Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Proverbs 27:15
Read the “0224 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.” – (Numbers 25:6-8)
In Numbers 25, we have a very strange story. It seems that as the people of Israel were sojourning in the land of Moab on their way to the Promised Land, some of the men began to get cozy with the women of Moab. God had a big problem with this for several reasons; but the main reason is that these women were not Jews by birth or by conversion. They were an idolatrous people, having entirely different standards of morality as well as an idolatrous system of worship. It wasn’t long before the people of God began to participate in the sacrifices to these false gods. This was a violation of God’s sternest warning to the people when they left Egypt. The Israelites were to be a separated people. God didn’t want them to fellowship with any other people because He knew that they would eventually turn the Jews away from Him.
God was furious with the people, and He wanted Moses to do something in order to purge this idolatry out of the camp of Israel. Eventually, a strange thing happens. A man took a Midianitish woman into his tent in the sight of Moses. I do not think they were going in there to have a Bible study. Anyway, this was also witnessed by one of the priests: a man named Phinehas; and he, in his zeal for the Lord, went into the tent and thrust a spear through both the man and the woman at the same time. At first glance, we might think that God would not support this kind of action, but on the contrary, He is very pleased with it; and He rewards Phinehas and his family for doing it. Why? Because what Phinehas did served two purposes. First, it appeased the wrath of God, and secondly, it sent a strong message to the people of Israel to stay away from the inhabitants of the land. God is a jealous God.
By the way, these people were from the land of Moab. Remember yesterday’s blog about Balaam. Balak, the king of Moab wanted Balaam to curse the children of Israel. Balaam was unable to do this because God would not allow it, but it appears that the people of Moab were able to as much damage to Israel by fellowshipping with them as they could have done by fighting them. We really need to be careful who we fellowship with. My preacher used to say: “we are now, or we soon will be, who we hang around.” I believe that is a true statement more often than not.
I believe that today our churches are being inundated with sin and compromise. Most of God’s people, including many preachers, are looking the other way. We have almost given up the fight against sin. We need a Phinehas today, that will stand up and send a strong, yet loving message against it. We need some bold Christians that will stand against the incoming tide of immorality and cultural idolatry that is flooding the lives of the people of God.
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” – (Ephesians 5:11)
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” – (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
Posted in Thoughts from Numbers by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Proverbs 3:5 & 6
Read the “0223 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.” (Numbers 22:12)
“And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?” – (Numbers 22:28)
“Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.” – (2 Peter 2:15 – 16)
“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” – (Jude 1:11)
Chapter 22 of the Book of Numbers presents a very interesting and familiar story of a mule that was given by God the ability to speak audibly to her owner, Balaam. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to carefully read the passage in order to get the most out of what I am about to say. Besides, what God says in His Word is far more important that what I will say in this blog, so don’t skip the reading.
Anyway, in this passage we have the prophet Balaam, who is living in the land of the Moabites. Why he lived there and not with the people of God is a mystery. The king of the Moabites is watching very closely the nation of Israel as they are sojourning very close to his border. He wants them out, so he goes to the man of God and asks him to place a curse upon Israel. He doesn’t go himself, however, he sends some of his princes to do his bidding. After hearing their request, Balaam inquires of the Lord, and the Lord tells him not to go with these men, and not to speak anything against Israel because they are a nation blessed by God. Balaam the prophet goes to the men and gives them God’s answer. The men return a short while later and press him to reconsider. Now this is where Balaam begins to err. He already asked God, and God had already said no; but the princes promise him if that he would go with him, their king would give him great honor and a lot of money. Now, he should have just repeated what God had already told him; but instead he tells them that he will go back and ask God again. He wanted God to give him what he had already been told that he wasn’t going to get. Balaam’s problem is that he really wants God to curse the Israelites, because it would mean that he would receive great riches from this Moabite king. God is not at all pleased with Balaam, but he allows him to go. He permits him to do what is in his heart. He was not permitted to curse Israel, but he was permitted to cozy up with the enemies of Israel, and receive the rewards that came with it. So, I ask you the question: which one was the real jackass?
