Worldly prosperity brings you to idol worship and death
Hosea 13:1 -
When Ephraim spake trembling [with fear], he exalted [sustained / lifted up] himself in Israel; but when he offended [to do wrong] in Baal, he died.
Just yesterday my little daughter (she is just 6 years old) was discussing life with me. She was telling me about her great fantasies and plans in life, about being rich and famous. But when I told her as a Christian these dreams would not be fulfilled, that took her by surprise. It was like all her dreams were shattered, for she really loves God. Then started her bombardment of questions as to why?
I explained to her the foundational purpose of being a Christian was about becoming an overcomer through our baptisms in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit. I then explained to her at her level of understanding what these baptisms meant. Then suddenly her concerns were not about herself or her great plans but about her friends and their families who she realized where calling themselves Christians but not living a Christian life. She realized for them life was all about having more and enjoying more while using Jesus Christ and a cover.
In today's message we read about Ephraim who had fear of God and was commitment to his brothers [Israel] as being one with them. But we read even after doing this Ephraim landed up worshiping Baal and that caused his death.
The Hebrew word Ephraim means double anointing. What Ephraim wanted was not wrong things but good things, the things which were part of the promises which the Lord had given a land of milk and honey. But the problem was he was not satisfied with receiving the quantity which the Lord planned for him, he wanted double. His understanding of milk and honey was worldly. This greed caused Ephraim to settle down in the land before the river Jordan [meaning become a descendant - a son] and not to cross the river Jordan into the Promised Land.
The whole story of Israel right from the their getting oppressed in Egypt, to the plagues, the Passover, receiving the Ten Commandments, being led by the Pillar of Cloud and Fire, the Tabernacle, the sacrifices, the battles with the Moabites, killing of the two kings - king Sihon and king Og, winning battles by the power of carrying the Ark of Covenant and crossing over the river Jordan with the help of the Ark, all this was nothing but a total summary of life of a Christian. It has everything one will find in the books of the Prophets and even in the New Testament including the Gospels, Epistles and book of Revelation. The Promised Land symbolized Heaven and the story before is the story of life.
One thing the Lord did to the Israelites was never let them stay in permanent houses. They always stayed in tents. Had they stayed in permanent houses they would have never reached the Promised Land. Paul says we are aliens / not citizens of this world. We are just travelling through this world. If we desire riches of this world our heart will be in this world and when our heart is set in this world then we too will be dwellers of this world, thus we will not enter Heaven. Jesus was not wrong when He said it is near impossible for a rich man to enter Heaven.
When I spoke to my daughter about being an overcomer her fear came about do we need to be beggars to enter Heaven? Then I explained to her that all our provision, our needs will be supplied. We will never go hungry or lacking like the Israelites did not go hungry, thirsty or wanting needs even one day of the fourty years, the Lord provided for them. They just needed to collect, process them and consume according to God's instructions.
Let us not be Ephraim. We may have the fear of God which is very essential, we may even have the love for our brethren in Christ doing the Lord's work but if we do not work on our own selves and control the desires of our hearts we may lose everything we will not enter Heaven.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, we pray your people realize being a Christian is not about making a big noise about You to the world. Being a Christian is all about carrying your Name. It is about You being in us. You are not of this world so we too cannot be of this world. Lord, help us overcome the desires of this world. You have not instructed us to live a life of lacking anything, for You have already provided for us all that we need. Help us lord to trust in You for all our needs and help us carry our Ark which is the CROSS, so that we win our battles by its power and enter Heaven by the CROSS...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference Scriptures ]
30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?
31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.
24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.
25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,
26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:
27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
7 For if that first had been faultless [not God like perfect], then should no place have been sought for the second.
Luke 14:27 - Whosoever doth not bear his own cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
1 Corinthians 1:18 - For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God.
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