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Watch Where You Step
10/19/2008
Scripture: Matthew 12:30; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 5...
Track 11 of 14 in the Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication series
Running time: 56 minutes, 52 seconds.


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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.


Watch Where You Step

Why do bad things happen to Godly people? In many respects, that is a dumb question to ask. Godly people should already know the answer to that question, the reason bad things can happen to Godly people is, we are in perilous territory. All who pursue to walk with God move into an arena that is unlike anything we expect. It is a mystery but it is also true, being a Christian is not easy and it isn’t for those who are not committed to what God called us to. As soon as we take a side, decide to be on the side of God, we make a very bad enemy, Satan.

Last week we talked about how important it is to be in regular prayer with God and how we need to take that privilege seriously. We are not to take what we have with God for granted. We need him and we need his protection to walk through life. Taking the side of God quickly exposes us to a principle called The Peril Principle”. Webster defines peril as exposure to the risk of being injured, danger. Peril speaks of the threat of injury, not its certainty. An activity that is considered perilous doesn’t inevitably happen, but it can.

What are some of the activities we partake in that are considered perilous? Have you done perilous things without an incident? What were the risks? What are the chances?

Those who determine to walk with the Lord become the target of the enemy. I thought it was real interesting when Dr. Techet said in the first lesson of the Truth Project, there are sides in life. In our modern world today of tolerance, people don’t like to take sides. But the reality is, you are either on God’s side or you’re on the side of the Devil. There is no middle ground. Sides have been drawn and we have to choose which side we are on.

Matthew 12:30 “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.

I hope you went home last week affected by the lesson on prayer and took seriously your approach to meeting with God. What a privilege we have to enter into his presence and to be able to communicate with Almighty God. If you did and are now working to improve that aspect of your Christian life, be aware that the news of your commitment has already been received in hell and the enemy will target that decision. The last thing Satan wants is for you to develop a closer relationship with Jesus. You are a target of the enemies attack and you face serious perils that could ultimately lead to injury in your spiritual life.

Now wait a minute Mike, aren’t you being a little too dramatic? Aren’t you exaggerating the situation to scare us? How serious are we to take what I just told everyone? Is Satan and his demons really out there eager and lurking to cause me to fail in my relationship with Jesus? If this is true, what are the real dangers, the real perils out there for us to watch out for?

2 Timothy 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Whoever desires to walk with God walks right into the crucible.

Someone tell me or explain to me what this statement means? Do you agree with it? Are you living in the crucible right now?

So with this good news, why would anyone want to be a Christian? Like on the cigarette packages, maybe we should be required to make this statement before every person decides to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior, “Being a Christian is hazardous to your health. If you choose to be one, you can expect suffering, persecution and maybe death.”

So with this fact, why in the world would anyone want to be a Christian? What advantage is there knowing that when you take the side of God, you create an enemy that will pursue you and work to destroy your life?

Psalm 4:3-8 Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call to him. In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer right sacrifices and trust in the LORD. Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?”Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD. You have filled my heart with greater joy than in their grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

When we are in trouble with Satan, when we are harassed by evil and when things seem to be stacking up against us, God brings in the reinforcements. God’s supply line never runs short. When we are in need, He is there to supply the necessary things so we can stay and fight the battle. As we do battle, God will provide all our needs. God hears when we call and He rises up to keep us safe, especially when we are not aware of the dangers that are around us.

What do you think God means when He says, “Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself”?

That statement goes hand in hand with the one that follows, “the LORD will hear when I call to him”. The godly often need to call upon God when the perils come. He reassures us that when we need Him, He is very close by and will answer. That is why I put so much emphasis on the proper preparation to meet with God last week. We need God’s ear at a moment’s notice, not so we can get the selfish things we ask for most of the time, but for our personal safety, power and courage while we do battle against the enemy.

Let me ask this very tough question, how many of you are literally attacked by Satan and his demons every day and know it, see it and experience it? How many of you are even a threat to Satan? Are you doing enough for Jesus to even be noticed by Stan and his demons as a threat to his kingdom?

Moses is a man who chose to walk with God and who became a target of the enemy. The perils from the enemy come in many different forms. What is unfortunate, many times Satan will use our own people to strike out against us. This is exactly what happened to Moses. Our focus will switch to the book of Numbers. God gave to the nation of Israel the Law. As a nation, they know what God wants and the life they are to live. The tabernacle has been built and everything is in place for them to move on to the land God promised them. The nation is preparing to leave Sinai and proceed on their way to Canaan.

Numbers 10:11, 17 On the twentieth day of the second month of the second year, the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle of the Testimony. Then the tabernacle was taken down, and the Gershonites and Merarites, who carried it, set out.

