Justice For Dummies 2 Perfection

We saw in the first lesson on Justice for Dummies that justice has to do with finding what is right (or “just), not what is fair or what seems best at the time.

To help you better understand justice and what you should expect from an effective justice system, this lesson explores a foundational anchor for justice, being “perfection”.

True justice is measured against an unchanging benchmark, which is perfection.

In the Beginning God…

The first statement of law in our world is found in the first sentence of a holy book written by an eighty year old prophet who had met face to face with God.  His five books, known as the Pentateuch (Five Volumes) and as the Torah (Teaching/Law), present the basis of all English Law.  After meeting with God on Mount Sinai in Arabia almost three thousand five hundred years ago, Moses wrote the law of God in five books which form the basis of Jewish scriptures and which are the first five books of the Old Testament section of the Holy Bible which Christians rely on.

So Moses’ first sentence is the foundational truth upon which Jewish religion and Christianity stand.  The Moslem world reveres Moses (whom they call Musa) and venerates the Bible while also challenging its accuracy when the Koran differs from it.  But the Moslem world has no challenge to Moses’ first sentence.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” Genesis 1:1

Perfection

The Holy Bible repeatedly describes the character of God as perfect.  Terms used to convey this truth include holy, holiness, righteousness, perfect, upright and just.

“For I am the LORD that brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: you will therefore be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:45

“Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them, You will be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.” Leviticus 19:2

“Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48

“Judge me, O LORD my God, according to your righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.” Psalm 35:24

Your righteousness also, O God, is very high, who has done great things: O God, who is like you!” Psalm 71:19

“God reigns over the heathen: God sits on the throne of his holiness.” Psalm 47:8

Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.” Psalm 25:8

Defining Perfection

Perfection is a moral description of personal character.  I like the way Pastor Jack Hayford, of Church on the Way, California explained it to me back in the early 1970’s.  He said that God is “perfect” and “holy” because there is no imbalance in Him.

Pastor Jack pointed out that if an arrow or frisbee, rocket or other projectile was out of balance in the slightest degree then it would veer off course.  Only a “perfect” arrow could fly for thousands or millions of miles and not creep a degree to the left of right.

The more imperfect an arrow, frisbee or projectile is the more quickly it flies off course and crashes into something.  A wobbly arrow will not hit the mark.

So, imagine God’s perfection that He can start on a course of action and stick with it, despite all that might distract Him, for millennia after millennia.

Imperfect Man

Contrast the perfect holiness of God with how people behave.  How often do people get distracted, drop their New Year resolutions, break their vows, or get drawn away by their laziness, lust, ego, inquisitiveness or the like?

Man is challenged to rise in character above the foibles of “self” focus, to live by higher and holier standards.  God is the ultimate example of the perfection we are called to, because God is absolutely perfect and will never veer off course.

Man can be intimidated, dissuaded, distracted, overwhelmed, burned out or defeated, but God is perfect.  You can’t intimidate God, discourage Him, distract Him, overwhelm Him or defeat Him.  And God calls all men and women to be holy, just as He is holy.

No Turning

To amplify Pastor Jack Hayford’s description of holiness as the kind of perfection that does not take something off course, consider these other Bible verses that describe God.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17

“For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6

And the ultimate indictment or charge against man is that everyone has gone off course, missed the mark and not reached the standard of God’s glory.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

Perfect Justice

To bring this discussion back to “justice” let me point out that justice is measured by God.  Justice can be perfect when it comes from a perfect being.

Justice is not fairness, or the best compromise under the circumstances.  True justice is anchored in the character of God, Himself.  True Justice is based on perfection of motive, perfection of character and perfection of judgement that does not change over time or from one case to another.

Human justice systems are a poor reflection of God’s justice and judgement.  But their inability to be as high and holy as God is, does not excuse them from being unjust, abusive, deceptive, prejudicial, or any such thing.

Injustice

When a judge is biased, or has been paid a bribe, or uses different standards under different circumstances there is injustice.

