Numbers 11 Part 2–Delegation, God Appoints Elders

It may sound cliche’, but, Moses was a man too. Make no mistake, Moses and God were close. He literally talked to God on a regular basis. In fact, Moses convinced God, after the Israelites worshiped the golden calf, not to wipe the people out and start over. Still, despite Moses’ love for God and his relationship with God–Moses was growing weary of the whining and the  continued struggles of leading a nation. God was gracious God understood–Moses was growing tired and angry–as he watched these ungrateful people continue to complain at every turn.
 
So, God had Moses appoint 70 men as elders.  Leaders from each tribe and clan. God anointed the elders with His spirit, and shifted part of the governance from Moses to the elders.  In this way, God allowed Moses the freedom to lead the people; without being lost in the day to day problems of every individual.  Moses was grateful. God was still in charge, and the people had to learn hard lessons about being grateful.  God gave them more meat than they could stomach and then He sent a plague to remind them that HE was in charge.
 
So often, we see our lives turn sideways due to trials, failures or circumstances beyond our control.  We get scared, worried and want to lash out, because, we have lost control.  God reminds us that He is in charge, and knows our situation.  When we begin to long for a life that we can control, it is easy to forget that He has always met our needs, and has executed His plan in our lives. Let us fall on our face before God and trust Him. The Lord will lead us to the place He promised. We have no way of knowing the impact we will have as we humbly follow his lead.  We simply need to follow Solomon’s direction, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. Do not lean upon your own understanding. Acknowledge God in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
 
God Bless You

The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.

18 “Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The Lord heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it. 19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the Lord, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”

21 But Moses said, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’ 22 Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?”

23 The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”

24 So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the tent. 25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied—but did not do so again.

26 However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”

28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”

29 But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” 30 Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

Numbers 4–The Kohathites, God’s Special Caretakers

Aaron and his family were not only given the distinction of being a part of the tribe of Levi ( The new firstborns of Israel), but God also gave him and his family, (the Kohathites) the honor of caring for and carrying the special articles. As a nomadic group. The people of Israel needed as much symmetry and stability as  possible. That is why God gave the Kohathites an order, and set out a plan for the care and moving of the Tabernacle and the worship articles.  

God was not only clear about who would carry the stuff, but also how it was to be cared for and moved.  If the Kohathite men did not care for the articles correctly, The people would all lose out.  The Ark of the Covenant was especially dear, it is where God made His presence known.  If the Kohathites, or anyone touched it; they would die.  Some incidents occurred where the rules were not followed and the person paid a price. Uzzah in 2 Samuel 6–grabbed the ark and died.  King Uzziah went into the temple to act as a priest and was immediately struck with leprosy.   God took the care of his stuff seriously and only enlisted those He could trust to carry it out.

Here is the amazing part–in proportion, God Loves us sooooooo much more.  When we think of all the time and effort God put into training the men to care for the holy chairs, He personally gave his own life to care for us.  We can never underestimate God’s plan for our lives.  We have to trust that the same God that demonstrated the plan for moving Israel into the promised land; will carefully execute His work in our lives, as well. He has had thousands of years to practice, and He has never been late.  He is always in the right place, at the right time. 

God Bless You 

 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: “Take a census of the Kohathite branch of the Levites by their clans and families. Count all the men from thirty to fifty years of age who come to serve in the work at the tent of meeting.

“This is the work of the Kohathites at the tent of meeting: the care of the most holy things. When the camp is to move, Aaron and his sons are to go in and take down the shielding curtain and put it over the ark of the covenant law. Then they are to cover the curtain with a durable leather,[a] spread a cloth of solid blue over that and put the poles in place.

“Over the table of the Presence they are to spread a blue cloth and put on it the plates, dishes and bowls, and the jars for drink offerings; the bread that is continually there is to remain on it.They are to spread a scarlet cloth over them, cover that with the durable leather and put the poles in place.

“They are to take a blue cloth and cover the lamp-stand that is for light, together with its lamps, its wick trimmers and trays, and all its jars for the olive oil used to supply it. 10 Then they are to wrap it and all its accessories in a covering of the durable leather and put it on a carrying frame.

