Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm Sixty-One and Verses One – Three
Read the “0216 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from this passage – “The Lord Bless Thee”
“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD: He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.” (Numbers 6:2 – 3)
Numbers 6 discusses the Nazarite vow. (Note – don’t confuse Nazarite with Nazarene. Jesus was a Nazarene from Nazareth in Galilee) The vow of a Nazarite involved these three things:
- Abstinence from wine, or anything from the vine, including grapes or raisins.
- Hair could not be cut.
- No contact whatever with a dead body, or even a dead animal.
This vow was a temporary vow of separation in most cases, though there were a few who were Nazarites from birth:
- Samson (Judges 13:5 – 7; 16:17) Samson violated his vow by breaking all three of the restrictions of the Nazarite vow. He went to the vineyards, He touched a dead body, and he cut his hair)
- Samuel (1 Samuel 1:11)
- John the Baptist (Luke 1:15 – though the Scriptures only mention that John would not drink wine or strong drink, but he was definitely separated unto the Lord).
When the Apostle Paul returned to Jerusalem after his third missionary journey, he may have been participating in a Nazarite vow by paying the offering for four men who were coming out of their time of separation (see Acts 21:24).
There was no mandate that anybody take part in this season of separation: it was the free-will choice of whoever desired to do it. The application that we can make concerning this vow is that during the time of this vow, the person was to be completely separated from sin and devoted to the Lord. That is a good thing for us to be at all times, but there may be seasons in our lives and ministries where we may want to refrain from certain entertainments and activities and, perhaps even, fast from food. During this period, we could also extend our time in prayer and Bible study.
According to Manners and Customs of the Bible:
This institution was a symbol of a life devoted to God and separated from all sin—a holy life (Numbers 6:2–21).
When the period of the continuance of the vow came to an end, the Nazarite had to present himself at the door of the sanctuary with three things.
- A male lamb of the first year for a burnt-offering.
- A ewe lamb of the first year for a sin-offering.
- A ram for a peace-offering.
After these sacrifices were offered by the priest, the Nazarite cut off his hair at the door and threw it into the fire under the peace-offering.
As to the duration of a Nazarite’s vow, everyone was left at liberty to fix his own time. There is mention made in the Scriptures of only three who were Nazarites for life, Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist (Judges 13:4, 5; 1 Samuel 1:11, Luke 1:15). In its ordinary form, however, the Nazarite’s vow lasted only thirty and, at most, one hundred, days.
 Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & Customs of the Bible (pp. 533–535). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Today’s Passage – Numbers 1 – 2 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 51
Read the “0214 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Then the tabernacle of the congregation shall set forward with the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camp: as they encamp, so shall they set forward, every man in his place by their standards.” – (Numbers 2:17)
In Numbers chapter 2, God gives us a description of what the camp of Israel looked like when they were not on the move. A careful reading of this chapter will reveal that the nation of Israel was divided into 13 different groups, which included 11 of the original 12 tribes; and also the two half-tribes of Joseph (Manasseh and Ephraim). These groups were all strategically placed around the tabernacle. Immediately surrounding the tent on all four sides was the tribe of Levi. They were placed there as closely as possible to the tabernacle because that was their place of service. They were the ministers and priests of the Lord. Beyond the Levites the remaining twelve tribes and half-tribes were positioned by threes in each direction. For instance, on the east side of the tabernacle, beyond the Levites, were the tribes of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulon. There were also three tribes on the west, south, and north. The thought that I am trying to develop here, however, is that the tabernacle was in the very center of the congregation. The tabernacle was the place where God dwelt, between the cherubims on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. God, and His chosen place of worship was the very center of the lives of the people of Israel.
Now let’s fast forward a few thousands years to the time of the local church. I realize that today God dwells in the hearts of His children, but the local church is God’s chosen place for corporate worship, and it is the place where we are to be organized in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” – (1 Timothy 3:15)
God should still be at the center of our lives; and the local church should be at the center of the life of our families. I have been a pastor now for many years, and I have been involved in God’s work as a layman even longer. I have observed that the families who place a high value on the local church, recognizing it’s importance, tend to be stronger and happier than the families that do not. Don’t misunderstand, I do not think that the church has a higher priority than the home but I do believe that successful homes are built around a strong, Bible believing, New Testament church. The church’s role is critical to healthy marriages and to the spiritual development of our children.
Take a moment to consider the role that the local church plays in your life; and then consider the role that you play in your local church. We need to keep our local churches strong, and I believe that there are many ways that you can help:
1 Participate in the local church – attend the services and find something that you can do that will serve others. God has uniquely equipped you in certain areas that can be used in the local church.
