Miracles of Jesus

Miracles of Jesus

40 Days in the Wilderness

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Day 15 (Numbers 15)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

In today’s reading God gives His law regarding the offering of sacrifices. Each offering had its regulations – just another reminder that our God is a God of specifics. In this detailed chapter we find grace and judgment. Those who sinned unintentionally could offer certain offerings and their sin would be forgiven (v. 24-26). However one who sinned intentionally, knowing it was wrong and doing it anyway, would be cut off from the people (v. 30-31). Then there’s a vivid example of a man breaking the law – working on the Sabbath day (v. 32-34). It makes you wonder – did he just forget? Did he get distracted with his to-do list? Did he just ignore the law thinking, “It’s no big deal.” All we know is that he disobeyed God and was punished for it.

One of the ways God’s people were to be holy (set apart) like God was through keeping His law (v. 40). I found v. 38 interesting – the creating of tassels on the corner of their garments to remind them not to follow their own hearts/desires, but to follow/keep God’s commands. Do you have reminders in your life? Do you have something that calls your attention to God’s law? It may seem elementary, but it’s worth considering – do I forget God’s law? What would help me remember God and His law? Post-it notes in the car, on the fridge, on the mirror? Daily goals like memorizing a passage each day? Sermons on my ipod/on the CD I listen to in the car on the way to work? The Lord’s Supper is a memorial established for this very purpose – remembering Jesus and His sacrifice (1 Cor. 11: 23-26). If you’re like Israel, you might need a simple reminder, something to redirect your attention to God and His words. Don’t forget. Be holy. Be obedient. Let God’s word direct your steps.

Holy Father, I admit what You know to be true, I tend to forget Your way, Your words, Your commands. I let the desires of my heart lead my paths when I should be led by Your words. Help me to remember. Help me to be like You – holy – set apart in mind, will, and action – shaped and molded by Your words. I love Your words – they are sweet and soothing to the soul like honey from the honeycomb. Thank You for giving Your words. Give me a hunger for Your words, and help me to work to remember them and Your will each day. 

Day 14 (Numbers 14)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Rebelling Against Moses
 
Following the report of the ten spies in Numbers 10, unbelief and discouragement spread rapidly from heart to heart, and before long, “all the congregation lifted up their voice and cried; and the people wept that night” ( No. 14:1,2,0.) The next day the whole congregation criticized Moses and Aaron lamenting the fact that the nation hadn’t perished in Egypt or in the wilderness. Their eyes were on themselves and their circumstances, they lost perspective and said ridiculous things.
 
The Jews had a long history of complaining against God and His leaders. Their murmuring began on the night of the Exodus when they were sure Pharaoh’s army was going to kill them (Ex.  14:10-14). As Israel entered the wilderness of Shur, they complained because they did not have enough to drink (Ex. 15:22:2-27).  They, they murmured because they missed the delicious meals that were provided in Egypt (Ex. 16). “Would that we had died in Egypt” was their favorite lament.
 
The nation is weeping over their plight that had been caused by their own unbelief.  They blamed God and cried for a new leader to return them to Egypt (No. 14:3-4). Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb tried to get them to change their minds. Moses and Aaron even interceded for them. Joshua and Caleb spoke to the people and assured them God had promised them the land.
 
The ten unbelieving spies argued that the land of Canaan “would eat them up” (No. 13:32). Joshua and Caleb saw it differently. The saw the Canaanites as easily conquered (No. 14:9).  The Jews did not appreciate what Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb were trying to tell them. They decided to try to stone them all
 
When we walk by sight, we often lack the sense to know who our real friends are and we turn against those who can help us the most.
 
As a result of their unbelief all age twenty and over would not enter the Promised Land. Moses would lead the world’s longest funeral procession. Joshua and Caleb would enter the land.
 

Day 13 (Numbers 13)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Today the spies are sent into the land! What an exciting time for Israel this must have been. Finally they're there. Finally they will enter into this land of milk and honey. Surely they must have wondered what it’s like. They must have all said, "I can’t wait to see if for myself." They might not have had any of these thoughts, but I’m sure their anticipation was great, that is until the spies return with a different story. The land certainly lived up to it’s description (v. 27), however the land was filled with strong armies. In fact there were giants in the land who made the men feel like grasshoppers (v. 33). Remember Goliath – mighty warrior standing over 9 feet tall? Imagine many Goliaths. Standing in the way of Israel and their promised land were an army of giants.

The 10 spies report was correct – they were like grasshoppers in the sight of the giants, and that on their own they could not overcome the strength of their enemies (v. 31). But what about God? Had they forgotten Egypt and the 10 plagues? Had they forgotten the Red Sea? What about when they won the battle against Amalek? Yes, on their own this would seem like a lost cause, but what about the pillar of cloud and fire that led them here?

Do you see the question worth considering today? Where’s the source of your strength? In whom do you place your faith/trust? Is it in yourself? Your job? Your family? If so you’ll likely feel afraid when you face your giants. But remember that yes, on my own I’m weak, but it is in my weakness I recognize my need and my source of strength and that’s God! The older you get the more you’re reminded of the frailty in humanity (2 Cor. 4:16), but my frailty reminds me of who brings the victory, and that is My God (2 Cor. 12:9-10).

