Michael Youssef - Treasure That Lasts - Part 10
I'm going to give you a formula, I want you to remember it. And you can take it to the bank. And the formula is this: the more you have, the more you want, the more dissatisfied you are. Did you get that? Okay, remember this formula. The more you have, the more you want, the more dissatisfied and discontented you become. Now beloved, this is how the lower nature, which the Bible called the flesh, works in all of us. Young or old, it doesn't matter. That's how it works. And this is a challenge, and it's not a small challenge to the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ on the 21st century. It really is a great challenge. It's a great challenge to me as your pastor. So, I am not exempting myself from this, I'm in the same boat.
How do we allow the divine nature that the Lord Jesus Christ gave us when the Holy Spirit came to dwell in us, as we saw several weeks ago, and that divine nature to be as such in operation in our lives as to subjugate, as to overwhelm, as to submerge and subdue the old nature with which we're born? Because that old nature's always given to dissatisfaction, to discontentment, and to discord, and to complaining, and griping, and criticizing all the time. I know and you know many in the church of Jesus Christ have been infected by the spirit of discontentment, and disgruntlement, and complaining. Remember the formula. The more you have, the more you want, the more you're what? Dissatisfied and discontented.
But let me testify to you from my own life and from the lives that I observed and nearly 45 years in ministry, a little over 45 years. Murmuring, complaining, and discontentment, and dissatisfaction is always in inverse proportion to gratitude, to the attitude of gratitude, always. Murmur, complaining, discontentment, find something wrong to gripe about is the opposite of thankfulness. It really is. Try to imagine this as a seesaw. When thankfulness is up, discontentment is down. When discontentment is up, thankfulness is down.
I have never, ever, ever, you may have, I haven't, met a person who is grateful, who is thankful for all the blessings that God put upon him or her, and constantly complaining about everything they don't like. I've not met that person. I have never met anyone who's forever giving thanks to the Lord, praising God. I'm not talking about mouthing the songs and singing and all that stuff. People can sing and their heart has no gratitude whatsoever, not full of thanks. I'm talking about a heart that is filled with thanksgiving and praise for God's blessings. I'm yet to see that kind of a person is griping, and complaining, and dissatisfied, and finds wrong everywhere he goes or she goes.
And by the way, as you know, I lived in many countries, three different continents, many cities around the world. And I can testify to you that I found that the attitude of gratitude has nothing to do with what you have in life. It really has nothing to do with it. Some of the most thankful people that have imprinted on my mind and my memory are those who have very little of worldly goods. By the same token, here we are in America, the richest country on the face of the earth, and yet depression, discontentment, dissatisfaction is much higher than any other country in the world. The richest nation, why? Remember the formula. The more you have, the more you want, the more discontented you are.
Now turn with me, please, to Exodus 15, beginning at verse 22, and we're going to go all the way to 16:10. This is just a sample of something that happened for a long time with the people of God. We see them here in the wilderness, and actually throughout the life, throughout their wilderness life. Here they are, been set free from slavery and from pain and suffering. And they lived up to this formula. They really have, they lived up to this formula. The more they saw the incredible hand of God working, the more they want, the more they're discontented. You see it very clearly. Here they are, they used to be waist deep in the mud of Egypt. They used to have the whips lashing on their backs by the slavedrivers of Egypt. And yet they were supernaturally delivered and set free by God.
But the moment they faced a slightest problem, they complained, they murmured, and they griped. And they criticized Moses and Aaron. In their ingratitude to God, they dismissed all of the miraculous things that they saw with their own eyes. This is not somebody tell them about it in the Bible, they're not reading about it. They saw it with their own eyes.
I want to share with you three things about the people of God here in this passage. The first thing is that they were unreasonable. They were unreasonable. Secondly, they were ungrateful. And thirdly, they were unbelieving. I'm going to explain all this in a minute. They were unreasonable because they were complaining to Moses, who was only a servant of God. He has nothing to do with that, he has no power of his own. And they were ungrateful because Moses did everything for them and not necessarily anything for himself. And thirdly, they were unbelieving because they failed to believe that the very God who opened the Red Sea for them can provide for them in the wilderness. Let's examine those three characteristics together.
