How Not to Provoke God to Anger (2)

How Not to Provoke God to Anger (2)

In continuation of the series that we started yesterday on how Not to Provoke God to Anger, here is the second instalment of insight on how to navigate your way away from the fatal path of divine wrath.

Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness?Hebrews 3:17

The second way we can provoke God to great wrath is by continually living in sin without any conscious attempt to stop the sinful indulgence. God is holy and cannot behold sin. So whenever sin comes into the equation, God departs from the scene and waits until the soul of man is conducive, through genuine repentance and turnaround, for His dwelling.

Sin also hinders the move of God anywhere and restrains His hand from doing much for anyone. That is why the Scripture says, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).

That means sin holds back the hand of God, blocks His ears to our prayers, alienates Him from us and screens His face from seeing us. Imagine if an individual receives this treatment from his/her benefactor or a business receives the same treatment from its clients; that may have some long-term negative effect on such individual and spell doom for the business.

As humans, it is almost impossible not to sin or have some habit you are struggling with; God sees them all and is willing to help us overcome such as long as we honestly seek His help. But in a situation where we cite our human frailties as an excuse for habitual indulgence in sins, then we leave little room for God not to give us the cold shoulder treatment because He “is angry with the sinner every day” (Psalm 7:11).

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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How Not to Provoke God to Anger (1)

How Not to Provoke God to Anger (1)

Below is a Daily Dew insight on how not to provoke God to anger such that we incur His wrath instead of His favour.

Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of LORD burned among them and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp. – Numbers 11:1

Often times, when we are embattled with challenges, or we don’t have our desire or answer to our prayers, there is a tendency to resort to complaint, whining and griping endlessly in a bid to arm-twist or blackmail God to look at our side. However, instead of getting our objective, what we usually achieve by so doing is to provoke God to anger.

Complaint is one of the human habits that easily irritate God. It displeases Him to no end and attracts His consuming fire. Fire? Yes, Fire. Even if the He does not send a fire, the fact that He is angry is enough to spark up a fire!

God expects us to have an attitude of gratitude in all situations. Why? Because even when it doesn’t look like it, He is actually working all things out for our good. That may be very difficult to believe. But the truth is that God genuinely loves and cares about every one of His children, both the obedient and the wayward. His love is as constant as the rising of the Sun, even more so.

Imagine how you would feel if you were planning a surprise for your loved one only for that person to start acting up, complaining and picking faults in your conducts. How would you feel? Hurt? Disappointed? Frustrated? That is the same way God usually feels whenever we complain about our situation, which is only a process He is using to ferry us to the destination He is taking us.

In the case of the Israelites, God was taking them to the Promised Land. But their undoing was their constant cries as they passed through the wilderness on the way to ‘the land flowing with milk and honey’. They did it to a point that God did not even bother to inform Moses ahead, as was His custom, before He started to punish them by raining fire on them.

These days, there may not be physical fire from heaven, but the feeling of being burned with the same intensity as if one is really under fire will nonetheless be there. In order to avoid this kind of divine retribution, let us start to praise God more and cry less; thank more and gripe less; sing more and groan less. In other words, let us imbibe the spirit of the passage that says, “IN EVERYTHING, give thanks. For this is the will of the LORD for you…”

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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A Lesson in Leadership

A Lesson in Leadership

Leadership is the focus of our meditation in this third instalment on the lessons to be learned from the daughters of Zelophehad, we will be considering some Leadership lessons from the person of Moses.

Then came the daughters of Zelophehad the son of Hepher…And they stood before Moses, before Eleazar the priest, and before the leaders and all the congregation, by the doorway of the tabernacle of meeting, saying: “Our father died in the wilderness; but he was not in the company of those who gathered together against the Lord, in company with Korah, but he died in his own sin; and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be removed from among his family because he had no son? Give us a possession among our father’s brothers.”  So Moses brought their case before the Lord. – Numbers 27:1-5

The third insight for our meditation from this passage is a leadership lesson; particularly the leadership style of Moses. Two lessons stand out from this. Firstly, he was an accommodating leader and was neither high-handed in his reception of the daughters of Zelophehad nor dismissed their request as women’s talk. Rather, he welcomed and heard them out.

While this may not seem like a big deal, it is. Many persons at the helm of human endeavours – politics, business, religion, and other affairs – are more interested in downloading what they have to say rather than hearing out the people they are leading. The hospitality threshold of many leaders is very thin, and they are only at their indulgent best when they are in the glare of public eyes. Move closer or watch them at a close range and you will be shocked at what you will see. Moses wasn’t that way.

The second lesson is the humility of Moses. He did not make out to have an immediate answer to the request of the daughters of Zelophehad. He did not pre-empt God or make as if he had all the answers, after all he had been communing with God at close quarters. On the contrary. he requested for time and then took their matter to God for counsel. This show of humility is not common in these days of super, all-knowing leaders who make as if they have at their fingertips the solution to all the problems of humankind.

It requires humility on the part of a leader not to try to show or prove to his people that he has all the answers to their questions at the asking. It takes a great leader to consult God on knotty matters rather than show bravado and act in error. Moses was that kind of leader, and that is how you ought to be.

