Recording the names of all the warriors. It was going to be a lengthy list, but starting off with the tribe of Reuben, this paragraph grabs my attention.
8 Pallu was the ancestor of Eliab, 9 and Eliab was the father of Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. This Dathan and Abiram are the same community leaders who conspired with Korah against Moses and Aaron, rebelling against the Lord. 10 But the earth opened up its mouth and swallowed them with Korah, and fire devoured 250 of their followers. This served as a warning to the entire nation of Israel. 11 However, the sons of Korah did not die that day. Numbers 26:8-11, NLT.
Leaders. Conspiracy, rebellion against the Lord. Followers. A warning.
I sat across from her yesterday enjoying coffee and pound cake. I hadn’t seen her in about two years. She told me a story of guilt and her participation in it, how she sat across the table and laughed and commented on things that she probably shouldn’t have known. Sinful seeds a guise of harmless humor whose germination grew gossip, division, bitterness and hatred.
Her eyes could have been those of the ones who’d laughed at me, and I found myself straddling a parallel space of looking at a friend and an enemy. God showed me how easily a nice person can find herself drawn to a side (of friend or enemy) through even passive acts of listening–and long enough of that, swallowed up, devoured.
This scripture, this morning, is a repeated refrain this year for me: know who you are following and why you are following (him/her). History pages show kingdoms, nations led in directions that bring triumph or ruin. Literature and life are teaching me lessons on choosing friends wisely–be careful who you follow! And whether the table is one in a classroom or a community, examine who is doing the influencing. As a tutor, a mother, a friend, how am I leading and where am I leading? If it’s anyplace but to Jesus, we are all lost.
12 One day the Lord said to Moses, “Climb one of the mountains east of the river, and look out over the land I have given the people of Israel. 13 After you have seen it, you will die like your brother, Aaron, 14 for you both rebelled against my instructions in the wilderness of Zin. When the people of Israel rebelled, you failed to demonstrate my holiness to them at the waters.” (These are the waters of Meribah at Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.)
15 Then Moses said to the Lord, 16 “O Lord, you are the God who gives breath to all creatures. Please appoint a new man as leader for the community. 17 Give them someone who will guide them wherever they go and will lead them into battle, so the community of the Lord will not be like sheep without a shepherd.” Numbers 27:12-17, NLT.
Lord, help me to keep my eyes fixed on you.
Not an affiliate, and not a paid review, but for anyone who has a heart for hospitality, relationships, community and Jesus, one of the richest books I’ve read is Table Life: Savoring the Hospitality of Jesus in Your Home by Joanne Thompson. You will never see a table the same way again.