Moses’ Connection to the Promise
We are continuing in our new series The Common Thread, how the promise God made with Abraham in Genesis 12 connects the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation—including the Church today! Last week we learned about the covenant that God made with Himself on behalf of Abraham and all his descendants. The land, the people, and the blessing are all unconditional promises that were activated by the step of faith Abraham took, leaving his country to go to the land God called Him to.
Today we’ll learn how that promise moved forward with a hero from the Bible that many know, Moses. Did you know that Moses was not only chosen to bring the people out of Egypt but also to take them to the Promised Land? But because of one disobedient act, he was not able to lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land. This story is a great reminder to us as believers that God may call you to something but it is up to Him to complete it. There’s a lot to learn in this part of the series!
If you missed the first episode of this series, we encourage you to Listen Now.
Steve Conover: This is The Friend of Israel Today, I'm Steve Conover and with me is our host and teacher Chris Katulka. We're excited to continue our series, we started last week called The Common Thread. This series is all about the promise God made to Abraham in the very beginning of the Bible and how it binds all the books of the Bible together and even more significant is how you and your relationship with God are connected to this eternal promise that God made to Abraham 4,000 years ago.
Chris Katulka: Steve, 4,000 years ago is a long time and that's how long ago was that God made this promise to Abraham and really this promise becomes the bedrock for God's redemptive plan. How he's going to bring the families of the earth as the promise says, into a right relationship with him. I'm very excited about continuing this series, The Common Thread series, because today we're going to actually look at the life of Moses a larger than life figure in the Bible, somebody, the Jewish people value a character, Christians value. Who I believed Moses actually knew the deep significance of this promise that God made to Abraham and was going to do all that he could to make sure it finds its fulfillment.
Steve Conover: Thanks Chris. Before we continue our series, The Common Thread, let's take a look at what's happening in the news. Earlier this month, U.S. National Security Advisor, John Bolton, visited Israel and he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to calm any fears Israel may have had about President Trump's withdrawal from Syria. While in Israel, John Bolton visited the old city of Jerusalem, including the Western Wall and the adjacent western wall tunnels.
Bolton's visit to the Western Wall caused one Palestinian official to post on social media. "This behavior will not change the fact that East Jerusalem is occupied territory, and the capital of the state of Palestine."
Chris Katulka: This is my take. East and West Jerusalem are not divided. It's the unified capital of Israel and it's actually been that way for a very long time. Quite honestly, this social media posts shows just how far we are from peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, when leading Palestinian officials criticize John Bolton for just simply visiting the Western Wall.
Now, last week we started a series called The Common Thread, and I love this title because we are spending the next few weeks looking at the common thread that binds the whole Bible together. It's the promise that God made to Abraham, a promise that God would give the Jewish people a land that's Israel, the descendants, that's the Jewish people, and finally a blessing that God would bless those who bless Israel and curse those who take this covenant lightly with Israel, and that through Abraham and his descendants, they would bring blessing to all the families of the earth.
We learned last week that this promise wasn't one that remained with Abraham. It didn't die with Abraham, but it was actually passed down from generation to generation because God made the covenant. Actually, not with Abraham directly, he made it actually with himself. It was a promise for Abraham, but all of it, it's dependent only upon God himself. It's his name on the covenant, the oath, the contract, the promise, and therefore this promise, this covenant, it cannot be broken. It's a promise made to Abraham that is eternal in nature, it's timeless. I believe the stories, the character's, the Psalms and the prophecies of the Bible are all built on this one promise. It's the promise that runs through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
Now, in light of the timeless promise made to Abraham this eternal promise that's made to Abraham, I want to take you to a character of the Bible that we are probably all familiar with, somebody you've learned about in Sunday school and Church youth group. His name is Moses, Moses was chosen by God to be the one who would lead the Israelites out of the bondage of Egypt into freedom. Moses, despite the fear of his own inadequacies, despite the fear of Pharaoh, the empire of Egypt and even the Israelites themselves followed God's call to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. The reason God gave Moses this mission was to fulfill the promise God made to Abraham.
Look, even Moses is connected to the timeless eternal promise that God made 4,000 years ago to Abraham. Exodus 2:23 says this, "During that long period of time, the king of Egypt died and the Israelites groaned because of their slave labor. They cried out and in their desperate cry because of their slave labor, it went up to God and God heard their groaning" God, here it is. Listen everybody, "God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the Israelites and God understood." Right from that moment everybody, it's in that moment that you enter into chapter 3 and that's when Moses begins his ministry. God calls Moses to continue the trajectory of the promise.
