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? Continue reading →
As Paul is winding up the book of Romans, he tells us that, as believers, we are able to admonish one another when biblically necessary. That means risking what people may think, even their rejection, in order to speak the truth in love when there is an issue that is hurting others, hindering their walk with God, or hurting the cause of Christ.
In our fast changing world, many things that were once universally considered wrong are now called right. Speaking up when God’s standards are at stake is going to be more and more costly … but God’s grace will abound to those who remain faithful to God and His Word.
And notice to whom this passage was written and what we need to do before we go to someone.
Verse 4, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
The Scriptures, in particular the Old Testament (like the book of Job), were written so that we might grow and learn by the examples of others, good and bad. God patiently instructs us in how we should change and shows us the results of unbiblical living. And as we grow and come to understand God’s love and grace, we find comfort in His faithfulness to those who remained devoted to Him.
Admonishing When Needed
Let’s look at one more verse in Romans 15:
“Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another” (v. 14).
Notice this verse is not written to pastors or counselors or spiritual leaders. It was written to the believers at Rome and by extension to us as believers. Paul says all of us are “able to admonish one another.” That word for admonish means, “exhort, admonish, and instruct.” Admonish means, “to rebuke or to advise or warn someone to do, or not do, something.”
So God expects us to be willing to get our hands dirty, to risk what people may think of us and even rejection, at times, in order to speak the truth in love to those who are sinning, as well as, those who need encouragement.
However, we must guard against a harsh or self-righteous attitude. We are to confront others lovingly, gently, tentatively, especially if we’re not sure of the circumstances, and humbly. That requires checking our own motives and a careful self-examination to make sure we take the logs out of our own eyes first (Matt. 7.3-5).
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6.1).
As we continue to read through God’s Word, especially the book of Job, it’s tempting to grow tired or get confused by all that is happening. As we read of Job’s sufferings, his friends’ lack of mercy and grace, and God’s silence so far, we should ask ourselves some questions:
How will coming to understand this better help me be more patient in my sufferings and disappointments? How can I learn to trust God more? What can I learn from listening to Job’s “comforters“? What can I learn from Job about responding to unjust criticism?
Often when we fail to grow in our understanding of Scripture it’s because we fail to ask the right questions. Continue reading →
As I read chapter 10 and all that the people covenanted to do, I was wondering how often we stop to think about and praise God for the fact that we are now under grace! It’s not that it was wrong for them to make a covenant. It was what they were expected to do under the law.
Paul said the law was “… our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal. 3.24). The law, which was impossible to keep completely, pointed to the fact that we can’t be saved by our own righteousness and law keeping and helped us see our need for a Savior.
Jesus Christ who was tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4.15), was the only one who kept the law perfectly. When we accept Him as our Savior we take part in a “Great Exchange.” We exchange our sinful failure to keep the law for His perfect righteousness (Heb. 4.15).
2 Corinthians 5.21:
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Chapter 30 covers the “Law of Vows.” God takes truth and honoring our word seriously. Jesus said, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’” (Matt. 5.37a). Part of the “Law of Vows” had to do with authority. If a woman still lived in her father’s house or if she was married, her father or husband could overrule what she vowed.
How does the “Law of Vows” apply to us today? First it should serve to remind us that God not only takes truth seriously, but He also takes authority seriously. This principle is still true today in our marriages, in the workplace, and other areas where we are under authority. Continue reading →
It had been 11 1/2 months since the Exodus from Egypt. Moses had finished setting up the Tabernacle and now God begins speaking from the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies.
But not just anyone could enter in, only the High Priest, only in the prescribed way, and only at set times.
When Christ died on the cross the curtain going into the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom, signifying the fact that He was no longer going to dwell there, but in our hearts through faith and that each believer could communicate directly with Him. Continue reading →
I hope I’m not the only one who falls so easily into the trap of grumbling and complaining. After all, it seems like such a little thing! Yet, in reality, we’re not really complaining about our circumstances or other people, but against our Sovereign God.
The children of Israel had just watched God deliver them in a powerful way. He had parted the Red Sea and allowed them to cross over on dry land and then completely destroyed their enemies. What a celebration that must have been! God had gloriously and miraculously delivered the Israelites from the powerful armies of Egypt, a world power at that time. There was singing and dancing. The whole congregation glorifying God!
Here in Genesis 47 we see Joseph’s care for his aging father, “Then Joseph brought in his father Jacob and set him before Pharaoh” (v. 7). Somehow I see Joseph helping his elderly father into some kind of a chair so Jacob can show his respect for Pharaoh and pray for him. But he doesn’t just care for his father; he also cares for his brothers. In verse 11 Joseph “situated his father and his brothers” and in verse 12 he “provided” for his father and his brothers.
Joseph is a type of Christ. A type is a picture (like the old “tintypes,” pictures taken during the 1800s). In this case, a picture of Christ, a glimpse of what was to come. We can look at those old photos and see that while they were not perfect images, they give us some idea of what the real person looked like. Even so, when we look at the various “types” of Christ, each one give us an idea of some of the attributes of our Savior.
In verses 13 and following, we see Joseph’s faithful stewardship of the responsibilities he had been given, showing respect for the authority God had placed over him, “there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Rom. 13.1). Continue reading →