FROM THE DESK OF THE PATRIARCH AND PRESIDING PRELATE
WHAT VARIOUS HINDRANCES WE MEET
BY: Sir, Dr Godfrey Gregg
Exodus 17:12 “But Moses’ hands were heavy, and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun”
In this chapter of the book of Exodus, we find God’s people continuing their journey to Canaan, the Land of Promise. In verse 1 the place called Rephidim was the next stop which is the place of “rest”. They were looking forward to that relief because they were travelling for some time. That was their big hope and for them to find some water. However, “there was no water for them to drink” look at the second part of (verse 1). There was no water because the streams were dried up and now there was a crisis at the hands of the leader. What they were hoping for was not present and forthcoming. They were thirsty and needed to quench their thirst.
The Lord promised to bring them (His people) to Canaan Exodus 3:8, but He had not promised them a journey free of difficulties. However, the certainty of His presence and to provide for them was laid out in the promise. So with us as believers and children of this Worthy and Noble Mystical Order, God will not take us to a place that He cannot take care of us. We were never promised an easy pathway to heaven, but since we were promised heaven it should include everything necessary to get us there. Yes he that hath made my heaven secure will here all good provides.
I challenge you that every need is to test our faith in God. And after the journey, the Lord reminded the Israelites of the experiences in the wilderness for forty years. Hear what is recorded in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 8:2 “And thou shalt remember all the way which 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.”
Revealing, yes it proved the behaviour of the people with another round of complaining. Just like the church today it is all about the individual and not the purpose or will of God. God hate murmurers and complainers and I wonder why the church today is not moving to another level. We complain too much about nothing and it blocks our growth. Look at Exodus 17:3 and read “And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?” Instead of looking to the Lord for the solution in the emergency, they were facing. they found fault with the way God was handling the situation. We are too many faultfinders and none of us is fault menders. We will never know what is taking place unless the Lord shows us what is in our hearts. Then and only then we will know where we need more of the grace of God. God has the solution for all our problems but we have to get to the place and STOP complaining.
God moves in His own time and at the right moment. Read on in Exodus 17:6 here is the solution for the murmuring and complaining “Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb, and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the Elders of Israel. Bishop Andres wrote in his weekly email that “but the Lord let His people undergo trials in order for Him to reveal His wondrous supremacy and control.” Oh, Hallelujah for the promised word in this hour. It was a miracle,. Yes, Water came from the most unlikely place; the dry hard rock. The greater the need the greater the glory to God when He meets that need. This was just the beginning of the journey and of the trials. No sooner the first miracle was done the Amalekites launch an attack on Israel. Exodus 17:8 “Then came Amalek and fought with Israel in Rephidim”. It is often like this that our trials cone not in one but in two, sometimes in threes. So what else can the Lord do to prove to us that He is still God?
If the water shortage or the drought called for faith then this war in the camp called for prayer. So what does this teaches us and a church? We pray in hope only when we have done our best. It would make no sense for Moses to be on the Hilltop praying if Joshua was not in the valley. Prayer without means is a mockery of God. But prayer was more powerful than all the weapons Israel had. Moses’ prayer alone was not sufficient, he needed help. Verse 11 in chapter 17 of Exodus states “And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hands, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hands Amalek prevailed.”
Clearly, you will see that the outcome depended on prayer, to maintain his intercession was vital. We do not need that Joshua needed help, but Moses who was in prayer needed that help. We must not just pray but I must emphasize it must be persevering prayer: Moses’ hands were steady. As long as his hands were up he had control of the battle. Prayer is ok but perseveringly praying is even harder. We knew that Moses won the battle. “But Moses’ hands were heavy, and they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun”. And Joshua prevailed against Amalek and his people with the sword.
Moses’ support was for his weak legs and weary arms; the stone on which he sat and for the two men that held his arms. The “stone” can represent the promises God has given us concerning prayer. We lean the weight of our needs upon these and they support us. “Aaron” is the High priest of Israel and represents our great High Priest in Heaven. “Hur” represent the comforter in our hearts who strengthens us in prayer.
