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The Consequences of Sin

Scripture:  Numbers 20: 1-12

1 In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.  2 Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. 3 They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the LORD! 4 Why did you bring the LORD’s community into this desert, that we and our livestock should die here? 5 Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”  6 Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them. 7 The LORD said to Moses, 8 “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”  9 So Moses took the staff from the LORD’s presence, just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.  12 But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”  13 These were the waters of Meribah, [a] where the Israelites quarreled with the LORD and where he showed himself holy among them. (NIV)

This year, in my bible study, we have done a yearlong study of Moses.  We are in the book of Numbers now.  From the beginning, God has spoken to me through this study.  If I wasn’t relating to the Israelites in their rebellion, I was relating to Moses and his awkward acceptance of his calling.  However, week by week, studying also allowed me to learn more about God.  Not only did I learn about the God who is full of grace ,the God that demands respect, praise, and honor, but the God of glory as well.  During the bible study, I also learned of the terrifying wrath of God and His righteousness.  I read how holy God is and how He hates sin; yet most importantly, I witnessed how God is not playing…with any of us.  With all of that knowledge, you would have thought, that I would have learned my lesson the first time.

I felt no guilt the first time…

I have wanted to go to Africa for many years (at least the past 5 years).  Originally, I had planned to go for my 30th birthday and even asked someone if they would go with me about 2 years prior, so we could set up a payment plan for it.  But, that didn’t happen.  However, I never forgot that dream.  Two years ago, I decided that I would go to Africa regardless of who accompanied me and learned of a ministry program that would take people to South Africa to minister to others.  In 2007, I had just left my job and in 2008, I was a new home owner, but I vowed in 2009, I would apply for the program and hopefully be accepted.  My biggest fear was how I would afford the $4200 price tag.  But, they always say act in preparation of your blessing, so I prepared to go.  I started banking my vacation time so that I could take 2 weeks off from work this summer, I began looking for a part time job to cover the cost, and I spoke with some people about possible support financially.  I acted in preparation and faith…in this.  So, I finally applied and submitted my application on March 16.  The application was detailed, including a resume, three references, release forms and a moral conviction questionnaire.  With the exception of the questionnaire, I was confidant I would be accepted.  See, in the questionnaire, they asked about your past and recent sexual history.  Knowing what I had just taken part in the previous month, I was hoping they would overlook my recent infraction and look at my past abstinence history.  I mean, really.  A 31-yr. old virgin is something to take note of, right?  LOL

I felt no guilt the second time…

After submitting the application, I was convicted of the recent things I had done and knew they were not pleasing to God.  Not just sexual encounters, but the rebellious nature of my heart.  I understood that the devil had sown seeds of frustration and division and I gladly watered those seeds myself.  My actions had nothing to do with temptation, but everything to do with the lack of patience and trusting God (I mean, exactly how LONG is “to wait”).  So in spite of the word and heeding of God (speaking not only through His word but through a few of my sister friends), I still went and stepped outside the boundaries of God.  Blatantly disobeying Him and throwing it in His face.

I felt no guilt the third time, but God…

Not too long after the 2nd time of rebellion, I set-up the 3rd encounter.  1:30 am.  Can you say it was about to be on and poppin?  I remember saying, God just don’t let me catch anything…  See, I had it all planned and was in control (as usual J).  I knew what time he was getting here and this time, I wasn’t going to tell him he had to leave before morning either.  It was Spring Break. I would get to work whenever I wanted the next day.  But, God had other plans for me.  So much so, that my plans were delayed/canceled/and put on the back burner.  I was not thrilled (especially with how the door was closed), because I thought it was about to be…on and poppin!!!

Sin…

The same day I set-up my rendezvous, I spoke with the leader of the mission trip I had applied for (and also had prayed for forgiveness of my previous weekend escapade-to quote my home girl, “cuz, I am a sinner”).  All of my paperwork had been received, everything was in order, and I would have my letter on Friday via e-mail.  I was excited because without saying I was accepted, I was accepted.  So on Friday, when I received a call concerning my moral conviction questionnaire from a female organization member, I knew it was a formality.  Or so I thought.  As the conversation went on, doubt crept in.  She was asking detailed questions, but nothing I couldn’t handle.  I had explained everything that happened a few months ago and how I got to that point, but my spirit whispered…what about a few days ago???  The longer we stayed on the phone, the more doubt I had.  But, I gave it to God, because I knew what would be, would be.  And then, it was revealed.  My past indiscretions weren’t as much in my past as the application would have led her to believe.

