The Lord Showed Him A Tree - Part III
— “The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the
inhabitants of Palestina. Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab,
trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. Fear and
dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of Your arm they shall be as still as a stone; till
Your people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which You have purchased.”
How so very much this portrays the fact that the doubt and unbelief of 10 of the 12 spies sent into Canaan was so unnecessary (Num., Chpt. 13). It brought untold sorrow and heartache, even the death of that generation in the wilderness.
And why not? The inhabitants of Canaan had all heard of the great miracles performed by the Lord in Egypt, and especially the miracle of the Red Sea.
This is evidenced by what Rahab said:
I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you, when you came out of Egypt; and what you did unto the two kings of the Amorites, who were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, He is God in Heaven above, and in earth beneath (Josh. 2:9-11).
WHAT JESUS HAS DONE
All of this portrays in type what Christ accomplished at the Cross when He “spoiled principalities and powers (fallen angels and demon spirits), where He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:14-15). Just as these enemy nations feared Israel, likewise, all fallen angels and demon spirits, even Satan himself, fear the child of God who understands and knows that he has “passed over” into our inheritance, which was purchased for us by the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, the Scripture portrays Satan as a coward.
James said, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
HOW DO WE RESIST THE DEVIL?
We resist him successfully in one way, and one way only, and that one way is the way of faith (Heb., Chpt. 11). This means that we aren’t to try to use our own strength and ability, whatever that is, but rather faith.
What do we mean, resist him by faith?
Whenever faith is addressed in the Bible, either directly or indirectly, it speaks of Christ and what Christ did at the Cross. In other words, the Cross of Christ is to ever be the object of our faith.
Satan will do everything in his power to move our faith from the Cross to other things. To be sure, he doesn’t care too very much what those other things are, or even how holy they might be in their own right. Most of the time, he will use preachers preaching false messages in order to carry out this task. Tragically and sadly, most of the preaching done presently, as it regards living for God, is leading people’s faith away from the Cross instead of to the Cross. This is the sure road of disaster.
While it is certainly true that most of this preaching of which I speak is done through ignorance, still, much of it is also in the realm of unbelief.
ENEMIES OF THE CROSS
For instance, the doctrine of the Word of Faith preachers is a doctrine that is totally opposed to the Cross. In fact, they are “enemies of the Cross,” even as Paul described (Phil. 3:18-19).
Even in the denominations that claim to believe in the Cross, they little preach the Cross, if at all, but rather preach humanistic psychology.
So, the believer resists the Devil by making certain that his faith is anchored in the Cross of Christ, and that it remains in the Cross. This is the “good fight of faith” that he is called upon to fight constantly (I Tim. 6:12).
Now, what I’ve given you is a tremendous truth. It really doesn’t matter which way Satan comes against you, whether it’s in the realm of temptation to commit immorality, to succumb to depression, or any one of a thousand other things which we could name. Your defense is Christ, and more particularly, what He did for you in His finished work. That’s why Paul said to the Corinthians: “I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (I Cor. 2:2).
I remind our Word of Faith friends that the Holy Spirit through Paul didn’t say: “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him resurrected,” which is what some others teach, but rather “Him crucified.”
Oh yes, Paul most definitely preached the resurrection, but his main theme was always the Cross of Christ.
“You shall bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which You have made for You to dwell in, in the sanctuary, O LORD, which Your hands have established” (Ex. 15:17).
This great song proclaims who God is, what He did, and how He did it.
It also proclaims, as given in Verse 17, that all of this was done for a purpose. It was to bring the children of Israel to the place of the “Lord’s inheritance,” which He had made for them to “dwell in.” As stated, for the children of Israel, it referred to Canaanland; however, its total meaning has to do with the believer’s position in Christ, for biblical history has always strained toward this conclusion.
The phrase, “Which Your hands have established,” speaks of something already done, in other words, past tense.
This means that even before the children of Israel reached Canaanland, God had already ordained that the land would be theirs, despite the enemies which inhabited it. Likewise, He has established the fact that we as believers should be totally and completely victorious, all in Christ, which means that sin shall not have dominion over us (Rom. 6:14).
PARTAKERS OF CHRIST
Now, regrettably, many Israelites died lost - even before getting to the land and even after being in the land - because of a lack of faith. It is the same with the modern believer.
Despite the fact that God has already ordained our victory, if we as believers harden our hearts against the way of the Lord, which is Christ and Him crucified, we too can lose our way (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-29).
