Message 9: How to Lose in a Generation or Less

 

Exodus Series

5/8/22

Message 9/54

Introduction: Today is not a Mother’s Day Message.

  1. During my preparation, there was a special level of somberness to my preparation.
  2. While reading my text, I was also reminded “Hey, kids will be in this service.”
  3. So that means, I can’t really describe what Asherah poles are at least not in clear terms (and be careful about what you google here because they are wooden depictions of male genitalia).
  4. But as I reflect upon today’s passage, I can’t help but think that this is a great opportunity for you, as parents, to model Christian worship and response to your kids.
  5. You see, we have a great children’s program.
  6. I’m thankful for the ministry of Pastor Brenda and her team who create a fun and interactive environment for your kids to grow and worship and play.
  7. But that also means that your kids may have never watched you lift your hands in worship before, unless you do that at home.
  8. Your kids go to the altar almost every week, it’s what they do and part of the culture we are creating, but they may have never witnessed their parents or grandparents go to the altar or up front to pray before.
  9. So, may be today’s passage and topic is more appropriate than I initially realized.
  10. Today, we are looking at God’s instructions to Moses on how to live successfully in the Promised Land.
  11. The Promised Land was the goal.
  12. It was an amazing and blessed place, but it wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t heaven.
  13. It was a place of blessing, but there were obstacles and traps before Israel.
  14. It seems to me that the enemy likes to boobytrap God’s blessings.
  15. God sees the obstacles and pitfalls that await Israel in the Promise Land.
  16. So He tells them what to do and what not to do so that they may enjoy the blessing.
  17. Unfortunately, Israel loses it all.
  18. First, the generation that is being given these instructions fail at the edge of the Promise Land.
  19. We must enter the Promised Land by faith, or not at all.
  20. Israel panicked and this whole generation died in the wilderness.
  21. At this point, they are merely days away from the Promised Land.
  22. Instead, it cost them 40 years and their lives.
  23. When Joshua and the new generation finally enters, it was just as amazing as God promised.
  24. However, the obstacles that God said awaited them were still there.
  25. After Joshua dies, Judges says “there arose up a generation who did not know the Lord.”
  26. That secular generation fathered the generations that ultimately lost the land through God’s judgment and experienced exile.

Here is what the text said, and I’m going to quickly get into the core of today’s message:

Exodus 34:10–28 (CSB)

10 And the Lord responded, “Look, I am making a covenant. In the presence of all your people I will perform wonders that have never been done in the whole earth or in any nation. All the people you live among will see the Lord’s work, for what I am doing with you is awe-inspiring. 11 Observe what I command you today. I am going to drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hethites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with the inhabitants of the land that you are going to enter; otherwise, they will become a snare among you. 13 Instead, you must tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, and chop down their Asherah poles. 14 Because the Lord is jealous for his reputation, you are never to bow down to another god. He is a jealous God.

15 “Do not make a treaty with the inhabitants of the land, or else when they prostitute themselves with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, they will invite you, and you will eat their sacrifices. 16 Then you will take some of their daughters as brides for your sons. Their daughters will prostitute themselves with their gods and cause your sons to prostitute themselves with their gods.

17 “Do not make cast images of gods for yourselves.

18 “Observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread. You are to eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, as I commanded you, for you came out of Egypt in the month of Abib.

19 “The firstborn male from every womb belongs to me, including all your male livestock, the firstborn of cattle or sheep. 20 You may redeem the firstborn of a donkey with a sheep, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. You must redeem all the firstborn of your sons. No one is to appear before me empty-handed.

21 “You are to labor six days but you must rest on the seventh day; you must even rest during plowing and harvesting times.

22 “Observe the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the agricultural year. 23 Three times a year all your males are to appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. 24 For I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory. No one will covet your land when you go up three times a year to appear before the Lord your God.

25 “Do not present the blood for my sacrifice with anything leavened. The sacrifice of the Passover Festival must not remain until morning.

26 “Bring the best firstfruits of your land to the house of the Lord your God.

“You must not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

27 The Lord also said to Moses, “Write down these words, for I have made a covenant with you and with Israel based on these words.”

28 Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did not eat food or drink water. He wrote the Ten Commandments, the words of the covenant, on the tablets.

