Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How glorious is our God!

Moses poem.
Moses wraps up all his experiences and all his knowledge of God plus the warnings of a prophet in this poem. Perhaps it was a song they sung later...

Deuteronomy 32

1 “Listen, O heavens, and I will speak!
Hear, O earth, the words that I say!
2 Let my teaching fall on you like rain;
let my speech settle like dew.
Let my words fall like rain on tender grass,
like gentle showers on young plants.
3 I will proclaim the name of the Lord;
how glorious is our God!
4 He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect.
Everything he does is just and fair.
He is a faithful God who does no wrong;
how just and upright he is!

7 Remember the days of long ago;
think about the generations past.
Ask your father, and he will inform you.
Inquire of your elders, and they will tell you.
8 When the Most High assigned lands to the nations,
when he divided up the human race,
he established the boundaries of the peoples
according to the number in his heavenly court.[b]

9 “For the people of Israel belong to the Lord;
Jacob is his special possession.
10 He found them in a desert land,
in an empty, howling wasteland.
He surrounded them and watched over them;
he guarded them as he would guard his own eyes.[c]
11 Like an eagle that rouses her chicks
and hovers over her young,
so he spread his wings to take them up
and carried them safely on his pinions.
12 The Lord alone guided them;
they followed no foreign gods.

13 He let them ride over the highlands
and feast on the crops of the fields.
He nourished them with honey from the rock
and olive oil from the stony ground.
14 He fed them yogurt from the herd
and milk from the flock,
together with the fat of lambs.
He gave them choice rams from Bashan, and goats,
together with the choicest wheat.
You drank the finest wine,
made from the juice of grapes.
39 Look now; I myself am he!
There is no other god but me!
I am the one who kills and gives life;
I am the one who wounds and heals;
no one can be rescued from my powerful hand!
40 Now I raise my hand to heaven
and declare, “As surely as I live,
41 when I sharpen my flashing sword
and begin to carry out justice,
I will take revenge on my enemies
and repay those who reject me.
42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood,
and my sword will devour flesh—
the blood of the slaughtered and the captives,
and the heads of the enemy leaders.”’
43 “Rejoice with him, you heavens,
and let all of God’s angels worship him.[h]
Rejoice with his people, you nations,
and let all the angels be strengthened in him.[i]
For he will avenge the blood of his servants;
he will take revenge against his enemies.
He will repay those who hate him[j]
and cleanse the land for his people.”

44 So Moses came with Joshua[k] son of Nun and recited all the words of this song to the people.

45 When Moses had finished reciting all these words to the people of Israel, 46 he added: “Take to heart all the words of warning I have given you today. Pass them on as a command to your children so they will obey every word of these instructions. 47 These instructions are not empty words—they are your life! By obeying them you will enjoy a long life in the land you will occupy when you cross the Jordan River.”

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Return to the Lord

Moses is old. He is about to die. He is preaching to his nation. Rehearsing all that God has done for them. Teaching them. Warning them.

This message is a fresh today as when he first said it...


Return to the Lord

Deuteronomy 30:1 “In the future, when you experience all these blessings and curses I have listed for you, and when you are living among the nations to which the Lord your God has exiled you, take to heart all these instructions. 2 If at that time you and your children return to the Lord your God, and if you obey with all your heart and all your soul all the commands I have given you today, 3 then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes. He will have mercy on you and gather you back from all the nations where he has scattered you. 4 Even though you are banished to the ends of the earth, the Lord your God will gather you from there and bring you back again. 5 The Lord your God will return you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will possess that land again. Then he will make you even more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors!

6 “The Lord your God will change your heart[a] and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live! 7 The Lord your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate and persecute you. 8 Then you will again obey the Lord and keep all his commands that I am giving you today.

9 “The Lord your God will then make you successful in everything you do. He will give you many children and numerous livestock, and he will cause your fields to produce abundant harvests, for the Lord will again delight in being good to you as he was to your ancestors. 10 The Lord your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and decrees written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul."

What is God's will for us?

Blessing.
Relationship.
Delight.

Curses for Disobedience

Curses for Disobedience
Haven't heard a sermon on this passage lately.

Pretty strong stuff!

Deuteronomy 28:15 “But if you refuse to listen to the Lord your God and do not obey all the commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overwhelm you:

16 Your towns and your fields
will be cursed.
17 Your fruit baskets and breadboards
will be cursed.
18 Your children and your crops
will be cursed.
The offspring of your herds and flocks
will be cursed.
19 Wherever you go and whatever you do,
you will be cursed.

20 “The Lord himself will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in everything you do, until at last you are completely destroyed for doing evil and abandoning me. 21 The Lord will afflict you with diseases until none of you are left in the land you are about to enter and occupy. 22 The Lord will strike you with wasting diseases, fever, and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, and with blight and mildew. These disasters will pursue you until you die. 23 The skies above will be as unyielding as bronze, and the earth beneath will be as hard as iron. 24 The Lord will change the rain that falls on your land into powder, and dust will pour down from the sky until you are destroyed.

25 “The Lord will cause you to be defeated by your enemies. You will attack your enemies from one direction, but you will scatter from them in seven! You will be an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 26 Your corpses will be food for all the scavenging birds and wild animals, and no one will be there to chase them away.

27 “The Lord will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors, scurvy, and the itch, from which you cannot be cured. 28 The Lord will strike you with madness, blindness, and panic. 29 You will grope around in broad daylight like a blind person groping in the darkness, but you will not find your way. You will be oppressed and robbed continually, and no one will come to save you.

30 “You will be engaged to a woman, but another man will sleep with her. You will build a house, but someone else will live in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will never enjoy its fruit. 31 Your ox will be butchered before your eyes, but you will not eat a single bite of the meat. Your donkey will be taken from you, never to be returned. Your sheep and goats will be given to your enemies, and no one will be there to help you. 32 You will watch as your sons and daughters are taken away as slaves. Your heart will break for them, but you won’t be able to help them. 33 A foreign nation you have never heard about will eat the crops you worked so hard to grow. You will suffer under constant oppression and harsh treatment. 34 You will go mad because of all the tragedy you see around you. 35 The Lord will cover your knees and legs with incurable boils. In fact, you will be covered from head to foot.

36 “The Lord will exile you and your king to a nation unknown to you and your ancestors. There in exile you will worship gods of wood and stone! 37 You will become an object of horror, ridicule, and mockery among all the nations to which the Lord sends you.

38 “You will plant much but harvest little, for locusts will eat your crops. 39 You will plant vineyards and care for them, but you will not drink the wine or eat the grapes, for worms will destroy the vines. 40 You will grow olive trees throughout your land, but you will never use the olive oil, for the fruit will drop before it ripens. 41 You will have sons and daughters, but you will lose them, for they will be led away into captivity. 42 Swarms of insects will destroy your trees and crops.

43 “The foreigners living among you will become stronger and stronger, while you become weaker and weaker. 44 They will lend money to you, but you will not lend to them. They will be the head, and you will be the tail!

45 “If you refuse to listen to the Lord your God and to obey the commands and decrees he has given you, all these curses will pursue and overtake you until you are destroyed. 46 These horrors will serve as a sign and warning among you and your descendants forever. 47 If you do not serve the Lord your God with joy and enthusiasm for the abundant benefits you have received, 48 you will serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you. You will be left hungry, thirsty, naked, and lacking in everything. The Lord will put an iron yoke on your neck, oppressing you harshly until he has destroyed you.

49 “The Lord will bring a distant nation against you from the end of the earth, and it will swoop down on you like a vulture. It is a nation whose language you do not understand, 50 a fierce and heartless nation that shows no respect for the old and no pity for the young. 51 Its armies will devour your livestock and crops, and you will be destroyed. They will leave you no grain, new wine, olive oil, calves, or lambs, and you will starve to death. 52 They will attack your cities until all the fortified walls in your land—the walls you trusted to protect you—are knocked down. They will attack all the towns in the land the Lord your God has given you...

63 “Just as the Lord has found great pleasure in causing you to prosper and multiply, the Lord will find pleasure in destroying you. You will be torn from the land you are about to enter and occupy. 64 For the Lord will scatter you among all the nations from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship foreign gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods made of wood and stone! 65 There among those nations you will find no peace or place to rest. And the Lord will cause your heart to tremble, your eyesight to fail, and your soul to despair. 66 Your life will constantly hang in the balance. You will live night and day in fear, unsure if you will survive. 67 In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were night!’ And in the evening you will say, ‘If only it were morning!’ For you will be terrified by the awful horrors you see around you. 68 Then the Lord will send you back to Egypt in ships, to a destination I promised you would never see again. There you will offer to sell yourselves to your enemies as slaves, but no one will buy you.”

It is not "hip" to have a well centered respect for, and fear of God in our culture.

But actions have consequences. Obedience has consequences. Disobedience has consequences. It does not matter if we believe it or not. Actions still have consequences...

Monday, March 29, 2010

God Bless You!

God Bless You!

We say it when someone sneezes.
We say it at the end of a letter or note, speech or conversation.

Moses said it to his people, with a power that rolls down through history and hits us today...

Deuteronomy 28:1 “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. 2 You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God:

3 Your towns and your fields
will be blessed.
4 Your children and your crops
will be blessed.
The offspring of your herds and flocks
will be blessed.
5 Your fruit baskets and breadboards
will be blessed.
6 Wherever you go and whatever you do,
you will be blessed.

7 “The Lord will conquer your enemies when they attack you. They will attack you from one direction, but they will scatter from you in seven!

8 “The Lord will guarantee a blessing on everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.

9 “If you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways, the Lord will establish you as his holy people as he swore he would do. 10 Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the Lord, and they will stand in awe of you.

11 “The Lord will give you prosperity in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, blessing you with many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops. 12 The Lord will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them. 13 If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom. 14 You must not turn away from any of the commands I am giving you today, nor follow after other gods and worship them."

God's blessing.

Not just when you sneeze.

All the time.

Friday, March 26, 2010

His own special treasure


His own special treasure.

What exalted language!

Is this a rich man talking of a precious stone?
A lover speaking of his fiancee?
A pirate referring to his buried treasure chest?

No. It is God, speaking of His people...

Deuteronomy 26:16 “Today the Lord your God has commanded you to obey all these decrees and regulations. So be careful to obey them wholeheartedly.

17 You have declared today that the Lord is your God. And you have promised to walk in his ways, and to obey his decrees, commands, and regulations, and to do everything he tells you.

18 The Lord has declared today that you are his people, his own special treasure, just as he promised, and that you must obey all his commands.

19 And if you do, he will set you high above all the other nations he has made. Then you will receive praise, honor, and renown.

You will be a nation that is holy to the Lord your God, just as he promised.”

His own special treasure!

Pink Glove Dance this is awesome

Pink Glove Dance this is awesome


You have to watch this video from Portland , Oregon.

Here’s the story behind the video…

“Our daughter-in-law, Emily (MacInnes) Somers, created, directed and
choreographed this in Portland last week for her Medline glove division
as a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness. This was all her idea to help
promote their new pink gloves.

I don't know how she got so many employees, doctors and patients to
participate, but it started to really catch on and they all had a lot
of fun doing it.

When the video gets 1 million hits, Medline will be making a huge
contribution to the hospital, as well as offering free mammograms for
the community. Please check it out. It's an easy and great way to donate
to a wonderful cause, and who hasn't been touched by breast cancer?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEdVfyt-mLw
Please forward this in honor of all the women we know and all we have
lost.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Justice!


Justice on a number of different issues are addressed in todays reading.

Much of the careful way that people are dealt with in the North American and European judicial systems can be traced to a passage such as this one.

