Introduction Michael Ngubane
This is the Lord’s Day when we can praise the Lord. All over the world today is known as the day that belongs to God. May we have a goal to serve and worship the Lord with all our hearts. In the desert, the children of Israel collected manna that God had prepared for them and today we wait to receive what God has for us.
Could you please sing together with me the following song: Khuluma Nkosi kimina. Speak to me Lord. Zambule Nkosi kimina. Reveal yourself to me Lord. Ngiqitshe Nkosi kimina. Roll away that stone from me.
I woke up this morning with this song on my heart. I am sure when we leave our homes, each of us has this prayer on their hearts. If I ask the Lord to speak to me, I make a request from Him and set no boundaries for God. We have the request on our lips and in our minds but when God speaks do we limit Him?
We need a receptive spirit. Do we want God to speak to us this morning?
A reminder: Wherever we go, we dress appropriately for the occasion. What I wear to church I will not wear on the beach; what I wear to go shopping will also be appropriate for that outing. Likewise, when we come to God’s house we dress appropriately, out of honour and deep respect for God. We are not influenced by trends or the loosening of morals. But rather let us maintain the standard of revival that God has taught us and not copy the manner in which other churches do things.
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country[b] and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”[c]
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Genesis 12:1 – 4
Abraham was called to leave his people and country when he was an older man. It is not easy for an older person to move away from his country.
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country[b] and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
There was nothing concrete about this instruction. It did not make logical sense. But Abraham put his human logic aside and followed God. God never told him where He was taking him. He was told to leave everything and go to the land that I will show you. Abraham did not use his age or possessions as a reason to be disobedient. He died to himself. If I told you to leave this building and go, you would ask whether you should turn left or right at the road but when Abraham heard the Almighty speak to him, he did not ask questions. He knew God would direct him at any crossroads he would face.
When God speaks, what is it hinders us from obeying? Do we ask questions? Does our culture or tradition stand in the way? Many people wallow in a miry clay they never dreamed they would find themselves in because they listened to people and not to God. They took their eyes off God. They are unsuccessful spiritually because they considered the opinions of their families or relatives.
You wanted to follow the Lord at school but you considered the opinions of people and that is why your life has become worthless. You allowed your peers to pressurise you. You feared that they would think you were too extreme and as a result you lowered your standard. You have the reputation at your workplace of being an unfaithful and untrustworthy employee. You used to have a high standard but your colleagues criticised you for being so extreme so you lowered your standards to make people happy but you are unhappy. You are very particular your work hours not intruding on your personal time but you are unconcerned about the fact that you do personal things during work hours – although you are earning a salary. You are dissatisfied with the salary you earn. You used to earn much less but now you can no longer make ends meet. There is no blessing on your salary. You call yourself a Christian but you are a thief. You steal work hours to do personal things but when you are asked to do extra work duties, you refuse.
God called you out of the land of stubbornness but you have returned there. You say that your tradition does not allow your wife to tell you what to do even when she says the right thing, but now you have returned to that country. You came out of the land of jealousy and selfishness but you took your eyes off God, looked at people and where are you today? You came out of the land of lust and lies but you have taken your eyes off God and you are looking at people. Where do you find yourself today? You came out of that land of self-love and pride but you have taken your eyes off God and you are following the fashion. You want to impress others even when you cannot afford it. You are unhappy. You have taken your eyes off God. God had taken you out of the land of gossip where the prayer meeting was just an opportunity to gossip but today you are back there. God taught you as a wife, to honour and submit to your husband, train and teach your children in the fear of God but you took your eyes off God and looked at people. Where are you and your family today?
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country[b] and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. We want God’s blessing but at the same time we want to stay in the country that He is calling us out of. God wants to bless you but you resist Him and are disobedient to Him. God wants to bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you but you live a mediocre life and a worthless life because, instead of pleasing God, you want to please men.
Abrahams’s age was to his advantage. He had the common sense to understand that when the Ancient of Days spoke he had to obey. Our problem could be that we are so young. We think we are something – the generation of 2000. We have technology. We have an action plan for every event. Before we take the first step, we must know the destination, the mode of transport and so on– that is possibly the reason why we do not make spiritual progress. When God speaks we have so many questions: Why does God speak like this? Why is it so strict? Why is it so hard? Because of all these questions, we get nowhere. We even have the audacity to ask a man of God why he preached in a certain manner. It is not that we really want to know, it is because we are critical. For this reason we do not get anywhere spiritually.
God may send somebody to speak to you about the way you raise your children but you have the audacity to ask that person what has become of their own children. God sends a person to speak to you but you place many obstacles in the way.
Do you remember when you first obeyed God? Do you remember when God told you to leave your country and go to the place he showed you? It was wonderful for you because you knew that you were in God’s will. Is it still like that? Do you remember when you were so desperate for help that you accepted anything from the Lord? If a child or a person you looked down on spoke to you about the way of the cross, you would listen. But now?
Abraham believed and obeyed God. When God said that he should turn left, he did not ask the Lord whether He meant right. He obeyed God.
Do not listen to people. A person can preach to you today and be in the tavern tomorrow. People find themselves in deep trouble today because they left the land God called them out of but instead of obeying God, they listened to people.
Conclusion Jabulani Dube
When the children of Israel opposed Moses they experienced many plagues. Those from the church who go their own way are modern Korahs who go against the preacher when he preaches the truth. They openly oppose the word of God by things that they write on the internet. They lie and deceive. Abraham’s reward was great when he obeyed God – even when he was told to sacrifice his son. As he raised the knife to slaughter his son, he instantly obeyed the word of God when God told him to stop. Had he not obeyed God he would have slaughtered his son.
Servants of the Lord, children of God, children – obey God because there is a reward. We should not be like dogs that return to their vomit. It confuses me when a person confesses their sin and then returns to it. They confess it again and return to it again. Where is such a person going? It confuses me. You got converted so long ago but every now and again you return to your sin. What is the matter with you? You are playing around. You say you know God, you do not. You are an unconverted heathen. Repent for the day is coming when you will leave this world. Your cell phone is an idol that you bow down to. You constantly return to it and defile yourself with it when you surf the internet and look at pornographic and erotic images which light an inextinguishable fire.
We came out of that land from among our people when we obeyed God. Those people are still going their ways. You will never experience the sweetness of the gospel while you mix things and compromise. A man can preach until he perspires but it will be like water off a duck’s back to you because you are living in sin. Repent in truth. Come out completely. Take everything sin out of the pot, even the crust that is burnt at the bottom.
Today’s preacher attended youth conferences. He was troublesome like many other young people but he got converted and God is using him. He got hold of God and refused to let go.
Do not let go of God. Take hold of the faith. Hold it in your hand like a bird but do not squeeze it to death, make sure it is always alive. Young man, young woman, whoever you are – make sure your faith is still alive.
The KwaSizabantu Choir