God rebuked the Israelites for having a bag full of different weights.  If they were selling to one customer they might use a lighter weight on the scale than when selling to another customer.  The customer would assume they had the correct weight, but the actual metal weight put on the scale was unjust.

“You are not to have in your house diverse measures, a great and a small.” Deuteronomy 25:14

“Diverse weights, and diverse measures, both of them are equally an abomination to the LORD.” Proverbs 20:10

A Heart Matter

True holiness is seen in our actions but it starts in our heart.  So to be truly just and holy we must have pure motives.  When we have ulterior motives we are not perfect and holy and our judgement will be distorted by that.

Just this morning a friend brought to me the transcript of a court case in which a judge clearly stated that he was glad he had past a sentence against people who drive in a particular fashion because he personally can’t stand such drivers.

The judge betrayed clear personal bias, and that affected his judgement.  The matter was not as the judge assumed it, but the judge was blinded by his own “unjust” prejudices.

God is pure in His heart.  God has no impure motives.  Men who engage in delivering justice must maintain the highest standards of holiness internally.  If they don’t, they will err in judgment because they will give in to the imperfect attitudes in their heart.

These impure attitudes are based on “self”.  Our preferences, prejudices, likes and dislikes are “ours”!  They spring from “self”.  When we are completely impartial we are not given to personal bias.

This is what is supposed to be symbolised by the image of justice as a blindfolded person holding scales.  They are meant to be impartial toward the people being judged, rather than allowing personal bias to interfere with the judgment.

Holy Judgement

Let me summarise by reminding you that the ultimate foundation of justice is perfection.  It is not man’s perfection, but God’s perfection that undergirds all justice.

God is holy and just.  God demands that mankind be holy and just.

Man’s justice must be based on God’s holiness, or it will not be justice at all.

Let My People Go

“Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and far away.
Go tell it on the mountain, to let my people go!

These lyrics come from an African-American spiritual that dates back pre-1865 and was popularised by Peter, Paul and Mary in 1963.  It reflects on Moses bringing Israel out of slavery and was picked up as a cry for freedom from all who are oppressed.

And that takes me back to writings that predate the modern Americas, from the pen of the Prophet Isaiah approx 600BC.  Isaiah experienced visitations by the Spirit of God, causing him to know what God was thinking or saying about things.  Isaiah wrote what God told him, even though he didn’t know what it was all about.

For example, Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be “wounded for our transgressions” and “bruised for our iniquities”, would bear our sorrows and heal us by whip marks on his own body (“by his stripes you will be healed”). See Isaiah 53.  Isaiah also said the death would be linked with the wicked and the rich – so Jesus was crucified with 2 thieves and then buried in a rich man’s tomb.

Significant for freedom fighters is Isaiah’s lovely prophecy about Christ in Isaiah 61, which tells of the powerful impact of God’s people when they operate under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” Isaiah 61:1

Christians understand freedom at many levels, starting with freedom from slavery to sin and its eternal judgment, through the forgiveness we can claim because Jesus paid our price with his own blood.

And Christians also understand freedom from the power of sin, such as addiction, fear, guilt, shame, anger, lust, greed, pride, and so on.

And Christians also understand freedom from the power of the devil, such as inner torment, turmoil, agitation of mind, compulsive behaviour and the like.

But many Christians balk at the idea of freedom expressed in social change.

Modern Christians seem to see Christianity as a personal experience which can then spill out in influence upon family and the society of their closer friends and associates.  But to take a stand against injustice, condemn evil in the culture or challenge governments and leaders is seen as almost ‘unChristian’ behaviour.

So let’s go back and see Isaiah’s prophecy from 2,6oo years ago…..

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” Isaiah 61:1

A person, or a group of people, are to have God’s Spirit come upon them, for a divine purpose.  This means that the purpose to be achieved is not one that can be done by ordinary people who are not empowered by the Spirit of the Living God.