Now, when the text says, "That God remembered his covenant." Moses isn't saying that God forgot. Instead, the idea behind the word remembered in the text here is that God is now able to act. He's now ready to act. He's now about to act and God acted by calling Moses, casting judgment on Egypt for Pharaoh's heart and stubborn heart in their abuse of the Israelites. After, the Israelites were free from Pharaoh's clutch, God brings them miraculously through the sea on dry ground and right to Mount Sinai right into the Wilderness to Mount Sinai. God does all of this to show his people and the Egyptians and the entire world that there is no god like our God. Moses leads the Israelites to Mount Sinai where the received the 10 commandments and after a year of being at Mount Sinai, the Israelites set out on a journey to the promised land to fulfill the promise made to Abraham.
Now, what is supposed to be just a small 11 day journey between Mount Sinai to Kadish Barnea, which Kadish Barnea when you read this in the book of Numbers, which is in the Torah, the first five books of Moses. Kadish Barnea is the gateway into the promised land, it's the last stop before they enter into the promised land. When they get to Kadish Barnea, this one moment turned into 40 years of wilderness wandering because the Israelites didn't have the faith in God that he would protect them and provide for them. Remember, Moses sent 12 spies from Kadish Barnea into the land, and the majority reported back that the land is beautiful but impossible to conquer. Only two Caleb and Joshua came back with the confidence in God's faithfulness to take the land. Remember, part of the Covenant God made to Israel through Abraham was that God would bless those who bless Israel and curse those who dishonor or take lightly the promise.
When the spies return saying, "No way, abort, return to Egypt." They're saying, God's promise to Abraham isn't reliable. "Don't trust God. Time to go. Time to get out of here." If you think about it, folks, it's the complete opposite of the step of faith Abraham took, that we looked at in our last message. When he left his family and his friends and ventured to the promise land, it took a step of faith to do this and now the Israelites looked at Moses and said, "No thanks Moses. We want no part in this. It looks too hard." They're saying, "God's covenant isn't strong enough for us to do this." As a result of their disobedience and lack of faith, God sends him into a wilderness wandering for 40 years.
When we enter into the book of Numbers, Numbers 20, "As the Israelites were sojourning around Kadish Barnea. The Israelites started to get antsy and started to complain. And, they said to Moses, "Why have you brought us up from Egypt only to bring us to this dreadful place? It's no place for grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, nor is there any water to drink." And, then the Lord said to Moses, "Take the staff and assemble the community, you and Aaron your brother, and then speak to the rock before their eyes and it will pour forth its water and you will bring water out of the rock for them. And, so you will give the community and they're beasts water to drink." Moses gathers the community together in front of the Rock and that's when it all goes downhill. Moses says, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring water out of the rock for you? Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff and water came out abundantly. The community drank and their beast drank too."
As the Israelites went to the rock to drink, God pulls Moses and Aaron aside and says this, "Because, you did not trust me enough to show me as holy before the Israelites, Moses and Aaron. Therefore, you will not bring this community into the land I have given to them." God just told Moses, you're the leader of the Israelites and you represent me to them. When you called them rebels and you struck the rock in anger, you misrepresented me. As a result, Moses and Aaron, you will not enter into the promised land.
Talk about getting the wind knocked out of Moses’ sails here, the very thing Moses was called to do and what seemed like the reward to watch his people confidently walk into the promised land has now been completely snubbed out. God said no, but Moses, think about this. Moses still pushes forward and leads the Israelites. He still follows the guidance of God and trust in his leading, despite the fact that he knows he's not entering into the promised land. God literally, lets Moses leads the Israelites right up to the border of the promised land.
At the end of Deuteronomy in chapter 34, it documents the end of Moses's life. Listen to what it says, "Then Moses ascended from the deserts of Moab to Mount Nebo to the summit of Pisgah, which is opposite of Jericho. And, the Lord showed him the whole land from Gilead to Dan and all of Naphtali and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh and all the land of Judah as far as the distant sea, the Negev and the plain of the Valley of Jericho, the city of the date, palm trees as far as Zoar. And then the Lord said to him, this is the land I promise to." Here it is everybody, "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When I said I will give it to your descendants, "remember, here's God looking back on the promise, repeating it to Moses. Looking back on the promise he made to Abraham." I will give it to your descendants. I have let you Moses see it, but you will not crossover there."
Deuteronomy 34:5 says that Moses went up to the mountain and he died. It says this in verse 7, "Moses was a hundred and 20 years old when he died, but his eye was not dull, nor had his vitality departed. The Israelites mourned for Moses in the desert of Moab for 30 days, and then the days of mourning for Moses ended." Folks, Deuteronomy is telling us that despite his age, he had all his wits about him and the distance between Mount Nebo where he died, and Jericho is nothing, especially after the man journeyed into the wilderness for 40 years. God let Moses see the promised land from a distance. It was as if he could reach out and touch it. It was right there, but he died looking at the reward of all of his work.
