Book: God's Plan for Mankind

April 12, 2004

And greetings brethren. This is the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread – 2004. And we look back at all the feasts that we’ve kept down through the years. And we’ve never realized that the time would go this long. But it’s going this long and the days around us are more evil than we have ever expected. And so we just need to, through this Feast of Unleavened Bread, as we have been doing, draw close to God. Now with the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread we’re going to go ahead and take up an offering as we’ve already seen on the first day of Unleavened Bread that there is an offering on the last day. We’re going to go ahead and take up that offering with the same understanding that we’ve had before. Remember the blessings of God, remember how God has promised to give you all sufficiency in all things. And giving the offerings and tithes are all a part of living by every Word of God. And so I hope that you really appreciate the things that we’ve been able to do, and I hope that you’re enjoying the New Testament. So we’ll just go ahead and take a break, and we will pick up after the offering is taken up.And greetings brethren. This is the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread – 2004. And we look back at all the feasts that we’ve kept down through the years. And we’ve never realized that the time would go this long. But it’s going this long and the days around us are more evil than we have ever expected. And so we just need to, through this Feast of Unleavened Bread, as we have been doing, draw close to God. Now with the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread we’re going to go ahead and take up an offering as we’ve already seen on the first day of Unleavened Bread that there is an offering on the last day. We’re going to go ahead and take up that offering with the same understanding that we’ve had before. Remember the blessings of God, remember how God has promised to give you all sufficiency in all things. And giving the offerings and tithes are all a part of living by every Word of God. And so I hope that you really appreciate the things that we’ve been able to do, and I hope that you’re enjoying the New Testament. So we’ll just go ahead and take a break, and we will pick up after the offering is taken up.

And on this last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the very theme of this feast is—The Lord Shall Fight For You. And God is the one Who is going to give salvation. So we are to see the salvation of the Lord. Now let’s understand what happened with the children of Israel before they were released on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Let’s start back and look at everything that took place just in a summary—what God did to save the children of Israel, or rescue them from Egypt. And also let’s understand something very important concerning this, is that God raised up Pharaoh and all of the evil apparatus with it to show His power, to declare His salvation, to rescue Israel, and so that His name would be glorified in all the earth. And it certainly has because we have it recorded for us, and we preach it every year.

Now remember the thing that was important. Let’s come back here to Exodus 6 and let’s see something that is very important so we understand… Actually it’s Exodus 7, so that we understand the office of Moses, and how God was using Moses and Aaron to defeat all the God’s of Egypt. And as we have seen on the Passover night when God struck all the firstborn of the Egyptians, all their animals and all the firstborn of men and beasts, that He judged all the god’s of Israel. And of course the children of Israel didn’t understand that the judgment against all those gods meant that why should they be so foolish as to go to these other gods who were not gods.

Now here, Exodus 7:1, “And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh…” Now that’s how Pharaoh would look upon him because Pharaoh could not see the true God. That was reserved for Moses. So since Pharaoh was called a god, since Pharaoh was worshipped as god, since they worshipped all the animals and things that they did in Egypt, and worshipped the river Nile all of these plagues came upon them because of that. So there are six signs and there are four plagues that took place. So let’s look at the six signs.

First of all was the rod of Aaron that turned into a serpent. Well, the magicians were able to go ahead and counterfeit that, but the rod of Aaron was able, as a serpent, to eat up the serpents of the magicians.

The second sign was, which was pretty powerful. Now remember the Nile was considered the river of the gods, or a god, and they worshipped the water and they worshipped the river. It gave life and all of this sort of thing. So the first thing God did was cause, in the next sign, because Pharaoh hardened his heart, and it was a joint venture. Pharaoh hardened his heart, and God hardened his heart. And God was raising him up for the purpose of the destruction of Egypt. Now God is the one Who can do that because He’s God. So what did He do? For seven days He turned the river into blood.

Then the third sign was frogs. Now these were the gigantic frogs that come out of the Nile river, and they just filled the whole land. And when that sign was over they just put them in heaps and it stank.

Fourth sign—dust turns into fleas and lice and just covered all the animals, covered all the human beings, you see. And the whole lesson in all of this is: no one has the power to fight against God. And if God be for us, as we’re going to see, who can be against us? Now let’s think on that as we’re going through this.

So after that, still Pharaoh hardened his heart so then we have the swarms of flies. Nice big flies going everywhere. However, number five is the sign of grace, and in the land of Goshen where the children of Israel were there were no swarms of flies. So God separated it.

The sixth sign was murrain caused by the ash. Moses took some ash and threw it in the air. God caused it to go everywhere throughout all the land of Egypt and they had boils from the top of their head to the foot of their soul. All the animals, all the horses, camels, oxen, all human beings. Well, Pharaoh called “uncle” on this and so he recanted a little bit. And so he asked Moses if he would cause it to go away. So he said, ok, he would. And then Pharaoh hardened his heart again all the way through. Now here come the four plagues.

The first plague was hail. Now for it to hail in Egypt is an unreal thing because that’s right in the desert. And it had never done this from the creation of the world, or since Egypt was a nation. And there was thunder and lightening and all of this going on at the same time they had the plague of hail.

