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Tabernacle God's Purpose for You Lesson 23
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
17 March 2002 Bible Lessons
Operation Outreach

For the past several lessons, we have been looking at accounts of Israel's murmurings in the wilderness. We compared those accounts with doctrines in the New Testament. Obviously, we have not exhausted either the accounts of Israel's murmurings or the New Testament doctrines related to that subject.

There have been several questions raised because of these studies, some of which we will address later in the series. One question needs to be addressed before we move on to the next stage of this series.

"If something is wrong, or is not understood,
 is it wrong to ask about it, or talk to others about it?"
Asking about or talking about a church problem is not murmuring,  

I will try to address the "unless", as quickly as possible. The cause and the motive of such questions or conversations are the "key" to whether they are Biblical murmurings or not.

If the question is for the purpose of getting facts and an honest answer, then the party or parties will go to the sources to establish the real facts, not go to someone who can only give one-sided or fantasized information.

If the conversation is for the purpose of building up the church, then the information and suggestion will be brought to the person or persons who can carefully look at the information in light of the present program and purpose of the church.

It will help to keep in mind the three major reasons for murmuring, although they are not the only reasons.

  1. Selfish discontent
  2. Absence of true thankfulness
  3. The absence of Biblical truths, and the application of those truths in every situation

These are the major causes for murmuring, however the major motive behind most murmuring is revenge, or to get even.

If there is a question or suggestion, and it is continually "aired" to those who cannot answer the question or evaluate the suggestion, then, more than likely, the person is not looking for an answer, or endeavoring to bring improvement to the program. Instead, the purpose is to produce dissent and division.

Quite often this dissent and division was not intended to bring harm to the church, but to bring self-satisfaction. Within a church, when self-satisfaction is the motive, it ALWAYS brings harm to the total body.

Too often, the real answer to the question is not the desired response, because often the real answer would not be to one's liking. Therefore, through murmuring to enough people, they feel that sufficient pressure can be applied to have the situation "go their way".

Look again at the definition of Biblical murmuring.

Murmuring = (Greek) The low constant sound of a running brook; The cooing of doves; The contented sounds of a baby; To grumble in low tones (as the cooing of doves) to oneself or secretly to others; To confer together in a secretive manner about matters of discontent; A secret debate in quarrelsome discontent.

Because "I" am not getting what "I" want, without regard to the well being of the total body, "I" will murmur, and cause division so that no one receives the intended benefit, NOR can the church fulfill its intended purpose.

Therein is one of the major causes of Biblical murmuring, 
"Selfish discontent"

We saw that factor, over and over again, in Israel's reactions in the wilderness, and also with the early church in the book of Acts.

When "Selfish discontent" is present, there is usually an "Absence of true thankfulness" for what we already have as a body of Believers. These two factors stem from "The absence of Biblical truths and/or the lack of application of those truths to the situation".

So to answer the question of:

"If something is wrong, or is not understood, 
is it wrong to ask about it, or talk to others about it?"

If it is an honest question, seeking a real Biblical answer, and ask of those who can give an answer, it certainly would not be murmuring. As a matter of fact, that is a very good situation. We need many more such questions ask.

Nor would it be wrong to "talk" about it, if such talk was for edification, and not to cast a person or program in a false light or even a questionable light. An illustration of improper questions and conversations can be seen in Luke 20 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREand elsewhere.

Luke 20:19LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREAnd the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him (Christ), but they feared the people-- for they knew that He had spoken this parable against them. 20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor. 21 And they asked Him, saying, "Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God truly: 22 "Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" 23 But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them,
"Why do you test Me?

In this situation, they went to the right Person with their question, BUT their question was not from the motivation of receiving an HONEST answer. As a matter of fact, it didn't make any difference what the answer would have been, they had already formulated their opinion and plan.

Colossians 4:6LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARELet your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Let's move on with our study. God has always wanted and His will has always been to dwell and fellowship with mankind. However, mankind chose to separate themselves FROM God. This choice was made by Adam in the Garden. Therefore, for God to dwell with His people, He must do it in such a manner that will not violate the God given right of volition or choice.