11 “Over the gold altar they are to spread a blue cloth and cover that with the durable leather and put the poles in place.

12 “They are to take all the articles used for ministering in the sanctuary, wrap them in a blue cloth, cover that with the durable leather and put them on a carrying frame.

13 “They are to remove the ashes from the bronze altar and spread a purple cloth over it. 14 Then they are to place on it all the utensils used for ministering at the altar, including the firepans, meat forks,shovels and sprinkling bowls. Over it they are to spread a covering of the durable leather and put the poles in place.

15 “After Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy furnishings and all the holy articles, and when the camp is ready to move, only then are the Kohathites to come and do the carrying.But they must not touch the holy things or they will die. 

Matthew 10 Part 2–This Is War, Men!

Jesus sent the disciples out to do what he had been doing; to help them get the real picture, He said, “Go without supplies, swords, tents or money.”  He did that to prepare them for walking by faith. It is highly likely,  that “the 12” looked at Jesus with a mixture of confusion and horror.  As they considered the trip, they probably were highly concerned about making it through.  In the midst of the heightened concern, Jesus follows with–“This is war, men”. He shared with them the trials they would face; the deceit, the betrayal–all in His name. 

From a leadership perspective, Jesus didn’t want His guys blindsided; but, it was a horrifying idea.  Here they were traveling with a “rockstar”, and now–He said,you go do it, and , oh,by the way–this is going to be war. Here were the two take away’s for His men. 1.  He knew they could do it–even if they did not and, 2.  He knew they had to get ready–because his time with them was short.  Those men, the ones that built the early church, had visions of grandeur, palaces, chariots throngs and waving banners.  Jesus wanted them to understand that that simply was not the mission.

It is still not the mission.  Jesus calls us to prepare for war.  He reminds us that we can do what he did! He also reminds us we can expect the same treatment he received.  That is not meant to discourage us; no, it is meant to prepare us.  God is in the business of preparing, protecting and providing for us.  That is who he is and that is what he does. He does not sugar coat, but, he does arm and shield us for battle. We need to be ready for war–He will then protect and provide what we need to execute!

God Bless You

 

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master.25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!

Matthew 7 Part 1–No Judging

When one thinks about it, judging others when we know our own sinful hearts is pretty ridiculous.  We all walk through this world weighted down with the chains and baggage of a lifetime of terrible choices and a lineage of sin filled lives. Even Jesus own lineage contained prostitutes, incestuous fathers, adulterers and murderers. Still, because he came, each person has the opportunity to be free of that baggage, and walk as pure as the Savior, Himself.

Sadly, when we are freed from the bondage of sin and death, often, we become a little smug and a little proud; that the gross leprosy ridden rags, that were our lives, are now clean, pure and white as snow.  Jesus, in helping people to see things from God’s view, wanted the folk to realize how infuriating it was to see someone judge another’s actions–when they, themselves would never stand the scrutiny–if placed upon them. Plainly stated, “If you think you are the person to judge another–please point the flashlight of scrutiny you are using at your own life, see how YOU hold up!

We are called to seek God and follow His lead–let Him sort out the chosen from the wicked. He is singularly qualified for the job, and, is the one that is full of grace and mercy; the very grace and mercy Paul talked about in Romans 5–“God Demonstrated His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!”  Jesus calls us to use every ounce of energy to examine our own lives and model His. Help me, Lord to follow You, seek You and allow You to be the judge!

God Bless You  

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Psalm 137–Simply, Too Much Pain

Sadly, not every story has a happy ending.  The psalmist in Psalm 137 is in pain.  He is a captive of Nebuchadnezzar. He is thinking back of all Judah had lost–their nation, their homeland and their identity. As they lived as captives, their enemies rejoiced and taunted them.  Their captors made them celebrate–being vanquished! All of life had lost its luster.  So, as he sat and reflected on what was and what might have been; the psalmist was simply living in pain.  It was a pain of feeling alone and unprotected by a God that had faithfully protected them for many many years.  Sure, losing their stuff was horrific–but, losing their identity and returning to captivity was so much worse.

