27.4 Moses 27, Day 4

A Holy Covenant Relationship

All of our study this week in Deuteronomy, starting in Deuteronomy 26:17 and continuing through Deuteronomy 29, reminds me of a wedding ceremony.  You can hear it in the language of the scriptures:

17 You have declared this day that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in obedience to him, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws—that you will listen to him. 18 And the Lord has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised

Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, “Be silent, Israel, and listen! You have now become the people of the Lord your God.

10 All of you are standing today in the presence of the Lord your God—your leaders and chief men, your elders and officials, and all the other men of Israel, 11 together with your children and your wives, and the foreigners living in your camps who chop your wood and carry your water. 12 You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God, a covenant the Lord is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, 13 to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

I believe this analogy is fitting.  God wants an intimate relationship with you and with me.  He actually wants a vow larger than a wedding vow.  A wedding vow lasts for a lifetime.  God’s desired relationship lasts for eternity.  God’s commitment in His covenant is you will be His and He will be yours.

As we grow in our relationship with God we see and understand more of Him.  More time in the Word also builds a closer relationship with God and opens our eyes to His nature and attributes.  As God reveals Himself to us, that revelation is something that can never be taken away.  God wants to continue to reveal the secret things, the things we cannot understand without first understanding who God is.  Each of those “things revealed” is a gift, an everlasting gift.  Our mind may not be able to fully understand all of who God is, but that doesn’t mean it is something that is held as a secret from us, it is just something we cannot yet understand.  If someone were to ask me a question about Quantum Physics, I wouldn’t know enough to begin the conversation.  Yet, someone who has spent their life in study of it may grow in their appreciation of how much there is yet that we don’t know or understand.  God is bigger and deeper than quantum physics, yet, like an amazingly patient teacher, each day He is willing to teach us more about Himself.

 

My Answers:

7.
13. confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you

8.
Idolatry

9.
a.
God’s judgments and His paths

b.
The law, the covenants, God’s love and mercy

c.
God’s warnings to His people out of His love for them.  God’s patience.  God’s willingness to listen to prayer, that God is approachable.  The correct posture for obedience: up/worship, around/love, down/fear of God.

27.3 Moses 27, Day 3

I do it myself

When our kids were younger we would often here them say, “I do it myself”.  They didn’t want help.  They didn’t want direction.  They wanted to exercise their independence.

God doesn’t restrain or restrict our independence.  He made us and He made that as part of our nature.  He wants us to make choices.  But, like a loving parent, He wants us to make the right choices.

God lines up the events of our life.  Some to encourage us, some to challenge us and make us stronger.  This is in the same way that a parent or teacher or coach would line up controlled events for us to practice and learn and grow.  God is in control.

And, He wants to bless us along the path of life.  He wants us to be blessed.  He wants us to be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.  Blessed when we come in and blessed when we go out.  Blessed in our work and in our leisure.  Blessed in our families and against our enemies.

I think of it like a special protective coating that God has for us every single day, like sunscreen or the de-icing solution on airplanes.  God wants to wash a blessing over us every single day that permeates our physical self, our thoughts, our words and our actions.

But how often do we side step the blessing or shove it out of our way like a child wanting to “do it myself”?  How often do we reject not only the blessing but reject God pushing him to be behind us instead of the one who goes before us?  How can you stop right now (seriously, right now) and ask God to pour His blessing over you to change the rest of the way you live out this day?

 

My Answers:

5.
To be blessed, to be blessed when you come in and go out, to enjoy God’s provision of food/shelter/defeat of enemies, To be established as His holy people, to walk in obedience to Him, abundant prosperity, opening the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty

6.
a.
32.  Your sons and daughters will be given to another nation, and you will wear out your eyes watching for them day after day, powerless to lift a hand.

b.
They disobeyed by not driving out the enemy in the promised land, disobedience led to famine during the time of Elisha, and ate their own children

c.
To have increased obedience.  To enter obedience joyfully.

