Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 17 Mar 18:
1. Numbers 33:2 – “Moses wrote down their starting places, stage by stage, by command of the Lord.” God wanted Moses to keep a historic record of what He did for His people so that generations would know.
2. Numbers 33:3 – “…the people of Israel went out triumphantly in the sight of all the Egyptians….” God will use your life to reveal Himself to others.
3. Numbers 33:54 – “You shall inherit the land by lot according to your clans. To a large tribe you shall give a large inheritance, and to a small tribe you shall give a small inheritance. Wherever the lot falls for anyone, that shall be his. According to the tribes of your fathers you shall inherit.” Casting lots is God’s way of removing human biases or perceptions of human biases from decisions that impact the interests of many people. If two or more people want the same thing, casting lots can quickly settle the matter without generating hard feelings between the stakeholders. God ensured everyone was treated fairly in land apportionment by casting lots and by ensuring that everyone got a fair amount based upon the size of their clans.
4. Numbers 33:55, 56 – “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell. And I will do to you as I thought to do to them.” God knew how easily His people could be tempted by the ungodly. Who or what tempts you to compromise your fidelity and purity?
5. Numbers 34:23, 24 – “Of the people of Joseph: of the tribe of the people of Manasseh a chief, Hanniel the son of Ephod. And of the tribe of the people of Ephraim a chief, Kemuel the son of Shiphtan.” Joseph’s family became two tribes. He was doubly blessed.
6. Proverbs 17:1 – “Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.” This has application to national politics. We are so wealthy as a nation and yet so divided. This is a reality of human nature, revealed in homes and in nations and throughout the Bible. When people are doing well, they tend to forget God, become self-centered and selfish, and cause strife with others. Often, God doesn’t give people comfort and security because He knows it will ruin their character.
7. Proverbs 17:2 – “A servant who deals wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.” Salvation came to the Gentiles. “…through their (Jews) trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.”
8. Proverbs 17:3 – “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.” God puts you through hard times to make you more precious.
9. Proverbs 17:5 – “Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.” If you show contempt for others, you are convicting yourself. Your heart is not right with God, and you are failing to accomplish you life’s mission of reconciliation. 1 Corinthians 5:17-20 – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
10. Proverbs 17:9 – “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.” Our primary command is to love. Do you cover over offenses?
11. Proverbs 17:27 – “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” How you handle contention reveals to true level of your knowledge and understanding.
12. Psalm 31:1 – “In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!” The message of the Gospel is that we are saved by the righteous on Jesus (God), not our own righteousness, which is not righteous at all. A simple way to think of the meaning of righteousness is to think of it as being ‘right with God,’ to be reconciled, to have all matters or debts settled. Jesus paid our debts on the cross and made us eternally right with God, righteous. Of our own account, we are unworthy. Jesus made us worthy.
13. Psalm 31:5 – “Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.” Redeem means to buy back, or to make something that was once bad good again. Note that the Psalmist says, God does the redeeming. Again, Jesus made us righteous, redeemed. God is faithful though we are not faithful, our salvation rests securely on His unconditional love for us, not on our imperfect, always failing love for Him. Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ.
14. Psalm 31:7, 8 – “I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul, and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.” Bible verses like this are here to remind us to rejoice when we don’t feel like it, during hard times; to remind us that God’s love for us is unconditional, enduring, everlasting, and overpowering. God is the Creator. God is Sovereign and Almighty, and God is love. When the God who made and controls everything and who is love loves you, what does that say about what you are going through? God is loving you through your challenges, drawing you closer to His love, and using your circumstances for an ultimate good that exceeds your wildest imaginations. “…you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy….” Sometimes you might be tempted to think God has abandoned you, turned you over to your circumstances. No, He will never leave you or forsake you. Trust in Him.
15. Psalm 31:6 – “I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the Lord.” The more you love God, the more you hate what He hates.
16. Psalm 31:9 – “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress.” Distress is inevitable in this broken world. But when hard times come, we should draw closer to the Lord who will guide, protect, comfort, and love us through them. Philippians 4:4-7 – “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
17. Psalm 31:12 – “I have been forgotten like one who is dead.” Your friends might abandon you, like the disciples abandoned Jesus during his darkest hour, but God will never abandon you.
18. Psalm 31:14, 15 – “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hand….” You can rest easy knowing your times are in God’s hands. Jesus rested in the boat while the disciples panicked in the great storm, fearing death. Jesus knew who was in control. We just read about how Paul remained confident through a shipwreck because he knew who was in control. Jesus said, “Peace I give you.” Rest easy, be confident, rejoice. Your God has you in the palm of His hand. He is in complete control and loves you immeasurably.
19. Psalm 31:24 – “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” The strength of your courage is dependent upon your actual faith in God. Faith makes you courageous.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 17 March: Be at peace today. Demonstrate peace today. Explain your peace through Jesus today to anyone who asks why you are so different. (Psalm 31)