DBRP- WEEK 10, Day 4, Thursday, 8 Mar 2018
Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 8 Mar 18:
1. Numbers 15:2 – “When you come into the land you are to inhabit, which I am giving you…” God’s fulfilled promise was never in question or threatened by the faults of the people. It wasn’t “if” but “when.”
2. Numbers 15:22-23 – God’s word remains the standard that defines sin.
3. Numbers 15:29 — God’s seeks to unify His people.
4. Numbers 16:1-12 – People depart from God when they demand a “higher” work than He gives them.
5. Numbers 16:4-5 — “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.’” Again, we must be very careful not to project our own sinful motives onto others, judging their actions from the context of our own sinful motivations. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram judged Moses as ‘self-seeking’ because they were self-seeking — they projected their own faults on him. They evaluated Moses’ actions based upon how they made decisions, selfishly. They automatically assumed that Moses had to be lifting himself up and empowering himself for personal gain, because that’s what they would have done and were, in fact, now doing in their challenge. As is so often the case, they were calling their selfishness spiritual – “all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them.” In their selfish defensiveness, they caused a problem that should not have occurred and incited others to disunity. We often assume the worse in people because we see them from our own frailties. We are often ungracious to other sinners because in them we see our own sin and feel threatened. In our relationships, we often take things as personal attacks when, in fact, the behavior of others may have nothing to do with us. We must stop and remember the attributes of love: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” Seek first to understand before being understood. Before we judge another person and their behavior, before we search our Bibles for verses to prove their sins, perhaps we should seek to humbly understand what motivates them to do what they are doing, getting to the heart of the problem. Remember, we are called to a mission of reconciliation.
– At the heart of this conflict was that Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were not getting what they wanted quickly enough (because of their own failures) and blamed the leadership – “Moreover, you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us inheritance of fields and vineyards (Numbers 16:14).” James had this to say, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people!” How many times have selfish passions divided churches, families, friends? Our hearts are deceptive, and we are all susceptible to self-centered, passion-based sin. Best, therefore, to be overly gracious and let God recover what you think you may have lost in the process.
— “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned…. Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:3, 9-21).”
6. Numbers 28:1-15 – God wants ministers who will help people find His atonement.
7. Proverbs 8:13 – “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” Love requires hate — hatred of evil, pride, arrogance, and deception. If you love flowers, you must hate weeds.
8. Proverbs 8:17 — “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.” Obtaining wisdom is not a casual endeavor, something that falls into place over time or happens naturally. The pursuit of wisdom requires diligence. This is the way of the disciple.
9. Proverbs 8:33, 34 — “Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.” The wise dig deeply into God’s word daily, hear God’s word, and diligently obey it.
10. Proverbs 8:36 — “…but he who fails to find me injures himself.” There are natural and very predictable consequences of disobeying God’s word, whether it is out of ignorance for defiance. God has given us His word, so ignorance is usually negligence. Why injure yourself? Diligent study God’s word and obey it.
11. Acts 21:4 – “And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days.” God intends for His people to seek out and prefer one another. Arriving to a new town, Paul found other Christians, and they took him in and cared for him. This is the way God intended Christians to be. On travel, do you seek out local Christian fellowship? Do you welcome and support Christian travelers?
12. Acts 21:4, 14 — “And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem…. And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, ‘Let the will of the Lord be done.’” Through the Spirit, the disciples told Paul not to go to Jerusalem, two separate groups, two separate times. Yet, Paul would not be swayed, eventually resulting in his death. Both Paul and the disciples had access to the Holy Spirit. Why wouldn’t Paul listen to the community of believers? Why would God warn Paul had He not wanted Paul to change course? The Bible doesn’t state whether Paul was right or wrong in going to Jerusalem, and much debate continues in the church today on the matter. While avoiding speculation, we can take away a few clear points: God uses a community of believers to reveal more truth than an individual can obtain on his own. God often uses more than one believer to confirm a word. God calls us to “test the spirits.” God may warn you in order to prepare you rather than to hinder you. God’s plan for your life is ultimately between you and God. Others might provide sound council, but you must decide. Finally, if you are wholeheartedly committed to serving God with your life, He will honor your decisions and use you to glorify Himself.
13. Acts 21:8, 9 – “Philip the evangelist… had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied.” Young girls were prophets in a time when young girls were not expected to speak in public. The Holy Spirit breaks down common social barriers. What impact can an evangelistic father have on his daughters?
14. Acts 21:29 – When you are mad at someone, it is easy to misinterpret their actions and to assume the worst. One of the greatest biblical stories to drive home this point is found in 2 Samuel 10, where David’s attempted act of kindness towards another king is misinterpreted as a trick, resulting in the needless deaths of tens of thousands of people.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 8 March: Give people the benefit of the doubt today. Don’t make assumptions about the motives behind their actions. Seek to truly understand them and their perspectives. Begin with a cooperative spirit. (Numbers 16:13; Acts 21:29)