27.2 Moses 27, Day 2

Life Anchoring Experiences

I ran across a posting this past week that referenced a 2010 Cornell University study published by Thomas Gilovich and Travis J. Carter.  The study showed that over the long term experiences are more important and provide more lasting satisfaction than material things.  The study compared things such as buying a TV or a flashy car as opposed to investing the money in a vacation or training lessons.  It showed that the initial thrill of the possession faded rapidly, but the value of the experience started strong and continued growing over time.  It attributed part of this impact to the fact that our experiences are unique to us and personal whereas we tend to compare possessions to others.

I thought this was very fitting in the instructions and the relationship that God wanted to have with the people of Israel as they entered the promised land.  He is leading them into a physical place, through physical battles and difficulties, with physical rewards of food and shelter.  But, He wants their first thing in the new land to be an unique and memorable experience of obedience.  He calls on them to truly experience this event.  They would gather the stones, form the plaster, allow it to dry, write all the words of the law, build the altar, offer the burnt offering and shout the blessings and curses from the mountaintops.  Nothing like this had been done before or since.

This was in stark contrast to the gods of the people currently in the land whom they were to defeat and remove.  These people saw their gods as something to possess.  They formed them out of wood and clay and they carried them around with them.  They were gods of things, the god of the river, the god of the insects, the god of fertility.

Our God is a God of relationships.  He invites His people, then and now, to experience Him.  He doesn’t give us the law and commands as a rod to punish us with.  He gives them to us as loving directions so we know the right path that leads to a fully and deeper relationship with Him instead of getting lost in detours and wrong paths.

How are you experiencing God?  Are you investing your time and money in possessions that don’t last and don’t satisfy, or are you investing in experiences that change and redirect your life?  How are you creating experiences to share with others: such as family meals, spending time with missionaries, praying together, working in your church?  What intentional experiences do you want to plan for yourself and your loved ones in the next 90 days?  The experiences may just last forever!

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
large stones coated in plaster and write on them all the words of this law, also build there an altar with fieldstones

b.
To demonstrate their obedience, to create a lasting remind – to put the law first and foremost in their mind and to associate the Word with the burn offerings

4.
a.
Blessings from Mount Gerizim, Curses from Mount Ebal – shouted out by the tribes, 6 on each side

b.
Surgery reset the priorities of my life

26.5 Moses 26, Day 5

A Message from the Future

Have you ever broken a bone?  Been in a bad wreck?  Suffered a bad injury or hurt, physically or emotionally?

What if you had the ability to go back in time and get a message to yourself before the event?  What would you tell yourself?  It would probably be something along the lines of… Don’t do that!!!

God knows everything about the Israelites.  He knows their past, present and future – just as He knows yours and mine.  Throughout the book of Deuteronomy He is reaching through time to deliver a message to the people, especially one of warnings of the harmful things He knows lie in their future.  He is telling them time and again, don’t do that.

When you decide you want to be like other nations around you and have a king…

When you are tempted to participate in detestable practices such as sacrificing your own children, divination, sorcery…

When you get well fed in the land and begin to forget the Lord…

Keep reading through the old testament and you find incredibly specific instances where the Hebrews are in the middle of the wreck of their own making and the sin and hurt and pain that it causes, that exactly matches the things Deuteronomy is warning them not to do.

Did they forget that God knew their future?  These aren’t suggestions, they are warnings.

Unfortunately, they are warnings for you and me as well.  There are no new sins.  There are no new temptations.  No temptation has ever or will ever present itself except the same old common temptations that man has faced and God has overcome since Adam and Eve.  (1 Cor 10:13)

But they keep coming and we continue to fail to heed the warnings that God has written into the Bible.  We even know they will continue.  Deuteronomy provides warnings about false prophets.  Revelation talks about the False Prophet that is to come.

But we can change and it starts with what you are doing right now – studying the Word of God. Knowing His word leads to having an attitude of gratitude that God loves us so much that He has given us these instructions and warnings.  And, most importantly that He has given us the most special privilege of all: to know Him.

Deuteronomy 4:35 sums it up well, “You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other.

 

My Answers:

11.
a.
one from among them, avoided greed, trappings of power, multiple wives.  He must write for himself a copy of the law and read it every day and follow it carefully, not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn them from the law

b.
many of them were evil – Solomon took many wives, had great wealth and his foreign wives tempted him to turn from God

12.
a.
sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.

b.
Jesus Christ

c.
If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed. – Test it against scripture!