Well then after that came the plague of locusts. Locusts everywhere and ate everything that was not in a container. And that wasn’t good enough, they still didn’t repent, so there was the plague of darkness. Darkness so thick that they could feel it. And it was so oppressive that the only thing that they could do was stay in bed. Now all the Israelites had light but the darkness covered Egypt.

Now the fourth one, as we have seen, is the important one. This is where then God passed over the houses of the children of Israel and spared their firstborn, executed judgment against all the gods of Egypt, and killed all the firstborn of the Egyptian children. After that they let them go. So the children of Israel went out with a high hand. And of course, God did not take them the easy way. And here’s a lesson that’s important for us: God doesn’t take us the easy way. There are some hard things for us to do. And so if you are a goodtime Christian and you’re just a gladhander, and you are a social creature, and you attend church because it’s just nice and wonderful and comfy and all your friends are there, know for sure you’re going to have a trial that’s going to come to test you, to see whether you love God with all your heart, and mind, and soul, and being, and whether you really trust Him. That’s the whole lesson of the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Now let’s come to Exodus 14 because we see the whole lesson here. And this is the way God led them, instead of by the way of the Philistines going on over to the holy land, which would have been easy because that just follows right along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and they would be there in a few days. Well God had other plans in mind. So He took them down by the way of the Red Sea and they were encamped along the Red Sea—big long line of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians then had second thoughts about letting them go. So they said, “Well, look we don’t have any slaves. We can’t do these things.” So Pharaoh said, “I know what I’ll do. I’ll get all my armies, I’ll get all my chariots and we’ll go get them and we’ll bring them back. And so when the children of Israel saw that they became afraid. Well God intervened and He put a cloud wall between the Egyptians and the children of Israel. To the Egyptians it was dark, to the children of Israel it was light. And so let’s pick it up here in Exodus 14. Let’s see the reaction of the children of Israel, because herein is a great lesson for us, see. You have to trust God in the tough times as well as the good times.

Verse 10, “And when Pharaoh drew nigh….” Now we can also draw the analogy of Pharaoh and his armies as Satan and the demons. That’s true. We can also look at it as the world coming after us. That is true. But what we’re interested in is the reaction of the children of Israel. “And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD. And they said unto Moses…” (Ex. 14:1011). Immediately begin complaining. Immediately begin accusing. Immediately displaying absolutely no faith. Now the reason I went over the six signs and the four plagues was to show what God had done and the power that God had used to cause the children of Israel to be extracted from the land of Egypt. Now you would think that they would have said, “Oh look at all that God has done for us. Now these Egyptians, God took care of them in Egypt so let’s just trust Him to do it now.” That’s not what they did. Let’s notice it.

“And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt [in other words there was plenty of room for graves there], hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness” (vs. 11-12). Well that’s not what they said. They cried to God and said, “Oh God, get us out of this slavery.” Now what were they doing? They were looking back and comparing what they thought was how good they had—everything in Egypt. It’s just like people when they first come into the church and the first trial comes along, they say they’ve never experienced anything like this before they were converted. There must be something wrong. No, there is nothing wrong. That’s the way it is. And here’s the reason for it, and here’s why we go through these things.

Now verse 13, “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD…” And that’s what we need to do. We need to stand. Stand for the Word of God, stand for God, stand against evil, stand against human nature, stand against all the forces that are against us and to realize that with the power of the Holy Spirit we can do it, with the conviction of God, God will fight for us. Now then he says, “…see the salvation of the LORD, which He will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you…” (vs. 13-14). Now I want you to mark that. I want you to understand this: the Lord shall fight for you and you shall hold your peace. In other words don’t complain to God. Ask God to intervene and help you. Ask God to intervene and change the circumstances. Ask God to intervene and fight your battles for you because He has more power than you do. So you’ve got to trust God. Now God will do many great and fantastic things to fight your battles for you, but you have to place it all in God’s hands, just like it is here: stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, and don’t complain, and don’t gripe, and don’t whine. Let the peace of God rule in your heart, as we covered on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, you see.

So the Lord said, “…Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward…” (vs. 15). And that’s the whole key for the Feast of Unleavened Bread—that we go forward in spite of everything and anything that comes along. That we know God, we love God, we understand His Word, we live by it and we go forward. So you know the rest of the story of what happened there. God told Moses, “Take your rod, hold it over the sea. And that night He caused a tremendous east wind to blow, and He also parted the waters a great distance, probably a place as much as ten miles wide, and then all of the children of Israel, in the morning watch just before the sun came up, they all crossed the Red Sea at the same time. A divine miracle. God intervening and showing them His power. And of course you know what happened to the Egyptians. They came up there and they looked to the right, and they looked to the left, and they said, “Go.” And right when he got in the middle of where the sea was going to be God had the angels start taking the wheels off their chariots and they drug heavy, the ground then became mud, and then all of a sudden the waters came crashing back, and that was the end of the Egyptians. Just like God had said. Well now the children of Israel were very happy, but you see, let’s look at what they said. This is really a tremendous lesson for us.

So here’s what they did, Exodus 15:1. “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for He hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea.” Now notice verse 2, “The LORD is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is His name” (Ex. 15:1-3). So you see, that’s what we need to look at. If you have a problem that needs to be overcome, take it to God. If you have a complaint against God, go repent and ask Him to intervene and help you. If you have a situation that is greater than you can handle, ask God to handle it for you. Let Him fight your battles, but you put it all in His hands and realize that that’s the way that it has to be.

