1Chron 7 to 10 Do you see your area of service as God ordained?
God put into the heart of the Chronicler to record voluminous lists and lists of unpronounceable names and places where they lived. He also recorded the professions of the men who served in the Tabernacle. Some were gatekeepers or doormen. God assigned them to guard the gates of the Lord’s sanctuary. They stood guard at all four corners of the Tabernacle; 24/7. When their sons grew up, they too were gatekeepers.
Others were in charge of the articles used by those who served and counted them when they brought them in and when they brought them out. Ezra followed that pattern when Cyrus released them from captivity to return to Israel. And then there were the musicians or the orchestra. These stayed in rooms at the sanctuary and were exempt from other duties. The Chronicler even recorded that some were bakers of the most refined unleavened bread for the Table of Shewbread, and their sons followed in their footsteps.
The Chronicler is making the point that no matter what you are assigned to do, it is the Lord’s work and that work is essential. No work is greater or lesser in the eyes of God. God has a place for you in the service for you serve the King of Kings. What area of service has the Lord given to you?
Psalm 84 There was a gentleman (and I say that with great tribute) many years ago who was one of the survivors of the Pearl Harbor disaster. He was one of the few who saw and lived through the horror unfold on the decks of the Arizona battleship. Upon returning from that experience, he always stood and opened the doors to God’s house to welcome us with great grace. When asked to recount that day, he would never recall it. From that day forward, he only said all he wanted in this life until God took him home was to be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord, and until his death, that is what he did—faithfully. Today he serves in the heavenly kingdom. God looks at his children for one key component: Faithfulness in service.
The psalmist wrote: Certainly spending just one day in your temple courts is better than spending a thousand elsewhere. I would rather “be a doorkeeper” or stand at the entrance to the temple of my God than live in the tents of the wicked. [Ps 84:10]
Where are you serving until Jesus comes and takes you home?
Ruth 1-4 In Judges, the people ignored and rebelled against God, and every man did what was right in his own heart. Yet God can and will direct our steps, whether we can see it or not. The time frame is the same, but the responses are 180 degrees apart. One Levite left us with a sour taste, but in Ruth, the sweetness of His aroma draws us to Him.
A famine is a test; will you trust God or self? Elimelech, from Bethlehem, chose to trust in his ways, not God’s. He moved his family to Moab, the country that lived, breathed, and worship wood and stone idols. Yet, God was at work to change the heart of one woman that we might know the truth of Isaiah’s words about God: “my ways are higher than yours.” [Is 55:9]
In Moab, Elimelech and his two sons passed away, leaving Naomi destitute. The rumor mills are busy, and Naomi hears that there is food in Israel now. Deciding to return to her roots in Bethlehem, she begged her daughters-in-law to return to Moab. But God had other plans for God is a promise keeper, and He is in the business of preparing the Messianic line through one submissive daughter-in-law, Ruth, who chooses to accompany Naomi with these famous words: “your God will be my God.”
God can and will work even if we fail to trust Him. He has his people ready to complete his promise and bring them to Jesus.
Judges 13-15 This chapter reveals a God who cares for His people even if they don’t seem to care for Him. God loves all His people, especially barren women. God, in particular, loves to bless these women. For four chapters, we read about Samson, the son of Manoah and “Mrs. Manoah.” It is the “Mrs.” that has the initial contact with the angel of God. It is she that quoted verbatim his words to her husband, Manoah. But, like the priest Zechariah, Manoah needed more confirmation.
Mr. Manoah, as well as Zechariah, may not have understood all the details about the birth to come, but they are commended for their obedience and faith as they entreated the Lord.
Mr. Manoah, like Jacob, wanted to know the name of the “man of God.” He needed confirmation on all accounts. After seeing the miracle of the flame and the rising of the angel to heaven, he then had a crisis of belief: “surely we will die for we have seen God.” But Mrs. Manoah was perceptive: look at the evidence, God answered our prayer, he accepted our offering, and he wouldn’t have shown us these things or let us hear something like this! How great was her faith! And God blessed her with a son.
When God speaks, do we believe Him 100 %! Or do we need more confirmation like Manoah and Zechariah did?
What are the marks of a humble person? They are willing to wait on God’s plan and timing. Joshua is such a man; a picture of true humility. He had waited over 47+/- years to achieve a place of rest since leaving Egypt’s slavery. He had seen the wonders of God at work in Egypt; he had been a faithful spy at Kadesh Barnea and had been a faithful servant of the Lord under Moses. He then led the children of Israel over seven years as they conquered the land and until every one of the Lord’s faithful promises to the family of Israel was completed. He waited patiently for his inheritance. He didn’t ask for land but only a city. Humble people are satisfied with the least and are willing to wait until others have their share. Humble people are those who do not seek glory or honor but only that which pleases the Lord. Joshua only wanted what the Lord wanted. God has placed this man for us to study and to learn exactly what God requires and desires.God “has told you…to carry out justice, to love faithfulness, and to live obediently before your God.” [Mic 6:8]
Today may we take our lesson from this man and learn from him how to please God.
