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How to Not Excel

Alistair Huong
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Reuben was Jacob's firstborn, but he received none of the blessings reserved for the firstborn sons in Israel. What happened? Why did he never excel? This message investigates an enlightening episode in his life that reveals where things went wrong for Reuben, and perhaps in the process we may learn important lessons for how we may live faithfully for Jesus today.

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Alistair Huong

Executive Director of AudioVerse

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  • September 9, 2017
    10:00 AM
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Father in heaven we thank you so much for bringing us safely together to this place for the Sabbath morning. And peace a peaceful tranquil setting. And Lord as we hear of a storm raging towards Florida we know that this world is waxing old as a garment the angels who fold the four winds are loosening their grass and this can only mean one thing and that is Jesus is coming soon and so today as we look in your word we pray that we might. Be a hastening influence and not be hinderance to that event occurring and may you teach us how to excel for your glory and the Holy Spirit teach us and speak to us we pray in Jesus' name amen. How many of you here want to excel. OK About forty percent of you so that's good because the other sixty percent This message is for you. If you look at your bullets and you will see that the title of the message is how to not egg cell so I guess I picked the tough. But of course in the process of discovering how to not excel perhaps the rest of us the other forty percent of us who raise our hands will find the answer to how we ought to excel as well so that keep that thought in mind and we're going to begin by looking in the story of Genesis Chapter thirty seven so turn your Bibles there with me we're going to begin reading in verse eighteen Genesis Chapter thirty seven beginning in verse eighteen. The eighteenth verse of the thirty seventh chapter of the Book of Genesis and this story begins we're jumping into the middle of the story and where we're beginning is when Joe said. Is a riving at the camp where his brothers have been tending sheep you know the story. Just just to clarify it is you know where you are the dishes the Joes as brothers like him. No that was not a trick question they did not like him OK let's pick up the story verse eighteen. Now when they saw him a far off even before he came near them they conspired against him to kill him so let's figure out the pronouns here make sure we know what's going on when they the brothers saw him Joseph afar off they the brothers conspire to kill him Joseph we all know the Bible story. Verse nineteen then they said to one another look this dreamer is coming come therefore let us now kill him and cast him into some pit and we shall say some wild beast has devoured him we shall see what will become of his dreams OK so we know this part of the story so far. I want to focus on verse twenty one. And a few verses after. But who heard it. Rubin heard it and he delivered him out of their hands and said Let us not kill him. There's S.L. good. It's not a trick question. Was Reuben the Reuben have the right idea yes don't kill your brother that's universally a frowned upon behavior. Verse twenty two and Reuben said to them shed no blood but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness and do not lay a hand on him that he might deliver him out of their hands and bring him back to his father. So was Reuben try. Time to do the right thing yes did he have good motives yesterday have good intentions yes. But we know the end of the story. The end of the story should have been Reuben saves Joseph right and that was his intent that was what he was trying to accomplish when agreement yes. So verse twenty three so it came to pass when Joseph a come to his brothers that they stripped Jonah Joseph of his tunic the tunic of many colors I was on him then they took him and cast him into a pit and the pit was empty there was no water in it so we look at the story and things are progressing exactly as Rubin was trying to you know control so Ruben says don't kill the guy that's just thrown into the pit Don't kill him and in his mind he says he was thinking I'm going to come back and rescue my brother Joseph to bring him back to my father so what we have a stablish so far looking at just this this far in a story without knowing the rest of the story is that so far Reuben sounds like he's a nice guy. He's a guy with good intentions he's a guy with good motives he's a man who wants to do the right thing Yes So that begs the question. Why did the story end the way it did. Why was Joseph not spared of course he didn't die. But being sold as a slave is not much of an improvement. Right. Why did Joe of Ruben's plan not work when we just read the story in the Bible these few verses it makes Reuben sound like a really noble good big brother get the right motives he just want to do the right thing and maybe those other guys just went beyond. Back and he didn't no right. The Spirit of Prophecy illuminates the story and gives us helpful insights into who Reuben really was this is found in the book Patriots and prophets page two eleven paragraph one. It says they meaning the brothers would have executed their purpose and the purpose was to kill Joseph but for Ruben OK So Ruben was the check on these brothers terrible impulses. He meaning Reuben shrank from participating in the murder of his brother that's good he had a conscience and propose that Joseph be cast alive