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Failure At The Finish Line Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
August 4, 2021 1:00 am

Failure At The Finish Line Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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August 4, 2021 1:00 am

We’d like to think that our heroes have no flaws. But the Bible paints an honest picture, and Moses failed at the finish line. He tripped just yards from the end of his race. In this message we learn what happened and why God was so seemingly hard on the man He knew face to face.

 Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)

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Reason for us.

Jesus phoned her we'd like to think that our heroes have no flaws but the Bible on his picture and Moses failed the finish line tripped just yards from the end of his race today. What happened and why God was so seemingly hard on the man he knew face-to-face from church in Chicago this morning to with Dr. Moser whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line.

Estimates are someone once said that he wanted his life and well I guess Moses will short Dave I have to say that I love the way you painted that picture Moses running the race and then falling short.

Just before the finish line.

And yet, what grace because eventually he did get into the land, but God was trying to make a point and that is that even devoted servants of God can sometimes fail and they can fail late in life. These are lessons that we have to learn you know we want to thank the many of you who support the ministry of running to win.

Let me ask you a question. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner endurance partners are those who stand with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts.

Here's how you can find info you go to RTW offer.com that's RTW offer.com and click on the endurance partner button and there you'll find what an endurance partner does and what you can do to help us or if you prefer you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337. Now let us listen carefully to God's word and learn the lessons that he intends to teach us.

Failure at the finish line. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Christians never fail and have a great one that be wonderful if we always made wise decisions that we never committed ourselves to debts that we couldn't pay when it be wonderful if we never spoke hastily and said some things that we later on.

Would regret when it be wonderful if Christians always married well they would seek God and find someone who would be fulfilling and they could live happily ever after. It would be wonderful but it ain't so. Even the great Moses of all people made a serious error and disobeyed God. Near the end of his life and he was disciplined for it. In order for us to understand what happened in some of the implications. There are several passages of Scripture, I invite you to look up with me because they are all connected and when we all begin together we will all end together. First of all, Exodus chapter 17 Exodus chapter 17 the children of Israel just crossed the Red Sea.

This is very early on in their journey and it says in verse six. The people were very thirsty and therefore they were complaining to Moses and the wondering where they were going to get some water from it says in Exodus 17, verse six, God says to Moses, behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb and you shall strike the rock and water will come out of it and the people will drink and so Moses did so in the sight of all of the elders and the people of Israel and the smoke the rock and water came out and everyone was refreshed and the 2 million people weren't angry with Moses anymore wonderful story.

Well, now what we need to do is to skip ahead 40 years and turn to the book of Numbers chapter 20 Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, chapter 20. Here we have a story that is so similar that when you read it you think it's the same event, but I can assure you it isn't. It's an event that takes place nearly 40 years later because Miriam dies at this juncture, and she dies just before the Israelites go into the land.

Remember that at this point they have been wandering because they looked at the land that Katie's Barney and decided that they could not go in. I'm regretting that the series that I'm preaching on the life of Moses is coming to a close, because there are many many instances in his own life that we should've covered, but remember that the Israelites looked at the landed Katie's Barney and said no. And God says you've been in the desert for two years be in the desert for another 38 now we come to the end of that.

And the children of Israel are thirsty again. And the Lord says to him in Numbers chapter 20 verse eight take the raw do you and your brother Aaron assembled the congregation and this speak to the rock before their eyes, but it might yield its water and you shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink. So Moses took the rod from before the Lord, just as he had commanded him.

And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock and now look at what we read and he said to them. Listen now, you rebels. Shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank disobedience from the seas and the man of God that what I'd like to do today is to look at this failure on the part of Moses from three different perspectives three different perspectives and were going to see its implications and its application for us today.

Stay with me as we go through the text.

First of all, let's look at this story from the standpoint of Moses.

Moses might have looked at what he did and he said to himself I was justified in what I did.

First of all because he had gone through a lot of internal struggles, even as a man 80 years ago. He had been rejected in Egypt. Remember when he thought that the children of Israel would understand how that God did by his hand would deliver them so he still felt that herds of rejection and now he has been in Midian for 40 years and he's been in the desert for 40 years, and for 40 years. All that he has listened to her the grumblings in the complaining to the people and he is saying I am fed up. I am tired of the whole thing. Can't you give a guy a break.

Furthermore, look at the circumstances in which he lost his temper. These people were absolutely vicious in their criticism, and by the way, who were these people, these were not the same ones back in Exodus chapter 17. No were talking about 37 years later.

This is the new generation which held so much promise. Look at the way they're reacting to him.

