Missing Out on the Blessings of God
by Raul Ries
One of my favorite people to study in the Bible is Moses. He was a man who loved the Lord greatly, and the Lord used his life tremendously, but he was not a perfect man. He was a man who missed out on the greatest blessing. After leading the people through the wilderness for 40 years, he was not allowed to enter into the Promised Land with the people. He had to turn over the leadership to Joshua.
It is not hard to imagine how Moses felt when he spoke these words in Deuteronomy 4:21-22:
“Furthermore the Lord was angry with me for your sakes, and swore that I would not cross over the Jordan; but you shall cross over and possess that good land.”
As a pastor and leader, it is easy for me to put myself in Moses’ shoes and have a very good idea how he was feeling. He was able to look across the mountains into the Promised Land and know God was not going to allow him to enter in with the people. I think he was crushed. I believe his heart was breaking and he was sick in spirit. He must have asked God, “How can you do this to me?” It is the same thing we say so often, even when we know why.
Moses knew why he was not going into the Promised Land. God had told him. He did not do what the Lord told him to do at the water of Meribah and he misrepresented God before the people. Moses was supposed to speak to the rock, so water would come out for the children of Israel; but instead he struck the rock in anger. He made the children of Israel think God was angry with them, when He was not angry.
Think of how many men and women we have seen fall in the ministry and the people, the sheep, are hurt—they fall away from the Lord, because their pastor, their leader, rebelled against God and misrepresented Him.
As pastors and leaders, we have to remember our calling. We have to remember Who has called us and that with the calling comes a great responsibility. In Luke 12:48, Jesus told them, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”
That verse is for you and me. Jesus is speaking to each one of us individually. He has called each of us and has blessed us with our ministries. With the blessing comes the responsibility of being holy and blameless before the Lord. We must be able to stand before the people and God with clean hands and clean hearts.
When I read the Old Testament and look at the life of Moses, I do not think God accidentally put this story of Moses in the Bible. I think it is a great lesson for every person who wants to be used by God. The story of Moses is full of life lessons, but I believe this is the greatest lesson for every leader in the ministry.
When you read through the life of Moses, he was greatly blessed by God. He was used mightily and God displayed amazing miracles through him. God spoke to him, and he had intimate communion with God. There is no way you could say Moses was not blessed tremendously by God, but I believe he missed out on the greatest blessing. He did not enter the Promised Land with the children of Israel.
I am not saying Moses did not go to heaven, when Jesus went into Abraham’s Bosom to take the saints home; but because of disobedience and rebellion, Moses did not experience the full blessings of God.
As pastors and leaders of God’s people, we are called to lives of obedience. That does not mean obedience only at the pulpit and in the church. We are called to a life fully and completely surrendered to the Lord. Whether we are home alone, at the gym or in the grocery store, we are called to be obedient servants of the Lord, not to bring shame or reproach to the name of God.
If we want the full blessings God has for each one of us, we have to live in obedience to God’s Word and not compromise. When we compromise God’s Word, we sin, and sin is leaven. Paul the Apostle told the Galatian Christians, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9). A little sin or a little compromise destroys a lifetime of service unto the Lord.
We have to remember, pastors and leaders are bondservants of the Lord. We have freely sold our lives into the service of the Lord, because we love Him. God has not forced us into serving Him. We were each called, and we answered the call willingly, because of our love for Him and His great love for us.
Today, we have seen the Word of God watered down. We have seen compromise creep into the church and into the teaching of God’s Word. There are some who no longer teach about sin. They will not say homosexuality is against the Word of God, because God is a God of love. There are some who even say all religions lead to God.
If you are willing to stand at the pulpit God has given to you and teach such lies to the people, then you have rebelled against God and you are misrepresenting Him to the people. You are not only misrepresenting God, which is a sin, but you are leading the people to hell, because you are giving them permission to sin. You are telling them God is not grieved by their sin.
If God has called you, if He has anointed you, then you can do nothing less than give the people God’s Word, not your opinion. If you desire to be the faithful and obedient servants God has called you to be, you cannot change God’s Word. You must teach it, just as Paul and the other apostles did, without compromise.
I pray every pastor and leader in God’s ministry would heed the warning we have in the life of Moses, so we can each say, like Paul, “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27).
[Pastor Raul Ries is the Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Golden Springs in Diamond Bar, CA. He is heard internationally on more than 350 radio stations on his daily syndicated program, “Somebody Loves You,” and is the evangelist for the Somebody You Crusades. Contact Pastor Ries at www.raulries.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/pages/Pastor-Raul-Ries or on Twitter @raul_ries ]