Another problem standing in the way of God dwelling and fellowshipping with mankind was the matter of sin. A holy God cannot fellowship together with unholiness.

2 Corinthians 6:14LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREDo not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people."

These two matters of mankind's right of choice, and the inability of a holy God to fellowship with unholiness, will be seen in the shadows of the Tabernacle and its services. The implications of these two areas will also be seen in God's provision for salvation, and the standard of fellowship for the church age. The ultimate fulfillment of these two areas will be seen in the New Heaven and the New Earth.

For our introduction or "snap shot" of this, let's look at some passages of Scripture. To the nation of Israel in the wilderness, God spoke through Moses, saying in..,

Exodus 25:2LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARE"Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering......8 "And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.

To those in Christ, known as the Church, the writer of Hebrews says in..,

Hebrews 8:1LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARENow this is the main point of the things we are saying (Tabernacle in the wilderness): We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.
Colossians 2:16LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARETherefore let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths (some of the services of the Tabernacle), 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

Over and over again, the Holy Spirit reminds us that the Tabernacle in the wilderness with its services are shadows of things to come, and examples for us, so that we might live lives of holiness with Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:16LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREDo you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. 18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.

Not only is the Tabernacle in the wilderness a shadow of the Heavenly Tabernacle, it also casts shadows showing that the individual Believer is a Tabernacle or Temple of God. This is a fact in the minds of most Christians, BUT the reality does not seem to show up in our everyday living.

If we really believed that we are the earthly dwelling place for the God of all gods, I'm sure our vocabulary would contain a few less profane words, our conversations would be less defaming of others and our speech would be filled with honest remarks.

Far too often, the evidence in our lives does not match what we say we believe. Let me add a postscript. With thankful heart I see much spiritual growth in these areas in some of those here at MBF. What a blessing!!

Ephesians 2:19LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARENow, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.

Not only are individual Christians "Temples of Holy Spirit" collectively, all Believers grow into a Holy Temple IN the Lord. For this "habitation of God" to become a reality we "are BEING built together..." We will see this "shadow" of being "built together" cast by the Israelites, as they built the Tabernacle in the wilderness.

To all those who will spend eternity with God, John writes about this choice and fellowship with God in..,

Revelation 21:1LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREAnd I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
1 John 2:15LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREDo not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world-- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-- is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Don't have the time to develop this fact, but we must not pass by without noting it. I don't know where your motives are placed and your efforts spent in this life. If you are giving yourself to the things of the flesh, things of the eye or the pride of life those things will pass away!!!

Only the things that are of the will of God will abide forever!

For many Christians, everything they have lived for in this life will be gone, and they will spend eternity without any benefit from this life, except their New Birth. Many Christian will stand empty handed in eternity, because they have given themselves to the flesh, the desires of their eyes and their pride of living, instead of the will of God.

It is pretty easy to establish what the will of God is.

Now, what job you take, what spouse you take or what school takes you, is a different matter... BUT the Bible is very clear what the will of God is.

We have seen some aspects of God's will in the passages just read. Let's glance at a couple areas of that will.

1 Corinthians 3:16LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREDo you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. 18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.
Ephesians 2:19LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARENow, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.

Its pretty clear that God's WANTS or His will is for us to have a pure, clean personal temple. It is equally clear that God's WANTS or His will is that His habitation, consisting of all Believers, be properly built.

Therefore, all that we do or say, whether at church, home, work or play SHOULD be accomplished so that these two aspects of God's will, will be a reality. These facts are demonstrated and expounded in the Written Word of God from cover to cover.

Anything we 
do or say 
that will hinder either 
personal holiness 
the proper building of the collective Temple, called the church, 
will be judged and pass away.
Genesis 1:1LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREIn the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 50:25LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREThen Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here." 26 So Joseph died, being one hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

The book of Genesis begins with life. We see God's creative acts, and His gift of life to mankind, animals and plants, and Genesis ends with the words, " a coffin in Egypt".

