Faith Chapel

From Sinai To The Promised Land

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Mike Leno


Series Code: FC

Program Code: FC000034

00:28 A certain young man, he was a fifth grader,
00:32 was a major disruption in his classroom.
00:37 He was disrespectful. He was disobedient.
00:40 He would not pay attention to his lessons.
00:43 He was mean to his classmates.
00:46 He just generally ran amuck.
00:49 Well, as happens in a lot of school systems,
00:54 they got the teachers together.
00:55 They got the school psychologist
00:57 and they came up with a diagnosis.
01:01 This young man, I'll call him Mark,
01:03 had ADD, attention deficit disorder.
01:07 Well, they brought the parents in
01:09 and they had a little consultation.
01:10 And they assured the parents
01:12 that this ADD was a genetic
01:15 or a biological problem of some kind
01:17 and it wasn't their fault and,
01:19 you know, they shouldn't worry about it
01:20 and there were special ways to take care of it.
01:24 And the parents went home
01:27 and thought about this for a while.
01:29 And they called the young man in.
01:31 And they said, "Mark,
01:34 things are going to change around here
01:37 and this is what's going to happen.
01:41 You see your door to your room over there?"
01:43 "Yeah." That was his door.
01:45 Oh, there was something different.
01:46 There was a padlock on his door.
01:48 Wow, he'd never seen that before.
01:50 He ran over there and he tried to get in
01:52 and he couldn't get in his door.
01:53 And he said, "Mom, dad, what's wrong?"
01:55 They said, "Well, things are gonna be
01:57 a little different around here.
01:58 For the next 6 weeks,
02:01 things are going to be entirely different.
02:03 Now you will have 15 minutes in the morning
02:06 to get ready for school to use your room
02:08 to get ready for school.
02:10 You will have 15 minutes at night
02:12 to get ready for bed.
02:13 But other than that,
02:15 you are not going to use your room.
02:16 You're going to sleep in a very comfortable place,
02:19 warm, comfortable, soft couch in the living room.
02:24 But you won't be using your room for a while.
02:28 The reason is because your teacher has complained
02:31 that you are a major disruption in the classroom.
02:35 Now" they said, "Mark--"
02:37 By the way, this was quite a punishment
02:39 to Mark because all of his videogames,
02:42 all of his toys,
02:43 everything that he counted valuable was in his room.
02:49 They said, "Mark,
02:51 for any infraction at school or at home,
02:56 there will be a week added to the time
03:00 the padlock stays on the bedroom door."
03:05 Well, it was amazing what happened to this ADD.
03:10 It completely disappeared.
03:13 In fact, Mark was considered a model child
03:17 both at school and at home.
03:21 He helped with his chores at home.
03:22 He was respectful.
03:24 At school, he paid attention to his lessons.
03:26 He didn't bother the other kids.
03:28 He wasn't disrespectful to the teacher.
03:32 And finally when the 6 weeks were over,
03:35 the padlock was taken off of his bedroom door.
03:38 He was allowed back into his room
03:41 with the promise that if he relapsed,
03:45 there would be another 6-week period of time
03:47 with the padlock on the door.
03:50 A year later, his parents reported
03:53 to his psychologist that he had never relapsed,
03:58 that he was as good as gold and was respectful
04:02 and attentive at school as well.
04:07 It's amazing what the law can do.
04:11 Sometimes parents just have to lay down the law.
04:17 Sometimes you and I need the law as well.
04:27 This sermon is called
04:29 "From Sinai to the Promised Land."
04:32 There is another title that I almost used for it.
04:34 It's called "What part of 'thou shalt not'
04:36 don't you understand?
04:38 Instructions on the way to the Promised Land."
04:41 It seems that we have ADD when it comes to God.
04:46 No matter how many assurances and warnings we get,
04:49 the human race just doesn't get it sometimes.
04:54 God's Commandments help us get it.
