Numbers 25-27, Psalm 48
Though the world likes to use words like: should, could, might, maybe, possibly, etc., this is not how God speaks. When God speaks there is nothing vague or wishy-washy about His choice of words. When He speaks, He uses words like: will, won’t, shall, shall not. There is no wiggle room in His message. When we go through Scripture and read His promises, then see the reality of our own lives it should make us all squirm. We look for disclaimers or exceptions, but they are not there. Many choose to remain biblically ignorant but this also offers no protection. The only reason why we are still standing is because God is patient and full of mercy and grace. This can earn us a little more time on earth as we are figuring things out, but when we breathe our last, trusting on our good works to somehow get us into heaven has absolutely no standing in Scripture. The only reason why some of us sinful, very imperfect human beings actually get to enjoy eternity in heaven rests solely on the finished work of Jesus and our acceptance of that finished work.
The Bible is full of the promises of God. We read yesterday in Numbers 23:19,”God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” We read in Numbers 1:45, “So all who were numbered of the children of Israel, by their fathers’ houses, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war in Israel-all who were numbered were six hundred and three thousand five hundred fifty.” We read God’s promise as a result of their unbelief and disobedience in Numbers chapter 14:29-30, “The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in.” I’m sure over the next 39 years as they wandered in the desert, many mistakenly believed that they would somehow make it through. I’m sure that many were good fathers and good husbands, who diligently worked for their family. I’m sure that many felt that somehow God would notice all of their good works and maybe change His mind. We read in Numbers 26:51, at the conclusion of their second census 39 years later, “These are those who were numbered of the children of Israel: six hundred and one thousand seven hundred thirty.” Interestingly, almost the exact number who were in position to enter at the time of the first census. We read in Numbers 26:65, “For the Lord had said to them, “They shall surely die in the wilderness.” So there was not left a man of them, except Caleb son of Jehunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.” It took 39 years for the promise to be fulfilled, but at the conclusion of the second census in Numbers 26:65, we see the promise fulfilled exactly as God had said it would be.
The promises of God throughout the Bible should be both reassuring and humbling. When we are going through times of trouble, we can trust in these promises and find comfort. When we are wandering and sinning, these promises should bring us conviction and humbling. This is another reason why studying the entirety of God’s Word is so important. Ignorance is never a defense, which is so significant at a time when Biblical illiteracy is so rampant. Like these over 600,000 men, we have all been to many funerals. Despite what the officiant of the funeral says, that earthly tent in the casket is emptied of it’s soul. That soul is in only one of two locations. When that person who died has never cared about the things of God, has never shown one ounce of fruit that they have come into a relationship with Christ, despite all of the pomp, we must assume that person’s soul is in Hades awaiting the Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20 when it will be entered into hell for all eternity. There might have been a deathbed confession that we are unaware of or an angelic encounter, but everyone should be weeping at that funeral. For those of us who had a chance to reach that person but chose not to, or gave a half-hearted attempt, we should be weeping louder than anyone else that we took the finality of our loved one so lightly. Many officiants like to speak encouragingly about the deceased using made-up, man-made reasons for why they are in heaven. For anyone who chooses to approach God’s Word this way, we should remember John’s words at the conclusion of the book of Revelation in chapter 22:18-19, “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” His promises are guaranteed, but His timing is unknown both for the individual and for the world at large.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: