Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Significance of Kadesh Barnea.

Some weeks ago I posted a blog on Ern Baxter's understanding of "The Land" and it's significance to us as believers. Of course anyone familiar with the story in the Old Testament will know that the children of Israel had been instructed to go into the land but ... "They came to Kadesh Barnea". In digging through my files I found an outline of Ern Baxter's sermon on this topic, and once again was profoundly amazed by the lessons that we as a people MUST learn - should God ever move in revival on His church again.

The Kadesh Crisis. (Numbers 13:26-14:38).

A. The Divine Timing. (Deut 1:6, 8; "You have dwelt long enough in this mount ... behold I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land").

i) Great revival moves are divinely timed.
ii) The present "charismatic" thing is divinely timed.

B. The Beginnings of Disobedience - the Spy Plan!

i) (Deut 1:21,22) "You came near unto me, everyone of you and said, "We will (God's will vs man's will) send men before us (man's direction vs God's direction) and they shall search out the land ...".

1. God had not said, "Go in and see if you like it!".
2. Since when were they to determine "by what way we must go up?" ... what had happened to the cloud?
3. They would decide whether they liked the will of God and if they did in what manner they would do it.

C. Moses Stoops To Pressure. "Vox populi, vox dei".

i) Deut 1:23 - "And the thing pleased me".
ii) Numbers 13:17 - "Moses sent them to spy out the land ... see the land, what it is (God's country) and the people that dwelleth there whether they be strong or weak, few or many (so what?) .... the land ... whether it be good or bad (God's land - bad?)".

1. It is NOT easy to be a leader!
2. Caught between God's Word and People Pressure.
3. God had said, "Go".

D. Who Were the Spies?

i) Numbers 13:3 - "All those men were heads of the children of Israel".
ii) Tribal leaders therefore responsible men.
iii) It is invariably the decisions of leaders that influence the people of God.

E. Yet Light In Darkness.

i) Numbers 13:16 - "And Moses called ... Joshua".
ii) Before the spies go into the land and the people refuse to obey, God has already marked out a man for something that WILL happen forty years later.
iii) In every move God is preparing a man to GO ON when that particularly movement of God dies through unbelief.
iv) The good of the past is perpetuated in the better of the new.

F. The Report of the Spies.

i) The Majority Report - "We are not able".
ii) The Minority Report - "Let us go up AT ONCE!".
iii) The Majority Rebuttal - "We are IN OUR OWN SIGHT as grasshoppers".
iv) The People collapse - "Let's get a new leader and go back to Egypt". Note: They died in the wilderness and didn't go back to Egypt.

G. The Divine Response.

i) Pardon - "I have pardoned them according to your word" - God listened to Moses intercession.
ii) Punishment - All were to be punished apart from Caleb and Joshua. The slanderous leaders died INSTANTLY ("Be not many leaders brethren ...").
iii) Promise - (Numbers 14:21) "As surely as I live - ALL the earth SHALL be filled with the glory of the Lord!". It was possible for Canaan, but failing that it WILL happen!

Summary: Pardon did not avert punishment. He continued to supernaturally provide for them until their death (common grace does not necessarily depart even if a generation has ignored God). He looks to a new man and a new people. "As SURELY ...!".

Article Reference List of this website available here.


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Don said...

I really like this, Dan -- what insights Baxter had.

The boldness of those who discern God's will and push to move forward, against others who are fearful, recalls Jesus in Matt. 11:12 "The Kingdom of God suffers [allows] violence, and the violent take it by force." (KJV) The NIV says that "forceful men lay hold of it." Moving forward in God often requires a change of address, either/both physically and/or spiritually.

People who are passive and say "if God wants to touch me, He knows how to find me" -- instead of being spiritually hungry, and aggressive at discerning and acting on the will and purpose of God -- will likely stay in the last, not the latest, wave of God's presence as He moves forward.

Today people can do that by embracing the Reformation, or Azusa Street, or the charismatic renewal, or the 90s renewal -- worshipping at that mountaintop experience of God's revelation and blessing. Meanwhile, though, God's cloud has moved on and it takes the "violent" to move with it.