04:58 A rather young Dr. Martin Luther King said
05:01 in a sermon in 1954, the quote,
05:04 "This is a moral universe,
05:07 the laws of which we violate at our own peril.
05:11 We must remember," he said,
05:12 "that it's possible to affirm the existence of God
05:15 with your lips
05:17 and to deny the existence of God with your life.
05:21 The most dangerous form of atheism,"
05:24 said Dr. King, "is not theoretical atheism,
05:28 but practical atheism."
05:33 This message is divided into basically
05:37 three observations on child discipline,
05:40 as applied to our spiritual lives, of course.
05:42 Number one,
05:44 good parents lay down the law for their child.
05:48 They do not lay down the law for someone else's child.
05:51 Laying down the law does not change
05:53 the child's status of belonging to the family.
05:56 In other words, breaking the law means
05:59 that discipline is applied,
06:01 not that the kid is kicked out of the family.
06:05 Second observation, improvement in behavior
06:09 does not make a child any more
06:11 or less a child of the family.
06:15 It does mean, however, that the child's happier,
06:17 more productive, less selfish
06:19 and more pleasant to live with.
06:22 Number three,
06:24 when the child grows up, he or she will be attracted
06:28 or not attracted to their family
06:31 and will choose whether to be part of it or not.
06:35 Choice and natural consequences
06:39 not the punishments or rewards
06:40 from the parents determine
06:42 the ultimate destiny of the child.
06:48 We can look at Israel's experience
06:51 as they traveled from Sinai to the Promised Land
06:55 and see how these principles apply to our spiritual lives.
07:00 First of all,
07:02 the observation that good parents lay down
07:03 the law for their child
07:05 and that they don't lay down the law
07:06 for someone else's child.
07:08 Laying down the law does not change
07:09 the child's status of belonging to the family.
07:15 In the wilderness of Sinai, God met His people.
07:22 Do you know how the Ten Commandments begin?
07:25 Oh, everybody knows that, "Thou Shalt Not."
07:27 No, that's not how the Ten Commandments begin.
07:29 Go to the first verse of Exodus 20.
07:32 In fact, let's read Exodus 20:1, 2.
07:37 God says, "I am the Lord your God,
07:40 who brought you out of Egypt,
07:42 out of the land of slavery."
07:46 That is how the Ten Commandments begin.
07:50 God saved them from slavery and then gave them His law.
07:54 Having the law of God then was a sign of
07:58 having the grace of God.
08:01 They were already His children.
08:03 They were the children of Israel
08:04 that He had saved out of Egypt,
08:06 out of slavery, out of bondage.
08:08 They were His.
08:11 The good news of the Ten Commandments
08:14 is that God saved His people first.
08:16 And then gave them His law.
08:20 The law as correctly understood
08:22 by the Jews was never a curse.
08:24 It was a gift, a blessing, an evidence of God's grace.
08:30 Dr. Laura Schlessinger published a book
08:33 not too long ago called "The Ten Commandments."
08:38 A contemporary explanation of the law
08:40 as it was meant to be understood.
08:42 This is what she had to say.
08:44 "In our extensive discussions with various groups,
08:47 we have found that,
08:49 although many people are comfortable
08:51 with the idea that humans have
08:53 such general obligations to God as
08:56 "Do onto others as you would have them do onto you,"
08:59 they are uncomfortable with the idea of
09:01 specific obligations to God such as,
09:04 "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy"
09:06 which she said puts a definite crimp
09:08 in their shopping schedules.
09:10 Does that limit our freedom?
09:12 On the contrary, Dr. Laura said,
09:15 "It expands our lives."
09:18 In her introduction to the book,
09:19 she relates how she once based her ideas of
09:21 goodness and success on her own standards.
09:25 When she discovered God's standards
09:27 and started living by them, she found quote
09:30 "a higher idealism, a more profound,
09:33 just and consistent morality,
09:37 found only through the commandments.
09:39 My life," she says,
09:40 "has focus, purpose, and meaning.
09:43 I feel a part of something more important than
09:45 my daily experiences might indicate.
09:48 I don't feel so alone anymore," she says.
09:51 You ever feel alone in the universe?
09:55 Find a way to belong to something bigger than you.
09:59 And there is nothing bigger than belonging
10:01 to the purposes of the Almighty ruler of the universe.
10:06 You see, the proper view of the Ten Commandments
10:09 is the same for us as it was
10:13 for those Israelites camped at the foot of Mount Sinai.
10:17 Our obligations to God are a sign of His love for us
10:21 and an indication that He has already saved us.
10:25 When put into practice as a response to that love,
10:29 we find more freedom not less.
10:34 Our second observation on child behavior says
10:39 that improvement in behavior does not make
10:42 a child any more or less a child of the family.
10:47 It does mean, however, that the child is happier,
10:50 more productive, less selfish
10:52 and more pleasant to live with.
10:53 Now this is an area that Christians
10:55 often have a hard time with
10:56 because once we start responding to God's love
11:00 and we start trying to keep the commandments,
11:03 we think--
11:05 out of our natural sinful ways of thinking,
11:08 we think that the better we are,
11:12 the more qualified we are to be a son or daughter of God.
11:16 It's not true.
11:18 Where the Israelites any more or less
11:20 the children of Israel
11:21 when they had the Ten Commandments
11:23 than when they were saved out of the bondage of Egypt?
11:26 No way.
11:29 The Israelites were a bunch of former slaves,
11:32 on their way to the Promised Land.
11:34 They were delivered.
11:35 Their destination assured,
11:37 but they needed to become better people
11:39 not in order to be accepted by God,
11:41 they were already accepted by God,
11:43 but in order to be happier, more successful,
11:46 more able to relate to God
11:48 and more able to represent God to the world around them.
11:53 Notice David's view of the law in Psalm 119
11:57 starting with verse 97.
12:00 "Oh, how I love your law. I meditate on it all day long.
12:05 Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
12:07 for they are ever with me.
12:09 I have more insight than all my teachers,
12:11 for I meditate on your statutes.
12:13 I have more understanding than the elders,
12:15 for I obey your precepts.
12:17 I have kept my feet from every evil path
12:19 so that I might obey your word.
12:21 I have not departed from your law,
12:23 but you yourself have taught me.
12:25 How sweet are your words to my taste,
12:28 sweeter than honey to my mouth?
12:30 I gain understanding from your precepts.
12:32 Therefore I hate every wrong path."
12:36 God's law was never intended to be a legalistic device
12:41 to make us acceptable to God.
12:44 It was intended to be a gift, a promise of a better life,
12:48 a life of freedom from the negativity of sin.
12:52 When those Israelites received the law on Mount Sinai,
12:54 it was with the promise
12:56 that they were on the way to the Promised Land.
13:04 How that all relates to everyday life is sometimes
13:07 rather interesting?
13:09 When my son was young,
13:14 I probably learned more than he did about
13:18 how the law is applied to everyday life?
13:21 You see one time we went to camp meeting together.
13:27 And my son when he was little did not like wearing shoes.
13:32 He hated wearing shoes.
13:34 And so he ran all over the camp without shoes.
13:37 And as trying to be a responsible father,
13:42 I kept telling him, "Son, wear your shoes."
13:46 But he didn't want to wear a shoe,
13:47 so he might put them on for a minute.
13:49 And then I'd see him running around the camp later,
13:52 he wouldn't have the shoes on.
13:55 Well, there came a point where I decided
13:59 that nagging him into wearing his shoes
14:01 was really not going to work.
14:04 The more I nagged him to put his shoes on,
14:07 the less he wanted to put his shoes on.
14:10 So I decided to back off
14:13 and just let natural consequences
14:15 take their course.
14:18 Casey ran around without his shoes.
14:21 My son, Casey did not put his shoes on
14:24 when his dad told him to.
