Wednesday, 31 August 2005

Let us go up at once

“And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” - Numbers 13:30

Moses and the children of Israel had now reached the border of Canaan. This was the Promised Land that God had told them there would occupy.

Upon arrival Moses sent a team of twelve men to check out the land. They spent forty days there seeing what their prospects were. The found a land of plenty, and land that was referred to as “flowing with milk and honey.” Grapes were so big that it took two men to carry a cluster of them. God’s Promised Land was all they good hope.

The time came for the men who had checked out the land to report to Moses. Most of the men saw the negative. Ten of them were so shocked by the physical size of the men and the number of them that we are in absolute fear. There are so many and they are so big that we are like grasshoppers compared to them.”

One of the men had the courage to step forward. “Let us go up. We are well able to overcome this land.” Caleb (and Joshua we will learn later) were the only ones who walked by faith. The rest walked by sight. The result of this would be disastrous.

God has a life of blessing for all those who will by faith determine to follow Him. Yes, there are giants to be faced. Yes, there are battles to be fought. Yet, the blessings are well worth all the struggles. May we have the faith and courage of Caleb to say, “Let’s go occupy the land” With God’s help we are well able to overcome it!”

Tuesday, 30 August 2005

The meekness of Moses

“Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” - Numbers 12v3

Meekness is not often thought of as a character trait of a leader. We find most leaders to be forceful and dynamic in getting done what they want done. Most of us take confidence in a strong leader and make that a mark of a true leader.

Who would want to follow a meek leader? Moses was called the meekest man on the face of the earth. The word meek implies that he was humble and gentle in his dealings. This man who had led the people out of Egypt, whom God has used to part the Red Sea, who spoke with God and received His Law was still called the meekest man alive.

Here his brother and sister attacked him for marrying an Ethiopian woman. They were jealous of the power God had given Moses to lead. God was displeased with this, but we read on Moses’ meekness.

Meekness is almost an ugly word for Christian men today. We have swallowed the world’s line that meekness, especially in men, is a sign of weakness. A brawling, angry, tough guy spirit is what is valued and respected in far to many circles today.

This is not the example that Moses set. It is not the example that Jesus set. Both were noted for their humility and meekness. I once heard meekness defined, not weakness, but as “power under control.”

Oh for the kind of meek spirit that Moses had. May we all recognise true strength and leadership comes with a meek and gentle spirit.

Monday, 29 August 2005

Is God’s hand shortened?

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Is the LORD's hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.” - Numbers 11v23

I am a short guy. Short guys have short arms. There are a lot of things that I cannot do because I have short arms. Several times a week I have to call one of the boys for help to reach something I can’t reach.

Moses was facing yet another situation. The people had despised God by their whinging and complaining. They had literally despised God by not being satisfied with what he provided. When God told Moses that the people would have meat. Moses looked at the fact that he had 600,000 men plus their wives and children. How could about 4 million people be fed meat for month? They would have to kill all of the flocks or catch all of the fish to do that.

Moses had forgotten Who he was working with. God had already parted the Red Sea, provided fresh water, and given daily manna. He thought that God’s hand was too short to meet the needs and do what He said. God never finds Himself to short for any task.

God was about to act. His arm is never shortened to provide or to judge. Nothing is impossible with God Whose hand is never shortened.

Sunday, 28 August 2005

You have despised the Lord

“But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the LORD which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?” - Numbers 11v20

What could be worse than despising the Lord? For what offence would a people be told that they have despised the Lord? Surely this must be a “serious” sin like false worship or idolatry. Those might very well be, but in this context what is the sin which proves that they have despised the Lord?

This sin was simple – it was the sin of being discontent. God had delivered them and provided for them. They were on their way to His promised land, and yet they longed to go back to Egypt.

Their whinging and complaining displeased the Lord for they despised all that He had done. What He had done was not enough - they wanted more.

Whenever we complain about the lot in life He has given us we do the same. There is little we can do which is worse than despising Him. If we are guilty of that sin it is time to repent and turn to Him.

