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Archive for July, 2011

No King

Scripture:

Judges 21:25 – In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.

Observation:

We need God to be our king.

Application:

The stories in the book of Judges are awful. Really… you start wondering why God would include them in His book. The one that really stood out this morning was the story of the raped concubine. I’ll save you the recap… you can read it if you want … Judges 19… Suffice it to say that no one comes off looking good in this story. No one. Not even God. The story leaves you wondering why God is not judging this awful sin… and there is plenty of sin to go around: the Levite, the concubine, the father of the concubine, the old man who offered his home, the men of Gibeah… it goes on and on. Why do I say that God doesn’t even look good? He is silent on a lot of the sin. He judges some of it, but not all of it. Finally… at the end of the book… one of the phrases that is said at the beginning of chapter 18 and 19 is explained. The phrase is, “In those days Israel had no king.” God explains it with the last sentence in Judges. He says, “everyone did as he saw fit.” For most people, doing whatever you want to do sounds like freedom. The stories in the book of Judges show the folly of that thought. Whatever we see fit, when our thoughts are not shaped by God’s holiness, is evil. Evil thoughts lead to evil deeds. These stories are supposed to shock us. They are supposed to show us what a life not surrendered to the holiness of God looks like. It isn’t pretty.

One of the beautiful things about reading through the Bible in 90 days is that I am reading more Bible than I usually read in a single sitting. It caused me to read the story of Ruth and Boaz immediately following all that disgusting stuff from Judges. The story of Ruth and Boaz is a beautiful Old Testament picture of what Jesus will do for us on the cross. Jesus is our kinsman redeemer. He is our Boaz. It was also a beautiful reminder that God is not silent on our sin. He has not missed one single act of rebellion. He has punished it thoroughly on the cross. For those who trust in Jesus, He has taken the punishment we deserve. He was crushed for our iniquity. Praise God, Jesus is our kinsman redeemer. He has done for us what we could not do for ourselves. Praise Him.

Prayer:

Thank you, Father, for the sacrifice you gave to pay for my sin. Thank you that you have not treated me as I deserve, but instead have lavished grace and mercy on me. Help me point people to the only source of grace and mercy that exists… your Son, Jesus.

 

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Scripture

Numbers 27:12-17

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go up this mountain in the Abarim range and see the land I have given the Israelites. After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, for when the community rebelled at the waters in the Desert of Zin, both of you disobeyed my command to honor me as holy before their eyes.”  (These were the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin). Moses said to the LORD, “May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the LORD’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”

Observation

We should care about God’s people like He cares for them

Application

Sometime back God showed me something I hadn’t really seen before. I was studying the passage where Moses makes his huge mistake and God tells him he will not be allowed to enter the promised land. You remember the story… the people are grumbling because they don’t have water (see previous entry on what God thinks about that)… and Moses gets instruction from God to speak to the rock to provide water for His people. Moses instead strikes the rock with his staff, and water gushes forth. But God tells Moses that because he didn’t treat Him as holy in front of His people, he will not get to bring his people into the land.

At first glance, this seems a little harsh of God. Moses wasn’t perfectly obedient, to be sure. But it seems harsh of God to deny him entrance to the promised land just because he struck the rock instead of speaking to it as God commanded. Keep in mind also that in times previous God had asked him to strike the rock to bring water. What God showed me about this incident was that God was not bringing those consequences merely for disobedience to revealed commands (although He could and be perfectly just), but because Moses had an attitude of contempt for God’s people. Moses was sick to death of the Israelites complaining, and he struck the rock out of anger and contempt and disdain. God didn’t like that attitude… and he judged it. We don’t get to be the judge over God’s people. That is His role, and He doesn’t like it when we try to take His place.

So… this passage this morning really was eye opening for me. God brings up Moses’ biggest failure (if you don’t count murdering the Egyptian), and Moses responds by asking God to appoint a man to shepherd the people. God’s chastisement of Moses had done its job. Moses’ heart now was functioning correctly.  He cares about what God cares about.

Prayer

Father, help me to see when I have an attitude of disdain for your people. Who am I to have that kind of attitude? Forgive me when I have been quick to be exasperated. Help me see that the God they need is the same God I need daily.

 

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Scripture:

Numbers 11:1 Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.

Observation:

The LORD takes the complaining of the heart seriously.