This is not the only time in the Bible that God has permitted things that were against His will. He gave Israel a king because they kept asking for one, even though He knew that it wasn’t what was best for them. Notice another example of God granting the continual request of a complaining people when the Israelites complained to God as they wandered in the wilderness:
“They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” (Psalm 106:13-15)
I know many people today who keep asking God for things that are clearly against His will. Why don’t we just take “no” for an answer. God knows what is best for us. Don’t keep pestering him to give you what He has already closed the door on. Too many Christians are practically breaking doors down that God has chosen to keep closed.
Posted in Thoughts from Numbers by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song –Proverbs 27:15
“And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD! And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink. And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them.” (Numbers 20:2-13)
Good morning. Here we have a situation where the children of Israel were thirsting and needed water for themselves and their livestock. So what did they do? They complained to their leader. What did their leader do? He fell on his face before the LORD. What did God do? He gave them water. Even though the people rebelled and Moses ruined the picture God was painting by striking the rock instead of just speaking to it, He still gave them water.
“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16)
“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:12-13)
God was painting a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world. And Moses smudge the painting. That happens many times when we step in and try to do God’s job on our own. As a result, Moses and Aaron were not allowed to cross over into the promised land. It is easy for us to get ahead of God. We want, we want, and try to get it on our own. Even when God has it already prepared for us.
“From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:1-3)
We have not because we ask not. God told Moses to speak to the rock. God said to pray.
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
Pray like Elisha…
“And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.” (2Kings 2:11-14)
Pray like Jonah…
“Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” (Jonah 2:1-10)
Pray like King David…
“To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.” (Psalm 51:1-19)
Pray like Job…
“And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job. And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:7-10)
And most of all pray like Jesus prayed…
“Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” (Matthew 26:36-42)
Pray that whatever your need, it is God’s will. If it is, He will deliver either now or later.
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 121
Read the “0221 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.” – (Numbers 16:48)
The passages of Scripture that we have been reading the past few days tell the story of the Nation of Israel as they travelled through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. The trip should have taken them only a few weeks, but because of their lack of faith in God they were sentenced to wander for 40 long years until those that doubted the power of God were weeded out. In fact, only two of the original group of adults that left Egypt would actually cross over into the the land Canaan. This travelling group of Israelites was not only fearful and faithless, they were also very “fed up”; and their discontentment caused them to grumble. Now grumbling is a sin which the Lord absolutely hates. In fact, I think if you were to carefully study the Bible, you would discover that God killed more of His people for grumbling and griping than He did for any other reason.
Not only did they complain because of their discontentment, they also challenged the God-given leadership of Moses and Aaron. They thought Moses “[took] too much upon [him]“, meaning that Moses was making himself a lord over God’s heritage. I dealt with this rebellion of Korah and others in another post. (Click here to view post)
My thought this morning, however, is found in verse 48 of chapter 16. Notice there that it says that Moses stood between the living and the dead. It seems that no matter how bad the people got in their lack of faith, their fear, and their discontented complaining, Moses never stopped interceding to God on their behalf. There were times that God wanted to wipe them all out and start over again building a new nation from the seed of Moses; but Moses always reminded God of His covenant with Israel, and He always begged God to forgive them. He reminds me of another man, named Jesus, Who years later was rejected, beaten, and hung on a Cross, yet one of the last phrases that came out of His mouth was “forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”. And then later there was a man, named Stephen, who was preaching Christ to the Israelites who in turn stoned him to death; but here again, this man interceded on their behalf and said, “lay not this sin to their charge”. These men all stood between the living and the dead.
We get a chance to stand between the living and the dead in this generation also. We can intercede to God through prayer on behalf of a people that do not yet know Him. We can also go to them bringing the truth of the Gospel, which if received will restore their broken relationship with God. Oh that we would be more like Moses, Stephen, and especially Jesus, and stand for the Lord in middle of a generation of people who are dead spiritually, interceding for them and proclaiming to them the Truth that will bring them life.
Posted in Thoughts from Numbers by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 119:105
Read the “0220 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from today’s reading: “Obstacles.”