14:26 And, therefore, he suffered the punishment
14:29 of bleeding feet.
14:32 Now I didn't say, "Casey,
14:34 because you didn't wear your shoes,
14:36 I'm going to cut your feet and make them bloody."
14:39 What a horrible father I would've been?
14:42 In fact to this day, I feel a little guilty
14:45 for not laying down the law sooner.
14:48 If I had laid down the law sooner,
14:49 I could have saved him some pain and suffering.
14:53 So it is my fault for not laying down the law sooner.
14:57 Nevertheless, the natural result of
14:59 disobedience is what brought about
15:02 his cut and bloody feet.
15:04 So once I did lay down the law
15:07 and he had to put the shoes on,
15:09 it was a little painful to put those shoes on.
15:13 Now was my son Casey ever in danger of being
15:17 kicked out of the family?
15:19 No. Of course, not.
15:20 Was he disobedient? Oh yes, definitely.
15:25 He was in danger, however, of being hurt,
15:29 unhappy, possibly even infected
15:32 with some nasty bacteria.
15:34 The law was a gift to save him from the pain of cut,
15:41 dirty, and bloody feet.
15:43 The law could have made him happier.
15:49 Number three,
15:51 when the child grows up,
15:53 he or she will be attracted or not attracted
15:57 to their family and will choose
16:00 whether to be part of it or not.
16:03 Choice and natural consequences not the punishments
16:07 or rewards from the parents
16:08 determine the ultimate destiny of the child.
16:11 Now this is where we start feeling a little bit uneasy
16:14 because ultimately, there is a final destination
16:19 for both you and me.
16:21 And no matter how much God tries
16:24 to discipline us along the way,
16:26 we still have freedom of choice.
16:28 We can choose whether we want to go
16:30 all the way to the Promised Land
16:31 with God or not.
16:34 We sometimes view God as a rather large,
16:38 supernatural, disciplinarian who zaps people
16:41 when they get out of line.
16:42 Or to the other extreme,
16:44 we think of God as some heavenly Santa Claus
16:47 who never lets anything bad happen to us
16:50 no matter what we do.
16:52 What we do does have consequences
16:55 for good or for evil.
16:58 And it will have ultimate consequences
17:03 for good or for evil.
17:06 The generation of Israelites that camped
17:08 at Mount Sinai did not go into the Promised Land.
17:13 Did you realize that?
17:15 After all of that time that God spent with them,
17:17 giving them His law and marching them
17:21 right up to the border of the Promised Land,
17:23 that generation did not go into the Promised Land.
17:27 Why? Because they rebelled.
17:30 Back in the Book of Numbers, it recounts the story,
17:33 how they came right to the border
17:35 of the Promised Land and they picked a spy
17:36 out of each one of the 12 tribes.
17:39 And they sent them to spy out the land.
17:42 And after a while, those 12 spies came back
17:44 and gave their report.
17:47 10 spies said, "This is horrible. Why?
17:50 The land will devour us."
17:53 There's the descendants of Anak, the Giants.
17:57 "We better turn back.
17:59 We'd have been better off just dying in the wilderness.
18:01 We'd have been better off back in Egypt.
18:03 Caleb and Joshua, however,
18:05 gave a little different report.
18:06 They said, "This was a wonderful land.
18:08 Look at what we brought back."
18:09 They had found a cluster of grapes that were so big.
18:11 It took two men to carry it on a pole.
18:13 And they brought back some pomegranates.
18:14 They said, "This is a land
18:16 flowing with milk and honey."
18:17 It's interesting that 10 out of the 12
18:21 saw the hardships and the danger.
18:23 And two of them saw the promises of God
18:26 being fulfilled right before their eyes.
18:31 And so they rebelled.
18:33 The people were persuaded by the report of the 10 spies.
18:35 And they rebelled and they chose another leader.
18:38 And they said, "We're not going in."
18:42 It's kind of interesting what happened next
18:44 because in the sight of this rebellion,
18:48 what is God supposed to do?