13.
a.
As a seal of the covenant – God commanded it – it was only after the offering that they were to rejoice in the full blessing of the Lord

b.
v. 11 – Rejoice

c.
Offer back to God in all He has give me: Time, love, family, faith, voice, money, business, future, health, obedience,  – in an attitude of gratitude

26.4 Moses 26, day 4

Avoiding Temptations through Intentional Congregation

Your faith in God is your own.  Your walk with God is a personal walk.  Your relationship with God is individual and personal.  God loves and desires you.  Jesus died for you.  The Holy Spirit will dwell in you.  God created you and His promises or for you, personally.

But, you will find that, to live an obedient life, there is strength in numbers.  We are called into a community of believers.  We are called into church.  Not only the buildings we call churches, but the bigger church, the body of believers.

That community is not a figurative community, it is a real one.  We are to join it, participate in it, be involved in it.  Know the other members.  Be known to the other members of the community.  Be transparent.  Teach and be taught.  Worship together.

At the time of Moses, the community was built around a physical place.  We are still called to make a physical connection, but in Christ and the Holy Spirit, we are also to make a spiritual connection.  The tabernacle was a foreshadowing of Jesus’ physical presence on the Earth.  But, as Jesus said to the woman at the well in John 4:23, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

Use the strength of the church to avoid temptation.  Temptation can come from many sources.  It can come from false teachers and prophets, even those who appear to have abilities to know about the future.  Temptation can come from family.  Temptation can even come from troublemakers within the community that was designed to give you strength.  But when temptation happens, do not be too shy or proud to face it together.

We’re called to be intentional in our faith and especially in the manner in which we live out our faith.  It starts with being intentional in obedience and worship.  Take giving for example.  The festival of weeks, also known as Pentecost, also known as the festival of first fruits, is discussed in Deuteronomy 16.  When the people entered the promised land, and even in later years, farmers would watch their fields and, at the first sign of ripening of fruit, they would go into the gardens and tie a ribbon around the vine of the first fruit to show the first signs of ripening.  When it was fully ripe, these fruits went into a basket and were presented at the temple.  We often think of giving in terms of monetary gifts and, to many of us, one dollar is not any different than another dollar.  But, God doesn’t want just any fruit or any dollar, He, for our sake, wants us to commit the first dollar or first product of our work or fields of labor.  How would your rejoicing in giving be different if you set the first fruits of your labor aside in a gift box designated for God?  How would that simple act cascade through your approach and thinking about the rest of each day of work?

How about tithing?  If instead of viewing it as sacrifices you were giving up of things that belonged to you, you, instead saw it and participated in it as a gathering with others in the family of believers?  Feeding each other, caring for each other, communing with others, together, equally, forgiving debts, setting each other free from servanthood.  If this is what we made “the church” look like, our next generation would be packed in together with us instead of being absent as is more the norm today.

But we are the church.  It isn’t for someone else to do, it starts with us – you and me.  To live in intentional faith.  To take our personal relationship and join it, intentionally, with others to be the body of believers in Christ in His church.

 

My Answers:

9.
a.
destroy them completely

b.
The temple was a foreshadowing of heaven and living in community with Jesus.  It was also to keep His people united as a community instead of “i worship my god, you worship yours”.

c.
A warning to join the community where God has place His name, to see Jesus in the articles of worship, to participate in true worship not trying to possess God – (john 4:23) Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

10.
(1) A prophet who foretells dreams – even if signs take place.  (2) family member entices you (3) troublemakers within your town

26.3 Moses 26, day 3

At the Gateway of the Next Thing

We’ve all been at the place where the Israelites find themselves in the book of Deuteronomy.  They are no longer wandering the desert, but they also have net yet moved into the next stage of their life.  They are in the “in between”, knowing they are at the gateway of what God has in store for them next, but not yet being called to move into that next mission.

If any of us reflect on our life, we’ve spent time in this place.  In some ways it is one of the most difficult places to live.  Its not the time of trial and survival, but it isn’t the time of feast and bounty.  Its not the desert, but it also is not the promised land.  Maybe you are there right now.

I think we can learn a lot from Deuteronomy 4-11 to help us navigate this time of life as people of God.

Stay in the word of God.  Don’t add to it or subtract from it.  Don’t embellish the stories but also don’t forget the lessons.