Deuteronomy 24:1 “Suppose a man marries a woman but she does not please him. Having discovered something wrong with her, he writes her a letter of divorce, hands it to her, and sends her away from his house. 2 When she leaves his house, she is free to marry another man. 3 But if the second husband also turns against her and divorces her, or if he dies, 4 the first husband may not marry her again, for she has been defiled. That would be detestable to the Lord. You must not bring guilt upon the land the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession.

5 “A newly married man must not be drafted into the army or be given any other official responsibilities. He must be free to spend one year at home, bringing happiness to the wife he has married.

6 “It is wrong to take a set of millstones, or even just the upper millstone, as security for a loan, for the owner uses it to make a living.

7 “If anyone kidnaps a fellow Israelite and treats him as a slave or sells him, the kidnapper must die. In this way, you will purge the evil from among you.

8 “In all cases involving serious skin diseases,[a] be careful to follow the instructions of the Levitical priests; obey all the commands I have given them. 9 Remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam as you were coming from Egypt.

10 “If you lend anything to your neighbor, do not enter his house to pick up the item he is giving as security. 11 You must wait outside while he goes in and brings it out to you. 12 If your neighbor is poor and gives you his cloak as security for a loan, do not keep the cloak overnight. 13 Return the cloak to its owner by sunset so he can stay warm through the night and bless you, and the Lord your God will count you as righteous.

14 “Never take advantage of poor and destitute laborers, whether they are fellow Israelites or foreigners living in your towns. 15 You must pay them their wages each day before sunset because they are poor and are counting on it. If you don’t, they might cry out to the Lord against you, and it would be counted against you as sin.

16 “Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor children for the sins of their parents. Those deserving to die must be put to death for their own crimes.

17 “True justice must be given to foreigners living among you and to orphans, and you must never accept a widow’s garment as security for her debt. 18 Always remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from your slavery. That is why I have given you this command."

Justice above all.
Consideration for the needs of the poor.
Respect for every person, slave or free, of your group or not.
Gentleness and grace for all.

Always keep in mind as you deal with people, that the Lord God watches all, and is the ultimate just judge.

Don't forget the shovel!

Don't forget the shovel!

God is dictating a number of interesting rules and regulations. It is sort of like living in one of our towns and cities today.

Kirkland, where I live, has rules against cutting down trees! You have to get a permit. The city comes out and investigates every tree - labelling those that may be cut down, and also those that may not.

Among all the rules God lays out - this one struck me as funny, but Oh so practical, for 3,000,000 living out in the desert!

Deuteronomy 21:12 “You must have a designated area outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. 13 Each of you must have a spade as part of your equipment. Whenever you relieve yourself, dig a hole with the spade and cover the excrement. 14 The camp must be holy, for the Lord your God moves around in your camp to protect you and to defeat your enemies. He must not see any shameful thing among you, or he will turn away from you."

Keep the camp clean. And don't forget the shovel!

Treat them kindly

War is always about winning or losing.

Throughout the ages, when you win the war, you get whatever you want. You get the land, the riches, the people, the livestock. You get everything.

And you can treat the vanquished as well - or badly - as you want to.

God introduces some kindness and righteousness into this equation.

Today is the treatment of captive women.

Deuteronomy 21:10 “Suppose you go out to war against your enemies and the Lord your God hands them over to you, and you take some of them as captives. 11 And suppose you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you are attracted to her and want to marry her. 12 If this happens, you may take her to your home, where she must shave her head, cut her nails, 13 and change the clothes she was wearing when she was captured. She will stay in your home, but let her mourn for her father and mother for a full month. Then you may marry her, and you will be her husband and she will be your wife. 14 But if you marry her and she does not please you, you must let her go free. You may not sell her or treat her as a slave, for you have humiliated her."

1. Give her some time to mourn.
2. Treat her kindly.
3. If the relationship ends treat her fairly.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse


I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse

So says God to Moses, and through him, to each of us down through the ages...

Deuteronomy 11:1 “You must love the Lord your God and obey all his requirements, decrees, regulations, and commands. 2 Keep in mind that I am not talking now to your children, who have never experienced the discipline of the Lord your God or seen his greatness and his strong hand and powerful arm. 3 They didn’t see the miraculous signs and wonders he performed in Egypt against Pharaoh and all his land. 4 They didn’t see what the Lord did to the armies of Egypt and to their horses and chariots—how he drowned them in the Red Sea as they were chasing you. He destroyed them, and they have not recovered to this very day!

5 “Your children didn’t see how the Lord cared for you in the wilderness until you arrived here. 6 They didn’t see what he did to Dathan and Abiram (the sons of Eliab, a descendant of Reuben) when the earth opened its mouth in the Israelite camp and swallowed them, along with their households and tents and every living thing that belonged to them. 7 But you have seen the Lord perform all these mighty deeds with your own eyes!

8 “Therefore, be careful to obey every command I am giving you today, so you may have strength to go in and take over the land you are about to enter. 9 If you obey, you will enjoy a long life in the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors and to you, their descendants—a land flowing with milk and honey! 10 For the land you are about to enter and take over is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you planted your seed and made irrigation ditches with your foot as in a vegetable garden. 11 Rather, the land you will soon take over is a land of hills and valleys with plenty of rain—12 a land that the Lord your God cares for. He watches over it through each season of the year!

13 “If you carefully obey all the commands I am giving you today, and if you love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and soul, 14 then he will send the rains in their proper seasons—the early and late rains—so you can bring in your harvests of grain, new wine, and olive oil. 15 He will give you lush pastureland for your livestock, and you yourselves will have all you want to eat.

16 “But be careful. Don’t let your heart be deceived so that you turn away from the Lord and serve and worship other gods. 17 If you do, the Lord’s anger will burn against you. He will shut up the sky and hold back the rain, and the ground will fail to produce its harvests. Then you will quickly die in that good land the Lord is giving you.

18 “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 19 Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 20 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.