into a pit and this is the additional poor point that was not mentioned in Scripture but Elam I saw a vision she said and left there to perish is there a difference between what we'd read earlier like hey let's just throw him in a pit but secretly I'm going to save what he's saying to the brothers is hey let's not kill him let's just leave him to die in a pit is there a difference in how that being communicated one of the Hey guys don't kill our brother that's the wrong thing to do versus hey guys let's not kill him let's just let him die in a pit. And see the difference. Continuing reading pages and prophets page two eleven again one that same paragraph it says secretly intending however to rescue him and return him to his father having persuaded all to consent to this plan Reuben left the company fearing that he might fail to control those feelings and that his real intentions would be discovered. This is change a little bit of our impression of big brother Reuben. Instead of a man who was simply standing up to defend the powerless. It's a man standing up for the right though the heavens fall we see a man who is trying to play both sides you see what he's trying to do he's trying to act along with the brothers talk tough be one of the guys but behind their backs in his mind he's thinking OK I'm going to I'm going to figure out some way to save this brother because inwardly and I believe genuinely He wanted to do the right thing. So that leaves us with the question. Why the secret. Why did he not come out publicly openly with his intentions why keep his intense secret. Well it says he feared that he might control his feelings and that has real intentions would be discovered why was he afraid of being discovered why was he afraid that his brothers would find out that he wanted to save Joseph why did it matter so much to Reuben The answer is quite simple. Yes he wanted to do what was right he had good motives and good intentions. But there was something that he wanted more there was something he cared about more than doing the right thing and that was he cared more about what of the people thought of him. He cared more about what his peers thought about him than doing the right thing. And Ruben there he thought you know it would be nice to see my brother it would be great to rescue him and bring him back to my father I would love to do that but boy it is sure inconvenient right now it makes me awfully uncomfortable to have to stand up to defend Joseph against the other nine brothers at that point. You know. You know let me just mention this because Final this thought in your mind because it's important to come back to this who are those brothers. You know like when they saw the Jews of coming this a hey let's kill him. I don't mean to be crude but you know I would venture to say that many of us particularly in our you know close friends with our buddies with our brothers and sisters you know sometimes it just comes out like Man I can't believe it did that I'm going to kill them you know sound like we shouldn't talk that way but sometimes we do and we don't mean anything when we say that is just how we treat people that we're familiar with I am using this as as an example I'm not prescribing this kind of behavior but what I'm saying is that the brother said that. You know it's killing me and that little brat he thinks we're going to bow down to him what a jerk so spoiled look at Yale boy a little boy he's you know he's got the colorful code he thinks he's all that right like the brothers you can sort of feel that sibling rivalry and they might have just maybe they were just saying oh yeah let's just Calum you know like sort of what we do today but you got to remember who these brothers were. These brothers. Were legit murderers you remember the story when one of their sisters got raped and got married to this man who raped her and the brothers of particular Levi and Simeon they said we're not going to stand for this. And when the other people were circumcised they went in and slaughtered all the innocents. So maybe that gives us a little bit of a perspective of who Ruben was dealing with there was one of him and Joseph of course he was a little boy teenager and he's got these legit criminal brothers who are like we're going to kill him and it wasn't a joke because they have done it. So that. What Ruben was up against file that thought the historical fact that family dynamic in your mind. Because Ruben illustrates to us. What it means to want to do the right thing but never do it when it's too inconvenient. Because I believe a lot of people I would say the majority of people would love to do what's right only if it didn't cost anything. Only if it wasn't too difficult or only if it didn't make me look weird in front of my friends and my peers. I think a lot of people are that way we want to have our cake and eat it too we want to live for Jesus but still fit in. And so do I really have to speak up for my faith will make all my friends feel weird. Do I really have to speak up in defense of Jesus when my coworkers are taking his name in vain what are they going to think about me. Do I really have to speak up when my friends want to go to that thing or go to that place or partake of that substance or do that activity what I really have to say something it is awfully inconvenient God did and we rationalize and we say by the Lord you know my heart. You see who I am inside I have my devotions this morning I'm still faithful to you I'm I'm not going to participate but I'm not going to say anything because it's too hard it's going to cost me something and what's that cost what are they going to think of me. Are we really any better than Reuben. So one of my