Michael Youssef - Treasure That Lasts - Part 15
It has been 14 months, you get that? Fourteen months from the time the people of God have escaped the slavery of Egypt and they're now at the edge of the Promised Land. That's where they are, at the edge of it. And God said to Moses, "It's time to go". Do you know why did God take them the long way around instead of the direct route which would have taken them probably between three to four or five months? I wanna tell you my personal opinion, okay? I make it clear, if the Bible's not clear, I tell you it's my opinion. I believe God took them the long route in order to teach them faith. In order to teach them to trust him. In order to teach them to lean on him. In order to teach him to worship him and obey him alone before they get into the Promised Land.
And so now, I want you to turn into the book of Numbers chapter 13. Here's what God said: "Get some of the men and go into the land, which I am giving you". Now, I want you to read it very slowly and very carefully because I wanna tell you, if you miss this, you miss the whole message. God says what? "I'm gonna send you to the land, which I hope to give you"? Well, God bless you. "I'd like to give you"? "I can possibly give you"? "I might give you if you're good"? No, "I am giving you". Let's say it again. So Moses selects a representative from each of the 12 tribes, so he chose 12 people, 12 spies, to go into the land of promise and the reason it's called the Promised Land is because God promised it to Abraham 400 years before Moses.
And so he selects a representative of each of the 12 tribes and he sent them into the land of Canaan. And they were there for 40 days, spying around, looking around, and they came back with such excitement. And they said to Moses and to the people, they said, "Moses, boss man, God is right, this is a fertile land. Boss man, God is right, this is a prosperous land". In fact, they brought back with them a bunch of grapes. It was so big that two men had to carry it on a pole on their shoulders, showing what an incredible, incredible fertile land it is. And they brought this with them.
In fact, it is now the emblem of the Ministry of Tourism in Israel. You see it on all the buses and cars. It's this bunch of grapes that they brought from Canaan into the wilderness. That's not the end of the story. In fact, that is the only thing they agreed on when they came back, the 12 of them. They only agreed on that and from that moment on, they split into two ways. From that moment, they split into opposite directions. There was a majority report and there was a minority report. The majority report were 10 out of the 12; the minority report were only 2, Caleb and Joshua. Ten out of the twelve thought and they brought into the situation their own human analysis of the situation instead of God's vision.
Ten out of the twelve brought their own worldly wisdom instead of appropriating the promises of God. Ten out of the twelve have organized God out of their equation. Ahh, but only two, Caleb and Joshua, were ready to appropriate God's promises. Listen, there are a lot of people believe the promises intellectually, there are a lot of people assent to the promises of God, but a very few people who are willing to appropriate the promises of God. Two out of the twelve believed God and believed in God and they took him at his word. And today, my beloved friends, I wanna share with you four principles. I plead with you and I've been praying to God since the early hours of this morning.
I plead with you that you would take them to heart and apply them in your personal life, apply them into your family life. Apply them into your business life, apply them, yes, into the church life. First of all, I wanna tell you that the majority is always wrong when God is not at the center. Secondly, it is obedience not opinions that brings the blessing of God. And thirdly, giants can become grasshoppers through the eyes of faith. Fourthly, obedience will be rewarded sooner or later. From my experience, it's often later, but it will be rewarded nonetheless. First of all, the majority will always be wrong if God is not at the center.
There was a time when the majority of people in America believed in God, feared in God. I'm not saying they were committed Christians but at least they believed in God, they feared God, and they sought to honor God. And make no mistake about it, my beloved friends, this is the one thing that brought about the past blessings to America. So a question: when the 10 out of the 12 came back and said, "These Canaanites, they are giants. These Canaanites will wipe us out with their breath," I have to say they must have really have bad breath. What were they doing? Ah, they looked at their circumstances and they saw human impossibility. "Oh, we cannot defeat them. We cannot get into that land. We cannot do this. We cannot do this. We cannot do this". No sooner they gave this fatalist and doubting report, than the masses began to cry and weep, "We're dead. We're done for. It's over".
