Leanness of Soul
Pastor Rod Thompson
Midland SDA Church
November 25, 2017
According to dictionary.com Hindsight is Ė recognition of the realities, possibilities, or requirements of a situation, event or decision, after its occurrence.†
According to the British Dictionary hind sight is the ability to understand, after something has happened, what should have been done or what caused the event.†
You have heard it said that hind sight is 20/20.† In other words, if we knew then what we know now we might have done things differently.
I donít know if you have ever thought about this before, but we live in an amazing age.†
Daniel 12:4†††††††† ďBut you Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, until the time of the end.† Many will run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.
Daniel was told by God that in the end of time knowledge would increase.† Do you believe that we are in the end of time?
Knowledge is increasing isnít it?† I think this verse speaks of two things.† First it speaks of scientific knowledge and second, it speaks of biblical knowledge.
Have you ever thought about the fact that we know more about the Bible today than any generation before us?††† We are living in the time of hind sight.
It is with hind sight that we know that Satan would deceive Eve.† It is with hind sight that we know that the world would be destroyed by a flood.† It is with hind sight that we know that the sanctuary service pointed forward to Jesus and his death and priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary.
Imagine what it would have been like if the Pharisees knew then what we know today.††
We are living in the age of understanding.† It is an exciting time to be alive.† But hear me when I say this brothers and sisters.† With understanding comes responsibility.†
Because we are living in the time of the end, the majority of Bible prophecy has already been fulfilled.† And we can look back with perfectly clear vision and see the mistakes of others.† And not just see their mistakes but learn from them and not make those same mistakes ourselves.†
In 1 Corinthians 10:1-10 Paul is talking about Old Testament examples
Read 1 Corinthians 10: 1-10
Paul says all these things are examples to us so that we donít make the same mistakes they did
Read 1 Corinthians 10:11
In John 20 Jesus was speaking to Thomas about seeing and believing and in verse 30 and 31 John says Jesus did many things that were written in his book, and they were written so that we might believe in Jesus.
Romans 15:4††††† For whatever things were written before, were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.†
All of these things were written for you and me, so that we might learn, so that we might believe, as an example to us so that we are prepared for the end which, I believe, is coming in our life time.†
There are many lessons in the Bible that are there for our benefit.† But many of them are hidden.† Hidden for a time such as this.
Proverbs 25:2††††††††††††† It is the glory of God to conceal a matter.† But the glory of kings to search out a matter
There are many matters to be discovered in this book, and I think it will take an eternity to discover them all, but today I would like to share with you, just one of them.
Read Exodus 3:16-18
Moses had seen the bush that burned but was not consumed, he went up to see this great sight and there he had a conversation with God.† God said, go back to Egypt, go talk to the elders, take them with you and go talk to Pharaoh.† And notice (look at vs 18 again) what they are to say to Pharaoh.† ďLet us go three daysí journey into the wilderness, that we may do what?††† Sacrifice to the Lord our God.
God worked many miracles and brought them out of the land of Egypt with a strong arm.
Read Exodus 15: 22-24
God had said they were to go three daysí journey into the wilderness and then do what?† Sacrifice to the Lord our God.† So here we see that they went three daysí journey into the wilderness and then they did what?† Did they sacrifice to God?† No, they complained against God.
I donít know if you ever noticed this before, but 3 daysí journey and then sacrifice seems to be a common theme in the old testament.
Read Genesis 22: 1-5
It was a three-day journey from where they lived to get to Mount Moriah where Abraham would offer his son as a sacrifice.† Well you know the story donít you.† It was all just a test to see if Abraham was willing to do as God had asked.† And when he proved to be faithful God provided a substitute instead.
You know the story of Jonah.† He was the disobedient prophet who tried to flee from God.†
Jonah 1: 17
And then what happened?† Look at Chapter 2, Jonah offered a sacrifice of thanksgiving for his deliverance.†
Read Jonah 2: 1-10
And then there is the story of Esther.† We are familiar with that story arenít we?† Haman had tricked the king into thinking that he could trust Haman.† The king gives him his signet ring and Haman writes a decree that all the Jews should be killed.†
Esther 4: 1-17
Esther said pray and fast for 3 days.† And she was willing to sacrifice herself
Now letís go back to our story in Exodus.† God had told them go three days into the wilderness and there offer a sacrifice to me.† And did they?†† Yes, and no!† Yes, they went three days into the wilderness.† But life wasnít so easy there, so they complained to God.† Why did you bring us out into this wilderness to die?† We would have been better off if we had stayed in Egypt.
