23 Moses

23.2 Moses 23, Day 2

No man left behind

This wandering group of Israelites, time and again, has proven unfaithful.  They grumble.  They disobey.  They grumble some more.  They’ve risen up against God’s appointed leaders.  They continuously choose the wrong path, but God does not remove the correct path from them.

But I’m getting ahead.  First, the Hebrews continue to wander the in the wilderness.  Along the way they head toward the “road to Atharim” and encounter a King of Canaan who is living in the Negev.

As the people have been traveling through the Negev we continue to think of it as a desert, a wilderness, an area largely uninhabited where they occasionally find themselves missing access to drinking water.  But at the very southern tip of the Negev is an area including modern day Eilat.  Eilat is a resort city with a population of 20,000 people.  It is dry, arid land along side a beautiful calm sea.  While it rains less than 6 days of the year, there historically have been plentiful fresh water springs and the area was on a major trade route called the King’s Highway.

The Jews are not looking for a fight.  They have no history of battle since leaving Egypt.  But Arad makes a pre-emptive strike.  It is apparent he seeks more to demoralize the Hebrews rather than expend the resources to defeat them, sending a message repeated by bullies everywhere: I am bigger than you are and I can punch you and take what I want from you at any time and you are weak and powerless to do anything about it.

But the Israelites did something that would surprise everyone.  When their loved ones were captured, they didn’t focus on themselves, they focused on those they had lost and turned to God for help.  God did not block them – He welcomed them onto the correct path.  They promised to consecrate the people, the cities and the land to Him, and He gave them victory.

The victory wasn’t for the Israelites, it was for God.  The Israelites did not occupy this area at this time, they continued to move on.  They honored their brothers and sisters by honoring God and God reunited them.

Which of your brothers and sisters have been captured by the enemy?  Which of your neighbors?  Are you calling on God for victory to win them over from the enemy or have you given up on them?

It is a code of honor in many military commands that no soldier is left behind.  Every effort is made to bring them back to reunite with their family.

God is our creator and all of us are His family.  Who are you “leaving behind”?  It is not by your strength they will be won, but by God’s strength.  It is not your history of deeds (either good or evil), but your choice right now that makes a difference to God.  Confess, Repent and turn yourself and them over to God’s saving power.

Also – Wouldn’t Hormah be a killer name for a Christian Rock Band?

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
Grumble.  Turn to despair and fear and their victim mentality

b.
1. He listened, 2. He gave the Canaanites over to them (they completely destroyed both them and their towns – Hormah = Destruction (great name for a rock band!)

c.
concerns over major purchases and health issues, business issues, competition, growth, right partners

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22 Moses

22.5 Moses 22, Day 5

Contentment

I loved the study of Psalm 90 today.  For the first 11 verses Moses raises up attribute after attribute of the Lord.  His majesty and might.  His eternity and authority.  One after another.

Then, starting in verse 12, Moses turns to supplication, petitions, requests:

  1. Teach us to number our days – how long will it be?
  2. Have compassion on your servants
  3. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love
  4. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us
  5. May your deeds be shown to your servants
  6. May the favor of the Lord rest on us
  7. Establish the work of our hands
  8. Establish the work of our hands

We have a limited amount of time on this planet.  Looking through the rear-view mirror of life, we see how we should have been thankful for every day.  Each hour and each day is a precious gift from God to be used for His glory.  We have no issue in finding the joy in the easy days, but we need help to be glad in the days of trouble and affliction.  Yet, it is only through these days that we grow.  To reach a new mountain-top we must pass through valleys.

But how do we achieve that perspective?  How do we find joy in the days of trouble and affliction?   (1) By God having compassion on His servants and (2) By God showing His deeds to His servants (3) Through the favor of the Lord.

When we face times of trouble and challenge, especially the death of loved ones, we tend to become more introspective.  We look backward, not only at the lives of those we love, but also at our own life.  There is nothing wrong with this, but it needs to be temporary.  We are not placed on this earth to go through it contemplating ourselves or looking backwards.  The journey of life lies ahead of us, not behind us.  We are here for a reason, for a purpose:  We are here to do God’s work.  When God’s favor is upon us He also gives us work to do.