friends skip church to sleep in. I should say anything. They already think I'ma goody goody. Holier than thou Oh you haven't a hope or you think you're better than I am. So if I say anything there you think less of me. Or maybe we're on the opposite side of the story and we say oh man I can't I can't go to church and have a study. I can't get an A minus what would my friends think of me. What would my parents think of me what would all those people back home think of me I have to study God you know my heart I'm just trying to be excellent right I have to get a to glorify you. But in reality we're thinking oh well you know all these other people they're watching me and you know I have to maintain appearances and so you know I'm going to not do what's right and find an excuse to not do it but you know my art I'm a nice person I'm being nice to my neighbor and I don't swear and curse and drink and smoke and I do all these good things and all of just give you a little extra money in my tithe of a little next week. Are we like Ruben. Are we like him where we care more about what they think then what God thinks. And who's They Anyway how do we define this anonymous they anyway nobody knows nobody knows and you know this is ironic to me because in our modern culture modern society we are told that we should not ever be forced into compliance with other people's opinions about us. The cultural M.O. today is just be yourself and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You have every right to self-expression no matter how bizarre or crazy or weird it is it's your prerogative it's your right don't let anybody judge you right. Even if you're a man and you want to be a woman don't let anyone tell you otherwise if you're an adult you want to be a baby you can be that. And now are what we say no. As hey don't judge me let me be myself and what is the underlying motive or or the driving force behind that is this idea that no one has a right to tell me how I ought to behave no one has a right to force me into their expectations of me right but the ironic part of all of this is. We fight tooth and nail not to become slaves of other people's expectations. Only to enslave ourselves to other people's expectations. Because think about it oh you know we have to dress like everybody else right we have to eat what everyone else is eating and this is an easy way of easy metric just think about this what happens to your what happens to you when you have a post on Facebook or Instagram and you only get three likes. Nobody. We care so much about what other people think about us so we post things on social media and let me tell you social media is is like this magnifying glass on peer pressure it's like before if it's just the you know the few people that we interact with now is like the whole world right is I can't believe it that friend I got better grades than him in school and you know I have a better paying job how is he having a vacation to Italy and not me. I got to have a talk with my wife about this like did you see what they're doing on Facebook and Instagram have you seen where they're eating I have to eat I have either do I have to live that way too right that's the mentality is we want to be like everybody else when at the same time we're saying you have no right to expect me to be like anyone else. It's like oh it's EVERYONE BE DIFFERENT together. We got to where the same thing. I can't believe my friends that's like the latest fad I mean like my clothes like five years ago why can't I just can't go to church like this what are they going to think about. Right I'm still driving an old car have to keep up with the boys my camera is only four megapixels and I just don't have enough stuff I can't keep up and so we in slave ourselves to other people's expectations all while having the mask of saying I will not submit myself to other people's expectations. The irony of it all. Rubin wanted to do what was right he had good intentions but he cared more about what the others thought about him than actually doing the right thing and so what happened while he was away let's go back to Genesis Chapter thirty seven. And so Rubin we are told in the spirit of prophecy and will confirm it later in the Bible he actually walks off because he's afraid of what the guys are going to think he might lose his cool he might reveal its true intentions and so he wanders off somewhere. And while he's away the brothers are sitting down and eating a meal verse twenty five this continue and they the rest of the brothers sat down to eat a meal and then they lifted their eyes and looked and there was a company of lies coming from Gilliatt with their camels bearing spices bomb and murder on their way to carry them down to Egypt so Judah said to his brothers what profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood Come let us sell him to the issue of lights and let not our hand be upon him for he is our brother and our flesh and his brothers listened then midnight traitors passed by so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out out of the pit and sold him to the Israelites for twenty shekels of silver and they took Joseph to Egypt so because Ruben was too cowardly and morally weak. Joseph ended up being sold to slavery into. Gypped. And the book paychecks and profits pitch to eleven paragraph four we have a little bit more insight to the story. As he Joseph saw the merchants the dreadful truth flashed upon him so just imagine your mind's eye Joseph was pulled out of the pit and has he comes out of the pit he sees all these camels he sees a slave traders he sees them handing money over to his brother and they're dragging him to the camel train and he realized in that