The apostle said:
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence (continue to exhibit faith in Christ and the Cross) steadfast unto the end; While it is said, Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation (as did Israel). For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all who came out of Egypt by Moses (it seems that some repented and continued to believe).
“But with whom was He grieved forty years? was it not with them who had sinned (who lost faith), whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom swore He that they should not enter into His rest, but to them who believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief (failure to trust Christ and His finished work) (Heb. 3:14-19).
SIN AND THE BELIEVER
God will never overthrow the believer because of sin, even as vile as that sin might be, if the believer faithfully repents and continues to trust Christ, at least as best as he knows how. But, of course, the bondage of sin is present in a believer’s life simply because he does not understand his place and position in Christ, which was and is afforded by the Cross. Not understanding that it is the Cross that has guaranteed us all things, and that we must, thereby, keep our faith in the Cross of Christ, sadly and regrettably, most Christians place their faith in other things. This is a guarantee that sin will, in some way, dominate their hearts and lives.
As stated, God will not overthrow the believer for sins within his heart and life, with the exception of the one sin of unbelief. That speaks of the believer losing faith in Christ and what Christ has done at the Cross, rather advocating other things. Because the Cross is the great foundational truth of the atonement, for this sin of unbelief, an individual who was once saved can, thereby, take himself out of the salvation of the Lord and be lost. Faith is what gets us in, and faith in Christ and His Cross is what keeps us in. If we lose such faith, we have lost salvation (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-29).
If the Lord threw believers over because of sins of the flesh, etc., to be quite frank, there wouldn’t be any believers left; however, let it be ever understood that any type of sin registered in the heart and life of the believer is an occasion for misery. This is not the normal Christian experience. In fact, such a position pictures the believer as living in a state of spiritual adultery (Rom. 7:1-4). This simply means that the believer is married to Christ but is being unfaithful to Christ by placing his or her faith in things other than Christ and what Christ has done for us at the Cross. As stated, Paul classified such action as “spiritual adultery.” There is no joy or peace of mind in such a life, even though the believer is saved. Joy and peace can be found only in total and complete victory, which is what God intends for us to have, and which we most certainly can have if we will simply follow God’s prescribed order of victory.
OUR GOD REIGNS
“The LORD shall reign forever and ever” (Ex. 15:18).
This word closes this great and beautiful song. The song ends as it began - with “The Lord.” Faith views the eternal future without a tremor.
Let us never forget that we are able by faith to enter this eternal future all because of the following:
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus … Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith … Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering” (Heb. 10:19-23).
Once again, let the believer understand that it is all by faith, and more particularly, it speaks of faith in Christ, and more particularly still, faith in what He did for us in the shedding of His precious blood, which He did at the Cross, and which paid the price for our redemption.
Once again, I remind our Word of Faith friends that we “enter into the Holiest,” not by the resurrection of Jesus, but rather the blood of Jesus, which speaks of Him shedding such at the Cross.
“For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea”(Ex. 15:19).
It seems that Miriam, Moses’ sister, led Israel in worship. When it says, “And Miriam answered them,” it is speaking of the men singing and the women answering them under the leadership of Miriam.
The timbrels, as mentioned in Verse 20, suggest the pleasure of the Holy Spirit in using such to accompany the singing, which speaks of musical instruments.
There was great rejoicing as it regarded the great miracle performed by the Lord in opening the Red Sea and, as well, drowning the Egyptian army. Giving vent to this great happiness and joy, the women of Israel, who could have numbered a half million or more, began to lead Israel in “dancing before the Lord,” with worship and praise.
We are commanded here to “sing you to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously.” This refers not only to Israel of old, but to all modern believers, as well, and, in fact, every believer who has ever lived.
JESUS CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED
A part of the song sung by Miriam and the women of Israel is given in this verse. In other words, it is a compendium of what they sang.
We as believers are to ever tell what the Lord has done for us, and most important of all, we are to proclaim the salvation that He has given us, how He saved us, and by what means, which is Jesus Christ and Him crucified (I Cor. 1:23).
In fact, after the time of the great tribulation foretold by Jesus (Mat. 24:21), those who come out of the great tribulation, both Jews and Gentiles, having gained victory over the beast, will sing this song again in Heaven. It is called “the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb” (Rev. 15:1-4).
MIRIAM THE PROPHETESS
“And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances” (Ex. 15:20).
Miriam was the sister of both Moses and Aaron. She is the first woman whom the Bible honors with the title of prophetess.