2 Pray for your church and your pastors and leaders. The ministry can be very discouraging, but you can be an encouragement to the people that minister to you simply by lifting them up in prayer. It wouldn’t hurt for you to let them know on occassion that you are praying for them.
3 Support your church with your tithes and offerings. The work of God cannot go forward without the tithes of God’s people. When you don’t give you are telling God and the church that they have no place of value in your life. You can also support the church by not bashing it. Let people know where you stand. If you are for the ministry, speak out for it, and don’t let others run it down in your presence. Negativity and complaining are like cancers inside the church that will destroy it from within.
Is the local church important to you, or isn’t it? God says that it should be. Remember, He died for the church. It’s His body. He places a great value on it, and so should we.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 4 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6 verse 33
Read the “0211 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.” – (Leviticus 23:4)
In chapter 23 in the Book of Leviticus, we see the Lord giving His instructions regarding special days that would be set apart from other days. On these holy days, or “holidays” the people were commanded to stop their normal routine, and refrain from doing any kind of work. God wanted their focus to be on Him during these days. The special days (or in some cases weeks) listed in the chapter were as follows:
1 The Sabbath – every Saturday the people were to take a break from their work in order to rest. God rested the seventh day after He created the earth, so in some ways the Sabbath was memorial of God’s work at creation.
2 The Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread – a memorial to God’s deliverance of the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt. It seems to be that God wants us to remember some things. We are quick to forget the provision and protection that God has given us.
3 The Feast of First fruits – this Feast took place on the day after the Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This feast was an acknowledgement that the whole barley harvest belonged to the Lord.
4 The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost – This was a dedication of the wheat harvest. It took place in May/June 50 days after the Sabbath before the Feast of First fruits.
5 The Feast of Trumpets – 1st day of seventh month – it consecrated the entire seventh month as a Sabbatical month.
6 The Day of Atonement – 10th day of the seventh month – this was the day the priest went in to the Holy of Holies to offer for his own sins, and the sins of the nation.
7 The Feast of Tabernacles (also called Booths or Ingathering) – beginning on the 15th day of the seventh month – commemorated the time that God provided for Israel as they wandered the wilderness in tents after being delivered from Egypt. This feast is also a celebration of the fall harvest.
All of these special days and feasts were designed to help the children of Israel to remember things that should be important to them. God wants His children to remember all of the wonderful things that He has done for us. We tend to get very discontented when we forget all of the blessings that God has provided in our lives.
I believe it is important to continue these traditions in our lives today. We may not observe the same days, but there ought to be some special days in our lives where we take time out to remember. And, I believe we should be very careful to come apart on the Lord’s Day – Sunday – that one day out of seven for the purpose of resting the body, and reflection upon Christ. We are all busy people, or at least, we should be; but we need to take time out to remember. We need to take time to remember God on a daily basis by spending time with in our devotions. We also need to keep the Lord’s day holy and separated from the normal routines of the week. And there also needs to be some special days in the calendar year when we set apart time to remember important blessings from God.
There also ought to be special days that we set apart time for reasons other than spiritual. Families should observe special days, like birthdays and anniversaries. We ought to go out of our way to remember the important events and people in our lives.
Added Thought from the passage
“And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.” – (Leviticus 23:22)
In the middle of this passage dealing with special days and feasts, God instructs the people of Israel to remember the poor. They were to intentionally leave some of the fruit from the harvest in the fields so that poor folks could come by and gather it. Today, we need to also remember that there are people less fortunate than ourselves that need some help. God has blessed many of us tremendously with financial blessings, and we need to remember to share some of what the Lord has given us with others. Just a thought.
Posted in Thoughts from Leviticus by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 34:1 – 4
Read the “0210 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from this passage – “What’s the Difference“
“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18)
We read the commandment, “thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” often in the Scriptures, especially in the New Testament where it appears seven times. Leviticus 19, however, is where this phrase appears first. The context surrounding verse 18, is replete with laws for Israel, many of which have to do with how the people of God treat one another.
In verses 9 and 10, God tells the people to make sure that they leave a little food for the poor:
“And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:9-10)
In verse 13, God warns them not to take advantage of people who work for them:
“Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.” (Leviticus 19:13)
God was very concerned that His people be different from other people who did not know Him. The principles that God gave in the Law were not given to put an unreasonable burden on the people, but rather were given to help them to live selfless, yet profitable and abundant lives. As long as God’s people continue to love Him, live for Him, as well as loving their neighbors, God abundantly blessed them.