instant what was going on. To become a slave was a fate more to be feared than death I think not much as changed to this day. In an agony of terror he appealed to one and another of his brothers but in vain so just imagine this pitiful thought he's a teenager seventeen years old his brother the grown men and they're looking sternly at him they look upset they're selling him to be a slave in Egypt and Joseph goes to one brother after the other Judo What are you doing I'm your brother Simeon leave ought not to lie dead one after the other crying tears in his voice a pitiful cry coming from the bottom of a soul he's fearful he's panicked he's scared the little boy comes bubbling to the surface and he's saying told do this guy. I'm sorry whatever I did I'll make it up I don't know what he said. And you can just see this and I just wonder what those traders were thinking like. He's your brother like what's wrong with you guys and what kind of a witness is that. But the next sentence is so so revealing and why writes this some of the brothers were moved with pity but fear. Of derision kept them silent. All felt that they had now gone too far to retreat. If Joseph were spared he would doubtless report them to his father who would not overlook their cruelty towards favorite son stealing their hearts against his intruders they delivered him into the hands of the human traitors the caravan moved on and was soon lost to view I don't want to lose this point what was going on in the minds of the brothers at least some of them pity they were moved with pity they wanted to stop. For lack of a better word they wanted a way out these brothers were standing there they were looking at one another like are you going to say something. Or are you going to. I really wish someone would say something. I just don't want to be the one that says it right. Now just imagine the looking at each other like who's going to be the one that's going to step up here. And Reuben was not there of course because of his cowardice and so in reality all of them were like Reuben the brothers are standing there looking at Joseph and they realize guys this is a bad idea. I don't want to go through with this but there are more of you than me and I don't want you to think that I'm the chicken I don't want you to think that I'm the weak one so I'm not going to say anything. But can someone please. You know we mentioned earlier. How we always care about what they think. And why tells us. What they. Were thinking. And I believe in most circumstances when a group of people are about to do something stupid ridiculous idiotic bad evil whatever you want to call it in most cases. At least some in that group are all thinking the same thing and that is I wish someone would say something. I wish someone would step up and give me a way out. And just think about this situation how many brothers would have taken to speak up and say hey guys you know hey yeah just joking. Just one. It only takes one voice frequently to turn the tide of evil. But that's not what happened. The brothers hardening their hearts against the pitiful cries of their little brother set I've gone too far I can't do it because what with the others think of me. When I was an academy just down the street here. You know Abbott Academy and this friends Christian friends at least I had a strange dilemma it might be strange to some of you you might relate some of you might relate with this and that is I have found it awkward to pray before my lunch every day I don't know if you've ever had the experience of looking back now I'm like that silly but in deed that was what was going on in my mind and I was a teenager and I was in high school and I didn't know really how to you know be forthright and be firm in my faith and so we're sitting around the picnic table for lunch every day and you know we have our sack lunches or whatever and. It's like we're looking around like who is going to pray. Is going to throw you over he just started eating. Like. What was he going to think like so like you know I would have these tricks like oh yeah like where's my chips to Jesus thank him and. Right like dude I'm pretending I don't want them to find out that I'm afraid to pray but I don't want to not trade is like you know we're been taught you know you see the. Air and all that and Jesus bless the five food five thousand all of that and so I had this dilemma and I was embarrassed amongst my Christian friends at an Adventist school of all places right. And so I was going through my high school experience like this and then later on I was old enough to drive and so I got my driver's license and you know I was driving myself to school and we would have choir practice early in the morning and I would you know have labs and things late at night and you know we would have different opportunities for me to transport myself to and from school and by that point even though I was sixteen seventeen I don't remember years old I had already had enough friends get in car accidents that I always prayed before I started driving it's still a habit I have today I just realize I need the angels to fly with me to protect me when I drive and all that and so. I didn't have a problem doing that because I was my car nobody could see me so I get the car and I would pray and then I would drive off and so one day. A friend of mine fellow choir member after choir practice when they walked up to me and she said. Do you pray before you drive every day and I'm like. Oh really. But then what she said next has never left me she said you know what yesterday or the day before whatever the other day I saw you in your car you get into the car and I was next to you I didn't see her. And I normally pray