God’s social agenda in placing His Spirit upon people involves preaching good news to people who are humble and looking for God’s help (the meek).  And it involves bringing inner restoration of heart to those who have been hurt and wounded by life’s experiences – such as rejection, shame, defeat, discouragement, loss of purpose, slavery to addictions, etc.  And it involves liberating people who are captives and opening prison doors for those who are enslaved.

So, yes, this does suggest release from slavery to sin and personal issues, such as addictions, fears, anger and the like.  But it does not exclude liberation for people who are taken captive by social injustice, tyranny and oppression.  And the prison doors are not just personal and internal.  They may also include the prison of debt and government deception.

Those liberated by God’s anointed ones may well be those who have been made into debt slaves by bank lies or government statutes that deny them their God-given freedoms.

And so I find myself engaged in a struggle to break the chains of Bank Fraud.  I never expected to be in such a situation, but I sense that it is a natural outworking of my life of service to God.  I am sure many of my ministry peers will think I have been sidetracked or caught up in something that dilutes my effectiveness in the Real Business of serving God.

But I also find myself contending with Injustice in the Courts, and tyranny and treason in government and society.

While I am first and foremost committed to the need every person has to find Jesus Christ as their personal saviour and Lord, and to become sons and daughters of the most High God through faith in Jesus Christ, and to live in the power of Christ under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, being led by the Spirit to build God’s Kingdom as He personally calls them to do so, I am also applying the gospel to wider issues.

And this past week my attention was drawn back to Isaiah 61, and the example of Moses centuries before that, dealing with the call to “Let My People Go”.  I realised that opening prison doors and setting captives free had direct connection with my attempts to release us from bank lies and injustice in the courts.

If I can assist the breaking down of these prisons and slavery then the whole culture and nation is blessed.  So, while God calls me to do so, I’m in the business of social justice, social action and social transformation.

Only Jesus Christ can truly transform lives. Only God’s Spirit can effectively empower people to achieve the changes we need.  And here I am, putting in my hat with thousands of others who have seen the oppression and cried out for release.  To the ability God gives me and with the talents and wisdom He allows me to draw upon, I am here to say, “Let My People Go”.

Set My People Free

Faith Factor 14 – Good Fight of Faith

Faith is for fighting! In all that we have learned about faith there is the reminder that faith involves a form of contending, or fighting, to see a spiritual breakthrough.

Yes, I have spoken about the “rest of faith”, and that doesn’t sound like fighting. Yes, I have spoken about the rewards of faith. But I have also spoken about the need to “apprehend” and to hold fast to our faith, even when it is being tried and the results do not turn up.

Birth Pangs

At times faith is like giving birth. While the outcome is glorious and makes for an impressive testimony, once everything is over, the actual process of bringing the spiritual outcome to reality can be a protracted labour.

Sometimes we are assailed with doubts and counter arguments, insisting that we should give up our faith or our outrageous expectations. Sometimes we face insurmountable circumstances, expert medical opinions, and obstacles which dwarf the little faith we have.

Holding on in faith, and persisting until we have the victory, can be a long and tortuous battle against unseen assailants, the attitudes and opinions of those around us and our own private insecurities.

As with a natural birth, once the outcome has been achieved, the pain of the process is easily put behind us.

Faith and Trials

It seems that faith needs trials to refine and test its quality. If faith is never tested, then we can never be sure of its durability and value. When faith stands up to the pressure test, heat test, wind and storm test, and so on, then we can see how strong that faith is.

Facing these trials of our faith is part of “fighting the good fight of faith”.

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you are also called, and have professed a good profession before many witnesses.” 1Timothy 6:12

Facing these trials is also so much a part of the process that the Bible speaks of the “trial of your faith” as it is a natural thing to be expected.

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” 1Peter 1:7

Refining Fire

When the Apostle Peter mentioned that our faith is “tried with fire” (1Peter 1:7) he was alluding to the process of refining gold and precious metals. Gold is super-heated so the rubbing (dross) will float to the surface to be skimmed off. The way to tell that the gold is pure is to heat it and see that no rubbish comes to the surface.