22 “Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him. 23 Then the Lord will drive out all the nations ahead of you, though they are much greater and stronger than you, and you will take over their land. 24 Wherever you set foot, that land will be yours. Your frontiers will stretch from the wilderness in the south to Lebanon in the north, and from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.[b] 25 No one will be able to stand against you, for the Lord your God will cause the people to fear and dread you, as he promised, wherever you go in the whole land.

26 “Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse! 27 You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today. 28 But you will be cursed if you reject the commands of the Lord your God and turn away from him and worship gods you have not known before.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gotta know the rules!

They say one of the many differences between men and women is their approach to rules.

Get a large group together to play a game. The women begin chatting and bonding. The men need to establish what the goal of the game is, and what the rules are to play by. How can you win, if you don't know what the end goal is? How can you strategize to win, if you don't know the rules?

God made the rules very clear to Moses. He presented them in a way that got everyones attention.

Deuteronomy 5:1 "Moses called all the people of Israel together and said, “Listen carefully, Israel. Hear the decrees and regulations I am giving you today, so you may learn them and obey them!

2 “The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Mount Sinai.[a] 3 The Lord did not make this covenant with our ancestors, but with all of us who are alive today. 4 At the mountain the Lord spoke to you face to face from the heart of the fire. 5 I stood as an intermediary between you and the Lord, for you were afraid of the fire and did not want to approach the mountain. He spoke to me, and I passed his words on to you. This is what he said:

6 “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.

7 “You must not have any other god but me.

8 “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind, or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. 9 You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. 10 But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those[b] who love me and obey my commands.

11 “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.

12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. 13 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your oxen and donkeys and other livestock, and any foreigners living among you. All your male and female servants must rest as you do. 15 Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out with his strong hand and powerful arm. That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to rest on the Sabbath day.

16 “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God commanded you. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

17 “You must not murder.
18 “You must not commit adultery.
19 “You must not steal.
20 “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.
21 “You must not covet your neighbor’s wife. You must not covet your neighbor’s house or land, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.

22 “The Lord spoke these words to all of you assembled there at the foot of the mountain. He spoke with a loud voice from the heart of the fire, surrounded by clouds and deep darkness. This was all he said at that time, and he wrote his words on two stone tablets and gave them to me.

23 “But when you heard the voice from the heart of the darkness, while the mountain was blazing with fire, all your tribal leaders and elders came to me. 24 They said, ‘Look, the Lord our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice from the heart of the fire. Today we have seen that God can speak to us humans, and yet we live! 25 But now, why should we risk death again? If the Lord our God speaks to us again, we will certainly die and be consumed by this awesome fire. 26 Can any living thing hear the voice of the living God from the heart of the fire as we did and yet survive? 27 Go yourself and listen to what the Lord our God says. Then come and tell us everything he tells you, and we will listen and obey.’

Gotta know the rules!

Obey Them So That You May Live

Generally speaking, we do not like to obey.

However, North American society is very rules oriented, and the culture generally is very orderly and polite. Yesterday I was showing houses to a client. We came to two round a bouts in a row. At the second one, a lady was coming into the roundabout. She paused and waited for me to go by before entering. I waived happily as I drove around ahead of her. She guided her car into the roundabout after I had gone by.

I commented to my client that in Colombia, where I grew up, there are many roundabouts. People charge into them with abandon. Sometimes they get completely choked up so no one can move.

We hire lots and lots of police to monitor every thing from speed limits, to wearing seatbelts, to cell phone use.

There were no traffic laws in Moses' day. Come to think of it - there was no traffic in the desert! But God did have rules of conduct...

“And now, Israel, listen carefully to these decrees and regulations that I am about to teach you. Obey them so that you may live, so you may enter and occupy the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. 2 Do not add to or subtract from these commands I am giving you. Just obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you.

3 “You saw for yourself what the Lord did to you at Baal-peor. There the Lord your God destroyed everyone who had worshiped Baal, the god of Peor. 4 But all of you who were faithful to the Lord your God are still alive today—every one of you.

5 “Look, I now teach you these decrees and regulations just as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy. 6 Obey them completely, and you will display your wisdom and intelligence among the surrounding nations. When they hear all these decrees, they will exclaim, ‘How wise and prudent are the people of this great nation!’ 7 For what great nation has a god as near to them as the Lord our God is near to us whenever we call on him? 8 And what great nation has decrees and regulations as righteous and fair as this body of instructions that I am giving you today?

9 “But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren. 10 Never forget the day when you stood before the Lord your God at Mount Sinai,[e] where he told me, ‘Summon the people before me, and I will personally instruct them. Then they will learn to fear me as long as they live, and they will teach their children to fear me also.’

11 “You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, while flames from the mountain shot into the sky. The mountain was shrouded in black clouds and deep darkness. 12 And the Lord spoke to you from the heart of the fire. You heard the sound of his words but didn’t see his form; there was only a voice. 13 He proclaimed his covenant—the Ten Commandments[f]—which he commanded you to keep, and which he wrote on two stone tablets. 14 It was at that time that the Lord commanded me to teach you his decrees and regulations so you would obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy."

God does have rules.

Obey them so that you may live!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What happens when you don't get your way?

Have you ever asked God for something, but an entirely different result happened?

For me, the biggest time this happened was when my sister died. She was 44 and had a loving husband and three kids at home. I prayed long and hard for God to heal her. And she died, after a long period of intense suffering and pain.

And it made no sense to me.

I was angry, disappointed, hurt and shaken. I knew God was up there, but He was making huge mistakes with my sister and her family and he wasn't listening to me with the most obvious solution. She needed to be miraculously healed!

Little did I realize that the same thing happened to Moses.

Yeah! Moses!

21 “At that time I gave Joshua this charge: ‘You have seen for yourself everything the Lord your God has done to these two kings. He will do the same to all the kingdoms on the west side of the Jordan. 22 Do not be afraid of the nations there, for the Lord your God will fight for you.’


23 “At that time I pleaded with the Lord and said, 24 ‘O Sovereign Lord, you have only begun to show your greatness and the strength of your hand to me, your servant. Is there any god in heaven or on earth who can perform such great and mighty deeds as you do? 25 Please let me cross the Jordan to see the wonderful land on the other side, the beautiful hill country and the Lebanon mountains.’

26 “But the Lord was angry with me because of you, and he would not listen to me. ‘That’s enough!’ he declared. ‘Speak of it no more. 27 But go up to Pisgah Peak, and look over the land in every direction. Take a good look, but you may not cross the Jordan River. 28 Instead, commission Joshua and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead the people across the Jordan. He will give them all the land you now see before you as their possession.’ 29 So we stayed in the valley near Beth-peor."

Was Moses bitter?

Was he angry?

He was surely disappointed!

Yeah - even Moses...

We CRUSHED him!

Its a guy thing. You don't want to just win. You want to win decisively!

You wouldn't hear a group of women saying this. But among guys, it is just typical trash talk.

"We CRUSHED him!"

Well, today Moses is "trash talkin'".

26 "Moses continued, “From the wilderness of Kedemoth I sent ambassadors to King Sihon of Heshbon with this proposal of peace:

27 ‘Let us travel through your land. We will stay on the main road and won’t turn off into the fields on either side. 28 Sell us food to eat and water to drink, and we will pay for it. All we want is permission to pass through your land. 29 The descendants of Esau who live in Seir allowed us to go through their country, and so did the Moabites, who live in Ar. Let us pass through until we cross the Jordan into the land the Lord our God is giving us.’

30 “But King Sihon of Heshbon refused to allow us to pass through, because the Lord your God made Sihon stubborn and defiant so he could help you defeat him, as he has now done.

31 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Look, I have begun to hand King Sihon and his land over to you. Begin now to conquer and occupy his land.’

32 “Then King Sihon declared war on us and mobilized his forces at Jahaz. 33 But the Lord our God handed him over to us, and we crushed him, his sons, and all his people. 34 We conquered all his towns and completely destroyed[h] everyone—men, women, and children. Not a single person was spared. 35 We took all the livestock as plunder for ourselves, along with anything of value from the towns we ransacked."

Trash talkin'

From old man Moses himself...

Have you ever felt stuck?

Have you ever felt stuck?

Stuck in your career? Stuck in a physical location? Stuck in a relationship? Stuck in the achievement of your dreams?

Moses, the old man, is revisiting what is known as the "Wanderings" of Israel. It is interesting to hear him recount how many times God said. "Move on!"

Deuteronomy 2

Remembering Israel’s Wanderings
“Then we turned around and headed back across the wilderness toward the Red Sea,[f] just as the Lord had instructed me, and we wandered around in the region of Mount Seir for a long time.

2 “Then at last the Lord said to me, 3 ‘You have been wandering around in this hill country long enough; turn to the north. 4 Give these orders to the people: “You will pass through the country belonging to your relatives the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. The Edomites will feel threatened, so be careful. 5 Do not bother them, for I have given them all the hill country around Mount Seir as their property, and I will not give you even one square foot of their land. 6 If you need food to eat or water to drink, pay them for it. 7 For the Lord your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the Lord your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.”’

8 “So we bypassed the territory of our relatives, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. We avoided the road through the Arabah Valley that comes up from Elath and Ezion-geber.

“Then as we turned north along the desert route through Moab, 9 the Lord warned us, ‘Do not bother the Moabites, the descendants of Lot, or start a war with them. I have given them Ar as their property, and I will not give you any of their land.’”

10 (A race of giants called the Emites had once lived in the area of Ar. They were as strong and numerous and tall as the Anakites, another race of giants. 11 Both the Emites and the Anakites are also known as the Rephaites, though the Moabites call them Emites. 12 In earlier times the Horites had lived in Seir, but they were driven out and displaced by the descendants of Esau, just as Israel drove out the people of Canaan when the Lord gave Israel their land.)

13 Moses continued, “Then the Lord said to us, ‘Get moving. Cross the Zered Brook.’ So we crossed the brook.

14 “Thirty-eight years passed from the time we first left Kadesh-barnea until we finally crossed the Zered Brook! By then, all the men old enough to fight in battle had died in the wilderness, as the Lord had vowed would happen. 15 The Lord struck them down until they had all been eliminated from the community.

16 “When all the men of fighting age had died, 17 the Lord said to me, 18 ‘Today you will cross the border of Moab at Ar 19 and enter the land of the Ammonites, the descendants of Lot. But do not bother them or start a war with them. I have given the land of Ammon to them as their property, and I will not give you any of their land.’”

20 (That area was once considered the land of the Rephaites, who had lived there, though the Ammonites call them Zamzummites. 21 They were also as strong and numerous and tall as the Anakites. But the Lord destroyed them so the Ammonites could occupy their land. 22 He had done the same for the descendants of Esau who lived in Seir, for he destroyed the Horites so they could settle there in their place. The descendants of Esau live there to this day. 23 A similar thing happened when the Caphtorites from Crete[g] invaded and destroyed the Avvites, who had lived in villages in the area of Gaza.)

24 Moses continued, “Then the Lord said, ‘Now get moving! Cross the Arnon Gorge. Look, I will hand over to you Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and I will give you his land. Attack him and begin to occupy the land. 25 Beginning today I will make people throughout the earth terrified because of you. When they hear reports about you, they will tremble with dread and fear.’”

I'm sure at the time the wait seemed endless, the milling around seemed purposeless and the accomplishments seemed useless.

But in the end, the purposes of God were accomplished, the people of God DID enter the promised land, and Moses is remembered as a hero.

I think I could settle for that!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Moses sent 12 men into the promised land. These were leaders. Valiant men. Courageous. They went in to a dangerous territory in which they could be killed.

19 “Then, just as the Lord our God commanded us, we left Mount Sinai and traveled through the great and terrifying wilderness, as you yourselves remember, and headed toward the hill country of the Amorites. When we arrived at Kadesh-barnea, 20 I said to you, ‘You have now reached the hill country of the Amorites that the Lord our God is giving us. 21 Look! He has placed the land in front of you. Go and occupy it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged!’


