SERMON PREACHED AT CHURCH OF ADVENT MONKEY VILLAGE MAZAMAZA ON SUNDAY 25TH JANUARY 2015 AT 8AM
READINGS: EXODUS 33:14; ISAIAH 43:2
THEME: THE BLESSING OF WALKING WITH THE LORD
A lot would have been said during the week of the celebration theme. Going by the two (2) texts before us. Ex. 33:14 “And God said my presence will go with thee and I will give thee rest.” It was God who said to Moses to take His people out of Egypt, Moses ask God to show him the way. He was asking for grace to lead God’s people. Not only did God granted his prayer but promise to go with him/them.
In Isaiah 43:2 “When thou passesth through the waters, I will be with thee and though the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walketh through fire, thou shall not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
We want to congratulate ourselves if we have just read is the promise of God for us in the year 2015.
We are entering into the year with fear and apprehension. There have been series of predictions and prophecies from every quarter sending fears into our spine but upon that God is given us assurance of His presence if only we can walk with Him.
Reference to Isaiah 43:2 above highlighting the circumstances of the journey, the first thing I know about walking is that it connotes “movement.” You cannot walk if you don’t move. When God says I will “go” with you. Your part is to “take a step forward.”
The principle 2 revealed by Amos especially when walking with God when he asked “can two walk together, unless they agree” (Amos 3:3). It gives the idea of two people moving in rhythm together.
When the writer of Hebrew was commenting on Enock in 11:5 “Enock has this testimony that he pleased God.” Some of us are of the notion that God is hard to please, whereas “God knows our weakness” that is the reason for Grace brought by Jesus.
It was this weakness Moses identified and asks for the grace of God to go with them in that journey. The journey between Egypt and Canaan was not an easy one. So also the journey through 2015 may not be too smooth with devaluation in Naira, the drastic fall of oil price, the level of corruption in the land, the rate of insecurity and insurgency, joblessness, erratic power supply, inflation and famine, the bastardization of all sector – education, Social, values, economic religious, there will be many fake products and a high level of indiscipline. We don’t need any prophet to tell us that many will lose their jobs, this problem will not be limited to Nigeria alone for it is global. I’m yet to be sure of a political party that will solve those enormous monsters stirring on our faces. These are going to be our wilderness experience. Our prayer is that God will count us worthy among those who will get to the Promised Land because many Israelite could not see the land. But if God go with us, the journey will be made easy.
Like the wilderness experience, on their way to Canaan. How God demonstrated His presence. The first word of encouragement Moses declared to the people before embarking on the journey is in Exodus 13:5 “And it shall be, when the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, which He swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, that you shall keep this service in this month.”
This passage SHOWS THAT God will
– Bring them out, give them instructions, protect them, satisfy them, etc.
When in Exodus 14:10-12 “And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? 12 Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?’ For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.” Pharaoh drew near the Israelites, they were so afraid that they asked Moses if he had brought them to the wilderness to be buried. Moses responded in verse 13 “…Fear yee not, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you today, for the Egyptians whom yee have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever. (14) The Lord shall fight for you and yee shall hold your peace.” Read Isaiah 30:15 “For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength. But you would not.”
Exodus 14:23-31 witnessed the destruction of Pharaoh and his chariots in the sea. The Israelites saw the great work of God and believed the Lord and His servant Moses. Moses then declared that the Lord is a man of war. You need to read the song composed to appreciate God by Moses in Chapter 15.
- A terrible hunger came upon them, again the Israelite started murmuring, blaming Moses. Listen to what God told Moses as I communicate it to you as you go into the year “…Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate everyday that I may prove them whether they will walk in my law or not.” appl. What does the scripture says in Psalm 78:24 “Had rained down manna on them to eat, And given them of the bread of heaven.”, John 6:31-32 “Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” 32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
This year, there is going to be a gift from heaven, that will be provided at the right time when it is needed, according to verse 16 collections will be by every member of your family. This manna would be supplied in various forms. (Read Number 11:8) “The people went about and gathered it, ground it on millstones or beat it in the mortar, cooked it in pans, and made cakes of it; and its taste was like the taste of pastry prepared with oil.”, Psalm 78:25 “Men ate angels’ food; He sent them food to the full.” Call it angels’ bread. It will be enough to sustain you throughout the year.
Exodus 17:1-15 shows that the desert is a challenging place to live, a disheartening situation, no water, the people were disconnected with God, there were battles, but read what God is going to do with your thirst this year Nehemiah 9:15 “You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger, And brought them water out of the rock for their thirst, And told them to go in to possess the land Which You had sworn to give them.” So also is the grace of God in your life John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”; Matt.11:28. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
God took Moses to mount Horeb and asked him to smite the rock and water came out. That is what you will experience this year.
Brethren, there will be battle to fight in various ways. Exodus 17:8 “then came Amalek and fought with Israel…” But Israelite won.
The Victory was as a result of fervent prayer Exodus 17:11-13 “And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.” . We can be victorious in the same way (Eph.6:11-18).
As long as Moses was praying, Israel kept winning.
In the same way Jesus is victorious over our enemies – the world, Satan and the flesh Rom 8:37 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”, I Cor.15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
In memory of victory, Moses built an altar and called it “The Lord is my banner” (Ex. 17:14-16).
Jesus is our banner, He has secured for us victory over Satan 1 John 2:14 “I have written to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one.”, over sin Romans 8:37 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”, over the world 1 John 5:4 “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.”
We also must lift our banner up
- Banner of Truth. Prov. 8:7 “For my mouth will speak truth; Wickedness is an abomination to my lips.”, Psalm 60:4 “You have given a banner to those who fear You, That it may be displayed because of the truth.”
- Banner of Victory. Psalm 20:6 “Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven With the saving strength of His right hand.”
- Banner of Love. Song 2:4 “The Shulamite to the Daughters of Jerusalem He brought me to the banqueting house, And his banner over me was love.”
When there was total darkness, and sight was lost. God provided a pillar of cloud and fire, there may be moment of darkness this year but light will come from above to eliminate all darkness.
There were so many people in the Bible who walk with God among them are Enock Gen 5:21-24, Noah Gen 6:5-13, Abraham Gen. 12:1-3 “Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” read.
- Unto a land that I will show you. He will lead you to your spouse, spirituality, right church, success in education, right job, your right calling. But this will happen when you allow the Holy Spirit and trust in the Lord Prov. 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.” God does not bless us just to make us happy. He blesses us to make us a blessing.
- And will make of thee a great nation. We are part of that great family of God. You have to be born into it by being born again, by receiving Jesus.
- And I will bless thee. God want to bless us and meet all our needs of lives. Phil. 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Jesus know you more than you know yourself. He wants us to have life in abundance. John 10:10 “… the thief comet not, but for to steal, and to kill and to destroy: I am come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” He can do more than we can think or ask. Eph.3:20 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask of think according to the power that worketh in us.”
And make thy name great Your name is going to be reckoned with in the family.
- And thou shall be a blessing: God want us to be a blessing to all people. Take the gospel to the whole world. Your light must shine beyond your environment.
- And I will bless them that bless you. When you bless others, it will come back to you. Give to the Church, to missionary work, outreaches etc.
- And in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. Our act of obedience, faith, righteousness and walking in the power of the Holy Spirit will bless all the family of the earth. We do it when we walk and live in the word and Spirit of God.
The Rt. Revd. Dr. J. Akin Atere
The Lord Bishop, Diocese of Awori