First, I want to tell you here from the Scripture that murmurers and complainers are unreasonable. They really are, think about it. Remember at the very first message, I talked about the New Testament, not the Old Testament, what the New Testament said about Moses in chapter 11 of the epistle to the Hebrews. By faith, Moses turned his back, and this is what the title of the series. He turned his back on the gold of Egypt, he turned his back on the power of Egypt, he turned his back on the palace of Pharaoh in order to identify with the people of God.
You need to remember Moses was not a downtrodden slave who rose to power. Moses was not a nobody and became somebody. Moses certainly, his story was not from rags to riches, it's actually from riches to rags. Moses did not need public recognition. When he came out of the palace of Pharaoh, people bowed. But he turned his back on all this to become the servant of the living God. But that did not matter to them. That did not matter, why? Because gripers, they are unreasonable people. These murmuring people did not consider any of these matters. They did not care about the truth. They did not want to be confused by the facts. If you know people like this, "My mind is made up, don't confuse me with the facts".
Now beloved, this is the same with the Pharisees in the time of Jesus. It really is, they murmured, they complained, they criticized him. They criticized everything he did. When he healed on the Sabbath, "Ooh, look at that, he healed on the Sabbath," instead of praising God for the healing. They failed to recognize that this is no other than the long expected Messiah. They failed to recognize that he is the one who dwelt in splendor and majesty and glory. They failed to recognize that he is the one who said, "Let there be light," and then the sun and the moon and the stars began to dance in their orbits. They failed to recognize that he is the Lord of glory. Yet he surrendered his splendor.
He did not surrender his divinity, he surrendered his splendor. He surrendered the manifestation of his glory to come to earth so that everyone who would believe in him saved be saved eternally. Murmurers and complainers and dissatisfied people are unreasonable. They do not reason. They do not think logically. They do not analyze factually. They actually think irrationally. Listen to me, a constantly complaining husband is unreasonable. A constantly complaining wife is unreasonable. A constantly complaining parents and criticizing their children are unreasonable. First, complainers and murmurers are unreasonable. And those who are just critics for the sake of being critics.
Secondly, complainers and murmurers are ungrateful people, they really are. You will notice that the one thing that all ungrateful people have in common is that they have a selective memory. They really do, they have a selective memory. They have short attention span. They focus on partial truth in order to prove themselves right. Only few weeks had passed since they saw with their eyes the power of God working to deliver them out of the land of slavery and deliver them from the army of Pharaoh. Look at chapter 16, verses 1, 2, and 3 of Exodus 16. "On the 15th day of the second month after their departure from Egypt, they began to gripe". Isn't that amazing? "We would rather have died with the shish kabab in our mouths".
That's not what the Bible said, but I'll give you... take it from me, that's a Middle Eastern thing. "We would rather have died than feel the pain of hunger". I said ungrateful people have selective memories. Oh, they remembered the pots of meat. Ah, but they forgot the whips on their back. They remembered the barbecue, but they forgot the mud. They remembered the garlic bread, but they have forgotten the miraculous deliverance of the Lord. I pray to God with all my heart that everyone at the sound of my voice, if you are in that situation that today, definitively, you can say, "Lord, I need you to deliver me".
Turn your back on that spirit of murmuring, and complaining, and griping, and criticizing. Turn your back on it, and God will empower you and begin to develop, truly develop the attitude of gratitude. Hear me right, I think I'm right in saying it's not very difficult to find things to be thankful for. Am I saying the truth? It's not going to be difficult to find things to be thankful for. I want to confess to you I have a critical spirit. But my critical spirit is mostly, mostly directed at me. I am my own worst critic, I really am. Now, I criticize other people's ideas of views. I don't tend to criticize individuals for who they are.