“The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.” (Numbers 14:18)
Like many of us, I read the verses in Numbers that tell of all the complaining of the congregation, and what seems to be a lack of trust in God and / or their leaders; and I wonder how in the world all those people could so quickly forget how God had saved them from slavery and blessed them and protected them… and I think My Goodness how could they so quickly forget the miracles they had seen and experienced??..
BUT THEN, I realize that I can’t be so high & mighty because in fact, aren’t we the same way? I know I am.. They complained and whined but don’t we do that too? I know I do… And they had no self-control.. but I struggle with self-control sometimes too..
Perhaps the root of their doubt and disappointment was really that way down deep they thought; “I’m not really worthy that God would do all this for me?” I’m not qualified; I’m not capable; I’m fearful of change; Can anyone else relate or is it just me? I even struggled with trying to contribute to this Blog and I lack confidence in having enough wisdom and knowledge and ability to place the right words on paper to make a good thought. Doesn’t the Devil know exactly how to scare us and frustrate us; cause us to doubt and worry, and complain and whine?? He can certainly get into my head and cause me to self-doubt, to tell me that I’m in that other part of Gideon’s army that he sent back to their tents; not the final chosen 300 to fight the good fight (Judges 7:8).
Thank you, Lord, for your forgiveness; to the Israelites of old and to us today. Thank you for your longsuffering and patience; your love even though we also complain and whine and doubt, just way too often.
Remember He is Our God.. Numbers 15:41
Fear not..Num 14:8-9
II Tim 1:7
Listen to Steve Green sing: “Find Us Faithful“
Posted in Devotions by Debbie Leatherman with 4 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 92:1 – 4
Read the “0219 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.” (Numbers 11:1)
Boy, I hope that you enjoyed today’s reading as much as I did! Sometimes when we read these Old Testament passages, especially the chapters containing the genealogies, they can be less interesting and lacking of action, but that was certainly not the case for Numbers 11 – 13.
In Numbers 11, we have an account of the people of God murmuring and complaining, which is something they did often, and God hated it. Anyway, here in chapter eleven they are complaining about the manna that God provided for them everyday. Imagine not having to work for your food, but simply going out every morning and gathering it up from off of the ground. We do not know exactly what manna tasted like, but I’d bet it was good; and since it came directly from God as bread from Heaven, I can guarantee that it provided perfect nutrition. Yet, the people were tired of manna every day. Keith Green wrote a great song that described the frustration of the Israelites with their day to day wander in the wilderness, and their lack of desire for manna. Here is a portion of “So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt:”
Well there’s nothing do but travel
And we sure travel a lot
‘Cause it’s hard to keep your feet from moving
When the sand gets so hot
And in the morning it’s manna hotcakes
We snack on manna all day
And we sure had a winner last night for dinner
Flaming manna souffle
Well we once complained for something new to munch
The ground opened up and had some of us for lunch
Ooh, such fire and smoke
Can’t God even take a joke? Huh? NO!
Oh, Moses, put down your pen!
What? Oh no, manna again?
Oh, manna waffles
Fillet of manna
I think the main reason that the people complained was because they were on a different timetable than God. I know I am. I want what I want, when I want it, which is usually immediately. The people liked the manna at first, but they got tired of it. I am sure that God knew that they needed a little more variety in their diet, but He wasn’t providing it as fast as the people wanted. So what did they do? They griped and complained. They wanted MEAT! And, they wanted it NOW! They more than desired it, they lusted after it. So, what did God do? He gave it to them in the form of quails. So many of them that they were piled up three feet deep in a large area surrounding the camp. They ate so much of it that it came out of their nostrils. They loved the quail that God provided at first, but they would soon tire of it as well.
Why is it that God’s people get tired of the good things that He provides for them. Why is it that we always want more; we are never satisfied, never content.
In chapter twelve, we see that the complaints were not limited to just the lay people. Apparently Aaron and Miriam were upset about the fact that Moses had chosen an African wife. God was not pleased with their criticism either, and Miriam was stricken (at least temporarily) with leprosy.
