Monthly Archives: November 2012
I think that we all have missed opportunities that we really wish we would have taken. Sometimes, things could have been so much better, but for some reason we dropped the ball and now have to deal with the consequences.
In Numbers chapter 14, the Israelites complained a little bit too much, and God told them that essentially because of their disbelief, they would not be able to enter the Promised Land.
Their children would be allowed to enter, but the rest of them would wander around in the wilderness.
Num 14:21 But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.
Num 14:22 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;
Num 14:23 Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:
Of course, when the people of Israel heard about this, they all of a sudden wanted to make it right, but it was too late.
Num 14:40 And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned.
Num 14:41 And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? but it shall not prosper.
Num 14:42 Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies.
Num 14:43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you.
The people of Israel were ready to repent because they knew that they all of a sudden were going to have to pay for their sins and didn’t want to do that. They now understood the truth and it was obvious to them, but it was too late.
Regrettably, the situation is far from extinct.
There are millions of people today who need to put their faith in God. In the end, we know that everyone will understand that God is exactly who He has said He is.
Rom 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
When faced with this reality, there are only going to be two answers. Either we had a relationship with God, or we didn’t. It is a binary outcome.
None of us deserve mercy, but by the grace of God and belief in Him, we can be assured of eternal life.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
So, I urge you to not miss this opportunity. It is really the biggest (and best) decision you will ever make.
There are many times in life when obstacles seem like they are insurmountable. There are mountains that we feel like we need to climb but know that we can’t. That is how the people of Israel felt when the spies came back from the Promised Land in Numbers chapter 13.
Num 13:27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.
Num 13:28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.
Num 13:29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.
Num 13:30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
Num 13:31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.
The land was awesome, but many of the people did not think they would be able to take on all of the people that already lived there.
Caleb knew that the Israelites had something special. He knew that they had the promise of God, and he knew that if the God of all the universe had told the Israelites that they should settle there, they should settle there.
This is how we need to handle problems in our lives. God has promised us so many things that we have no reason to fear any mountain that might be in our way.
I came across an interesting article that listed several promises that God has made throughout history. I think that it might be worth a read from all of you.
Because we have God with us, there is no reason that we should fear any obstacle.
2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
There are some incredibly obvious statements in the Bible, and I found one of them today in Numbers chapter 12.
For a little bit of background, Moses had married an Ethiopian woman, and Aaron and Miriam were not too thrilled about that. They began to question whether or not Moses really had such a unique relationship with God.
One thing that is interesting to notice is that God was perfectly okay with biracial marriages. Obviously, until recent history, many people had problems with this relationship, but God understood the humanity of all people. Race does not bother God; He created all of us after all. Humanity made an incredible problem because of racism, and the effects are tragically still being felt, but God was already breaking that down in this passage of scripture. That is not really the main point of what I was writing today, but I thought it was worth pointing out.
God did not react very kindly to their lack of faith in Him.
However, I was intrigued by a verse in the middle of this passage.
Num 12:2 And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.
God hears everything. This is a lot like Jonah who thought that he could run away to the ends of the earth and hide from God. The simple fact of the matter is that God is omnipresent, and, as such, He knows everything that we do.
Psa 139:7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
Psa 139:8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
Psa 139:9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Psa 139:10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
God wants to be with us, and He is with us all of the time. Although in this situation it did help expose this lack of faith, having God with us is still a good thing. Exposing our sin is a good thing because it is the only way that we can ask for forgiveness.
We are always going to make mistakes, but God will always offer us forgiveness. He sees and hears everything we do, but He loves us and wants to help us with our problems. It is nice to have a God like that.
Sometimes we think that we can take on everything by ourselves. However, eventually we realize that we can’t and need to rely on the power of God.
In Numbers chapter 11, the people of Israel were complaining because they could not have meat. God was providing manna every day, but they wanted more and told Moses in no uncertain terms about the problem.
Moses was only human, and he knew that he had not handle this on his own.
Num 11:13 Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat.
Num 11:14 I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.
He knew that he would not be able to handle everyone and everything all the time. God knew that though, and He had a plan to help Moses out.
Num 11:16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.
Num 11:17 And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.
God will bring people into our lives to help us out as well. Obviously, we can do nothing without Him, but He also uses other people empowered by Him to strengthen and support us.
I think this is illustrated in the New Testament by how the church was and is supposed to function. A diverse group of people with several different gifts are supposed to work together and complement each other’s talents. Empowered by God, they should be able to achieve the purpose of the church which was outlined by Jesus.
Mat 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Mat 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
This is important to remember. When we think that the mission is too big, God will bring people along to help us further His Kingdom on earth. All things are possible through the power of God.
It is rather interesting to read Numbers chapter 10 in hindsight. Near the end of the chapter, Moses is trying to convince his father-in-law to travel with the Israelites toward the Promised Land.
Num 10:29 And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses’ father in law, We are journeying unto the place of which the LORD said, I will give it you: come thou with us, and we will do thee good: for the LORD hath spoken good concerning Israel.
At this point, this entire statement was unknown. Obviously, through faith in God Moses knew that God was leading them to a specific place, but he didn’t know the latitude and longitude so to speak. He knew that God would provide, but he did not know how.
However, he tried to bring people with him. Moses might not have understood every detail at the time, but he understood truth about God had told him, and he wanted other people to come as well. He knew that following God works out well for anyone.
