Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Ways of God 神の方法

Numbers 13-14/民数記 13-14

   Last week, we visited the story of getting the Ten Commandments from God. Moving on in the narrative in Deuteronomy (as it also follows Number’s accounts) we come to the stories of the wanderings.  Moses writes about the need to worship the Lord in one place and not in the ways the other people did in that land. God had instructed them NOT to worship other gods, the need to eat clean food, how to deal with canceling debts (15:1, 4-6). Dealing with the Passover, the Feast of Weeks, Feast of Tabernacles. 

   Moses covers what they are to expect from the king and their duties in serving him. In Chapter 18, Moses writes how God forbids the detestable practices of killing the sons and daughters in worship (9-13). Cities of Refuge in 19 and the reasons for them.  Chapter 20 deals with their feelings about going to war and how to face the enemy. From 21 on until 26, more details of conduct and practice are covered. Chapter 27 deals with a list of curses that God forbids His people to do.  Practical every day living issue is also covered.  Then ends in Deuteronomy 28 which deals with blessings, instructions and Moses’ farewell. 

   But in Numbers 13, the spies were sent to Canaan. The Lord calls on the Jews to send out spies into the Land. 12 men, one from each tribe, were chosen to go into the New Land and spy it out.

   The story goes on but I’d like us to consider these points this morning as we look at these events.
   When God sets something before us…as the Lord did to Israel... 1. How do we understand God’s Way? わたしたちに関する主の方法を理解するには 2. How can we grow closer to Him as we accepting His way?  どのように近づくために成長できるのか。
     As we walk through the Old Testament, we have seen God’s footprints and His fingerprints ALL over the story—HIS Story. We have seen people believe almost impossible things—like a 90 year old woman having a child, like a slave becoming Prime Minister of Egypt, like a righteous man and his family be the only ones who’d survive a world wide flood.  Yes, God does give us many things to consider.  Sometimes, we don’t see things the way He sees them.  He has the advantage of looking at things and events from eternity.   

   But, along the way, He gives us His vision for our future—as we look to Him to bring these things to pass. A point to keep in mind, even as we wish all things to go well in our life, life has a way of bringing pain and darkness along with it.  And along with the pain and darkness—a joy of knowing the One who has it all under His Control and in His Will.

   So, what was promised the Hebrew Nation?  In short, ALL the land that their forefathers had been promised way back in Genesis. All the land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates."the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,  Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites,  Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.” And that all the peoples of that area would be destroyed—not because He is a bad God but because their time of wrath was full.  They had rejected the message of God for so long, it was to be the end of their people.  They were everything negative to His people.  They would, if they could and were allowed to, corrupt the Israelites and bring the wrath of God on themselves as well. God, who knows the future, knew that the people of the land were no good for His people.  Don’t join work with them, don’t intermarry them, don’t make treaties with them, and don’t let them live among your people.”  Completely rid these people off the face of the earth.  Not a peaceful co-existence.  No compromise.  No toleration. A complete Genocide of a major people group.

   Some would say that was unfair and that the God of the Old Testament was mean and vengeful.  I would say, that is not a problem.  These people had been rejecting God’s message for generations.  Even when they lived next to Abraham, they did not change. When Jacob’s family lived there, their vision was to over power these Israelites & gain all their possessions by having them marry into their own tribes—thus diluting this new nation.  It was to win by osmoses.  (To undergo diffusion by osmosis.) Much like the historical Han’s did in China. They had the time and they had the people.  Blend them into our culture and they—as a people group—with their teachings & customs will disappear.

   God did not want that of His People.  He would be ready for any to repent and He would give them life. But they refused. Even in the family line of Jesus, we can find non-Jews—pagan people-brought in.  The offer is there for anyone who wishes salvation, will find it. The Israelites were to be unique people, set aside for His Glory and purposes.

   But to understand His ways, what would be in store for us, when we realize that His thoughts are not our thoughts? 主の思い 私たちの思い: Isa 55:8-9. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."  イザヤ 55:8-9 わたしの思いは、あなたたちの思いと異なり/わたしの道はあなたたちの道と異なると/主は言われる。天が地を高く超えているように/わたしの道は、あなたたちの道を/わたしの思いは/あなたたちの思いを、高く超えている。 AND YET, He makes the way of salvation easy enough to understand, that a child could believe.

   God is really for us: 私たちにとっての神 Romans 8:31  What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? ローマ 8:31 では、これらのことについて何と言ったらよいだろうか。もし神がわたしたちの味方であるならば、だれがわたしたちに敵対できますか。 He is watching our back. Ready to support us because He is for us.