18:51 And so God came and talked to Moses.
18:55 And said, You tell the people that
18:57 they've chosen not to go into the Promised Land,
18:59 they're not going."
19:02 And Moses pleaded for God to forgive those people.
19:09 It's interesting how God put Moses
19:12 in a mediatorial position intentionally.
19:17 It sounds at first like God is being
19:19 rather harsh because He's threatening
19:21 to wipe out all of Israel.
19:22 And Moses steps in just like Christ does
19:26 as our mediator.
19:28 And says, "Don't destroy them."
19:30 I think God was really showing through Moses
19:33 what He was really like.
19:36 And so God says, "Don't worry."
19:38 Turn with me to Numbers 14:20,
19:42 in the Book of Numbers Chapter 14,
19:46 we have God's response to Moses.
19:51 When God was threatening to wipe out the Israelites,
19:58 He was looking like the bad guy.
20:00 He was looking like that nasty old ogre
20:03 that was gonna wipe everybody out
20:04 just because He didn't get His way.
20:06 But, you know, God has never been like that,
20:08 never has, never will.
20:10 And through Moses,
20:12 He was showing His true character.
20:13 But when He meets with Moses again in Numbers 14:20,
20:20 "The Lord replied,
20:21 'I have forgiven them, as you asked.
20:26 Nevertheless, as surely as I live
20:28 and as surely as the glory of the Lord
20:30 fills the whole earth,
20:31 not one of the men who saw my glory
20:33 and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt
20:35 and in the desert but who disobeyed me
20:38 and tested me ten times--
20:41 not one of them will ever see the land
20:43 I promised on oath to their forefathers.
20:46 No one who has treated me with contempt
20:48 will ever see it.
20:50 But because of my servant Caleb has a different spirit
20:54 and follows me wholeheartedly,
20:56 I will bring him into the land he went to,
20:58 and his descendents will inherit it."
21:02 God always forgives,
21:05 but He can't force our loyalty and our faith.
21:11 Faith has to be won. It can't be forced.
21:17 In Hebrews 8:10, we have another picture
21:22 of how the law was intended to be.
21:25 In Hebrews 8:10.
21:29 "This is the covenant I will make
21:31 with the house of Israel after that time,
21:34 declares the Lord.
21:35 I will put my laws in their minds
21:36 and write them on their hearts.
21:38 I will be their God, and they will be my people."
21:44 You see, God, He doesn't just want obedience.
21:50 He wants a family.
21:52 He wants to give us what we really want.
21:55 And He is waiting for people to be won
21:57 over to His side and to really want Him.
22:01 His law is a gift for those who want to know
22:03 what God is like and want to imitate Him.
22:07 Being saved or lost is not a matter of law,
22:12 but for those who are glad to be saved already,
22:14 it is a precious gift.
22:17 For those who choose to be lost,
22:18 it is a warning and a promise of better things
22:23 if they choose to change their minds.
22:26 Are you bound for the Promised Land?
22:29 If you are part of God's family, you are.
22:33 If you are part of God's family,
22:34 you have already been saved from sin
22:37 not because of any goodness in you,
22:39 but because God chose to do it,
22:40 just as He took those poor slaves out of Egypt
22:43 and brought them into the wilderness of Sinai
22:47 and then onto the Promised Land.
22:50 If you accept the salvation,
22:52 God will instruct you and make you a better person.
22:54 He'll put His laws in your hearts.
22:56 He will transform you by His love.
22:58 You will enter the Promised Land,
23:00 unless you deliberately lose faith with God.
23:05 You see that was the problem with the Israelites.
23:08 Right on the border of Canaan,
23:10 they could have gone in,
23:12 but it wasn't because God gave up on them,
23:14 it was because they gave up on God.
23:20 Sometime, after my experience
23:25 at camp meeting with Casey's shoes,
23:28 he and I decided to go for a little hike.
23:29 We were living in Tucson, Arizona at that time.
