Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 14 May 2022:
Listen to Skip Heitzig speak on Numbers 15: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kPyS1bT_DQ
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.”
Numbers 15:22-23 – But if you sin unintentionally, and do not observe all these commandments that the LORD has spoken to Moses, all that the LORD has commanded you by Moses, from the day that the LORD gave commandment, and onward throughout your generations….
God’s word remains the standard that defines sin.
Numbers 15:29 — You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the people of Israel and for the stranger who sojourns among them.
God has one standard for all people.
Psalm 55:6-8 – “And I say, ‘Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah. I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest.”
Running away from problems won’t solve your problems; turning to God will.
Psalm 55:12-14 – “For it is not an enemy who taunts me— then I could bear it…. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend….”
The closer someone is to you, the greater they can hurt you.
Psalm 55:22 – “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
Trust your burdens to the Lord.
“We must recognize the difference between burdens that are right for us to bear and burdens that are wrong. We should never bear the burdens of sin or doubt, but there are some burdens placed on us by God which He does not intend to lift off. God wants us to roll them back on Him— to literally “cast your burden,” which He has given you, “on the Lord….” If we set out to serve God and do His work but get out of touch with Him, the sense of responsibility we feel will be overwhelming and defeating. But if we will only roll back on God the burdens He has placed on us, He will take away that immense feeling of responsibility, replacing it with an awareness and understanding of Himself and His presence.
Many servants set out to serve God with great courage and with the right motives. But with no intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ, they are soon defeated. They do not know what to do with their burden, and it produces weariness in their lives. Others will see this and say, “What a sad end to something that had such a great beginning!”
“Cast your burden on the Lord….” You have been bearing it all, but you need to deliberately place one end on God’s shoulder. “…the government will be upon His shoulder” (Isaiah 9:6). Commit to God whatever burden He has placed on you. Don’t just cast it aside, but put it over onto Him and place yourself there with it. You will see that your burden is then lightened by the sense of companionship. But you should never try to separate yourself from your burden.” (Oswald Chambers)
Psalm 55:23 – “But I will trust in you.”
Make the decision to trust in the Lord, regardless the circumstances.
Proverbs 14:1 – The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.
“If you work outside the home, you usually work with other people who hold you accountable and give encouragement. This is not the case for the housewife, who labors alone throughout the day until her husband comes home. While her family’s praise should be enough, often women long for others to acknowledge their work. Too often, housewives do not feel as if their work is as important or fulfilling as more flashy jobs outside the home. Despite those feelings, however, their work is a worthy calling from God in which He expects just as much diligence, forethought, and commitment as He would in any other job.
When a woman runs her home well, she is pleasing to the Lord. The work of the housewife is of the utmost importance. Her responsibilities are of eternal consequence. She has been entrusted by God and her husband to care for the needs of her children—emotionally, physically, spiritually, and intellectually. To carry out these responsibilities, she must exert much physical, mental, and emotional effort. This takes time, commitment, and creativity. She must also care for the needs of her husband and keep the house orderly and clean. But too often women neglect their work through laziness, or they consider things outside the home more important. Their character is thus likened to that of the foolish woman. The result is disruption of the family—the home is a mess, the children disorderly, and the husband frustrated.
Solomon calls the woman who is not committed to her work at home foolish and destructive. “Every wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one pulls it down with her hands.” Commenting on this, Bridges wrote, “But mark the foolish woman—her idleness, waste, love of pleasure, want of all forethought and care, her children’s wills allowed, their souls neglected, their happiness ruined!” But what of the godly matron? “She is the very soul of the house. She instructs her children by her example, no less than by her teaching. She educates them for God and for eternity; not to shine in the vain show of the world, but in the church of God.” While many might not see the value of a woman laboring in her home, her children, her husband, and ultimately God will praise her and call her blessed.
If you are a married woman, how committed are you to keeping the house, raising your children (ifyou have any), and caring for your husband? Discuss with your husband ways in which you canimprove your efficiency within the home. Husband, praise your wife today and encourage her in thework she does at home.” (Ligonier Ministries)
Proverbs 14:2 — “Whoever walks in uprightness fears the LORD, but he who is devious in his ways despises him.”
Your actions reveal what you really think about God.
Proverbs 14:4 — “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.”
What is your ox? Have you invested in the capacity to produce, or have you only invested in products that do not add a capacity to produce more for you? Many people buy cars, but few people buy the factories that make the cars. Many people play video games, but few people build and sell video games. What do you produce?
Proverbs 14:4, 23 — “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox… In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.”
“The second half of Proverbs 14:4 confirms this. The strength of an ox brings many crops. More plowing and harvesting can be accomplished, increasing the yield of the field and the growth of a household’s wealth. However, this growth comes at a price. An ox must be fed and watered. It must be housed in a shed during storms. It leaves waste that must be cleaned up. In other words, for all the benefit that an ox provides, this animal brings with it much cost and mess.
So, as the first half of Proverbs 14:4 reveals, the only way to have a clean manger is to not have many oxen. And yet, if one ox can bring so much productivity, many oxen will bring even more. Essentially, this proverb reminds us that if we want to advance, if we want to grow our wealth or anything else, there will be some untidiness about it. It will require responsibility in taking care of all our possessions. Things may get messy at times. Somewhat paradoxically, a big mess can be desirable, not because it is in itself something to seek but because it may indicate the presence of healthy productivity.
We can be tempted to give up when dissension and misunderstanding abound or we are facing many other problems. While we do not want to minimize our difficulties, we should also take care to look around us and see if our issues are part of the messiness of growth. Problems faced by a growing congregation or maturing family are often from the devil as he endeavors to put an end to God’s work. Let us not be thrown off course by his evil plans.” (Ligonier Ministries)
To accomplish our purpose, we are going to have to get dirty, get out of our comfort zones, takes risks, and work very hard, consistently for a long time, not requiring instant payoffs to stay motivated. To be successful, we have to be willing to do what the unsuccessful are not willing to do. We are going to have to be willing to sacrifice pleasure for purpose, for a time. This requires perseverance, a critical character trait for Christians. As Psalms say today, “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 31:24)
Proverbs 14:5, 25 — “A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies…. A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful.”
Lying is cosmic treason for an Ambassador of Christ. There are obvious lies and less obvious lies. When you point people to a “truth” other than Jesus, such as modern ethics, morals, or common sense, you are lying far worse than when you misrepresent yourself or a situation.
Proverbs 14:34 — “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
Revival is the only hope for our nation. It must start with the church; it must start with you.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 14 May 22: Throw your burdens of sin and doubt away, and cast all the others upon the Lord.