As we continue to look at the activities of this study let’s see where we will fit in:
Why Aaron and Hur did give Moses a stone to sit on (verse 12)
So what are the promises of God? The stone supporting Moses’ weight illustrates how diving promises help our prayers. For God has declared in His promises shows His goodwill toward us when we draw near to Him. Here are a few instances to consider.
Psalm 65:2 O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come. This truth is like an attribute of God: He hears prayers. It means that when we draw near to pray, He is already listening. “While they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24
Nevertheless, I am continually with thee: thou hast Holden me by my right hand. (Psalm 73:23) Asaph confesses he is always in God’s presence- so close that his hand is held. Preserving grace kept him close, even while he was disillusioned over the prosperity of the wicked. Now he sees more clearly the love “that will not let me go.” This is our promise too as recorded in Isaiah 41:13 that we are always in His presence, we can turn to Him at any time, and He who holds our right hand will hear our prayers.
In the book of Songs of Solomon chapter 2:14 O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the saints, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely. Here our Lord actually asks us to pray to Him, that He may have the pleasure of our company and voice! What greater incentives and consolation to prayer can there be than this? So, after reading these are you going to continue praying to some dead people or to some saint even Mary the mother of Jesus. God is calling on us to pray to Him and him only. Will you be able to tell me what the benefits of these prayers are? Are you a better person and where is God when you pray to these idols? I was on a pilgrimage and saw Spiritual Baptists praying to idols and putting money in the hands of these idols. I was like “is this for real? God has no pleasure in idol worship and neither am I.
So what is God’s provision for us in this hour? Aaron and Hur show two other ways the Lord helps us in prayer: Was there a ministering presence in heaven? In Hebrews 4:14 we think of Aaron and this is what Paul said, “we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the son of God.” We need the assurance that our prayers will reach the Throne of God. This can only be done through the mediator that God has provided for us through His son Jesus Christ. I say to you that there is no other way to the gateway to the inheritances of God but by Jesus Christ. There is no Mary, saint or person to take the place of Jesus Christ. Spiritual Baptist you have to look at the word of God and only the word for your leadership and direction. There is no other way to receive but by Jesus Christ.
Paul said in Hebrews 9:24 tells us that He is in heaven, “there to appear in the presence of God for us.” Our Lord sits in the courts of heaven advocating on our behalf. He is not just our friend but also our surety, who has forgiven and discharged all of our debts and fulfilled all our obligations. This is what He represents to the Father on our behalf. You will notice that Paul never mentioned any other person (Mary, Pope or saint).
So how do we look at prayer and the effects it has on us. The sin in our prayers is taken away. Again, we read in Exodus 28:38 that Aaron’s mediation was to “bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts”. We are greatly comforted because of our prayers and no good unless there is atonement for them, and this is the role that Jesus does on our behalf to the Father.
We should seek perfection in our prayers and as 1 Peter 2:5 states that it may be “acceptable to God by Jesus Christ”. His good name in heaven, representing His righteousness, is our guarantee that our prayers will be received. So, when we pray in His Name, it is as if our Lord is saying hear this Father for my sake. God will love us to send up our prayers with much incense. Revelation 8:3, 4 states that “the smoke of the incense, which comes with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God”. Incense represents prayers and we as Baptists have to be careful how we use it so as not to send the wrong signal.
We are so discouraged at times and yet we pray with doubts, we fail to leave all the things that weigh us down before we approach the Throne of God. When we pray we are to be victorious but we have so much doubt in our hearts and too many things that block the movement of our prayer. Paul in 1 Timothy chapter 2:8 told Timothy “lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” Yes if we could see those prayers by the time they reach our Father, through Christ, we would not recognize them. We would be astonished by the cleansing process that takes place when the prayers left us. When Christ is finished with the process of atonement our prayers are made perfect to be presented to His Father. We must never lose sight of our Intercessor as we pray. So with our hands up to the Lord, we must prevail. Now you see why Moses had to keep his hands up to the Father.
We are strengthened by our prayers and our souls are satisfied. This is by the Comforter. Our Lord in His glorified state of manhood is in heaven for us but indwells us through the divine presence of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9 and 10 state “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” Without the Comforter, in us, we are useless and helpless. We will never get the results of our prayer.