Deut 1 There will always be those who seek to discourage us in the battle that God has set before us. God permitted the Israelites to “spy” out the land. They brought back evidence to God’s gracious words of a land of milk and honey. They saw the evidence, but it was not enough. The giants loomed in their minds, and so they brought back a bad report. Satan uses the giants in our lives to discourage us and cause us not to trust God. But, God is greater than any giant, and Caleb and Joshua were a testimony to how they saw them. Do we see the giants in our life as impediments to stepping forward to victory? Do we let him cause us to waver and forget the faithfulness of God in the past? James reminds us of that principle: he who wavers is unstable and God will not bless. [James 1 paraphrased]
The Israelites had an opportunity to trust God, but they chose not to. Thus, God removed His protection from them when they decided they had sinned but would go forward. If we choose disobedience when He specifically says obey, we will not be blessed. God gives us tests to see if we will obey. How presumptuous to think God will provide us with a second chance to obey? [Psalm 19:13] Do not tempt God!
Tough words to live by, but they are a reminder of God’s will for our lives and what He expects us to do.
Zelophehad had been a devoted father, but he had no sons, only daughters. We know he was faithful because the daughters eulogized him in chapter twenty-seven; “Our father died in the wilderness, although he was not part of the company of those that gathered themselves together against the Lord in the company of Korah but died for his own sin, and he had no sons.” [Num 27:1-11] Because the tribal lineage passed through the male line, they learned that their father’s name would be lost from among his family. So they asked Moses to rule regarding Zelophehad’s inheritance. In chapter thirty-six we find that the heads of their tribe came to Moses with a “sticky-wicket” problem of marriage. If these daughters married outside their tribe, then the inheritance would pass to the new husband and the new tribe which also included husband’s land.
Moses concurred with the men that these girls should only marry in their tribe so that there would not be a problem with the land inheritance in the year of the Jubilee. The girls agreed, and they went on to marry men of their tribe.
God placed this long tale here and in three chapters of Numbers and Joshua to show how God honors obedience, decisions, and choices.
Numbers 26 & 27 Louis May Alcott wrote a classic called Little Women and later Little Men. All have captivated audiences and still do today. But here, in an obscure passage, we read about not four but five little women and the problem they faced. As Moses recorded the male inheritances of Israel’s children, he listed the names of men—not women–from 20 yrs. old and up. In the middle, we read: Zelophehad had no sons, only five daughters. He had stood firm against those who had tested the Lord and was found faithful. But, male hierarchy and the law said only males could inherit the land. So these five daughters wondered what happens to our father’s inheritance. What about us? They wanted their faithful father’s legacy to continue.
Bravely but graciously, these five women entered the men’s arena to seek a change in the rules. They entered a patriarchal society to claim their father’s inheritance rights. Moses was in a quandary! Wisely Moses went straight to God and heard they were right, teaching us that God honors courage and humility. These five little women gained the right to inheritance and preservation of their father’s legacy! Women of today take heart! You, too, can be wise, tenacious, brave, and courageous.
Zelophehad raised five courageous women, and fathers can do the same today. These five little women sought to honor their deceased father, and God honored their request.
Numbers 16 As children, we played a game called follow the leader, where the followers mimic the leader’s actions. Elimination happens when you fail to comply. God calls it rebellion in Numbers 16. Korah challenged the leadership of Moses. He sought to usurp the leadership by placing himself in the “I” position. When “I” gets in the way, the ego is puffed up. “I know better!” This same scenario took place in the Garden of Eden, and men have yet to learn from that lesson.
God had already chosen, anointed, and proven that Moses was the leader, yet Korah was unsatisfied. He wanted to be the new leader of the Israelites. Gathering the Reubenites to join him, he began murmuring, which escalated into a full roar of mutiny. Sound familiar? How often do we allow others to lead us astray? Satan loves it when we grumble and better when we gather others to follow us. Jude describes the scenario. They dream and defile the flesh in their rejection of authority. They are divisive and devoid of the Spirit.
Moses, a man of humility, “fell down with his face to the ground.” Korah, a rebel, “fell when the earth opened up and swallowed him and his family.” And it was all because he failed to honor God’s anointed.
Where are you “falling” due to failure to honor God’s anointed?
Numbers 14/Psalm 90 We live in an instant gratification society which is evidenced by the amount of time we spend on Facebook. Somehow we feel that we can post something and go off to do other things and return later to see how others responded. The truth of the matter is that our Facebook posts last but for a moment in time. If you click off and return to the post you were reading, it might be there, but more often, it has disappeared into cyberspace.
God gave the Israelites a promise of land filled with honey and sent twelves spies to check his truthfulness. Ten of the spies sent to scout out the Promised Land were living as if their life was like FB! Their words show they had forgotten the beauty and God’s promises entirely. Their report was “yes…but” and brought eternal consequences. Only Joshua and Caleb lived to tell about it for 40 yrs.
Psalm 90 reminds us of the permanence of God and the frailty of men. The psalmist’s words are clear: “So teach us to consider our mortality, so that we might live wisely” Also, pray that what we do is successful so that one day we will hear “well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Are you living a FB life today? Are you preparing to end well?