19.5 Moses 19, Day 5

God speaks through me and you

God is God.  God’s attributes that we have the ability to learn through the scriptures, are revelation of God.  God speaks through the Holy word of Scripture.

But, God’s ability to “speak through” and to reveal His character and attributes is not limited to the words in the Bible.  Nothing else revealed will contradict the bible, nor will it replace or even add to what is revealed in the bible, but it is still real and God still fully has the ability to use it.

For example, nature.  Who can truly look at the beauty and magnificence of nature and not have sense of the Creator within it?  Take hymns, “Holy, Holy, Holy”, “What a friend we have in Jesus”, “How great thou art”.  Take a pastor or preacher with a Holy Spirit enabled gift to paint a picture for us to apply the words of the bible to our lives.  Or a writer who challenges our thinking and pulls our heart closer to God.

For that matter, what about me and you?  Not only can God (who by the way can do anything) speak through us, but He does.  Those around you see the Lord in your life.  They see your deeds.  They see your service.  They see your attitude and your dedication and from these things they learn about God.

All things on heaven and earth are for God’s glory.

Through all of the lives of all the people, God’s glory, all of His attributes and who He is, continues and continues to be revealed.  The same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t always reflect highly on us!

We see this with Miriam in our lesson today.  She asked the question, “doesn’t the Lord also speak through us?”  And, He did.  He spoke in righteous judgment for one who speaks against one of His faithful servants..  He spoke in the power and control over illness and disease (even those we consider uncureable).  He spoke in the mercy He showed in forgiving and healing.  He spoke in the Fatherly love of holding to consequences for significant wrongs and bad teaching from those He has placed in a leadership position in the church.

We see volumes in lessons about God and who He is through this situation with Miriam.  All of it is true and all of it is positive.

But if Miriam sought additional attention from the Israelites, that happened as well.  Not only during the 7 days the entire encampment sat in wait, but, can you even imagine the “walk of shame” as she re-entered the camp?

God does speak through me and you.  Whether we do right or wrong, it doesn’t change who God is and the truth of His revelation.  But when we sin, God’s light isn’t dimmed, but our ability to reflect that light is tarnished and muddied.  People see more of our faults and less of God’s reflection.

Where do you need to “polish your mirror?”  What traits or habits are present in your life that, if revealed, would tarnish your ability to reflect God’s light?  What is going to get you to change?

I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to have to hear God use the “Dad voice” with me to get me to change, like He did with Miriam and Aaron :

  1. Listen to my words (what dad hasn’t used that one?)
  2. In my house (about moses, “he is faithful in all my house) – (this is my house and in my house…)
  3. Why then…?  (if you were thinking, how could you have possibly thought this was a good idea?)
  4. The anger burned and He left.  (I think sometimes the most convicting thing (terrifying thing) wasn’t when Dad took action but when he was so angry he walked away from the discussion).

 

My Answers:

10.
a.
Brought all three parties together, called them to the tent of meeting, came down in pillar of cloud, stood at the entrance and summoned Aaron & Miriam, told them “listen to my words”, laid out the circumstances, asked why they were not afraid to speak against “my servant Moses”, anger of the Lord burned, He left them, Miriam skin turned leprous

b.
“he is faithful in all my house”, “my servant Moses”

11.
a.
I speak with him face to face, clearly and not in riddles, he sees the form of the Lord

b.
All of creation is God’s house – Moses is faithful at all times and in all places

12.
a.
skin became leprous

b.
He would have had to examine her and judge her unclean and she would have been sent permanently outside of the camp

c.
He prayed for people who had unjustly wronged him and received a just penalty, but asked for their healing and forgiveness

d.
He healed her disease, but there was still justice and teaching.  God forgives our sins, but still teaches us necessary lessons

19.4 Moses 19, Day 4

Complaining springs from ingratitude

Part of our aim for this week is that complaining springs from ingratitude.  I love the imagery of the spring in that line and we see it in today’s lesson.