before I drove off but because you were there I thought oh you know maybe I'll you know I thought what would you think about me and so I just got my car reverse and I started driving off and as I pulled out I turned and I saw you Ballard head and prayed before you drove and she said that was a rebuke to me thank you for being an example. But even though she was telling me that I was a big relieved. Her Her story was a rebuke to me is like. So many steps. Because I realized at that point there are other people who are thinking exactly the same thing we are we want to do what's right and let's do what's right together Amen. And if someone is just going to step up and say out of here what you think I'm going to be faithful to Jesus no matter what other people going to say oh you know what that's actually pretty cool. I'm actually going to do that too. And just like the brothers they were moved with pity they were just waiting for that one person please someone say something they may not even know that right those might not be the exact words but the moment someone steps up like a light in the darkness they're going to be like oh yeah. That's right. Us forget about that. It only takes frequently frequently it only takes one voice. To stem the tide. Of something terrible happening and you know I'm just going to mention this right now and that is these brothers they did not have a choice in their peers in that circumstance we don't get to pick our siblings. But we do get to pick our friends. So what kind of friends are you surrounding yourself with. I mean this might be something you think oh that's only for YOUNG PEOPLE No it's not. What kind of social interactions are you immersing yourself with are you constantly placing ourselves in an environment in which everyone is a force pushing you to do what's wrong or are you going to have friends that are going to stand up and say hey we let's not do that let's do this instead are we going to surround ourselves with influences that lift us up right on the straight and narrow path are they going to push us down the wide and easy path you know. The reality is we have a choice in friends. We don't have to just go with the flow with the people that we run into we can choose who we interact with and who we surround ourselves with the brothers didn't have that choice but we have that choice so what happens when Ruben comes back Genesis Chapter thirty seven verse twenty nine then Ruben return to the pit and indeed Joseph was not in the pit and he tore his clothes oh now you let everyone know what you were thinking it's a little late for that big brother. Verse thirty and he returned to his brothers and said the lad is no more and I Where shall I go we know the rest of the story so let's just see what I might have to say about this same page and prophets page two eleven now in Paragraph five Reuben return to the pit because it was not there in alarm and self-reproach he rented garments and saw his brothers exclaiming The child does not and whither shall I go upon learning the fate of Joseph and that it would now be impossible to recover him Reuben was induced to unite with the rest in the attempt to conceal their by their guilt. Having killed the kid they dipped Joseph's coat in his blood and took it to their father telling him that they had found it in the field and they feared it was their brothers. It says Reuben was induced to unite with the rest in concealing their guilt what induced him. Same thing that induced him not to speak up in the first place he cared far more of what they thought. Than what God thought about him in the end he wasn't even willing to tell the truth he was cowardly to not to the point of not even being willing to confess about the scandal but covered it all up. I want you to. Turn with me now to the Book of Genesis Chapter forty nine. This episode. Gives us a highlight into who Reuben was it gives us a window into his character into his soul and in Genesis Chapter forty nine. The this chapter at least in my Bible the heading says Jacob's last words to his son it's. OK And so here we have the patriarch Jacob on his deathbed calling his sons around him and under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost he is giving a prediction of blessings and I don't know what they're not exactly curses but their blessings and other stuff predictions about his children so he's like. He's not being the father just being nice and cuddly and whatever he's speaking as a prophet in this chapter under the unction of always spirit he just telling it straight let's begin reading a verse one and Jacob called his sons and said Gather together that I may tell you what shall be for you in the last days verse to gather together and here you sons of Jacob and listen to Israel your father Rubin you are my firstborn I didn't mention this earlier but Reuben is the first born which means he has a special responsibility in many cultures of the world today in my culture in the Asian culture it's still the case the eldest son has a position of extra responsibility. Taking care of the younger ones taking the parent's right leadership financially spiritually all the rest. In this particular situation in the Jewish culture the first born was the line through which the family officially continued they were supposed to have all sorts of blessing the double portion of the Spirit double portion of the material inheritance they were like supposed to be the one. That carries on the family line and has a lot of significance to it so verse three tells us Reuben Jacob says Reuben you are my firstborn my might end the beginning of my strength the excellency of dignity and the excellence of the of power so Reuben is the first