Back in the 80s, in the early days of PDI/SGM, the first issue of People of Destiny Magazine asked, "Are You a Pioneer -- Or a Settler?" Pioneers are ready to pick up and move as God does, whereas settlers choose to stay in place (that can be spiritually and/or geographically) despite God's call to move with Him.

Besides Baxter's example of Kadesh Barnea, when the people of Judah returned to Jerusalem from Babylon after 70 years, only *a remnant* returned -- most who had been taken to Babylon or grown up there (a remnant in itself) chose to stay in Babylon. This is not meant to sound elitist, but God's aggressive moves forward in the Spirit are usually discerned and acted upon only by a relatively small number of Christians -- at least at first. These are what we'd call today the "early adopters." They are the pioneers, who have to clear the paths and face the hostility of the enemy as well as the scorn of fellow believers who don't understand what's happening, or think they're doing something horribly wrong (or stupid) What's interesting is that God is often doing more than one cutting-edge thing at a time, around the world!

Baxter's Boy said...

That's amazing you quoted that People of Destiny Magazine - I just found it advertised in one of my old New Wine magazines!!

Yes this Pioneer or Settler question is an amazing one - I read Gerald Coates book, "What on Earth is This Kingdom?" and he drew up a great list discussing exactly this issue. One of the interesting things that he noted about settlers are that they; "DEFEND Truth". Pioneers on the other hand; "RELEASE Truth". What a difference! Settlers fear change. Pioneers welcome it!!

How I fear becoming a settler! How I fear rejecting a new move of God because it doesn't fit my schematics!! I hope and pray that as long as we continue looking always to the horizon - will it be today Lord? - that we will be ready to welcome His Spirit!!

Thanks for that great comment Don!

jul said...

I think the "pioneer spirit" is a special grace from God. It does call for significant sacrifice sometimes, but as Jackie Pullinger says, "it only seems like a sacrifice before you give it up". After you've let go of whatever God asks you to, you see the amazing kindness and blessing that comes from it. My husband and I have realized that each time God has called us to move, whether inside a group of churches or leaving a group of churches entirely, he has spared us some greater pain or trial. We feel extremely blessed, almost guilty sometimes! I mean, we are aware that many more people have gone through these things and we are not particularly deserving to be spared, but it seems to be God's plan for our lives. I'm sure times will come when we will not be spared greater trials within the church, but apparently we were not called to be 'settlers'. I am dealing with alot of emotional upheaval at the moment, because leaving is never easy, and we have at least six months ahead of us living in the place we will be leaving. All of a sudden, this appears very difficult to me. But still, God is calling us out to something I fully believe will be much better for us and our family.

Did you find it difficult to leave Dan? We've never been anywhere this long before, and were very committed to this church. Almost like a marriage committment in some ways, or it feels like it now that it comes to leaving. At the same time God has made it perfectly clear that we should go. There is not even one doubt left for either me or my husband. I suppose it is natural and right for there to be a kind of grieving process, because we are leaving, but also because in many ways it seems the church we love is fading away and becoming something we can't even recognize.

Baxter's Boy said...

Yes a grieving process is quite a good analogy Jul. I'm not quite sure what you were asking about that was difficult for me to leave. If you meant the UK SGM church, no - not really, because the choice wasn't mine! In a sense my leaving the church was more similar to a relationship breakup - as when one ends the relationship. To begin with you are deeply deeply hurt and often can't say anything good about the other person. But - yes the cliche is true, time DOES heal! And after time you can start to remember the good that was in the reason why you were together.

I hope that analogy isnt too confusing and works! But I do wonder now whether it was actually God's will for me to move on far earlier than when I did, hence why things developed as they did. If so then it was a vital experience to realise, that if we ignore God's will and God's call, He will sometimes make it impossible for Him to be ignored anymore!

jul said...

Yes, that's probably true. When we moved back here, we didn't have a choice. We had no money and the immigration 'people' gave us 1 week to decide whether we were staying (it would cost 2500$ to process paperwork), and then 10 days to get out! God's plan isn't easily avoided, to say the least. We know we were here because that's where he wanted us, and now we are learning more than ever, even in this more difficult time. That is so obviously God's way, that he makes even those hard times a blessing by lovingly teaching us things that we will cling to for the rest of our lives.