“Say therefore to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgements. Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the LORD’.” Exodus 6:6-8
“In Your lovingkindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed; in Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.” Ex. 15:13
“But He brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that He promised on oath to our forefathers.” ~ Deuteronomy 6:23
Welcome back, Girls! I hope you had a great Labor Day weekend and are ready for Lesson Fourteen. We only have this week and two more to go before you have completed this entire study. WOW. I hope alternating weeks with Round Two of the study hasn’t been confusing and is working out with everyone’s schedules. I also want to encourage those of you who lack only a few lessons to persevere until the end. I have a little something I’m preparing for you who complete the study so even if you just leave your remarks in the Lesson comments, be sure you sign the Linky so I will know you’ve completed each one.
We introduced this last chapter by considering four purposes for the Promise based on Leviticus 26. They were: A sense of self-worth, security, provision, and finally and perhaps most importantly, an assurance of love. I particularly adore Psalm 136 because of the repetition of the phrase, “For His lovingkindness is everlasting” when recounting God’s actions on behalf of mankind from Creation to the giving of the Land to the Israelites. Why did He create the earth? Because He loves us originally. Why did He rescue the Israelites and make them into a ‘peculiar’ people? Because He loves us mercifully. Why did He give the Promised Land? Because He loves us eternally. For His lovingkindness is everlasting…..Oh, Amen.
Let’s set up today’s Lesson. In Exodus 6, Moses has gone to Pharaoh to ask for the Israelite’s release. Instead of freedom, Pharaoh increased their labor unmercifully. God stated the covenant He had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to both rescue them from Egypt and give them Canaan for both a possession and place of unhindered worship. Moses communicated God’s message of deliverance to the Israelites once again but because of their cruel bondage they refused to believe. Their despondency was also felt by Moses who repeated an old argument to God, “Behold, the sons of Israel have not listened to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me, for I am unskilled in speech?”
Moses’ doubt soon turned to determination when God unleashed all the plagues upon Egypt. Pharaoh, under compulsion (Exodus 6:1), finally let the Israelites leave the country. Oh how it pains me to skip the Passover, the Plunder of the Egyptians, and the Parting of the Red Sea! However, I am pacified (do you LOVE all the P’s?!) by knowing after Israel successfully passed through the waters, Moses sang. For the first time noted in Scripture, Moses opened his mouth – the one unskilled in speech – and belted out a tune to the Highly Exalted, Warrior God. A big change from the Moses at the end of Exodus 6!
The words of Moses’ song in Exodus 15 mark an important shift in his ministry. When the Israelites saw the great power God displayed against Egypt, they not only believed in Jehovah, but in Moses also. Hear me on this one, girls. We hold an amazing amount of power in our words. It is our duty as women of God to build one another up in the Lord lest our sister lose heart in the individual mission God has laid before her. The Israelites’ complaining at the end of Chapter 6 caused Moses to return to an old place of unbelief in regard to his stammering lips. However, the realization of the people that God indeed positioned Moses as a Judge and Deliverer in turn gave Moses the courage to shout praises to the Lord in front of the whole assembly. We don’t dare ever be the reason one of our girlfriends stutters! Instead, try an ‘I believe in you’. You have no idea how brave you’ll make her!
Perhaps the most fascinating part of Moses’ worship is seeing him transcend before our very eyes beyond Egypt and the desert to spiritually inhabit the Promise. Verse 13 says, ‘You have guided them to your holy habitation” before they had barely begun the journey. He continued by prophetically announcing the route of Israel to Canaan and the terror the inhabiting peoples would experience on account of them. He concluded by praising God for His presence in the sanctuary among His people well before the plans for the Tabernacle had ever been given. Because of Moses’ faith in God’s covenant, prior to his inhabiting the Promise, it already inhabited him.
In reading your responses and emails regarding this study, it has become apparent that many of you believe you are not living in your Promise simply because you are still fighting. I want to remind you the Israelites did not enter the Promised Land, pull up a recliner, and watch HGTV the moment they arrived. No, ma’am! They fought for many years to drive out the idolatrous nations that would surely be a snare to them.