“The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD tries the hearts.” Proverbs 17:3

God puts you under pressure to see how your heart and your faith will respond. If you have confidence in God you will give thanks in everything. If you have no faith in God you will panic and despair when troubles come. If you can “rest” in God, amid all your problems, then your faith is strong. If you can praise Him despite what you are going through then your faith is strong.

Do not be afraid of the delays, opposition, frustrations and so on, since they give you opportunity to “fight the good fight of faith” and press through to victory.

Remember, you will not be tested beyond what you can handle.

“No temptation has come upon you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you can handle; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, so you can bear it.” 1Corinthians 10:13

Head For the Red Sea

In my teenage years, as I first came to understand the awesome dimension of faith, I also realised that faith and trials go hand in hand. The Biblical example that impressed me was what happened to the Children of Israel as they moved away from Egypt.

The Israelites had already been set free from slavery. They were made fabulously wealthy with the jewels of Egypt. They walked out of Egypt as the victors. The faith of Moses, persisting in obeying God, despite the opposition of Pharaoh and the Israelites, had won them the victory.

Yet God then led them to the Red Sea. It is understood that the place they found themselves in had the sea in front of them, mountains on either side, and the Egyptians coming after them from behind. However, this was no accident. God deliberately led them there, knowing He would work a miracle to destroy the Egyptians.

The Red Sea also became Israel’s first trial of faith after gaining their freedom. And so, what did they do? They panicked and rose up against Moses. They accused him of leading them there to kill them (Exodus 14:11,12). Moses, on the other hand, was full of faith in God. That’s why I like him as my Faith Mentor. He declared that they would be victorious, even before he knew what God was going to do.

“And Moses said to the people, Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show you to day: for the Egyptians whom you have seen to day, you will see again no more for ever. The LORD will fight for you, and you will hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13,14

Many Trials

That ordeal at the Red Sea was not the last trial of the Israelites. Many times God tested them, to see whether they would trust Him or not. They needed water at times. They needed food. God led them to places where the provisions were not visible.

If they were full of faith they would have simply confessed their confidence in God to supply their needs. They would have maintained faith that God, who set them free, would lead them all the way to the Promised Land. Each new trial would have had them looking eagerly for the next miracle.

Instead they caved in, accused God, rejected God’s man and proved they did not have faith.

The Heart Tried

The trials of your faith, which you are to win through on, are part of you fighting the good fight of faith. And that good fight of faith is fought in our own heart. It is God who fights with our enemies and deals with our circumstances. That is not our part to do. Ours is to win the battle against our fears, doubts, weakness, and so on.

Moses knew the truth. God does the fighting for us. So, our fight of faith is not against people or circumstances. Our fight happens in the inner recesses of our life, where we choose to “only believe” despite what the report says.

We win the fight when our heart is established in confidence in God’s grace. No matter what people say or do to us, or what the expert prognosis may be, we win when we determine to trust God and stand upon His promises.

When your faith is tried and you continue to trust in God, you develop a divine patience to wait on God. You are not covetous and not impatient or demanding. You trust God and rest in Him.

“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience.” James 1:3

The ancient holy man, Job, won the battle of faith when he said, “Though He kills me I will yet trust in Him!” (Job 13:15)

Your Faith

I cannot have faith for you. Your faith belongs uniquely to you. If I grow in faith, that has no bearing on your faith. You must grow your own faith.

“Be it unto you according to YOUR faith” (Matthew 9:29). It is the trial of YOUR faith that works patience (James 1:3). So, value your own faith and build it strong.

You build up your faith in various ways, and that will be the theme of the next Faith Factor.

Faith Factor 12 – Double Delight

We saw in Faith Factor 3 that our faith “pleases” God. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Therefore only faith pleases God. That sets up a situation where faith becomes the “Double Delight”, and so that is my theme in this lesson.

Faith Pleases God

We know that faith pleases God, and we saw in lesson 4 that it is “Only Faith” that does the job. When you choose to put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord, God is pleased. When you step out in faith and rely on God, God is pleased.

When you do anything without faith being part of it, God is not pleased.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him (God): for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

In fact, if you are not engaging faith you are in sin!