Keep your eyes open, but don’t allow them to deceive you into making something you see into an idol for worship.  Not the sun or moon or stars, not people, things, animals.

Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

Learn and study the word of God.  Not only the letter of the law but even more so the intent.  Know and obey the 10 commandments and also the greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”  Teach them to your children, talk about God in everything you do.  Put the word of God in your thoughts and in the work of your hands, on your place of dwelling and your journey from gate to gate.

As you think forward to whatever God has planned for you next be resolute, fortified and committed that you will not compromise or settle whatever you may face.  Whatever God has planned for your future, He has planned all the way, without compromise.

Look forward to and claim the blessings of God’s covenant to the obedient, “He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and olive oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you. You will be blessed more than any other people; none of your men or women will be childless, nor will any of your livestock be without young.  The Lord will keep you free from every disease.”

Commit yourself to not forget to praise and worship.  When God calls you to move forward and you receive the blessings, don’t forget who brought you to the dance.  You are not going there because of your skills or your righteousness, you are going because of God.

Remember your weaknesses.  The temptations you have faced in the past are temptations you will face in the future.  Learn from your past mistakes so that you won’t repeat them.

Love the Lord your God.  There is one God.  He loves you.  Love Him.

Be obedient.  Observe the commands.  Learn them and know them.  Faithfully obey the commands.  Carefully obey the commands.

Know that wherever God is going to lead you, He is going there before you and preparing the way.  Wherever it is you will be going in obedience, God is there now.

 

My Answers:

5.
a.
He is jealous for what is His.  He warns his people what will happen.

b.
heard the voice of God speaking out of fire and lived, took one nation out of another, testings, signs and wonders, war, mighty hand, outstretched arm, great and awesome deeds, , shown things so they might know the LORD

c.
The bible, His spirit, life, family, church, To see the blessing of children.  To have God guide the hand of Doctors.  To find a mission and work for the Lord.  To be given a voice.

6.
a.
Obedience: keeping all his decrees and commands, keeping all his decrees and commands,  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength

b.
Impress them on their 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 – Family get togethers focused on God – inviting in missionaries, model prayer

7.
The warning to not forget the Lord when He has brought me into times of “a good land” or when I “have eaten and are satisfied”, but instead – Praise the Lord

8.
fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good

 

26.2 Moses 26, Day 2

Checking the rear-view mirror

Deuteronomy is a collection of benedictions (good words) of Moses.  Basically, his last lecture of the things he wants to ensure the people of God hear and heed.

He starts his sermon with a review of where God’s people had been.  The Hebrew people had been here before.  The last time they were at the doorway to the promised land, they proved themselves to be rebellious and despite the truth spoken by Caleb and Joshua, they refused to enter the land.

This event is the entry point for this current generation.  It was their parents who were the decision makers in the rebellion.  It was their parents who longed for Egypt.

But Moses words are addressed to “you” not to “them.”  This generation is tied to the last.  We inherit the sins of our parents and they shape us.  But we have a choice in how they shape us.  Do we choose to be limited by them.  Do we choose to repeat the same patterns and repeat the same mistakes or do we choose to learn from them and rise above.  But, in either situations, we aren’t to be in denial.  When we shame and blame our parents and ancestors we delude ourselves into thinking we are not impacted by or have liability/baggage from their decisions.  Moses does talk about them, he talks to you.  The message is personal

But, while Moses addresses the “you”, he doesn’t romanticize the past or prompt this generation to have any desire to repeat the sins.  The review is a clear look in the rearview mirror to keep that past behind them as they move forward.

This generation shouldn’t have any desire to repeat the past 40 years, but they should also understand that God has used that time to shape them and prepare them.  Think about how it has shaped and prepared them.  They had spent 38 years on an 11 day journey.  For the past 40 years this generation has watched more than 80 of their parents and grandparents, on average, die every day, day after day.  We learned in the Numbers 26 that over 600,000 men had died over the past 40 years.  Assuming an equal number of men and women that is 1.2 Million people who have died.  1,200,000 divided by 40 years divided by 365 days = 82 deaths per day on average.  This generation has grown up homeless, wandering from place to place with no land to call their own.  They have moved their herds, but they have also lived always under the care of the Lord.  God has provided their daily bread.  God has gone before them and dwelt with them and protected them.  They have seen the impact of sin and rebellion both in day-to-day life and in major events such as plagues and fire and even the earth opening up and swallowing families.  They have also witnessed the blessings of being God’s chosen people.