Moses was a larger than life character in the Bible, revered by Christians and Jewish people, but the promise God made to Abraham is dependent. Listen, it is dependent on no man. Remember, it was only God whose name is written on the promise. That's why when we return, we're going to put ourselves in Moses’ shoes here. When he stood there on Mount Nebo, staring at the reward he never had a chance to step into. So stick around.
Steve Conover: Each year we hold prophecy conferences in select cities in the United States and Canada. We realize not everyone can join us, so we'd like you to know that our 2018 prophecy conference highlights, they're now available in several formats, DVD, CD, and MP3. Enjoy all 15 sessions from the series entitled The Sign of His Coming. This covers what Jesus said from the Mount of Olives, including his predictions about Jerusalem, the tribulation, and his Second Coming. This series is an excellent tool for Bible studies on your own or in a group. To order your copy of the 2018 prophecy conference highlights The Sign of His Coming, go to F-O-I radio.org, or call our listener line at 888-343-6940.
Chris Katulka: Welcome back everyone, we're continuing our common thread series, which is all about the promise that God made to Abraham, a promise of land, Israel, descendants, the Jewish people and a blessing. A blessing of provision, protection, and salvation really for the families of the earth. And, that through Abraham would come that ultimate blessing, Jesus the Messiah, the one who would bring blessing to all the families of the earth.
We've been briefly looking at the life of Moses and how Moses was tasked to be a servant God would use to deliver the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt, to give them the law of God and lead them into the promised land. But, as we saw when we ended before the break, that Moses is misrepresentation of God to the Israelites. It actually, it cost him his reward, which to me is seeing his people walk into the promised land. In fact, Deuteronomy 34 tells us, Moses stood right at the border of the promise land, and peered into see the promised land, but was unable to enter.
I think, there's a lot of us like Moses who are wondering if we'll ever see the spiritual reward of our prayers and work that we've been investing in our friends, our family, our colleagues are even in our own lives. I know some who feel like they've been journeying through the wilderness and they're wondering, am I ever going to make it out of this season of my life? Some of you might even feel like Moses, like you're so close, but yet so far away. Moses knew early on in his wilderness journey that he would never see the fruit of his labor. He wouldn't see the Israelites enter into the promise land, and conquer the land. Yet he continued to guide and lead them because I'm convinced Moses knew that the promise God made to Abraham was bigger than he was. Getting Israel to the land was an imperative in Moses’eyes, and I believe Moses was able to remove himself from the picture, remove his own desires, to put God's desires above his own.
I wonder how many of us, if we knew we wouldn't see the reward in our lifetime, will we still strive to complete the task that God has set before us? I really believe the marker of a mature Christian is when they finally realize that this whole thing isn't about them, the Bible isn't about them. Their own ambitions, their own desires, their own purpose, that these things are not as important as God's plan. They don't ask what God's going to do for them, but better, they ask God how they fit in his plan, how they fit in his promise. They ask God, where do I fit in your plan God? How can I glorify your name? For Moses, making sure God's promise to Abraham continued on was more important to him than walking into the land he journeyed in the wilderness 40 years for.
Here's what's amazing about God's faithfulness as it's connected to the promise God made to Abraham. Just listen to this, God said to Abraham, through you all the families of the earth will be blessed. That happened through Jesus, and that all of God's promises, check this out, they find their yes in Christ. As the Apostle Paul says in 2nd Corinthians. In Moses's lifetime, yes, he could only see the promised land from a distance, but when Jesus came to earth, check this out, this is amazing. Matthew chapter 17, "When Jesus comes to Earth, he brought three of his disciples up to the top of a mountain in Israel and right before them, Peter, James and John, right before very eyes, Jesus transfigured in front of them, and these disciples were given a glimpse of the Glorified Messiah." Do you know who was standing next to Jesus in the land of Israel? Elijah and Moses.
I actually love what the text says. It says, "Moses and Elijah appeared before them talking with Jesus." Moses and Elijah and Jesus are just having a chit chat with one another. While Peter, James and John are looking on. Folks, God is faithful, Moses didn't see the reward in his lifetime, he saw it from a distance. He died before it could be completed in his eyes, but in Christ, he certainly does see it's fulfillment. Friends, we may never see the culmination of our blood, sweat, tears, and prayers in this life. In fact, we may be so close to it, we could practically touch it, but in Christ, listen in Christ all of God's promises, find their yes and you will see the culmination of this work.