born and he supposed me all these things are the beginning of my strength to obsess my might the excellence of dignity excellence the of power Wow Reuben that is great except verse three is really telling us what he might have been if not for verse four. Because verse four begins unstable as water you shall not excel. And it continues because you went up to your father's bed than the file that he went up to my couch that's another episode of his story The Bible doesn't say a whole lot about it but it comes back to haunt him later you can go and look for it Reuben actually commit incest with his father's concubine. That's a big no no. But we're not going to go there another story for another day. But verse for the verse first sentence here really illustrates our point that we are driving home to day about Ruben why. Are we told why Will Reuben not excel what does he likened unto. Unstable as water this is a nice prop here what shape Does water have. Yeah I think you guys are still clear on your. High school science liquid water and this liquid form has no shape it takes the shape of whatever container it's poured in is that right unstable as water that is the perfect illustration of Reuben. He has no firmness of character he had no backbone he's not like a rock he's like water he gets poort into any circumstance and he just molds and shifts and and makes himself comfortable where every is he's not going to go against the flow is not going to rock the boat he's just going to do whatever is easiest and least disruptive. Ruin unstable as water you shall not excel. There's another illustration that I think is just as appropriate. And that is that Reuben was a thermometer instead of a thermostat. You get the difference what does a thermometer do. It measures or it reflects the temperature that's around it. What does a thermostat do. It sets the temperature around. Rubin of all the brothers he was Brother Number One Big Brother the first born he of all the brothers had the responsibility to be the thermostat but instead he was a thermometer instead of being a rock on which the brothers can be tethered to to keep him from drifting off into doing crazy and stupid things he was unstable as water taking the shape of whatever container he felt himself confined to he was unwilling to stand up against what was obviously wrong and do what was right and so how did the history of Reuben pan out in prophetic vision Jacob says You shall not excel How did that pan out what happened to Reuben and the rest of us line Picture X. of prophet speech two hundred thirty five paragraph six it says the priesthood was apportioned to Levi. The kingdom and the messianic promise to Judah the double poor. Then heritance to Joseph the tribe of Reuben never rose to any imminence in Israel it was not so numerous as Judah Joseph or Dan and was among the first that were carried into captivity. He was the first born. He was supposed to have all those blessings. He ended up with nothing. Let me take that back I may be clear he didn't end up with nothing because he was still counted as one of the twelve. So we're not saying here that salvation was beyond his reach. But what we are saying is that his usefulness in the kingdom of God was greatly diminished. He never except we think of King Saul from the tribe of Benjamin. We think of King David right David as like the man he's from the tribe of Judah Jesus the lion of the tribe of Judah what do we know about the tribe of Ruben. Who is a significant figure that arose out of Reuben to change the course of history for his tribe. No one of note. God was not lying he says because you are unstable as water you will never excel and I'm going to him at this point to real briefly and that as we mentioned Levi Levi was one of the murderers instigators of the murder of Checa he got the priesthood Judo you remember we read earlier root Judah was the one that suggested a less element of slavery Judah redeemed himself you can read the rest of the Book of Genesis to receive the the redemption of Judah he made some horrible mistakes he committed incest too. He ended up having the messianic promise he was the largest tribe the southern kingdom was called the kingdom of Judah Jesus came through his tribe. He was able to be redeemed but the issue with Rubin is that when you stay unstable as water you will never accept. While there are opportunities for us every day to change the question comes to us are we going to be weak and spineless and unstable as water like Rubin. Or are we going to be strong and faithful like Joseph. Are we going to repent and to learn from our ways like the tribe of Levi and like Judah what are we going to do and you know when we think about Reuben sometimes we look at the situation we say all will never be like him he's so weak he is so pathetic I would never be like that but just remember who was he up against Who was he dealing with with his peer pressure would bear the find murderers. So what's more pathetic when we cave in to the peer pressure of people who aren't even right next to us people across Facebook or Instagram or him with nine brothers who could have killed them right there who's more pathetic. So we think about ourselves and think about the situations where in oh yeah we can laugh and talk and hoop and holler and we talk about sports and music and games and fun and all those kind of things but when something serious comes up when a spiritual topic comes up we get silent. It's awkward. Or worse we say oh don't judge me who do you think you are you're not better than me. We begin to think about what other people think about us rather than what God thinks about us. How often social outings activities were unwilling to speak