Peter talks about resisting the enemy, but how can we do it if we cannot see the devil in 3D within our own story.
This is the second message in the series «triggered» where we are learning to fight anxiety. And at this point, Steven Furtick helps us to study the words of Peter.
The devil in 3D
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.1 Peter 5.8-9 NIV
In verse 9, Peter invites us to resist the enemy but the problem with this is that we cannot resist something that we cannot recognize. Therefore, let’s try to recognize it through the life of Moses.
1 In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.Numbers 20.1-12 NIV
2 Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. 3 They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! 4 Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? 5 Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”
6 Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 7 The Lord said to Moses, 8 “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”
9 So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.
12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”
In verse 11, Moses decides to do something that God didn’t tell him to do. I’m talking about hitting the rock with the staff.
Even thou that worked out, it doesn’t mean it was the wisest thing to do. And that applies to many of the things we do.
It seems to work superficially but at the end of the day, we discovered that it had a significant cost, as it happened to Moses in verse 12.
The main idea that we should grasp from this story is about disappointment. Like the disappointment that the Israelites had when they didn’t have the conditions to live, that is why they began to act in a way that they normally wouldn’t.
Moreover, we would all react in a similar way when we get disappointed according to our expectations. In those situations, we are more inclined to do something that we would not normally do.
In the case of the Israelites, they began to blame others and they said things like ”If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord!“. It may be reasonable considering the situation, however, it’s not useful to say things like that. Instead, the situation was getting worse.
Be very careful to say things that are not useful. Dying has never been a solution at all and it will never be.
In verse 5, the Israelites began to talk about grain, figs, grapevines, and pomegranates that were in Egypt. Such was their disappointment that they began to value more their past, forgetting that in Egypt they were assassinated without mercy, they were slaves, they were suffering and that they cried out for help. They were remembering a past that was not real.
It is tempting to go back to the past through our mind, but the point is that it’s still as imaginary as our future is.
Frustration operates when our experiences differ from our expectations. Knowing this, one of the things you can do to have peace in your mind is to crucify your expectations about other people.
I guess it has also happened to you. We usually set expectations for each person we know, but when we experience reality it’s when we become filled with frustration and that’s not healthy for us.
Returning to the story, we can see a Moses who is upset mainly because God was not bothered by the attitude of the Israelites. Moses expected God to also be upset with what the people of Israel were saying.
That expectation of God is what frustrated Moses and that’s the reason why he did something that God didn’t tell him to do.
An interesting question to ask ourselves is Why did God tell Moses to take the staff if He didn’t want Moses to use it? The answer is more interesting than the question. Do you remember the first thing Moses said to God when God called him to free his people? What he said was: “I am not good at speaking” (Exodus 4.10).
After 40 years of leading the people of Israel, God asks Moses to speak to a rock. One would expect that Moses was already prepared to speak, yet it seems that Moses kept the idea that he is not a good leader for the people of God.
Therefore, in verse 12, when God says that Moses and Aaron cannot lead the people of God, it is not a punishment. In reality, God is protecting them because the new season that is about to begin requires a different leadership. They no longer need a leader who depends on a staff but one who depends directly on God.
In other words, what God asked Moses in verse 8 is to hold the staff with enough faith to not have to use it. Sadly, Moses let his frustration and disappointment grow to such an extent that it destroyed his potential.
4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.1 Corinthians 10.4 NIV
The story where we started reading about Moses, in reality, was not about Moses. It is not about you or me either, because we can disappoint each other. It’s about the rock that is Jesus.
In the third verse, we’ve found that the Israelites quarreled with Moses, but the truth is that they quarreled with the Lord:
13 These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them.Numbers 20.13 NIV
If Moses had not taken it personally perhaps the story would be different. This is the message for us. Don’t take things personally because otherwise there will be a day where your emotions will explode and you’ll do something you’ll regret.
Now everything makes sense, that is why Peter recommends us to resist the devil. How do we do it? By “standing firm in the faith” knowing that “the world is undergoing the same kind of suffering”.
Standing firm in the faith is confirmed by David through Psalms:
who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water.Psalm 114.8 NIV
Despite Moses’ error, God allowed water to flow from the rock, which means that God can turn our mistakes into the places where He will perform the greatest miracles.
Talk to your weakness and remember that when Moses said “I am not”, God said “I am”.
Do you trust God enough?
This has been a great message and while I was studying more about it, it has opened many interpretations to me like the fact that the devil uses our frustrations or disappointments to destroy our potential.
If you want to talk about this message then let’s chat by [clicking here] or through social media as @lenusme.
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See you in the next post.
- The devil in 3D | Triggered | Steven Furtick | 2018.08.20 | [Link]