Fruit of the Spirit series: Gentleness (meekness)

Fruit of the Spirit series: Gentleness (meekness)

Ill. In preparing to hear God concerning this topic I felt compelled to review my journal since the beginning of the year. It was time for me to remember – to review my history with God. The first thing I was a prophetic word I prophesied to me and Pam on January 13th.

Here is a portion of that word.

“Your life is a sign and wonder to those around you. They will behold your comforts, favor, deliverance and protection. Your life will point them to Me. You will bring a word to the weary. They will hear My voice in your voice. They will experience My love through your love. This is why I am training you in rest, quietness and confidence. The government of your life is to be on My shoulders. Instead of getting angry, or irritated with people I want gentleness from you and Pam. Be still and know that I am God.”

God wants gentleness from all of us who represent Him because this is the way He really is with people. Unfortunately, this has not always been the way we, who claim to know Him, represent Him to others.

Ill. Jesus had a woman caught in adultery thrown at his feet. The Pharisees, (the people representing God to the world) brought her to Him saying the law demanded she be stoned – which was truth! She deserved to be punished unto a horrible death according to the Law.

But Jesus is the revelation of truth and grace that transforms lives.  

Jesus doesn’t even ask her if she is sorry for her sin. Instead He turns to her accusers. “Whoever of you without sin –  be the first to cast a stone at her.” You know the story, one by one beginning with the eldest they left. Jesus is alone with her except for the disciples at a distance marveling at the wisdom they just saw. “Woman, where are your accusers? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one Lord.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more. Case dismissed, now go and sin no more” = don’t continue like this.

He is not soft on sin, but He is gentle with the sinner – and this is how He wants us to RE- Present Him to people – He is gentle.  

In another place His gentleness is described.

“A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not quench.”  Matthew 12:20

Haven’t you noticed He has been that way with you?

We cannot properly represent Him with our anger !

Ill. Moses learned this the hard way. He got frustrated (another way of saying angry) with the people he was called to lead. They were miraculously delivered from Egypt, then supernaturally provided food called manna daily. They were supernaturally healed from poisonous snake bite. God has abundantly met their every need. Now they start complaining to Moses about needing water in the desert. A legitimate need.

          It moved from complaining to Moses to unbelief in God. “Is the Lord among us or not?” After all God had done for them!

Ill. Like a mouthy adolescent mouthing off to their parent after all they have done for them. After all the miracles, signs and wonders He did for them! They have the nerve to say, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

I wonder if God had to hold back some angels who said, “Lord, let me at them. I’ll bust their chops – how dare they question Your integrity and talk about You like that!

          Moses himself wanted to strike the people.

          But look what God tells Moses. Go get the rod I gave you and bring the elders and come a certain rock.

“Indeed I WILL STAND BEFORE YOU THERE ON THE ROCK, and you shall strike the rock, and there water shall come out of it, so the people may drink.” Exodus 17:6

Instead of striking the people – strike the Rock.

illustrate and use the rod to smite the rock or stage. “Strike it Moses”.

Point out he wasn’t just striking a rock – God said He would be standing  there.  Moses struck the rock instead of the people and water flowed out for their salvation.

          It was God in the person of Christ, who was struck with the rod of God’s justice, in the place of guilty people.  

Now almost 40 years later and on the border of entering the Promise land they needed water again. The people are still complaining and doubting if God is with them or not. This time God told Moses to just speak to the Rock and water would come. “Moses said to them, Hear now you rebels; must we fetch water out of this rock? Moses lifted up his hand and with his rod struck the rock twice.”

God immediately reproved Moses for his anger and disobedience. He forbid him from entering the Promise land. Isn’t this kind of harsh for striking a rock?

But by Moses striking the rock twice - Moses sent the wrong message entirely, suggesting, God is still angry!

But the truth is, all His wrath and anger was placed on Jesus when He was stricken.

Jesus would be sticken, smitten by God and afflicted only one time (Isa. 53:4). One time was sufficient as payment to remove the sins of the world, and satisfy all the wrath of God.  

“For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. . . and then He says, their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more. For where there is forgiveness of sins there is no more offering for sins.” Hebrews 10:14-18.

 God will not allow Christ to be struck or smitten again. It would imply the first time was not sufficient!

Moses' action, while it may seem minor to us, has major implications.

