Ezekiel 47: 1-5; Exodus 16:8
“Then he brought me back to the door of the house; and behold, water was flowing from under the threshold of the house toward the east, for the house faced east. And the water was flowing down from under, from the right side of the house, from south of the altar. He brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate by way of the gate that faces east. And behold, water was trickling from the south side. When the man went out toward the east with a line in his hand, he measured a thousand cubits, and he led me through the water, water reaching the ankles. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the knees. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the loins. Again he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not ford, for the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be forded.” (Ezekiel 47: 1-5)
“Moses said, ‘This will happen when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening, and bread to the full in the morning; for the LORD hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the LORD.'” (Exodus 16:8)
This is the seventh session on ‘God Measures Our Faith‘.
We see a great diversity of people in the history of fulfilling the providence of God.
At the core of this history are the ‘men of God’.
Here, ‘men of God’ are people whom God selects, elects, and attests to by being with them.
They are the ones who perform the things only God can do. They have the evidences that God is with them.
People like Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and David were used as instruments to fulfill the providence of God at each point in the history.
Around them were two kinds of people.
One kind is those who love God, accomplish the kingdom of God with the men of God, and they receive the blessings together.
The other kind is those who hated and stood against the men of God thereby driving away their blessings and receiving curses.
Seeing the latter kind of people, you might think you can’t really understand them wondering why they were so foolish.
But one thing you should remember is that you and I belong to one of these two groups.
God is fulfilling His providence even today through the men of God.
Where do you belong?
I am sure you must be standing at the side of the men of God.
I also believe you’d want to accomplish the will of God yourselves, too.
This is what God wants, too.
Let us think about the end of those people who stood against men of God.
Through this message, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will make up your mind never to follow the foolish way.
The fourth of the sins depriving of salvation are the sins of standing against men of God.
There are many examples in the Bible, but today, let us talk about just a couple of them.
First, there were people who stood against Moses.
God was with Moses and God attested to all words and actions of Moses while he was leading more than two million people to the land of Canaan.
God let Moses perform such amazing things that men can never do.
When Moses commanded, the Red Sea was parted, manna came from heaven, water came out of a rock, and bitter water became sweet water. So many signs and wonders took place.
Through this, any son of Israel could see that Moses was a man of God.
And yet, they complained against him when they had some hardships in the wilderness.
In Exodus chapter 16, when the people had no food, they complained against Moses and Aaron.
Then Moses let them know that their complaint was actually directed against God.
Exodus 16:8 says, “This will happen when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening, and bread to the full in the morning; for the LORD hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the LORD.”
During the Exodus, Moses did not do anything at his own discretion. He was only an agent who was carrying out the will of God.
Aaron was a spokesperson of Moses.
For this reason the complaints against these two persons were complaints against God.
When the sons of Israel asked Samuel to give them a king, God said something similar.
1 Samuel 8:7 says, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.”
Through these records, we can understand that whatever we do to men of God, God considers it what we do to God.
This is the reason why the sin of standing against men of God directly affects our salvation.
The end of it is so miserable. We can understand this from the incident of Korah and his people’s rebellion in Numbers chapter 16.
During the Exodus, a man called Korah from the tribe of Levi formed a faction and stood against Moses with 250 famous leaders.
At that time, Dathan and Abiram who were with Korah spoke against Moses as follows:
Numbers 16:13-14 says, “Is it not enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to have us die in the wilderness, but you would also lord it over us? Indeed, you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor have you given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Would you put out the eyes of these men? We will not come up!”
Did God say their words were right? No, He didn’t.
But rather, God gave them solemn punishment to clearly show the innocence of Moses.
And they fell into Hades alive while Moses was speaking about the punishments that would be inflicted upon them.
The earth swallowed Korah, his people, his family, and all his possessions.
The 250 leaders who had taken part in it with him were consumed by the fire that came from the LORD.
And what is the reason that they didn’t even have a chance to repent before they perished?
Until then, they had seen many signs and wonders that took place through Moses.
They knew Moses was a man of God with whom God was working, and yet they still stood against him.
This means their hearts were captured by Satan to the extent that they could not turn back.
God knew that they couldn’t turn from their sins even if He gave them chances. That is why He punished them immediately so the sin would not spread among the people.
Through this incident, we can realize the sin of judging and condemning a man of God with our evil will bring about such a fearful end.
Also, if this kind of sin goes over a certain limit, it is not just a sin depriving of salvation but it becomes a sin leading to death.
The reason why those people didn’t even have a chance to repent was because they had accumulated so much evil and their evil went beyond the limit.
Therefore, if you have any form of such evil in your heart, I hope you will immediately repent and turn back.
And I hope you will pull it out completely.
Brothers and sisters, God does not accept the sin of judging, condemning, and slandering a man of God.
Even the brother and sister of Moses, Aaron and Miriam were not exceptions.
In Numbers 12:1-2, Aaron and Miriam criticized Moses for taking a Cushite woman as a wife.
It says, “Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman); and they said, ‘Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?’ And the LORD heard it.”
But God rebuked them sternly.
In Numbers 12:8 God said, “With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moses?”
Then, Miriam became leprous.
Leprosy was one of the signs of God’s curse especially in the Old Testament era.
Through this, we can understand that criticizing Moses was a great sin before God even to affect salvation.
In the case of Aaron and Miriam, they were forgiven and the leprosy was healed for they repented immediately and Moses interceded for them.