Maybe this is why America is struggling so much today. We have long ago cast God and His Word aside, and, as a result, we have become a very selfish and materialistic nation. Perhaps, if we could learn to love God and our neighbors again, God would see fit to bless us once again.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 5 comments.
Read a previous post from this morning’s reading – Unclean
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 19
Read the “0207 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And if the priest see that, behold, the scab spreadeth in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a leprosy.” (Leviticus 13:8)
I never really made this connection before I read this passage today, but the Old Testament priests had so many more responsibilities than just ministering spiritually to the people of God. As we can see from today’s reading, the priests were also the doctors for the congregation, and they also served as the Board of Health or Center for Disease Control (CDC).
In Leviticus 13, we read that the priest had the responsibility of diagnosing and distinguishing leprosy from other, less dangerous diseases. Leprosy is known today as Hansen’s disease and can be cured with a multi-drug therapy. In Bible days, however, it was slow and debilitating, and ultimately, a death sentence. It was also, in most forms, very contagious. The priest, while determining the condition would isolate and observe the patient until determination could be made. If leprosy was the final diagnosis, however, the patient would then be permanently separated, not only from the congregation, but also from his family. They would have to dwell outside the camp or city, and if anyone approached them, they were to cry out, “unclean, unclean.” It was up to the priest to make that determination. As far as I can see, the only mention of medicine or physicians other than the priests in the Old Testament was in Jeremiah:
“Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” (Jeremiah 8:22)
In Old Testament Israel, it was up to the priests to oversee the health of God’s people. Today, the pastor / preacher would certainly not be the primary choice for health needs, but the Bible still is a tremendous source of principles for healthy living, both in the spiritual and physical sense. A person cannot be wholly healthy, unless they are spiritually well, and it is the preacher’s job to give out God’s prescription – the Word of God – in order to minister to God’s people.
By the way, the Old Testament priest was also the local butcher, and was an expert in the anatomy of the animals used for sacrifice. But, that is a subject for another blog article.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 119:105
Read the “0204 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Or if he touch the uncleanness of man, whatsoever uncleanness it be that a man shall be defiled withal, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty. Or if a soul swear, pronouncing with his lips to do evil, or to do good, whatsoever it be that a man shall pronounce with an oath, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty in one of these. And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing:” – (Leviticus 5:3-5 )
I read today’s passage once through, but I struggled with what I should write about, so I went back to read it again. The second time around I noticed in chapter five that God was instructing the Israelites regarding sins of ignorance. I had to think about how a person could sin without knowing it, but it didn’t take long to figure out that we sin ignorantly all the time. Think about it. We do all kinds of things that are wrong and cause harm, without intending to do so. Also, we have done many things in the past, perhaps before we were saved, that we didn’t even know were wrong. The Bible says that even the thought of foolishness is sin. How many of us ever considered when we were yet unsaved that our thoughts were just as sinful as our actions. We may have been ignorant while doing these things, or thinking these things, but we were not innocent. Plus, there is the fact that some actions may be permissible for some, but wrong for others. The Bible says,”Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” – (James 4:17)
The bottom line is that we are sinful creatures. Not only do we intentially sin, but we also do many sinful things without fully realizing it. In our passage, God gave the children of Israel a solution for this dilemma. He told them that when they found out about their guilt, they were simply to confess it, and then offer a sacrifice for it. Praise God, today we do not have to offer up sacrifices to God for our sin because the Lord Jesus took care of all of the sacrifices necessary to atone for our sin when He was sacrificed once for all on the Cross of Calvary. But, I think it is still imperative for us to confess to God our sin when we find out about it, and then thank Him for the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that atones for it.
The idea here is that we need to stop trying to pretend that we are not guilty. We need to lower our defenses, and fire our “inner lawyer”, and get to the place where we recognize that we are full of sin, completely guilty before God, and totally unworthy and undeserving of His love and forgiveness. Stop trying to pretend that you are above sin, or that you have arrived at some kind of spiritual plateau where you are somehow better than other people. You are a sinner. I am a sinner. On my best day, I am still full of sins, most of which I am too dull spiritually to even recognize; but that’s OK, because I have a Saviour that I have completely trusted to save me from the eternal penalty of my sin, and I also trust Him daily to forgive and restore me to a place of fellowship with Him. Thank God for Jesus!
One more quick thought, If just now you have come to the place where you realize that you are a bigger sinner than you thought you were, yet you also understand that God still loves you and forgives you anyway; why don’t you cut the other sinners around you some slack; they’re struggling with the same sinful condition that you are. Just a thought.
