Tag Archives: Moses

Numbers 15:22-16:50

I had a professor in seminary who taught Christian Education. Men and women who were going to be pastors of Christian Education attended his classes. We were going to be in the second chair in most of the situations we would be serving in. Our professor would say often that the Sr. Pastor was God’s chosen person for that church we were serving. Now you may believe that or not, but that was his point of view. And he would tell us that we should never work against the ministry of the Sr. Pastor. We were there to support God’s chosen one.

Well my first ministry position was fraught with challenges to the Sr. Pastor from many in the congregation. And I sympathized with them. In fact, I wanted to stand in opposition to many of the things he was trying to accomplish. I called this prof and told him the entire story. I thought he would say that surely this was a time a Christian Education Pastor could work against a Sr. Pastor. After laying it all out he had one question. How long can you stay there before you should leave? If you can’t support God’s chosen one for that church you need to leave. Boy, I wasn’t expecting that.

In today’s reading Korah and others rose up in opposition against Aaron and Moses. God’s chosen men for that time in Israel’s history. And they paid dearly with their lives.

16 Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men. And they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?” When Moses heard it, he fell on his face, and he said to Korah and all his company, “In the morning the Lord will show who is his, and who is holy, and will bring him near to him. The one whom he chooses he will bring near to him. Do this: take censers, Korah and all his company; put fire in them and put incense on them before the Lord tomorrow, and the man whom the Lord chooses shall be the holy one. You have gone too far, sons of Levi!” And Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi: is it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do service in the tabernacle of the Lord and to stand before the congregation to minister to them, 10 and that he has brought you near him, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? And would you seek the priesthood also? 11 Therefore it is against the Lord that you and all your company have gathered together. What is Aaron that you grumble against him?” (Numbers 16:1-11 [ESV])

Now we know that God had chosen Moses and Aaron to lead God’s people. It was going to end very badly for Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Along with those that were following them.

I think we too need to think about those in authority over us in the church. Our goal should be to support and encourage them and not work against their ministries. Obviously if a leader is in sin and not repentant the body needs to deal with him/her in that regard. But if we disagree with strategy or vision or style that is totally different. Our goal is to support and encourage our leaders.

What can you do in this next week to encourage your pastor or spiritual leader?

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Exodus 33:1-35:29

A prism is a glass or other transparent object in prism form, especially one that is triangular with refracting surfaces at an acute angle with each other and that separates white light into a spectrum of colors. Diamonds can act as prisms. A faceted diamond acts as a prism as light slows down upon entering and speeds up upon exiting the facets. Jewish tradition speaks of the prism or diamond effect of the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament). One can read the Torah they say year after year and each time it enlightens the reader on something new that comes out from the same passage that has been read for several years. We have known that for years if we’ve been Bible readers for some time. You read a passage and the next time you read it the text enlightens your mind/emotions and a different way. God’s Word is alive.

Well today’s text has done that to me. Read part of chapter 33 below:

Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise up, and each would stand at his tent door, and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. 10 And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door. 11 Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp (Exodus 33:7-11a [ESV]).

When I have read this passage before — most likely 50 times — my focus has been on Moses and the great privilege he had to be literally in the presence of God. How glorious that was! And yet this time my focus fell on the people of Israel. They stood afar off in the doorways of their tents. The were bystanders. How sad. They worshiped from afar. They had no direct connection to God. I found myself really feeling sorry for the people of Israel.

How different it is today. When Jesus died for our sins the curtain in the temple was torn in two giving us all direct access to the God of the universe through Jesus our Saviour. Do we realize what a great gift this privilege is? Do we take advantage of this like we should?

Father God, thank you for the great privilege you have given us through the death of Jesus to communicate directly to you! Thank you for this connection we have with the God of the universe. Help us never to take it for granted. We pray all of this in the strong and saving name of Jesus, Amen!