Lord, help us never to despise You with a discontent and complaining spirit.

Saturday, 27 August 2005

We want our cucumbers!

“We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic”: - Numbers 11v5

When Numbers chapter 10 closes we could not imagine a better setting. The Tabernacle had been built, the Law had been given, and their tribes had received their marching orders. God had confirmed His presence in the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire. The silver trumpets had sounded and they were on their way!

Then we read chapter 11, verse 1 – “When the people complained, it displeased the Lord…” Why would the people complain? The had food and water, they had God’s presence and protection, and they had God’s promises and blessings.

The problem is simple. They were not content with their manna and fresh water. Forgetting the slavery from which they had cried for deliverance they thought about all of the wonderful food they were missing. “We miss the fish, the cucumbers, the leeks, the melons, the onions, and the garlic. All we have is this manna”

They wanted the world’s provision and were not content with what God had sent them. They were crying in their displeasure.. They wanted more than what God was giving them. Their desires of the flesh were more important to them than showing gratitude to God.

How often do we long after the cucumbers and leeks of the world? God meets our needs by providing His manna for us. We look around and see the cucumbers and leeks that others have and we want those for ourselves. How God’s heart must grieve when He sees the contempt with which we view what He has provided. Godliness with contentment is great gain. We must be content with whatever God chooses to give us. Covetousness is as idolatry.

With God’s help lets keep our eyes off the cucumbers of this world.

Friday, 26 August 2005

A Priestly Blessing

“The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” - Numbers 6v24-26

God gave the priests a blessing to pass on to the people. God keeps reminding us about His grace in the midst of His laws and instructions. Here He spells out a specific blessing.

· The Lord bless you
· Keep you
· Make His face to shine on you
· Be gracious to you
· Look with favour on you
· And give you peace

God knew that the nation of Israel was going to go through many trial and testing during their history. He never made a promise to stop those trials. He did however provide a way for them to have peace no matter what their circumstances.

True peace comes as a blessing from God. It comes as He keeps us, lets us see His face, shows us grace, and looks with favour on us. Peace is not dependent on circumstances; it is not dependent on us manipulating our situation. It is a result of us learning to depend on God’s blessings and seeking to live with His face shining on us and looking to His grace.

Remember today that as child of God was can depend on His grace daily to give us His perfect peace.

Thursday, 25 August 2005

Setting things right

“Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed.” - Numbers 5v7

It is possible to sin against others when we sin against God. When that happens we have added responsibility. We confess our sin to God and ask His forgiveness; and we confess our sin to the injured party, and ask him for forgiveness. There is another step however. That step is setting things right.

When we sin against someone it is our responsibility to make things right regarding that sin. If we have lied and hurt their reputation we must acknowledge our fault publicly and admit our sin to clear their name. If we use something and break or lose it, we must replace it.

God set this principle way back in the Law. It is considered the law of recompense. Today, it is just common sense. It is something in which we as Christians should shine however.

Let us take the example that God sets down. When we sin against someone, lets not just confess and apologise. Lets be sure that we make it right.

Wednesday, 24 August 2005

I will not cast them away

“And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.” - Leviticus 26:44-45

Leviticus chapter 26 is a record of blessings and cursing based on the obedience of the people. In the days of the law and a strict legal code the rules were strictly and clearly laid out.

Among all the words of judgment we find a picture of God’s grace. “And yet, for all that…I will not cast them away, …or abhor them, … or destroy them utterly … but I will remember them.” Israel was, is, and always will be God’s people. That relationship was based on God’s grace, it is a part of His covenant, and it cannot be broken. No matter what happened God’s people would always be his people. He would judge them and correct them, but He would not abandon them.

Although the correlation is not perfect, this does remind us of God’s faithfulness to us. Once we are born again into the family of God we are His. When we step out of line He chastens us to bring about the “peaceable fruit of righteousness” but He will not abandon us. As He would not cast off His people Israel, we can be assured that when we are His, He will never leave us or forsake us.

