David Rundle - Pukekohe, New Zealand I Convention - Monday Morning Meeting, December 2005

Numbers 14:1-4, "And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron; and the whole congregation said unto them, 'Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore has the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and children be the prey? Were it not better for us to return into Egypt?' And they said one to another, 'Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.'

 

This was a very sad situation that had developed among God’s people. Just over a year before this, the children of Israel, God had brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand and He had opened the Red Sea before them, and they had gone through the midst of the Red Sea as on dry land. And when they had got through, the chariots of Egypt had followed them and they were drowned when the Lord brought the sea up on them again. The ones that had been there all those years before that God slew, there was death in every home, of the Egyptians. Then in the wilderness, God gave them manna to eat and brought water out of the rock and as we have been hearing, gave them a pillar by day and a fire by night. Now, such a short time later, these people are saying, "Let's make a captain and return to Egypt. Why did God bring us out of Egypt?" A very sad, sad situation.


Before they journeyed from the edge of the Red Sea, they sang a song, we read about that song in Exodus 15, what a wonderful thing that God delivered them from Egypt and how happy they were to be free from bondage. Yet now just a short time later, they are wanting to go back to Egypt again. What had happened? There is a little verse in the New Testament, "These things were given us for examples," so we do not make the same mistakes. As I was reading about it I was impressed by what happened because, it proves very real to us and how we can avoid that they had made.


It just seems to me that faith is our greatest treasure. We want to do the things that increase our faith, because without faith, we would be the same as these people. These people, the men of war of Israel, at that time, every one of them perished in the wilderness. except Caleb and Joshua. Sad, sad thing for the people of God, that had come out of Egypt with such great hope looking for the promised land and yet when they came up to the border of the promised land and God wanted them to go in and they said they can’t go forward. So I did a little study of what actually happened. Caleb and Joshua, they said, "We are well able to overcome, we are well able to go in and possess the promised land, the land that God has prepared for us." They said, "Our enemies have bread for us." There was no lack in the faith of Caleb and Joshua. I believe it was because Caleb and Joshua kept a clear vision of God’s power, the power that God displayed when he opened up the Red Sea. The power that God displayed when He visited death on every family in Egypt, except those that had the blood on the door post and the power that God displayed when He brought manna into the desert and water out of the rock when there was no water to drink and kept them in that journey. They had faith in God.


I believe it was partly because Caleb and Joshua had a good memory. It pays us to have a good memory because some things are so easy to forget. One thing that helps us to have a good memory is to have a thankful heart. The person that has a thankful heart has a good memory because they are constantly reminding themselves of the things that God has done for them. I used to wonder about the Psalms so often speaking about praise and thanks, I don’t wonder now because it is that song of praise that is in the hearts of God’s people that keeps them mindful of what God has done for them, because when we thank God, we have to thank God for something. There is something in our hearts that we are thinking of when we thank Him and we remember the mighty works that God has done for us. He brought us out of the world, and He gave us hope in our hearts, and through the Gospel, He created His Son in our hearts, and we are thankful every day, not just on Sunday or not just at convention. We are thankful every day to the mighty God for the work He has done in our hearts and the peace and the joy and the love He has put in our hearts. That song of praise and thankfulness keeps us mindful of the mighty works that God has done. That is what Caleb and Joshua did, they did not forget what God had done and they still had faith in their hearts.


Just as God has delivered us from Egypt and brought us through the Red Sea and provided all our needs along the way, He can open up the way for us to go into that promised land. When they came up to the border of the promised land, God said to Moses, "Select a man from each tribe," and for forty days, they went up and down that land of Palestine. When they came back they had a very good report. They said, "It is a very beautiful land that God has given to us, it’s a land of milk and honey." God delighted to bring them into this land. But then some of them said, "We saw the giants there," and they said, "The city was walled up to heaven," then said "We cannot overcome this city." In these days together, God has given us a little vision of the promised land the land that we are living and striving for. He has lifted up our eyes and put them on the eternal kingdom, He wants to give us a place in, and here as we stand before God, our faith is strong. Like we have heard in some of the testimonies, God is giving us a little vision of the promised land and that strengthens our faith. He is near us, His spirit is present here, He was revived right desires within our hearts and strengthened our faith. Well, how do we keep that faith? One year later, those people had such strong faith as they camped on the edge of the Red Sea, sang that song of Moses, and the children of Israel, when they sang that song, they had great faith in there hearts.


