Freudian Slip, that’s what Sigmund Freud the renowned Psychoanalyst calls the worst of you coming out in crisis times. Israel in the wilderness, journeying to their promised land had their crisis times, and the worst in them came out. At Sinai where God said thy should come serve Him, they rejected Him for the golden calf, followed by other atrocities, till the Number 14 episode when the 12 spies brought a negative report, and the people rebelled against God, preferring to return to slavery in Egypt. God then sentenced them to 40 years of wandering about in the wilderness, to kill off those who offended God.

A weeding then had to be done because when Israel left Egypt they didn’t leave alone: And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. Exodus 12:38

These mixed multitudes were Egyptian vagabonds and prisoners who had come out of Egypt with the Israelites and other slaves of other nationalities who took advantage of the chaos surrounding the exodus to also escape. These ones never imbibed the doctrines and belief systems of the Israelites. Thus, we find out that every problem that Israel had in the wilderness, 9/10 of them, came from this mixed multitude. “And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?” Numbers 11:4. Psalm 78 lists their various atrocities.

The Church is the spiritual Israel going to the city of God. The standard has not changed. He told Israel that He condemned them to the 40 years of wandering about in the wilderness, and that their children who would replace them would still have to live by His standards: But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. (Numbers 14:31)

Here the key word is KNOW the land. It’s from the Hebrew word YADAH which means to perceive and see, find out and discern, to know by experience. He was saying that His way – what He wants, what He doesn’t want and how to relate with Him which their fathers didn’t seek or cared for, they would have to know them, to get to the promised land.

In Leviticus 10:1-2, we read about the sons of Aaron who were killed by God because they offered Him a strange sacrifice. To the ordinary mind this is wickedness being displayed by God. What is wrong with burning incense to God? Was He not the one who anointed them in the first place? True, but did He ask for the offering? With God, all things that concern Him must be done as He instructs.

This people were drunk, because in verse 8 and 9 God laid down a law that priests or anybody ministering to Him must not drink wine nor strong drink, to point our attention to the root cause of His anger – their death.

The ability to subdue one’s feelings or desires to wait for instructions from God is a form of maturity; and maturity is upgraded character being displayed. We are the priests today (1 Pet. 2:9-11). We can’t dodge it – character upgrade if we are aiming to get to the city of God:

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.  2 Timothy 2:20-21

To be a vessel of honour requires you to see the why and the how – what is at stake and what you need to give up and what values you need to add to yourself.

Then can service to the Lord be both bountiful and practical.

You need to understand that the Lord will not use the things of man alone. Your talents or other forms of endowment by themselves are not useful to Him. They can only be useful to Him if He is the one using them – telling you what to do and what not to do. That was the first lesson Moses learnt, in the burning bush episode where the bush was burning but it was not consuming the wood.

God was showing him that He does not need the credentials and talents he had. He had been a Military General and a state builder in Egypt; these characteristics were of no use to God by themselves. God had to unlearn him – drop the wisdom and nature of Egypt so that He could fill him with godly qualities needed for the job at hand. That was why the Prince / Stateman was put in the desert to learn how to be a shepherd for 40 years.

That was the nature needed as he led Israel through the wilderness- the compassion and devotion to the people, arising from the understanding that these are God’s people put in my trust by the I AM THAT I AM,  who will judge me for failing Him.

For the children of Aaron mentioned earlier, though they had been anointed priests to minister to God, the anointing (endowment) by itself was useless if they did not adhere to the timing of the ministrations. That was what happened when God killed them, calling their sacrifice, “strange fire” – one He did not ask for; one that was offered at a wrong time, by polluted (drunken) vessels.

God has whatever it is in Him that we need to serve Him well. All He wants from us is the Vessel. He said in 2 Corinthians 4:7: But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Character build-up will make us dead clean vessels which can be used by God. The Lord is interested only in what we have removed so that He can fill us with the needed inputs for His assignment, so will be ministering what He has put in us. In 2Cor. 3:5, Paul said, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;”

This is because what we have acquired in the world, like education, business success or wealth and position tend to make some people proud and self-dependent. But a person who has submitted all the above to God and have undergone character upgrade will still be used by God, while having all these things. (The story of the rich man who refused to let go of them and what Jesus told Peter and the others in Mark 10 confirms)

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