NOW and THEN are important words; every now and then. In the book of Numbers chapters 13 and 14 God uses the word now eight times and the word then nine times. This is a very significant passage of Scripture even now today as it was then.
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I’m giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, everyone a leader among them.”
And then God gives the names of each one of these leaders. The two that we remember are Joshua and Caleb. You remember the story how the twelve men came back and ten of them gave a bad report. Only Joshua and Caleb gave a positive report saying that the children of Israel should go in and take the land. They had all said that it was truly a land of milk and honey, a land where they cut down a cluster of grapes and it had to be carried between two of them on a pole. But the ten were filled with fear and said that the people were very strong and the cities were fortified and very large and that there were giants in the land even so that “we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” You will remember that Caleb said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” Can you just feel his faith?
Well, all the people listened to the “Cold Water Committee.” You know that every organization has one, that’s why we must have strong leadership. The children of Israel said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.” And the Bible says, “Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.” But Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes in anguish and spoke to the congregation and said, “If the Lord delights in us, then he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.”
Then the children of Israel said to stone Caleb and Joshua with stones. But the Bible says, “Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel. Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?” You see just the time the people were rebelling – God shows up! God cares that His children do what is right all the time. I believe some of us do not believe God is watching us all the time. Let me assure you, He is!
I think there is real significance between then and now. Our great spiritual leader is gone. Billy Graham is gone (what a God-fearing man he was)! Many other great spiritual leaders have gone home. Our world is in chaos. Our nation isn’t much better. Hatred, killings, jealousy, apostasy, apathy. I think what God is saying to us is don’t fear the atheistic Communist infiltrators. Don’t fear the George Soros’s. Don’t fear the Nancy Pelosi’s. Don’t fear the people of the land. Only do not rebel against the Lord! You real Christians, do not rebel against the Lord! Their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us! Do not fear them. The Lord has delivered us through the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War and all kinds of conflicts. The Lord is with us and has been from the time the Pilgrims settled here.
It is now time for our Christian leaders/pastors to speak up to their people. People don’t know where to get the truth of the news. Many get it or expect to get it at church. I pray your Pastor gives you the whole counsel of God! And let me add, Mr. Trump will not lead America to be great again. If America should come back to her roots and become great again, it will be Almighty God that will have done it! I pray He will purify us and make us a holy people, a holy nation!
The ten men that gave the bad report died by the plague before the Lord. The people mourned and they “confessed their sin” and went up to the top of the mountain. God opens doors and gives us opportunities to obey Him. Many times we are too stubborn to obey immediately. Delayed obedience is disobedience. The children of Israel weren’t listening to the Lord or to their leader; they were taking the matter into their own hands. They were like some of us; they didn’t wait to seek the Lord, they presumed upon Him. And the Bible says, “Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that mountain came down and attacked them, and drove them back as far as Hormah.”
The next two chapters of Numbers show us the results of pride and arrogance. At one point God got so angry that he had the ground split apart, the earth opened its mouth, and some of the people went down alive into the pit. The Bible says that “On the next day all the congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron saying, “You have killed the people of the Lord.” We all must be very careful when we want to complain against God’s anointed. It is a very grievous sin. We should never do it. God will deal with His anointed His way. He doesn’t need our complaining. God told Moses, “Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” There was a plague that fell on the complainers immediately and before it was stopped, 14,700 people died from the plague. Sue and I walked into an office this week and someone was complaining about a man of God in front of several people. I had forgotten about this passage of Scripture. Praise God that the earth did not open up and we all had fallen into the pit!
Lest you think that I only read the Old Testament, I want to share something about blind Bartimaeus. You’ll remember that he was sitting by the road begging as Jesus was walking by. He cried out, “Jesus Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many warned him to be quiet but he cried out louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. The people around Bartimaeus called to him and said, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.” I like this next statement. It says, “And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.” I love that phrase, “throwing aside his garment”. What faith! I believe I can hear what Bartimaeus was thinking. “I don’t need this rag anymore! I’m getting ready to be healed. I’m not going to be begging anymore. I’m getting a new wardrobe, new clothes!!! He threw aside his garment. Jesus asked what he wanted Him to do and Bartimaeus said that he wanted to receive his sight. Jesus spoke to him and said, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” Your faith has made you well. Did you hear that your faith has made you well? And the Bible says, “And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.”