Now all the way down through history, as we find in the Bible, we see the salvation of God, the power of God, the intervention of God. Some in great and fantastic things. Some in small and little things. Now the first great thing that happened was the flood, and God saved all mankind through Noah because Noah walked with God and kept His commandments and he found grace. So God had to destroy the whole world—everything there.

Now then after that, during the days of Abraham we have the story of Lot. Now Lot was actually what you would call, though he was righteous, he was weak in the faith. And he was confronted with many situations that we are being confronted with now, the onslaught of the homosexuals. Who knows, they probably had homosexual marriages in Sodom and Gomorrah, and all the people thought that that was a great thing. But if it weren’t for Abraham, Lot would not have survived. But Abraham intervened and Lot survived. And you know what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. And of course then, the one who had the lack of faith and didn’t follow was his wife. And the angel said, “Don’t look back.” That’s an important lesson because Jesus said later, “Remember Lot’s wife.” So we’re not to look back. But nevertheless Lot was saved.

Then we have with the children of Israel all the miracles that took place while they were going through the wilderness, and everything that God did. The miracle of the manna every morning. God took care of them, blessed them, watched over them. The water out of the rock. Oh but they didn’t want to follow God so they rebelled. They didn’t believe God after all that so then God had to punish them for their rebellion and it took another 38 ½ years of wandering in the wilderness, so everyone over 20 died, except for Caleb and Joshua. Then they went into the Promised Land and God fought their battles for them when they did what God said. When they didn’t do what God said, He didn’t fight for them. They moaned and groaned and complained to God. “Oh why can’t we overcome our enemies?” Well, it was because some were stealing the gold which belonged to God. So the whole history of going through the Bible shows how God will fight for you if you believe Him. God will fight for you if you trust in Him.

Now let’s come to Psalm 18 and let’s see a Psalm dedicated to that. David’s Psalm. Quite a Psalm. We’re going to look at several Psalms in here because this shows how God intervenes to help, to fight, to save on behalf of those that He loves. Here let’s notice, Psalm 18. Now this was after one of the great deliverances of God. Psalm 18:1, “I will love Thee, O LORD, my strength.” See, our whole relationship with God is based on the love of God, as we saw on the Sabbath during this feast. So he says, “I will love Thee, O LORD, my strength.” Are you weak? That’s where you get strength from. “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress…” Now we can think what Jesus said there in Matthew 7. We are to build our house upon a Rock (Matt. 7:24), aren’t we? And 1 Corinthians 10 says that Rock is Christ (1 Cor. 10:4). He’s our Rock. “…My fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower” (Psalm 18:1-2). And if you’re in a high tower no one can get at you, can they? No. So that’s why he said that.

Now notice verse 3, “I will call upon the LORD…” That’s how God will intervene for you. You have to love Him, praise Him, worship Him, call upon Him, you have to trust in Him, you have to look to Him to be your salvation, your savior, the warrior, the fighter. He’s going to fight your battles for you. Now we’re going to see some more of these things as we go along.

Verse 3, “I will call upon the LORD, Who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. The sorrows of death compassed me…” Now how close was he to tragedy in the end? Right at the brink. “…And the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. In my distress I called upon the LORD…” So we’re going to have times when we have distress. Now remember, David was a man after God’s heart. “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry came before Him, even into His ears” (vs. 3-6).

Now let’s go back and let’s see another Psalm here. Let’s come to Psalm 12:1. This is pretty much the situation that we find ourselves in, in the world today. Verse 1, “Help…” That’s how this one starts out. You know—“Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth…” Where’s someone who’s godly? There aren’t any. “…For the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.” And that’s just the way this world is. It’s just nothing but lies and doublespeak. “The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?” (Psa. 12:1-4). Perfect description of this society, isn’t it? Anything goes. If we don’t like a law, we’ll change it. Just like up in San Francisco, they’ve been marrying thousands of same sex, so called couples, in defiance against the law. But they don’t think they are breaking the law. But when Judge Roy Moore defied a federal judge and his ungodly illegal order to get rid of the Ten Commandments monument, they said he ought to obey the law of the land. See, and that’s just the way that it is in the world.

Verse 5, “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD [God is going to take action sooner or later]; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.” Let’s come down here to verse 8, “The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted” (vs. 5, 8). And that is a perfect description of our political system.

Now, let’s again see how we are to pray when we are in trouble. See, instead of complaining to other people, accusing the ministers, accusing other brethren—go repent. Ask God to help you, ask God to fight your battles. Psalm 4:1, “Hear me when I call [He will], O God of my righteousness: Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn My glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity…” That’s just the way it is in the world. Love the vanity, love the lies. Verse 3, “But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for Himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto Him.” God will hear. We can be guaranteed of that. Now verse 4, Now you see, when people get discouraged and get distressed and get down and begin to give up, they give in to their weaknesses and sin. That’s why it says, “Stand in awe, and sin not…” (Psa. 4:1-4). So God will hear our prayers.

Let’s come to Psalm 37. This is one to keep in mind. This is really a good Psalm. Ok now here, Psalm 37. This is good counsel and advice for us, that’s why it’s here. You look out and you see the world and all the things that are wrong, all the sin that is going wrong, and somehow they seem to be getting along better—but they’re really not.

