Take Heed Lest You Fall

God’s people, the Israelites, had just been freed from slavery in Egypt.  God, through Moses, had brought ten terrible plagues upon the Egyptians.  The water in the river had been turned into blood.  Frogs had filled the land.  The plague of gnats was followed by the plague of flies.  The livestock had died by disease and boils had come on men and animals.  Next came fiery hail and then the plague of locusts and then darkness.  Finally, all the first born had died.  When Pharaoh had kicked them out of Egypt, he soon changed his mind and pursued the Israelites.  God caused the Red Sea to part and the Israelites escaped on dry ground while the Egyptians perished.  What great miracles God performed to rescue His people!  They were so thankful that they sang a song of praise for their deliverance.   They pledged themselves to God.  How could they not believe in God?  They had witnessed His great power.  But shortly thereafter, they began complaining about their lack of water and food and wanted to return to Egypt.  When Moses went up on the mountain to receive the tablets with the Ten Commandments and delayed his return, they came to Moses’ brother Aaron.   Exodus 32:1 “Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, ‘Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’”  How could they so soon turn their back on God who had rescued them with great power?  Surely you and I would not act like they did.  If we experienced the great power that the Israelites experienced, we would not have turned our backs on God.  But don’t be so sure.  The apostle Paul gives the following warning.  1 Corinthians 10:12 “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”  It is indeed possible for you to put your faith in Jesus, obey the gospel, and be confident in your salvation and then fall due to temptation.  In so doing, you would be just like the Israelites under Moses.

I have noticed in my own life, when I have developed a skill or ability in some area and I have become confident in my ability, I can become careless and make mistakes where I should not.  I am reminded of Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”  When you take pride in your ability and position, that is when you are likely to fall.  In your walk with God, you cannot become careless and assume that just because you have been successful in your walk in the past that you will not fall in the future.  You must take heed lest you fall.  You cannot let your guard down.  Be careful at all times.

Jesus gave the parable of the sower.  In explaining the parable, He says in Luke 8:13 “But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.”  You can receive the word with joy, but if you have no depth in your faith, if your commitment to God is not total, in time of temptation you will fall away.

Consider the following warning.  Hebrews 12:14-17 “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:  looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.  For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.”  Do not be foolish or careless in your actions and fall short of the grace of God.

Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion.  Matthew 26:39-41 “He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.’  Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’”  That same warning applies to you.  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.  Your spirit may be willing but your flesh is weak.

Here is my encouragement to you.  Hebrews 4:9-11 “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.”  Learn from the failure of the Israelites.  Be diligent and take heed lest you fall.

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