22 “But you all came to me and said, ‘First, let’s send out scouts to explore the land for us. They will advise us on the best route to take and which towns we should enter.’

23 “This seemed like a good idea to me, so I chose twelve scouts, one from each of your tribes. 24 They headed for the hill country and came to the valley of Eshcol and explored it. 25 They picked some of its fruit and brought it back to us. And they reported, ‘The land the Lord our God has given us is indeed a good land.’

First, the people wanted to do things their way instead of God's way. Then they were overtaken by fear. Then they rebelled against the command of the Lord.

26 “But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God and refused to go in. 27 You complained in your tents and said, ‘The Lord must hate us. That’s why he has brought us here from Egypt—to hand us over to the Amorites to be slaughtered. 28 Where can we go? Our brothers have demoralized us with their report. They tell us, “The people of the land are taller and more powerful than we are, and their towns are large, with walls rising high into the sky! We even saw giants there—the descendants of Anak!”’

29 “But I said to you, ‘Don’t be shocked or afraid of them! 30 The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt. 31 And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’

32 “But even after all he did, you refused to trust the Lord your God, 33 who goes before you looking for the best places to camp, guiding you with a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day."

They didn't trust the Lord. They complained.

34 “When the Lord heard your complaining, he became very angry. So he solemnly swore, 35 ‘Not one of you from this wicked generation will live to see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, 36 except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see this land because he has followed the Lord completely. I will give to him and his descendants some of the very land he explored during his scouting mission.’

37 “And the Lord was also angry with me because of you. He said to me, ‘Moses, not even you will enter the Promised Land! 38 Instead, your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will lead the people into the land. Encourage him, for he will lead Israel as they take possession of it. 39 I will give the land to your little ones—your innocent children. You were afraid they would be captured, but they will be the ones who occupy it. 40 As for you, turn around now and go on back through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.[e]’

41 “Then you confessed, ‘We have sinned against the Lord! We will go into the land and fight for it, as the Lord our God has commanded us.’ So your men strapped on their weapons, thinking it would be easy to attack the hill country.

42 “But the Lord told me to tell you, ‘Do not attack, for I am not with you. If you go ahead on your own, you will be crushed by your enemies.’

43 “This is what I told you, but you would not listen. Instead, you again rebelled against the Lord’s command and arrogantly went into the hill country to fight. 44 But the Amorites who lived there came out against you like a swarm of bees. They chased and battered you all the way from Seir to Hormah. 45 Then you returned and wept before the Lord, but he refused to listen. 46 So you stayed there at Kadesh for a long time."

Trust and obey. For there is no other way...

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dooter Dooter Dooter Dooter Onomy

Dooter Dooter Dooter Dooter Onomy,
Its the fifth book of the Bible you see,
Dooter Dooter Dooter Dooter Onomy,
Full of excellent instructions for me!

(Words and music copyright, Phil Leng)

This is a great book. Full of practical wisdom. Moses is older and much of what he writes has the tone of recapping, reminiscing and story telling. At the end of the book he is an old man, and he wanders off, still best friends with God, to die at the top of Mount Nebo.

Deuteronomy1:1 "These are the words that Moses spoke to all the people of Israel while they were in the wilderness east of the Jordan River. They were camped in the Jordan Valley[a] near Suph, between Paran on one side and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Di-zahab on the other.

2 Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai[b] to Kadesh-barnea, going by way of Mount Seir. 3 But forty years after the Israelites left Egypt, on the first day of the eleventh month,[c] Moses addressed the people of Israel, telling them everything the Lord had commanded him to say. 4 This took place after he had defeated King Sihon of the Amorites, who had ruled in Heshbon, and King Og of Bashan, who had ruled in Ashtaroth and Edrei.

5 While the Israelites were in the land of Moab east of the Jordan River, Moses carefully explained the Lord’s instructions as follows."

Ouch!

Moses writes down that they could have gotten to the promised land in 11 days. Instead, it took 40 years!

What if we fully believed God?

What if we fully obeyed God?

Would our journey through life be different?

Something to think about...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Protection!

I watched an hour long show on the Scott Peterson, Laci Peterson case last night. I was working on my laptop and thought it would be a rehash of what I already knew.

Come to find out, he was more of a sociopath than I even had remembered. He murdered Laci because she had the audacity to get pregnant. He was planning and preparing that murder for at least a month. Meanwhile, he had picked up a new girlfriend he was having sex with. When the police finally arrested him, he had all the equipment in his car to murder her as well, and they had recorded conversations of him trying to lure her to a remote area by a large lake.

She needed protection from him, and his arrest meant she could live to tell her tale.

But what if the murder was accidental? What if it was not premeditated?

God made policies to cover those contingencies.

Cities of Refuge

9 The Lord said to Moses, 10 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel.

“When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 11 designate cities of refuge to which people can flee if they have killed someone accidentally. 12 These cities will be places of protection from a dead person’s relatives who want to avenge the death. The slayer must not be put to death before being tried by the community. 13 Designate six cities of refuge for yourselves, 14 three on the east side of the Jordan River and three on the west in the land of Canaan. 15 These cities are for the protection of Israelites, foreigners living among you, and traveling merchants. Anyone who accidentally kills someone may flee there for safety.

16 “But if someone strikes and kills another person with a piece of iron, it is murder, and the murderer must be executed. 17 Or if someone with a stone in his hand strikes and kills another person, it is murder, and the murderer must be put to death. 18 Or if someone strikes and kills another person with a wooden object, it is murder, and the murderer must be put to death. 19 The victim’s nearest relative is responsible for putting the murderer to death. When they meet, the avenger must put the murderer to death. 20 So if someone hates another person and pushes him or throws a dangerous object at him and he dies, it is murder. 21 Or if someone hates another person and hits him with a fist and he dies, it is murder. In such cases, the avenger must put the murderer to death when they meet.