 

1. Covenants have mutual components.

  1. God is entering into a renewed covenant with Israel.
  2. They broke the first one, already.
  3. Because it was broken, it had to be renewed and redrawn.
  4. For 40 days and 40 nights, God gives Moses the words of the Covenant, the Commandments, and probably most of the material for the first 5 books of the Bible.
  5. Yet, this covenant had obligations for the people to follow through.
  6. I’m afraid that most Christians know just enough about Covenant and God’s promises to get them in trouble.
  7. For example, we profess the promise “God will never leave us nor forsake us.”
  8. Yet we expect Him to walk with us into that strip-club or to redeem the lies we told our spouse or boss.
  9. We profess “God shall supply all of our needs” while failing to tithe, budget, and steward the supplies.
  10. The Promised Land BELONGED to Israel.
  11. God had given it to them.
  12. It was theirs, but it was possessed by former inhabitants.
  13. Israel was responsible for dispossessing and evicting the former inhabitants and taking possession.
  14. But there was a proper procedure for taking possession.
  15. Failure to do so would result in Israel losing their possession.
  16. The loss would not be immediate, but would happen over a generation or so.
  17. The seeds of loss and rebellion are sown by the parents and the elders, and reaped in their children.
  18. God outlined a few of the ways Israel could lose the Promised Land after they arrived.
  19. Notice, this was not BEFORE.
  20. This was while they were at their destination.
  21. As believers read and hear this ancient message, I feel its impact upon our situation today.
  22. The parallels between Israel and us are there.

2. We lose when we have the Wrong allies. (10-12)

10 And the Lord responded, “Look, I am making a covenant. In the presence of all your people I will perform wonders that have never been done in the whole earth or in any nation. All the people you live among will see the Lord’s work, for what I am doing with you is awe-inspiring. 11 Observe what I command you today. I am going to drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hethites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with the inhabitants of the land that you are going to enter; otherwise, they will become a snare among you.

->15 “Do not make a treaty with the inhabitants of the land, or else when they prostitute themselves with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, they will invite you, and you will eat their sacrifices.

  1. The people of the land were bigger, stronger, and more powerful than Israel was.
  2. There were giants in the land.
  3. Other portions of Scripture tell us that they had better weapons.
  4. They had walled cities, like Jericho, that were so large chariot races could be held on the top of the wall.
  5. The inhabitants were the perfect treaty partners, and terrible enemies.
  6. However, Israel had the promises and the power of God.
  7. The battles before them were to be the Lord’s battles.
  8. He was going to drive them out with miracles and plagues.
  9. The original plan was for God to do the fighting, and Israel was to march behind and take possession.
  10. Of course, in the book of Joshua, we read about the battles the next generation had to face.
  11. But these were not battles they were meant to fight; they were battles leftover because their parents acted in unbelief.
  12. When we fail to fight the battles we were designed to fight, we set the next generation up for failure by making them fight battles they were not meant to fight.
  13. Today’s Principle: The wrong allies will lead us away from God’s Word.
  14. This doesn’t mean we do not have friends or relationships with unbelievers.
  15. Jesus himself ate with the outcasts and the fringes.
  16. What’s the difference between fellowship or friendship and an ally?
  17. Allies “combine resources or commodities for mutual benefit”.
  18. To use biblical language:
  19. Israel could not make a Covenant with the people of the land because it would be in violation of their covenant with God. It was against God’s word.
  20. We cannot Bless what God has Cursed.
  21. Unholy alliances have unholy results.
  22. This is a hard word, for a hard season.
  23. Please be careful in how you apply this word, because it could lead to legalism and hatred if not applied with the Holy Spirit’s leading.
  24. Then again, I’m afraid that America is reaping what she has sown through unholy alliances, and our generations are paying the price.

 

3. We lose when we worship at the Wrong altars. (13-17)

13 Instead, you must tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, and chop down their Asherah poles. 14 Because the Lord is jealous for his reputation, you are never to bow down to another god. He is a jealous God.

15 “Do not make a treaty with the inhabitants of the land, or else when they prostitute themselves with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, they will invite you, and you will eat their sacrifices. 16 Then you will take some of their daughters as brides for your sons. Their daughters will prostitute themselves with their gods and cause your sons to prostitute themselves with their gods.

  1. An Altar is any place that prayer or worship is offered.
  2. Many people all over the world have worshipped their gods through physical, iconic means.
  3. This could include poles of wood or stone, fashioned to represent their gods like an Asherah pole or a Native American totem pole.
  4. It may be a small idol that sits on a shelf at home or in a special building where locals would gather and offer prayer and incense.
  5. Israel was markedly different.
  6. Outside of the Tabernacle, there were NO created images allowed.
  7. Israel was to be very different in her worship.
  8. The problem with false gods is that they attract false worship.
  9. For example, all throughout the OT and even the NT, people who gathered at ancient shrines or these poles were not just praying or singing songs.
  10. What happened at the Asherah poles in Canaan or at the Temple of Artimis in Ephesians was worship through sex, cult prostitution, drugs, and all sorts of sinfulness.
  11. When we worship at wrong altars, we worship wrong gods with the wrong things.
  12. Furthermore, we lose the capacity to worship the One True God.
  13. When you and I worship at the wrong altars during our week, we discover we have nothing left to worship Jesus on Sunday.

4. We lose when we practice the Wrong priorities Vs. 21-24

21 “You are to labor six days but you must rest on the seventh day; you must even rest during plowing and harvesting times.