Now then, Psalm 37:1, good advice. “Fret not thyself [in other words don’t be frustrated] because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD…” Now that’s where we need to put our trust. Not in other human beings, not in circumstances, not in physical things, but trust in the Lord. “…And do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD…” So this shows that you’re happy, that you’re joyful, that you understand that Christ has saved you, that you understand that you have the Holy Spirit of God in you, you understand that God the Father has begotten you so that you, at the resurrection, can become a son or daughter of God. Look, you have eternal life ahead of you. That’s what’s important, you see. So, “Delight thyself also in the LORD…” Now notice, “…and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psa. 37:1-4). Of course according to His will. And the greatest desire of our heart needs to be that we are going to be in the kingdom of God. The greatest desire that we ought to have is to, as the Psalm said, to see God; and as Revelation says, face to face, and to be there in that resurrection.

Now here’s how you do it, verse 5. Of course you do this through prayer, you do this through study, you do this through everything that you do. Everything that you do, see. Not just when, as some people would look at it, not just when you get religious and pray—but your whole life and everything you do. See verse 5 says, “Commit thy way unto the LORD [everything you do]; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.” Now this means concerning health, concerning healing. Of course we have our parts to do. Concerning employment, concerning marriage, concerning whatever your life is involved in. Commit yourself unto the Lord, trust in Him, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. He shall bring it to pass.

Verse 6, “And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him…” See, because God’s timetable is always different than our timetable, so we have to wait patiently for Him. “…Fret not thyself [that is, don’t become frustrated, worried, or concerned] because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil” (vs. 6-8). Because you see, that’s what people do. They’re not trusting in God in the way they ought to be. They’re not patient waiting for the Lord, so something happens and they get all angry. Well you see, that’s why you had the trial, so that you can get rid of your anger and see and know and understand that you have it.

Verse 27, “Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.” And that’s what the whole Feast of Unleavened Bread is all about, isn’t it? Put out the leaven, which is sin. Put in the unleaven, which is righteousness. Put out the way of man and put in the way of Christ. That’s why Christ said, “You have to eat My flesh and drink My blood” showing that you will live by Him, which means by every Word of God. So, “Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not His saints…” So if you ever think you’ve been forsaken—you haven’t, and you need to go repent of that and ask God to help you to trust in Him. “…They are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever” (vs. 27-29). That means the kingdom of God and all the earth and everything that is there.

Verse 34, “Wait on the LORD, and keep His way…” Now isn’t that the message of the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, that we first went through in Exodus 14? Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. “Wait on the LORD, and keep His way [never give up on doing it], and He shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when…” So there is a timing in all of this. There is a time. Now the kingdom of God is not here, therefore we don’t fight. But when we come back with Christ we are going to fight, and we are going to be in charge of putting away all evil. Now they will either repent or they will be “histoi.” “…When the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.” Very important—verse 37, “Mark the perfect man…” Now as we have seen, if you are in Christ, which you are, and God has imputed the righteousness of Christ to you and you stand before Him holy and blameless, before God you are perfect. Now you have to then be perfected in attitude, be perfected in character, and it’s an ongoing project as we have seen. “…And behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off” (vs. 34-38). And the finality of that is going to be with the last part of the Last Great Day when all the wicked are cast into the lake of fire and there are no more wicked around.

Verse 39, “But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: He is their strength in the time of trouble.” That’s why we need to trust God. Now we’re going to see some other things how God intervenes, because He’s really performed some great and tremendous things. “And the LORD shall help them and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him” (vs. 39-40). Do you trust in God? That’s all a part of the Feast of Unleavened Bread—that you get rid of the sin of doubt, you get rid of the sin of lack of trust. But you trust God, you believe God, you walk in His way in everything that you do.

Now let’s come to 2 Chronicles 20 and let’s see how God intervened in great and fantastic ways to save those who feared God and trusted Him, and looked to Him to fight their battles. Now this is the case of King Jehoshaphat. He had a great army. The children of Moab and Ammon, and the Assyrians were all coming against him to destroy him, and destroy Judah. Now notice what he did. 2 Chronicles 20:3, “And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” So you see, when you have trouble and difficulty you need to fast and draw close to God, ask for His help, ask for His intervention. So he called them all together for a prayer. And then he got the answer from one of the prophets of God. A Levite came who was one of the sons of Asaph.

Now verse 15, and here’s the message, “And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” Now that’s what we need to understand—the battle is not ours but it is God’s, so we trust in Him in faith.

So verse 17, “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD…” Now that sounds just like Exodus 14, doesn’t it? Yes. “…O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.”

Now verse 20, so here’s what they did on the morrow. “And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper.” Profound and important message. We are to believe and trust, and have faith and confidence, and lay it all before God just like Jehoshaphat did here. “And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.” So here the priests went out first before the army, and that’s the way God said they should fight their battles—and God was with them.

“And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten” (vs. 22). So what God did, He just turned them all against each other and they killed each other, and what did they do? They went out there and they found that they were all dead. So what did they do? Verse 25, “And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much.” Now that was a tremendous battle, wasn’t it? God intervened, gave them the blessing. God fought for them. Now if God could do it for them we know God can do it for us. So regardless of what the situation is, regardless of what the trouble may be, God is there, He will help just like this. Now we’re going to look at another example here in a minute and see how God intervened to fight and to save His people.

