I have a good friend who is a pca licentiate. He filled the pulpit this weekend at Cornerstone pca, the mother church of West Valley pca… the church for which I am on staff for another 27 days and counting. Yes he did… yes, he preached from the book of Numbers. (quite a narrative book but rarely exposited) What a text, what a sermon – and why did he have to preach such an obvious God-ordained text for my needs and fears and rebellion?!!
Numbers 14 is a narrative about God’s people on the edge of the promiseland, griping about why God should have just left them enslaved in Egypt. Then Caleb and Joshua stand among them and declare a simple message: “Do not rebel. Do not fear. The Lord is with us.” The people didn’t want to hear the message of reminder, so they sought to stone them. “But the glory of the Lord appeared.” As my friend John preached: the fortunate thing for us is that whenever we are in the place of rebellion, the glory of God does not diminish. The nature of the KING is unchanged.
More than once in his sermon, John paralleled the promiseland to the “West Valley” – the target area of our church plant. The application was startlingly simple and offensive – we have scouted the land. We have done our demographic research. We have sought the Lord for a vision of his kingdom through his local church… BUT I feel like I am now standing on the edge saying, “Wouldn’t it just have been easier to not sought God for such a big vision.” “Wouldn’t it be better just to fold up and not try – this churchplanting thing might crush us.” “Wouldn’t it be easier to just stay at Cornerstone and not venture out on this faith risk. Have you seen it out there? There are giants in the land!!!”
Then the message comes through. The Lord is with us. Do not fear. Do not rebel, but step out in faith – for God has given us his glory such that he is ahead of us, behind us, over us and in us. He has been faithful in the past – so move out in faith anticipating his faithfulness in the present!
Thankyou God for your Word. Thank you for your Word preached. Thank you for calling us to the edge to take us by faith into the unknown. The time is now. May I not rebel in fear. May we not rebel in fear. Show us your glory.