Whenever I criticize somebody, it's because of wrong teaching or something like that. But I turn my critical spirit the most on me. And I've always been like this, but thank God for 52 years, the Holy Spirit has been moving me and growing me. Today, whenever I begin to get down... in the old days, when I was young Christian in my walk with Christ, used to go for a long time. Now, it doesn't last but a very short period of time because the Holy Spirit immediately takes me to praise and worship and be thankful. As a matter of fact, I do have a list that's written in my notes of all the blessings that God has accomplished in my life through the years. And all I begin, and I go through that list, and within a few moments I am just shouting and having one man revival.
Thanksgiving mode is the best antidote to griping. But listen to me, we can joke and laugh about ungrateful people, ingratitude and sometimes, you know, ingratitude in us. But do you know that the Bible really takes this so seriously? The Bible takes ingratitude so seriously, so much so that the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:21 to 23 says that ungratefulness causes moral decline in society. Did you know that? In 2 Timothy 3:1 and 2, it says that ingratitude is a sign of the end times. God can be extremely patient with ungrateful people. He was patient with Israel, he was patient with Abraham.
And I'm so thankful he was patient with me. He provided them with manna from heaven, he gave them sweet water out of a bitter water. He gave them meat, he gave them all they needed. But one day, God decided that he just had enough. How many of you believe that one day, God is going to say, "I've had enough"? He decided he had enough, so he sent them fiery serpents that nearly wiped them out. God is infinite in his mercy, but one day, he's going to say, "Okay, I've been patient enough. Time has come".
Please take that as a warning. It may be final for some. Just think about it with me. The one who saved you from the pit of hell, the one who saved you from eternal damnation, the one who saved you from your rightful and my rightful, deserved punishment, will he not give you and provide you with what you need? You don't have to go beyond Jesus to see what gratefulness and faithfulness look like. Here he is, 40 days and 40 nights he's hungry and he's thirsty in the wilderness. And the devil comes in and he begins to tempt him. Yet he still trusted in his Father's provision. He still never doubted his Father's provision. He never questioned his Father's timing. Unreasonable, ungrateful.
Thirdly, murmurers and complainers and critics have unbelief. Now listen, this is not non-belief. Non-believers, these people don't believe in Jesus. Unbelief is for people who know the Lord, but they live their daily life in unbelief. They saw the spectacular fireworks from heaven with their own eyes, ten in number, one miracle after another, one blessing after another, one protective hand after another. But the moment they faced a challenge in life, they said, "Oh, where's God? What has he done for me lately"?
You would think that by now, they would have developed the faith that moves mountains. You'd think by now, they'd have unshakable faith in Yahweh. You'd think by now, they would have immovable faith in Yahweh. Oh, but no. The moment their stomach growled, instead of saying, "God will see us through this one just like he did before," instead of exhibiting belief, they exhibited unbelief. I know there are some Christians who keep getting stuck in the pit of doubt again and again.
And here's the thing you need to know. Doubt comes to all of us, comes to your pastor, comes to all of us. If you allow doubt to linger, that's the danger point. You see, doubt only lingers as you place your focus and your eyes on your circumstances instead of the Lord of your circumstances, amen. Give God praise, don't give me, give God praise. I'm only telling you what his Word said. I begin to praise him, I begin to thank him. And would you believe that in the last several years, I have been thanking the Lord for the times he did not answer my prayers?
My goodness, I remember a time back in the '60s when I prayed fervently and God did not answer. I look back now, oh after all these years and said, "Thank you, Lord. Thank you," because I don't know where I've been had he answered that prayer. And before you know it, you're going to find yourself soaring like an eagle. He who gave us his one and only Son, will he not give us all things for our enjoyment? The one who saved you from hell, the one who saved you from eternal damnation, the one who saved you from your rightful punishment, will he not see you through till the day you see him face to face? Will he not? Will he not?
Beloved, let me tell you this as I conclude. Remember this and remember it always, that God's delay does not always mean denial. His delay does not always mean his denial. And so, are you waiting for God to fulfill a promise to you? Are you waiting for him to deliver you? Are you waiting for him to provide for your needs? Are you waiting for him to bring you out of your situation you're in? Keep on waiting, keep on trusting, keep on believing, keep on thanking him because his delay does not always mean his denial, amen?