It is the story of mankind's failure to live in a perfect creation. It is the story of sin and death. Yet, from the ruins of mankind's failure, God promised "Redemption".

Exodus show Israel's need for redemption and illustrates God's provision for redemption.

Leviticus, closely related to the truth of Exodus, tells how sinful mankind can worship a holy God in holiness.

Deuteronomy is a book of review. Review of their failures and God's provision, and an amplification of God's promise for a glorious future that can be theirs by simple obedience.

The early part of Exodus, this book of redemption, starts with the account of the birth and life of the one called to lead Israel through the redemptive process.

As a Sovereign God, you would think that God could have just lifted the Israelites out of Egypt and set them down in the Promised Land. That process would have saved a lot of time and trouble. Well, it seems like it to me, anyway.

God is sovereign and that is the reason He could not just "beam" Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. God in His sovereignty gave to mankind a "volition" when He "made man in His Own image".

God can do anything,  BUT  be untrue to Himself.

Therefore, both Israel and Egypt must be willing to transact this process of redemption -- AND the people in the land to which Israel would go had to, by their volition, "complete their iniquity" (Gen 15:16 LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARE).

400 years, much of it in slavery, prepared Israel for the transition from Egypt to the Promised Land. It took 10 plagues to bring Egypt to the place of willingly allowing such a transition.

There was another method, God could have used to free Israel from slavery to Egypt.  
He could have killed all of the Egyptians.  
He did kill quite a few.

However, if God had used this method, Israel, more than likely, would have wanted to stay right there in Egypt, and would have never made it to the Promised Land. Plus, there were many lessons Israel needed to learn, and many examples that we need.

If God had just destroyed all the Egyptians and Israel had stayed, all the promises made to Abraham would have gone unfulfilled. That would have meant that God would have been untrue to Himself, and that He couldn't do.

God does His work in the fullness of time.

God being all knowing, knows that just personal comfort is not the most important factor in life. I know, I know! That's a strange concept. BUT it's true! It is God's will that we grow in holiness to the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ.

As a matter of fact, God knows that there are times when we NEED to suffer in order to grow Spiritually. God also knows that with most of us, if our comfort level is too high, would lose all desire for a better country, a heavenly one. Suffering brings Spiritual growth to those who will allow it to do so, and that same suffering can bring Spiritual defeat, if our hope is not in Christ and eternity.

1 Peter 1:3LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREBlessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice...

Yes, as Believers, we are to rejoice in God's abundant mercy, our living hope, our inheritance reserved in heaven and much more. We can really "get into" such wonderful blessing. We love to hear about them and love to talk about them. BUT wait there's more...

1 Peter 1:6LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREIn this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith-- the salvation of your souls.

All these things of v. 5 that we "greatly rejoice" in, will be revealed in the "last time". There is also another mention of this last time in v. 7 "at the revelation of Jesus Christ".

Let's try to tie these together. We want God's great mercy. We want to live in hope. We revel in the inheritance reserved for is in heaven. We rejoice in those things and just can't wait until they are revealed in totality, at the last time. The Holy Spirit is careful to tie these all together in a proper package. So let's try to follow it.

We greatly rejoice in all these things and we should! Israel rejoiced when Moses met with them and told them that God had heard and was answering their cries for help. However, Israel, like so many of us, thought that if a sovereign God is going to help, THEN His help will come with no personal discomfort, to them.

If we really stop to think about it, 
of what we pray for,
 is that some "discomfort" will be removed from our lives, 
either by God giving us better health or by giving us more money.
Don't forget, God's purpose or His will is 
long ranged as well as immediate.  
God is far more concerned with what we become, 
than just helping us to become comfortable in this sin cursed world.

Israel did well to rejoice in the fact that God was going to deliver. They would have done much better, IF they had continued to rejoice in the fact that God was going to deliver, IN SPITE of the somewhat unpleasant delivery process.