When most of us are feeling sad, mournful or hurting we tend to pray to God to simply take the trouble away.  We ask Him to remove the sadness and replace it with joy, to heal us.  But should we ask for more?  Instead of simply removing the sadness and leaving us where we are, should we ask for God to instead move us forward?  Should we ask for Gods favor?  Should we ask for work?

The easiest way to get out of a rut is not to contemplate the rut, it is far more effective to get a little push in the right direction.

 

My Answers:

12.
a.
Death of the remainder of his family
b.
God as creator and Lord, God’s authority over life and death, his eternity vs. our mortality, his power, his wisdom

c.
appropriate perspective.  These are truths.  It makes me appreciate and put my life into perspective and to wisely live the days of my life

d.
For God to establish the work of our hands (repeated).  This is not just cerebral or spiritual.  It is not mournful or depressing.  We are to get active and work, work from God.

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22 Moses

22.4 Moses 22, Day 4

Separated From / Gathered To

We look at death from the perspective of the living.  We think of the person who died as being departed.  We mourn the separation we feel from the person.

But in the lesson today we seem some very interesting and heart-warming language.  When it came time for Aaron to die, the language God used in vs 26 was “Aaron will be gathered to his people.”

The illustration that comes to mind is that of a container of play-dough.  One way of looking at it is this:  When the play-dough is taken out of the container we can focus on the separation.  What it was is not the same anymore.  The shell of the container is there, but the contents have been removed.  But, our focus shouldn’t be on the play-dough container, it should be on the play-doh itself.  It is removed to transform it into something new.  To join it together with other dough to create something bigger, better, more beautiful.  Is our focus on the separated from or on the joined to?

Because of sin, under the law, Aaron and Moses were not allowed to enter the promised land.  But, through Christ there is grace.  It is not that the law was overturned, instead it was fulfilled.  Christ lived the life of perfection that we (including Moses and Aaron) could not.  When Jesus died it was not for His own sin, but for ours.

Jesus Christ was and is eternal.  He was present at creation in Genesis 1 and He is present in the last verses in Revelation.  While He had not yet taken the form of a baby in the manger, Jesus was part of the Trinity during Moses’ time as much as during ours.

The only way Aaron could be “gathered to his people” is if his people continued somewhere that exists after death.  The only way Aaron, or any other sinner, could be deemed worthy of entrance is by the grace and redemption of Jesus Christ.

By grace we are saved through faith.  Are you a person with a soul or a soul in a person?  Is your focus on the container or the spirit inside?

 

My Answers:

9.
a.
It was land given to Esau.  God did not tell them to fight them, it was not their promised land and none of it would be given to them.  They were weakened in numbers from the plague and weakened in spirit.  It would have been an offensive act, not a defensive response

b.
stayed in Kadesh then skirted the area by travelling through the wilderness

c.
Is it for my honor or for God’s?  Is it for my glory and comfort of for God’s glory.? Am I being offensive or defensive?  Is there another path?  Is God directing me in a certain direction?

10.
He allowed him to see and participate in the legacy of passing the high priesthood to his son.  He was celebrated by the people

11.
a.
There had to be a documented succession to the priesthood and, in particular, the position of the high priest.  It was not open for debate or discussion but selected by God.  The order of the priesthood did not change so the law and statutes and ordinances did not change, either

b.
Jesus claim to the priesthood was His divinity not as a descendant of Aaron

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22 Moses, Uncategorized

22.3 Moses 22, Day 3

Law vs. Grace / Trust in the Word

Moses’ times were marked by “The Law.”  In particular, we see in our lesson today the challenge of the law.  Moses was a humble and faithful servant.  At this point in the scriptures he is probably well over 100 years old.  He has not been perfect, but he has been faithful in his God-appointed task of bringing the Israelites up out of Egypt and into the promised land.  But, he will now not be going into the promised land himself.  There is no gray-area in “the law”, there is either obedience or disobedience, adherence or rejection.  Moses disobeyed.  He did not honor God as holy.  Under the law, he was inadequate.  In tomorrow’s lesson, though, we also see God’s grace.