These are the ones who are going to go into the land. The old generation has almost died off. There a few stragglers who still have to die in the next couple of months and then it's all over and they're ready to go into the land with the new generation and notice how they sale the motives of Moses and they question his integrity. Chapter 20 of the book of numbers it says the people. Verse three contended with Moses and spoke saying if only we had perished when our brothers first before the Lord. We wish we have died in those plagues. Why then have you brought the Lord's assembly into this wilderness for us and our beasts to die here. First of all, they're saying to him, you brought us here in order that you might see us die and then there is saying to us, you broke a promise verse five why have you made us come up from Egypt to bring us into. There's a wretched place.

It is not a place of grain nor figs or vines or pomegranates, nor is there water to drink. That's an interesting remark. Whoever said that the desert was going to be the place of fruit and vines. It was again, and then they weren't there yet but they are angry because there thirsty and so they hurl all of this into the face of Moses. He goes to God and God says Moses stand at the rock, probably a rock from which you drank it many many times there is a stream there that is dried up for now but if you speak to the rock water will flow and so Moses stands there and he is so angry he takes his rod and he smites the rock twice and it felt good to get all of that anger out of his system. Yes Moses what you think of your disobedience at this point in his life, he'd say I was perfectly justified. Well, now let's look at this disobedient act from the standpoint of the people. What would they say file to the people to the congregation. It was a matter of in friends. They didn't care. First of all, they didn't know what God actually said to Moses, see they were not privy to this communication and Moses.

I don't imagine stood up and said folks God told me to speak to the rock but I'm so mad I'm going to hit it twice. He probably didn't say that they don't know what went on in that private conversation, then so they said well whatever he does, that's no big deal.

They were not aware of the fact that their leader was having an integrity crisis with reference to obedience and furthermore they were field with joy because you did read or did you not verse 11. Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod and water came the fourth, abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank the congregation since we got water. Who cares about the technicality. Our beasts and our children and our why is we all have water to drink cool refreshing water. And that's really what matters. Congregation's perspective, indifference.

Let's look at God's perspective. How did God view this verse 12, but ouch but the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, because you have not believed me to treat me as holy in the side of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them all God was displeased this morning on the in the car on the way to church our 15-year-old daughter Lisa said to me well dad, what is it that you're going to preach on this morning I said Moses, who disobeyed God by striking the rock instead of speaking to it. She said dad, don't you think God was kind of harsh to not let them into the land. Just because he did that so I reached back and I shook hands with her in the backseat and I said Lisa just listen to my sermon today to Lisa, wherever you are. Just listen to the sermon today and will let the rest of you listen to you see in the first instance in Exodus chapter 17 we know that that rock represents Christ.

Paul says in first Corinthians chapter 10. He said they drank all that rock and that rock was Christ. Exodus chapter 17, God says, smites the rock because Jesus Christ will be smitten with the rod of judgment on the cross and when Moses struck that rock. Perhaps, God the son said to God the father in a few generations. That's what's going to be happening to me. I am going to be smitten with a rod of judgment. Now when they come to the rock. The Lord says, speak to the rock because Jesus Christ had to die only once he was smitten only once and the water flowed which is symbolic of the Holy Spirit, and now when we want to drink and be refreshed by the power and the graciousness of the Holy Spirit. All that we need to do is to speak to Christ.

We believe on him and when we believe there is now therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. God wipes the condemnation away because he bore our condemnation, but now when we need to fellowship with God. All we need to do is to come to that rock and the speak eats even better than that. Jesus, when he was here on earth said hello everyone that first step.

He said those who are thirsty said, and those who believe on me from within them shall flow rivers of living water.

The Holy Spirit will actually gush up from within you and that you will be spiritually refreshed, said Christ. And so you see there was some typology here that Moses messed up and so God says that you were to speak to the rock, and I'm asking you to speak to the rock and because you smoke the rock you disobeyed me very clearly. You will not enter into the land sale. Pastor Luther did Moses know all that. I don't think Moses knew that but you know it was important for Moses to know all that was important is that Moses obey, even if he did not fully understand. You know that that is true of us to know there are some churches that believe that it's okay to have women as elders and they ordain women as elder and we hear the muddy church don't believe that because we think that the New Testament is very clear that the level of leadership as elders in the church is really a responsibility that men have now women the can have many responsibilities in the church and we as a church need to constantly be rethinking the role of women to understand that God is given them all the gifts that men have.

They have a lot of spiritual insight and they conserve and they can work in the many different capacities. But the question of eldership which is debated by some seems to be very clear in the Scriptures. Now, if you ask me now why did God give that pattern and why did he give those instructions. I can't tell you because you and I know that there are many women who are gifted, talented, godly, sensitive, filled with wisdom who may in some senses be more qualified than some male leadership that sometimes comes to the surface. But did you know that it isn't important for us to know the why is in the wherefores. It is important for us to obey, even when we do not understand how to save your writing that letter. Some of you are going to say all you should know said that this morning because some of those churches that are doing that are being blessed of God. They are growing churches.