Then in chapter thirteen, God sent twelve spies in to check out the land of Canaan. He didn’t want them to figure out how God was going to bring them in to defeat the Canaanites, He just wanted them to see how beautiful and abundant the land was so they could get a vision for what God had in store for them. Instead of coming back excited, they came back scared. They did not believe that their God was able to defeat the Canaanites, and they, too, griped and complained.
When are we going to learn? Why can’t God’s people see that their cups are overflowing with blessings, instead of viewing them as half-empty. Is this the way you see things? Do you tend to see the negative side of everything? Learn from all of these examples from Numbers 11 – 13. God is good, and He is very good to His children. He has dealt with us far better than we could ever deserve.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 5 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8
Read the “0218 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from today’s reading – “Don’t Move“
“So it was always: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.” (Numbers 9:15)
There are times in our lives we end up in a spiritual wilderness. We feel alone, forsaken, unloved, unforgiveable, and longing for God’s presence. Reading the passage today, we see that the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, which they did for 40 years. It was due to sin and this was the consequence, yet in the midst of them God made His presence known! The cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night was God’s presence with them during those wilderness years. He used the cloud and the pillar of fire to guide them. What a comfort to know that even when we are in the “wilderness” GOD IS THERE! He is with us! As He guided the Israelites by taking up the cloud and moving it to where He wanted them to go and the pillar of fire by night to light their way, so God’s presence in our darkness will light the way and guide us through the difficult times of our lives. He is our guide and He is our light! A great verse to commit to memory is Hebrews 13:5b “…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
“Guide Me Thou, O Great Jehovah” is an old hymn that was written in 1745 by William Williams after going through many difficulties. It is one of my favorite hymns. Notice that verse two refers to the cloud and the fire. May these words be a blessing to you today.
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty,
Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand.
Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.
Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliv’rer, strong Deliv’rer,
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield;
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.
Posted in Devotions by Sarah Camillo with 4 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 89:1
Read the “0217 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“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.” – (Numbers 7:89)
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” – (John 10:27)
Chapter 7 of Numbers is certainly a long chapter, and not exactly what I would call great devotional reading. However, as with the rest of the Bible, this is a very important passage. Here we see the heads of the tribes of Israel all presenting to the Lord their offerings at the dedication of the Tabernacle. Each tribe had to offer the same thing which includes some gold and silver; incense and flour; and an assortment of animals. We certainly can see from this passage, and from many other recent chapters that the Israelite were certainly dedicated in the area of giving; but they not only gave what was required, they also gave over and above what was asked of them.
The last verse of this long chapter tells us that after the offering was made, Moses went into the Tabernacle to speak with God, and he heard the voice of God coming out from between the cherubims on top of the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to hear the audible voice of God; to actually hear Him speak personally to my physical ears. I can, however, hear the voice of God today as much as I desire to because He speaks to me through His Word. The Bible is God’s voice. He spoke to me this morning about this dedication offering. He also gave me some wisdom from Proverbs 17. And then he motivated me and stirred me as I read about Peter and and the other apostles and people from Acts.
God speaks to me in other ways also besides the Bible. Sometimes, as I walk and pray in the mornings, God will speak to my heart. Now, we have to be careful about these “still small voices” that we hear in our heads and our hearts. We need to be sure that it is God that is talking to us. Sometimes our flesh and even the devil will put thoughts in our heads that are not of God. One way you can tell if it is actually God talking is if the thing that He tells you is in agreement with the Word of God. He never goes against His Word. It always disturbs me when people tell them that God had told them to do something that was a complete contradiction to His clear revelation from the Bible.
Have you listened for His voice today? Did you open up your Bible this morning, along with your heart and mind, and hear what God has to say to you? Have you waited on Him today in your prayer closet to hear Him speak to you about specific areas of your life? It is not that God is not still speaking today as much as it is that His children are not listening.