23:31 And the Catalina Mountains are a beautiful place to hike.
23:35 And we knew of a little abandoned mineshaft
23:38 that was just 2 or 3 miles up the trail.
23:40 And so one afternoon, we took our flashlights
23:44 and a couple of little hammers to see
23:47 if we could find a couple little pieces of quartz.
23:49 And we headed up the trail.
23:52 Well, we got up to the destination
23:56 in this little hole on the side of the mountain
23:58 and we walked in, turned our flashlights on
24:01 and we had a nice time.
24:02 We really didn't find anything valuable.
24:05 It's very accessible to the trail
24:08 and lots of hikers have been in there
24:10 and not too many pieces of quartz left.
24:14 But we had a good time anyway.
24:16 When we were done we came out of the entrance to the cave.
24:21 We discovered the sun had gone down.
24:26 It was now getting dark.
24:28 Well, I wasn't too worried because the moon was full.
24:34 And the desert landscape just lit up before us.
24:38 And it was gorgeous.
24:40 It had cooled off a little bit,
24:42 but it was so comfortable just to be hiking along.
24:46 And so as we headed down the trail,
24:49 we knew that the Promised Land,
24:53 the parking lot was just around the corner.
24:57 And we kept hiking and we kept hiking.
25:00 And we were making good time.
25:06 And the problem was the landscape was starting
25:09 to look unfamiliar.
25:15 Finally, Casey turned to me and he said,
25:17 "Dad," he knew I was lost by that time.
25:22 He said, "Dad, maybe we should pray."
25:25 I said, "Okay, let's pray." So we prayed.
25:30 And then we looked up and we still didn't know
25:32 where we were.
25:33 And we did something that you should never do
25:37 in the dark and you should never, never do
25:41 in the dark in the desert with lots of cactus around.
25:46 And that is we left the trail.
25:48 You see, we could see the lights
25:50 from the parking lot just over the ridge.
25:55 I mean, we could see the glare of the lights
25:57 and kind of the halo and we knew we were so close
26:01 and so we wanted just to get up on that little ridge
26:03 and look down and see where it was.
26:07 We didn't find it.
26:08 And after messing around for a while off the trail,
26:11 we found the trail again.
26:12 And Casey wanted to pray again.
26:14 He said, and then he wanted to pray again and he said,
26:17 "Dad, you know, in the Bible, didn't they,
26:19 didn't they pray seven times at one time."
26:21 I said, "Okay."
26:22 And so we prayed seven times
26:24 and we headed back on to the trail
26:26 this time in the opposite direction we'd gone before.
26:28 And suddenly I knew where we were.
26:31 In the dark, we had missed the turnoff
26:33 to the parking lot.
26:34 And so we had to retrace our steps,
26:36 not very far.
26:37 Make the right turn and make it to the parking lot.
26:43 In our travels through the deserts of this life,
26:49 we are a lot like those Israelites
26:50 who went through God's school in the desert.
26:55 We are not perfect hikers.
26:57 Sometimes we get off on the wrong trail.
26:59 Sometimes we ignore God's instructions.
27:02 Sometimes we don't follow the rules of the road
27:05 like we should.
27:06 And we find ourselves in the dark and lost
27:12 just as the Israelites received the gift of grace,
27:15 God's law, and then finally stood
27:18 on the banks of Jordan River.
27:19 After all the mistakes and learning,
27:21 they still had to cross by faith.
27:24 We must cross by faith.
27:26 Only a faith-trust relationship with God
27:31 will bring us across Jordan.
27:33 And just as my son and I had to turn to God,
27:36 out of faith, out of desperation,
27:39 knowing that we didn't know our way out of this,
27:42 we can trust in our Heavenly Father.
27:45 God will bring us across Jordan,
27:47 not because He will take revenge on us,
27:51 not because we'll be afraid of Him,
27:53 but because we love Him,
27:55 we have chosen Him and we are loyal to Him.


Revised 2014-12-17