Posts

Showing posts from March 3, 2013

Release

One of the guidelines that God gave to the people of Israel related to a debtor was that at the end of every seventh year when the debtors field's had been harvested the owner was to release his required payment from the debtor for that year. It was called the year of rest or sabbatical. Deuteronomy states it this way: "At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts." (Deuteronomy 15:1)
The purpose of this release was to send the message that God is the real owner of everything and that a person is just the steward. To release a debt for a whole year would seem extreme for a lender but it was notable as a measure to temper the selfishness of the lender. It also helped the debtor to be grateful and to see that God was watching over them. This process could actually begin to eliminate the poor from the nation's ranks, however, very slowly. There are several ways that we can apply this principle to our lives. We can release a physical debt of dollars. We can releas…

The Wilderness

There is a similarity between us today and the people of Israel who wandered in the wilderness for forty years. We think we are different than the Israelites, that we would always make the right decision and do the right thing under similar pressures but we are made of the same flesh, have the same mind and our heart wanders like theirs did.
As Moses was making his final statements to the people of Israel before God took him to the last mountain to see the land from afar and die there, he shared the reason for the wilderness wanderings. He said, "Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments." (Deuteronomy 8:2)
Moses begins this by affirming that God did lead them "all the way in the desert." That is important to understand that He did not leave them but led them. Second, we understand that pride goes before a fal…

His Name

How do you feel about your name? Did you enjoy it when as a young child it was made fun of? Do you understand the heritage of your name? These are important questions to ask to understand how your name is due respect and honor. It is not something to be dragged into the dirt or made fun of, even if it is by you; it has to do with reverencing your own name.
Why should it be any different for God's name? It is such an important act to honor God's name that it was included in the Ten Commandments as Commandment #3. So what does it mean to, "not misuse the name of the Lord your God." (Exodus 20:7 and Deuteronomy 5:11)
Recently in our church our Pastor has been talking through the Ten Commandments. I felt his comments on not taking the Lord's name in vain were so clear that here are the five ways he suggested:
Profanity – The improper use of God's name or Jesus' name. The use of them as a curse word dishonors them and all the good that they have done to…

None Other

Moses in his last statements before his death speaks to the people of Israel and asks them four questions about the nature of their history as opposed to the history of other people's.
These four questions in Deuteronomy 4:32-34 reveal the uniqueness of the relationship between God and the people of Israel:
"Has anything so great as this every happened?Has anything like this ever been heard of?Has any other people heard the voice of God?Has any other god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another?"
The answer is, “None.” No other god has ever done what The God has done. If that God is our God then we must respect His claim on our life and realize that the nation of Israel is an example that should challenge and excite us about having a relationship with this same God. What is your struggle in having a relationship with God?

Conquering Me

As the children of Israel enter the Promise Land, God gives direction as to their process in clearing the land for themselves. He says in Numbers 33:52-54, "Drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, ...molten images, and ...high places: ....dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it. And you shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families."
Here is the recipe that we can use today in our own lives as we move forward in conformity to Christ. As was the conquering of the land, a slow and methodical process, so is our transformation from living in slavery and being responsible for our sin to living in obedience to God and having Christ take on our sin and cleanse us.
Driving out sin is changing our habits and activities that were focused on self to now being focused on God and others. It is conforming our thoughts, words and activities to God's ways. Destroying idols is removing from our li…

Short-Sightedness

As the people of Israel prepare to cross the Jordan River and enter the Promise Land, they are faced with a defection among their ranks. The leaders of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh decide that the eastern side of the Jordan is more to be preferred than what God will give them on the western side. Their leaders said to the community leaders, "let this land [east of the Jordan] be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan."(Numbers 32:5)
At a most inopportune time these two and a half tribes decide to opt out of God's promise. Joshua will depend on the army to capture the Promise Land and all of a sudden twenty-one percent of it is going to disappear.
Moses and Eleazar the priest are angry but make a compromise to let their families stay but the soldiers have to cross over and fight alongside their brothers until the job is completed, at which time they can return to their families east of the Jordan.
All is satisfied fo…

Worship

After the older generation had died in the wilderness because of their inability to trust God and enter the Promise Land, God reemphasized to the next generation the importance of worship to receiving the promise. He explained the daily worship pattern and the special feasts pattern to them again, summing it up to Moses by saying, "In addition to what you vow and your freewill offerings, prepare these for the Lord at your appointed feasts: your burnt offerings, grain offerings, drink offerings and fellowship offerings." (Numbers 29:39)
These sacrifices, which were many, were all about remembrance, reverence and relationship with God. The very basis of their connection with God was wrapped up in worship to Him. Their hope of the Promise Land depended on their true worship of the One who provided and protected them. Every day, both morning and evening, were to involve worship to God.
Worship is also central to our relationship with God. It has been defined by Archbishop of Ca…