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

Also read:

How to Turn Disadvantage to Advantage

How to Turn Disadvantage to Advantage

How to turn disadvantage to advantage

Here is an insight on what you can do when you find yourself in a disadvantaged position for reasons not of your own making or out of your control, and how you can turn a disadvantage to an advantage. Lesson From the Daughters of Zelophehad.

Then came the daughters of Zelophehad the son of Hepher…And they stood before Moses, before Eleazar the priest, and before the leaders and all the congregation, by the doorway of the tabernacle of meeting, saying: “Our father died in the wilderness; but he was not in the company of those who gathered together against the Lord, in company with Korah, but he died in his own sin; and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be removed from among his family because he had no son? Give us a possession among our father’s brothers.”  So Moses brought their case before the Lord. – Numbers 27:1-5

There are three lessons for our meditation from this passage: firstly, there is the forthrightness of the daughters of Zelophehad whom, finding themselves disadvantaged by the traditions of their patriarchal society, did not accept the disadvantage as a fact and bemoan their lot in silence.

By virtue of the traditions, inheritance was supposed to be shared among the male children in the family. But in the case of Zelophehad, he had no male child to whom all his belongings would go. He only had five daughters who were not eligible to inherit their father’s heirloom.

However, rather than resort to murmuring and castigating God and men for their chauvinism, Zelophehad’s daughters stepped out and made a dispassionate case as to why they should be given their father’s property. This proved to be a remarkable landmark in Israel as it signalled a new era in allotting inheritance.

There are certain blessings that can only be released to you after you set out of your comfort zone, challenge the status quo and demand for it.

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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How to Prevail in the Battles of Life

How to Prevail in the Battles of Life

Today we will meditate on how to prevail in the battles of life while still drawing insights from the passage below. Specifically, we shall dwell on the value of self-motivation in achieving success.

So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from there the ark of the covenant of the LORD…And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. And when the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook. Now when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What does the sound of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” Then they understood that the ark of the LORD had come into the camp. So the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp!” And they said, “Woe to us! For such a thing has never happened before…Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. Be strong and conduct yourselves like men, you Philistines, that you do not become servants of the Hebrews…Conduct yourselves like men, and fight!” So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. 1 Samuel 4:1-11

The third lesson derived from the passage above, which will form the basis of our meditation today, is that self-motivation is required to prevail in the battles of life.

If the Philistines had given up and withdrawn from the battle after hearing that the Ark was brought into the Israelites’ camp – especially considering the terrible things they had heard that God did to the Egyptians and those who dared to cross the Israelites’ path – then they wouldn’t have known that they could, in fact, win that war. They would have fled and never got to savour the victory that was awaiting them.

But they encouraged themselves to go ahead and fight, despite the odds; and they won the battle.

Therefore, it is usually not what is happening on the other side that determines the outcome of a matter. Oftentimes, it is what is happening at your side that does. What are you telling yourself? Are you psyching yourself up for the challenge or talking yourself out of contention? What are you doing? How are you preparing? These are what really matter and determine the result you get in most cases.

The Philistines decided to damn the consequences and braced themselves to fight anyway rather than bail out. And, much to their own surprise as well, they routed and defeated the Israelites who seemingly looked favoured to carry the day. You never can tell what you can do or how far you can go until you try. And to try at all, you need to motivate yourself in the face of many discouragements.

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

Also read:

God’s Presence Does Not Guarantee Success

God’s Presence Does Not Guarantee Success

Today we will meditate on the dynamics of God’s presence in relation to success.

So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from there the ark of the covenant of the LORD…And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. And when the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook. Now when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What does the sound of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” Then they understood that the ark of the LORD had come into the camp. So the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp!” And they said, “Woe to us! For such a thing has never happened before….Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. Be strong and conduct yourselves like men, you Philistines, that you do not become servants of the Hebrews…Conduct yourselves like men, and fight!” So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. Also the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died. 1 Samuel 4:1-11

Another lesson for our meditation from the passage above is that, the fact that you invite God’s presence into an endeavour before stating, or at any stage of it, does not guarantee that it is going to succeed.

From our reference scripture, we can see that both Israelites and the Philistines had different false hopes. The Israelites were jubilant that the presence of God, symbolised by the Ark of Covenant, was now with them. So they were very confident that they would overrun their enemies in battle. The Philistines, on the other hand, were fretful that the end had come for them, since the Israelites now had God’s presence, which had wrought great havoc on their adversaries in times past. So they were not looking forward to taking them on in battle – they just had to fight.

Both parties were proved wrong by ensuing events, as the confident Israelites were routed, slaughtered and captured by the fretful Philistines. Now what could have gone wrong for the Israelites? Why couldn’t they defeat their enemies even with the presence of God in their midst?

The answer is simple: if the persons involved do not have a relationship with God and are not in right standing in His sight, the name of Jesus which makes all knees bow will be a mere mouthing, and the Ark – whatever it represents to them – will just be another article of furniture.

Therefore, the fact that you have invited God into a venture does not guarantee its success if you are not right with Him. Also, a project can carry the name of God and still fail if the people behind it are not aligned with Him. If God does not have your heart, He cannot take up your fight.

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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