Miriam and Aaron have gotten themselves all wound around the axle about Moses’ new wife.  We don’t have a lot of information here.  We don’t know if something happened to his first wife.  We don’t know if there was some other tension or jealousy.  We don’t know if it had anything to do with race or nationality.  We just don’t know and I don’t think it wise to try to fill in the blanks.

What we do know is that “because of his Cushite wife” Miriam and Aaron “began to talk against Moses.”

What is interesting in the imagery of the spring is that, while they were wound up about his wife, that is not what popped out.  They way they sprung up against Moses was by attacking his relationship and standing with God.  The words punched at his relationship as being nothing unique or different.  “has the Lord spoken only through Moses?”, “Hasn’t He also spoke through us?”

There are times in our lives where we, too, can get “all wound up” about something.  Just like that spring, the issue coils around our heart, storing up all this negative energy.  When we release it, it springs out, uncontrolled and normally not in a matter that has anything to do with what the real issue is, but just a way to inflict harm to the other person.

But, not only is that not a healthy approach, but it is also not the biblical approach.  God recognizes we are human.  He recognizes there will be disagreements among us.  Have you noticed all the laws and guidelines He has been putting in place to address these disagreements and disputes?  Have you noticed the 70+ elders he has put in place to help the people in these areas and how he equipped them with His spirit?  God does not paint some make-believe land where everyone just gets along.  God knows we are going to get wound up from time to time especially about family and especially about leaders and especially about family who are leaders and believers.  We hold them to a higher standard and, well, sometimes we see things in them that we consider to be unaddressed faults.

But the biblical approach is not to become a spring.  Instead, we are called to unwind the concern with a fellow family member to the brother in the presence of God.  We are to release the energy, not attack with it, and get to the core of the situations.  We are to trust God and hold to His words, but also to model His mercy and grace.

What are you wound up about?  When have you felt the negative energy stored up in your heart?  Who or what have you sprung out against, especially in a way that is totally unrelated to the core issue?  What fellow christian can you join with to unwind the energy and address the issue with your brother and with God?

Start with a focus on gratitude to God.  Start with the words, “thank you, Lord” and then keep saying it as you let the negativity unwind.

My Answers:

8.
a.
Moses’ sister, watched over him in the nile, approached pharoah’s daughter, lived as a slave in Egypt, was a prophetess, leader, singer of songs
b.
He married a Cushite woman.  We don’t know enough to draw conclusions (what happened to 1st wife)  other than the fact that God, who knew her heart, was displeased and the wording in the bible implies jealousy and lack of humility

9.
a.
He didn’t respond, at least not directly.  He likely talked with God about it (history of doing that)

b.
grow sad, frustrated, humiliated, angry.

 

19.3 Moses 19, Day 3

Joining the Rabble = Rejecting God

 There is always the rabble.  No matter the setting, it seems like when you get a group of people together, there are always some who choose to be unhappy, discontent.  No matter the blessings all around them, they find something to complain about.

If you are one of those people – stop it.  It is not constructive criticism if you are not picking up your tools and helping construct something better – it is just criticism.  Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  “No corrupting talk”, “building up”, “give grace.”

If you are around “the rabble”, do not fall in with them.  As Christians, we know we are on God’s team.  We love Him and honor Him, but we also hear the voices of the complainers.  Not only in our private lives or at work, but even at church.  But this passage tells us God’s view of us when we turn our attention to the rabble.  From His perspective, we aren’t just casually listening to them, instead, we have turned out back on Him.  By joining with them, even if only in listening and allowing our heart and minds to be stirred, we reject God.

Our passage also clearly points out that we don’t have to live our life in denial.  Sometimes things are hard.  Sometimes our burdens are great.  Sometimes things are not going at all like we want or need them to go.  We get frustrated.  We get annoyed.  We get overwhelmed.

But, when that happens, just like it did to Moses, we are called to do what Moses did and turn it over to God.  The difference is in this question, “Do you want to enjoy wallowing in the complaining or do you want to solve it?”  If you want to solve it, turn to God – He has the power to solve anything and everything.  If you want to just enjoy having a pity party – well – that is not your best idea!