up for fear of someone else thinking less of us we have friends they're about to make a terrible decision we say Open is their decision is their life it's they can do what they want I don't want to ruin our friendship by saying this but then that same friends is converted comes to the faith come to. Lord want to be a missionary was a change of career want to change the lifestyle and we step in immediately and we say all this to be balanced we don't want to be extreme let's not be a fanatic. We're willing to step up in that instance we're not worried about losing the friendship but all of a sudden when it's uncomfortable for us to say something we have every excuse in the world so who is worse Ruben or us. We do We don't mind doing what's right we'd actually sorta like to do what's right but only if it's convenient. Only when it's easy only when it doesn't make me uncomfortable. This message today is very simple what am I trying to say being thought of as a nice person is not enough. Having good intentions the right motives but never carrying them out into right actions is not enough. Having the good desire to follow through with Jesus but waiting only until it's convenient it's not enough. If we are going to be faithful to Jesus it means being faithful no matter the cost it means doing what's right no matter how the wind is blowing. Even if the heavens fall. In first Bible Commentary Volume one commentary Volume one page one thousand and ninety eight paragraph three commentary on Jacob's Promise or his blessing his predictions in the life of Reuben this is what it says. There are those to be met with everywhere who have no fixed principles it is hard for them to resist temptation they are led into evil very easily because they have a very accommodating disposition and it hurts them to give a square no I will not do this we can this a sin against God who said those lines. Most of said those lines when Mrs Potter came after him if invited to take a glass with merry men or women their lead as an ox to the slaughter they join with him pious who laugh at the ready compliance afterwards there is no interior strength to fall back upon they do not make God their trust they have no high principles of duty so Ellen why here is going on and on about some people they just have a difficult time saying no to evil this is go with the flow they just laugh go along with it and she even says that the impious those other people out there who generally do not share our faith look at our ease in compliance and they laugh at us. And she says this they are like Ruben unstable as water having no inward rectitude and like Ruben they will never excel. So how to not excel very simple be like Ruben. Be unstable as water be if I'm ometer instead of a thermostat. But praise the lord that's not where this paragraph ends. We don't want to just know how to not excel we want to know how we might excel what you need to see is your dependence upon God and to have a resolute heart to be a man where you are to show strength of character where you are to be able through Jesus Christ to say no I will not do this great wickedness and sin against God And so as we bring this message to a close the peal this morning is very very simple how many of us here today want to say Lord I want to excel. I want to be like Joseph not like Ruben I want to be a rock not like water I want to be a thermostat not. A third Mom other is a desire today let me just make this a little bit more pointed. A little bit more pointed for those of you particularly who are students or those of you who are younger. The commitment to this is to say Lord I will honor you in all that I do. I'm going to prioritize being faithful to God over my studies. I'm going to feel God more than my social life with my friends. More than having fun more than dating relationships I will be faithful to you no matter what. Even if I have to suffer a fate worse than death maybe for you that's getting an A minus. I will be faithful I will be in church on Sabbath I will not compromise my morning devotion time I will not allow anything to get in the way of me being faithful to my God. And the final portion of this appeal is. Going to surround ourselves with the right influences. I knew myself I'm going to need that support network and not just surround myself with friends that will encourage me but within that circle of friends I will be like Joseph not like a group. I will be the one that speaks up when everyone is looking for a moral compass I choose by the grace of God to be that one who's going to say guys. Were not going to go there. How many of you are when they make that commitment today. God bless you we're going to have prayer to commit ourselves to the Lord and then after the prayer is when will take up the offering but let's Barrhead as we make this commitment to the Lord today Father in heaven we thank you then the Bible you do not mince words you show us the failures of your human instrumentalities so that we might see ourselves reflected while Lord. We do not claim to have any supernatural power we are no better than Reuben in our humble dependence we come to you because we need Jesus we need Jesus to give us a firm backbone Jesus to make us firm like the rock not unstable like water maybe a thermostat not at the moment or maybe like Joseph and not like Reuben and for all those who raise their hands of commitment today Lord bless them they might have strength to do. With us from the Sabbath to. This media was brought to you by audio first a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio first if you would like to listen to more sermons leave a Visit W W W audio verse or.

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