4. On the Borders, But Still Unready

By John Thiel, Hebrew Wilderness Wanderings Conference, Study 4, mp3

Are you a weary pilgrim? Have you been harassed by severe negativities in your life?  Are you weary?  You want Jesus to come and you are trudging along, how far is it yet to go?  This is something to cheer us along the way.

How sweet are the tidings that greet the pilgrim’s ear, As he wanders in exile from home! Soon, soon will the Savior in glory appear, And soon will the kingdom come.

We are on the borders already.  It must have been what the Hebrews felt as they travelled and when they stayed for a year at Mount Sinai.  They got close to the border.  The Lord was intending that they should go in. It was not God’s idea that they should send ten spies in there, it was their idea. They thought they had better go and check the land out. The twelve spies came back and gave a report. We are to take an account on the Hebrew wilderness wanderings and reflect on these experiences that have affected our lives. Think back on the previous studies.

  • The Passover
  • Coming Out Of Egypt
  • The Manna From Heaven
  • Disappointments Along The Way.

As we went through those subjects, what was taking place as you took hold of those messages? As you took to heart some of the things you heard, you kept it to yourself. We shouldn’t. We should talk about the things that God has put into our hearts as we hear those messages. We who are living on the borders of the Promised Land are called upon to speak often. This has much to do with those today who are on the borders of the heavenly Canaan;

Malachi 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard [it], and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. 3:17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. 3:18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

We who are gathered here who desire to be the jewels that God is gathering together and taking into the Promised Land, what will they do? They will meet together often. They will speak to one another. They won’t just be listening to the preacher, they will be speaking to each other. As they do, the Lord will write a book of remembrance of these people. The people who speak about the activities of the Lord in their life, notice what value there is in that.

Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

How did they overcome him? By the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony. This is the experience of the people in the ends of the world when Jesus had come down and was suffering with us and died and rose again and went to heaven. Satan was cast out of heaven. He had no more access to heaven as he had in the Old Testament. He had no right and now in the ends of the world, the people who must overcome him must do what? Overcome him by the blood of the land and the word of their testimony.

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

This is the one text to look at and consider each other. Not to look whether you are right or wrong, to judge you, no, consider one another how we can provoke each other to love and to do good works.

Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

We need to speak to one another, we need to admonish one another by our testimonies.

The Ten Spies

They had arrived on the borders and they sent spies in and the spies came back and what did the ten do? The ten of them spoke negatively, they didn’t provoke each other to conquer there was only two that spoke positively to conquer. Are we close to the borders of the Promised Land? Are we going to be Caleb or like the ten spies that spoke negatively towards each other?

Numbers 13:27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this [is] the fruit of it. 13:28 Nevertheless the people [be] strong that dwell in the land, and the cities [are] walled, [and] very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. 13:29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.

They came with a good report first of but said nevertheless… I hate that word but.  Whenever people say it’s lovely BUT… there are not buts with God. What a big long fandangle expressed. We are telling you all this detail instead of talking about he Lord.

Numbers 13:30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. 13:31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they [are] stronger than we.

Here is a testimony time. The spies were giving their testimony. What sort of a testimony do you have as you are close to the borders? So close and yet unready.

Numbers 14:1 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. 14:2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! 14:3 And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? 14:4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.

There Are Giants in the Land!

They were provoked by the testimonies of the majority. Never listen to the majority.  That is a strange statement to make. In Gods church if they are all faithful you listen to them. Don’t listen to the majority or the multitude to do evil. What was their problem? Why was their testimony of such a nature? The giants in the land and the nations with the high walled cities.

They forgot their bitter service in Egypt. They forgot the goodness and power of God displayed in their behalf in their deliverance from bondage. They forgot how their children were spared when the destroying angel passed over Egypt. They forgot the grand exhibition of divine power at the Red Sea, when Jehovah proclaimed, “Here shall thy proud waves be stayed,” and the waters were rolled together, forming a solid wall. They forgot that while they had crossed safely in the path that had been opened for them, the armies of their enemies, attempting to follow them, were overwhelmed by the waters of the sea. They only saw and felt their present inconveniences and trials; and instead of saying, “God has done great things for us; whereas we were slaves, he is making of us a great nation,” they talked of the hardness of the way, and wondered when their weary pilgrimage would end. {ST, June 12, 1884 par. 4}

They forgot. Again and again all the beautiful things that God had done and they wouldn’t talk about them but the dangers that were ahead. That is a negative testimony meeting. There is a parallel in this;

I know that if the people of God had preserved a living connection with Him, if they had obeyed His Word, they would today be in the heavenly Canaan. {GCB, March 30, 1903 par. 25}

Is it the same experience as the Israelites with Gods people in the last days? Indeed it is. The parallel is perfect. The possibility of entering in the heavenly Canaan has been and gone. God’s people are again wandering in the wilderness. That is the reason why Revelation 7:1-4 was chronicled. There are the four angels holding the winds and one comes and says hold, hold. Why couldn’t they let go? God’s people weren’t ready. Don’t let them go yet. Don’t let the plagues come yet. Don’t let it happen. God’s people are not yet ready.