Powerful, almighty God – You are great, so strong and so mighty, there is nothing You cannot do. I know this to be true because You have shown it to be true. From Your mighty works of old, to Your daily care, even the wonders of creation continue to remind me of Your greatness. I trust in You. Though I am weak, I know You are strong. I can face the storms of life, and conquer the giants of doubt through You, my Rock, my Strength, my Shield. The battle and the victory belong to You!

Day 12 (Numbers 12)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Moses, Aaron and Miriam
 
People in places of leadership know that problems often come in clusters of two or three. Satan is alive and busy and sinful people fight against the holy will of God. Just about the time the Lord helps you overcome one crisis, another one appears.
 
In Numbers 12, Moses, Aaron and Miriam were a team sent by God to help lead Israel (Micha 6:4). God has used Miriam to save Moses, her younger brother (Ex. 2:1-10). She was also a prophetess who lead the Jewish women in praising God (Ex. 15:20-21). Aaron was the older brother appointed by God not only to assist Moses in confronting Pharaoh but to serve as the first high priest. Everybody in Israel knew Moses, Aaron and Miriam were chosen by God, but that Moses was the leader.
 
However, there was rebellion that came from Moses’ own family, that is, Miriam and Aaron. It began when Miriam differed with Moses over his wife. Miriam eventually got around to her real complaint. Was Moses the only spokesperson for God? Didn’t Miriam and Aaron also have the right to declare God’s word?  In questioning Moses’ authority and God’s will, Miriam and Aaron were acting just like the people of Israel. Moses didn’t answer them or try to vindicate himself. He left the defense to God. This was one evidence of his meekness. Meekness is not weakness. It is power under control.
 
God heard their words and saw their evil motives and acted swiftly before the sin spread among the people.
 
God made it clear that Moses was more than a prophet. He made it clear that He communicated with Moses personally. Aaron and Miriam had their assigned roles but Moses was God’s chosen leader of Israel. It was God who gave Moses that place and authority. It was wicked for Miriam to challenge Moses. Miriam paid the price. She was afflicted with leprosy.
 
It is a serious thing to be a spiritual leader, for the great honor, the greater responsibility. Leadership is not about the leader. It is about the leading for the good of the people. For those under that delegated authority it is vitally important that the role assigned by God to the spiritual leader be respected.  Moses will write, “Remember what the Lord did to Miriam on the way when you came out of Egypt” (Dt. 24:9).  There is a terrible price to pay for rebelling, not against those who are delegated the authority, but God who delegated that authority.
 
Also, when leaders are attacked from within, they cannot vindicate themselves or defend themselves. In Moises’ case, God did. Absent God’s direct defense, it requires those who know the leader will stand up to defend him against such self- evident self-serving accusations. Sadly, it may end up being like Paul, where not one stands to defend. But, as with Moses and Paul, God knows and He will exact His judgment against those who attack His delegated representatives.

Day 11 (Numbers 11)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

This reading shows us a low point for God’s people. They’ve started up their journey towards Canaan, surrounded by the blessings of God – the God who was leading them, providing their food and protection, even their shoes and clothes were not wearing out. Despite all these blessings Israel begins to complain. The main complaint in this chapter is over food – more specifically meat (v. 4). This wasn’t a humble request for a different type of food. These words were words of greed (v. 4, 34), words of ingratitude towards God and His deliverance (v. 20). Their lack of faith in God to provide and care for them even rubbed off on Moses who wondered how God would provide meat for so much people (v. 21-22). Verse 23 is worth remembering – “Is the Lord’s power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.”

There was a situation in Mark 5 like this. Jarius had a daughter that was dying, and before Jesus could arrive she died. Jarius was told, “Your daughter has died, why trouble the Teacher anymore?” It’s too late, you weren’t quick enough, this is beyond Jesus, why bother. Jesus responds, “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.” (Mark 5:35).

Here’s your question for today – who’s voice are you listening to? Are you listening to the voice of doubt that says, “it’s too late, I can never recover, I can’t change, things can’t improve, my marriage is doomed, my children are too far gone, etc.? Or are you hearing the voice of God who says, “Don’t be afraid, only believe.” Paul reminds us God is able to do beyond what we ask or think (Eph. 3:20-21). Don’t listen to the voice of doubt, the voice of ingratitude, of envy or jealousy. Satan’s lie is that you can never be satisfied where you are with what you have. Paul said He knows the secret of contentment, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). If God could rescue Israel from Egypt, provide a path through the sea when the way seemed lost; if God could guide and care for His people in times past, I know He can satisfy the desires of my heart, and provide for my every need.

Gracious and patient Lord, thank You for all You have done for me. You have rescued my soul, forgiven me of my sins through the blood of Your Son. You have given me all that I have, and have cared for me. All that I have and am is through You. Forgive me of when I listen to the voice of doubt which questions Your goodness, Your will, Your power. You have shown through Your word that You are the almighty, all-powerful creator of the world, and that You provide and care for Your people. You are my strength and my song. You are my hearts desire. Help me to find my satisfaction in You.

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