The Israelites had lain encamped in the wilderness of Sinai about eleven months and twenty days. As the nation moved, God gave them the plan and the assigned placement of tribes as they marched. They didn’t just move in a hodgepodge mess. There was order in how they proceeded. The tabernacle, the tent that the Ark sat within was carried by the clans of the Gershonites and Merarites. The tabernacle was placed behind Judah and went ahead of the groups carrying the Ark and other Holy artifacts used in the tabernacle. When they arrived at a place determined by God, the tabernacle would be set up first so when the other groups arrived carrying the other items, the tabernacle was set up and ready to receive the Ark.

How many of you enjoy moving? Okay, I want everyone to get up and move to a different place in the room. How many of you thought this was fun? How many of you really considered not moving at all? Why? How many were not happy?

Any group of people who wants to walk with God always seems to attract a smaller group who lacks such desire. Scripture calls this group, “the rabble” (Exodus 12:38). Do you know what the Hebrew word is for “rabble”? It means “riffraff”. In this camp of hundreds of thousands of Israelites and a few foreigners who had joined them in their Exodus from Egypt, one segment was constantly a thorn in Moses’ side.

Numbers 11:1-3 Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the LORD and the fire died down. So that place was called Taberah, because fire from the LORD had burned among them.

Can you imagine the affect this would have on MPCC. Imagine what would happen if while Chuck was making and announcement and some in the congregation complained, and those who complained began to be consumed with fire. Do you think this would catch our attention?

Numbers 11:4-6 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

The rumblings went on and on leading Moses into his first peril.

The Peril of Discouragement and Depression

How long does it take for this kind of complaining to cause a leader to become demoralized and dragged down into the pits? What do you do when you want to walk with God but there are a few who won’t. They don’t want to walk God’s way; they want to go their own way. What do you do?

Numbers 11:10-15 Moses heard the people of every family wailing, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. He asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”

How do we overcome the rabble? Here is a tip, once a group gets large enough, the rabble always shows up. If you focus on the rabble and their confrontations, they will suck the life out of you. Don’t work to please the rabble, always work to please God and God will take care of the rabble.

The Peril of Jealousy and Indispensability

Verse 26 leads us into the next peril. “However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp.” The people complained about not eating meat. God decided to feed them meat but how was Moses going to feed all of the people of Israel. God instructed him to select 70 men to help him and gather them at the tent so God could have his Spirit rest on them. But two remained in the camp and God sent His Spirit on them as well and they prophesied. When Joshua saw two men doing what Moses was only to do, Joshua asked Moses to have them stop. Notice what Moses said:

Numbers 11:28-30 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD’S people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

A true leader of God knows his limits. No one is indispensable and no one is called by himself to do the work of God. The task is huge and God uses and gifts all Christians to proclaim the Gospel and uses all Christians to accomplish his will. The wicked servant wants it for himself for his glory, not God’s.

The Peril of Being Misunderstood and Misrepresented

Have you ever experienced being misunderstood with something you said or did and find yourself being criticized or talked about behind your back? How does that make you feel?
What about if you are intentionally being misrepresented to advance someone else’s agenda? What do you do about it and what is the peril to watch out for?

Numbers 12:1-2 Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. “Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the LORD heard this.

It is quite possible that Zipporah, Moses wife had died and he married another woman described in Numbers 12. She was a Cushite, a woman from Ethiopia. Now that Zipporah was dead, maybe Miriam thought she would have greater influence over Moses than before. But another woman comes onto the scene and things changed. We have to remember who Miriam and Aaron are; they are the older siblings of Moses. Both of them actually start a whispering campaign against their brother until God got word of it. A lot of people have trouble with this passage because the Jews were strictly forbidden to marry non-Jews. Why is God defending Moses decision to marry the Cushite? The real prohibition was not to marry Canaanites, nothing was said about Cushites. The real problem was deeper. They were upset he made this decision without their consent or their permission.

Numbers 12:3-5 (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) At once the LORD said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, “Come out to the Tent of Meeting, all three of you.” So the three of them came out. Then the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the Tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam.
Have you ever been called into the principal’s office? Usually when you get these type of calls, you know something’s up and it can’t be good. For Aaron and Miriam, it wasn’t. They did something that God never is happy with; they were spreading lies about a man of God.

Numbers 12:9-15 The anger of the LORD burned against them, and he left them. When the cloud lifted from above the Tent, there stood Miriam—leprous, like snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had leprosy; and he said to Moses, “Please, my lord, do not hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed. Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother’s womb with its flesh half eaten away.” So Moses cried out to the LORD, “O God, please heal her!” The LORD replied to Moses, “If her father had spit in her face, would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp for seven days; after that she can be brought back.” So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on till she was brought back.

Moses faced many perils as a leader for God. Because he trusted in God and turned to God every time an obstacle came before him, God always came to his rescue and protected him from the dangers. The dangers were all around him but God controlled the situation. Moses knew who his protector was and we too also must realize the same fact. Our walk with God will be filled with peril but God has not left us defenseless. He has given us His power, His Spirit to lead us through any and all dark times if we remain faithful and trust Him in all things.