“And he that doubts is damned if he eat, because he eats not in faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Romans 14:23

No wonder, then, that Christians must have a complete lifestyle of faith; living by faith, because only faith pleases God.

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17

Faith Not Results

We have a tendency to evaluate faith based on the “results” it produces. If we hear of someone who believed God for great things and those things came to pass we ascribe them as possessing “great faith”. Yet if another person steps out to believe God for great things and those things do not come to pass we see the person as foolish, irresponsible and lacking in faith.

Now, that tendency which humans fall into so easily is against what God thinks. God’s ways are higher than ours and we should always be ready to give up our natural thinking, since it will likely be far below God’s best.

Hebrews 11, the chapter listing the Heroes of Faith, not only lists people who achieved great exploits, but also those who seem to fail miserably. The early verses speak of Noah, the patriarchs and Moses. Then the list includes great achievers such as Samson and David. Great exploits are listed.

However, before the chapter ends mention is made, with equal respect, to people who suffered terribly and new saw some great breakthrough.

“And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yes, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented” Hebrews 11:36,37

Celebrating Faith

We are ready to celebrate results, but God celebrates faith. It is “faith” that delights God, not might, money, muscle or mission accomplished.

God was delighted with those who were tortured or cut in two. God did not see them as ‘losers’ who couldn’t get the victory, but as ‘winners’ who brought delight to Him, by their faith.

And that’s a real turn-around for many Christians. Some of the people we look down on as having failed in their faith venture are included in God’s list of modern-day faith heroes. Some of those who made newspaper headlines and whose names have been mocked for their failed attempt to achieve for God are actually celebrated in heaven, while we have not yet made an impression there.

Did Moses Fail?

I always saw Moses fleeing from Egypt as a real loser. I have heard preachers heap scorn on Moses for trying to help the Israelites in his human strength and then falling flat on his face. Moses’ flight from Egypt is seen as a symbol of failed humanity.

Moses killed an Egyptian, but was then rejected by an Israelite who was fighting with his brother. As a result Moses feared and Moses fled.

“And he said, Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known. Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.” Exodus 2:14-15

That sure looks like “failure” to me. And that’s how I always thought of it, not noticing what Hebrews 11 said about it, until many years later, despite reading it several times.

Moses the Faith Hero

Moses is not only listed among the Heroes of Faith in Hebrews 11, he is specifically commended for the very act of running away. What looks like failure from human perspective turns out to be a delight to God, from God’s perspective.

By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:24-27

If Moses can look like a failure to human eyes and yet be recorded in Heaven as a hero, then how many other people who we think of as failures have brought delight to God’s heart?

Faith Brings Delight

Our faith, and only our faith, brings delight to God. We don’t have to win or get the breakthrough to have pleased God. It is the faith, not the outcome, that is important.

God looks at the heart, not the record books. When God sees faith in the heart God is delighted. The person may stumble and fall, fail at their attempt, make a mess, offend others who despise their actions and failure, or whatever, but God will still be delighted with the faith that was in their heart.

I talked with a stranger on a plane many years ago who turned out to be the son of a pastor who stepped out to achieve something for God. The venture failed and the man was so shamed and attacked that he left the ministry. The son felt a need to apologise for his father’s actions. But I wonder if God might see that man’s venture entirely differently to how the newspapers saw it.

A Second Delight

We know that our faith brings a delight to God.

So where is the second delight? How do I come up with a “Double Delight”?

When you reach into God’s Storehouse of Grace and apprehend anything that God has for you in there, including, as Paul did, apprehending that for which you were apprehended (Philippians 3:12), God is delighted. So, what about another level of delight?

Daddy’s Delight

The second delight is the delight of God’s Father heart in giving good things to His children.

Parents enjoy blessing their children and God is no different. God gives good gifts to His children. He will give them better things than earthly fathers give to their children.

Look for the ideas of “father” and “pleasure” in this statement made by Jesus Christ …

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

Wow! God gets a great delight out of giving things to His children!