22 “But suppose someone pushes another person without having shown previous hostility, or throws something that unintentionally hits another person, 23 or accidentally drops a huge stone on someone, though they were not enemies, and the person dies. 24 If this should happen, the community must follow these regulations in making a judgment between the slayer and the avenger, the victim’s nearest relative: 25 The community must protect the slayer from the avenger and must escort the slayer back to live in the city of refuge to which he fled. There he must remain until the death of the high priest, who was anointed with the sacred oil.

26 “But if the slayer ever leaves the limits of the city of refuge, 27 and the avenger finds him outside the city and kills him, it will not be considered murder. 28 The slayer should have stayed inside the city of refuge until the death of the high priest. But after the death of the high priest, the slayer may return to his own property. 29 These are legal requirements for you to observe from generation to generation, wherever you may live.

30 “All murderers must be put to death, but only if evidence is presented by more than one witness. No one may be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. 31 Also, you must never accept a ransom payment for the life of someone judged guilty of murder and subject to execution; murderers must always be put to death. 32 And never accept a ransom payment from someone who has fled to a city of refuge, allowing a slayer to return to his property before the death of the high priest. 33 This will ensure that the land where you live will not be polluted, for murder pollutes the land. And no sacrifice except the execution of the murderer can purify the land from murder.[c] 34 You must not defile the land where you live, for I live there myself. I am the Lord, who lives among the people of Israel.”

God gives protection.

To each of us to live honest lives.

But even to those who do things that accidentally end up with someone being killed...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Boundaries

My pondering today is over the boundaries of the land God promised His people. He promised it to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Then very explicitly to Moses.

Here is the passage:

Boundaries of the Land
Numbers 34:1 "Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Give these instructions to the Israelites: When you come into the land of Canaan, which I am giving you as your special possession, these will be the boundaries. 3 The southern portion of your country will extend from the wilderness of Zin, along the edge of Edom. The southern boundary will begin on the east at the Dead Sea.[i] 4 It will then run south past Scorpion Pass[j] in the direction of Zin. Its southernmost point will be Kadesh-barnea, from which it will go to Hazar-addar, and on to Azmon. 5 From Azmon the boundary will turn toward the Brook of Egypt and end at the Mediterranean Sea.[k]

6 “Your western boundary will be the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea.

7 “Your northern boundary will begin at the Mediterranean Sea and run east to Mount Hor, 8 then to Lebo-hamath, and on through Zedad 9 and Ziphron to Hazar-enan. This will be your northern boundary.

10 “The eastern boundary will start at Hazar-enan and run south to Shepham, 11 then down to Riblah on the east side of Ain. From there the boundary will run down along the eastern edge of the Sea of Galilee,[l] 12 and then along the Jordan River to the Dead Sea. These are the boundaries of your land.”

13 Then Moses told the Israelites, “This territory is the homeland you are to divide among yourselves by sacred lot. The Lord has commanded that the land be divided among the nine and a half remaining tribes. 14 The families of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh have already received their grants of land 15 on the east side of the Jordan River, across from Jericho toward the sunrise.”

So here is my puzzlement. During most of history the chosen people have not lived within all of this area. Even today, they only live in a fraction of it. And there are tens of millions of people committed to pushing them off the land into the sea.

Why?

I guess my bigger question is, "What is the relationship between God's promises and our experience in life?"

I guess all of faith lies in the answer to that question, and belief in that relationship!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Margin

Margin.
We don't write to fill every part of a page. We allow margins around each edge.

God never designed us to work all the time.

One day a week was mandated for rest. But there were lots of other times as well that were to be taken off work.

16 “On the fourteenth day of the first month,[h] you must celebrate the Lord’s Passover. 17 On the following day—the fifteenth day of the month—a joyous, seven-day festival will begin, but no bread made with yeast may be eaten. 18 The first day of the festival will be an official day for holy assembly, and no ordinary work may be done on that day.

25 The seventh day of the festival will be another official day for holy assembly, and no ordinary work may be done on that day.

26 “At the Festival of Harvest,[j] when you present the first of your new grain to the Lord, you must call an official day for holy assembly, and you may do no ordinary work on that day.

“Celebrate the Festival of Trumpets each year on the first day of the appointed month in early autumn.[k] You must call an official day for holy assembly, and you may do no ordinary work.

7 “Ten days later, on the tenth day of the same month,[p] you must call another holy assembly. On that day, the Day of Atonement, the people must go without food and must do no ordinary work.

12 “Five days later, on the fifteenth day of the same month,[q] you must call another holy assembly of all the people, and you may do no ordinary work on that day.

God wanted His people to prosper and flourish.

But not at the cost of all else in their lives.

They were to have margin. Time to contemplate. Take away from work. Renew their relationship with God. Celebrate the work of God in history.

You are a hard worker.

Do you have margin?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

God on Your Side

Here is both an encouraging story, and a troubling story.

Encouraging, because if we follow God and let Him do His work in our lives we can rest in the confidence that nothing that happens to us is outside His will, His plan, His purpose for our lives.

Troubling because - well, read the story!

1 "While they were at Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses because he had married a Cushite woman. 2 They said, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t he spoken through us, too?” But the Lord heard them. 3 (Now Moses was very humble—more humble than any other person on earth.)


4 So immediately the Lord called to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam and said, “Go out to the Tabernacle,[e] all three of you!” So the three of them went to the Tabernacle. 5 Then the Lord descended in the pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the Tabernacle.[f] “Aaron and Miriam!” he called, and they stepped forward. 6 And the Lord said to them, “Now listen to what I say:

“If there were prophets among you,
I, the Lord, would reveal myself in visions.
I would speak to them in dreams.
7 But not with my servant Moses.
Of all my house, he is the one I trust.
8 I speak to him face to face,
clearly, and not in riddles!
He sees the Lord as he is.
So why were you not afraid
to criticize my servant Moses?”

9 The Lord was very angry with them, and he departed. 10 As the cloud moved from above the Tabernacle, there stood Miriam, her skin as white as snow from leprosy.[g] When Aaron saw what had happened to her, 11 he cried out to Moses, “Oh, my master! Please don’t punish us for this sin we have so foolishly committed. 12 Don’t let her be like a stillborn baby, already decayed at birth.”