Now let’s see another example of how God intervened for king Hezekiah. And what he did when he got the notice from the Assyrians that they were coming and conquering, and that they had destroyed all the nations coming right on down the line. And they sent a letter to Hezekiah, “Now you surrender or we’re going to do to you like we did to all these other nations and their gods.” So here, 2 Kings 19:1, “And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it [that is, heard the letter read], that he rent his clothes [that means he ripped his clothes], and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.” And he said in verse 3, “And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.” Now sometimes you feel like that. So that’s what Hezekiah did. He took it before God.

Let’s come over here to verse 14. “And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.” Took his troubles right to God—very first thing. He didn’t stop and ask anyone else’s advice. He went right to the Lord. “And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, Thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: Thou hast made heaven and earth. LORD, bow down Thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, Thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God” (vs. 14-16). Then he said, “Of a truth, LORD, he did conquer all of them.”

He says here, verse 19, “Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech Thee, save Thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou art the LORD God, even Thou only.” This is a perfect example of how we need to go to God with our problems. You go to God and you state the problems. You don’t accuse Him, but you glorify Him. You don’t complain to Him, but you show what the problem is, and you ask God to fight because you are His. You belong to Him. You are His property. He’s promised to take care of you.

So that’s exactly what happened. He got the message, “I will defend this city for David, My servants sake” (vs. 34, paraphrased). Now verse 35. Here’s what God did. Even greater miracle than what happened there with Jehoshaphat. “And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand [185,000 were slain by the angel]: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.” In other words He spared the king and probably a few of his advisors, but all of his army was dead. “So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh” (vs. 34-36). And of course as he was worshipping in the house of his god, someone came in and assassinated him. Well now, question: did this take care of the enemy? It sure did. Did they have to lift the sword to fight? No, they didn’t, but they trusted in God. Perfect example of what we need to do.

Now let’s come to the New Testament and let’s see some things here that are important for us to understand so that we can realize how then we need to look to God. Now we have to overcome self, we have to overcome the sins in us. And let’s understand what kind of determination that we need to have, and what kind of faith that we need to have. Now let’s come to Hebrews 12 and let’s see what the apostle Paul wrote to the Hebrews telling them what they need to do to overcome and change, and what kind of resolve that they need to have in serving God.

Now after the apostle Paul had listed out many of the things that where God fought for the children of Israel, coming on down through the faith chapter and Chapter 11, we come to Chapter 12 and Paul writes: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great throng of witnesses…” That’s what the Old Testament is there for. These are examples that we can look to, to see the examples of right and wrong, and good and evil. The examples of God intervening and fighting our battles for us. These are the examples that we need to look to. So here’s what Paul writes, “…let us lay aside every weight…” Every problem, every difficulty—set it aside. You see, God does not want us to dwell on the problem. He wants us to dwell on Him and the solution. So you set it aside. “…And the sin that so easily entraps us…” You repent of that. We’ve already covered how you do that. Confess your sins to God. “…And let us run the race set before us with endurance…” (Heb. 12:1). That’s what we need to do. We have got to finish the course.

Here’s how to do it, verse 2, “Having our minds fixed on Jesus, the Beginner and Finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that lay ahead of Him endured the cross, although He despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” That’s what we need to do. Always have our mind on Christ. Always have our minds on what He did, how He did it, why He did it. And He did it because He loved us. God the Father sent Jesus Christ because He loves the world and loves us, and we are part of the eternal plan of God. So Paul writes, “Now meditate deeply on Him Who endured such great hostility of sinners against Himself…” That’s why we need to study the Gospels. That’s why we need to understand what Jesus did and what He went through. Here’s the reason, “…so that you do not become weary and faint in your minds” (vs. 2-3).

Now there is a proverb which says that if you faint in the day of your adversity, you have very little strength. See, so who is our strength? Christ. Who is our Savior? Christ. Who is our redeemer? Christ. Who is there to fight our battles for us? Christ is. And as we have seen He also has the angels to do His work for him too, doesn’t He? Yes, indeed. See, now this is why.

Now verse 4 becomes very important. And in all the struggles and difficulties that we have gone through, verse 4 is very profound. “You have not yet resisted to the point of losing blood in your struggle against sin.” I’ve never anointed anyone for bleeding because they’ve been fighting against sin. What does this show? This shows the effort and determination and steadfastness that we need to have in serving and loving God and in overcoming. And we do it by fixing our mind on Christ. And don’t get discouraged and don’t get down because God is doing this for a tremendous and wonderful purpose.

Verse 5, “And you have already forgotten the admonition that He addresses to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor grow weary of being reproved by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He severely disciplines every son whom He receives” (vs. 5-6). That’s why, see. God didn’t call us to have good perfect lives in the flesh. If you want to join a social club, go to a social club. If you want to go to where everything is smooth and nice, I don’t really think you can find any place on the face of the earth today that’s like that, can you? No, and times are getting difficult and harder, and harder to come by aren’t they? So we need to realize that. And God is helping us to develop the character, as we saw just last Sabbath, to have the faith and virtue and character, and eventually come to the point of having the very love of God perfected in us. That’s what God is doing. So yes, there is going to be some correction. Yes, there are going to be some things that change and come along here. Yes indeed, because that’s just the way it’s going to be.