Tuesday, 23 August 2005

Freewill thanksgiving

“And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will.” - Leviticus 22:29

In the Old Testament the thanksgiving offering was a specific type of sacrifice. It was established to provide a way to express thanks for what God had done. Thanksgiving is a theme that runs throughout the Bible, Old Testament and New. It is often associated with sacrifice.

Why is thanksgiving a sacrifice? Thanksgiving forces us to get our minds off ourselves and our ability to meet our needs. Thanksgiving is humbling because it acknowledges that someone else has met our needs instead of us.

The thanksgiving sacrifice was to be offered of one’s own free will. True thanksgiving cannot be forced. We can make our children that “thank you,” but that does not make them thankful. We can say thank you, but that doesn’t really make us thankful.

A “gratitude attitude” is what is needed. True thanksgiving will always result in praise as noted by the writer of Hebrews – “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”

When we really consider all that God has done for us, it is amazing that we even need to be reminded to give thanks.

As we pray today, let us focus on giving God a free-will sacrifice of thanksgiving. Sacrifice our own thoughts, desires, will, and perspective of whatever situation we are facing and give God the thanks He is due.

Monday, 22 August 2005

Love your neighbour

“Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD.” - Leviticus 19v17-18

We often think of the Law as being a lot of rules and regulations without a lot of application for us today. The Law was indeed fulfilled in Christ and we are now free from the Law. Yet, throughout the Law we see many practical applications that Jesus used in the New Testament.

One of these is our subject for today – “Love you neighbour as yourself.” The context is dealing with neighbours, and we read some practical lessons – “Don’t hate your brother in your heart. When he offends you reprove him, but don’t take vengeance or harbour a grudge against him. Instead, love your neighbour as yourself.”

This command is part of what Jesus called the Great Commandment – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself.” Love is not only a New Testament teaching. It has been a part of God’s commands from the very start.

We are all going to deal with people today. Let’s try and apply the principles God gives us here:

Don’t hate him in your heart

If he offends you, deal with it

Don’t take vengeance

Don’t hold a grudge

Love him like you love yourself

Sunday, 21 August 2005

Do, keep, and walk

“Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.” - Leviticus 18:4

“I am the Lord you God” was all the authority God needed to give instructions to His people. In that simple phrase is all that we need to read to know that these instructions are to be followed.

What does God require of His people? It is more than just listening to His commands. It is more than just seeing what God has to say. Obedience always means action. Here, in the midst of giving various regulations God says to:

Do (observe) my judgements

Keep my ordinances

Walk in them

Today we are no longer bound by the law as the people of Israel were. Yet, God gives us these same instructions today. God lays down principles for living in the New Testament. He still expects us to do more than just read our Bibles.

The word “walk” is a key word in the New Testament. There are several instructions for walking. Walk by faith, walk in the spirit, walk in love, walk circumspectly, etc. There is a God walk that God’s people are always called to walk. It is always different than the world’s walk because it is based on doing His judgements and keeping His ordinances.

How is your walk today?

Saturday, 20 August 2005


“And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.” - Leviticus 16v16

Once a year the high priest went in to the Holy Place to make atonement for the sins of the people. Since God is perfect, holy, sanctified, and separated from sin, something must be done to bring man back in to a proper relationship with God. The Biblical word for this is atonement. An old Webster’s dictionary defines atonement thusly – “Agreement; concord; reconciliation, after enmity or controversy.”

During the tabernacle ceremony the priest used the blood of animals to make atonement for the sins of the people. An easy way to remember the meaning of atonement is to break the word down thusly; “at-one-ment.” Atoning is the process of making a sinner, who it enmity with God, to be at one with God.

During the Old Testament the blood of bulls and goats only covered over the sins of the people. Hebrews 10v4 says that the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins. All it can do is to cover them over. A few verses later we read however that there is a way for sins to be totally atoned for – “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

When we were still sinners Christ loved us an made atonement for. His atonement became efficacious when we accepted His free gift. It is an amazing truth that our perfect God would willing take the initiative to atone for our sins.