Oh, and by the way, the baby pictured above is also not innocent, but the blood of Jesus atones for his sin, and protects him until he comes to the maturity level where he realizes that he is guilty before God. There will come a day when he will know that he is a sinner, and then he will be accountable for his sin. He will then have to either receive or reject the atonement made by the Lord for his sin.
Posted in Thoughts from Leviticus by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – 1 John 4:7 & 8
Read the “0202 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from this passage – “The Glory of the Lord“
“Thus was all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation finished: and the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they. And they brought the tabernacle unto Moses, the tent, and all his furniture, his taches, his boards, his bars, and his pillars, and his sockets, … According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work. And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the LORD had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them.” (Exodus 39:32-33, 42-43)
The construction of the Old Testament Tabernacle with all of its “furniture” is the first congregational building project in the Bible. God had given Moses:
“And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it. … And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.” (Exodus 25:8-9, 40)
“See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee; The tabernacle of the congregation, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the tabernacle,” (Exodus 31:2-7)
God equipped the congregation of Israel with wisdom that they needed to build what God planned. Bezaleel and Aholiab were the chief engineers behind the project. They supervised the construction and made sure that congregation would know what to do and how to do it.
“Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood, Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate. And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” (Exodus 25:2-9)
God also provided all of the materials necessary to build the Tabernacle through the free-will offerings of the people. He actually had to hold them back from giving, because they actually collected too much (Exodus 36:6 – 7).
Finally, in Exodus 39 and 40, the Tabernacle has been completed. It was finished on time and under budget. It had to be a good feeling for this congregation to work together and complete the project that God had given them.
Now here is the practical application. God has led our congregation to add on to our existing building. We have been praying about exactly what God would have us do for many years now. The engineering work has been drawn up and the project has been approved by our local planning board. The detailed architectural plans are completed. God has been providing the necessary funds as the project has developed, but much more money will be needed before we can break ground and finish the job. God has also given us some men who are overseeing the project, and I am sure at least part of the interior work and landscaping will be done by members of the congregation. We are almost ready to start the actual construction. Pray for us that we will be faithful to complete what God has given us to do. We are still quite a ways from the finish line.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
If God Doesn’t Come With Us, I Don’t Want to Go
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – 1 John 3:1
Read the “0131 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.” (Exodus 33:13-16)
In chapter thirty-two, the people of Israel had sinned greatly against God by my making and worshipping a golden calf. This happened while Moses was away from them, up on the mountain getting instructions from the Lord. Not only were they worshipping an idol which they had made themselves, but they also were naked and dancing (Exodus 32:19; 25). God was very angry. Three thousand people died as a result of this rebellion against God (Exodus 32:28).
In chapter thirty-three, God tells Moses that His presence would not go with this “stiff-necked” nation as they continued to travel to the Promised Land (Exodus 33:3). The people repented and they mourned for what they had done. They took off their “ornaments,” which were items of jewelry that they had brought with them from Egypt. These ornaments reminded God of the worldly place that they had been delivered from. Remember, in the last chapter the people used some of these ornaments (“earrings” – Exodus 32:3) to make the golden calf. God wanted His people to be separated from what they were delivered from. By the way, the people would later take these ornaments and give them to the Lord to be used in His Tabernacle (see Exodus 35:22).
Moses then intercedes for the people and tells God that the people needed God’s presence with them as they journeyed through the wilderness or they would not succeed. He reminds the Lord that Israel was God’s nation and the thing that would distinguish them from all of the other nations was the very presence of God. Thankfully, God agrees to go with Moses and the congregation as they journeyed toward Canaan.
The thing that sets apart God’s people today from the masses who do not know the Lord is also God’s presence. One of Jesus’ names is “Emanuel,” which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Jesus told the disciples that Holy Ghost of God would not only be with them, but He would also actually be IN them. How cool is that. God lives in us and also goes with us.
“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:17)
Jesus said that He would be with us “alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). He says He will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5), even when we sometimes leave him by doing our own thing instead of yielding to His will, or by loving this world instead of looking unto Jesus. I’m glad He goes with us, because, like Moses, I don’t want to go if I have to go alone.