Caleb and Joshua had great faith in God and He blessed them. Blind Bartimaeus had great faith and God blessed him. I pray that as you read God’s Word and study God’s Word that you will have great faith in God also. It is so rich and true! What do you need great faith for in your life today?
Thank you for your prayers and your support. Since we have last communicated Sue and I have driven over 4,000 miles in our van. We have been to New Orleans, Houston, Fort Worth, back to New Orleans, to Daytona, and then back home. I was asked in December to preach the message at the home going of one of our Charter Board Members, Mary Nell Reed, whenever she passed on to Glory. Mary Nell is with Jesus! I could say so many great things about her. She was an Intercessor. That is really all that needs to be said, but she was a mother to three sons, and had many grandchildren. And some great grands. Sue and I have lost a dear friend, but we could not and would not wish her back. Mary Nell was loved and is missed by many. As I close my message I presented the gospel and one lady indicated that she was saved. What a glorious testimony added to a life that was lived close to God!
Another of our Intercessors went to Glory back in December. I hope you know that the work of evangelism is prayer. It is imperative that our ministry is surrounded by great people of prayer. I’m not sure that anything happens, for good that is, but that someone has prayed for it to happen. I believe this is definitely true when we talk about winning souls. Dorothy Shupe was my mother’s Sunday School Teacher for the last 15 or 20 years of my mother’s life. My mother has now been gone for 14 years. I don’t know how long Dorothy has prayed for me but I believe that she taught me as a young boy in Sunday School. All I know is that for many years I received a monthly note from Dodo (her nickname) encouraging me. Pray that God will raise up many others to take these two ladies places.
During the month of January, I was called on by my church several weeks to give the half-time devotional during Upward Basketball. It is always wonderful to share about Jesus and the Gospel message. Several people came to Christ each week that I shared. I believe it is God’s will that everyone should repent and be saved. I do not have a problem with giving a public invitation every time I preach. I, like the great English preacher, C. H. Spurgeon, expect someone to be saved every time I preach. Of course, it would be nice if I could preach like him!
I praise the Lord for Evangelist Dennis Mohr, Joe Toy, and Mark Yoho. Three years ago I relinquished my authority over the Mardi Gras ministry. Everyone felt that God would raise these three men to carry on the work that was started some 30 plus years ago. I still furnish some of the tracts and some of the paraphernalia; crosses, signs, shirts and such. This year I missed being with all of the men that came from every corner of our nation, and one from the Bahamas, to witness at Mardi Gras. But through this great leadership eight people were saved and over 40,000 gospel tracts were handed out. Continue to pray that many more people will be saved through the reading of God’s Holy Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I was able to witness on the streets a portion of three days and was happy to work with the man that was my mentor at the beginning in 1981, Evangelist Frank Robertson. I pray that I am still able to get to the streets and witness when I reach 82 years of age. God bless you Brother Frank for your life and encouragement to all of us street preachers!
Sue and I left New Orleans and gathered with Evangelists and Intercessors George and Gloria Bellmany and their team in Daytona, Florida. We handed out several thousand tracts to the crowds that come to the races culminating with the running of the Daytona 500. I always ask for favor from the Lord concerning the authorities. One day I’d given the ladies the best spot to hand out tracts and I moved to another position. Before long a policeman came and told me to move. I obeyed and moved closer to where the women were and had a great time of witnessing. I just figured that God wanted me to be in the best spot, so I didn’t complain. We were blessed to have Brother Cedric Smith’s eldest daughter, Sharon, with us from the Bahamas one day. This was her first event. I pray she will want to go with us again.
Again thank you for all the prayers and your gifts. Many here are still in the throes of building back their homes that were destroyed in the great fire of November ‘16. I’m trying to help in small ways wherever I can be of service. As the weather warms, I will be on the streets most days. Should you come here on vacation feel free to call me and come work beside me. I promise I will not work you too hard. My philosophy is that whenever witnessing ceases to be fun, the Holy Spirit is probably telling us to quit and go rest. Pray for me the rest of this month as I am trying to get to the basketball tournaments and to the final four. Pray many souls will be saved.
God bless you and all you do for Him,
David and Sue Cobb