tea, like fresh made iced tea, with squeezed oranges and lemons in it?  And sometimes you get the orange pulp and you’re chewing on it?  [laughter]  ya, it was a fly.  [loud laughter]  I rebuked the devil.  [more laughter]  “He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them.” as if the flies weren’t bad enough, all the frogs, it says the frogs were in their beds, in the refrigerators, inside their microwaves, everywhere.  “He gave also their increase unto the caterpiller, and their labour unto the locust.  He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycomore trees with frost [margin: great hailstones].  He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts.” the hail was so big it killed their livestock.  Sounds like a bad storm to me.  “He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.” (verses 45-49)  King James says “by sending evil angels among them.  I have a Hebrew translation at home, and it reads it this way, “by sending a regiment of angels disastrous.”  So it doesn’t necessarily say the angels were evil, the idea is what they brought about on God’s behalf was disastrous.  You see in the book of Revelation, angels holding back the sun and the wind, so the sun burns.  You see there, interestingly, in the end of 2nd Samuel, when David numbers the children of Israel, you know, God gives him three choices, and a plague is sweeping over the nation, and David looks up and sees a big angel swinging a sword, and when he sacrifices the angel puts his sword away, and the plague stops.  We don’t understand the operation of things in the spiritual world, and how that plays out in the physical, but he says here with all these plagues and different things in Egypt, God had sent “a regiment of angels disastrous.”  “He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence; and smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham:  but made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.  And he led them on safely, so that they feared not:  but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.  And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain, which his right hand had purchased.  He cast out the heathen also before them, and divided them an inheritance by line, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.” (verses 50-55)  [for the history of the miracles in Egypt, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/lamb/exodus1.html]  Isn’t it interesting, it says “by line, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents” he divided them an inheritance by line.  You remember how it happened in the Book of Joshua?  They cast lots.  On the human side it looked very much like chance, the way the lot fell out.  It says on the Divine side of the issue, he “divided them an inheritance by line” he measured out their inheritance.  The dice were loaded, it wasn’t just throwing lots.  We know that too, because when you look in Joshua, and it tells you what fell out to the tribes, you go back to Genesis 49, and you look at Jacob prophecying over his sons, and he tells there the way all those lots would fall out in Joshua.  God is in control over our lives.  He gives some of us mountainous areas, where there’s mountains and streams, he gives some of us areas where there’s forests, he gives each of us a different area, a different thing falls to us, to develop and to cultivate us.  The problem with the children of Israel, they didn’t take authority, they didn’t drive out the enemy, they didn’t hold onto the inheritance that they got. 

 

History Of Israel In The Promised Land

 

He says, “Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies:  but turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers:  they were turned aside like a deceitful bow.” (verses 56-57) They acted unfaithfully like their fathers because they learned from their fathers.  “For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.”  [Comment:  What is a “high place”? see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/1.html and scroll to near the end of that “html” page.]  and “When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel:  so that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men; and delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy’s hand.” (verses 58-61)  that’s where the Tabernacle stood in those days at Shiloh, I’ve been there, you can still see the stones, by the way, it’s in the West Bank where the wall was around the Tabernacle, it’s amazing to just sit there and look at it, and to realize Samuel was there.  Eli and his sons were there, you can sit there even today, and actually see remarkably where the Tabernacle was.  “and delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy’s hand.”  the Northern Tribes were carried away [eventually, but this is more talking about the defeats they suffered during the period of the Judges and Samuel, up through Saul].  “He gave his people over also unto the sword; and was wroth with his inheritance.  The fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage.  Their priests fell by the sword; and their widows made no lamentation.” [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/2.html through http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/3.html] “Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine.  And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts:  he put them to a perpetual reproach.” the Lord, his grace awakened.    “Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim:” (verses 62-67)

 

God Chooses David Of Judah To Shepherd Israel

 

God moves, look, for centuries the center of God’s activity centered in Ephraim, the major tribe in the north was a powerful tribe, a tribe filled with faith, but it says ‘the Lord awakened, he began to move again, he refused the Tabernacle of Joseph, chose not the tribe of Ephraim,’ “but chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved.  And he built his sanctuary like high places, like the earth which he hath established for ever.” this is very close, of course to when Asaph is writing.  “He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds:  from following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.  So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.” (verses 68-72)  You know, it says ‘the eyes of the LORD go to and fro throughout the earth, looking for someone whose heart is perfect towards him, that he might show himself strong on his behalf.’  And he had seen this young boy out there, with his harp, writing, ‘The heavens declare the glory of the LORD, the earth showeth forth his handiwork, night unto night it utters speech,’ and so forth.  Or ‘O LORD, O LORD, how excellent it thy name in all the earth,’ ‘Out of the mouths of babes thou hast perfected praise, when I consider the heavens, the sun, the moon, the stars, the work of thy fingers, what is man that thou art mindful of him, or the Son of man.’  David sat out there and he wrote these Psalms, and he looked to the God of the heavens, and he stood up against a bear, and he stood up against a lion.  Nobody was there to witness that, he didn’t get in the newspaper for that.  God saw a young man whose heart was right towards, and it says ‘he chose him, David, and he took him from the sheepfolds, from following the ewes with young, and he brought him to feed, to shepherd,’ is the word, ‘God took him from the care he demonstrated towards his father Jesse’s flock, and that he wouldn’t allow any of his father’s sheep to be injured by a lion and a bear, God saw in that heart a man that he could put, our Father in heaven, saw a shepherd that he could put on the throne, who would shepherd his people, and not allow them to be injured.’  It says ‘He took him from following the ewes, great with young he brought him to feed, shepherd, Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.  So he shepherded them, fed them, shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.’ (verses 71-72)  What are we to learn by that?  Well, even in the days when it looks like the whole nation has turned away, God is able to see a young man, or a young woman whose heart is set towards him, he’s able to choose somebody out of obscurity, because when no man is watching a person whose being faithful to God, and promotion neither comes from the east, nor the west, or from the south, it comes from the LORD, God’s able to give us today a prophet, an evangelist, a Whitfield, a Moody, an Esther, a Ruth, he’s not restrained at all, not restrained at all. 