   We are not tempted beyond: それ以上の誘惑はない 1 Cor 10:13  No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 第1コリント 10:13 あなたがたを襲った試練で、人間として耐えられないようなものはなかったはずです。神は真実な方です。あなたがたを耐えられないような試練に遭わせることはなさらず、試練と共に、それに耐えられるよう、逃れる道をも備えていてくださいます。 HE WILL ALWAYS OFFER YOU A WAY OUT!

   He will sustain you: 私たちをささえる Ps 55:22  Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.  詩篇 55:22 口は脂肪よりも滑らかに語るが/心には闘いの思いを抱き/言葉は香油よりも優しいが、抜き身の剣に等しい。 NEVER!

   Press on to know Him: Hos 6:3  Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.ホセア書 / 6 3  我々は主を知ろう。主を知ることを追い求めよう。主は曙の光のように必ず現れ/降り注ぐ雨のように/大地を潤す春雨のように/我々を訪れてくださる。」 HAS HE EVER LET YOU DOWN? NO!

   He will never stop doing good to us:わたしたちにとって幸いをなす Jer 32:40-44   I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear Me, so that they will never turn away from Me.  I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all My heart and soul.
 “This is what the LORD says: As I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them.  Once more fields will be bought in this land of which you say, ‘It is a desolate waste, without men or animals, for it has been handed over to the Babylonians.’ Fields will be bought for silver, and deeds will be signed, sealed and witnessed in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev, because I will restore their fortunes,[ Or will bring them back from captivity] declares the LORD.” エレミヤ32:40-44 わたしは、彼らと永遠の契約を結び、彼らの子孫に恵みを与えてやまない。またわたしに従う心を彼らに与え、わたしから離れることのないようにする。41 わたしは彼らに恵みを与えることを喜びとし、心と思いを込めて確かに彼らをこの土地に植える。...44 ... わたしが彼らの繁栄を回復するからである、と主は言われる。」The Lord completely restores the broken! 110% made new!

   And yet, don’t expect an easy ride: 安逸であるとは限らない. 1 Peter 4:12-13   Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. ペトロの第一の手紙 4:12  愛する者たちよ,あなた方を試みるために臨んできた火のような試練のことで,異常なことが自分たちに生じたかのように驚いてはいけません Life still has to be lived and done so under the guiding Hand of the Lord.  He will be with us during these hard times.  In His Name, He has promises never to leave you nor forsake you. Now, believe it and life it out.

   #2 As way of application: How can we grow closer to Him as the result in accepting His way?

   Boats float better when they are IN the water and IN the current and moving along with His flow. When we learn from His Word where He’d move us, we might not get an invitation in the mail.

   When we look at what is going on in our passage this morning, we can see that the people not only lacked faith, they also lacked the capacity to remember what just happened to them. The pagan countries around them knew those stories and they were very afraid.  Maybe they got too close to God and this was not a good thing?  No, they chose to go after their own ways and not allow God to control their lives.  And we can read what happened to them: Numbers 14:36-37.   So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it—  these men responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the LORD. Ouch! 民数記 / 14 36-37  36 モーセが遣わした男たちは、土地の偵察から帰ると、その土地について悪い情報を流し、共同体全体が彼に向かって不平を言うようにしたが、土地について悪い情報を流した者は、主の御前で疫病にかかって死んだ。
   How can we grow closer to Him as the result in accepting His way?  どのように近づくために成長できるのかThe way we will answer with this morning is: The ways of the Lord are just. Proverbs 10:29-30 The way of the LORD is a refuge for the righteous, but it is the ruin of those who do evil. The righteous will never be uprooted, but the wicked will not remain in the land. 箴言 10:29-30 主の道は、無垢な人の力/悪を行う者にとっては滅亡。神に従う人はとこしえに揺らぐことなく/神に逆らう者は地に住まいを得ない

   You cannot go wrong in following what He leads you to do. Want to test Him on this? Give Him something you love the most.  Let Him have your heart’s number one ‘thing’, the very thing you most desire to control.  Just give it to Him—open your hands and let Him have it.  It could be your child, your future, your money, your pride, your desires…whatever, and see how He will deal with you.  Test Him and you will see what Joshua believed and saw.  A whole country open to them which was flowing with milk and honey—God’s promised Land.  He will fill you with His Number One as the result.  You will be changed and you will be growing closer to Him.  
   That is the Way of God. 神の方法