I wanna ask you this. What's at the stake here? What's at the stake? God's character, God's promises. God's own word is at stake here. And listen, having positive mental attitude would not have helped them at this point. It wouldn't. What they needed is to trust in God's mental attitude. What they needed is to fly into God's altitude. What they needed was to believe in God's positive attitude. What they needed was to know that God always, always, always keep his promises even if it takes 400 years. Please hear me right on this. When you're out of the center of the will of God, when you're out of the center of the Word of God, when you're out of the center of the promises of God, the majority will be wrong. But when you are at the center of the Word of God, you can stand alone, even if the whole world is against you.
So secondly, it is obedience not opinions that brings the blessing of God. God promised the land to Abraham 400 years earlier, right? Then God affirmed and reaffirmed that promise to Moses. God confirmed and reconfirmed his promise through supernatural interventions. God gave them his Holy Spirit in a form of a cloud to lead them in the wilderness. Then God gave them food supernaturally to sustain them. And to make it even more abundantly clear, the clothes that they came out with from Egypt did not wear out. What else do they want? And finally, God says, "Okay, time you go. Time to get into the Promised Land". And what did this 80 or 90% do? "We shall not be moved. Show me. Prove it to me. My opinion matters".
After all that God did. After all that, you would still want proof? For the first six years in the life of this church, we met in a school and the school administrators were breathing down my neck, "When are you leaving? When are you going out? When are you getting your own place"? And we worked diligently, we worked hard, but we ran into some roadblocks. We ran into some stumbling blocks. And you would be absolutely amazed of some of the suggestions that people came up with. "Ooh, we must be out of the will of God," "Maybe the will of God for us to not continue as a church"? Somebody said, "Oh, maybe the will of God for us to just now, we become strong, conservative, Bible-believing church, we can disperse the people into other churches and try to influence them that way".
I've got to confess to you as God my witness in the day I will see him face to face, I found that to be a delicious temptation. I'd just about had enough. I thought maybe I need to go back to my global ministry, in all truthfulness. But I kept saying and others who stood with me, we kept saying, "We know better than this". We knew that we heard God so clearly. I knew that God planted this church, not me, not us. God planted it for one purpose and the purpose is to impact the globe from this pulpit, through the rest of the world. We knew that. Even some people did not buy into that vision, but nonetheless we all knew that this is God's vision for this church. And I knew in my heart that it is obedience not opinions that God cared for and blesses.
Let me tell you that in your walk with Christ, you will face obstacles. In your walk with Christ, you're gonna face some giants. In your walk with Christ, you're gonna face impossibilities. In your walk with Christ, you're gonna face doubt and fear. In your walk with Christ, you're gonna face so many contrary opinions. In your walk with Christ, you will face temptations to stay in your comfort zone and stop dreaming and stop hoping and stop trusting and stop achieving for God. Today, I want to challenge you. Dare not be detracted. Dare not become disobedient. Dare not give in. Dare not succumb to your feelings. Dare not listen to the soothsayers. Dare not sit back and do nothing. Dare not let opinion of others stop you from obedience. Can I get a witness? But rather, what I wanna challenge you to do is to dare to believe the Word of God. Dare to believe the promises of God. Dare to obey the Word of God unconditionally. Dare to face your obstacles with his power, not yours. Dare to stare down your giants.
Look at those giants and say, "You are nothing but grasshoppers," with the power of my God, amen? The majority will always be wrong if God is not at the center. It is obedience, not opinions, that God blesses. And thirdly, giants can become grasshoppers through the eyes of faith. Ten of the twelve saw themselves as grasshoppers, and the enemies of God as giants. Two of the twelve saw the exact opposite. They saw themselves with God's power to be giants and these enemies of God, the grasshoppers. Look at verse 30 with me. Numbers, still in the chapter 13. We're gonna move a little bit but we're still in chapter 13, verse 30. Caleb silenced the people before Moses.
You know, I love this man. I think of all the people, there are many great people in the Bible, I'd like to spend time with in heaven, I really want to spend time with Caleb. I really do. "Let's go but once, occupy the land. We're able to conquer it". I think when I grow up I want to be like Caleb. First, he told the doubters to shut up, then he said, "Let's go". And I want to tell you and testify in gratitude to God that God has given us many Calebs in this church for whom I'll be grateful and thankful for the rest of my life. But listen, only a faith warrior can speak like Caleb. Not someone who speaks through the flesh and sounds so spiritual. Only a faith warrior can stand before an angry mob and challenge their unbelief. That has to be the work of faith. This is a man with unflinching faith in the Word of God.
