Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 20 May 2022:
Listen to this message by Bob Davis on Numbers 21 — https://www.blueletterbible.org/audio_video/popPlayer.cfm?id=10415&rel=davis_bob/Num
Numbers 21:2 – And Israel vowed a vow to the LORD and said, “If you will indeed give this people into my hand, then I will devote their cities to destruction.”
God is the only one who can defeat your enemies.
Numbers 21:4-5 – From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.”
Constant unbelief and complaining angers God.
Numbers 21:7 – And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
God wants leaders who pray for a troubled people.
Numbers 21:9 – So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
John 3:14-15 shows you need to look to the lifted-up Jesus.
Numbers 21:10-35 – Finally Israel followed God without complaining. God does not lead you through safe paths but through paths where you can experience Him and His deliverance.
1 Corinthians 12:3 – “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit.”
The truth of God can only be revealed by the Holy Spirit, human intellect cannot discern it.
1 Corinthians 12:7 — “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
Spiritual gifts are for the benefit of others, not for personal glory or gain. It is never about you.
“The moment you are born again you receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the gift. God doesn’t give you some thing, He gives you Himself. The Holy Spirit is God. As He lives out His life through you, you have almighty God dwelling within you, carrying out His purposes. The Spirit will manifest Himself through your life, not for your good alone, but for the benefit of those around you.
The Spirit will lead you to a church body where He can minister through you to each person in that body (1 Cor. 12:18). God does not add you to a church body so you can be an observer. The Spirit has an assignment for you within the body, and He will equip you by His presence for this work. In the Old Testament, God gave specific assignments to His servants and then placed His Spirit upon them to enable them to accomplish their work. In the New Testament, God placed each member as a vital part of a living body. He placed His Spirit within each believer and manifested Himself through the believer to encourage and equip every other member of the body. What an exciting commission from God! Today the Holy Spirit equips believers because He has given each of His servants a task.
How is the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life benefiting those around you? God has equipped you with exactly what is needed for the edification of the body in which He has placed you. If you allow the Holy Spirit to work freely within you, others will be blessed as a result.” (Henry T. Blackaby)
1 Corinthians 12:12 – “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”
Our spirituality is intended by God to be communal, never intended to be administered independently from the body of believers.
Body parts strewn about is just horrific gore. So is a divided, disconnected or unfeeling church. If a part of the body is injured and the rest of the body doesn’t react, that is a very sick body.
1 Corinthians 12:18 — “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.”
God puts every person in a church for a specific purpose. Yes, even the ‘unmentionables,’ those annoying people who, in profane terms, might be called private parts of the body – “He’s a real ….” In fact, Paul says those people are essential to the body’s health and must be covered over in love, just as we do with the private parts of our human body. A church body can’t really learn to love without them. Remember, part of what makes Christian love different that worldly love is that we love those who are hard to love, even enemies.
1 Corinthians 12:14-20 — God establishes unity in diversity. God created the universe — a unity of diversity, many different things coming together in unity of purpose. People attend a university, providing many diverse, disparate classes in an organized curriculum for a complete, well-rounded education. The word universe combines two words – unity and diversity. People today like to talk about diversity in order to promote individualism (albeit a collective call to individualism); calls for greater diversity are often divisive. God calls for unity of diversity – university, or e pluribus unum – of many, one. When others proclaim diversity, you proclaim university. Read John 17 to see Jesus’ prayer for us. Jesus’ prayer for us was unity, but not unity around a political party, a nationalistic spirit, a social stratification, or any other concept, rather unity in Him.
1 Corinthians 12:22-25 — “On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.”
As stated above, in popular culture, people who are hard to get along with are often profanely called names related to body parts which remain covered in modesty. God says these people are indispensable to your church and should be treated with special care. God uses these people to teach you how to love people who are hard to love. God calls you to bring out the best in them, to help them draw closer to Jesus. If you separate yourself from them, you will not mature as you should. Watch and see how your church treats these people. Help others understand the essential role these people play and the challenge to love them unconditionally.
1 Corinthians 12:23-26 — The body depends on the “unpresentable parts” to be healthy and to function as a body. A body that cannot feel the pain of all of its members is very seriously diseased.
1 Corinthians 12:26 — “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”
A body that cannot feel the pain of its members has got a serious, life-threatening disease. If a church doesn’t feel the pain of its members, that church is terminal.
1 Corinthians 12:28 – “And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.”
Administration is a spiritual gift, akin to working miracles. Miracle workers often receive honor from people, receiving their reward on earth; administrators often go unrecognized by people, receiving their reward in heaven.
Standby for the “Way of Love,” presented by Paul tomorrow….
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 20 May 22: If you are not using your resources, passions, talents, and gifts to serve as a vital member of your local church body, intimately connected to the other members of that body, you are not fulfilling God’s purpose for you and are not experiencing His presence and revelation as fully as you only can within a body of believers. Don’t be deceived in thinking that you can keep a comfortable distance from your congregation and still grow in love and Christlikeness as is your purpose in life. Commit to making a total life commitment to your church family.