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Stand Firm

By Elie Nessim, April 3 1999 Printer Friendly Version

Make you two silver trumpets When they blow with one of the trumpets the leaders are to come together at the door of the Tabernacle.  When you sound both the trumpets, that's the signal to march.
In our text from the Law of Moses, in Numbers, Chapter 10, we read about GOD's command to Moses to make two trumpets to rally the children of Israel at the beginning of each new journey. First of all, call the leaders, and then, when the leaders are there, call the people to strike their tents and resume their march to the Promised Land. These two trumpet calls also appear in Ephesians 6, verse 11: 'Put on the whole armour of GOD;' and verse 13: 'Take up the whole armour of GOD;'get together; get organized, and then march!  We're meant to go forward.  We're not meant to retreat.  The most that we are bidden to do is to stand still; but there is no running away.

In the 30th Chapter of Isaiah, this whole lesson GOD impresses upon His people, and we must look at this.  Isaiah, Chapter 30, verse 15.  We can't retreat!  Once you begin to run, you won't stop running.  That's what GOD's Word says.  You have enough and to spare, to stand your ground.  You don't really need to run away.  Now everything in us, every instinct in us screams to run when we think we can see the escape route before us.  But that is a fatal mistake.  In Isaiah, Chapter 30, verse 15: 'For thus says the LORD GOD, the Holy One of Israel: 'In returning and rest, you shall be saved.  In quietness and confidence shall be your strength, but you would not, and you said,'No, for we will flee on horses,' therefore you shall flee.  And, 'We will ride on swift horses,' therefore those who pursue you, shall be swift.  One thousand shall flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left as a pole on top of a mountain and as a banner on a hill.'' There's the banner; there's the flag.  No troops left.  They've all taken off.

The LORD says the worst thing you can do is to run.  Although it seems the best; the most sensible thing to do at the time, stand still; stay put!  If you don't know what to do, stay put.  That's what GOD is saying here.  'In returning and rest you shall be saved.  In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.' In the historical context, the people of the Kingdom of Judah were faced with the enemy, the Assyrian army.  It was a formidable enemy.  The LORD had promised them that He would protect them from this juggernaut; this huge destruction machine that was crushing everything in its path.  'Oh no,' said the people, 'this is all pie in the sky.  What we need is to get some comparable power to counter balance this menace from the North.  Egypt! That's our answer!  They will rescue us.'  GOD says the Egyptians will be no help to you at all.  Verse 7 of Chapter 30: 'For the Egyptians shall help in vain and to no purpose.  Therefore I called her Rahab, Hem-Shevet.' But do you know what the translators have done here?  They didn't know how to translate it so they've just transliterated the Hebrew.  'Rahab' means 'arrogance'; Hem-Shevet - they should sit still!  This is their arrogance, to think that they can be saved by human means, when I am there; the Almighty GOD, to protect them.  They should sit still. 

When a rabbit is being chased by a weasel, it runs in panic.  Do you know that it is panic that kills the rabbit?  Many times little creatures just die out of sheer fright.  They are so terrified by the predator.  That's what the rabbit does.  He could give a good account of himself; he's got good strong hind legs.  He could really kick that weasel.  He could really hurt that weasel, but he runs, and the weasel keeps following it; following it; in the burrow, out of the burrow.  The weasel is right behind him, following his trail, until at last the rabbit is terrified; he's exhausted; he's got no incentive to live anymore.  And the result is he just sits there and waits for the weasel to finish him off; given up in despair.  That's what the devil tries to do with you and me.  To drive us to despair so that we give up.

I read just this morning an article by a Christian lady, a missionary out in Africa.  'We must not give up.'  She was talking about her vegetable garden.  'I tried,' she said, [it's in the country of Mali, in Africa], 'I've tried to plant a vegetable garden.  The toads sat on the vegetables and squashed them as they were growing.  So I decided not to give up.'  She said, 'I planted them again.  The ants took the seeds away.'  So she said, 'I tried again, and as the plants began to grow, the crickets and the grasshoppers came and ate them.'  She said, 'I still had that motto 'I must not give up', so,' she said, 'next time I covered it with mosquito netting; and then I got visitors and I forgot to water the plants and they died in the hot, dry, dusty weather.'  She said, 'It's the same when I try to reach the Moslems in Mali.  They come for medical treatment; they come for what we can give them.  But they will not take the Good News of Messiah.  But,' she ends her article, 'we must not give up!'  There's a heroic lady!

And you and I here, we have a lush time of it, don't we, in comparison with the sufferings and the trials and the frustrations and the disappointments of our brothers and sisters?  We must take their motto and make it ours'.  We must not give up!  It is not a very promising work, seeking to reach our people with the News about the Messiah; but we must not give up. That's what Churchill said after the Second World War, when he was invited back to his old school where he had grown up as a school boy.  You know what he said to the young people?  'Young man!  Never give up!'  That's about all he said.  He repeated it two or three times, but that was the gist of his talk; it didn't last very long.  Never give up!  Stand!  That's how the Bible puts it.  Stand!

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