Those days in the wilderness had worn down their faith, but one of the things that started was complaining. I hope we don’t have a spirit of complaining. God has given us such blessing and such richness of blessing. Things that He brought to us through the gospel, and how could we complain? A person who complains has forgotten. And O God, help us that we have a good memory that we remember the great blessing that God has given us and is giving us. That manna for example, kept them going all the time till they entered the promised land. It didn’t happen once and then left behind, but was given right up to the time, but even then some murmured, would they not have some of the things they had in Egypt, and named some of the things they had there. But complaining, the spirit of complaining in our heart, is something that destroys faith. That’s what it did in these people, it destroyed their faith. And when they saw those Anakims, and they saw the cities with high walls they thought it was impossible, "We can't go there," but Caleb and Joshua had a different story altogether, they remembered what a mighty God was on their side and had delivered them from Egypt and delivered them along the way. They said, "We are well able to overcome," that was Caleb and also they said, "The Lord will bring us in to this land and will give it to us," and they said, "There is bread for us." Caleb and Joshua could see through the eyes of faith, that the enemies, will strengthen us, not weaken us like the others, that’s what faith does. Some of you have said in your testimonies that when you came to convention, that your faith was getting weak. And that is how it happens.


We had a very nice little message at the convention at Winchester, it was about that widow lady who had the cruse of oil. There was a famine in the land and the prophet came and he said to that lady, "Make me a little cake," and she did and it was said that the oil she had in the bottle, all she had left and she put that oil into a little flour, and he said that oil was like her faith. When we come to convention, it is like that, we just take a little faith and when we poor that out to God it increases and that oil went on and on and on. And provided for that lady, for the present and for the future. How true it is, that sometimes our faith gets weakened, but then when we wait on God he increases that, with God's blessing that little oil in the vessel, God increased that and they said bring out more vessels. When we wait in His presence here, God has greatly increased our faith. He has spoken to our hearts and we know that God cares for us, and God is still dealing with us and he is pointing us to the future and giving us a vision he is wanting to make us aware of.


So now as we wait here with our convention nearly coming to an end, but our faith greatly increased. We are going forth with hope in our hearts, that is great, that is the way it should be. It is the days ahead we need to be thinking of, because just as those children of Israel had that journey through the wilderness. They went to Mt Sinai first, camped there for some months, they went on and came up to Jericho. But in that time their peace had completely dried up. Just at the time they needed their faith most of all, they came to this land they were going to possess, it disappeared. It just reminded me of the five foolish virgins, when the bridegroom came at midnight, their oil had run out. It was the same thing the oil ran out just as they needed it most, or if our faith ran out just as we needed it most. Because that was what it did to the children of Israel, the men of war of Israel. They all said, "No, we can't go, we cant go on," in spite of Caleb and Joshua saying, "We are well able to overcome." "God was so angry," he said Not one of them will go in and possess that land. So many perishes because they let faith weaken in their hearts.

 

Each time we meet together whether it be the fellowship meeting, meeting with God, our faith is strengthened. Every time we wait on God in prayer our faith is strengthened. When we are at special meetings, our faith is strengthened. But even that is not enough. Some years ago, I was in the city of Karachi in Pakistan and a hundred miles to the North-East of Karachi there was a little town called Hydrabad. We used to go up there once a fortnight, because we had a family of friends there. Sunday was a working day so we had to have the meeting in the morning, so we would go up on a Saturday, have a night with them and come back after the meeting to Karachi. Well, the father of that home, John, worked in a factory office and would come home for lunch. He had a motorbike, he would go to work, then at lunch time, he would come home for lunch and then go back to his office again, come in the evening, and those children knew their father so well, there were other motorbikes that came into that lane, they could tell when their fathers turned into the lane, they would say, "Daddy is coming." They could tell by the noise of his motorbike. They knew their father so well, they saw him every day.