Well, I need to point you back to verse 11. Once again Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod and the water came forth on listen to me very carefully the blessing of God is not always synonymous with the approval of God.

The blessing of God is not always synonymous with the approval of God. There are some things that God blesses that he may disagree with and for which there will be discipline and judgment.

Bottom line is best to obey God. Even if you do not understand why it is that he gave the commandment Moses may not have understood but it is also evident in Scripture that he clearly deliberately disobeyed God's as Moses, you will not enter into the land. Can you imagine the disappointment this is the moment for which he lived. All of those days in the desert. The 40 long years in the hot blistering sand. There was one thing that motivated Moses and that was for the great thrill that he would have to finally get into Canaan both and that they had been talking about all those years God's as Moses now if you want a commentary on what really happened.

Look at Deuteronomy chapter 3.

This is Moses own reflection on what happened. The book of Deuteronomy was given just before they enter into the land just before Moses died a couple of months after this experience that we were reading about of him smiting the rock in disobedience is what it says in verse 23 of Deuteronomy chapter 3.

I also pleaded with the Lord at that time saying old Lord God eval has begun to show to thy servant by greatness and by strong hand for what God is there in heaven or on earth who can do such mighty works and mighty acts as thine, and now he's pleading you let me, I pray, cross over and see the fair land that is beyond the Jordan, that good Hill country in Lebanon but he says the Lord was angry with me on your account and would not listen to me and the Lord said to me, and not speak to me no more about this matter go to the top of Pisgah which is Mount Nebo and lift up your eyes to the West and to the east and to the north and to the south and see it for yourself. You will not enter folks take out a moment and think about Moses to think that God would say Moses you can go to the gate and your eyes will see it, but there you must stop every dream that he had in the fiber of his body forever because one act of disobedience. How do we look upon this incident from the standpoint of Moses initially felt justified from the standpoint of the people in different from the standpoint of God, displeased is able. Pastor Luther you normally have three points to your sermon and that you've given us the three points you can pronounce the benediction. We can all go home early today we can say that Pastor Luther must've had a very long vacation because he preached such a short sermon. You know that all that I presented so far is the introduction. This is the introduction visit little longer introduction than usual but that's it.

If you think that you're going to get by that easily. Think again because what I want us to do now is to understand what was going through Moses mind knowing that he would be dead within a year what was going through Moses mind to know that because of a decision that he made.

There was failure close to the finish line and he would have to live with his dreams in the sand. Was he thinking about to handle this experience in order to understand that were going to look at one of the oldest Psalms in all the Bible. It was a song written by Moses. It was a song written as he was contemplating the judgment of his generation, and to know that he would be a part now of their judgment and just like they couldn't go into the land of the older generation, so he couldn't go in there and I ask you to take your Bibles and to turn to Psalm 90 Psalm 90 written by Moses in an act of contemplation, thinking about his relationship with God.

In light of his experience in the desert. Psalm 90 is a Psalm that is very melancholic.

It is a long that is plaintive.

It is a Psalm of of wonder. It is a Psalm of meditation and Moses is trying to put all of these experiences into perspective to gain some kind of an understanding of where it all fits within the program of God and what a Psalm. It is, I want you to notice three contrasts in Psalm 90, first of all, there is a contrast between the frailty of man and the E turn analogy of God. He begins by saying, thou has been our dwelling place in all generations before the mountains were born or thou didst give birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. But notice the contrast thou sayest tell us to us turned back into the dust return, O children of men. He says in verse five we are like grass that is here today and is gone tomorrow. We are planted and then we disappear and another generation comes my friend that's really sobering incident. We will be gone another generation will come and then someone will follow that generation and on and on it goes. Personally, my prayer is that I might make it all the way to the finish line and serve my generation well, one of the things that really blesses me is the fact that running to win is now heard all throughout Nigeria and nation of 200 million people. I hold in my hand a letter from someone who says I always listen to running to win.

The teachings are very real and address the very real challenges in my Christian walk with the Lord, and he goes on from there to talk about the blessing that this ministry has you know why we can do that. It's because of people like you others have invested in this ministry, would you consider becoming an endurance partner that someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Of course you say Pastor Luther, we need more info and I know that here's what you do you go to RTW offer.com that's RTW offer.com.

By the way when you're there, click on the endurance partner button and you'll know what an endurance partner is as you hold our hands and get the gospel to thousands upon thousands or if you prefer you can call us at 1-888-218-9337.

Let me give you that phone number again 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us at running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago line 606142 ombre is better than sacrifice today when Luther spoke on failure at the finish line, the last in a series of 12 messages about the life and times of Moses, a man in closer to God. Next time our series concludes as we contemplate the utter disappointment of Moses being denied entry into the land of promise, this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church


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