Friday, 19 August 2005

You be holy, for I am holy

“For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth”. - Leviticus 11v44

God lays it on the line here. For a while He has mentioning the principle of holiness. As we read through Leviticus it is clear to us that God places a great emphasis on holiness.

Once again we see the principle of separation – “sanctify [separate] yourselves and you shall be holy [separate] for I am holy [separate]” The Biblical principle of separation is one that is rarely mentioned in many pulpits today. Part of the reason is the abuse of the principle by many Christians who established a pharisaical, galatian. Legalistic view of separation with a whole list of does and do nots. Spirituality became, in some minds, based on how well one obeyed the rules and conformed to man’s standard of separation.

God’s standard of separation has nothing to do with human standards. It is based on His holiness and His standards as revealed in His word. It is a heart and attitude of being separate from the world. We must live among them; we cannot win them if we reject them. Our entire lives, every aspect of them, must be geared toward God’s holiness.

Thursday, 18 August 2005

Teach the children

“And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.” - Leviticus 10v10-11

If not this first, this is one of the early times when we read the words “teach the children.” It sets a precedent that is followed all though the word of God, that of passing things on to the next generation. Here, God is speaking to Aaron after the death of sons. God gives instruction on how everyone can avoid the same mistake in the future. Before He gives these words he has instructed him on the dangers of alcohol.

God makes it clear that teaching the children is more than just formalised instruction and teachings. In the same sentence God says – “That you may put a difference between the holy and unholy.” Then He says – “Teach them the statutes which the Lord has spoken.”

Teaching has two aspects. One is the one we think about normally, the actual instruction of facts and truths. The other, and equally as important, is the demonstrative aspect of instruction. He instruction is demonstrated by separation. Putting a difference between the holy and unholy is a key aspect of instructing children. We do that in our everyday life. Proper instruction, the instruction that “sticks” is when out lives back up our teaching. As we teach on holy living we ourselves must separate the holy from the holy by what we say, what we do, and where we go.

Wednesday, 17 August 2005

Sanctified and glorified

“Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spoke, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.” - Leviticus 10:3

Nadab and Abihu were the eldest sons of Aaron. They had just started their priestly ministries, the fire of God had come down, and the people had fallen on their faces before Him.

For some reason, perhaps drunkenness, which is suggested from he latter parts of he chapter, Nadab and Abihu decided to start their own fire. God had just done a supernatural work, and the two priests tried to duplicate it with a common fire. God responds by raining down His fire from heaven, devouring Nadab and Abihu.

Moses went to Aaron with these words. “I will be sanctified…and I will be glorified.” God’s work is a supernatural work that must always be done His way. Nadab and Abihu tried to do God’s work in their own power and their own way.

God’s work is God’s work. In his work He will always be sanctified and glorified. His work is not for man to be set apart and glorified, but God. His work is God centred and not man centred.

God will be sanctified and glorified. That is a fact. We do well to recognise that and set Him apart and glorify Him in our lives.

Tuesday, 16 August 2005

The Glory of the Lord appeared

“And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.” - Leviticus 9v23

In Leviticus chapters 1-9 God lays out His detailed requirements for offerings and sacrifices. Each one had to be followed fully and completely (as a side note her, what a blessing that all of that was fulfilled in Christ!)

In chapter nine the priestly practice is started and Aaron begins to serve as the first priest. This role of course would one day filled by Christ as well. When all was done and the sacrifice had been made, the Bible says “the glory of the Lord appeared to the people.”

This concept of the glory of the Lord is a blessed one. It appears many times in the Old Testament, but the greatest blessing for us is that the glory has been revealed to us! In John 1v14 we read, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Every one of us who are saved has received the full measure of the glory of God in Christ. This amazing truth should motivate us to serve as we realise just how blessed we really are.