Dear brothers and sisters, around David, another man of God, there were people who perished standing against him.
King Saul is one of the examples who stood against men of God including David and went the way of destruction.
Before he became the king, Saul was an ordinary man who thought that he could never be the king.
But as a result of storing up evil upon evil, he became so arrogant that even Samuel, who anointed him as the king, was in fear of him.
Saul knew God appointed David as the next king, but he did not accept this fact. He rather chased after David to kill him.
When he heard that Ahimelech, a priest in Nob, gave bread and weapons to David, Saul killed 85 priests and everyone in the city.
Brothers and sisters, it’s not that people live a good life but then by mistake severely stand against men of God any more than a person mistakenly destroys an entire city of priests.
It’s that so much evil was accumulated in his heart and his conscience has become so insensitive that he could stand against God to that extent.
After all, Saul was forsaken by God and faced a very miserable end.
He lost in a battle against the Philistines and killed himself. His body was beheaded and was nailed to a city wall.
Brothers and sisters, David’s son Absalom also faced a wretched end standing against David.
Absalom did not even get into a real fight in his rebellion. His hair got caught in tree branches and he was killed by Joab, an army general of David.
So, even the son of a man of God cannot be an excepted.
God does not take lightly the sin of standing against a man of God whom He loves.
He will surely judge this sin.
We can see this from the case of Shimei, too.
Shimei cursed David who was running away from the rebellion of Absalom.
David let him live, but he violated the agreement with David’s son Solomon, and he was eventually killed.
How about the case of Michal, a wife of David?
When the ark of the LORD came back to the city of David, David was so happy that he danced before the LORD.
2 Samuel 6:16 says, “Michal looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.”
She even spoke out her contempt on David.
2 Samuel 6:20 says, “But when David returned to bless his household, Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, ‘How the king of Israel distinguished himself today! He uncovered himself today in the eyes of his servants’ maids as one of the foolish ones shamelessly uncovers himself!'”
2 Samuel 6:23 talks about the curse that fell on Michal saying, “Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.”
At that time, a woman who was infertile and barren was considered cursed by God and was despised.
God is trying to let us realize that it is such great evil to judge, despise, and insult a man of God with words.
Dear brothers and sisters, as we must not commit any sin, we must not especially commit the sins of passing judgment and condemnation on the men of God.
Judging and condemning belongs to God.
When David was fleeing from the rebellion of Absalom, Shimei passed judgment on David at his own discretion saying David was being punished for shedding the blood of righteous people.
But was that judgment correct? Not at all!
David had already repented thoroughly and been forgiven.
The rebellion was not a curse, but a refining tool that God allowed for David to change him into a true son who had no blemish.
Only God knows the heart of men.
At the time of the early church, the teacher Gamaliel realized this fact.
When the apostles performed many signs and wonders, a multitude of people believed in the Lord.
The Jewish religious leaders were jealous of them. They put the apostles in jail and they even wanted to kill them.
Here, Gamaliel, who was a Pharisee, suggested that they be more careful.
Acts 5:38-39 says, “So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”
This is the course of action that a person who fears God will take.
Of course, there might be some servants or workers of God who evidently commit sins and do not follow the will of God.
But even though they do not follow the will of God, we can just leave the matter concerning the pastors or elders who were anointed in the name of God and the Lord in God’s hands.
We cannot deal with them at our own discretion.
David showed to us a very good example on this matter.
He had two chances to kill Saul but he didn’t.
Saul was surely forsaken by God, but David took heed in dealing at his discretion with the king who had been anointed by God.
David thought that the right of judging and punishing King Saul solely belonged to God.
For this reason, David’s conscience bothered him just for cutting off the edge of Saul’s robe.
David wanted to have no blemish before God.
I have my right as a senior pastor, but I never dealt with any pastor or an elder at my discretion since the opening of this church.
Even though they did things that could not be understood or accepted, I never fired them or relieved them of their titles.
I just left all matters into God’s hands for they were anointed ones of God. I just prayed to save their souls and asked God the ways to do that.
I just delivered the will of God and showed to them the way they could live.
Each time, God Himself dealt with those people.
Even if it seems that men of God practice untruth, you must never pass judgment or slander that person at your discretion.
You have to leave the matter to God and the church.
But sometimes some churches or pastors judge others as heretics and they do not use the biblical standard, but a standard of their own.
If they thoroughly repent and turn away, they can receive salvation. But if they keep on doing such a thing, they will reach a level where they cannot repent.
Namely, they can face death without having a chance to repent like Korah and his people.
Also, if you pass judgment on the pastor or the church that performs signs and wonders with the power of the Holy Spirit, it can be blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Therefore you should be very careful.
This is a sin leading to death.
Of course, if unbelievers or new believers who do not know the truth and have no spiritual discernment do that, God may give them a chance to repent.
But if you commit sins after coming to the truth and having experienced spiritual things, it can be a sin leading to death.
About this, I will explain to you in detail when I get to this point.
Dear brothers and sisters, in the sin of standing against a man of God is hidden great evil called ‘arrogance’.
Those who are humble before God respect anything that is related with God.
They will definitely respect and love men of God, too.
The biggest reason why Saul finally faced death was his arrogance.
He disobeyed God’s word and stood against a man of God because of his arrogance.
His pride went before his destruction.
I pray in the name of the Lord that all of you will humble yourselves like children before God so that you will get to the highest and most honorable positions in Heaven.