There is nothing I love more in my study time than that moment when God shows up and jumps off the page of His Word…rich, deep and four dimensional. I love walking around it and viewing it from all sides as God rotates and turns that picture…I love reaching out and touching those moments.
I have been in a rut lately. I have been rushed to get the kids out of the house in the morning and have been making time with God in my prayer journal and maybe a small devotional written by someone else. Long, deep walks in the Word have not happened a month. It’s been a rough, sick, cold season. I am ready for the revival and awakening of life that comes with Spring!
This morning, a bloom sprung forth. My heart is racing.
I have said it before…I am a Old Testament girl. Some would say that’s crazy because Jesus doesn’t show up until the New Testament. But, I beg to differ. He is written on each page and in every historical account all throughout the Bible. For me, when the Holy Spirit shows up during study time- it is like “Where’s Waldo”. Instead of having to hunt and search…He reveals Himself in living color. Vibrant and alive. I LOVE mornings like this.
This morning, I picked up where I left off in the book of Numbers. Numbers 35 to be exact. The Israelites are camped on the east side of the Jordan and God is talking with Moses…leading him to prepare them for what’s ahead. They are learning how the land will be divided, who will divide it and where they will each settle. God just said that a portion of the land from each tribe would be given to the Levites: 48 cities in all. Of those cities, six would be “Cities of Refuge”. Three would be on the east of the Jordan and three on the west. If a person kills another person, the offending party could run to a City of Refuge until the trial. It is here, that they would be kept safe from retaliation until the trial was complete and judgment was handed down. In Numbers 35, the definition of murder was also spelled out. Intent was the determining factor. Accidents happen but, hatred and malice would not be tolerated.
I am going to challenge you to read this for yourself, therefore, I am not going to copy the whole text into this blog. Please open your Bible to Numbers 35 and read through the whole thing. Don’t miss a word- you’ll not regret it.
Let’s skip forward to the consequences:
If a person is found guilty of murder, that person is put to death. There is no other consequence. And it is spelled specifically that NO RANSOM can be paid to avoid death. Period.
If a person is found innocent, then they cannot go home. They must stay in the City of Refuge until the High Priest dies. Then they may go home. No ransom can be paid for them to go home early. The ONLY RANSOM for this person is the death of the High Priest.
Do you see it?? Do you see HIM!!!?
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I am still swooning.
The only ransom for someone found innocent by the High Priest is the priest himself. Jesus. His blood, death, resurrection…He is my ransom. He is my City of Refuge. The only way I can go to my Heavenly home is through Jesus. Believing on and placing my full faith in Jesus as my redeemer. Because of Jesus, I will be found not guilty. Praise the Lord.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. ” John 6:44
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…just hang there for a moment.
Oh, mercy! A treasure hiding in plain sight.
Thank you LORD for such a rich morning with You. Too much to keep to myself. I pray that you will help me plant seeds in others that you may water and grow as I am learning to bloom where I am planted.
This has been one of those weeks. God is speaking (praise the Lord) and teaching me so much through interactions with my kids again. Well, I should say “still”…but, I am actually paying attention this week.
Yesterday, our daughter was asking about potholes. With the recent snowfall, our streets are riddled with ruts, holes and cracks. She asked, “How can ice do that to the street?”
I barely got the explanation out of my mouth when the sermon set in. Oh, mercy! Thank you Lord for this word picture.
When the snow falls, the moisture gets into the small cracks in the road. Little cracks that may not be visible to the eye are present because of poor maintenance or just wear and tear. The cold air causes that moisture to freeze and the ice expands because ice is fatter than the liquid water. (She’s 6…she understood that! ha ha) That frozen water/ice pushes the crack opened even wider and when it melts, the crack is larger. Eventually it will happen again and some cars will run over it again and again…then the crack becomes a hole and the hole becomes a pothole.
As I said, I barely had the words off my tongue when “SIN” entered my consciousness. I love opportunities that God places in common everyday life that provide opportunity for me to chat with the kids about God and His character…sin, trials, patience, forgiveness, and anything else that may be tossed this way. So this opened a beautiful discussion on the effects of sin.
If we don’t take our relationship with God seriously -have a daily walk where we seek Him and pursue Him….pray and listen…act in obedience…if we sit on cruise control- then our relationship is not being maintained. This opens us up to the dangers of temptation and sin. Sin may begin to seep in to those unmaintained areas. We may not notice until time passes and a larger crack or a gaping hole makes itself known. I explained that the road crew can patch the road but that portion of road will never be the same. As it is with sin. We can repent and be forgiven but, a scar sometimes remains in the form of memories, consequences or even physical manifestations.
Thanks to my six year old daughter- I will be viewing all of these potholes in a different light. I will also be praying and examining my relationship with the Lord when those quiet times creep in and I have a tendency to cruise a little.
I am so thankful for the many times and ways that the Lord shows himself in the seemingly mundane moments of this life. And so thankful for the “littles” who I have the honor and privilege of shepherding daily.
Thank YOU LORD!
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9
In the beginning of January we always sit down as a family to discuss family and personal goals. One of my son’s desires for me was that I would start a Sunday School class where I could study and share with others. I told him that I already have a beloved group of women who text bomb each other when the Lord reveals something in study…and, of course, I have my hubby and kids to share with. Shepherding these kids is something I really want to focus on. Upon his request and urging, I have decided that I will dust off the cobwebs and try to share a bit more on this blog. Some of the insights that the Lord gives me may be things you’ve studied out before or maybe you could share with me and ADD TO what I am reading and learning. Last week as I was reading in Numbers 11, I shared with my son and he said, “Mom, THIS is what you need to share!”…so here we go.