You will leave the wilderness one day and you will stand in the promised land. You will find that even though you might wonder, will I see the completion? Will I see this thing to the end? God is saying, yes, you will in Christ. It might not even be in this lifetime, but like Moses, we have to have the attitude of this - God, your plan is above mine. God, your promise is above the very desires and ambitions that I have and I want to serve you in wherever I die, wherever I leave off this baton, it's going to get passed on. This promise is going to continue on till the day it finds its culmination when Jesus Christ returns.
Steve Conover: Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life and ministry of Holocaust Survivor, Zvi Kalisher.
Mike Kellogg: A while ago, I had long conversation with our Arab neighbors who always speak of killing us and driving us into the sea. They strap explosives onto themselves to blow us up and they even turn their children into suicide bombers to kill us. Oh, because they want to take our land. I told them, "What you are doing is written about in the Bible. Do you want to read it?" One read and his friends listened, "Thus says the Lord, have you been murdered and also taken possession in the place where dogs lick the blood of Naboth, dogs shall lick your blood even yours. God was angry with King Ahab and his wife Jezebel for killing Naboth and stealing Naboth's land." "This is what you're doing." I told them. If you would believe in the Lord, you would be more considerate of one another. "We are ready to release hundreds of Arab prisoners to secure the release of a few kidnapped Israeli soldiers." But you say, "You will only return our soldiers in a coffin, and you'll pray every morning. Is this your faith to kill men, women, and children?"
The Lord, our God commands us not to murder, and what does your Lord say? That you should kill murder and turn people into suicide bombers so you can go to heaven. Then one man declared, "Islam will control the world." It is difficult to speak to these people and yet the Lord commands us to bring the salvation to them because they walk in such darkness. I continued, "You've tried to destroy us, but we're still here and we will survive against all our enemies because it is written in Psalm 126:2, "Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them." They wanted to know where this was written so I show them and they were surprised my Bible contains the New Testament. One immediately asked, "How did you come to faith in Christ?" I was happy to tell them. You see, "I have found in the Bible so many places where it is written about the Lord Jesus Christ. I learned about true faith in the living God." "We want to know more." One said, "You must show us where all these things are written in the Bible. Show us where it is written about Jesus." I gave them my Bible and showed them Isaiah 53.
From then on, they asked many questions including, "Why do all Jewish people not believe as you do?" "Many do." I replied, "Come to our congregation and see how many Jewish people worship with us. Even a rabbi was baptized, and many Arabs also come to our congregation." We never go to people and say, "You must believe in Christ." Only God can help people believe. They must read the Bible and see for themselves where the truth lies, and I pray that in time you too will come to know and believe in Christ as your Savior. Then you will have peace and worship the God who loves you.
Steve Conover: Thanks for joining us today. Chris, where are we headed next week?
Chris Katulka: Well, next week we're actually going to continue the series in looking at how God ... Remember, in the promise God called Israel to the land, and a lot of times I hear Bible teachers teach this idea that God was mad at Israel, God considered Israel sinning because, they didn't go out into the world and spread the good news of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but it never says that they were supposed to go out in the Bible. It actually says, they are supposed to remain obedient to God, right where they were in the land and through their obedience God would use them. I think, that has a lot of application to our lives as well. That's what we're going to be talking about next week.
Steve Conover: We look forward to that Chris, we hope you'll join us. The Friends of Israel Today, is a production of the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide Christian ministry communicating Biblical Truth about Israel and the Messiah, while fostering solidarity with the Jewish people.
2018 Prophecy Conference Highlights
Each year The Friends of Israel holds prophecy conferences in select cities in the United States and Canada. We realize not everyone can join us so we have made available our 2018 Prophecy Conference highlights!
Now available in several formats; DVD, CD, and MP3, enjoy all 15 sessions from the series entitled, The Sign of His Coming—covering what Jesus said from the Mount of Olives in Matthew 24—25, which include His predictions about Jerusalem, the tribulation, and His Second Coming.
This series is an excellent tool for Bible studies, on your own or in a group.
MP3 CD SET
Apples of Gold: We Want to Know More
Zvi was talking to his Arab neighbors. These men admittedly hate their Jewish neighbors and teach their children to kill them—all because they want the land of Israel. Zvi asked them if they knew the conflict between the Arabs and the Jewish people was in the Bible. They were curious as he showed them the Scriptures. Then Zvi’s neighbors realized his Bible he was holding contained the New Testament. Many more questions followed this realisation and Zvi was able to share about his faith in Jesus.
Zvi’s story is available in Elwood McQuaid’s book, “Zvi: The Miraculous Story of Triumph over the Holocaust,” available at our online store.
More stories from Zvi are also available in his book, “The Best of Zvi,” available at our online store.
The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
Also heard on this week’s show:
»Rooftop (Jahzzar) / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0