The book of Hebrews was written largely to address this issue of the continuation of Jewish believers in sacrifices through which, they were essentially continuing to "strike the Rock", thus denying that Christ's work on the cross was sufficient for salvation.

Moses had anger issues. He got so hot he killed a man. He got angry when he saw the people dancing around the golden calf idol. He broke the stone tablets ground it to powder and mixed with water and made everyone drink the bitter stuff. When Pharaoh told Moses to get out and if he ever saw him again, he would be a dead man. Moses  shouted back –“you will never see my face again and stormed out.”

God dealt with Moses and his anger and scripture records Moses was changed into what scripture says

“Now the man Moses was the meekest (gentle) man on the earth.” Numbers 12:3

What changed Moses from an angry man to a gentle man?

God takes us through a breaking process over and over until we can accept the yoke He has for our lives. 

You want to know why Moses was angry? Every time he got angry it was because he did not like the way God was managing his life. His anger was a way of taking matters into his own hands instead of trusting and waiting on God.

What is God’s breaking process like? The opposite of the breaking process of the world.

 The breaking of a horse. PIC

Whip and beat the horse until he submits. It is brutal, harsh, process.

God’s way is different – like horse whisperer. Pic

 “Who is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in THE GENTLENESS OF WISDOM.”  James 3:13

Gentleness and wisdom are connected!

          Ill. I Sam. 25 David and his men living on the run from King Saul. They were camping out on some land owned by a rich man named Nabal. While camping there they protected the man’s land, and his sheep from raiders, thieves, etc. It was not uncommon for this in that time. The usual custom was to repay the kindness of people with some food, bread, to help them on their way. David sent message to Nabal of how they have been like a wall and protected his livestock from thieves and asked if Nabal would give them whatever he could to help them on their way. Nabal was a wicked man and said why should I give any food – get lost!

          This was a huge insult and David got hot angry and told his men to strap on the swords we are going to a fight. At this time in David’s life he would have killed Nabal and anyone who tried to stop him.

          Abigail was Nabal’s wife. She heard of how mean and nasty Nabal was to David. She quickly told her servants to get food, and she and her servants met David and his men on the road. She asked he forgive and not waste his time on her foolish husband – his name means fool. She had heard David would be the next King of Israel. She said to him, “don’t let my foolish husband bother you. You represent the Lord. Don’t let this cause you to shed blood – but let the Lord avenge you. You will be the next king and when you are please remember me.

          Her wisdom spoke to David’s heart and kept him from acting in anger and taking vengeance. He learned a lot from this moment.

Because of this, in the next chapter he responded godly towards king Saul. He had an opportunity to kill King Saul and take vengeance upon him for all the evil he had done to David. He learned restraint by this encounter with the wisdom from Abigail.

“Who is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in THE GENTLENESS OF WISDOM.”  James 3:13

          Nabal actually died a few days later anyway. See how God took care of the situation! And as a bonus David remembered Abigail and married her.

Later on in life David wrote a song about what He learned.

“Lord, your right hand upholds me and YOUR GENTLENESS HAS MADE ME GREAT.” Psalm 18:35

To live in the “gentleness of wisdom” you are going have to give up your desire to stay angry at people, and surrender the matter into God’s hands.

Remember that prophecy I shared for Pam and I at the beginning? I don’t think that is just for us. I shared it because it think it is for all of us this day. Remember the part,

“the government of your life is to be upon My shoulders”.

Ill. Every time I have become angry and taken matters into my own hands – I have regretted it. If only I had let God govern my response! But I am learning and so are you. God’s way is better.

We need to transfer the government of our life from our shoulders to His. It is not my responsibility to get even, to take vengeance, to vent our feelings. Letting our anger fly may be a great tool for getting your own way, but it is not God’s way to deal with issues.

The time in Astor the neighbor put up the sign in his yard for us.

My Abigail was Pam trying to talk me out of getting angry. So glad God intervened.

God does not need my anger to fix anything. Instead He says

“Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath. For the anger of man does not work the righteous ways of God.” James 1: 19-20

We cannot represent Jesus with our anger. We must give our anger to him and He will supernaturally turn it into His gentleness. It’s not a one time prayer – it is a lifetime walk with God that makes you into His likeness.

Jesus said, “Come to Me all ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn My way. Let Me teach you, because I am humble AND GENTLE, and you shall find rest for your soul.”  Mtt. 11:28-30