“Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.”
I Corinthians 10:1-5 NKJV
Faith under fire
Reading the Old Testament is instructive, and horrifying, as I consider the those who came before us saw and experienced and intimacy with God that we who are modern day followers of Jesus can only dream. They were lead by the Lord, shielded from the scorching sun by day, warmed and lead by His glorious flame by night. He provided their daily food, and even the clothes that covered them did not wear.
But still they failed, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
It has been nearly two thousand years since Jesus last walked the earth, and those who remain are entering in the last days, seeing the staging of events, orienting in real time, as if they are being lifted from the Scriptures right before our eyes.
We do not have the first hand presence of the Lord before us, but we who are born again, have the presence of the Helper, the Holy Spirit within us. We walk by faith and not by sight.
Paul reminds us in I Corinthians chapter ten of a time when the Lord surrounded the children of Israel. They had no enemies and all that they could possibly need was provided. By contrast, we live out our lives as believers in a hostile land, practicing a faith under fire. At this time we do not have God before us, but we have God in us, guiding us, empowering us to go and be faithful.
As I think back to those who have gone before, I am constantly reminded that they are witness of the faithfulness of God. They followed Him, and they are our examples. When I consider the reality that they did not have God in them, and I then consider the numbers of those who have fallen away, I can find myself wondering if the Lord will find anyone believing.
Brothers and sisters, we have such a greater salvation than those who have gone before us. We have the advantage for the cross of Christ, where our sins were done way with. Let us be more faithful than those who have come before us.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV
The world is pressing in on us, as the evil one is working all things according to his power as the god of this fallen world. Let us cling to the things that have gotten us thus far. Let us read our bibles, the word of God, sealed and complete and providing us the will and wisdom of God.
Let us pray for each other, lifting all up to the Lord. Pray especially for those who teach us, for the evil one is seeking to discourage them and is actively seeking the destruction of their families.
We are in the final battle to enter the promised land, not the one on the other side of the Jordan, but the one not made with human hands. The Kingdom of God awaits those who are faithful, and the joy of being where Jesus is.
The devil will seek to trip up the saints, desiring nothing more than to damage the testimonies of those who have the stories of salvation that shake the hearts of the lost sinner. It is time, my people, to be on guard. It is time to be armored up.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—”
Ephesians 6:12-18 NKJV
Let us be watchful. Let us cling to what is good and holy, avoiding worldliness and being constant in proclaiming the Gospel. I tell you the truth, people are coming to Jesus right now. There are so many who are asking questions and seeking those who have the answers.
May we be careful to not think ourselves better than those who have come before, for we, like them, are but flesh. Let us resist temptation, clinging to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
I Corinthians 10:12-13 NKJV
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