At the same time, we were having meetings in Karachi. This family, their son had gone off to the Middle East to work and he had been away for two years and was due for a home visit. The family were all excited about their son coming home again. That man was a married man, his wife had been living there with a family, they had little children and they were all so excited. Well then, we went for another meeting next week, and we met him and we were talking about the children and we said, "The children would have been so happy." He looked sad and said, "My own children didn’t recognize me and shrank back when I went to embrace them." You know that taught me something about faith. It taught me if I see my Heavenly Father’s face every day when I wait in His presence and hear His voice every day, I will know Him. This is my Father, every day He hears my voice, He gives me bread, He strengthens my heart, He gives me peace in my heart and I know Him. But if I see my Father occasionally, well then, I will be like those children that didn’t recognize their father. So to keep my faith strong, the most important thing is the importance to meet in God's presence every day. To know His touch and His love and His peace and the joy I get when I come into His presence. When He hears my prayer and answers my prayer. Isn’t that what a child loves about their father? Just to be in the presence of his father, to feel his touch, and hear his voice. The little gift he brings them and things like that. They just love their father and their faith in their father is very strong.


So, in the future days, it is very important for me, every day to seek my Father's face and wait in His presence but if I get careless about this most important thing, my faith won't be as strong as it should be, and then when tests come, I am going to be like those children of Israel said, "We can't overcome." They saw these giants and they were like grasshoppers in their sight. The poor things, they had lost their faith. But Caleb and Joshua had not done that. Caleb and Joshua saw those giants, too, and they saw the city walls up to heaven, but after those forty long years in the wilderness and those children finally came into the promised land, God brought them up to the border. And Caleb said, "I am as strong today to go in and possess the land as the day I came out of Egypt." And he did. And Caleb went in and they conquered. Thy could not have done it in their own strength, their strength was not strong but their faith was strong.


God wanted to see in their own hearts that they had the faith to go forward and face those issues and then thank God that He did. The first city Jericho, that was the first city they overcame and there were those great high walls and do you know what happened, they didn’t have to raise a hand. God brought down those walls, they collapsed before them and they could just go in and possess that city. If we don’t fall to the obedience of God's will and we confront these enemies like giants, they are completely outside our possibilities. When we obey Gods commandments, He goes before us and brings things under control. In these days together, God has given us a wonderful vision of the promised land. We are so thankful, I hope we can keep our faith strong as we go forward for God wants us to go in and possess that land. I want to wait more in God's presence with that attitude that David had when he said, "Search me and try and know my ways so I would come into God's presence with that attitude that God could show me in my heart where no man can see and sometimes even myself don’t know."


There is a little verse in  Deuteronomy 8:2, "And thou shalt remember all the way that the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep His commandments, or no." Sometimes we wonder about the difficulties we have to pass through in this way we walk in, sometimes it’s a personal thing, sometimes it’s a family thing, and there are different problems that crop up from time to time, and we hear about it in your testimonies and we all have that, there is not one of us that is free. What is God's purpose in allowing these difficulties? Well, this little verse tells us, "to humble thee, to prove thee, and to know what was in thine heart." What it really means is our heart, our soul, our spirit. This is what God wants to prepare for us to dwell with Him in the eternal kingdom. He wants to know what is in our hearts and what is in our hearts will come out in every day life. We can't hide what’s in our hearts, it will come out. It is the tests of every day that bring it to light.


I like to read about David, he watched his father's sheep in the XXXXX and there came a bear and a lion and they took a lamb. David could have let the lamb go and thought, "What is the use of risking my life to save the lamb?" but no, David felt his responsibility for his father’s lamb and he went up to that lion and slew it and set the lamb free, and the bear also. That was a big thing for David, but in the light of the future events it was a small thing because David had greater things to confront than just a lion or a bear but keeping faithful in those small things. It strengthened David's faith for when bigger things would come.


