Many of us are addicted to self-reliance. Doing things our way—praying fervently for God to move, then saying “Thanks, God—I can take it from here.” But that way doesn’t turn out very well, does it? If it works at all, it leaves you in an arid, sterile, “religious” place, where, like the Pharisees, you go through the motions like you trust in and rely on God, but you secretly rely on yourself. One person it didn’t work out too well for is Moses, and his self-reliance cost him entry into the Promised Land.
Table Talk Notes
Numbers 20:2-13 | Now there was no water for the congregation. And they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Would that we had perished when our brothers perished before the Lord! Why have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, that we should die here, both we and our cattle? And why have you made us come up out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, and there is no water to drink.” Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting and fell on their faces. And the glory of the Lord appeared to them, and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” And Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he commanded him. Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and through them he showed himself holy.
Jacob is the king of self-reliance… until Peniel.
Protective (took care of flocks and household), believed in God, valued the eternal promises, was loved and chosen by God (Gen 25:23 “…the older shall serve the younger.”)
Impatient, not trusting God to secure the promised inheritance, deceived even his father to get that birthright (the 5 lies of Gen 27: 19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.” 20 But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” He answered, “Because the Lord your God granted me success.”)
Took advantage of Esau’s ignorance and appetites to get him to trade his birthright to Jacob; with his mom’s help deceiving blind Isaac to get The Blessing; ingratiated himself thru his hard work to Uncle Laban, with Rachel being the reward (that one backfired a bit when Laban tricked Jacob with Leah on the wedding night, getting another 7-yr commitment from Jacob for Rachel…)
Gen 29:25-26 | And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” Laban said, “It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.
…used secret breeding techniques to get the speckled & spotted lambs & kids Laban had said Jacob could have for his own flock; after leaving Laban, sent messengers ahead to butter up Esau on his way home—when Esau’s response was to ride out with 400 armed men, Jacob tried to limit the potential damage by dividing his household into two camps. Sent a huge conciliatory gift of cattle to try to appease Esau, and then finally cried out to God at Peniel…
Gen 32:22-30 | The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”
The “habit” of self-reliance is built on the belief that if it works once, it will work every time… right? In my health, am I trusting God or my diet, exercise, supplements & oils and only using God for “911” calls?Thanks, God. I can take it from here. #selfreliance #ttwmn Click To Tweet
Gun Belt Notches
The Church is not immune to this, by any means.
Cheap Grace through “sinners’ prayers” without the “sin” (no repentance). We’ve bought into the “Best Life Now” living for all dessert or signs & wonders with no sanctification. Chrislam and other forms of syncretism are infiltrating Church teachings by letting Muslims believe they can have Jesus and Islam, too. Some show acceptance of blatantly sinful lifestyles (sexual immorality). Many are watering down the Gospel or manipulating the Word of God to be more “palatable” teaching anything to boost numbers and “be loved” by the World. Does God need to be ‘marketed’? (Andrew Schwab of Project 86)
John 15:18-19 | “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
“Finney preached, and sometimes the whole congregation would get up and leave! That’s good preaching.” – Leonard Ravenhill
“It is God’s way to let ministers try all their strength first, and then He Himself comes and subdues the hearts they cannot.” – Jonathan Edwards
“Truth without enthusiasm, morality without emotion, ritual without soul, are things Christ unsparingly condemned. Destitute of fire, they are nothing more than a godless philosophy, an ethical system, and a superstition.” – Samuel Chadwick
All are what and how we deem best that Christianity should be – like Jacob, we either have no patience to wait for the Holy Spirit to work, we don’t WANT the way God wants things to be accomplished, or maybe we really don’t even trust God.
Romans 11:33-36 | Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable (or impossible to understand) his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
2 Corinthians 4:2-11, 16-18 | But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh… So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
So how can you avoid “striking the rock”?
“If you don’t plan to live the Christian life totally committed to knowing your God and to walking in obedience to Him, then don’t begin; for this is what Christianity is all about. It is a change of citizenship, a change of governments, a change of allegiance. If you have no intention of letting Christ rule your life, then forget Christianity; it’s not for you.” – K. Arthur
Mark 10:28-31 | Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Mark 10:43-44 | But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant (diakonos: waiter or attendant, in early church pastor or teacher), and whoever would be first among you must be slave (doulos: bondservant, one who chooses to serve his Master until death) of all.
John 12:24-25 | Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Romans 6:17-18 | But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
2) Study the Word
Pray, at all times and in all humility!
“There is no power like that of prevailing prayer, of Abraham pleading for Sodom, Jacob wrestling in the stillness of the night, Moses standing in the breach, Hannah intoxicated with sorrow, David heartbroken with remorse and grief, Jesus in sweat of blood. Add to this list from the records of the church your personal observation and experience, and always there is the cost of passion unto blood. Such prayer prevails. It turns ordinary mortals into men of power. It brings power. It brings fire. It brings rain. It brings life. It brings God.” – Samuel Chadwick
Acts 4:24-31 | And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, “‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’— for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
Phil 4:4-7 | Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
3) Don’t be afraid
Matt 10:28-33, 38-39 | And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven… And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Colossians 3:2-4 | Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Phil 4:8-13 | Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.