Now let’s look at some other things here—the reason for all the trials. Let’s come here to 1 Peter 5 and let’s see what Peter says about this, and why we go through these things. And he also shows that a great deal of it, yes a great deal of what we go through is because we’re fighting Satan the devil, as well as self, as well as sin, as well as the world. So we’ve got a big battle out there and the way we do it is keep our minds fixed and focused on Jesus Christ, that we know what’s in the Gospels, we know what’s in the Epistles of Paul, we know what’s in the General Epistles, that we live by every Word of God—that’s what’s the important thing for us to realize and understand.

Now let’s come here to 1 Peter 5. Now let’s pick it up here in verse 5. “In the same manner, you younger men be subject to the older men; and all of you be subject to one another, being clothed with humility…” That’s the whole purpose of it. “…Because God sets Himself against the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. Be humbled therefore under the mighty hand of God so that He may exalt you in due time; casting all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:5-7). Now here’s a great mistake a lot of people do. They get worried, they get frustrated, they get upset, and they pace back and forth and they wonder what they’re going to do. But they haven’t cast all their cares upon God, see. So rather than worry and fret and stew and wonder—go pray. Lay it all before God. Cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you. He has called you. He loves you. He wants you in His kingdom. He wants you to succeed and grow and overcome, and He will give you the strength and the power and perform the work for you if you trust in Him and rely upon Him. It’s like it said where we started, “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, and go forward.” Don’t be discouraged, don’t be down, don’t let anything, anything take you away from Christ.

Now here’s the reason for it. Verse 8, “Be sober!” Now that means don’t get involved with the spiritual drunkenness of this world. “Be vigilant!” That’s why we have the Feast of Unleavened Bread come along so that it reminds us every year we need to be vigilant. That means on watch, on guard. “For your adversary the devil is prowling about as a roaring lion, seeking anyone he may devour.” Yes, we’re going to have battles against Satan, and he’s going to come after the people of God. That’s just all part of the situation the way that the reality of it truly is. Now here’s how we fight him, verse 9, “Whom resist, steadfast in the faith…” Not wavering back and forth, as James said, and be doubleminded man and unstable as water. Steadfast in the faith. “…Knowing that the same afflictions are being fulfilled among your brethren who are in the world” (vs. 8-9). And don’t think that any trial you’re going through is some sort of strange thing that has come upon you. Everyone has them. And you have them, so you take them to God.

Now here’s a promise. And you claim this promise. When you’re going through a trial, ask God to help you understand it, ask God to help you learn the lesson, ask God to help you fully comprehend what is going on so that you can take that and make it part of your life and character of the very lesson that you’re going to learn. And then claim this promise, verse 10, “Now may the God of all grace, Who has called us unto His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, Himself perfect you [so God is perfecting you —individually], establish, strengthen, and settle you.” That’s the purpose of the trials and the difficulties that we go through, so that we can let God fight our battles for us. Then he says, “To Him be the glory and the power into the ages of eternity. Amen” (vs. 10-11). So that’s the way we unleaven our lives in Christ, by Christ in us, by growing, by overcoming, by looking to God to fight our battles for us so that we can realize that we are called unto eternal glory. And keeping our minds fixed and focused on Jesus Christ.

Now let’s look at some other things here which are important for us to realize. Let’s come here to Ephesians 6. Since this talks about fighting against Satan the devil let’s come to Ephesians 6 and let’s see what we need to do—the very spiritual preparation. Let me tell you this. If you’re not praying, if you’re not studying, if you’re not living by every Word of God when a trial comes upon you it’s going to hit you like a blockbuster. And you are not going to know what to do because you’re weak spiritually, you’re weak mentally, you’re weak physically. All of those things go hand in hand. And so when they come, you’re overwhelmed and you get discouraged. Now here’s what we need to do. We need to be strong in the power God.

Ephesians 6:10. Satan is out there after us like a roaring lion, as we saw. And he is clever and slick and has all kinds of devices to try and entrap and even deceive the very elect. So when we have problems and difficulties to come by, do exactly like Moses told the children of Israel—“Hold your peace, stand still, see the salvation of the LORD and go forward.” And the obvious implication is: not backward into Egypt.

Now Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord…” And that comes with patient study, prayer, walking in every way of God, living your life the way that God wants you to do it. That’s how you’re strong in the Lord “…and in the might of His strength” because He is going to fight for us. “Put on the whole armor of God…” So not only is God going to fight for us but we have our part. “Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil because we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against principalities and against powers, against the world rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual power of wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:10-12). And we see that more so in this age now. There’s just an acceleration of evil everywhere. And that is deliberate, and let’s understand something. Let’s just be frank—we ain’t seen nothing yet because Satan and his forces and troops are out there to destroy every vestige of Christianity that they can through any means that they can. And those are all part of the wiles of the devil, and we’re fighting against those wicked spirits in high places.