How often in my own life do I put my trust in something tangible over the sufficiency of the Word of God?  I can feel more comfortable and more secure with something I can touch or hold.  I’m often shaped more by the words of Theodore Roosevelt to “speak softly and carry a big stick”, putting my faith more in the stick than the speech.  But the scriptures teach the opposite.  By far, the Word of God is more powerful than any stick.  “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” – Heb 4:12

God, please give me the ears to hear the power of your word and the voice to speak it boldly!

 

My Answers:

6.
a.
Take the staff, speak to the rock in front of them and it will pour out its water

b.
took the staff, gathered the people, spoke to the people (chastising them – taking credit “must we”), struck the rock twice with his staff

7.
a.
took credit, disobeyed, put trust in the staff instead of in God – they wanted something physical, not just verbal

b.
physical connection with the rock instead of verbal – taking credit

c.
when I live in doubt and worry about a situation

8.
a.
“you will not bring this community into the land I give them”

b.
1. of anyone, they knew better, 2. They each had interceded repeatedly, the fact that neither objected or interceded shows they did not see it as unmerited, 3. They already knew they weren’t going in (God had already said only Joshua and Caleb – Ex 14:30)

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22 Moses

22.2 Moses 22, Day 2

Slave Mentality

Before getting into the heart of today’s lesson, we have one verse noting Miriam’s death.  This past week I had the opportunity to attend a presentation by an evangelical group with a mission to help women in the middle east.  In many parts of the world, the middle east in particular, women are extremely dis-empowered.  They have absolutely no say in the conflicts, no voice and no vote.  They normally are not the ones standing up and shouting or raising firearms.  Yet, they face all the consequences and hardships.  While little was said about Miriam’s final days, months or years, we know that she died in the wilderness not in the promised land.  She was not one of the spies.  She was not a shouting voice.  Yet, the consequences of their actions also affected her.  We need to diligently be mindful of and pray for those in similar situations.  We need to be mindful and prayerful in all of our decisions to recognize the decisions affect not only me but also those around me.  We speak for our households in our actions – we need to speak correctly, as Joshua will say, “As for me and my house, we serve the Lord.”

In the core of our lesson today I saw again the “slave mentality” of the Hebrew people.  They saw themselves as victims, as slaves.  There were no armies forcing them to remain.  There were no palace guards.  They were free.  There were huge benefits of staying together, but, it was choice not force that bound them.  Yet, they took no responsibility.  Starting in vs. 4: you brought us into this wilderness, you brought us up out of Egypt, you brought us to this terrible place.  You, you, you.

This wasn’t Moses’ or God’s choice.  They were being provided with daily manna, that tasted like a sweet coriander, but they complained about the lack of grain and figs in the land.  They were shown bunches of grapes so massive it took 2 men to carry, but they complained about the lack of grapevines and pomegranates. They were brought to a land of milk and honey, the promised land, but rejected it.  But, in their mind, it wasn’t their fault.

It almost seems that  Moses could take the Hebrew out of slavery but he couldn’t take the slavery out of the Hebrew.

How are you viewing your life with a victim or slave mentality?  What are you blaming on other people or circumstances?  Are you living as a victim or victor?

My Answers:

3.
The lack of detail.  She did not get a say in the entry into the promised land, none of the women did, yet, she suffered the consequences.

4.
a.
How little things change.  God is providing daily food and again and again they fall into the same patterns

b.
I think they were mostly being dramatic.  No one was forcing them to continue together.  If they wished to separate from the community, it was their prerogative

5.
He did not demonstrate anger against them, as if resolved that they were a path to the next generation

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21 Moses

21.5 Moses 21, Day 5

God is a God of Life

The people had rebelled.  The people would continue to rebel.  Sin would go on and on and on.  Rejection of God would continue.  Offenses connected with the sanctuary and priesthood were going to continue.