22 “Observe the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the agricultural year. 23 Three times a year all your males are to appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. 24 For I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory. No one will covet your land when you go up three times a year to appear before the Lord your God.

  1. Sabbath was to be a defining sign of Israel’s relationship with God.
  2. Nobody else did this.
  3. The Sabbath was a weekly witness that God was Israel’s provider and sustainer.
  4. The Sabbath was not a convenience.
  5. Israel was to Sabbath during busy weeks and during slow seasons.
  6. Israel was to Sabbath in the Wilderness and in the Promised Land.
  7. The great temptation was to see the Sabbath as conditional or optional.
  8. Notice the text: you must even rest during plowing and harvesting seasons.
  9. When you are an agrarian people and live or die by the harvest, it would be a good reason not to stop and worship one day a week.
  10. God warned His people to not be confused with where their blessings come from.
  11. Hard work and common sense are not substitutes for God’s blessings.
  12. If the people worked hard, but disobeyed God, they would eventually lose the blessing.
  13. Next, notice that they were to go to the festival and not fear someone taking their land.
  14. That would make sense:
  15. If you had to travel a far distance to worship 3 times a year, and left your land empty, it would be easy for someone to covet and take your land.
  16. Furthermore, lots of things can happen to your property while you were away.
  17. It would seem reasonable to forgo the time, the expense, and the effort to go and worship God.
  18. The danger was to prioritize Land over presence and obedience.
  19. God promised to provide and to protect if we put Him first.
  20. When our priorities align with God’s, we experience His blessings and favor.
  21. We don’t have to live in fear or dread.
  22. But we cannot expect God’s blessings if our priorities are not right.
  23. Whatever we elevate above or before God will be taken from us.
  24. Because God is jealous, He will allow nothing in His place.
  25. Money, families, jobs, and possessions are poor substitutes and they are wrong priorities.
  26. Time and again, I have seen people put good things ahead of God and then lose those things.
  27. The danger before those of us in this room is not outright sin.
  28. Our greatest danger is misplaced priorities.
  29. Work, family, and fun are important.
  30. Not only are they important, they are good.
  31. But they cease to be good when they rob God of worship.

5. We lose when we offer the Wrong Sacrifices Vs. 25-26

Vs 20b. No one is to appear before me empty-handed.

25 “Do not present the blood for my sacrifice with anything leavened. The sacrifice of the Passover Festival must not remain until morning. 26 “Bring the best firstfruits of your land to the house of the Lord your God. “You must not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

  1. When reading all of the laws and commandments in the Old Testament, we realize that there was a right and wrong way to worship God.
  2. This brief section teaches that it was wrong to worship:
  3. Empty-handed, because God has given everyone something they can worship with.
  4. With leaven, which represents sin.
  5. It is wrong to worship with anything less than our best.
  6. It was wrong to worship God in the same way that Canaanites worshipped their gods (it appears that boiling a young goat in milk was a fertility right).
  7. Israel was told to be careful with how they worshipped.
  8. This not only protected them.
  9. It also reminded their world that there was One, True God and He was YHWH.
  10. Jesus told the Woman at the Well that there was coming a day when we would worship God “In Spirit and in Truth”.
  11. When we ignore the Spirit and pervert the truth, we are offering the wrong sacrifices and we lose our witness.
  12. Furthermore, without Spirit and without truth we pass down a form of religion but denying its power.
  13. We have raised a generation that loves superheroes and the supernatural but who will never pursue the God of their parents and grandparents.
  14. We are raising a generation who lives amongst God’s blessings, but have no idea about the miracles that brought them there.

How do we lose in a generation or less:

  1. We sacrifice our families on the altars of drugs, or pleasure, or success.
  2. We live out the wrong priorities, the wrong passions, with the wrong worship, to the wrong gods, on the wrong altars.
  3. We teach kids how to solve algebraic equations, but don’t teach them right from wrong.
  4. We drag our kids to church and expect the youth pastor or the kid’s pastor to undue in 90 minutes a week’s worth of influence.
  5. We lose in a generation when we leave battles unfought, giants unslain, and generational curses alive.
  6. Mom and Dad: Grandpa and Grandma: Big Sister and Little Brother:
  7. I’m asking you to fight what needs to be fought, and don’t wait.
  8. I’m asking you to lead so that your kids and grandkids have something to follow.
  9. Some of us are here today because we had a praying mom or grandma or dad or grandpa.
  10. But perhaps they aren’t with us anymore, but there are people running around who call you grandma or grandpa.
  11. I’m imploring you to live and lead so your kids and grandkids will one day testify “I’m here because I had a praying mom or grandma.”
  12. I’m asking you to teach those around you how to prioritize, worship, and win.
  13. I’m asking us to not go the way of Israel.
  14. I’m calling us to be Spirit filled and Spirit-led so that those around us may see Jesus.
  15. I’m imploring us to do whatever it takes to make sure we don’t lose in this generation or the next.

 

Prayer

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