Verse 13, “Therefore, take up the whole armor of God so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having worked out all things, to stand.” Just like Moses said, “Stand still and see the salvation of God.” Verse 14, “Stand therefore, having your loins girded about with truth…” And that is the Word of God, which is true. “…And wearing the breastplate of righteousness, and having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Besides all these, take up the shield of the faith, with which you will have the power to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one…” (vs. 13-16). Because he’s there just trying to lob them in. Missiles of lust, if we could put it that way. Because, as it says there in Chapter 2, he is the prince of the power of the air, he is the one who comes along to tempt and to induce into sin. He is there. If there’s any one thing Satan would like you to do is get discouraged and down and come to the point that you’re going to give up on God because you have a trial that you’re going through. Well now, you can’t let that happen.

Verse 17, “And put on the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God…” See, so it shows an active, growing, overcoming, praying, trusting in God, focusing on Christ. Verse 18, “…Praying at all times…” That you pray every day, that you pray many times during the day, just like Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, cease not praying. Not only do you pray and put your life in God’s hands every day when the day begins, but during the day you pray and ask God for help, for wisdom, for truth, for understanding, for bringing into captivity every thought unto Christ and casting down vain imaginations that rise up in your mind against God. And that’s how sin so easily besets us. So it is a continuous daily thing that we do—praying at all times. “…With all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and in this very thing being watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…” (vs. 17-18). Because brethren, we all need the prayers of everyone. And I know my prayer every day is for all the brethren. For those that need to be healed, those that need to fight their battles, those that need to be raised up, those who are distressed and brokenhearted. Christ came to heal the brokenhearted. Christ came to relieve the distressed. So you turn all of that to Him, you see. He is there. He will help. He will fight. He has promised. It doesn’t depend on your goodness, it doesn’t depend on your righteousness. Oh, you have your part to do, but it depends on Christ because He has promised. And those promises are sure, and those promises are true and good like we’ve already seen and Jesus Christ has promised that He will not ever, never leave us and forsake us. Now that’s something. So we can have the total faith and confidence in what God wants us to do in trusting Him to fight our battles.

Now let’s come over here to Ephesians 2 again and let’s see this. Let’s again see what we are operating against. Christ has saved us, reached down and saved us, saved us from our sins in this world. Now Ephesians 2:1, “Now you were dead in trespasses and sins…” That’s how we were before God. And God reached down and had mercy on every one of us individually. “…In which you walked in times past according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working within the children of disobedience…” This is what God has saved us from, that’s why we are not to go back into it. “…Among whom also we all once had our conduct in the lusts of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and by the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as the rest of the world. But God, Who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, has made us alive together with Christ (For you have been saved by grace.)” (Eph. 2:1-5). And that’s through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God.

Now notice what we are to do here. Verse 8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this especially is not of your own selves; it is the gift of God…” And always remember this: you have nothing you didn’t receive. Everything we have is of God. “Not of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship…” God is creating Himself in you. We are His workmanship, “…created in Christ Jesus…” Because you see, salvation is creation—creating in us the mind of Christ, the love of God, the character of God, all the fruits of the Holy Spirit of love, and joy, and peace, and longsuffering, and faith, and gentleness, and kindness, and goodness, and meekness, and temperance, against such there is no law. That’s what He is creating in us. And we are “…created in Christ Jesus unto the good works that God ordained beforehand in order that we might walk in them” (vs. 8-10). That is the way of the Lord. That is what He has done for us.

Now let’s come to Romans 8 and let’s understand how we are to look at these things, how we are to look at the world, how we are to look at ourselves, how we are to view the circumstances in which we find ourselves and what God is going to do for us. Now let’s pick it up here in verse 9. We’ll cover a good deal of Romans 8 because this is a profound chapter. Romans 8:9, “However, you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God is indeed dwelling within you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” And that’s the important thing. The Spirit of God. Now as we have seen, if you let that lax and you’re not exercising, then you have to do as Paul said—stir up the Spirit of God that is in you. And that’s what the Feast of Unleavened Bread is all about, as we have seen, to stir up the Spirit of God which is in us, you see.

Now verse 10, “But if Christ be within you, the body is indeed dead because of sin…” Because you are baptized. All your sins died with Christ and He died for you. And whenever you confess your sins, you put them in the hands of God. They are covered with the blood of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, you see. So you’re not living in sin. “…However, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” Now here is a great and tremendous promise. “Now if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead is dwelling within you, He Who raised Christ from the dead will also quicken your mortal bodies because of His Spirit that dwells within you. So then, brethren, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh…” We’re not to live in the carnal way of this world, “…because if you’re living according to the flesh, you shall die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you shall live” (vs. 10-13). Just like we saw on the first holy day. We are to put to death the deeds of the flesh. We are to put all of that out, and we are to put in Christ. That’s what he’s talking about here. Now if you do that you shall live, and that means to eternal life.

Here’s the key, verse 14. Never forget this, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” Now let’s understand something very important here. The Spirit of God is not going to force you. The Spirit of God will lead you, but you have to choose to yield to God, and you have to choose to ask God to help you be led of the Spirit of God. “As many as are led of the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Now this is also important for us to understand because Satan, as we have seen, wants to come in and give us a spirit of fear, give us a spirit of doubt, give us a spirit of contention, give us a spirit of argument with God. “Now you have not received a spirit of bondage again unto fear, but you have received the Spirit of sonship, whereby we call out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit itself bears witness conjointly with our own spirit, testifying that we are the children of God” (vs. 14-16). That’s what it is brethren, see.

