20180421 Parsha 128
When God says no.
I have to admit, today’s topic is a tough one. Can you imagine praying to God, pointing out all the good reasons you need this or that, only to discover that it’s not going to happen. You don’t have to look too hard to find a preacher out there online or at your local megachurch that will tell you differently. You deserve whatever you ask for. Well we need to look a little closer into that concept.
Let’s look at three fellows that didn’t get what they wanted.
Moses and the Promised Land. His Request
Deuteronomy 3:24-25 ‘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? (25) Please! Let me cross over and see the good land across the Jordan—that good hill country and the Lebanon.’
This sounds like a reasonable request. Moses had put up with the most unruly, ungrateful, uneverythingful people for 40 years. They had tested his patience at every corner. There were even revolts against his authority. I would think Moses would have no problem with this request. But I would be wrong. He was rejected.
Moses. His Rejection
Deuteronomy 3:26-28 “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. (27) 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.
(28) 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.’
Hashem was pretty adamant about this matter. Seems like Moses wasn’t the only one whose patience was being stretched thin.
Moses. The Reason
We read about this a few weeks ago.
Numbers 20:10-13 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?” (11) Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with the staff. Water gushed out and the community and its livestock drank. (12) 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.” (13) These are the waters of Meribah where Bnei-Yisrael contended with Moses, and where Adonai showed Himself holy among them.
With the Promised Land in sight, Moses made a critical error. After all the years of being the go-between between God and the Israelites he got angry with them and instead of giving God the glory, he took it upon himself to strike the rock. Big Mistake.
Moses. The Reaction
Moses’ reaction was one of humility, seasoned grace and obedience.
Deuteronomy 4:1-8 “Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and ordinances that I am teaching you to do, so that you may live and go in and possess the land that Adonai the God of your fathers is giving you. (2) You must not add to the word that I am commanding you or take away from it—in order to keep the mitzvot of Adonai your God that I am commanding you. (3) Your eyes have seen what Adonai did at Baal Peor, for Adonai your God has destroyed from among you everyone who followed Baal Peor. (4) But you who held tight to Adonai your God are alive today—all of you. (5) “See, just as Adonai my God commanded me, I have taught you statutes and ordinances to do in the land that you are about to enter to possess. (6) You must keep and do them, for it is your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the peoples, who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ (7) For what great nation is there that has gods so near to them, as Adonai our God is whenever we call on Him? (8) What great nation is there that has statutes and ordinances that are righteous—like all of this Torah that I am setting before you today?
Instead of whining and complaining, writing a book, going on tour with it all the while blaming everyone under the sun for his inability to cross over, Moses pulled up his big boy britches and did the right thing. He instructed the people to obey God. No excuses. No more complaints. Just obedience.
We could learn lesson from this. Instead of trying to figure out a hundred different ways to get around what the Bible says, just do it. Remember that obedience is better than sacrifice. In other words, do it right the first time.
Moses. The Reward
Matthew 17:1-3 After six days, Yeshua takes with Him Peter and Jacob and John his brother, and brings them up a high mountain by themselves. (2) Now He was transfigured before them; His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. (3) And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Yeshua.
Moses eventually made it to the Promised Land. No he didn’t sneak across after Joshua and the people crossed the Jordan. Moses came back in style. He appeared with Yeshua and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. Possibly Mount Hermon or Mount Tabor.
King David and Building the Temple. His Request
1 Chronicles 17:1-4 After David settled in his place, David said to Nathan the prophet, “Look! I am living in a house of cedar, while the Ark of the Covenant of Adonai is under a tent.” (2) Then Nathan said to David, “Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.”
David had a deep-down desire to build a temple and permanent dwelling for the Ark of the Covenant. According to Talmudic sources, the Tabernacle had been at Shiloh for 369 years before being captured by the Philistines at Aphek (probably Antipatris). Great Idea, right? Maybe, but God had other plans.
David. His Rejection
1 Chronicles 17:3-4 But that same night the word of God came to Nathan, saying: (4) “Go and tell David My servant, thus says Adonai, ‘You are not to build Me a house in which to dwell.
Slide 11: David. The Reason (Dusk)
1 Chronicles 22:8 But the word of Adonai came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and fought many battles. You will not build a House for My Name because you have shed much blood before Me on the earth.
David was a warrior and had killed many men on the battlefield and there was also that affair with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah, the Hittite, Bathsheba’s husband. No, God had good reason to reject David’s prayer.
David. His Reaction
1 Chronicles 29:1-3 Then King David said to the entire assembly: “My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced and the task is great, for the palace is not for man but for Adonai Elohim.
1 Chronicles 29:2-3 Now I have made every effort to prepare for the House of my God gold for the golden objects, silver for silver, copper for copper, iron for iron, and wood for wood; onyx stones and inlay stones, stones of antimony and variegated colors—every kind of precious stones and marble in abundance. (3) Moreover, in my devotion to the House of my God, I have given over my private treasure of gold and silver to the House of my God, in addition to all that I have already supplied for the holy House:
David spent the last years of his reign staging all the materials that would be needed to build the Temple. It was all he could do given the fact that he was not to build the temple and David was certainly smart enough at that point to not go against God’s commands.
David. His Reward
1 Chronicles 17:11-14 It will be that when your days are fulfilled to go with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. (12) He will build a house for Me and I will establish his throne forever. (13) I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me, I will not withdraw My lovingkindness from him, as I withdrew it from the one who ruled before you. (14) I will appoint him over My House and My kingdom forever, and his throne will be established forever.’”
David got his reward. God promised him that one of his Descendants would rule Israel forever. His Messianic Kingdom would be without end.
Paul and a physical affliction
Paul. His Request (Dawn)
2 Corinthians 12:8 I pleaded with the Lord three times about this, that it might leave me.
Paul. His Rejection
2 Corinthians 12:9a But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
Paul. G-d’s Reason
2 Corinthians 12:7 ESV So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,[a] a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.
Paul was around some of the most holy, powerful men of all time, and yet God did not heal Paul by the hands of the apostles. We don’t know if they ever prayed for Paul, but we know that whatever his physical problem was, Paul took it with him to the grave.
Paul. His Reaction
Paul’s response was one of maturity.
12:9b Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Messiah may dwell in me. 10 For Messiah’s sake, then, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in distresses, in persecutions, in calamities.
Paul. His Reward
2 Corinthians 12:10b For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Timothy 4:4-6 And they will turn away from hearing the truth and wander off to myths. (5) You, however, keep a clear mind in all things, withstand hardship, do the work of proclaiming the Good News, and fulfill your service. (6) For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.
Paul traded physical weakness for spiritual strength. He traded a temporary fix for a reward for eternity.
Has God told you no recently? Don’t be discouraged. You are in good company. When we pray, God ALWAYS hears our prayers and ALWAYS answers them. He doesn’t always answer them in the way we think He should. If He did, then He wouldn’t be God. He would be a heavenly messenger.
It’s time to accept the fact that we don’t always get what we want when we want it. But you can rest assured. God always answers your prayers and His answer is always in your best interest whether you want to accept it or not. Trust Him. You won’t be sorry.