There is another fabulous reference to the glory of the Lord. One day, Jesus will come back to reign over His creation. Of that day Isaiah writes, “And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 40v5}

The appearance of the glory of the Lord was not a once off only seen by the people of Israel. He has revealed His glory to us in His Son and one day He shall reveal the fullness of His glory for all to see!

Monday, 15 August 2005

To the Lord

Leviticus chapters 1-3

A consistent theme runs throughout the descriptions of the various offerings and sacrifices. In every case, and sometimes multiple times, we read phrases like, To the Lord, before the Lord, unto the Lord, etc. The key lesson that we can learn here is that in each case worship was not primarily for man, but to the Lord. He is always the focus every sacrifice which is being present.

In Romans 12v1we find an application for ourselves that sticks to this principle. “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable unto God…”

It is far to easy to have a wrong view of sacrifice. We sacrifice for our church, for the cause of missions, for the cause, for the family, or even for some human leader. When we sacrifice for those things we are sure to be disappointed. Men, organisations, and causes with let us down every time. Let our living sacrifice be made to the Lord and everything else will fall into place.

Sunday, 14 August 2005

They did it all

“According to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work.” - Exodus 39v42

The people gad to set to work. The offerings had been brought in and now the work commenced. When the work was finished we read several times that the people did all that Moses had told them to do, as He was instructed by the Lord. They left nothing undone, they tied up all the loose ends, they completed the work that God wanted them to do.

My wife is meticulous about housecleaning. Things that the children and I may not notice, she does. When she wants the kitchen floor brushed, it needs to be brushed - every nook and cranny, every corner, and every crevice. The job should rightly be done and it is not totally done until it is done properly. For a job to be done it must be well and truly “done.”

The children if Israel did the job right, there was nothing more they could do. How often can we say of ourselves that we do ALL that the Lord wants us to do? How many nights can we go to bed saying, “there is nothing more I could have done for the Lord today?”

Our goal should be that it would be said of us, “He did all that he was commanded to do!”

Saturday, 13 August 2005

Stop giving!

“And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing.” - Exodus 36v6

As God renewed the covenant with Israel He did a work in their hearts. We read that he gave them willing hearts, wise hearts, knowledgeable hearts, skilful hearts, stirred up hearts,

It was obvious when that they had a heart a change when God asked for the work to be done and asked for offerings. When the time came everyone came to do the work at which they were skilled. Their hearts were in the work, and their hearts were in their giving. Exodus 36v5 says, “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make.”

“The people bring much more than enough for the work that needs to be done!” Can we even imagine that being said today? So much work was done and so much money was given that Moses had to tell the commanders of the people. “Don’t bring any more, stop giving folks, stop working!” The people had to be restrained from giving.

What was the key here? The people had a change of heart. When their hearts were changed they gave willingly, abundantly, and cheerfully. What would happen to God’s work today if His people had a truly changed heart in regard to giving? What if they changed heart resulted in giving which was willing, abundant, and cheerful. Our churches would have no needs, buildings were be paid for and missionaries would be supported.

God changes our hearts today through prayer, the reading of His word, and the work of the Holy Spirit. May we allow our changed hearts to make us the kind of givers that trhe people of Israel were.

Friday, 12 August 2005

I will do an awesome thing with you

“And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible [awesome] thing that I will do with thee.” - Exodus 34v10

As the Lord gave a new copy of the Ten Commandments to Israel He made a new covenant with them as well, “I will do marvels,” He said, “…it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.” The word “terrible” has changed a bit in the last 400 years. At that time “terror” was not necessarily a negative word. The word then meant something that was intended to inspire awe. Our modern English word, and one that many translations use, is “awesome.”

“Awesome” has been cheapened somewhat in the last few years, but only One and His works are truly awesome. God says that here that He will do awesome things with His people. We know of course in the Old Testament that this was true. God did an awesome work with Israel, carrying them through the wilderness and giving their land. Through them He did the most marvelous thing of all by providing Messiah, and He is not yet done with His awesome work.

