July 9th, 2015
ICA Sunday Pulpit Message
Absolute Goal for the Gospel Noble Family – Restoration of the Gospel (19)
God’s Miracle is within the fulfillment of His Word (Jos 21:41-45)
It’s good to see you. Greet those around you. Have you had a good week? Today’s title is, “God’s Miracle is within the fulfillment of His Word”. In Luke 9, Jesus said that foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest. Why did He say that? Does it mean that His disciples couldn’t serve Him? We are figuring out this meaning through Joshua 21. It talks about land redistribution. The land had been distributed from chapter 13 to 19. The Levites were supposed to receive their land. It was about 48 towns. It is relayed to the blessing prayer of ancestors. It is recorded in Gen 49 “Jacob’s prayer and Deut. 33 “Moses’ prayer. Jacob curses Simeon and Levi. “Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.” What kind of curse is this? They would be scattered in Israel. In this story of land redistribution, the people of Simeon and Levi didn’t receive their land and were scattered. The reason was discussed last week. Jacob had 12 sons and a daughter, Dinah. She was raped, and the man who did so wanted to marry her. This man came into Jacob’s house. These 2 sons of Jacob, Levi and Simeon,scheme. They kill the people of the man who raped her. Therefore, because of this, the people of Levi and Simeon couldn’t receive land. However, in today’s scripture, the Levi people changed. They were scattered, but it became a blessing. It is in Exodus 32 and Number 25. The Israelites made gold cattle to worship. Moses was furious. Moses said, "Whoever is for the LORD, come to me." And all the Levites rallied to him. The Levites followed Moses’ command with weapons. The Levites killed them as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. Moses blesses their action. "You have been set apart to the LORD today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day." Starting from that point, they start to receive blessings from Jehovah God. There was one more incident in Num 25. While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women. So Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor. And the LORD's anger burned against them. So, The LORD said to Moses, "Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the LORD. Then, they were weeping at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. There was an Israelite man brought to his family a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel. Aaron’s grandson, Phinehas, saw this. He took this spear and killed them. That’s when God’s wrath ended. That’s when the disease stopped spreading. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped; but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000. God evaluates this incident. The LORD said, "Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites; Therefore, tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him. He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites." Therefore, these people were blessed because of this. Let us look at another part. In Deut 33, Moses blesses each tribe. About Levi he said: "Your Thummim and Urim belong to the man you favored. They were the tribe of priests. They wore this clothing. They put Thummim and Urim. When a priest has a lot of badges, people will recognize it. This prayer of blessing was given to the Levites. Moreover, “He teaches your precepts to Jacob and your law to Israel. He offers incense before you and whole burnt offerings on your altar.” The position of worship and teaching God’s word was given to the Levites. Their curses changed to blessings. They became teacher to teach the word of God. They gave sacrifice. The curses became blessings. There is a lesson that we must see. No matter how much you have sins and are in suffering, there’s no reason to fall into despair. God is forgiving and restores us. There’s no family nor anyone who is completely to the point of destruction. We must learn from the Levites. They stood before God in this decisive moment. They gave complete devotion. No matter how much despair you face, you must stand on God’s side and continue to live for God. It may not be easy. There may be times when you have to give up on your friends or family. Rahab betrayed her own people and so did the Levites. Phineas did the same with his own people and stood before God. We don’t follow people nor the things we see.
1. Possess the spirituality of the Levites (Jos 21:1-41)
(1) Devote completely as you stand on God’s side in decisive moments (Ex 32:26-29, Num 25:1-13)
(2) Our true inheritance is God who provides it to the saints (Num 18:20, Jos 18:7)
(3) Do not lose your pride as God’s spiritual firstborn (Num 3:12-13)
We stand before God in decisive moments. This was the spiritualty of the Levites. We must possess this from the Levites. What kind of spirituality must we possess? Devote completely as you stand on God’s side in decisive moments! God set these great Levites without any inheritance. They were only given the towns to live and be fed, but they didn’t receive land. In Numbers 18 and many parts of Joshua 18, it says that the Levites didn’t have land. The Levites had no land. The LORD said to Aaron, "You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites.” What is their inheritance? It’s not the land itself, may they take this land as God itself. They were scattered and didn’t have land, but God told them to rely on God. “Only look up to God who gives the land.” God made the other 11 tribes give tithe to the Levites so that they were able to confess their faith. There is the reason why God makes this system. By doing this, God gave the blessing of the 1st born to the Levites. In Numbers 3, "I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine, for all the firstborn are mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel, whether man or animal. They are to be mine. I am the LORD." The 1st born were supposed to die in Egypt, but because of the Passover, they survived. However, the other Egyptians didn’t. It is telling the Levites to possess this blessing of the 1st born. The 1st born of the Israelites means always sacrifice. It symbolizes Jesus. That’s why Jesus said He had no place to rest. He is giving the inheritance of Heaven to everyone who believes in Him. Do you believe in this? Through Jesus, the eternal sacrifice of heaven was given to us. We must confess that we are the spiritual Levite because we accepted Jesus whom was the 1st son of God. Believe that God possesses you. When you have enough pride, you will be restored. I will give you a tip. I have son here. My wife loves my son because she prays so much for him. As a