It was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be thus delayed. God did not design that His people, Israel, should wander forty years in the wilderness. He promised to lead them directly to the land of Canaan, and establish them there a holy, healthy, happy people. But those to whom it was first preached, went not in “because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:19). Their hearts were filled with murmuring, rebellion, and hatred, and He could not fulfil His covenant with them. {1SM 68.3} For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years. {1SM 69.1}

It could have been all over but like Israel they had to keep on wandering.

It was not the good pleasure of God that the children of Israel should wander so long in the wilderness. God would have brought them directly to promised land if they had loved to have been led by Him; {5MR 433.4}

When God wants to lead people some say it’s too hard Lord. The giants are too great, it’s too hard. If you say that to God he has to delay a little longer to teach you that you can be perfect and surrender to him. .

..and because they so often and so many times grieved Him in the desert, He swore in His wrath they should not enter into His rest, save those two that wholly followed Him. {5MR 433.4} A greater than Joshua is in the midst of God’s people to lead them to victory if they will submit to be led. All power in heaven and earth is committed to the Captain of our salvation. He has said for our encouragement: “Lo I am with you alway” and “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” {5MR 433.5}

God can do it. But we must co-operate with him.  As we look at this story, how does the reality in today’s circumstance touch us?  You have precisely the same scenario of the last days as was the case of the Hebrews.

Matthew 24:45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?

The faithful servant is Caleb and Joshua. The other servant says my Lord is delaying his coming. In the ranks of Adventism there are a people holding back the progress so there is a delay. Do you believe that it has been delayed? Do you believe we are right on the borders? What will you say? How will you testify?

We profess to be pilgrims and strangers on earth, journeying to a better country, even an heavenly. If we are indeed but sojourners here, traveling to a land where none but the holy can dwell, we shall make it our first business to become acquainted with that country; we shall make diligent inquiry as to the preparation needed, the manners and character which we must have in order to become citizens there. {TMK 169.2}

Is this your first business? Are you acquainted with that country? We shall make it our first business. What will you do? Diligent enquiry. Is a Laodicean diligent? We have to become diligent in preparation enquiring Lord what will you have me do to be there?

Jesus, the King of that land, is pure and holy. He has commanded His followers, “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). If we are hereafter to associate with Christ and sinless angels we must here obtain a fitness for such society. {TMK 169.2} This is our work–our all-important work. Every other consideration is of minor consequence. Our conversation, our deportment, our every act, should be such as to convince our family, our neighbors, and the world that we expect soon to remove to a better country. . . . Those whose faith is daily confirmed and strengthened by their works will become acquainted with self-denial in restricting appetite, controlling ambitious desires, bringing every thought and feeling into harmony with the divine will. . . . {TMK 169.3}

What should we be doing now? It makes my heart sink when my fellow brethren get side tracked from the all important work.

The land to which we are traveling is in every sense far more attractive than was the land of Canaan to the children of Israel. . . . What stayed their progress just in sight of the goodly land?. . . . It was their own wilful unbelief that turned them back. {TMK 169.4}

Wilful Unbelief and Denial

This is exactly the reason why he hasn’t come back yet. It is wilful unbelief.  What is wilful unbelief for Seventh Day Adventists that Jesus hasn’t come back yet? When the 1888 message was being preached they wilfully denied that the righteousness of Christ and his activity to save us to overcome sin, they wilfully denied that and that’s the reason why it was written we will have to return back into the wilderness.

Ask yourself the question when you in your secret heart as you are confronted with a thus saith the Lord that cuts directly across your lifestyle, a lifestyle that you know you can’t take into the Promised Land, when you identify the lifestyle you have is not correct, what do you do inside of yourself? If you are not changing to that which you have been reading and understanding, you are wilfully unbelieving.  It was their own wilful unbelief that turned them back.

They were unwilling to risk anything upon the promises of God. . . . The history of the children of Israel is written as a warning to us “upon whom the ends of the world are come.” We are standing, as it were, upon the very borders of the heavenly Canaan. We may, if we will, look over on the other side and behold the attractions of the goodly land. If we have faith in the promises of God we shall show in conversation and in deportment that we are not living for this world, but are making it our first business to prepare for that holy land. {TMK 169.4}

The provocation is, are you willing to make it your first business? Are we going to say Lord let me have it? What do you want me to do? If it cuts right across your comfort zone say right Lord, whatever you say. What you reveal to me, I will be submissive.  

Now is the time for the friends of Jesus to be decided, faithful, and valiant for the Captain of their salvation. Now is the time to show who are the true Caleb’s, who will not deny that the walls are high, the giants mighty, but who believe that this very fact will make the victory more glorious. {RH, November 29, 1881 par. 9}

We know the giants are there, we know the difficulties are there. While we know all that but we are to believe that I’m going to go ahead and conquer it by the word of my testimony and the blood of the lamb as that will make the victory even more glorious.

Are You Provoked?

Let us have determination under every dictation of God’s word so that we will be ready for Jesus to come.


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Posted on 12/04/2010, in Hebrew Wilderness Wanderings (Conference) and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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