Acknowledge that God is With Us
But it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early, about the dawning of the day, and marched around the city seven times in the same manner. On that day only they marched around the city seven times. And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city! Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.”
Joshua 6:15-17 NKJV
We said that there are three things that God promised Abraham. He promised to give him many descendants, the land of Canaan, and that He will be their God in that land. Which of these was the first to be fulfilled? That He will give many descendants. That was fulfilled in Egypt, wasn’t it? After that was fulfilled, the promise that God will be their God. It was not after they went into Canaan, but before that, that God became their God. So they lived together with God. God was with them in the desert. And He led them all the way to Canaan.
With man’s abilities, it was impossible for Israel to enter Canaan. It was made possible only because God was with them. The way for them to enter that land and live in it was to acknowledge that God was with them and to follow His instructions carefully. This applies to us the same even today. God promised us that later, when we enter the kingdom of heaven, there will be countless people that cannot be counted with man’s number. What is the highest we can count up to? A hundred, thousand, ten thousand, hundred thousand, million, ten million, hundred million, billion, ten billion, hundred billion, trillion, ten trillion, hundred trillion, jillion and then? We do not know after that. We have not heard of anything beyond that.
In this way, there will be such countless number of people who cannot be counted in any language we know. Thus, there would be at least more than a jillion, like a hundred jillion. There will be countless multitudes in heaven, and they are the ones whom God has been with as their God ever since they had been here in Hades. And He will later take them to heaven. If it is not for the Lord, if the Lord is not with us, how can we possibly go to heaven?
Therefore, our faith is to believe that the Lord is with us. If so, we need to be guided by Him and believe that He protects us when we are under threat. Since we believe this so, we do not seek human ways; we follow the Lord’s commands. Even if it seems impossible, we still follow the Lord’s commands. The people of Israel circled the great city of Jericho in order to dispossess it. And they say that chariots went across the city wall because it was very wide. Even though the Great Wall of China is tall, it is not wide enough for a chariot to go through. So then, how sturdy was the city of Jericho? But the way that destroyed it was to circle it seven times for seven times. And on the last day, as they went around it the seventh time, they shouted, and the whole city collapsed.
The reason they were able to do what seemed to be absurd is because they surely believed that God was with them. But later on, the faith of some of the people deteriorated at times because not all of Israel met Jehovah. Moreover, Jehovah did not always appear to them to speak. So even if they were told God’s word, they could not believe it if they could not see with their own eyes. Hence, even though God said to them, “Go and fight!” the people were too afraid that they might die and did not go. So God said to them, “I don’t need people like you. I will do My will without you.” When the people heard that, they then said, “Okay, we will go. We will go and fight.” But that time, God told them not to go. God said, “I will not be with you. So don’t go. It’s useless.” But they said, “Since God told us to go last time, we will go.” When they did, they all died.
In this way, they sinned because they did not believe how God was with them. What is sin? What is sin? Not having faith is sin, which, in other words, means anything we do without believing that God is with me is sin. Thus, what is God pleased with? That we acknowledge that God is with me. This is righteousness. This is what God wants. Although we no longer deem immoral acts as sins, but in fact, immoral deeds are sins. This is because when one commits such an act, he does so because he does not believe that God is with him.
In that sense, not only are immoral acts sin, but also, even that which unbelievers do not consider as sin is a sin to us. If I do not believe that God is with me and seek to do things out of my own accord or resolve problems by human means, it is also sin. Ignoring God is also sin. That is why we are not only bound by ethical and moral values, but we are under a greater law.
Therefore, the Lord being with us is not an abstract notion, but the Holy Spirit actually dwells inside us, and Jesus’ name is within us. Therefore, this is a fact. It is an experience, as we learned yesterday. So, let us never forget that God is with us, not even for a moment. Let us not deny this, as if we can do something on our own. By having the Lord within us to do as God’s word and His will says is the way to victory, though it may be tough. Let us pray that we can always acknowledge God with us.
God our Father, we are foolish, weak, lazy and cannot do anything on our own. Yet because You are with us, we want to carry out the works which You have commanded us by Your power. Father God, help us to always work in faith. Help us not to become weak in heart. For we believe that whatever You have commanded us is possible for You, God, which is why You commanded them to us. Help us not to give up but persevere and self-control to the end. By God being with us, help us to have boldness and a more victorious week this week than before. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Sermon by Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center
Sermon on November 5, 2012
Translated by Sungrak Mission Center English Team