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Showing posts from February 24, 2013

Faithfulness

Most of us have attended the funeral of at least one person. Maybe that person died before they reached their full age or maybe it was of a grandparent that had lived a full and robust life. How would you like to go to 603,548 funerals over a period of 38 years? That would be 15,883 per year, 1,324 per month and 44 per day. It would be impossible to attend each one. But Caleb and Joshua were the only two men in the initial counting of the men twenty years old and above that made it through the 38 years of wandering that took place after the ten spies convinced the people to not enter the land just after two years of wilderness wandering.
Here we find the faithfulness of God to be both blessed and fearful. In 1 Samuel 2:30 God states, "Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained."The people of Israel had numbered their men of twenty years old and above in Numbers 1 to create an army for battle. That number was 603,550 men but when the twelve s…

Blindness

Balaam is an Old Testament character that reminds us of the depths to which the sin nature will go to get its way. He is requested by King Balak to appear before him and curse Israel as they abide in the plain on the east side of the Jordan River and receive great reward for it.
Balaam seeks God's counsel when messengers come from Balak. The first time God says "no" and the second time God says "go, but you can't curse Israel." Balaam does go and in the travel finds his trusted donkey wandering into a field, swerving into a wall and crushing his foot, and stubbornly sitting down in the path. Each of the three times the animal was avoiding the Angel of the Lord in front of him to save the life of Balaam. In the final moments, Balaam's eyes are opened and he sees the Angel there and confesses to God, "I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me." (Numbers 22:34)
This actually becomes a foreshadowing, for Balaam w…

Captivity

We may think of this word related to the end of the stay of the people of Israel in Egypt, but it can also be applied to us today. Paul challenged the people of Colossae in the first century when he said, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."(Colossians 2:8)
The word "captive" has the sense of being plundered or taken in war. It also can refer to a spoiling or corrupting of you. We all have seen a war movie where a town or nation was plundered. Men were killed; possessions including children and women were taken and subjugated. There was fear, dread, anxiety and loss of all dreams.
Paul states that this "captivity" can happen through "hollow and deceptive philosophy" and most often this is how we are plundered or spoiled today. Think about the many philosophies today that seek to take control of us: hedonism, …

Grace and Discipline

Moses is leading an ornery people. They murmur on a regular basis in the wilderness and suggest that Moses and Aaron take them back to Egypt. Throughout this time God has been pouring out His grace on them.
Numbers 20:2-12 is the story of one of these confrontations. Once before (Exodus 17:1-7) they had been thirsty and Moses had struck a rock as God had told him to do and water had come out. Now, the people again were without water and chiding Moses for his leadership. This happens just after Miriam, Moses' sister had died. So God tells Moses, "Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water." But Moses strikes the rock twice and water still comes out.
Here is a revealing lesson of God's grace for the people but God's judgment on Moses for his disobedience. The people were grumblers and faithless as God continued to try to inspire them with faith and trust in His goodness and love. See that God's reaction to their spirit was not wrath, but …

An Instrument

Moses' authority was questioned in the first years in the Wilderness. There were some 250 Princes of the Congregation that questioned it and were destroyed by God along with all their families.
At this moment in a difficult time, Moses said the following to the people, "This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea." (Numbers 16:28) Moses declared his inability and the Lord's complete ability to be the one who was directing the people. He was just the instrument in the hands of the True Leader.
It is important for us all to recognize that we are an instrument in the hands of God to do His works on earth. If we keep a humble heart and let God lead us, then we will accomplish great things. If we choose to take the credit or push forward under our own authority, then it will not end well.
Saint Francis offered this prayer to help us learn to give ourselves the right perspective on our accomplishments.
"Lord, mak…

Trusting More

Humans struggle to believe an unseen God even though He reveals Himself in obvious ways to them. They boundary God in, fence Him off from doing everything to just having the ability to do some things.
Israel had wandered for two years in the desert to get to Kadesh Barnea where the twelve spies were sent into the Promised Land to evaluate it. When they returned they said the land was beautiful and prosperous BUT there were powerful people in it and walled cities SO the ten spies who said this discouraged the people and the whole nation wandered for another thirty-eight years because of their in ability to trust God in that moment.
Consider that they had seen ten plagues in Egypt which could only have happened by the hand of God. Consider that they walked through a dry sea bed with towering walls of water on both sides. Think on the fact that in the wilderness they were provided with water, manna six times a week and quail in abundance. In addition the cloud would rest on the Tabernacle …