This kind of reminds me of reaching out to nonbelievers.
On the surface, we might be intimidated because we do not know everything about Christianity or everything about God. Of course, no one has ever been everything about God (outside of God). However, we might have this type of nervousness in case some type of question comes up that we are not prepared to handle.
However, if we are indeed Christians, we do have one basic truth.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
We know that we have promises from God that will last forever, and we need to be like Moses and try to bring people with us. We might not know everything about what heaven or eternity will be like, but we do know that is where we want to be in eternal fellowship with God.
On top of that, we have the Holy Spirit with us that will guide our words and help us to say what needs to be said.
It seems to be important then that we continue trying to reach out and minister to others. Even the basic promises of God should be enough to make us want people to come with us to heaven. We might not be theologians or understand every little detail of how eternity will work. However, we know that God has promised salvation to as many as believe. That should be enough for us to want to spread the Gospel.
In Numbers chapter 9, we are greeted with some very interesting thoughts about Passover. However, as it seems to be the case most of the time, the last verse of this chapter really caught my attention.
Num 9:23 At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed: they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.
The nation of Israel was operating entirely on the will of God. When God told them to move, they moved, and when He told them not to move, they didn’t move. God told Moses what to do, Moses told the people what God had said, and everyone was obedient.
I know that I wish, and I assume that I’m not alone here, that I was always this responsive to whatever God wants me to do. It is easy for me to try to rationalize and say that it was so much easier for the Israelites because they literally had God talking to them. Of course, if I had that type of proof, I would never stumble and would always follow the will of God.
However, that really isn’t much of an excuse for anyone. We have the Holy Spirit literally living inside of us, and having one part of God is just as valuable as having any other part (even though they are three distinct parts that are really all one part). The fact is that it is that we do have God with us, and the Holy Spirit will help guide us towards right decisions.
2Ti 1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
2Ti 1:14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
The Holy Spirit will help us stick to the word of God. It will help us make the decisions that we really ought to be making. It will lead us away from the things of the world and toward the things of God.
I think that we are a pretty privileged people. Even though we don’t always give God the obedience that we should and like the Israelites apparently did at this specific time in their history, He still loves us and wants us to be closer. As we grow closer, we will become more attuned to His will and live as better testimonies for Him.
Numbers chapter 8 gives us a very interesting perspective on the final plague in Egypt.
Num 8:16 For they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel; instead of such as open every womb, even instead of the firstborn of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto me.
Num 8:17 For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself.
Num 8:18 And I have taken the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel.
Basically, God is telling us that instead of taking the firstborn child of every family in Israel, the tribe of Levi is His.
I thought that it was a very interesting to mention both the tribe of Levi and those that died in Egypt. Obviously, all the children in Israel did not physically die because their families did what they had to. You can remember all of this from everything we talked about in Exodus. However, on that day, God said that He sanctified the firstborn of Israel to be His.
This is a lot like salvation. When we are saved, we are dead to our old sins and slaves to righteousness.
Rom 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Rom 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
After this process, we have been claimed by God as His own children. We are no longer bound to our sinful past, and we can move forward into a future that involves a greater relationship with God.
We are claimed by God as His property, and it is a great place to be. He will keep us safe and secure for all of eternity.
Isa 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
I think that living through Numbers chapter 7 must have been pretty awesome to say the least. Moses had an amazing privilege at the end of the chapter.
Num 7:89 And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.
Moses was able to be in the tabernacle and talk to God in person. Of course, he had already seen the back of God, but I imagine this experience must have been pretty cool as well.
However, as I thought more about this experience and how exceptional it must have been, I realized that we have the Bible today, and because it is the Word of God, we can have a similar experience.
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
I was also thinking that Jesus was referred to as the Word, and since He is our intermediary whenever we pray, we still have this type of relationship with God. We can talk to him as well.
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
Therefore, even though we probably don’t conversationally speak to God like Moses seems to have been able to, the important part is that we still have ways to interact with God. Because He is unchangeable, He hasn’t gone anywhere. He is still there, and He is still just as powerful and loving as He was with Moses and the Israelites.
Though the means may be different, the end result is the same, and we should be grateful that God wants to develop a relationship with us and help us draw nearer to Him. That is a wonderful privilege.
First of all, happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I hope that you all have something great to do with family today.
Numbers chapter 6 is not necessarily a typical Thanksgiving passage, but I still have a pretty uplifting thought for today.
Num 6:22 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Num 6:23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
Num 6:24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
Num 6:25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
Num 6:26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Num 6:27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.
If you think about all of the things listed in these verses, the people of Israel had an awful lot to be thankful for. God was going to bless them, keep them, let his face shine upon them, and be gracious to them, and ultimately give them peace.
What’s not to like about that?
Today, we have the same relationship with God. When we are a child of His and abide in Him, He will do all of these things for us.
God is good all the time, and we should praise a lot more than we do. Even if we are praising for 23 hours a day, it should be a continual activity. Our entire life should be full of praise for who God is, what God has done, and what He will do.
Psa 34:1 A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed. I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Psa 150:1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
Psa 150:2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
Psa 150:3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
Psa 150:4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
Psa 150:5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
Psa 150:6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
I hope that you all have an excellent Thanksgiving, and I hope that we all can take time to thank God for everything that He has done for us.