What is truly awesome is what God has done with us. God took poor, miserable, wretched, hopeless, and helpless sinners and gave us eternal life through His Son. He takes selfish, flesh obsessed, self centred, proud people and uses them to serve Him and get out the most wonderful message if all. He uses the base, foolish, weak, base, and despised things of this world to serve Him and do His work.

Our awesome God truly wants to do awesome things in us. The question is, will we let Him do so?

Thursday, 11 August 2005

God passed by

And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” - Exodus 34v6-7

God graciously gave Moses and the people of Israel and “second chance” when He gave the Ten Commandments a second time. When He did so He passed by Moses and proclaimed some things about Himself. There are two aspects to His self-description.

First He tells about His love and mercy. He is:

  • Merciful
  • Gracious
  • Abundant in goodness
  • Abundant in truth
  • Forgiving of iniquity, transgression, and sin

These are all wonderful traits of our loving Lord. Praise God that He is all of these things for else wise we would be hopeless and helpless for all eternity. For He also says that He

  • Will by no means clear the guilty.

His mercy and grace are balanced with His holiness and righteousness. Those who remain guilty in their sin have no hope. They get what they deserve.

Yet, God gave us hope, His Son. By doing such Hw showed His mercy, grace, goodness, truth, and forgiveness so that no one need die in their guilt. Praise the Lord that Christ took our guilt to the cross with Him and all that anyone must do to have that guilt removed is to accept His gracious gift.

Wednesday, 10 August 2005

My presence will go with you

“And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” - Exodus 33:14

Moses knew that if God did not go with them they would be hopeless in their journey. God had told Moses that they could continue on their journey, that He would give them the land He had promised, that He would take care of them, but that He would not go with them.

This surely would not do! Moses was not going to lead the people without God’s daily presence. He pled with God to go with them and God answered his prayer. God told Moses, “My presence will go with you, I will give you rest.” This was all Moses needed to hear, that God’s presence would continue on with them and Moses told God, “We will be separated to You.”

In Hebrews it is recorded that Jesus said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Every day that goes by Jesus goes with us. As Christ walks with us in His holiness we are compelled to separate ourselves from the world and walk with Him. We too often forget, intentionally or not, that Christ’s presence is always with us. We walk more like the world than Him. We involve ourselves with all the mess of the world and we drag Christ right along with us.

Of course, we cannot withdraw ourselves totally from the world. God has given us the world as our mission field. We can, however, separate ourselves from the ways of the world.

As Jesus walks along with us we must draw along beside Him and separate ourselves from the wickedness of the world around us.

Tuesday, 9 August 2005

Show me Your way

“Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.” - Exodus 33:13

Moses was still perplexed by the situation. Things were not going the way he expected. He was doing his best to lead Israel and represent them before God and God before Israel. God was angry at the people and the people were angry at God. When God called Moses to meet Him the nation held their collective breath as Moses entered the tabernacle and cloud indicating God’s presence descended there.

Moses did the wise thing. He simply prayed and asked God for His direction. “Lord, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me Your way.” All through the Bible we find God’s people praying for His direction in times of trouble. Moses did not know what to do, so he asked God.

We all come to time in our lives when we just don’t know what to do. Circumstances have puzzled and frustrated us. Our faith is not matching up with our sight. We are fortunate today that God has given us His direction in His written Word. God has laid out His principles and guidelines and all we need do is to follow them. “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” God’s Word shows us God’s way.

The Bible does not always tell us what to do in every situation. When that happens, God does not leave us clueless. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

God does not want us to be clueless as to His direction for our lives. May we have the wisdom to seek God’s way no matter what we face today.

Monday, 8 August 2005

Who is on the Lord’s side?

“Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD's side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.” - Exodus 32:26

Moses had well and truly had enough. While he received the Ten Commandments the people, with the full support of Aaron, had forsaken God and made a golden calf to worship. They had quickly sunk into sin and debauchery. When Moses saw this he was furious and threw the tablets of the law to the ground. He then ground the golden calf to gold dust and made the people to drink it. When Aaron was confronted he lied and said the calf had just come up out the fire when then people threw in their jewelry.

