Keeping the Purity of the Word

Preparing to Leave the Desert  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Earlier this month we started our series on Preparing to Leave the Desert. I believe it is a prophetic series of messages because I believe that God is getting ready to bring us into the promised land.
Last week we talked about curses and blessings; about Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerazim. Remember both Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal were in the promise land, and there was both curses and blessing- in the promised land. Blessing wasn’t automatic based on where they were geographically. It’s the same for you and me. Just because God is bringing us out of the desert and into the promised land doesn’t mean that we’ve “made it”. If want to have a Mt. Gerizim kind of life - a fruitful experience in the promised land, then we are to do the things that bring about the blessing, then we need to shore up our worship life, and to take heed of all that God has done for us in this desert time. God is indeed calling us to prepare to enter the promised land, yet we must make our hearts ready for it.

A Future Without Moses?

Up until this time, getting a trustworthy word from God was easy. Moses would meet with God in the tent of meeting, the cloud of God’s Shekinah Glory would go to the tent and everyone knew that Moses was getting a word from God. The problem now was that Moses was not going to be joining them in the promised land.
Deuteronomy 3:23–29 TLV
“I pleaded with Adonai at that time, saying, ‘O Lord Adonai, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your strong hand—for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do deeds and mighty acts like Yours? Please! Let me cross over and see the good land across the Jordan—that good hill country and the Lebanon.’ “But Adonai was angry with me because of you, so He would not listen to me. ‘Enough!’ Adonai said to me, ‘Do not speak to Me anymore about this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah, look around to the west and the north and the south and the east, and see with your eyes—for you will not cross over this Jordan. But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will cross over before this people, and he will enable them to inherit the land that you will see.’ So we stayed in the valley opposite Beth-peor.
Moses had been forbidden by the Lord to enter the promised land because in his anger he disobeyed God.
Numbers 20:1–8 TLV
In the first month, the entire community of Bnei-Yisrael arrived at the wilderness of Zin. The people stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. Now there was no water for the community, so they assembled against Moses and Aaron. The people quarreled with Moses saying, “If only we had died when our brothers died before Adonai! Now why have you brought the community of Adonai into this wilderness, for us and our livestock to die here? Why have you brought us from Egypt to bring us to this evil place—a place without grain, fig, grapevine or pomegranate—and there’s no water to drink!” So Moses and Aaron went from before the assembly to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and fell on their faces. Then the glory of Adonai appeared to them. Adonai spoke to Moses saying, “Take the staff and gather the assembly, you and your brother Aaron. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will give out its water. You will bring out water from the rock, and you will give the community something to drink, along with their livestock.”
So far, so good right? I mean we’ve seen this movie once before. God says to Moses, strike the rock and immediately a gush of water comes out of it. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt, but this time it was different. God says to Moses, go over there and speak to the rock.
Numbers 20:9–12 TLV
So Moses took the staff from before the presence of Adonai, just as He had commanded him. Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly in front of the rock. He said, “Listen now, you rebels! Must we bring you water from this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with the staff. Water gushed out and the community and its livestock drank. But Adonai said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in Me so as to esteem Me as holy in the eyes of Bnei-Yisrael, therefore you will not bring this assembly into the land that I have given to them.”
He struck the rock, not once, but twice. Why was this such a big deal to God. Let’s go back and read the reason God gave.
Numbers 20:12 TLV
But Adonai said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in Me so as to esteem Me as holy in the eyes of Bnei-Yisrael, therefore you will not bring this assembly into the land that I have given to them.”
The first time the rock was to be struck and water came gushing out, this was at the command of God. Moses did as he was commanded. He remembered doing that, he had the experience of God moving a certain way in response to obedience. But church here’s the key. It was the obedience to the specific word of God that caused the miracle to happen, not the specific action that Moses took. You and I have to be extremely careful that we do not mistake the vehicle that God chooses to use in a specific circumstance for the obedience to His word. God moves upon the obedience of the saints not based upon a formula. Just because God moved a certain way once before, does not mean that God will always move. I remember watching a television evangelist with a healing ministry go up to somebody begin to pray for them receive a word from God, to punch that individual in the gut. Can you imagine the surprise on that person’s face when the man of God did that? I remember thinking man, he’s gone too far now, that guy’s going to get up and deck him! But he didn’t, he threw his arms around him, gave him a big hug and begin to cry and said, “I came up for prayer for stomach cancer, and I’ve been in excruciating pain for the last several months. When you punched me in the gut, the pain left my body completely”
Now I don’t know if that man was actually healed of his cancer that day. And there have been times when God has told me to do unorthodox things when praying for someone, but I’m not about to go around punching people in the gut. Nor am I going to go mix some dirt with spit and expect the blind to see. It’s not the act, it’s the obedience which demonstrates faith that moves God to do miracles for His people.

