If we fail to take this opportunity for revival that, through God’s longsuffering and mercy, is still before us, we will see great pain and tribulation fall upon us through God’s judgment. He will bring us to a point where we will bend the knee and cry out for His mercy.
When we read the Old Testament we see how God dealt with Israel when she would turn from God and flirt with other gods. God would first bring the preachers (prophets) to warn Israel of coming judgment. When she refused to turn back to God, He would bring pain and suffering upon her. It was often in the form of pestilence, or famine, or sometimes an enemy that would bring great pain. Israel would then bend her knee and cry out to God for mercy and forgiveness. God would then restore her back to a place of blessing.
I believe that it is not yet to late for America to see this happen. If we don’t turn back to Him I believe that God will bring judgment in many forms upon us. It would not take much for economic ruin to come upon us. God can bring ecological ruin through great storms and earthquakes. He could bring pestilence through things like ebola. He could raise up an enemy to take us to our knees.
All of these are on the horizon. For more than five years I have been warning that Islam is an enemy that Jehovah God is raising up to bring Judgment upon our nation.
The problem is that we have a failure in leadership in the pulpits of North America. The preachers are failing to lead, they won’t stand up for God. In the Scriptures we have an example of failed leadership in those who are supposed to be God’s spokesmen. In the book of Numbers we find Israel has just been delivered by God out of bondage under the hand of Pharaoh.
Before we get to this I want to build some context. Exodus tells us that God could have led Israel north directly to the Promised Land. Israel knew where the land of their forefathers was. We are told that God led them south to test them because He knew that there would be a fight on their hands once they reached the Promised Land. There would be great trial and testing as they took the land. He had to prepare them for this time of trial so He sent them south, to a place where they had to trust Him. He brought them to the water’s edge. The water was in front of them, there were mountains on both sides so they couldn’t go north or south, and they couldn’t retreat because Pharaoh’s army was behind them. Through this incident God showed them that they could trust God to take care of them and deliver them from their enemies.
You know the story. God opened the sea and they walked across on dry land. When Pharaoh’s army tried to follow it was drowned in the mist of the sea.
It is amazing that after seeing God’s mighty power, they complained when they didn’t have food or water. God provided both of these. God brought them to Mt. Sinai where He gave them the law. They were given the Tabernacle here also. From Mt. Sinai they move north and come to Kadeshbarnea. At this point they are ready to enter the Promised Land.
They sent twelve spies into the land. Two of them come back with a promising report but ten of them come back with a negative report. Let’s pick up the story in Numbers 13:31.
Numbers 13:31-33 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
These people had seen God work miracles like the opening of the Red Sea. Yet when they went into the land all they could see was the size of the enemy. They said that they were like grasshoppers in the enemy’s sight.
Some times our outlook can determine our outcome. When we only look with our eyes we can easily fall under the pressure of what we see. We need to keep our eyes on our objectives and not our obstacles. We need to remember who our God is, and what He is capable of doing.
In this situation we see a failure of leadership with Moses and Aaron. The next chapter tells us the attitude of the people.
Numbers 14:1-5 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.
We see that the people murmured against Moses and Aaron. They wished they had died in Egypt. They developed a plan of mutiny against Moses and Aaron. They wanted to return to Egypt. Ease was more important that freedom to them. This was because of failed leadership with Moses and Aaron.
Sometimes leaders fail in their leadership. This is what I see in our churches today. Let me share some information from a study by the Barna Research Group. An organization called the American Culture and Faith Institute hired Barna to do a two year study and in August of this year they came out with their findings. One of the questions asked was “Does the Bible speak to the controversial political issues of our day?” Nine out of ten of the pastors answered yes to the question.
The next question asked, “How many of you take these things to your pulpit and preach about them?” Only 10% said that they addressed them from the pulpit.
Isn’t it a sad situation when 90% of the pastors know the Bible speaks about these issues and only 10% of them preach on the issues? This is a display of a lack of courage in the leadership in our churches.
Let’s go back to Numbers 14. Starting in verse 6 we see the development of some new leaders, Caleb and Joshua.
Numbers 14:6-9 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. 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. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.
These two men were the two spies that came back with the good report. They told the people that they were well able to take the land because God would be with them.
Moses and Aaron don’t still and quiet the people and tell them that they are not there because of their strength, they were there because of the strength of the Lord. They did not win the people to the fact that they would have God’s help to go in and possess the land. How quickly they had forgotten what God had already done for them.
Let’s look at what God had to say to Joshua when he took over the leadership.
Joshua 1:6-9 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
We find that God repeats the same thing to Joshua three times. In verses 6, 7, and 9 He tells him to be strong and of a good courage.
Sometimes we need to be reminded of who is with us. We need to have leaders who will be strong and of good courage. We live in a day where pastors in America’s pulpits don’t have the courage to be strong and to stand in their pulpits and preach things that are not popular.
Here are the results of the survey that tell why preachers don’t stand up and preach on these subjects:
- 32% don’t preach on these subjects because they are afraid of the the government, the IRS and groups like the ACLU. They are afraid they will lose their tax exempt status or be sued by groups like the ACLU.
- 23% don’t preach on these subjects because they believe that politics and the church are separate. Don’t they know their history and don’t they know what the first amendment is all about? The phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the first amendment, or in any other part of the Constitution.
- 16% don’t preach on these subjects because they are afraid of their deacons and elders.
These three reason tell me that preachers in America won’t preach on controversial issues because they fear man more than they fear God. Is it any wonder we are in trouble in our nation today?
Churches and pastors are more concerned about growing a big congregation than they are about pleasing God. They certainly are not going to say anything controversial because if they do some of their tithers might get upset and leave. If they do they won’t be popular any more.
Lord, help us!
I want to bring us back to what Charles Finney’s statement:
“Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree. If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it. Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren; but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.” Charles Finney, “The Decay of Conscience”, 1873
Charles Finney is one of the preachers God used during the second “Great Awakening” in in this nation.
We need leaders who will stand in the pulpits of this land, who will stand for God and His precepts. We need leaders who will not fear what man can do to them. We need leaders whose fear of God will give them the courage to stand for God and against unrighteousness.
We also need congregations who will stand behind this type of leader. I you don’t have this kind of leader in your church, go and find a church that does and move your membership to it.
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