Moses knew that the time had come to draw the line. The people had yet to decide whether to truly follow God or not. Sadly, this situation would not settle it either. However, Moses calls out – “Who is on the Lord’s side? Let him come unto me!” The time had come to well and truly decide where each individual stood. It is the equivalent to Elijah’s challenge, “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God follow Him, and if Baal be god then follow him.” Jesus pointed out that we cannot serve two masters.

The principle is clear. We cannot stand on both the Lord’s side and on the world’s side. It is totally impossible. Too often Christians try to live in both. They want the benefits of being saved and they want the pleasures of the world. Moses’ question is one that each of us should consider. “Who is on the Lord’s side?” If we truly are on the Lord’s side than let us divide ourselves and step away from the world. We cannot serve both God and the world.

Who indeed is on the Lord’s side today?

Sunday, 7 August 2005

The Lord who sanctifies

“Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.” - Exodus 31:13

The context here is the establishment of the Sabbath. In that context God reveals another name that tells us something about Him, YHWH Q’desh. Among all the things God does for His people is to sanctify them, to set them apart.

God’s sanctification of His people did not stop in the New Testament. When a person gets saved today the Bible tells us that God sanctifies them from the world. At salvation we are set apart to God. Once God declares us sanctified the sanctification process continues as we are told to sanctify ourselves unto Him.

Without God’s promise of sanctification we would all be hopelessly trapped in the world and its system. It is only by the sanctifying power of God that we have any hope of being set apart from the world and unto Him.

YHWH Q’desh is another example of the wonderful grace of our Lord. Praise God that He is the Lord who sanctifies Him, for without Him it would never be possible.

Saturday, 6 August 2005

Aholiab and Bezeleel

“See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee;” - Exodus 31v2-6

Sometimes we can, subconsciously or not, give levels of importance to God’s workers. We can see pastors, missionaries, evangelists, and teachers as somehow more “special” in God’s service. We know that God does give certain people to the church to equip for service, but the story of Aholiab and Bezeleel reminds us that every aspect of service to God is important and nothing should be taken lightly.

As Moses received instructions for worship and building the tabernacle God told him that special men have been chosen to be the craftsman to do the physical work of building the tabernacle. Someone had to do the work of construction and God makes it clear who those men would be. Two of them are name, Aholiab and Bezeleel. Part of the reason they are chosen is because God had given them skill in working with stone cutting and setting, and in carpentry. These are vital skills for the work to be done.

Those physical skills alone were not enough to do God’s work. Bezeleel was Spirit filled, wise, understanding, and full of knowledge. All of the workers are called wise hearted. God cares about every aspect of His work. He sets high standards for all of His workers, not just those who are in leadership.

Churches who have a Bezeleel and an Aholiab are truly blessed. These are godly men who do the everyday work that must be done. Churches could not function without them. Some of the greatest words of wisdom I ever heard were not from pastors, but men in the church who knew what the “real world” was all about.

Praise God for the Aholiabs and Bezeleels!

Friday, 5 August 2005

I will dwell among them

“And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God” - Exodus 29v45

In this section of Exodus God is giving extensive directions to Moses for the construction of the tabernacle and for worship. In the midst of this God makes an amazing statement – “I will dwell among the children of Israel.”

It is one thing to be a people’s God. It is one thing for God to communicate with His people. It is quite another for God to come and dwell among His people. This speaks of God’s transcending presence in both heaven and earth. God’s grace is manifest throughout the word of God in so many ways. The fact that He cares for us, makes daily provision for us, and gave us His Word are amazing examples of His love, grace, and mercy in and of themselves. However it is almost incomprehensible that God would come to dwell among men. Even more amazing that in the New Testament one of the names for Christ is Immanuel, God with us!