Here's the absolute truth. Listen carefully. Those who are doubters and naysayers and negative and critical people, they hate people with unflinching faith. Did you know that? They do. You say, "Why"? They're envious of them, number one. These people delight in their pity parties. These people love wallowing in their faithless lives and call it something else. Now I want you to go to chapter 14, book of Numbers, verse 9. Joshua and Caleb were pleading with the people, "Don't rebel against God. Don't be afraid. Don't, the Lord is with us. Don't surrender to your fears. Don't give in to your doubt". And how did the crowd receive this faith-filled attitude? How did they receive it? Yeah, they want to stone them. They want to stone them, they want to kill 'em. And had God not intervened and interfered in the situation, Moses and Aaron and Joshua and Caleb would have been under a pile of rocks.
Let me ask you this. Please take that as a personal question to you personally. What are the giants in your life? What are your giants that are keeping you from reaching and trusting in the promises of God? What are the giants or who are the giants that are keeping you from a life of faith and trusting in God? What giants in your life that are keeping you and keep on harassing you and they keep on defeating you? Today, I can tell you on the authority of the Word of God, you can stare those giants down in Jesus's name. The majority are wrong when God is not at the center. Obedience, not opinions, that will bring the blessing of God. Giants can be grasshoppers in the eyes of faith. Finally, obedience will be rewarded and because it's not rewarded within 24 hours or a week or a month, it is not a reason to give up. It will be rewarded sooner or later, most likely later.
In the book of Joshua chapter 4, you read all about Joshua and Caleb 38 years after this very tragic chapter in the history of God's people. Thirty-eight years later. Both these men entered into the land of promise and they saw those whom the others saw as giants, they saw them as grasshoppers. As far as Caleb was concerned, the bigger the enemies of God's people, the harder they fall. Joshua 14, again you read that Caleb believed that when God is with you, he will defend you. When God is with you, he'll protect you. When God is with you, he will lead you. When God is with you, he will defeat the giants in your life, and Caleb knew that God is in the business of slaying giants.
Where do you think King David got the idea of slaying Goliath? Where do you think... he just dreamed it up? No, he read about it, his great-great-great-great-uncle Caleb slayed giants. Here's a shepherd boy. All he did is believe God's Word literally. Beloved, this is something that is lacking among God's people and becoming less and less and less every day. Why do you think I weep? And that is why God made David the greatest king of Israel because he took God at his word. He believed literally in the Word of God. And so let me tell you this as I come toward the end here. I believe with all my heart that the crises we're facing is not primarily an economic crisis although that might be a symptom.
The primarily crisis is not even moral crisis. That's only a symptom of it. The crisis we are facing is not even political crisis. But the crisis we're facing today is a crisis of faith in the true living God. In taking hold of, absolutely trusting in the integrity and in the infallibility of the Word of God, and that is why I thank God every time new members come here. One of the central vows that they make, they believe in the integrity and the infallibility of the Word of God. I don't know whether you read the news like I do but I am seeing pastor after pastor, Christian writer after Christian writer, Christian blogger after Christian blogger, they are now doubting openly the infallibility of the Word of God.
Could that be the great falling away that Jesus talked about that will precedes his return? I don't know, but that's not all. Listen carefully please. This is important. Not only did Caleb had faith, but in that faith, he discovered the secret of the fountain of youth. What is that secret of the fountain of youth? It is called resting in the Lord. For 38 years, while the unbelieving Jews were wasting away and dying in the desert, Caleb's strength was being renewed. While the unbelieving Jews were wasting away in worry and anxiety and fear, Caleb was being renewed by faith. While these unbelieving Jews and doubters and those who were down in the mouth were wasting away, Caleb was getting younger and stronger and looking forward to turning giants into grasshoppers.
I often wondered, had they listened to Joshua and Caleb and went into the land of promise, I am convinced, even those giants, they would have said, "Boo," and they would have fallen down. The same can happen with you and you and you and you. It can happen with you. As long as you see giants as giants, you'll live in defeat. You'll live a mediocre life. As long as you nurse these giants, God's reward will elude you. Today, we want to slay some giants, amen?