Which begs the question: What is the difference in living the abundant life within Spiritual Promise and remaining yet outside it? Based on the experience of Israel, I think we can fairly evaluate our own position by the following:
1. Living Outside the Promise – The purpose of the desert was to humble and test the Israelites to see if they would obey God. God caused the Hebrews to hunger so He could fill them with manna they had not known. Though He was not obligated to such extravagances, God wanted to prove He would provide every single physical and spiritual need. God was building trust between His people and Himself, therefore; the ongoing fight was against unbelief and distrust. (Deuteronomy 8)
APPLICATION: If your struggle is unbelief and lack of faith in God’s action on your behalf, you may yet still be living outside the Promise. That does not mean you are doomed to stay there! Hear the encouragement of God to Joshua,
“Only be strong and courageous, be careful to do according all the Law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord you God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:6-9)
Your entry into the Promise will be directly related to how much time you spend in the Word and allow God’s courage to indwell your Spirit. Trust Him with your battles – He is on your side! If you are uncertain if you have ever truly accepted God’s gift of salvation, would you please email me so we can talk and pray that through?
2. Living Inside the Promise – The unbelief of the Israelites cost forty long years in the desert until a new generation raised up who believed God enough to allow Him to go ahead of them and overtake the inhabiting nations. Joshua and Caleb were the only two scouts in the first generation who believed their Warrior God would bring them victory. When it was time to once again attempt a conquest, the greatest issue was no longer unbelief but the internal effect of Satan’s schemes in the specific area of idolatry. The fight would also continue externally on behalf of the brethren. Many battles would ensue in which a group of Israelite tribes would fight alongside one another in order to clear out their inheritance from the Canaanites.
“Then they came near to him (Moses) and said, ‘We will build here sheepfolds for our livestock and cities for our little ones; but we ourselves will be armed ready to go before the sons of Israel until we have brought them to their place, while our little ones live in the fortified cities because of the inhabitants of the land. We will not return to our homes until every one of the sons of Israel has possessed his inheritance’.” (Numbers 32:17-18)
APPLICATION: If your struggles lie more within Satan’s schemes to attack your Kingdom effectiveness through either personal idolatries or external issues relating to family, relationships, health, etc., you are most likely in the Promise yet still fighting the thing through! Living in the Promise can also be measured in proportion to your time spent in intimacy with God as well as your sense of living an abundant life. Simply ask yourself: Am I confessed and unashamed? Though I am in a struggle, can I describe the underlying emotion in my life as contentment and joy? Do I consistently seek God’s will in my life through prayer and His Word? Am I spending time fighting alongside my sisters to see them come into their own inheritance? If you can not answer many of these in the affirmative, but your belief and trust has been decided, then consider moving further into enemy territory! He won’ t bother you if you aren’t bothering him!
I pray these two applications have been a tool for you to check your own spiritual map and hopefully encourage you by helping you see you may be farther along than you think! Girls, God delivered us FROM bondage, not to leave us floundering, but to deliver us TO abundance. Because He is fighting on our behalf, we can take righteous risks knowing the outcome will be the exact thing which will glorify His name. If there is any legacy I pray I leave, it is that I was brave, courageous, and trusted My God to glorify Himself HOWEVER He sees fit. That can either be a horrifying or exhilarating thought. Let’s choose adventure!
Somewhere in the Middle
Somewhere between the hot and the cold
Somewhere between the new and the old
Somewhere between who I am and who I used to be
Somewhere in the middle, You’ll find me
Somewhere between the wrong and the right
Somewhere between the darkness and the light
Somewhere between who I was and who You’re making me
Somewhere in the middle, You’ll find me
Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control
Fearless warriors in a picket fence,
reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end
and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences,
the God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His
or are we caught in the middle
Are we caught in the middle
Somewhere between my heart and my hands
Somewhere between my faith and my plans
Somewhere between the safety of the boat and the crashing waves
Somewhere between a whisper and a roar
Somewhere between the altar and the door
Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more
Somewhere in the middle You’ll find me
Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender
without losing all control
Lord, I feel You in this place and I know You’re by my side
Loving me even on these nights when I’m caught in the middle
1. We talked of the importance of encouragement when God has called us to task. Has a lack of encouragement or even ridicule ever taken you back to a place of insufficiency you thought you had conquered?
2. Is there someone you know right now who is attempting a new ministry that could use a world of encouragement from you? Why do you think this thing may be scary for her? Will you commit to write a note, make a call, or send an email with a dose of courage inside?
3. Read Moses’ song in Exodus 15:3-18. What line speaks to you most? Why does it touch you?
4. Based on the applications of living either inside or outside the Promise, where would you now say you currently reside? (As I read your answers, if this one point seems to have been confusing, I’ll elaborate in a separate post. Again remember I am asking this question in terms of abundant living and not in determining salvation.;))
5. If you are ‘Somewhere in the Middle’ between the girl you were and the one you want to be, how do you plan on changing that? Is there a barrier you feel you can’t climb? Knowing God is for you and this study group is for you, is there a way we can help?
Blessings on your week, sisters!