God promised to deliver them from bondage in Egypt and take them to the Promised Land. However, at no time did God promise that the process of deliverance would be painless or pleasant. BUT God did promise that His Presence would be with them at all times!!

That brings us to the very crux of holiness vs. unholiness.  
Are we more interested in having a pleasant life in this world,  
are we more interested in have the presence of God in our life while in this unpleasant world?

Holiness and unholiness are totally non-compatible things. They are as opposite as any two things can be. If you and I, being unholy by nature, attempt to live a holy life in an unholy world.., there is going to be conflict.

2 Timothy 3:12LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREYes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

That is why Peter says in vs 6, "though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials", THAT...

There is a divine purpose in those trials.  "God's will" for you is,  

the genuineness of your faith can be tested and found to the praise, honor and glory of Jesus Christ at His revelation or we call it the Second Coming.

Yes, we are going to receive something from Christ at that "last time", and in that we rejoice. However, at that last time, Christ SHOULD receive something from us. AND that "something" should be a faith that has been proved genuine not fickle or fake but real, because we trusted His Presence through the trials INSTEAD of trusting our pleasant circumstance. Be careful of the demonic doctrine of "If you are doing the 'will of God', everything will turn up roses".

If you are going to know victory over sin, 
if you are going to have holiness within an unholy world, 
there will be trials!!!

IF our faith is in His Presence instead of in our pleasure, we will receive an inheritance and Christ will receive from us genuine faith. To Christ that genuine faith is more precious than the finest of gold. Plus, if our faith is in His Presence instead of our pleasure, we will have joy inexpressible and full of glory RIGHT NOW!

BUT to receive that inheritance from Christ, and to give to Christ genuine faith at His revelation, will require a little discomfort on our part, right now. This whole thing depends on our value system.

Israel wanted deliverance. BUT they wanted a pleasant deliverance by way of Disney Land or something. They were far more concerned with their pleasure than with God's Presence.

when conditions caused them displeasure, 
they despised and even questioned God's Presence.

Israel, like most of us have placed our pleasure or comfort far above the Presence of God. Therefore, we turn to murmuring against God, instead of praising God for Who He is, and for His Presence with us in all our sorrows, joys, pleasures and trials.

Please note that Israel praised God when circumstances were pleasant, (such as the defeat of Egypt's army) BUT murmured and disdained God when circumstances were less that pleasant.


God's presence was just as real at Egypt's defeat as it was when there was "no water". Israel, like us, trusted in pleasant circumstances instead of the presence of God.

Exodus 16:2LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREThen the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 And the children of Israel said to them, "Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger." 4 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.

Please let your minds run way back to the first part of this series, and think with me about the event where the people said that they did not want to have God talk to them personally. As a result, they "stood afar off" while Moses "drew near" to God.

Exodus 20:18LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWARENow all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. 19 Then they said to Moses, "You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die." 20 And Moses said to the people, "Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin." 21 So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.

Remember, there is purpose or God's will in the tests of life. God gave Israel manna to "test" them to see whether they would walk in His law. The people FAILED that first test with the manna.

It was a sure bet, that when it came time to give the law, they would fail the second test, and most of the tests to follow, AND they did!!! A test that could have and should have made each of them a priest in the very Presence of God... they failed!!

Christ said that those who are faithful in the little things (ill. Manna) would be faithful in the big things (ill. the presence of God and His law).

Failure in doing God's will was a habit now. Not only did they fail the test, they ran from the presence to God. Adam & Eve did the same thing in the Garden. I don't know where you are in your tests of life, but don't blow it.

Look again at what Peter had to say on this subject.

1 Peter 5:10LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREBut may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
You'll miss a lot, if you don't learn to suffer properly

Israel missed being in the very presence of God, and they missed going into the promised land. They missed it all!

How much are you going to miss, 
just so you can have a little personal pleasure, or revenge?!?!?
Hebrews 3:18LOGOS BIBLE SOFTWAREAnd to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. 4:1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.
© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2002