Therefore, like Hur on the other side of Moses holding up his arm, the Spirit supports us in prayer. He enlightens us and brings to our hearts the truth of Christ our Mediator, and the certainty that our prayers reach before the Throne through Him. He suggests to us the things we should pray about and the words to say; He draws us out and warms our hearts, making us feel God’s love. So that as Jude wrote in verse 20-21 “ But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Here we see the two arms and the help we can achieve. In heaven, and in our hearts. Our Lord is at our Father’s right hand, and our right hand. Within the veil, and within our hearts, So look to your great High Priest, and your glorious Comforter.
Let’s continue Exodus 17:12 “and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.” Let’s see with this encouragement where our prayers stand in this light. One thing we know as Spiritual Baptists is to pray morning, noon and night. Some of us make the habit to pray at sunrise midday and at the setting of the sun. It does not matter, we know how to pray. We often say Lord teach us how to pray with reverence and with fear. We also have our secret times to pray. Our Lord says in Matthew 6:6 “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” It is good to follow prayers as said by the minister or to recite what is written in the book, but we do need a prayer life of our own. That is the proof of a true believer or Christian.
If we love to pray and have a prayer life then will want to be sustained in prayer daily. And our “stone” the promises and our “Aaron” the Mediator, and our “Hur” the Comforter will be our help. A merciful Father who waits to hear us, a mediating Christ who never get tired of representing us, and a ministering Spirit who never gets weary of helping us. This is what Paul wrote to the church of Ephesus. Ephesians 2:18 “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
We cease to pray we cease to fight, and this should be our constant hope and desire; praying for someone or something. While the Lord is pleased to answer our everyday prayers, some of our requests and petitions have a long term answer. It is not that God didn’t hear us or answer us. In most cases it is immediate. You will recall when Daniel was in prayer Michael the Archangel known to us as the warrior and defender, was immediately dispatched with the answer to Daniel’s prayer.
However, he (Michael) was intercepted and had to fight fiercely before he reached Daniel. As believers, we pray constantly asking for things like protection, basic needs, for the sick and many things we are required to pray for according to the Scripture. Yes, we must pray without ceasing. However, Paul commands us in Ephesians 6:18 “Praying always with all prayers and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance.” And we continue to send the incense towards Heaven. At this point, you should be praying and lifting me your servant before the throne of God’s grace.
Moses made intercessions all the way to heaven and the Bible tells us “Until the going down of the sun.” At our conversion, we prayed and we continue through baptism and our first “throne of grace”. We gave up many things but we never cease to pray. That is all the believer knows, is to pray. Sometimes we still feel we are not doing it right and we ask “Lord teach us to pray aright with reverence and with fear.” We shall continue to pray until the last breath leaves our body. Or when our sun goes down.
Moses is our example of prayer and we should covet to pray more than anything else. Then when time shall be no more and we are in the place where there is no more need for the sun. Revelation 21:23 “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moons, to shine in it: for the glory of the God did lighten it. and the Lamb is the light thereof.” My brothers and sisters in Christ, fellow Ministers of this Mystical Order at that point every prayer will then have been heard, and every victory won. We shall be at home with the Lord forever where prayer is swallowed up by everlasting praise.
What various hindrances we meet
in coming to the mercy-seat?
Yet who that knows the worth of prayer,
but wishes to be often there.
Prayer makes the darkened cloud withdraw,
prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw;
gives exercise to faith and love,
brings every blessing from above.
Restraining prayer, we cease to fight;
prayer makes the Christian’s armor bright;
and Satan trembles, when he sees
the weakest saint upon his knees.
While Moses stood with arms spread wide,
success was found on Israel’s side;
but when through weariness they failed,
that moment Amalek prevailed.
Have you no words? ah, think again,
words flow apace when you complain;
and fill your fellow-creature’s ear
with the sad tale of all your care.
Were half the breath thus vainly spent,
to heaven in supplication sent;
our cheerful song would oftener be,
“Hear what the LORD has done for me.”
O Lord, increase our faith and love,
that we may all thy goodness prove,
and gain from thy exhaustless store
the fruits of prayer for evermore.