God has used all of that to prepare them, train them and bring them to this place.  But, through Moses words, he also reminds them that this generation is not immune to the heritage of the generation before.  They are not to lose sight of the rebellion, but they are to keep it behind them.

What sins of prior generations are you trying to deny?  What sins of prior generations do you wish to forget?  Which attitudes of your parents are temptations to you as well?  What hardships have you experienced in your life?  Are you angry and wounded by those hardships and blaming them on others or can you look in the rear-view mirror and see how they have been used to training and teaching you how to walk with God?

 

My Answers:

3.
in the wilderness east of the Jordan 11 days journey from Mt. Horeb (10 commandments) – that took them 38 years to travel

4.
a.
They had rebelled, they had turned away from God, They had been blessed, Because of unbelief they had wandered for 38 years, An entire generation had perished

b.
Instructed the Israelites (I said…) Spoke with the Lord, Commanded the Israelites, saw Gods might, commissioned Joshua, was allowed to see the promised land but not enter it

c.
was faithful, spoke to His people, Was with the people and Moses, Fought battles for them, defeated people for them, blessed the people, watched over their journey

25.5 Moses 25, Day 5

How can a loving God…?

Our story today can be a major stumbling block to many people.  It also is at the heart of language that discusses the “God of the Old Testament” vs. the “God of the New Testament.”  This God appears to be ruthless, uncaring, unloving, where the one we grew to know through Jesus was forgiving and peaceful.

So, let’s back up and get at the heart of our repulsion to this situation.

1. People die.  We don’t like it that people die, especially when it is us or our loved ones, but generally, we understand that it is something that is going to happen and we accept it.

2. God is in control of everything.  To believe in an all powerful, all knowing, sovereign God is to also believe that God is in control.  Nothing happens that God does not allow.  God also has the power to stop anything and everything.  If God chose to have someone live to be 120 or 969 years old, they would live to that age.  That is what being in complete control means – the power over life and death.

3. If people die and God is in control then God is in control of life and death.  Here is where we start losing some people with a concept of a really small God.  They want a god who is in charge of “good things”, but “bad things” are just a matter of chance – outside of god’s control.  (I switched to small “g” because that does not describe the God of scriptures.)

4. Women and children die.  Again, not something we really like, but we understand that if everyone dies, it is going to include women and children and God is in charge of that, too.

5. Large numbers of people can die at the same time.  Plagues, earthquakes, natural disasters, flooding, tornados, tsunami.  None of these are things we like and understand (from a how it fits in God’s design point), but we generally accept that they happen and, if we also believe God is in control, then God allows them to happen.

6. In times of war, people kill other people.  Again, not something we like or look forward to, but we generally accept it as fact and the definition of war.

When we look hard at Numbers 31-36, our issue with the Midianites is not that they died (people die) or that women and children died (that happens to) or that large numbers of people died.  At heart, it isn’t even that God allowed them to die, because that has been happening ever since Adam and Eve.  It isn’t even that they died on that die because we can and do accept that, for each of us, there is a day and time that our life will end (again, and a sovereign God has control over that moment).

Let’s back up a second.  God didn’t need the Israelite involvement to have the Midianite people die on this particular day.  He could have done it with a plague (like those he allowed in the Israelite camp).  He could have opened the earth (Korath).  He could have rained down fire and brimstone (Sodom)  He could have used any of the plagues of Egypt, starvation, drought.  He could have chosen another conquering army to come in or even an internal coup.

God did not need the Israelites to deal with the Midianites.  And, let’s look at the Midianites.  These were a people who pimped out their women, their wives, mothers and daughters, to another nation (Moab) to use to seduce the Israelite men.  These were a people who openly worship Baal and gave safe harbor to Balaam.  These are also people who had Jethro as a priest and Moses’ wife and sons as kinsmen.  These are people who had the opportunity to learn about God and worship the one true God but they chose to reject Him and breed idolatry, sorcery and hate for God’s people.   The sins and choices of one generation can carry forward and infect generations to come.