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Exodus 5:10-8:15

In one of the churches I served in we had a youth pastor who was quite the nerd. He was one of those guys that had a pocket protector for his pocket protector. You know the kind. If you don’t, perhaps your that one. Well, he got it in his head and said it was God’s will for him to date and eventually marry one of the women in our church. She was a registered nurse and was just the opposite of the youth pastor. I hate to say this, but the rest of the staff teased him mercilessly about it. None of us could never see her accepting an invitation to go out with him, let alone marry him. It did get to the point where we decided to let up a bit because it was getting a bit much. We all knew she would never go out on a date with him. Well to make a long story very short, today they have children and grandchildren. God was definitely in it and he was not deterred by our teasing.
Well today’s passage has stakes that are much higher; the deliverance of an entire nation. And yet the people that Moses and Aaron were representing and attempting to free we not very happy with them. Their presence and demands before Pharoah had caused him to bear down even harder on the Israelites. Read it here:
19 The foremen of the people of Israel saw that they were in trouble when they said, “You shall by no means reduce your number of bricks, your daily task each day.” 20 They met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them, as they came out from Pharaoh; 21 and they said to them, “The Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” (Exodus 5:19-21 [ESV]).
Has that ever been your lot? Have you felt as if God were leading you one way and others were discouraging you from that path? It takes courage to swim against the current. It can be lonely and scary. But if God is in it there is no turning back. That was the case for Moses and Aaron and finally they saw the fruit of their labor. What’s God calling you to do today? Will you follow him even if others make fun of your journey?
Father God, give us courage to follow you through any kind of obstacle or hurdle. Even if we are alone it, please give your Holy Spirit sway in our lives. In the strong name of Jesus we pray, Amen!

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Exodus 5-8; Luke 18

My friend for more than twenty-five years died the other week. I listened as his wife spoke in eulogy of his lifetime–told about this man I loved, and shared many things about him I never knew. He had delightful interests, so much talent, and his life story was full and generous and loving and adventurous. How I wished I’d had more time with him–he was truly like a father to me. His life, even in death, continues to inspire me: to live in purpose, on purpose.

The weight of grief, worry, strife and stress has felt oppressive in recent years–these things can take me off course, derail me from life and its purposes. I live in the woods, and find myself wishing I was deeper in the forest, averting my eyes and sometimes my heart from making contact—it feels an awful lot like despair.

I’m not sure if it’s circumstance or the things one tells himself or hears from others, but I hear it in Pharaoh’s voice as he tells Moses, “Moses and Aaron, why are you distracting the people from their tasks? Get back to work! Look, there are many of your people in the land, and you are stopping them from their work (Exodus 5:4-5, NLT).”

I can get caught up in the task (of work or routine or stress or grief) at hand, that my focus is redirected into a worldly (small) view instead of a deeper calling and purpose. And whether one places it upon himself, or it’s the voices of those in his life, Kingdom work and purpose can become muddled and muted. Moses and Aaron weren’t distracting the people from their tasks–they were pointing them to it. The world gets it so very backwards, and I fall for it too. Too many hoops, too many tasks, too much people pleasing and accommodating that I neglect the very One who gives me strength, neglect the passions He’s put in my heart and compromise my focus and time until I am weary and worn out. It feels an awful lot like despair.

“Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the Lord. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord!’”

So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery (Exodus 6:6-9 NLT).

Lord, repeatedly I train myself to order my tasks but to keep my eyes on you. Again. Again. When my focus slips to what’s in front of me, I forget what’s inside of me and what’s ahead of me. The shrill of the ringtone, the chipping away at peace, when I lose sight of you, I become too discouraged too.

I set my thoughts on a Kingdom purpose, a Kingdom focus.

29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, 30 will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come (Luke 18:29-30, NLT).”

That rich man was disheartened because, perhaps, his (wealth/success/pride/ability) was his real focus, not the inheritance of eternal life he believed he wanted.

Lord, help me to do what I need to do, and let go of what needs to go. I want to walk in truth, and keep my eyes focused on you. Thank you for a friend like David, whose life spoke of intention and inclusion, generosity and love. Thank you for challenging me to see things in a new way, for revealing truths I didn’t see, and for reminding me to seek your Kingdom first.

Courtney (66books365)

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Deuteronomy 6-9; Luke 7

This morning’s reading is ripe with implications for our families in the 21st century. And being a Christian Educator at heart these words below from Deuteronomy 6 resonate strongly with me.

1″Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, 2that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. 3Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
4″Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (Deuteronomy 6:1-9 [ESV]).

If Moses were writing this to us today he’d say something like the following. When you are with your children put your cell phones and tablets away and tell them about God. When you go on trips sing songs and share Bible stories about Jesus. Have reminders in your home that trigger conversations about Jesus. Read God’s Word at the dinner table which means you all need to eat together.

We are reading a short Lenten devotional every evening at our dinner table. It needs to be concise enough that our daughter with Down syndrome doesn’t lose interest and yet deep enough that she gets something out of it — and her parents do too.

What are you doing to engage your children or grand children on a regular basis in the things of the Lord. Why not start following the teaching of Moses!

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