Pulpit says of her: “Miriam is regarded by the Prophet Micah (Mic. 6:4), as having had a share in the deliverance of Israel, and claims the prophetic gift in Numbers 12:2. Her claim appears to be allowed both in the present passage, and in Numbers 12:6-8, where the degree of her inspiration, however, is placed below that of Moses.”
We find throughout Israel and, as well, in the New Testament that women often played a major role in the work of God. As they were participants of the “callings,” as is here made evident, Deborah was also selected by the Lord to be the judge of Israel during the particular time of the judges. She was the fourth person to occupy that position. Along with her military commander, Barak, she won a great victory over the Canaanites (Judg. 4:1-5:31).
On the inaugural day of the church, so to speak, Peter quoted the Prophet Joel: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.”
To emphasize the point, the Holy Spirit had him say it again: “And on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17-18).
The Greek word for prophesy is propheteuo and means “to foretell events, or to speak under inspiration.”
So, this tells us that women are called to preach the same as men.
Paul said, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence” (I Tim. 2:12).
First of all, the order that God has set up is that man is in authority. The apostle also said, “For Adam was first formed, then Eve” (I Tim. 2:13).
The word authority proclaims the rule that if a man is available who has the calling of pastor, he should pastor the church, and not a woman, even though she might have the calling, as well, of pastor (Eph. 4:11). If no man is available, she could feel free to serve in that capacity.
Silence in the Greek is hesuchia and means “distance from bustle or language, quietness, silence.” The word goes back to authority, referring to the fact that while a woman is certainly allowed, and even encouraged, to speak her mind, and that her wisdom is equal to that of the man, still, she is not to push forward, but rather to remember her place. If everything is done in God’s order, the ability of any and every individual is given opportunity.
Other than the order which the Holy Spirit has set up, and which is obvious, Paul said, “For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. There is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26, 28).
The inspired scene that unfolds before us is a wonder to behold, to say the very least. There could have been as many as 500,000, or even more, women playing tambourines and dancing before the Lord. As we’ve stated, the first reaction to the mighty deliverance was great rejoicing, as will always be the case in one way or the other, when a person comes to Christ and is, therefore, delivered from the clutches of the Evil One. Concerning the women, sin had come into the human race through the woman, but now her heart was lifted up in praise, which testified in itself of victory over it.
It seems that this great celebration was part rehearsed and part spontaneous.
We have some reason to believe that Moses may have also been an accomplished singer. He not only sang this song, but, as well, the Lord gave him Psalm 90, and more than likely, even Psalm 91, both of which are songs. Most of the time when people write songs, they also have the ability to sing those songs.
The Scripture says that Moses and the children of Israel sang this song, as given to us in Chapter 15. Consequently, it would seem that the Lord first gave the song to Moses, with him having any number of scribes to hurriedly make copies, which could have numbered into many hundreds.
He could have pulled together any number of people, both men and women - for the Scripture says “the children of Israel,” which included both - and then taught them this song. Quite possibly, as the Holy Spirit inspired Moses to write this song, He could very well have inspired the people to learn the song quickly and to sing it, which is, no doubt, what happened.
At any rate, many thousands began to sing because of the great joy that filled their hearts. It seems that Miriam spontaneously took a timbrel in her hand, and playing the instrument, which refers to keeping rhythm, she began to dance before the Lord, with many thousands of women then joining her. As stated, that must have been quite a sight.
I cannot recall any Campmeeting we’ve ever had where the people were that demonstrative, but we certainly ought to be!
Let it be understood, as well, that the dancing here was definitely not orchestrated or choreographed, at least as we think of such presently. As stated, it was spontaneous. In fact, this method of dancing became quite common in Jewish history. It consisted of the women, usually playing the tambourines as Miriam did here, whirling about in joy before the Lord. The modern method of some churches of hiring choreographers can be constituted as nothing but the flesh. When the joy of the Lord fills the heart to such an extent that the women cannot keep still but must dance before the Lord, which will always be in a fashion that glorifies God and not the flesh, this should ever be desired.
We have two problems in the modern church:
1. The first problem is spiritual deadness. In other words, there is absolutely no emotion whatsoever. Such an attitude and direction are not at all scriptural, as should be obvious.
2. The second problem is that there are all types of emotions, but generated by the flesh. Both are equally bad. If the Spirit of God has His way, there definitely will be emotion, but it will be the joy of the Lord and not an operation of the flesh. In fact, spiritual deadness and mere emotionalism are both of the flesh, although in opposite directions.
This article will be continued in the April issue of The Evangelist.