Some time later his father said to him, "You take these things up to your brothers, up to the war front." At that time Saul and his army were encamped against the Phillistines. David took those things his father had given to take up to the brothers and away he went and when he came up to the front, he saw that a great giant Goliath came out from and challenged the warrior of the Phillistines. There wasn’t one man in all Israel that was prepared to go forward and confront this giant and David was shocked and he said, "I will go." He was just a lad and some of the men heard him, Saul wanted to give him some armour, but David said he had not proved it. So he took his sling and some stones from a brook and confronted that giant. When all the mighty men were in their tents, David had the faith to go forward and God made him a victor. David had kept his faith in God strong, and one thing was that in the small things, he got the victory. And then when the big things came like Goliath, he still had bigger enemies to concur even so as the enemies got stronger David got stronger.

 

As I read Psalm 12, I see another Saul of David’s strength, the strength of his faith, because it says there that David made up that lovely Psalm. It says, "He leadeth me beside the still waters, He maketh me to lie down in green pastures," and that displayed the secret of David’s strength, the strength of his faith. He loved to spend time in the presence of his Shepherd and in His presence, God was strengthening his faith. In that Psalm, he also spoke about the shadow of death. And they did know that was the experiences of his life. We have learnt to value the place of quietness in God’s presence. When he was a shepherd, he saw those sheep, how he loved to see the sheep quiet and he knew, "Just like my spiritual life when I wait in God’s presence and I know the quietness there and to quench my thirst." A sheep that lies down in green pastures has eaten its full, it just lies there and values the feed it has got from the shepherd. So David learnt by being with the sheep as a young man how to let God be his shepherd, that God would lead him and bring him to the quiet places. One thing it says in Jeremiah about God’s people, they had gone astray at that time, and the shepherds had caused them to go astray, a terrible situation, but one thing he says, "They had forgotten their resting places." Now, I hope that we don’t forget our resting places.

 

In this day and age, these days of prosperity, in our country and other affluent countries, it is very easy for us to be taken up with the things of time, material things, and as we have more money to spare, we get more gadgets, more things for our leisure time, it is so easy for our time to be so filled with all these things that we have as a result of our affluence and less and less time for God. Now David by Psalm 23, we could understand he found time to be with God, to wait in His presence, to find spiritual sustenance in God’s presence, and just to be content and be satisfied to be with the shepherd. He said, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." In other words, I know no lack. David knew no lack in his life. It will make our faith strong, and it will make us strong to go forward, God was with them because of their faith. We are so glad for those that are amongst us, that show us the way like David showed the way, and the servants of God who labour in your midst, by their faithful lives. Paul the apostle, he said, "Follow me as I follow Christ," and we can be very thankful for those that labour in our midst that can say that to us, "Follow me as I follow Christ," because that is the thing that strengthens our faith.

 

So that terrible crisis that was in the land where David went up to the war front, when the armies of the Phillistines saw that their champion was defeated and David got rid of his sword, when the armies saw that, they ran. The Israelites chased him and they got much spoil. But the wonderful thing that by one young man and his faith in God, that God would help him to overcome. One life amongst us can be an example of faith in action like David was. It can inspire us all.


We are so thankful for even the younger ones who give us an example. When I come home sometimes from overseas labour and I see the young workers in New Zealand, I am thankful to God to see them coming on that love God and have the same spirit that David had to go forward and face the enemy. We can thank young workers because they are in our midst, because they are our guarantee for the future. God is with them and God will make them prosperous. I hope we will be doing what Jesus said, "Pray for the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth labourers." The land where I have been labouring there are so many places to go, so many openings, and people asking for us to come, that it difficult for us to keep up. Not only in our field, but in neighbouring fields, the need is so great. The fields are white to harvest and the labourers are needed. It is good for us to pray for the needs of the harvest field.