Another thought – I don’t want to have church if God isn’t there. Sometimes church services can be so dry and dead, it seems like God isn’t anywhere near the church house. But, there have also been many sweet times when the presence of God could actually be felt in a big way. Results could be seen through people being saved, and through the unrestricted singing and uninhibited rejoicing of God’s people. The Word of God was preached with power and the conviction of God was evident as people wept at the altar. Such sweet services. Let’s be careful not to hinder the working of the Spirit of God as he moves in our church services. Pray for God’s Presence. Yield to God’s Presence. Rejoice in God’s Presence.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – 1 Timothy 1:17
Read the “0129 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.” (Exodus 28:1)
The context of Exodus 28 and 29 mostly involves the consecration of Moses’ brother Aaron and his sons in their roles as priests who were consecrated to serve in the Tabernacle, ministering to God’s people. The Tabernacle was the center of worship for the entire congregation of Israel and the place that God would meet with his people (Exodus 29:42). The priests not only officiated in the temple, but they were also responsible for teaching people the Law (Deuteronomy 33:10). Chapter 28 deals primarily with the garments worn by the high priest, Aaron, as well as the less elaborate clothing worn by his sons, the priests (Click here for graphic of High Priest’s Garments.). Chapter 29 discusses the initial installation and dedication of this family of priests for their service in the Tabernacle.
The thought that captured my attention this morning was the fact that Aaron had the awesome privilege of serving the Lord along with his sons. They served the Lord together as a family. In Bible days, the sons typically followed in the father’s footsteps and served in the family business, whatever that was. Aaron was chosen by God to be the first high priest, and his sons were anointed along with him to serve as well as priests.
Getting to serve the Lord by yourself is wonderful enough, but being able to minister for the Lord with your family by your side is a dream come true. I have the wonderful privilege of serving as the pastor of our church along with my wife, my son-in-law, and two of my daughters. For nearly eighteen years I also had my son and daughter-in-law (for ten of those 18 years) serving here with us as well. It was awesome to have them here for all of those years, but God called them to serve Him in a church in Texas. We certainly miss them, but we are thankful for all of the years that God gave us to serve together.
Aside from my relationship with the Lord, I treasure my family more than anything else in my life. I enjoy very much serving the Lord together with them. Even when my children were very young, my wife and I would include them in just about everything we did for the Lord within our local church. We took them out visiting with us, and we made sure that we worshipped together in the church services. When there was a church work day, they came with us and worked (or played) along with us. The church was not something that separated our family, and it should not be something that keeps you from yours. My children enjoyed being a part of the local church ministry with their mom and dad.
I want to encourage you to serve together with your family. Include your spouse and children in all that you do for the Lord. Take them with you soulwinning and out on visitation. Make serving the Lord fun and enjoyable for your family. Of course, you should also do other things that are not ministry related with them as well, but you will not regret including them in your service for the Lord.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 5 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2
Read the “0128 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
In chapters 25 – 27, God is instructing Moses regarding the construction of the Tabernacle. He first tells him that he must take up an offering from the people, collecting all of the materials that would be needed in order to construct it. This was no small undertaking as the tabernacle with all of its curtains and coverings and with all of its gold, silver, and brass, not to mention the wood that would be required, was a masterpiece of magnificent beauty and elaborate detail. Yet, it is interesting to note, as we will learn later in future passages, that Moses had to eventually stop the people from giving because they had given much more than was necessary to construct the Tabernacle. We don’t see that very often today, do we. Can you imagine what could be done in our churches today if God’s people were this excited about the work of God?
God then shows Moses a pattern; a picture of what the tabernacle was to look like. He no doubt also showed him blueprints of each element of the tabernacle, including all of the pieces of furniture. Moses had a clear picture in his mind of what it all would look like when he was finished. Then, God goes on for several chapters giving Moses detailed instructions outlining precisely how the tabernacle was to be built. So, in review, we see that God showed Moses an example, and then he gave him clear instructions, or exhortation.
I got to thinking how that this is how the ministry is supposed to work. God commands those of us who minister to His people to be a good example (or pattern) of what He expects in a finished product, and then He wants us to give clear instructions of how the people are to go about it. If the picture we are presenting is not consistent with the instructions we are giving, we will not be able to clearly help the people do and be what God expects of them. I know that none of us is perfect, but it is imperitive that we keep this thought in mind as we go about our business of serving the Lord. People will sometimes learn more from what they see, than from what we tell them. Both our example and our exhortation must be right, if we are going to effectively be used of God in building the lives of people for His glory.
By the way, this does not only apply to pastors and teachers. It applies to every believer. Your life (pattern, example) must back up what you are trying to instruct people. Parents, you need to be the right examlple to your children. They will not listen to your exhortation if your example is not what it should be. And to those of you that are concerned about winning people to Christ, which should be all of us; make sure your life backs up your profession. We have an awesome obligation to show people Christ with our lives as well as to tell them with our words. Think about it? Have you given much thought to your example; your pattern? Is it sending the right message to the people around you? Do the things that you do and say point people to the Lord, or do they send a conflicting message? Just a thought.
Posted in Thoughts from Exodus by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.