And look here at an Old Testament statement about the delight God gets in giving…

“Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which has pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.” Psalm 35:27

King David was confident that God enjoyed blessing His children.

God is delighted to give.

Double or Nothing

Every time you reach into God’s Storehouse of Grace to take hold of what God has already prepared for you and placed in there, you have to use faith. That faith pleases God. It brings Him delight.

But at the same time you are receiving from Him, as His child, the very things He is delighted to give you as your Heavenly Father.

When you ask in faith for what God is delighted to give, there is Double Delight. God enjoys your act of faith and God enjoys being able to give you what He always wanted you to have.

Delightful Faith

Let me recap the Double Delight, so you can see how delightful faith is to God.

God is delighted to give.

When we ask in faith God is also delighted.

So when we ask in faith for what God is delighted to give, there is Double Delight.

You can put two smiles on God’s face at the same time!

So, let’s do it!

Faith Factor 7 – Measuring

My faith mentor has been Moses. As a young, single man I found great inspiration in the example of Moses as the man of faith who trusted God when all the people in his care gave in to panic.

What I love about Moses is his ability to get a reward from God by his action of measuring something out from God’s supply. I call Moses my “Measuring Mentor”. He shows me how to measure out things from God: how to take hold of what God has to give and to bring it into reality.

I will explain the significance of this by first giving a Biblical basis for “measuring” then showing you how the nation of Israel failed to trust God. I will then contrast the example of the Children of Israel with the response that came from the heart of their leader, Moses. I trust by then that you will see what a powerful example Moses is.

What is Measuring?

I have shown you that God has a Storehouse of Grace which contains all the blessings we will ever need through all eternity. That Storehouse is filled with things which Jesus purchased for us. The key to the door of the Storehouse is faith.

Measuring, then, is the process of believing for the things which we are confident that God has for us in His Storehouse of Grace. Measuring is a term to describe putting in your order at the store. It is the process of determining what we can expect to get delivered to us.

If we have a tiny cup as our measure, then we will measure out tiny quantities. If we have a bucket, we will measure out more. If we expect God to get us through then we are measuring out the result of “getting through”. If we expect God to give us abundance, then we are measuring out abundance.

Biblical Measures

God takes “measures” seriously. His laws condemn the use of inaccurate scales. And God also warns that our decision about how we measure things will have direct impact on what is measured to us.

“For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged: and with what measure you measure out to others, it will be measured out to you again.” Matthew 7:2

“Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, men will give into your bosom. For with the same measure you measure out with it will be measured back to you again.” Luke 6:38

Faith involves that process of deciding what we will measure out from God’s Storehouse. If we measure out little or much the outcome is decided by our faith.

Taking Hold

Measuring is part of that process of taking hold. While holding on, which we saw in an earlier lesson, enables us to hang in there, ‘taking hold’ encourages us to reach out and take possession of what we want to receive from God.

Jesus Christ taught us to choose what we would take hold of, in His simple instruction to us to “ask”.

Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you: For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7,8

When you ask God for anything you are in fact taking hold of it. You are measuring it out for yourself. However, the degree to which you really believe God will give it is the level of your faith.

Faith Storms Heaven

Jesus spoke of people who pressed in to take possession of what God had for them. The Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus said, was stormed and taken possession of by those who were “violent”, or determined to have the blessings.

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” Matthew 11:12

Those who are bold in faith will take hold of the benefits of God’s Kingdom. The Roman Centurion mentioned in Matthew 8:10 is an example of a man who expected to receive a miracle from God.

Faith Creates Substance

The Faith Chapter (Hebrews 11) starts with the statement that faith takes the place or substance and evidence. Faith becomes the proof of the outcome, to the person who has that faith.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Faith acts as if the reality has already arrived. It does not wait for other evidence, since faith itself acts as the substance and evidence that is needed.

Faith is “Now”

Did you notice in that previous verse that faith operates in the “now”? Faith is not a hope for something tomorrow. Faith has a very present potency about it. Faith takes possession of God’s blessings in the here and now.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Faith operates in the “NOW”, not in the hope-so future. Faith steps out with the confidence that the substance is real in the here and now!

