March 15, 2013

Today you should read: Numbers 12

When I was a punk in middle school, I used to have that “stick it to the man” type attitude that I see in many other people who question any type of authority today. I was “that guy” who would deface property with anarchy signs and wear Rage Against The Machine t-shirts once a week. I guess Miriam and Aaron were in my camp. In Numbers 12, we see them bringing up charges with their Biblical authority (Moses) with an underlying motive. That underlying motive is found here in vs. 2:

 And they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?

For obvious reasons, God wasn’t too happy about it. To tell you the truth, I’m pretty sure God is just as unhappy about our lack of respect or honor in Biblical authority in today’s church. At one time the pastor was a pillar in the community, respected and honored by all, whether the people believed in Jesus or not. Today we are mocked and made out to be money hungry, hypocritical, bigoted people who abuse their authority – all in the name of Jesus. Those labels can come with the calling and a few bad examples and I’m ok with that. What rubs me the wrong way is exactly what happens in Numbers 12. When the very people you shepherd and will be held accountable for (and for whom you have spent many nights ministering to, praying for, and counseling) question your authority and try to rebel. With this being said, here are a couple of pointers from this chapter on what to do with Biblical authority:

  1. Before questioning or accusing a church leader with sin, check your own motives. (vs. 1-2)  I understand that pastors and church leaders will sin and need to be held accountable. The last thing I would want is a Roman Catholic ranking system where religious figures have little accountability from their flock. However as you noticed, the heart of Miriam and Aaron’s accusations wasn’t about Moses’ wife but was about his God given position.
  2. When being questioned or accused as a church leader, stay humble.  (vs. 3) Moses was described as meek when questioned by his people and I believe this is the exact opposite of how some church leaders act when first being accused about something. God is sovereign and just; your pride does nothing but hinder what God wants to do in the situation.
  3. God will be the final judge. (vs. 4-16). By God’s grace, I haven’t had a lot of people question my calling or position of church leadership under false motives. But I’ve heard a lot of stories and have seen a lot of church splits because of them. In the end, I know one thing; God will be the final judge of those people and those leaders. As I mentioned to the church leader when tempted to get prideful, He’s sovereign and just. Even when we receive messy and unjust results in the situation, God will use it to glorify Himself and we can trust in that.

Before trying to point out the sawdust in your pastor or ministry leader’s eye, have you measured and dealt with the plank in yours? (Matthew 7:3)

Posted by: Erik Koliser

March 14, 2013

Today you should read: Numbers 11

What a neat chapter!  So much drama!!  Lots of things for us to talk about.

As you know, the children of Israel are on their trek across the desert of Sinai.  God has provided a leader to guide them out of Egypt, He has moved in Pharaoh’s heart to release the major part of his slave workforce, He’s parted the Red Sea to make a way of escape while drowning the Egyptian army, He’s provided food in the form of manna, and much more.  But that doesn’t seem to be enough!

Just a side note… if you’ve ever wondered what manna looks like – verse 7 tells us it looked like coriander seeds and was pale yellow.  Although we don’t have a picture – it looked something like this:

coriander

(These are coriander seeds)

 Lessons we can learn from Numbers 11…

  • God doesn’t like our complaining much… v.1, v.10 – instead He much prefers an Attitude of Gratitude (v.4b-6) Do you have a heart of gratefulness for all He’s done?  I know the Israelites seem ridiculous in not recognizing God’s blessings – but sometimes we’re the same way.  He’s given us freedom, food, houses, cars, education, exposure to the Gospel, churches, family, and on and on the list goes.  How’s your attitude of gratitude?  Or are you a complainer?
  • The prayers of a righteous man accomplish much (v.2) [James 5:16].  Do you want your prayers to be powerful and effective?  Walk with God and they will be – God promises!

 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  John 15:7 

  • Be careful of the influence of others you hang with.  Their influence is powerful in your life.  (v.4)
  • Help in the ministry… Thank God for humble servant-leaders who serve His Kingdom and His church!  (v.16-17)
  • God provides.  He always does – He’s the Provider. (v.18-32)  How has God provided for you today.  Stop and thank Him.