Quail From the Lord
4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”
7 The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin. 8 The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a hand mill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into loaves. And it tasted like something made with olive oil. 9 When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.
10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The Lord became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. 11 He asked the Lord, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”
Then I want to skip ahead a bit (we’ll go back to this part soon).
18 “Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The Lord heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it. 19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the Lord, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”
Moving forward again…
31 Now a wind went out from the Lord and drove quail in from the sea. It scattered them up to two cubits deep all around the camp, as far as a day’s walk in any direction. 32 All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No one gathered less than ten homers.Then they spread them out all around the camp. 33 But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague. 34 Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah,[ because there they buried the people who had craved other food.
35 From Kibroth Hattaavah the people traveled to Hazeroth and stayed there.
A brief recap: The people completely forgot about the plagues, deliverance, the Red Sea, a number of miracles…and now manna is not good enough. Whining for meat- in verse 5, they recalled the “good ole days” in Egypt when they ate meat AT NO COST. What? No cost? Really?
In Exodus 1:11 & 13, the Bible describes forced labor, oppression, and how the current ruler worked them ruthlessly. In Exodus 1:22, the Pharaoh ordered that the baby boys be killed. And in Exodus 3:7 the Lord Himself says that He has seen the misery of His people in Egypt and has heard their crying and suffering. So it seems to me that their memory had become a little hazy…or maybe it was the heat. Oh, how soon we forget from what and where we have been delivered.
One thing that keeps coming to mind is Psalm 37:4…Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. When I read the above portions of Numbers, I can see that they are definitely NOT delighting in the Lord. But, I’ve said it before…we can’t be too hard on the Israelites because we are really no different.
So what happens if you do NOT delight in the Lord? What if your desire is burning for something else? The answer is clear and it hits me to my core. God created us to have free will, so if we are not seeking Him and His desires…then we are seeking self and our desires. I think this story illustrates exactly what happens when our desires don’t line up.
God will let us choose and have exactly what we want…and the consequences that go with it.
Romans 1:21-25 says just that:
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
In Numbers, the Israelites’ desire was for an abundance of meat and they got it. God provided so much, in fact, that they were wading through it and God had said that they would eat it for a month and it would come out of their noses. (Oh, Aacck! The visual alone turns my gut!) Instead, they didn’t even get the satisfaction of a full belly and they were struck with plague. Gee, I don’t think that worked out as they had planned.
In Romans, their desire was for sin and self…they didn’t acknowledge God or give thanks to Him and God let them have exactly what they wanted. He gave them over to their own desires.
CHOKE. ON. THAT.
I have been there…I have chosen myself and I have choked on the consequences. I wonder how our desire would change if we had advance knowledge of the consequences? Maybe it would change the course for some; maybe. As Hebrews 11 points out (speaking about Moses…go figure)- it is better to suffer affliction than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
So I guess what I have discovered is the need for constant self-evaluation to really see where my desires meet up with the desires of the Lord.
Father God, I pray that I will never again have to choke on the abundance of bad choices or selfish desires. Move me to seek YOU first.
In Jesus’ Name! Amen.
I have been tired and stressed for a while now. I keep casting my anxieties and then picking them back up. So when my girlfriend reminded me that a weekend was long overdue, I jumped at the opportunity to escape the storms.
Perusing the nautically inspired wares while wandering a small bay side town- I found it.
A towel. Yup…a towel.
I looked at it and then walked away.
I came back to it and took a picture…and walked away.
I finally purchased it so I could take it home with me as a constant reminder.
A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”
Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other,
“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
No, I can’t control the wind. But, He can. When the storms come, I need to be quicker and more diligent about adjusting my sails while praying for God’s will.
I feel like I should end this post here.
But, in my travels there were some other reminders of God’s presence that I want to share.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
My sister is going to get a real kick out of today’s post. She is always poking me a bit because I see God in my soup…tea…leaves…He’s everywhere! Today, sister, it’s not where I saw Him…it’s where I didn’t see Him.
This is my morning coffee. When I got to the bottom, I noticed a curious sight. It was ME! Well, my reflection. Look closely and you can see my eyes and nose along with my disheveled morning hair-do. I still have my glasses on. What a powerful picture! No, not me in all of my morning splendor…but, the reflection as it pertains to our spiritual condition.
When my cup is full and overflowing, my spiritual cup reflects what is above…the Lord himself. When my cup is empty and I am lacking…I see me.
In the morning when I sit at the table to study the Word and pray, He is filling me. He gives me strength for each day, wisdom (if I am listening), direction and peace. More God…less me.
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
On the days when I become distracted and put other things first, I become quickly depleted and frustrated. More me…less Him.
I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me. Psalm 22:14
Only a relationship with God through Jesus Christ can completely fill that cup and satisfy the soul.
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Friend, I cannot stress the importance of seeking the Lord early and often.
Don’t wait until you get to the bottom to refill.
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
You prepare a banquet for me,
where all my enemies can see me;
you welcome me as an honored guest
and fill my cup to the brim.
I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life;
and your house will be my home as long as I live.
Today, I pray that I will replace the contents of my cup to contain less of me and more of God. I pray that I will continually invite the Spirit to refresh that cup as I seek the Lord and his direction and wisdom and that the goodness of Christ will overflow onto those around me. I know that if that cup becomes empty it is because I am not seeking the Lord and the only thing I will find at the bottom is emptiness and self. I pray that God’s reflection will be clearly seen in me and my interactions with my husband, children and others today.
Now…about that refill…
May the God of peace,
who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus,
that great Shepherd of the sheep,
equip you with everything good for doing his will,
and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ,
to whom be the glory for ever and ever.