Psalm 106: 4-15
Did you catch what the psalmist is saying here?†† He says, God is worthy of worship, He is worthy of sacrifice of praise.† And why?† Because He is saving His people.† But what do His people do?† They murmur and complain against Him.† He shows them through many miracles that He is God, that He loves them and will provide for them.
Verse 7††††† Our fathers in Egypt did not understand your wonders.† They did not remember the multitudes of your mercies.† But rebelled against you
Verse 12-13††††††† They believed His words; Sang His praise.† But then when things got difficult again what happened?† They soon forgot His works
But notice verse 15 again
Verse 15††† And He gave them their request!
Oh brothers and Sisters, what a merciful God we serve.† Even when they murmured and complained against Him God gave them their request.†
They were thirsty Ė to that there is no dispute.† But when they should have been thirsty for the glory of God they were thirsty for self.† Instead of offering sacrifice they offered complaints.
Brothers and sisters, we are living in the age of hind sight.† So what have we learned from the word of God?† What are we doing so that we donít make the same mistake of Israel of old?† We are the new Israel and so I ask you, when God is looking for sacrifice from us, what do we offer Him?†
When you have been three days in the wilderness, when things are not going your way, when you are hurting, tired and thirsty, do you offer a sacrifice or do you complain?
All of these things have been written for our learning.† Are we learning from their error?† Or are we making the same old mistakes?
Notice verse 15 again, it says that God gave them their request.† He gave them the physical water that they were yearning for.† But notice the rest of that verse.†
Verse 15††† But He sent leanness into their soles
You see friends, sometimes God gives us what we want, even though He had something better in mind.
I have to confess to you today, that this sermon is about me.† You see, lately I have been complaining to God about my health.† Rather than coming to God and bringing the sacrifice of praise that He seeks I have been murmuring against Him.
Perhaps the Holy Spirit is not only speaking to me today.† Perhaps you have forgotten the goodness of God.† Perhaps you have thought God should have been acting on your behalf in another way.† You have seen miracles in the past.† By the way, the greatest miracle that any of us could ever see, is that God would accept a wretch like us.†
And I know that if I keep complaining to God, if you keep complaining to God, He just may give us what we are asking for.† But what have we gained if after getting what we want we also get leanness in our souls?
According to Websterís dictionary, Leanness is flesh without fat.† It is lacking richness; it is deficient in quality or content.
It reminds me of what Jesus said in
Mark 8:36 /Matthew 16:26††† For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
Brothers and sisters what does it gain us if God gives us what we want but we are void of the richness of the presence of God in our lives?† And what do we see in this leanness or better yet, what do we not see?
Read Exodus 15:24-25
We see that God provided for them even though they did not sacrifice like He had called them to do.† But notice the next few verses
Read 1Exodus 15: 27 Ė 16:3
You see brothers and sisters the changing of the bitter water into blessing did nothing to change their hearts.† Instead of trusting God and praising Him for His goodness they are once again complaining.† There thirst had been relieved but now they are hungry.† Another word for leanness is emaciated which means skinny, gaunt, thin or scrawny.
Now there is a famine for food.† Why?† Because there is a famine for the praise of God.† Because there is a leanness to their soles.† And why?† Because they do not have faith.† When trouble came they could not trust God that He would provide for them just like He had in the past.
We should learn from these mistakes of the past.† Instead of complaining why donít we offer a sacrifice of praise.†
Brothers and sisters we need to learn from all of these examples that God has given to us.
Read romans 5: 1-2
Peace and joy comes to those who put their trust in God, who offer Him sacrifices of praise.† It comes to those who look beyond the temporary problems of life and realize that the things that are happening to us are for our good.†
It comes to those who take James advise when he says count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.† (James 1:2-3)
And isnít that the same thing that Paul says here in Romans 5
Read Romans 5:3
We are quickly approaching the time of trouble.† Can we bring God sacrifices of praise even when things are not going well?† If we canít do it now how are we going to do it when real trouble comes our way?†
If we donít glorify God in tribulation are we going to have perseverance or leanness of Soul?
Wherever there is the human element there is going to be murmuring and complaining.† But remember this Ė God is in charge, and if this is happening to you then He is allowing it.† And if He is allowing it, it is for our good.
Is that the desire of your heart?