Archive for July 11th, 2013

End Well

July 11, 2013

Here are the notes from the message 7/7/13.

Introduction

This past 4th, we attended the local fireworks display.  They did an outstanding job, finishing with an awesome grand finale.  Then there was one final firework that was launched just a little late.  It was not a large burst, but rather a small pop.  It was weak ending to a spectacular show.

I.  Moses:  Numbers 27:12-23

Now the Lord said to Moses: “Go up into this Mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given to the children of Israel. 13 And when you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was gathered. 14 For in the Wilderness of Zin, during the strife of the congregation, you rebelled against My command to hallow Me at the waters before their eyes.” (These are the waters of Meribah, at Kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin.)

15 Then Moses spoke to the Lord, saying: 16 “Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, 17 who may go out before them and go in before them, who may lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be like sheep which have no shepherd.”

18 And the Lord said to Moses: “Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; 19 set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight. 20 And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. 21 He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the Lord for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him—all the congregation.”

22 So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation. 23 And he laid his hands on him and inaugurated him, just as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.

Moses had served for forty years as the leader of the people of Israel.  He had been, not perfect, but faithful, through many difficult times.  As his period of leadership was drawing to a close, he appointed a leader to carry on in his stead.  He ended well.

II.  Solomon: I Kings 11:1-4

But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites— from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David.

Solomon had started so very well.  He had been a magnificent king, widely known for his wisdom, contributing to the text of sacred scripture, serving God for many years.  How very sad that when he was old, that his heart turned towards other gods.  He is a great illustration of what can happen if we do not carefully guard our hearts.

III.  Keep Your Heart:  Proverbs 4:23

Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.

As a person with a family history of heart disease, I read these verses in two different ways.  First, I do watch my diet, and exercise regularly so that I can continue to enjoy good health, and the productivity that may come with it.  Secondly, and more importantly, I am reminded that I must keep my heart right before God.  I certainly do not want to follow in Solomon’s footsteps, serving God for years, and then falling away at the end.  I want to finish well, and to finish well, I must keep my heart right before God.

IV.  Warning!  Numbers 33:50-52 & 55-56

Now the Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho, saying, 51 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you have crossed the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 52 then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their engraved stones, destroy all their molded images, and demolish all their high places;

But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell. 56 Moreover it shall be that I will do to you as I thought to do to them.’”

The children of Israel were directed to cleanse the land from those things that would lead them astray, to serve other gods.  Now, obviously, we are not to kill off all non-believers, and most of us are not tempted by engraved stones, or molded images.  We are however, tempted in a whole host of other ways to pursue things other than God.  Perhaps we are tempted to pursue money, power or fame.  Perhaps we become far too comfortable and entangled in the things of this world.  For each of us, the dangers may be different, but the point is the same.  Keep God first in your life and in your priorities.  This is not a challenge for a part of our life, but for all of our life.  Don’t let a passion for God be simply a phase, or portion of your life, may it be your life.  May you finish well.

 

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