Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 18 May 2022:
Numbers 19:12 — “And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.’”
There wasn’t any water for the Israelites, and they were turning against Moses and Aaron; but God told Moses that He would bring water out of the rock for the people. If you recall, this wasn’t the first time that God allowed this miracle to be performed through Moses; the first time was in Numbers 17 – the accounts from Numbers 17 and Numbers 19 are almost identical, with one major exception, in today’s readings, Moses pridefully takes partial credit for the work of the Lord – “shall we bring water for you out of this rock (Numbers 19:20)?” God shares His glory with no one, and His response to Moses makes that clear — “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them (Numbers 19:20).” Our purpose is to glorify God, not ourselves. Fear of man, selfishness, and lack of faith in God’s provision often causes us to seek reverence or honor from others as a defense mechanism or for self-gratification. We take pride in the gifts, talents and opportunities that God alone gave us, failing to uphold Him as Holy. When we are secure in God’s love, we have no need to be justified by others. When we act out of insecurity or pride, we dishonor the LORD. I pray that I won’t worry about what others think about me but rather about what others think about God when they observe His works in my life.
1 Corinthians 10:4, 5 – “For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.”
Believing in God is not the same as following God, not the same as being a disciple. We are called to make disciples, not merely believers. James says that even the demons believe in God. Love of God naturally produces obedience to God. God is never pleased with disobedience and doesn’t just accept it as ok. Grace is not a license to sin; it is the power to obey in love rather than in fear and obligation.
1 Corinthians 10:6-22 — “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did…. We must not indulge in sexual immorality…. We must not put Christ to the test… nor grumble…. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it…. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry…. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?”
The entire Bible not only warns us to flee from sin but also reminds us that, through Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin. We like to make excuses for our sin and claim that we “can’t help it” or “can’t control ourselves.” Some will even go so far as to proclaim that, “God understands.” However, the Bible points out that there is no temptation to which we can’t say “No.” The problem is not that we can’t say no to sin, it is that we really don’t want to say no – we choose our desires over what God commands; this is idolatry (placing something ahead of God). The Bible warns us, not to avoid idolatry, but to “flee from idolatry.” We must actively avoid all sin before it becomes tempting to us. We can’t be in fellowship with the Lord and with sin at the same time. As Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters (Luke 11:23).”
1 Corinthians 10:7-10 — All sins (defiance of God’s will) from sexual immorality to grumbling, reveal rebellion in our hearts against the LORD-ship of God; they reveal a lack of love and render us guilty of the Greatest Commandment. This is idolatry, placing something ahead of God in our lives.
1 Corinthians 10:11 — “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.”
The Old Testament stories were recorded for our instruction. Dig deep into the Old Testament (which was quoted by Jesus regularly), and learn all that God wants to reveal to you.
1 Corinthians 10:13 — “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Again, your temptations are no greater than those of others. You have the ability to resist if you want to.
1 Corinthians 10:14-17 — The blood of Christ SHOULD compel us to flee from all sin in our gratitude for the blessing bestowed upon us. It SHOULD compel us to likewise bless others.
1 Corinthians 10:21, 22 — We cannot love both God and the world. We cannot walk with God and continue to sin. Just as a married person cannot continue in sexual relations with others, the bride of Christ must be set apart as holy.
1 Corinthians 10:23 — “’All things are lawful,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up.”
You can act within the bounds of the law concerning a matter and still be immoral by doing “legal” things that will hurt others. In this case, you would be breaking the ultimate law of love. We must consider how our actions hurt others. We must remain on the mission of reconciliation.
1 Corinthians 10:24 — “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.”
We are called to do the most good for the most people, not what is best for us.
1 Corinthians 10:32, 33 — “Give no offense…. please everyone…. not seeking [your] own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.”
Don’t let your behavior stand in the way of the message of Christ. Beyond our actions, our motive must always be love. Doing the right things with the wrong motives is sin for you.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 18 May 22: Today, take time to truly consider the motives behind your actions. Were you motivated by fear, hope for reward, a sense of obligation, or by the greatest motivation of genuine, unconditional love? God calls us to be motivated by love, not just duty, and definitely not fear, pride, or greed. (1 Corinthians 10:31-33) Deny self, proclaim Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:24-33) Journal how many times you resist the temptation to defend yourself and how many times you proclaim “Jesus Christ” to others.