There was no delusion that any of this was in the past.  But God also wanted to clearly communicate to His people.  But how?  He could have continued plagues.  He could have continued labor, signs, slavery, punishment.

But, instead, He chose life.  He had each tribe submit a staff, a rod, a dead piece of wood used as a walking stick.  Names were written on them, they were not manipulated, no hocus pocus.  Simply placed together in the same room at the same time.

But Aaron’s staff came to life.  One night it lay dead, then, overnight not only did it grow and bud, but it actually blossomed and produced fruit, nuts, almonds.

How beautiful this must have been and how fitting.  The same almond blossoms that the Lord had them use as the shape for the candlesticks in the tabernacle now sprout from the rod of the high priest.  The vessel to hold the light to come.

My Answers:

10.
a.
Sponsored an event: budded his rod and caused almonds to grow from it

b.
Jesus is the great high priest on the order of Aaron and Melchizedek

11.
a.
offenses connected w/ sanctuary & priesthood, the care of  sanctuary & altar, only serve as priests at altar and inside curtain

b.
From the offerings and tithes

c.
It was temporary, ceremonial – didn’t actually get them clean.  Also: That they had a red heifer without defect never under a yoke, that they had cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool, ashes used for ceremonial cleansing with water for purification from sin

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21 Moses

21.4 Moses 21, Day 4

Grumbling

I want to talk about the word that the NIV Bible translates as “grumbled”.  I’m not saying this is the wrong word, but I think there is merit into looking deeper.

The dictionary defines grumble as, “to utter (complaints) in a nagging or discontented way, or, to make low dull rumbling sounds.”  It is more growl than bark, more nag than confront.

Let’s look at it in Numbers 16:41, “The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. “You have killed the LORD’s people,” they said.”  The word grumbled is a translation of the Hebrew word luwn (Strong H3885).  Depending on the tense of the word, luwn can have a number of different meanings and in Hebrew there are 7 different tenses so, the meanings can be quite varied.  They can range from “to lodge, abide, dwell, pass the night” to “complain, murmur, grumble.”  In the tense used in this verse, the word is translated as, “to show oneself to be obstinate, to be stubborn.”

Obstinate, by definition, means: “stubbornly refusing to change one’s opinion or chosen course of action, despite attempts to persuade one to do so.”

Isn’t that at the heart of what is really going on?  Despite seeing the ground open up the day before.  After seeing 250 charred to a crisp.  They very next day they still stubbornly refuse to change course.

This is their chosen course, a path of rebellion, a path of wandering, a path of death.  God wanted them in the Promised Land, eating milk and honey, but they chose and continue to choose another path.  They have decided to lodge, abide, dwell in the land of grasshoppers, when God wants them to become giants.

Where are you obstinate in your life?  What mentality about who you are, where you come from, what you deserve, do you refuse to let go of?  Where have you pitched your tent?

Grumbling doesn’t sound so bad, it is just a low murmuring, but it has its roots deep down in our heart and our head where we refuse to change course, despite attempts by others who love and care for us to persuade us to open our eyes and quit being stubborn fools.

There is only one who fully paid the price of atonement.  We are foreigners in this land, spiritual beings wrapped in an earthly shell.  God is calling us to be giants – don’t be a grasshopper, don’t be stubborn, don’t be obstinate.  Choose – do you want to be on the side of the camp dead from plague or the side saved through the atoning act of the High Priest?

 

My Answers:

7.
a.
opened up the ground and swallowed them up (All those associated with Korah) 250 men consumed by fire

b.
He knew God

c.
To cause me not to sin and be jealous, but to be strong and faithful to Him and to trust in Him alone

8.
a.
collected, hammered out flat, overlay on the altar

b.
grumbled

c.
Been faithful, prayed, trusted God, repented of their own sin

9.
a.
God is always on the side of the righteous, those whose battle position is on their knees

b.
Took his censer, put incense in it and burning coals from the altar, made atonement for the assembly running in midst

c.
He has made atonement for us, He sits at the right hand of God as our eternal priest

 

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