God’s people were moving in to this land and they were going to conquer it.  They weren’t co-habitating it.  They weren’t moving in next door to friendly neighbors.  They were conquering the land and taking possession of it.  The people were going away, one way or the other – and, they weren’t going away willingly.

So, our complaint isn’t that there was a war, or that the Midianites died, or even that they died on this day, or even that they died on this day in large numbers or even that they died on this day in large numbers which included women and children.

Our complaint is that people, men like you and me, were used by God to carry out this action.  Why is it that we can be ok with their death and even be ok with their death with God in control but we are repulsed by it being done at the hand of men?  I think there are two reasons:

1. We don’t trust our fellow man.  We have grave concern that some delusional person will see this historic event as some justification for taking action themselves.  We see it as justification by other religious groups for their heinous actions because, well, the Jews did it.

2. We are afraid that God would/could/might ask us, as zealous believers, to do the same thing.

I think both are fully rational reasons to be concerned and repulsed, but, let’s face it – neither of them is an indictment against God.  If you “can’t believe in a God…”, that statement isn’t about God it is about yourself and your fellow man.

Also, that was then.  It is not a precedent, it is an isolated event at a specific time in ancient history.  It was then – this is now.  None of us are part of the 12 tribes of Israel freed from Egypt to move in to the promised land.

I lack trust in the crazies in the world as well – the ones who believe that their religious zeal gives them the right to behead people and set them on fire or kill or mutilate them in various ways.  That is not this passage and it is not truth.  I, too, have certainty they do not share my faith in God.

Jesus did not abolish the law, but He did fulfill it.  God is God.  The God who created the Universe is the one alive today.  If you have an issue with God, take the time to truly examine your complaint.  Is it really against God or, actually, is it against your fellow, fallen man?  If it is the latter, then accept and embrace God – He is our only source of power and protection against the wicked in this world.

 

 

I went long on this part but I wanted to mention one item about the Reubenites and Gadites.  Did you notice what it says in Number 32:1 – “They saw.”  Isn’t this, over and over again, at the heart of our problems and disobedience.  We put more faith in the sensory of our eyes than we do in the promise and faith of our heart.  We put seeing over believing.  As a result we settle for far less than what God has in store for us.  We are pulled into sin.  We doubt what we can’t see.  We have wandering eyes leading to impure thoughts.

Where in your life are you putting your faith in your sight rather than in God?  Where are you allowing your eyes to lead you into a state where you risk being a “brood of sinners”?

 

My Answers:

9.
a.
God is just, so, yes.  The Midianites harbored Balaam.  They worshipped idols including baal.

b.
God could have simply wipe them out for their sin.  However, he chose to allow the Israelites to do the battle to teach them, show them His strength and theirs and to test them on their obedience.

10.
a.
They had lots of flocks and saw the land was suitable for livestock – “do not make us cross the jordan”  (sounds like still a bit of victim mentality)

b.
No.  He thought they were shirking their responsibility to the nation – “a brood of sinners”

c.
They agreed to go into battle, “go ahead of the Israelites” but leave their women, children and livestock in place.

11.
a.
Historic reference.  It was the history of God shaping this nation, not unlike recording birthdays or height on a door post.

b.
weddings, mission trips, commitments to help missions, teaching occassions, application of gifts, joining organizations, churches

12.
To ensure there is not vigilante-ism but justice.  Gave time for witnesses to gather to tell truth instead of rushed judgment

25.4 Moses 25, Day 4

(1) Charging Station or Garden? and (2) Honoring to Women

Many of us have shaped an image of our relationship with God and church and the bible and worship like a charging station in a technological age.  We plug in to worship and devotion.  We recharge.  We then unplug and go out into the world.  As we wear down, we plug back in.  We talk about how worn down we get, how drained we feel and the energy of the spirit.

We have adopted this relationship analogy because it is one we use in other parts of our life.  Juggling between different priorities and responsibilities we apply some processing resources to one or the other.  We try to have “quality time” with our kids and family.  We even do the same thing to our kids and family by getting them plugged in to the right schools, teams, groups and activities.