Now notice, these next few verses are profound. “Now if we are children, we are also heirs—truly, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ…” Now stop and think for a minute. What did Christ inherit? All things. That means the universe. We are joint heirs with Christ. That means we will own part of whatever God gives us of the universe, and He says, “Here, this is yours, but with Christ.” That is a fantastic and tremendous thing that God has called us to. And I think that we can understand more, and more, and more about God; and more, and more about how we need to grow and change and overcome, if we keep that right in the forefront of our minds and be led of the Holy Spirit of God.

Now notice, here’s a promise—a promise of suffering. “…If indeed we suffer together with Him, so that we may also be glorified together with Him.” Now the apostle Paul was called to suffer more than any other man except Jesus Christ. And he did suffer. And how did he look upon those sufferings? Well, he came to rejoice in them because he understood the end result. And so likewise with us, you see, we need to rejoice in them because we understand the end result. Not be like the children of Israel at the Red Sea who complained against God and the circumstances they were in because they couldn’t see the outcome. They didn’t have faith in God, though He did a miraculous intervention to extract them from the land of Egypt. No, see, we’re going to be glorified together but we have to suffer, see. “For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.” Now I want you to understand these next verses here to give us some perspective. “For the earnest expectation of the creation itself is awaiting the manifestation of the sons of God…” How important are the sons of God? How important is God to you? So important that Jesus Christ gave His life for you and for everyone individually because you see the sacrifice of Christ is applied to each of us individually, continually, standing in the grace of God. And the whole creation is waiting. The world is waiting. Have you ever thought of it this way: the world is waiting for you, and you, and you, and me, and all the sons of God down through history. It’s waiting. It’s needing us because we are the solution in God’s set time, of course. “…Because the creation was subjected to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who subjected it in hope…” And we are part of that hope through Jesus Christ. “…In order that the creation itself might be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that all the creation is groaning together and travailing together until now” (vs. 17-22). You see, waiting for us.

Now let’s come down here to verse 28. Let’s understand something that’s important. Let’s realize this, regardless of your circumstances, regardless of the difficulties, regardless of your physical condition, regardless of whether you are young or whether you are old, whether you are rich or whether you are poor, God loves you and has a purpose for you. And everything in your life is going to work out for good. Now let’s read it, verse 28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God…” That’s why we’ve covered how important the love of God is. “…To those who are called according to His purpose [and you have been] because those whom He did foreknow [and if you have God’s Spirit in you He has foreknown you], He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His own Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” So that’s what our destination is, our predestination. “Now whom He predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (vs. 28-30). Because you see, God is looking at the finished product in you. He’s not looking at you the way that you are. He’s imputed the righteousness of Christ to you so that you stand before Him blameless and holy, in love. He is looking to you as if you are now glorified. In other words He sees and knows what you will be at the resurrection. Now we’ve received a bit of the glory of God by receiving the Holy Spirit of God. We’ve received a bit of the glory of God by having His Word, which we can know and understand and live by. Absolutely true.

Now verse 31, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” There is no trouble, there’s no difficulty, there is no battle, there is nothing that can be against us. Now claim that promise through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. “He Who did not spare even His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how shall He not also grant us all things together with Him?” Say, “Come, inherit the kingdom prepared for you by My Father.” “Who shall bring an accusation against the elect of God?” Well, people can. But that has no standing before God. “God is the one Who justifies. Who is the one that condemns?” See, Satan comes and accuses us day and night before God, but we overcome Him with the blood of Christ, right? Yes, indeed. “It is Christ Who died, but rather, Who is raised again, Who is even now at the right hand of God…” to fight our battles for us, to give us of His Spirit, to strengthen us, to help us overcome. “…And Who is also making intercession for us. What shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Now think on this. Is there anything that’s going to separate you from the love of God, the love of Christ? See, the reason that we keep the commandments of God and the holy days of God, and the feasts of God is so that we understand this: nothing can separate us from God. “Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” (vs. 31-35). None of those things and we’re probably going to face every one of these things in the coming years.

“Accordingly, it is written, “For Your sake we are killed all the day long; we are reckoned as sheep for the slaughter. But in all these things [even if that happens] we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.” And this is the persuasion we need to come to. This is the attitude that we need. And this is the whole finality of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. “For I am persuaded…” Are you? Are you fully persuaded “…that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (vs. 36-39). That’s the meaning of today. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, and go forward with the power and the might and strength of God.

(End of Sermon)

Transcriber: Carolyn Singer

Unleavened Bread—Day 7
April 12, 2004
Scriptural References

  1. Exodus 7:1
  2. Exodus 14:10-15
  3. Exodus 15:1-3
  4. Psalm 18:1-6
  5. Matthew 7:24
  6. I Corinthians 10:4
  7. Psalm 12:1-5, 8
  8. Psalm 4:1-4
  9. Psalm 37:1-8, 27-29, 34-40
  10. II Chronicles 20:3, 15, 17, 20-22, 25
  11. II Kings 19:1,3, 14-16, 19, 34-36
  12. Hebrews 12:1-6
  13. I Peter 5:5-11
  14. Ephesians 6:10-18
  15. I Thessalonians 5:17
  16. Ephesians 2:1-5, 8-10
  17. Romans 8:9-22, 28-39

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