Posted in Thoughts from Numbers by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 61:1 – 3
Read the “0216 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
In chapters 5 of the Book of Numbers, God is instructing the children of Israel about what they should do if a man suspects that his wife has been unfaithful to him. The Bible talks about “the spirit of jealousy” that comes upon a man if there is something going on behind his back. I believe the same holds true for the wife. I know that today we don’t often think of jealousy as being a good thing; but interestingly, the Bible records that God is very jealous over his children. I do not think it is wrong either for there to be a healthy dose of jealousy within the marriage either. A man should love his wife to the extent that he cannot bear the thought of her being with anyone else. The same applies to the wife. Jealousy is, I believe, a God-given emotion. Now it must be controlled, just as all of our other emotions; and we cannot let it cause us to sin, but I believe it to be a good thing nonetheless.
Chapter 6 primarily deals with the rules concerning the vow of the Nazarite. When a person took this special vow of consecration in Old Testament days, he would not cut his hair or his beard, and he was not permitted to touch any alcohol, or come near anything (or anybody) that was dead. This vow was a vow of “separation unto the Lord”. The person that took this vow was declaring that his or her life was wholly dedicated to God. Usually, a person would be under this oath of separation for a period of time, not for his entire life. By the way, don’t confuse a Nazarite with a Nazarene, which is a person that comes from the city of Nazareth. Jesus was a Nazarene.
I was captivated this morning by the prayer of blessing found at the end of chapter 6. It seemed almost strange for this beautiful prayer to be place in this particular place. I mean, we have been reading a lot here lately about a bunch of commandments, sacrifices, rules, etc. Here, God tells Aaron that he wants him to pronounce this prayer of blessing over the people. I think God just wanted to remind the people that he loved them and that He was for them. I think we can learn a couple of lessons from this as well. First, we need to be reminded that God loves us and wants nothing but the best for us. We often will think about God as this angry, cold dictator that is ready to pounce upon us when we do wrong. That is not God. He loves us and He wants to give us the richest blessings, and a life full of abundance.
The second lesson that we should learn from this is that when we are trying to teach our children, we need to remember to let them know often that we love them. Yes, we need to give them all of the rules, commandments, and instructions; and yes, we ought to discipline them when they do wrong; but we also need to make sure that they know that we (and especially God) are in their corner, and that we want nothing but the richest blessings for their lives. This would be a good lesson for preachers and other mentors to learn as well. In our zeal to instruct, we sometimes come across as being uncaring and unloving. You have heard the old saying: “People do not care about what you know, until they know that you really care.” Well, we ought to really care, and we ought also to express that love and care often to the people that we are trying to help.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Read the “0215 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“All those that were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron and the chief of Israel numbered, after their families, and after the house of their fathers, From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that came to do the service of the ministry, and the service of the burden in the tabernacle of the congregation, Even those that were numbered of them, were eight thousand and five hundred and fourscore. According to the commandment of the LORD they were numbered by the hand of Moses, every one according to his service, and according to his burden: thus were they numbered of him, as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Numbers 4:46-49)
Good morning. I am 66 years, and 4 days old today. I like it that way: each day brings me closer to my going to be with the Lord. In our text, God told Moses that those from thirty years old to fifty years old are to do the service of the ministry. Does this mean I can retire? No. I’ll retire when the Lord takes me home. There are dangers to quitting. Here are a few verses to consider…
“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:29)
Since the gifts God gives us are to edify others, we both suffer if you quit. And if God’s calling is without repentance (He will not change His mind), well, just look at Jonah and watch out for great fishes…
“Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. (Jonah 1:1-4)
“And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee. So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows. Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:7-17)
1) Quitting not only affects you, but others also.
“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” (John 15:8)
“There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.” (John 21:2-3)
Peter, and those who followed him, went fishing and caught nothing…
2) Quitting does not glorify God.
“And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” (1Kings 19:1-4)
“And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.” (2Kings 2:9-14)
3) Quitting could end in an untimely demise.
What if? Let me give you this ‘what if’ here. What if Elijah would have kept going, and the Lord performed a few more miracles through Elijah, say five more. Elisha saw Elijah depart, and Elisha did get his request granted and performed twice as many miracles as Elijah. This would mean that there would have been ten more miracles done by Elisha. Considering quitting? Consider the consequences it will have on you and on others.
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 2 comments.