But, I think our lesson today in Numbers 28-29 shows how that is a flawed mindset.  It is one that leads to an idea that we can justify delayed connection time if we “supercharge”.   Along the lines of, I can’t be at all of my kids games but when I’m there I’m on the front line, cheering the loudest and all decked out in the appropriate colors and uniform.

But in the list of worship activities for the Hebrews they look less like a recharging station and more like a garden.  God is getting ready to move them into their new home, the Promised Land, and He wants them to put down strong roots.  He wants to nourish those roots daily in worship to him.  He wants to tend the soil around the plantings weekly.  He wants to prune the plants and clear the weeds monthly.  He wants to prepare the soil and harvest the fruit at appropriate times each year.

How would our lives change if we changed our mindset to a more organic and living garden with God?  Would it help us understand the importance of steady nourishment and sunlight (Son-Light)?  Would it help us see the storms of life as part of the rhythm of what strengthens us?  Would we see our connection with God as a living connection?  Would it reduce the amount of up-rooting we do to ourselves with the constant un-plugging and plugging in and the stresses and strains all of that involves?  Couldn’t we produce for more spiritual fruit for God’s kingdom if we are firmly rooted in the Word of God?

 

On a separate note, I thought both Chapters 27 and 30 speak to God’s special love for women.  Many have formed an idea of the bible as being demeaning or derogatory to women.  I understand this argument when situations like the census where only the men are counted.  But, I think these 2 chapters also speak to the love and provision God intended for women.  Contrary to any other nation of their time, the nation of Israel in the promised land would have been very progressive.  Not only could women own property in their own name and retain title to it (ch 27), but they could also independently enter into binding contracts and agreements (vows) that were impacting not only on themselves but also on their families.  I don’t think the people of God did a good job of continuing to walk in the intent of these chapters, but it was heartening to see God’s love and appreciation for all of His creation, not just the male members.

 

My Answers:

7.
a.
They were children when the Israelites were first at Mount Sinai when the law was first communicated

b.
The pattern, daily, weekly, monthly, passover, first fruits,   Builds on past but points to the future.
God expects us to worship him daily, weekly, monthly and on special holidays

8.
Many think the bible message is derogatory to women.  This chapter helps show is protective and honoring, progressive and empowering (at least in parts).

25.3 Moses 25, Day 3

Whom do you live for?

I love the question in our lesson about what would you do/pray if you found you only had one week to live?  I think the answer to that question, at its heart, reveals for whom we live.

If you live for yourself, with one week to live, the focus of that week will be on yourself.  What will make you feel better?  What is on your bucket list?  Where to go, what to see, what to do.  Sky diving.  Rocky Mountain climbing.  You would want to cram in as much “living” as you could in the time you had left.

If you live for others your focus is going to be on provision.  What can you do to get your accounts in order, line up documents, accounts, people to leave a legacy and take care of those on whom you are focused.

If you live for God your focus is on His will and mission and expanding the kingdom.  What message can you leave?  Whom can you reach out to?  How can you use your circumstance to invite others into God’s family and live as an example of pure faith and trust in your final days?

As human’s we are all on a scale of all three of these.  Thinking of it as a three dimensional graph, we fall somewhere in the X,Y,Z space with few (if any) of us totally along one axis.

The reason I think this is a wonderful question is not because it helps identify where I am (if I answer honestly), but it gives me the ability to assess where I would like to be so I can continue to change my life and my priorities to move more in that direction.

As Christians, most of us would like to live less for ourselves and more for God and less for ourselves and more for others.  That is definitely the example we see in Moses.  When presented with the deadline (no pun intended) of his life, his concern was for the continuation of his mission work for the Lord and the care of a people that he loved.

So where are you now and where do you want to be in regard to the priorities of your life?

How will you live differently if you start “living like you are dying?”

How will you live differently if you start “living like you are going to live forever?”

If you are a Christian (and the rapture doesn’t occur in your lifetime) both of these are true statements.

 

My Answers:

5.
a.
He allowed him to see the promised land.  He honored his request for succession planning

b.
who would God appoint as the leader over the people

c.
provision for my family

6.
God picked him.  God had Moses give him some of his authority (when he did, the Holy Spirit transferred to him).  He did not see the Lord face-to-face.  He did not stand in the tent of meeting with God, Eleazar served as the intermediary.