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If God Goes With Us!

Numbers 10:32

The Hebrews were encamped at Mount Sinai, where they had received the commandments
and other directions for organizing their life.
Now it was time for them to set out on their long journey through the wilderness, and they needed a guide.

Moses spoke to his father-in-law, Hobab, about going with him.
Moses told him that if he would join the company, "We will do you good."
But Hobab was not moved by this appeal, and he said that he would not go with them because he wanted to go home.

Then, Moses tried another approach.
He asked Hobab to go with him because he was needed, and he could do something for Israel.
Moses said, "Do not leave us, I pray you, for you know how we are to encamp in the wilderness,
and you will serve as eyes for us
And then he came to the real clincher, "And if you go with us, whatever good the Lord will do to us,
the same will we do to you

Moses began by saying, I will do something for you.

This is what many people want to hear.
People are basically selfish.
If we are to persuade others to do something we want them to do, we will have to make them believe it is to their advantage.
Moses began on this level.

Is it true that man is only a selfish animal and never makes any decision, unless he can see a personal profit?
It has become a rather, popular assumption in our time that an unselfish appeal belongs in the same category
with fairy stories and Sunday school teaching.
Realism demands that we come face-to-face with the futility of all idealism.
We are told that what seems to man, to be to his own advantage, is what he wants to hear.

This is the interpretation of those who believe that society is made up of conflicting classes and that class struggle is inevitable. This is a view which declares that it is naive to expect cooperation between the poor and the rich,
between those who have not and those who have.
According to this view, one class must rule.

This is the spirit which rules most of our commercialism and especially our advertising.
Watch your TV and you will see that this is true in all of its unlovely aspects.
You will see the lowest and most vulgar of all public appeals.

Listen to the TV commercials selling cars.
The impression is given that, if you will purchase their car, they will pay you just to drive their car off the lot.
We have heard that said so many times that we become hardened, and after a little while, we simply do not believe them.

There are those today who would turn our Christianity into a self-help religion.
They expect Christianity to do something for them.
Preaching has become a selling device to convince customers and clients that being a Christian is a very profitable matter.

No one can deny that Christianity brings a great joy to people, but when you divorce it from the cross,
you turn it into something it was never meant to be.
When that happens, it is no longer Christianity.

Then Moses made his appeal on the basis which seems to say that "you can do something for us."

Moses turns to another side of human nature which is so often ignored.
He assumes that men have a desire to be used for the service of others, and that men need to be needed.
This is a radical departure from the first appeal.
There are people who will serve only when challenged.
Many people will go into battle for a good cause.
There is more of this quality in us than we realize.

The third thing which Moses suggested to Hobab was that "they should do something together."
Moses' word was: "And if you go with us, whatever good the Lord will do to us, the same will we do to you."

We need one another, and we need to be associated in a common cause.
People who have gone through the difficult times together find values that are to be discovered in no other place.

There seems to be an unwritten law of human nature that people become their best only when
they are working together for something that is bigger than individual ambition.
It is the big cause that fulfills man's needs and dreams.

We need to remember this in marriage, for two people who have nothing beyond themselves to hold them together
and carry them onward will not go very far nor rise very high.

It has troubled me that Christians who have no time for church work, or at least so they say, will join a club
and give hours and hours of service.
I'm sure that some are just not dedicated.

It could also be that our churches are not giving great challenges.
We must hold before them the great purpose that we have in Christ.
Only as we understand the great mission will we experience great joy and great victory.
The church should be Moses' telling everyone that we are to go together and find our fulfillment in His service.

Finally, we ought to note that this is the way God deals with us.
His call is for us to participate in His church and to serve Him in the world in which we live.
He comes to us, as Moses came to Hobab, with an invitation to go with Him and be involved with Him
in the greatest work that we could ever do.

Here we run directly into the mystery of the love of God. We are talking about the cross.
In spite of all appearances to the contrary, the cross is God's Word to men that He goes with them
to the very end to redeem them and take them home.
It is a final word of hope and confidence, that in our going with Him we shall never get beyond His care.
It is not an easy way, and it has difficulties.
But it is the joy we have of participating with God in the redemption of the world that is lost and dying.
Without this experience of serving our God as His witnesses, life is never satisfactory or complete.
God knows us better than we know ourselves.

It is wonderful to think that our God does not seek to win our love by promising to do something for our advantage.
He goes deeper than that.
He calls us and makes us aware of the world's need and of the world's pain.
Best of all, we become a part of God's process of healing.

Perhaps, the most wonderful part of it all, is the assurance that Christ will go with us wherever He calls us to go.

It is this assurance that fills us with power, and peace when we become used of God in the task,
which He has to fulfill our lives.

Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
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