Numbers Part Two: Dive
BIBLE IN ACTION: FIVE THINGS THAT I ADJUSTED IN MY LIFE WHEN READING NUMBERS
The Bible calls us to not just read the Word but be doers of the Word.
James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. ….v25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it- they will be blessed in what they do.”
What does that mean? It means as you read your Bible take note of the Bible in Action moments. This is an instruction manual for your life, so you are going to get a lot of take home things that you can do, things in your life you can change to align with the Word of God. Below are some things that I got out of Numbers that I am going to change in my life – my Bible in Action points!
1. GOD GIVES ME THE DETAILS, MY JOB IS OBEDIENCE ONLY.
Our job is not to get the details - those come from God. Our job is to be obedient to the details that we get from God. Time and time again in Numbers and in the Old Testament we hear God giving specific instructions and details and Moses and Aaron are obedient to the specific words. Except when it comes to the rock issue which we will address this week in our Deep Dive. I was so convicted by the story of Balaam and the talking donkey, this is all about obedience! Just look at the repeated term “I must only speak what God tells me too”.
Reading Numbers has shown me that at times I have this upside down, I work out the details and then ask God to bless it. I am going to flip this around and ask God for the details in all I do and then my only responsibility is to be obedient, not come up with the plan. Now I realize this takes a little more faith than working it out first, but God’s ways are higher than my ways and His plans are far greater!
2. CHURCH IS ABOUT GOD NOT ME!
I think I have got the wrong concept of church, a western concept has infiltrated my thoughts. The tabernacle was a place where they came to honor God, to give offerings, to worship him, to bring something to honor him, but today the church is where we want to get from God. Should we reverse this understanding? We don’t come to church to get something but to worship and offer praise to God. When they came to the tabernacle you can see that they came prepared to offer something to God, they came to worship Him, to repent, to clean up their lives - not just to get something out of God.
In my life and in my western culture I think we come to church to get something and if we don’t get what we want we complain to the Pastors that it didn’t meet our needs. In my life I am going to flip that around and come to church with the attitude to give to God and to others not to get (even though I can guarantee in giving I will end up getting more!). I am going to come to church to give my thanks, gratitude, and worship to God. I am going to come to church to give my tithe and offering as worship and honor to Him, I am going to come to church to be a part of the church community and to be a part of the team. I go now to give not to get.
3. COMPLAIN ONLY TO GOD.
Did you notice in Numbers the order of complaining –there is a right way of complaining and a wrong way of complaining. Miriam and Aaron (Chapter 12) complain to one another about Moses and God steps in and punishes them. Korah, Dathan and Abiram complain to 250 Israelite men against Moses and Aaron so much so that they rise up against them in offense. Notice the “whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them.” comment, they feel that they are equal to these priests and therefore should have the same favor or influence as they do. For me this brings to my memory the same sound from Satan himself when he rose against God in Isaiah 14:12 – I will be like God. The same pride of Satan to be like God, rose up in these men to be like the priests and then the same pride rose up in the whole community and unfortunately God had to punish them. Comparison is a path that leads to destruction. These were definitely the wrong ways to complain.
Yet Moses time and time again complains with God (and at times God complains right back to Moses about the people) but he lives and flourishes. I learned in Numbers to complain and whinge only to God and then move on. Don’t gather followers to your complaint as it is destructive to you and to them!
4. STOP COVETING, YOU REALLY HAVE NO IDEA OF THE RESPONSIBILITY BEHIND THE POSITION.
When I was reading Numbers 17 and the followers of Korah’s horrible demise and then Aaron’s vindication by his blossoming staff, I was shocked by the next verse in 18:1 The Lord said to Aaron, “You, your sons and your family are to bear the responsibility for offenses connected with the sanctuary, and you and your sons alone are to bear the responsibility for offenses connected with the priesthood.” I don’t imagine the people of Korah that were only looking for the favor and fame of being a priest had any idea the responsibility that came with that position. Aaron must have been thinking – if you only knew! Next time I covet (desire) to be in someone else’s position I’m going to remember it comes with more responsibility than I can imagine and I’m going to try praying for them rather than competing with them!
5. OPEN YOUR EYES BEFORE THE DONKEY OUT DOES YOU!
Would I be more OK with a talking donkey than seeing God’s will for my life? Numbers 22 shows that Balaam was blind to the Angel blocking his way and more than happy to argue with a donkey rather than to stop and see that God was opposing his plans. It’s a little embarrassing that the donkey could see the will of God and Balaam couldn’t. This has reminded me to open the eyes of my heart to see the supernatural things that God is doing around me – I will not be outdone by a donkey!! If my plans are not working, I am going to stop arguing with the donkey and see if perhaps this is God shutting the door. My prayer is going to be ‘open my eyes to see what you are doing’ rather than wrestling and fighting the natural circumstances. Love reading the story of Balaam, this incredible story of a man that at first couldn’t see what God was doing and then ends up not being able to say anything but what the LORD put in his mouth. I love Numbers 24:15, a declaration of who Balaam becomes, “the prophecy of one whose eye sees clearly.” He goes from one who God had to open his eyes to one “whose eye’s see clearly,” let that be your prayer today!
Every time we read our Bibles God will use it to transform our lives. The Bible is a measuring stick that we stand against every time we read it and we adjust things in our lives that perhaps don’t measure up. So for me this week these are my “homework” or “take home”, my Bible in action points from my Bible reading. What will be yours?