Numbers 31 Part 2–Becoming a Free People

God had just blessed the Israelites with a mighty victory over the Midianites. They wiped the nation out.  What’s more, after the battle, the troops were counted and Israel lost no men.  So It was time to divide the plunder of the victory.  There was a large amount. So Moses and Eleazar divided the spoils the way God told them to.  The result was amazing. Everyone got plenty of livestock, slaves and treasure. What’s more so did the priests and Levites. There was no fussing, no deceit and God’s people began acting like a free people.  It was beginning to look like God had finally prepared Israel to claim what was theirs.

It seems like it takes forever to be ready for God’s leadership. We face trials and temptation. Our lives take odd turns and terrible sidetracks. Then one day, we accept God’s leadership and know that He is God.  We pray, serve and mostly wait for the Lord’s leading. As we do, we become more prepared to receive all the blessings He has to offer.  As with Israel, God stands ready to bless us. We simply have to be ready to accept that blessing and recognize it is from the Lord and for Him and His Glory.  If we will–He will do amazing things in our lives, and we will rise up and become a free people; untouched by sin or the traps of this life.  The hymn says it best, “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

God Bless You

The Lord said to Moses, 26 “You and Eleazar the priest and the family heads of the community are to count all the people and animals that were captured. 27 Divide the spoils equally between the soldiers who took part in the battle and the rest of the community.28 From the soldiers who fought in the battle, set apart as tribute for the Lord one out of every five hundred, whether people, cattle, donkeys or sheep. 29 Take this tribute from their half share and give it to Eleazar the priest as the Lord’s part. 30 From the Israelites’ half, select one out of every fifty, whether people, cattle, donkeys, sheep or other animals. Give them to the Levites, who are responsible for the care of the Lord’s tabernacle.” 31 So Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses.

32 The plunder remaining from the spoils that the soldiers took was 675,000 sheep, 33 72,000 cattle, 34 61,000 donkeys 35 and 32,000 women who had never slept with a man.

36 The half share of those who fought in the battle was:

337,500 sheep, 37 of which the tribute for the Lord was 675;

38 36,000 cattle, of which the tribute for the Lord was 72;

39 30,500 donkeys, of which the tribute for the Lord was 61;

40 16,000 people, of whom the tribute for the Lord was 32.

41 Moses gave the tribute to Eleazar the priest as the Lord’s part, as the Lord commanded Moses…Then the officers who were over the units of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—went to Moses 49 and said to him, “Your servants have counted the soldiers under our command, and not one is missing. 50 So we have brought as an offering to the Lord the gold articles each of us acquired—armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces—to make atonement for ourselves before the Lord.”

When its Time To Go! Genesis 31 Part 1

 It was time for Jacob to return to Canaan–How did he know, well it might have been the way his brothers-in-law were talking about how he had stolen their flocks, it may have been the way that his father-in-law had changed the way he was dealing with Jacob.  It could have been the dream Jacob had telling him to go home.  Whatever was the reason that spurred him, Jacob knew it was time to go.  After 20 years of shepherding and caring for his and his father-in-law’s flocks, Jacob would return to Canaan with his own wealth and family.
 
It would not be easy, it would not go over well, but, Jacob gathered his family, his belongings and left–Haran.  Not too surprising was the fact that uncle Laban would not be pleased–nor, would his brothers-in law.  It would also be difficult on his family to leave all they had known for the last 20 years; but, Jacob knew God was telling him to go–and he knew that if God was calling him to go, then God would make the move possible.
 
In modern day, it is very easy to make decisions using all the media, research and technology available.  Sadly, often times, we forget the best tool of all–seeking God’s guidance.  Jacob was led to change, but, often we change–then simply ask God to bless our decision and alter his plan to meet ours.  That is not how God works.  He will allow us to choose our own course, but, if we will wait on his course and direction, then we can be assured he will be the one that does it–leads, guides and directs our path.  We can never quit believing, nor, should we ever move God aside to accomplish our plan.  Isaiah said it best, “Those who wait on the Lord, will renew their strength–they will soar on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
 
God Bless You
Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.” And Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been.

Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”

So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah to come out to the fields where his flocks were. He said to them, “I see that your father’s attitude toward me is not what it was before, but the God of my father has been with me. You know that I’ve worked for your father with all my strength, yet your father has cheated me by changing my wages ten times. However, God has not allowed him to harm me. If he said, ‘The speckled ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks gave birth to speckled young; and if he said, ‘The streaked ones will be your wages,’ then all the flocks bore streaked young. So God has taken away your father’s livestock and has given them to me.