Posted by: Tim Parsons

March 13, 2013

Today you should read: Numbers 10

God has now given the people of Israel structure, laws and regulations and shown them how to set up the tabernacle and worship Him. The people are now ready to leave Mount Sinai and head toward the Promised Land. The cloud lifts and begins to move ahead. The people, split into tribes with leaders of each march onward toward the promise land. They are starting relatively well. They did make a big mistake with the golden calf but now they have turned away from that and they are following the Lord (the ark and the cloud) and trusting in Him to lead them and to use Moses (God’s leader) to guide them as they make way for the Promised Land.

So what can we learn from this passage today?

Two big things stick out to me here:

  1. God gives us second chances

The people were very quick to turn from God to a golden calf. God had just done some amazing miracles to free the people of Israel and lead them to a wonderful land He would give them. But the people were quick to forget all God had done for them and turn to idols. God allows them a second chance to repent and turn back to Him. God does this for us as well. In Christ, we have all the chances we need to turn back to Him when we fail. This is not a license to sin but rather a safety net when we fall (Psalm 37:23-24)

  1. God wants to lead us to a better place

God had a wonderful plan and a wonderful place prepared for His people. All they had to do is listen, obey and follow Him and they would have had a wonderful place and been completely secure, protected from their enemies forever. We shall see what happens later in the story to find out how they fair. There may be someone reading this post that knows the Lord but is not fully obeying or following Him. Not to spoil the rest of the story, but when we stop obeying and following the Lord bad things come about for us. As Pastor Tim often says, “Things work best when we do them God’s way.”  So find what is in your life that is not God’s way and change it.

There may also be someone reading this who does not know Jesus as Savior and Lord. Maybe you know you don’t and are just curious about this Jesus guy. Maybe you think you do because you are a good person, go to church, have been baptized or something else other than through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Either way, my encouragement to you from today’s reading is this: God prepared a place for His people and it was a wonderful place. But now He is preparing an unimaginably greater place for His people, one that will last forever. Will you go there? Do you know the way? (John 14:1-7)

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

March 12, 2013

Today you should read: Numbers 9

Numbers 9-1-14:  If you compare the dates given in Numbers 9:1 and 1:1, you can see that this passage refers to events during the month before the census orders were given.  Verses 1-14 are about the second Passover celebration.  Whoever did not celebrate the Passover was cut off from among the Israelites, God’s people.  Now is a good time for a reminder of what Passover is:

“Passover is the religious festival that celebrates the deliverance of Israel from the bondage of the Egyptians.  When the Jews were in slavery to the Egyptians the Lord raised up Moses to be their deliverer.  Moses told the Pharaoh about the plagues that would descend upon the Egyptian people if Pharaoh would not let God‘s people go.  Of course, pharaoh refused and the plagues hit Egypt with a fury.  The last plague was the death of the first born of each family who lived in Egypt.  Since the Jews lived in Egypt, they were subject to this plague the same as the Egyptians.  However, the Lord provided a means of protection.  If they would take the blood of a lamb and spread it over the doorposts of their homes, the Lord would “pass over” them and the firstborn in their homes would be spared.”—Matt Slick

The Passover is an obvious representation of Christ, who was to come and redeem God’s people to Himself.  Christ came to earth, lived a sinless life, was crucified as a blood sacrifice, buried and rose again victorious over death.  Today, we know that those who do not celebrate the Messiah by accepting Him as Lord and Savior are cut off from God.  Only those who accept His gracious gift have the right to be called children of God (John 1:12).

Lord, thank you for giving me salvation and counting me as one of your children.  Because of Christ’s blood, your wrath has passed over me! Amen.

Numbers 9:15-23:  There was a cloud during the day and a fire at night that God used to guide the Israelites.  When the cloud or fire was present, they were to stay where they were.  If the cloud or fire was lifted, they would set out until the cloud settled and covered the tabernacle.  God gave them instruction about when to stay put and when to move.  They followed the instructions, whether they were to stay put for months or short periods.

As I read this today, I was reminded of the need to be attentive to God’s direction in my life.  He is the leader of my life and I want to go when He wants me to go and stay put when He wants me to stay put.  Sometimes that is difficult because I get impatient.  I want to know what He wants me to do, where He wants me to go, and how He wants me to do something NOW.

Lord, teach me to know your ways and how to follow you. Teach me to be attentive to the Spirit’s guidance in my life. Amen.

Posted by: Rich Duffield