In our lives, life can be very difficult. Money issues, job issues and life issues can turn our attention inward; and cause us to lose focus.  Instead of being grateful for what we have, we become ungrateful for what we do not have. God calls us to be content in all circumstances and look to Him to lead us, guide us and protect us through even the most difficult of times.  When we find our lives vanquished, we still must focus our attention on him.  If we do, we can face life’s great sadness with hope that he will ultimately deliver us from the pain.  We can never lose hope! We must remember–as God promised in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans I have for you says the Lord! Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”  Give me the faith, Lord to focus on you and your plan for me!

God Bless You

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
    when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
    we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs,
    our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
    they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How can we sing the songs of the Lord
    while in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
    may my right hand forget its skill.
May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
    if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
    my highest joy.

Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
    on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
    “tear it down to its foundations!”
Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
    happy is the one who repays you
    according to what you have done to us.
Happy is the one who seizes your infants
    and dashes them against the rocks.

Psalm 113–From the Rising of the Sun…

It is the intention of God, that, as his chosen ones, we remember who He is. It always seems to escape us in the times we are either extremely comfortable or extremely stressed–that God has things under control. As the creator, the master of everything and the beginning and end–God knows what is going on, and has it well in hand.  In order for that to sink in, we need to focus on who He is and who we are in Him.

So, when we praise God all day–it does not mean we quit what we are doing to sing hymns and pray. Instead, it means God should be in our thoughts as we face situations throughout our day. He should be a part of the decision making process. If He is not, then we begin to think we can do this ourselves. As that thought takes over, we start to run independent of God and end up in a chaotic mess.  So instead, we keep God in the forefront of our thoughts and trust and allow Him to be lord of our lives, from sun up to sundown.

God Bless You

Praise the Lord.[a]

Praise the Lord, you his servants;
    praise the name of the Lord.
Let the name of the Lord be praised,
    both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
    the name of the Lord is to be praised.

The Lord is exalted over all the nations,
    his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
    the One who sits enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look
    on the heavens and the earth?

He raises the poor from the dust
    and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes,
    with the princes of his people.
He settles the childless woman in her home
    as a happy mother of children.

Praise the Lord.

Psalm 109–God is Our Vindicator

One of the hard lessons in life we all learn, is that mean people, do mean things, even when we are nice. Each of us have encountered those that lie, cheat, abuse, accuse, berate, frustrate and seek to end our friendships, our reputations and even our lives–if possible.  They have no other reason to do so–other than “that they can.”

In recounting the life of David, he had several people like that. Saul, Absalom, Doeg, Ahithophel and many other enemies had one goal–to find, destroy and ultimately kill God’s dear friend. They didn’t have real cause to harm him, except for their personal gain realized from David’s demise. So David, a man after God’s own heart–went to his knees; and, took the task of vindication to the same God that had taken on all his other battles.

David had no where else to go! He was, at various points–hiding in caves, running for his very life, leaving his palace, or hiding in enemy territory. He did not have a local advocate, a media outlet or a 1-800 number to call for relief–He ONLY HAD the creator of the universe!!! History tells us that was all he needed. God did vindicate David. He prepared, protected and provided all David needed to be the greatest king in Israel.

He provides those same resources for us! We have no better outlet or resource for our preservation and vindication; than God Almighty. Life and those in our lives throw curve balls intended to up-end and destroy us. We want so badly to retaliate and avenge our wrongs. David reminds us that we need to look to our Father in Heaven for all things–even vindication–because, God can and will do it better than anybody else!

God Bless You

My God, whom I praise,
do not remain silent,
2 for people who are wicked and deceitful
have opened their mouths against me;
they have spoken against me with lying tongues.
3 With words of hatred they surround me;
they attack me without cause.
4 In return for my friendship they accuse me,
but I am a man of prayer.
5 They repay me evil for good,
and hatred for my friendship…

Help me, Lord my God;
save me according to your unfailing love.
27 Let them know that it is your hand,
that you, Lord, have done it.
28 While they curse, may you bless;
may those who attack me be put to shame,
but may your servant rejoice.
29 May my accusers be clothed with disgrace
and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.

30 With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord;
in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
to save their lives from those who would condemn them.