The Consequence of Sin…

After I got off the call, I received another phone call about 45-minutes later from the mission leader.  He wanted to talk to me, but I wasn’t in a place to talk in-depth so he asked to call me later.  I agreed and was feeling great.  I knew I had cinched it.  I had got in.  So, when I spoke with him at 5:30 on Friday, I wasn’t surprised when he said “based on your resume, you are perfect.  Your application is exactly what I am looking for and I even had submitted your name to the system to purchase your flight earlier. “ I was surprised when he continued by saying, “However, I can’t offer you admittance to the program.  According to the recommendation of “X” with your moral interview, she feels now wouldn’t be the time for you to attend. “ Words can’t begin to sum up what I felt.  And in that moment I knew what my consequence was.  I wasn’t going on a trip I had prayed for years to attend (because of the last 3 months).  I wasn’t about to be anybody’s witness.  It wasn’t just my recent interludes I had experienced that disqualified me.  It was the disobedience.  It was the rebellion.  It was the lack of trust.  It was the lack of patience.   You see, God called my bluff.  And He called it in such a way that there was NO DOUBT as to why I wasn’t admitted.  One single act…

Moses & Numbers 20…

After Moses experience with “I AM” (God) at the burning bush, the Bible records the actions of Moses and the Israelites for the next 42-years.  The Israelites were the most rebellious people you can imagine.  God gave them chance, after chance, after chance.  And when that failed, God got “OG”.  He threatened many times to wipe them off the face of the earth.  Indeed, some He consumed in fire, some He opened the earth to swallow whole, and some were killed by the plague.  Through this all, Moses remained His faithful and obedient servant.  Moses never missed a beat.  Never, that is, until Numbers 20.  In Numbers 20, Moses did what most of us, myself included, would call a simple oversight.  He followed God’s directions, but only partially.  However, as was reiterated tonight, even partial obedience, is still disobedience.  That disobedience caused Moses not to enter the Promise Land.  One thing.  One simple thing.

My conviction…

Even after Friday, no matter how hurt I was, I told myself I was taking this like a big girl and wouldn’t cry over spilled milk.  Remember I told God before my sin that whatever consequence I was to have, I would handle it (just please don’t let me catch anything ;-).  I told God that…  Since Friday, I have been acting as if everything is ok.  And for the most part it was, but I wasn’t going to get off that easy.  See, I still didn’t truly repent.  God had yet to finish speaking to my heart and my spirit.  I had yet to read and understand Numbers 20.  I had yet to go to bible study and hear tonight’s lecture.  I had yet to hear someone say that those who are leaders ARE held under different accountability.  I had yet to understand that if you don’t have a consequence, you will do it again, until you become proficient in that sin-until you have a true reckoning.  I had yet to hear that every person and every life is important to God, but that sin will limit your usefulness to God.  I had yet to hear…

My devotional…

I had yet to hear it, but hopefully not you.  I didn’t write all of these words or my business to just share.  As a matter of fact, this is the first and only devotional I will ask for you NOT to share with anybody else.  A long time ago, when I first heard God’s calling on my life, someone asked was I supposed to be a preacher.  I said no, because I knew God called me to be something much worse in my eyes.  I was to be a prophet.  Not a person to predict what is to come, but a person who is to proclaim the word of God to those who didn’t want to hear it.  I am a sinner, but tonight, I want to for once say what God has told me to say out of reverence to Him (ain’t no telling what tomorrow will bring).  Years ago I told Nissa and Kerri I was afraid of what people would say or think if I said half the stuff God told me to say, but not tonight….

God does not excuse sin.  There is a consequence for every sin.   If I thought my denial to the program was just because of physical intimacies, I could swallow that one a little better.  But again, it was about all of the sin (before and after) that manifested itself in that manner.

Even though Moses didn’t get to see the Promised Land, God didn’t love him any less.  He doesn’t love me any less.  He doesn’t love you any less.  In fact, even with all of that, He loved us so much he gave us Jesus.  John 3:16 (NASB)  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Pray for me, Me….the sinner, the bipolar Christian, the beloved daughter of the Most High God…

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