13 So Moses cried out to the Lord, “O God, I beg you, please heal her!”

14 But the Lord said to Moses, “If her father had done nothing more than spit in her face, wouldn’t she be defiled for seven days? So keep her outside the camp for seven days, and after that she may be accepted back.”

15 So Miriam was kept outside the camp for seven days, and the people waited until she was brought back before they traveled again. 16 Then they left Hazeroth and camped in the wilderness of Paran."

God don't like criticism!
Lift up, and support your God appointed leaders, don't criticise them and make their load heavier!

Why was only Miriam struck with leprosy?
I copied a possible answer:

by Kerika

"It might have been because she was the instigator.

Aaron’s right attitude was shown by his confession and plea in behalf of leprous Miriam. (Numbers 12:10-13)

If we as women are given priviledges of service, thinking about the account about Miriam will help us to not let it go to our head. The case of Miriam is worthy of note. Although she is spoken of as a prophetess, sent by Jehovah, apparently this privilege went to her head at one point. She failed to recognize the authority Jehovah had given her younger brother Moses to lead Israel, and she was punished for it.

Also, it teaches us to show respect for Jehovah's appointed representatives.

What it teaches me about Jehovah, is that He corrects to the proper degree as brought out in Jeremiah 30:11 and Isaiah 28:24-29.

As the type of grain determines what implements will be used for threshing, so God’s treatment of persons varied according to what was best for them in bringing about their cleansing.

So, that explains the difference in Miriam and Aaron's punishment, even though they both sinned."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

God gives MEAT! (and HEAT!)

The people are complaining.

They want meat to eat. There are three million people in a desert place. No grass. No meat to eat.

God says, "They want meat! I'll give them meat!"

Moses says, "Huh?"

God says "YEAH! - But it won't be pretty!"


18 “And say to the people, ‘Purify yourselves, for tomorrow you will have meat to eat. You were whining, and the Lord heard you when you cried, “Oh, for some meat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will have to eat it. 19 And it won’t be for just a day or two, or for five or ten or even twenty. 20 You will eat it for a whole month until you gag and are sick of it. For you have rejected the Lord, who is here among you, and you have whined to him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”


21 But Moses responded to the Lord, “There are 600,000 foot soldiers here with me, and yet you say, ‘I will give them meat for a whole month!’ 22 Even if we butchered all our flocks and herds, would that satisfy them? Even if we caught all the fish in the sea, would that be enough?”

23 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Has my arm lost its power? Now you will see whether or not my word comes true!”

24 So Moses went out and reported the Lord’s words to the people. He gathered the seventy elders and stationed them around the Tabernacle.[b] 25 And the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses. Then he gave the seventy elders the same Spirit that was upon Moses. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But this never happened again.

26 Two men, Eldad and Medad, had stayed behind in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but they had not gone out to the Tabernacle. Yet the Spirit rested upon them as well, so they prophesied there in the camp. 27 A young man ran and reported to Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!”

28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ assistant since his youth, protested, “Moses, my master, make them stop!”

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 upon them all!” 30 Then Moses returned to the camp with the elders of Israel.

31 Now the Lord sent a wind that brought quail from the sea and let them fall all around the camp. For miles in every direction there were quail flying about three feet above the ground.[c] 32 So the people went out and caught quail all that day and throughout the night and all the next day, too. No one gathered less than fifty bushels! They spread the quail all around the camp to dry. 33 But while they were gorging themselves on the meat—while it was still in their mouths—the anger of the Lord blazed against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague. 34 So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah (which means “graves of gluttony”) because there they buried the people who had craved meat from Egypt. 35 From Kibroth-hattaavah the Israelites traveled to Hazeroth, where they stayed for some time."

Meat to eat.
With God's heat.

Lesson learned?
God's goodness spurned!

Be happy with the provision God is giving you right now.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Are you a whiner?

If you have ever raised a child you have dealt with it.

Whining.

It can drive you crazy. It is tiresome, draining and debilitating.

Problem is, adults do it too. And it isn't new. The Israelites whined in the desert. Their life was hard. It was hot. Water was scarse. They moved from here to there with little clear purpose.

Numbers 11:1 "Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the Lord heard everything they said. Then the Lord’s anger blazed against them, and he sent a fire to rage among them, and he destroyed some of the people in the outskirts of the camp. 2 Then the people screamed to Moses for help, and when he prayed to the Lord, the fire stopped. 3 After that, the area was known as Taberah (which means “the place of burning”), because fire from the Lord had burned among them there.

4 Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed. 5 “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. 6 But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!”

7 The manna looked like small coriander seeds, and it was pale yellow like gum resin. 8 The people would go out and gather it from the ground. They made flour by grinding it with hand mills or pounding it in mortars. Then they boiled it in a pot and made it into flat cakes. These cakes tasted like pastries baked with olive oil. 9 The manna came down on the camp with the dew during the night.

10 Moses heard all the families standing in the doorways of their tents whining, and the Lord became extremely angry. Moses was also very aggravated. 11 And Moses said to the Lord, “Why are you treating me, your servant, so harshly? Have mercy on me! What did I do to deserve the burden of all these people? 12 Did I give birth to them? Did I bring them into the world? Why did you tell me to carry them in my arms like a mother carries a nursing baby? How can I carry them to the land you swore to give their ancestors? 13 Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people? They keep whining to me, saying, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy! 15 If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!”

Their whining had the same effect on Moses as your 3 year old has on you. Tiresome, draining and debilitating.

Moses, this truly great leader, was discouraged. Tired. He asked God to kill him, rather than to endure the life sucking effect of whining.

Are you a whiner?

Do you whine to your spouse? At work? To your kids? To your friends? To God?

If you do, know that it is tiresome, draining and debilitating to those around you.

Oh, and how much does GOD like it?

Read the next blog to see!