23,000 in One Day!
I have added a very lengthy passage to this week's article. Carefully read all of the words and pay close attention at the very end because there are some profound statements made by Paul which speak to us today. Sometimes people assume I place hard passages in my Eternal Significance writings to speak to someone specific within our fellowship. I would never single out anyone, specifically with the intent of embarrassing or exposing someone’s sin. My responsibility as a pastor is to go to someone and to humbly express my concerns about a lifestyle they are living which is contrary to the Word of God. This passage jumped off the page as I was reading it this week. It is as if Paul was speaking to our nation (our world) while we navigate this corona virus crisis. 23,000 people died in one day because they decided to allow sin to run rampant through their camp. Don’t misunderstand the main point of this passage. God’s Word says two very profound things to us living in 2020. First, life is not fair, people die, and if you abandon God don’t expect him to protect you. Secondly, and just as important; we need to heed history’s warning by repenting of anything which is not right and we need to believe God will make a way of escape for those who trust Him. Amen! Paul says there is a Holy Ghost emergency plan for us to rest in, which includes an emergency exit for those who call on His name.
“I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. These things happened as a warning to us so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.” And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day. Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age. If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10: 1-13
None of us know what will happen tomorrow or one week from now, or even in three months. We all want to know when we can start gathering back together at Hawthorne Assembly. Prayerfully this is a short-lived national crisis. Nevertheless, we need to cry out to God, now, together, declaring He alone has the words of eternal life and will lead us to the divine emergency exit for those who trust Him.