father, since he’s my only son, I raised him strong. I would often have him do difficult things. He would have scars on his hands and is sweating. My wife would see that and feel sorry. So she complains to me and asks if you made him do work. I told her that he wants to work voluntarily. I avoid this situation. After that, my wife asked my son if he told me to do that. Then she found out. She complained again and asked why I lied. I denied it. My heart was lying. I gave excuses. I am his father and am a man. I have lived longer than him. I have trained him. However, I didn’t have self-ID nor position. My wife is so scary and I didn’t want complains so I lied. I wasn’t bold. I need healing. What happens if my wife continued to see this side of me? She wouldn’t trust me. She’d think I am a liar. That would be imprinted in her. Then my wife would hate me. When I helped my wife washing the dishes, she would complain about the dishes. I would massage my wife and she would complain if I did something wrong. I do my best in sermons and she would say that just do well yourself. Whatever I do, she would hate me even more. That nature has been rooted due to lacking my self-pride. Whatever I do or say, doesn’t match often. These people will close their hearts. No matter how hard these people try, they would rather not see these people. That was my sense of inferiority and hidden scar. Through that unbelief, fears and anxiety are hanging at the bottom of my inner self. I need to be healed. I confess that I am the bold and eternal son of God in Christ Jesus. Even though I am lacking, I would bless everyone as a man of God. May you deeply meditate on that you are the spiritual 1st born and the Levite. May you bring all your scars and take them to the Lord on the Cross. May you escape from this graveyard of scars with the Jesus Christ who was resurrected. Our Lord will guide us. Our Lord will strengthen you. You will realize that this is the world you serve as a 1st born. May you have this pride.
2. True rest comes when Spiritual parts are safely established (Jos 21:44)
(1) The Israelites gained rest after the Levites got their distributed land who were in charge of spiritual blessings
(2) When we secure the spiritual area in our lives, we can then enjoy rest
(3) Once you succeed in having a relationship with God, you will cut off the curses on relationships with people or things and you’ll have victory (Gen 1:26-28, Mt 6:33)
The Israelites gave the Levites the towns and pasturelands out of their own inheritance: This distribution ended. After that, The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them. We are able to truly rest when Spiritual parts are safely established in our lives. What kind of rest? It is rest from danger of enemy. Even though they had their own land, there still were enemies around them. However, there was rest on every side. Why? It is because LORD handed all their enemies over to them. Not one of their enemies withstood them. That is what this rest means. This evil demon is active and this world is dark. This world is trying to devour us like a hungry lion. However, we already possess this rest. Why? Jesus who already triumphed, is our Leader and He will bring us victory. I believe that we have went over this. Trust the Lord, who has given us victory. That is our faith. Do you believe? Therefore, our conclusion is the same. Once you succeed in relationship with God, you will cut off the curses on relationships with people or things and you will have victory. That was how original mankind was. How was Adam before Genesis 3? When they enjoyed the image of God, they were able to enjoy everything. It is the same now. When you succeed in a relationship with God, you will succeed in everything else. I didn’t know about this. I didn’t enjoy the word and sought success first. May you first seek the kingdom and His righteousness. May you challenge with holding onto this covenant.
3. God is good, and He fulfills all of His covenant (Jos 21:45)
(1) If you don’t know the good God, you won’t become good nor do good deeds (Mt 10:18, Lk18:19)
(2) If you do not believe God who fulfills the Covenant you absolutely won’t be a Christian and not live a correct Christian life (Num 23:19, Heb 11:6)
(3) When you read the Bible, meditate on God’s word and spread the Gospel
“Not one of all the LORD's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.” What was written in Joshua 1 was fulfilled. In Josh 1:3 and 5, “I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” There were many difficulties and enemies against the Israelites, but all the promises were fulfilled. God gave them true rest. God fulfilled everything that He promised. In verse 45, all the Lord’s promises were fulfilled. In a different version, it says that God didn’t fail a single word to fulfill. God is sincere and good. He fulfills promise. Those people who hold onto God’s promise will never face fail. I believe that God’s chosen people will be saved. In Jn 10:3, “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” We would gather and call individuals all at once, but God called them one by one. Those who were predestined, will be called and be saved. He will fulfill all the promises He made. God promises our salvation, eternal life, heaven, world evangelization and the 2nd coming of Christ. It will all be fulfilled. In Numbers 23:13, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” He gives us His word and fulfills everything. Once we have this kind of faith and God will be pleased. We must read and meditate on the word of God. When we share and testify this, God will give complete blessing. Even if the grass withers or the flowers fade, the word of God stands forever. In Matthew 5:8, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” Also, in Mt 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
May you realize and believe the power of God’s word. God will reward you. He will give complete guidance and blessing. It’s the Gospel-noble family who knows the word of God and that it will be fulfilled. Believing in this word is like holding onto the keys that bring miracles. The fulfillment of God’s word is the miracle. May you be the Gospel noble family that possesses the key to open the God’s miracles.
Dear Lord, I confess that your miracle is in the fulfillment of the Word. The Levites were once cursed and at this decisive moment they devoted themselves before God. May we only take our God as the inheritance. May we possess the spirituality of the Levites and 1st born. May we become the man of the Covenant who believes and follows this word. May we become the Gospel-noble family who glorify God. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.