Application:

The people of Israel are known for their grumbling and complaining. But, let’s face it. I’m not any different. In fact, I can make a pretty good case that I am far worse. I sleep and work and live in climate controlled buildings. I am rarely hungry unless by my own will I forego food for the purpose of losing a few pounds. I enter a closet full of an array of choices for clothing my body. The moment I start to feel sick I head to a store full of medicines that will relieve my suffering.  I could continue, but I’ll stop for now. You get the point. How quickly I turn to grumbling when there is some bit of “suffering”. Let’s not even talk about real suffering for a moment… just something not happening that I would like.

Yesterday I was leaving work and heading to Sonic with 5 minutes of “happy hour” left in the day. A half-price Powerade slushy was what I decided I needed to finish off my work day. As I pulled away from the stoplight, I was sick to see police lights in my rearview mirror.  I turned the car off the road and found out from the nice policeman that my vehicle registration had expired in April. Did I grumble in my heart? Ummm… yeah… And it occurred to me that I was more upset that the policeman was doing his job than I was at my disorganization that led to the error. How messed up is that?

As I was reading these very words in Numbers this morning, I could sense a grumbling going on in my own heart. The irony was not lost on me. The words from the passage “in the hearing of the LORD” jumped out at me. What is not within the hearing of the LORD? I feel like I’ve done something if I can just keep the words from spilling off my lips. But the attitude is there. It’s in my heart. I feel wronged. The LORD is withholding something good that I need and desire. Am I not rebelling in that very moment? I am telling the LORD He is not good, He is not wise, and that He needs some help from me to run the universe. How offensive that is to a holy, good, loving and merciful Father. He’s withheld judgment from me for sins I have committed. He has placed the wrath I deserve on Jesus and given me His righteousness. Anything I receive from Him is a mercy. He owes me nothing. I owe Him everything. He is enough, no matter what the situation.

Prayer:

Father, thank you for your mercy. You are so good to me. Your goodness extends to Your willingness to let me experience the consequences of my own sin. Yet even in that, You do not leave me to experience it by myself. You are with me throughout everything that comes my way. Please continue to show me my inner attitudes and transform this heart that is quick to grumble into a heart that is grateful and thankful for each and every mercy.

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The First One

Okay… this is intimidating. The first blog post ever ought to be profound. Of course, if you are looking for profound you probably should be reading a different blog. The whole reason that this blog exists at the moment is to help me process what I am learning through reading the Bible through in 90 days. I stumbled across a site that was organizing an event to read through the Bible, and I decided to join them. The site was Mom’s Toolbox and it has really been a great source of encouragement.

Every day we read about 12 pages of the Bible, and it takes about an hour. Once a week, we check-in on the Mom’s Toolbox site to let our group leader know where we are in the reading. So far, so good. I’ve been tweeting a verse each day that jumps out to me as significant. Additionally, I want to process through in more depth some of the things God is showing me. I am on week 2 of the 90 day read through, so I’m just going to start where I am.

Scripture: Lev 3:13 “He is to lay his hand on its head and slaughter it in front of the Tent of Meeting.”

Observation: By the sinner’s own hand, he slaughters the sacrifice.

Application: The reading today was Leviticus 1 – 14. It was all about how to perform the prescribed sacrifice to atone for sin. I should probably go back and count how many times and how many ways God said this. The overwhelming feeling upon reading all of this is that sin is awful. How could we have any other feeling? You have to take an animal that is without blemish and put a knife to it’s throat (actually… I’m not sure how the animal was killed), and slice it open. That’s awful. I don’t think I can even imagine what that must have been like to do that day after day.

Today, the weight of sin fell on me again. God prescribed the offender to do the killing to atone for the sin. The sinner had to put his hands on the animal, and then use the knife. There is no other way to really repent. To put it in New Testament terms, you own your sin (put your hands on the sacrifice), and acknowledge that you killed Jesus (our spotless lamb). Really, really sobering. How can we sin casually if we get this? Yet, I know that I do. I sin and it doesn’t even bother me. Thankfully, not all the time, but more than I want.

Prayer: Father, forgive me for my sin and for my casual attitude towards my sin. Remind me each time what it costs to have my sin atoned. Please renew in me a heart that desires holiness in my inner being.

 

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