Israel’s Failure

The nation of Israel failed to have a faith that expected good things from God. With each new challenge they faced as they left Egypt and went into the wilderness caused them to panic, react and show that they did not trust God. All the miracles they had seen did not convince them that they could and should trust God. Israel is described in Psalm 78 in quite disparaging terms.

“…. a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.” Psalm 78:8

“They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law, And forgot his works, and his wonders that he had shown them.” Psalm 78:10,11

Israel provoked the Most High God, tempted God, spoke against God, did not believe in God and did not trust in His salvation (Psalm 78:17-19, 22). Then they did not believe His wondrous works, were not steadfast in His covenant, provoked and grieved Him, tempted God and did not keep His testimonies (Psalm 78:32,37,40,56).

As a result of this refusal to have faith in God, Israel missed much of what God had for them. Psalm 81 gives some insight into what Israel failed to receive from God.

“So I gave them up to their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.” Psalm 81:12

“He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied you.” Psalm 81:16

Israel experienced the miracle of water out of the rock, but that was less than God wanted to give them.

A further note about how they missed God’s best comes from Psalm 106.

“And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” Psalm 106:15

Moses the Measuring Mentor

While Israel measured out from God much less than He wanted to give them, failing to trust in God’s salvation and blessing, Moses, on the other hand, measured out God’s best. Moses remained strong in faith that God would come through and win the day.

At the Red Sea crossing, the Children of Israel panicked, but Moses declared that God would deliver them, even before God told Moses how the problem would be solved.

“And Moses said to the people, Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom you have seen to day, you will see them again no more for ever. The LORD will fight for you, and you will hold your peace. And the LORD said to Moses, Why do you cry to me? Speak to the children of Israel that they go forward” Exodus 14:13-15

See that progression. Moses spoke words of faith in God even before God spoke. A person of great faith will be bold to measure out God’s best, rather than think that God has abandoned them.

Moses Spoke Blessing into Existence

Further evidence of Moses as one who ‘measures’ blessing out from God’s Storehouse is found in Exodus 16. In this situation the people had no food or water. They complained and could not anticipate that God would do a miracle of supply for them. Moses, however, not only had confidence in God’s miraculous power, he presumed upon God’s ability, promising the Israelites more than God said He would give.

God spoke to Moses and promised to give the people bread in the morning. But when Moses spoke to the people, Moses promised them flesh in the evening and then bread in the morning. God was not offended by Moses’ display of confidence. Instead, God changed His own instruction to Moses to include the flesh, which Moses had spoken into existence.

“Then said the LORD to Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you …” Exodus 16:4

And Moses said, The LORD will give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full…” Exodus 16:8

“And the LORD spake to Moses, saying, I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak to them, saying, At evening you will eat flesh, and in the morning you will be filled with bread; and you will know that I am the LORD your God.” Exodus 16:11,12

What Moses Did

At the Red Sea, Moses believed in what God had said – despite the natural evidence. Moses Held On in faith. Moses Claimed the Blessing. Moses Measured Out the Victory. Moses Took Hold of the Promises. Moses spoke as one who already had the victory. Moses had the Substance in his heart!

When God promised bread, Moses was so confident in God’s awesome power and love that he stepped beyond what God had said, in promising meat when God had only promised bread.

God honoured Moses’ faith and backed up what Moses had said. Moses Measured out MORE than God had said, and God delivered.

Measure for Yourself

Every time you choose to believe that God can and will come through for you, you are “measuring” something out from God’s Storehouse of Grace. Expecting that God’s blessing is there for you is the same thing. Making a claim, asking, seeking and knocking, storming heaven, laying claim, possessing the blessing – are all ways of describing the faith process of accessing what God has already prepared for us in Heaven.

So, go ahead and do some more “measuring”. God has prepared wonderful things for you. He is pleased by your faith to reach out to receive. So, call upon Him. Claim His blessings. Take hold of all He has for you.