One of the most challenging biblical principles to get across to men and women standing for marriage restoration appears to be the absolutely CERTAIN and totally UNNECESSARY consequences of magnifying and validating the works of the devil, which we had another powerful example of in the FAM Fellowship last week.
Yes, the devil attacks and tempts us, and there’s no denying that, which is NOT the point of messages like this. And, yes, he usually attacks even more right before and immediately after marriage restoration takes place…BUT HE IS A LIAR AND A DEFEATED FOE (John 8:44 and 1 john 3:8)!!! So why are we SO willing to listen to his lies and even give him one moment of our time and attention; why are we more willing to validate and magnify his will and way over what we know is God’s will and way? The ONLY way he ever has any power in our lives is when we choose to give his plan and work more credibility and validity than that of God Almighty; because when WE do that, God will leave us to our own devices until we recognize the folly of our way; and that’s usually at a cost we’d much rather not pay. Failure to trust and obey God is sinful and as Charles Stanley and others have often said; sin takes us farther than we want to go, keeps us longer than we want to stay, and costs a lot more than we want to pay.
As I’ve shared here quite a bit over the past few weeks, we’ve seen God moving in ways beyond what any of us have ever witnessed before and it has been one of the most exhilarating times in the history of this ministry. BUT, as he always does and will, the devil turned up the heat, and all it took was for one member to mention being “under attack” by the devil and then one member after another started talking about how they were being attack. I hate devoting ANY time to the devil, but sometimes it is just necessary, so overcoming his attack by SPEAKING the Word of God back to him, taking every thought captive and MAKING it obedient to Christ and the Word (2 Corinthians 10:3-6), was the topic for FAM Chat Friday night. And that was necessary because just as sure as the sun comes up in the morning, the minute we start talking in ANY WAY about the devil and magnifying and validating (by highlighting) what he is doing, it seems like the power and work of the Holy Spirit is instantly hindered and everything just goes flat! So despite week after week of numerous and awesome praise testimonies being posted on the private website every single day; just as soon as members started talking about being “under attack,” everything went almost totally quiet; barely any praise testimonies were being posted and everyone was asking why everything went so quiet all of a sudden.
Well, having been down that road a few times before, I knew the answer, which is why I tend to get so agitated when people start talking about the devil and what he is doing and how they are “being attacked” and “struggling!” So I can’t even recount how many times in the past week or so I have STRONGLY encouraged FAM members to read and take to heart the very powerful messages and lessons we MUST learn from Numbers 13 and 14, because God truly is the same yesterday, today and forever, and He obviously does not take it well when we disregard or discount his power and trivialize His promises because of something we see or hear that leads us to think or believe ANYTHING contrary to HIS Word!!!
And there’s NO doubt about that when we read Numbers 13:1-2, because we see that God PROMISED AND DECLARED BY THE WORD OF HIS MOUTH that HE was giving the land of Canaan to the Israelites; The LORD said to Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.” Yet, despite having God’s Word on it, WHO HAD NEVER FAILED THEM BEFORE, in Numbers 13:27-33, we see that upon their return…They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.” Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
So in stark contrast to Dan’s Seeds Of Faith post yesterday, Marching into Battle with Praise and Thanksgiving, where the people were SUPERNATURALLY led into an amazing victory because they TRUSTED AND OBEYED God, we see what happened when the people chose instead to discount the power and promise of God Almighty and magnified and validated the power and work of the devil as revealed in Numbers 14.
As Numbers 14:11 reveals; The LORD said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them? Well, guess what? God still feels the exact same way when we elevate WHAT the devil SAYS and does OBER ANYTHING GOD SAYS AND PROMISES TO DO. So what Joshua and Caleb said to the Israelites in Numbers 14:8-9 is just as important and true to us today as it was to them then…If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
And based on Hebrews 11:6, we know what it takes to “please God”…And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. And that’s strongly confirmed in Hebrews 10:38, which says But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.”
But the people didn’t listen to them and they chose to believe the WRONG REPORT, which led to disastrous consequences. And even though God responded to Moses’ plea for mercy and did not utterly destroy them, as described in Numbers 14:20-38, there was a great price to pay for their lack of faith and obedience:
The LORD replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth, not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times-not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. Since the Amalekites and Canaanites are living in the valleys, turn back tomorrow and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.”
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites. So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say: In this desert your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. But you—your bodies will fall in this desert. Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert. For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.’ I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this desert; here they will die.” So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it-these men responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the LORD. Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.
So as men and women standing on the power and promise of God’s Word against the will and plan of the devil to steal, kill and destroy our marriages and families, we have a choice to make; WHOSE REPORT ARE WE GOING TO BELIEVE? Will we believe and SPEAK forth the power and promise of God’s Word and put our faith and confidence in Him as we learn to TRUST AND OBEY HIM and NEVER forget the awesome things we’ve seen Him do in our lives and the lives of others; just as Caleb and Joshua did, leading them into the Promised Land? Or are we going to magnify, validate and give voice to the work of the devil and hinder the awesome work of restoration God wants to do in our hearts, lives and marriages as He fulfills His promise and upholds His Word; just as the other ten men did, costing them their lives? We can’t do both and when we magnify and validate one, we discount and invalidate the other. And if we ever needed proof or confirmation that our words have the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21), we have a powerful illustration of that in Numbers 14:28-30 (which I never noticed until reading it again now), because it says (emphasis added) So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say: In this desert your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. So EVEN THOUGH GOD has promised us so much, just as He promised the Israelites the Promised Land, if we fail to trust and obey Him and fail to acknowledge Him in all of our ways (Psalm 37:5-6 and Proverbs 3:5-6), we have no reason to expect that we will ever receive God’s promise of restored marriages. Yet, when we truly turn to the Lord (Isaiah 55) and seek Him FIRST (Matthew 6:33)and genuinely delight in Him (Psalm 37:4), serving and loving Him with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength (Mark 12:29-30), we can rightly insert our names in the verse below, because God will bless and honor us just as He declared He would do for Caleb in Numbers 24…But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. So we have to decide who we want to magnify and glorify; either Jesus or the devil. And that really isn’t a difficult choice to make when we truly accept and believe 1 John 3:8, which is that He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. And when we choose to magnify and glorify Jesus Christ and NOT the devil, we will indeed be blessed and encouraged, because God will be ever so faithful to fulfill every Word and promise found in His Word and we will see our marriages and families restored for the glory of Jesus Christ! AMEN!