What a group these Israelites were! Once again they turn on Moses. Even though they were being led by a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, instead of turning to God in prayer, they blame Moses for their thirst. His response is to go straight to God and again God meets their need supernaturally.
What do you do when faced with difficult people? Do you go straight to God or start talking to your girlfriend, your buddy, your co-worker, or someone else?
I wonder how many times God has been ready to help us, but we failed to acknowledge our dependence on Him by going to Him in prayer and asking for His wisdom and favor.
Strong willed children
Sometimes you have to wonder why God chose the Israelites as His covenant people. But these were the “children” God had chosen and asked Moses to shepherd. Whom has he asked you to shepherd? A strong willed child? A dawdler? A talker? Several unruly boys? An alien who inhabits your teenage daughter’s body? Or maybe it’s a class of rowdy 6th graders or a group of high school students?
If God has given you a child who is difficult for you, what is He doing in you? He chose that child for you just as He chose the Israelites. How does He want to use that child or difficult relationship to complete His work in you?
Ephesians 6.4 says, “Do not provoke your children to anger” and Colossians 3 warns against discouraging them (Col. 3:21).
Do you discourage that difficult child with your frustration? Do you provoke your children to anger with your inconsistency, your impatience, or your unkindness? Do you criticize or tease or compare them to others?
The goal of life, Paul said, is to please God in whatever we do (2 Cor. 5:9). We do that as we respond with His grace and allow this difficulty to grow us and help us become more like Christ (Matt. 3.17). What Christ-like qualities is He developing in you? Love? Joy? Peace? Some longsuffering maybe? Kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control? (Gal. 5:22-23).
None of us will parent perfectly, but if we fail to seek God and ask for His help, we will fall far short of what we can and should do.
There are a number of good books on the subject. Here is a list of a few of them:
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson
Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman
The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo
His perfect way
Verse 30, “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”
Not only is God perfect, holy, and just, but His way is perfect! He is never late, never wrong, always in control, and, if we belong to Him, always working for our good and His glory.
What the Lord hates
We all sin every day, but there are some sins which God names as those He hates!
The first is pride or contempt for others, often revealed though a haughty look.
The second is lying. He hates fraud and deceit.
Next he lists murder, the shedding of innocent blood. And no one is more innocent than a child, inside the womb or out, no matter how or when he or she was conceived. Our country, including our leaders and many others, will have a lot to answer for one day.
Next is planning and scheming wickedness. Followed by running to do evil. There are those who just seem to enjoy hurting others. In fact, they’re in a hurry to do so.
A false witness who speaks lies. Again lying is singled out in regard to giving a false testimony.
And the one He most emphasized when he said “yes, seven …” is sowing discord or disharmony among believers. When we gossip about one believer to another or plant seeds of discontent, we are doing what God hates!
Dressed for the wedding
Like the wedding guests the king brought in from the streets, we all come to Him dirty and without proper “clothing,” sinners in need of cleansing and forgiveness. The “wedding garment” is His righteousness offered as a free gift. Those who were properly clothed had merely accepted the King’s gracious provision. Have you? It’s only when we are clothed with His righteousness that we are able to love others with His love, grow through a difficult relationship, and one day, attend the wedding supper of the Lamb!
We truly are all sinners in need of His grace. And there is no sin too great for Him to forgive. But forgiveness involves agreeing with God about our sin, seeking forgiveness through prayer, and turning from our own way to His.
Do you know for sure that you are clothed in His righteousness? If not, you might read this or talk to a Pastor or friend who is walking with the Lord. Don’t let pride or misinformation keep you from a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ.
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“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.