10 “In breeding season I once had a dream in which I looked up and saw that the male goats mating with the flock were streaked, speckled or spotted. 11 The angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob.’ I answered, ‘Here I am.’ 12 And he said, ‘Look up and see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native land.’”

I Samuel 2 part 3–The Life of an Ambassador

When we represent God as his ambassadors, we must live a life that is worthy of his name.  When we do not, it is apparent.  We not only ruin our names and reputation, but we put God’s credibility at issue.  As he becomes real in our lives, we no longer want to feed our sinful nature.  If we do, we must check our hearts and daily put those things we desire to control on the alter before him. Eli’s sons had no desire to serve God and as his priests—their sin affected the entire nation.  God will not tolerate his name being used to hurt others.

We must start each day—boldly seeking him and checking our hearts to be sure we are willing to be his ambassador. As we do, we must also realize our impact upon others. We live selflessly, and patiently following the path he has set before us.  As we do we will grow in favor with Him and with those we do life with.

God Bless You

22 Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle.[f] 23 Eli said to them, “I have been hearing reports from all the people about the wicked things you are doing. Why do you keep sinning? 24 You must stop, my sons! The reports I hear among the Lord’s people are not good. 25 If someone sins against another person, God[g] can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede?” But Eli’s sons wouldn’t listen to their father, for the Lord was already planning to put them to death.

26 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people.

I Samuel 2 part 2–Respect and Representation

Samuel went into the service of the Priest Eli.  Eli had 2 sons.  They had no respect for the Lord.  They treated their duties with Contempt—they treated their father with contempt and worst they treated God and his sacrifice with contempt.  What an environment for a child who is to serve God all his life.  Fortunately, God’s plan is often greater than even his priests!  What an important reminder for us as his children to remember that we are often God’s representative to the people.  He does not take lightly the mistreatment of his people, his name or his sacrifice.

In our lives, we are often faced with opportunities to represent God.  If we try to act in our own power, it is like Eli’s boys acted about the sacrifice.  We need to remember as living sacrifices, we need to submit to God’s leadership—honor his name and walk humbly in his love.  We respect his plan.  We do not try to do this on our own, but we simply follow his lead—like Samuel.  Then we can enjoy his peace that truly passes all understanding.

God Bless You. 

 12 Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels who had no respect for the Lord 13 or for their duties as priests. Whenever anyone offered a sacrifice, Eli’s sons would send over a servant with a three-pronged fork. While the meat of the sacrificed animal was still boiling, 14 the servant would stick the fork into the pot and demand that whatever it brought up be given to Eli’s sons. All the Israelites who came to worship at Shiloh were treated this way. 15 Sometimes the servant would come even before the animal’s fat had been burned on the altar. He would demand raw meat before it had been boiled so that it could be used for roasting.

16 The man offering the sacrifice might reply, “Take as much as you want, but the fat must be burned first.” Then the servant would demand, “No, give it to me now, or I’ll take it by force.” 17 So the sin of these young men was very serious in the Lord’s sight, for they treated the Lord’s offerings with contempt.

Matthew 5 part 2–Salt and light

Assalt and light Christians, we are called to be salt and light…that is a significant calling.  Salt is both a flavor enhancer and a preservative. Light is the element that both exposes and casts out darkness. We as God’s people are called to bring light to the world.  We are the ones to show the world the reality of its sinful and hopeless state.  We are the ones to enhance life through freedom and preserve the life God intended for his people.  But, this is no easy task.  By stepping out, we expose ourselves to temptation and to criticism. We are rejected or minimized for being weird.  Also if we make a mistake, we are opening ourselves and God up to abuse.

So it is easier to step back, be quiet and let the ones we know quietly go to hell.  That is not acceptable.  We need to enhance and preserve the faith.  We need to shine before the world.  This is accomplished by faith, and is continued as we humbly follow Christ in this amazing journey.  God neither expects nor demands perfection.  He simply requests that we follow and seek his leadership and power.  He will accomplish—through us, more than we could ever hope to accomplish on our own. The Hymn says it best—“Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus…but to trust and obey.”

God Bless You

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.