 

In Closing

 

A historical song.  I didn’t like history in high school.  I felt like I was going to die in history class.  It may have been my history teacher.  I couldn’t even read Cliff Notes.  Then you get saved, and you start to love to read.  I love history now because, because I know it’s HisStory, that’s what history is.  And I not only know history past, I know history future [i.e. Bible prophecy], it’s all written out.  I know how the story ends, I know where we’re going, I know what’s up.  You know what’s up?  People say ‘What’s up?’  What’s up?  You know what’s up.  You should live like you know what’s up.  This show is closing down!  There’s a whole new show that’s going to start.  This world is coming to an end, and the real world is going to start, and the King of kings and the LORD of lords is coming, [loud applause] and he’s gonna set up his throne, we’re going to spend eternity in his presence.  That’s what we know.  So for now, look, it says ‘Not to neglect the gathering together of ourselves, we should do this, we should come to church, we should stir one another up to faith and to good works, encourage one another, especially as we see the day drawing near,’ (cf. Hebrews 4:4-9; 10:24-25) I hope you see the day drawing near, if you don’t, go home and turn the television on, to the news, I mean.  By the way, all the other channels are telling us the days are drawing near too, so much nonsense on.  Jesus is coming, you know, we get to come, get to sing, we get to study his Word, it tells us the news in advance.  I’m all about that, I’m excited about that.  But we should learn the lessons of the past.  We should teach them to our kids, teach them to your grandkids, teach them to your neighbour’s kids.  Somebody, if people ask you, they’re coming to you all the time, ‘They’re asking me to be a God-parent, should I be a God-parent?  My family’s Catholic,’ Ya!  Because then you can give ‘em Veggie Tales, you can give them a children’s Bible, and they say ‘What the heck you doing?’ you say ‘Well I’m the God-parent, you asked me to be the God-parent, it’s my responsibility, it’s what God-parents do, go look in the dictionary.’  They’ll scratch their head, ‘ok, I did ask you to be the God-parent,’  ‘Ya, that’s what I’m doing, I’m the God-parent, the God-father,’ not Corlione but you know.  So we live in great privilege, don’t we?  We live in great privilege, God’s brought us from darkness into the Light.  And yet even still, we can be stubborn in our hearts.  We can make foolish mistakes, we have a great history to look at.  You know, throughout Israel, the history of the Church, God is faithful through all of that, he loves us.  The future’s already written out for us.  We know where it’s going to go, there’s no sad ending for any of us, for any of us.  All of the pain, and all of the misery, and all of the temptation, and all the pleasures squeezed down into this little thing called “the present” that you can’t even measure with a micrometer compared to eternity, and yet that little spot, that little itty-bitty spot has nuclear bombs going off in it, and wars screaming, immorality, and insanity and all this stuff.  And people sometimes choose to live in the pleasure of sin which is just for a moment, God’s people make that mistake.  And God said ‘it provokes me, because they’re turning away the eternity that I’m offering to them,’ particularly you and I through the blood of his Son, he paid the price that’s unimaginable so he can call us his sons and daughters.  When we do that, he does not stand idly by, he chastens us.  He doesn’t disown us.  When my kids were growing up and they did something wrong, I didn’t come home, kick them in the teeth, tell them to pack their stuff and leave…[tape ends here]  [transcript of a connective expository sermon on Psalm 78:1-72, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

related links:

 

1.  As Pastor Joe says, God’s Holy Days are extremely important, they map out God’s Plan of Salvation, Past, Present, and Future.  See

http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/Holydayshadows.htm

and

http://www.unityinchrist.com/lamb/exodus1.html

and

http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/Feast%20of%20Weeks.htm

and

http://www.unityinchrist.com/E-Mails/June%2014/FallHolyDays-short.htm

 

2. Israel’s History.  See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/1.html

and

http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/2.html

and

http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/3.html

and

http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/4.html

and

http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/5.html

and

http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/6.html

and

http://www.unityinchrist.com/ezra/ezra1.html

and continue through that series

 

And there is a huge amount of history contained in the fulfilled prophecies given in the Old Testament.  To see these, see,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/Prophets_Prophecy.html

 

(these prophecy sections are color coded: brown for fulfilled prophecy, now in the history books, red for future 2nd coming of Jesus Christ prophecies, and green for Millennial Kingdom of God prophecies)

 

 

3. Church History:  For early Church history, see,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/index3.htm

 

for history of the Sabbath-keeping Judeo-Christian Churches of God from 300sAd to present, see,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/revivals.htm

 

for Sunday-keeping revivals of the Christian Church, see,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/IntroChurchHistory.htm 

 

From Sabbath-keeping to Baptist Church history, see,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/BaptistHistory.htm

 

4.  Choosing a church, see

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/choosingachurch.htm

 

5. Good and bad shepherding, what’s the difference?  see, 

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/AShepherdLooksAt%20Psalm23-short.htm

 

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