The people lashed out against each other, against God, against Moses.  Ping, ping, ping, drip, drip, drip.  Just like a continual dripping on a rainy day.  Each comment added to the annoyance, but resolved nothing.  But Moses didn’t drip.  He unwound all his issues at God’s feet.  He didn’t lack for drama (just kill me), but god didn’t chastise him.  The difference is that when Moses unwound it all to God, he was done and trusted in God for a solution.

God showed He had the power to provide.  He provided 70+2 elders empowered with His Spirit to help Moses.  He provided quail 3 feet deep.  He had the power to provide.  But, there is also a lesson here as well.  When our heart and words are focused purely on ourselves and not God, God may give us what we think we want, but it is not going to bring us peace and fulfillment – it brings plagues and death and un-fulfillment instead.

My wife had a good perspective on this.  She said, I wonder if, before they left Egypt, God and Moses had sat the Israelites down and had a talk with them and said, “We’re going to take you out of slavery and bondage and into the promised land flowing with milk and honey.  You’ll defeat pharoah’s armies, you’ll have riches of gold and jewels, food will be provided each day that tastes like honey, nations will fear you, and God will dwell among you, but, for a period of time, you won’t have fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions or garlic.”  Just how many people do you think would have stood up and said, “hold on, that’s a deal breaker – just leave me here in slavery.”?

 

My Answers:

5.
a.
free fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, garlic

b.
slavery, hardship

6.
a.
He was troubled – overwhelmed

b.
It is what he was honestly feeling and he took it to God.  A bit dramatic, but, yes, the people were a burden.

c.
Shared the burden with 70+2 = 72 = 12 x 6 elders equipped with His spirit.  (note: 72 is the same number Jesus appointed to be sent out in Luke 10:1)

d.
Through others and by showing He is present and faithful and has a plan

7.
a.
They had rejected Him

b.
Brought a plague on them

19.2 Moses 19, Day 2

Be

Hardships are real.  But in the same way that cataracts can cloud our vision to the point of blindness, hardships can cloud of perspective of God’s purpose for our lives.

I’ve been in situations where people treated hardships as a competition.  This will sound horrible, but I was in a bible study where people were sharing some of their struggles so the group could pray for them.  One man opened up that he had lost his wife to cancer 2 years prior and had just found out that his daughter had leukemia.  The next person started their comments with “well, I can’t beat that.”

There is nothing wrong with facing our hardships and confronting them, but they are situations, not what defines us.  We should name them, not as badges of honor, but as things to be turned over to God for prayer and support.

The challenge is that we, all too often, look to outside influences to make us something.  To make us happy.  To make us content.  To make us fulfilled.  But outside influences whether given (money, food, clothing) or taken away (fear, pain, hardship) do not “make us.”  Case in point, their are incredibly wealthy people, who lack financial security.  There are very well fed individuals, who crave certain foods.

The point is that the only way to “be” something else is from the inside out, not the outside in. Nothing pushing on the outside of a balloon is going to fill it up.  Ful-fill-ment starts on the inside.  That is where God comes in, by, literally coming in to your life.  God is not an influence, He is a “be”ing.  He says, you will “be” my people and I will “be” your God.  He fills us with the Love of Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  He writes His name on us and claims us as His home, a place to fill with Himself.

When your focus turns to struggles, worries and hardships, as the song says, turn your eyes upon Jesus.  In so doing you can “be” delighted in your inheritance, “be” patient and not fret, “be” still, and most rewardingly, you can “be” content.  Content is an interesting word.  The origin of the word is the past participle of the Latin word continere, meaning: to contain.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
grumbling

b.
fire burned among them and consumed the edges of the camp, that is how He chose to reveal His wrath so they could see what they truly deserved.

4.
a.
Cried to Moses

b.
grumble, worry, pray

c.
16:6 – boundary lines, delightful inheritance
37:7 wait patiently, do not fret about others
4:11-12 be content