Getting a Prophetic Word

What were they to do now? Moses was not going to be going with them to the promised land, how were they to go on from here? And church, you and I have a similar problem. The giants of the church are dying. I don’t know if you are aware that Pastor Jack Hayford passes away not too long ago. Those who were the pioneers during our desert sojourn are not gong to be with us forever. So what next? Look at the promise that the Lord makes to Moses.
Deuteronomy 18:18–20 TLV
I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their brothers. I will put My words in his mouth, and he will speak to them all that I command him. Now whoever does not listen to My words that this prophet speaks in My Name, I Myself will call him to account. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My Name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods—that prophet will die.’
So God promises a new prophet to give guidance, but look at what He warns them of in verse 20. He’s telling them that some people may come and claim to be prophets.
Now let’s go back to our current passage of scripture.

Recognizing a False Prophet

Deuteronomy 13:1–6 TLV
“Whatever I command you, you must take care to do—you are not to add to it or take away from it. “Suppose a prophet or a dreamer of dreams rises up among you and gives you a sign or wonder, and the sign or wonder he spoke to you comes true, while saying, ‘Let’s follow other gods’—that you have not known, and—‘Let’s serve them!’ You must not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams—for Adonai your God is testing you, to find out whether you love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Adonai your God you will follow and Him you will fear. His mitzvot you will keep, to His voice you will listen, Him you will serve and to Him you will cling. That prophet or dreamer of dreams must be put to death! For he has spoken falsehood against Adonai your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to entice you from the way Adonai your God commanded you to walk. So you will purge the evil from your midst.
God gave us a big beautiful security blanket to protect us from false prophets. It’s called the Bible. There are some denominations and religions that reject the doctrine that says everything we need is found in the Bible and that there are no extra-biblical authorities that can change that through tradition or whatever. They believe that tradition or Church leaders can bring “new” revelation. And while that is true to an extent, when that “new” revelation brings a “different” revelation, we’ve got a serious problem.
2 Corinthians 11:3–4 NKJV
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!
Even now, there is no shortage of videos I see on TikTok claiming to have a prophetic word from God, and while not all of them are preaching a “different” gospel, a great many of them are in conflict with one another, and the vast majorities don’t pass the sniff test. In other words, they are very obviously ramblings out of the person’s imagination, rather than a true word from God. But some of them could sound very convincing. I believe that this will continue to increase and as the number of people who claim to be speaking prophetic words increases, the enemy will pounce upon the opportunity to lead people astray with false prophets.

Beware of False Believers

God is telling the people that a false prophet is not to be tolerated and that a false believer is no better. What is a false believer? A false believer is anyone who claims to be of Christ but attempts to entice you to follow the world.
Deuteronomy 13:7–12 TLV
“Suppose your brother—your mother’s son—or your son or daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your best friend of your own soul misleads you secretly, saying, ‘Let’s go and serve other gods’—that you and your fathers have not known, from among the gods of the peoples around you, near you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other. You are not to give in or listen to him, your eye is not to pity him, and you are not to spare or conceal him. Instead, you will surely put him to death. Your hand should be the first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. You are to stone him with stones to death because he tried to entice you away from Adonai your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery. Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and never again will they do such an evil thing as this in your midst.
Here’s the thing church. People are going to have a hard time letting go of the current way of life when we get to the promised land. They will be trying to entice you into doing things in a very worldly way. We’re already seeing that in this new move of Progressive Christianity where these pastors are going “woke” and suddenly embracing all of the sinful lifestyles and ideologies of the world. God is calling us to be separate from that. Not a part of it! God is looking for a Holy people, not a compromised community.

Putting it All Together

In a nutshell, God is calling us to move into the promised land, the same way we made it during our desert sojourn - by hearkening to his voice, and obeying His word.
But this does not mean that God wants us to simply do things the way we’ve always done them because we’ve always done them that way. We need to be ready to do away with our perceptions of what church should look like, or even how to lead someone to faith in Jesus. First of all, we need to be open to new ways of coaxing water from the rock. So we need to be mindful of it.
Next we need to beware of false Prophets. God gave us the Word to be our guide and our standard of what truth is. We need to be sure that every so-called prophet aligns with this Word, 100 percent.
Finally, we need to beware of people who try to entice us into living a compromised version of the Gospel. A Gospel that has been compromised by the gods of this age- a woke gospel that reeks of the sin of this corrupt world. Let us not lift such an offering to a righteous God.
If we are to be ready to move into the promised land, we need to prepare ourselves now for what the Jews call the “olam haba”- the World to come.
Let us pray.
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