Praise the Lord that He will dwell amongst His people. Praise Him that this promise is true for the nation of Israel, but it is also for all those who put their faith in Christ.

Thursday, 4 August 2005

Wilful giving

“Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.” - Exodus 25v2

When God called Moses back up to the mountain the first thing He did was to instruct him to call for an offering from the people. Included in this request was a list of all the materials needed to build the tabernacle.

However, God set some conditions on the giving. He said that gives willingly with heart should bring the offering. From the very start of giving to God’s work He has wanted it to be done from the heart. God does not want forced giving. If the heart is not right, then we are better off just not giving. God maintained the same standard in the New Testament when he said in 2 Corinthians 9v7 – “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

We talk a lot about tithing and giving to missions. Giving is right and proper and God is honoured by it. However, God truly wants giving which is done out of a cheerful heart, one that gives because it wants to give.

Everyone enjoys giving to one they really care about. If we are giving out of a grudging spirit than we do not love God out of our hearts. When we give, let us do so with a willing and cheerful heart.

Wednesday, 3 August 2005

Noble intentions

And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.” – Exodus 24v7

These were exciting times for Israel. God had been communicating with Moses and Moses had shared what God said with them. They had built altars and offered up sacrifices. As God read the Word of God to the people they responded perfectly. “All that the Lord has said we will do. We will obey everything God has said.”

It is clear that the emotional fervour of the moment had set in. We cannot doubt the hearts of the people at the moment. Certainly they had the most noble of motivations as they committed to follow God and obey Him. It must have been a amazing time for the people.

However, sadly, we will find out soon that their excitement did not last. It would only be a short time before the people collapse into sin, debauchery, and disobedience. Noble intentions are never enough. We can get caught up in the emotional high of special meetings, teen camp, or revival meetings. Commitments are made with every intention of following though.

Then, the reality of the world sets in. We go back to school or work. The appeal of the flesh is not diminished and many times we forget our commitment and are right back to where we were. Like Israel, our noble intentions are not enough.

Jesus said that His family are those who hear His words and do them. Let us be sure that when we make a decision to follow God we do so. May we not only be hearers of the word, or intenders of the word, but doers of the word.

Tuesday, 2 August 2005

Ye shall be holy men

“And ye shall be holy men unto me:” - Exodus 22v31

As God began to spell out certain requirements for the people He specified that one of the key requirements for them is that they be “holy men.” Holiness is a main attribute of God and He requires it for His people.

Holiness involves separation. The Hebrew word is the main OT word, Qadesh, and it has the idea of separation, like a knife cutting something apart. From day one God has required that His people be separate from the world.

Even today God expects His people to be holy. “Be ye holy for I am holy, saith the Lord.” When we were born again we were declared holy by the blood of Christ. Yet today we are to be striving to live that holy life.

How are we doing today? Are we living as holy men and women unto Him?

Monday, 1 August 2005

The Ten Commandments

In Exodus chapter 20 we find what are commonly called the Ten Commandments or the Decalogue. Here God lays the basis for the detailed law which is to follow. In these commandments God tells His people some basic rules for dealing with Him, His Sabbath, family, and other people. There is much worthy of note in them. The holiness of God, the importance of worshipping only Him, the Sabbath as a reminder of His creation, and proper dealings with other people are all covered in these few statements.

Some people view God’s commandments as a basis for living, and in a sense they are that. However, the main purpose for giving the law, beginning with the Ten Commandments, is to teach us that no man can keep all the law. Even keeping the Ten Commandments completely is impossible, especially with Jesus’ new application of the Law. Having a lustful thought makes one an adulterer. Hating your brother makes one a murderer. No one can make it though life without violating one aspect of the law and to violate one aspect of it is to break all of it.

Why then would God give the Law? The New Testament tells us why. Without it we would not know what sin was. Without it we would never be aware of our need of a Saviour. Without it we may think that we can be good enough to earn our way to heaven. God gives us the Law as our schoolmaster, to bring us to Christ. Only Christ is perfect. No one can hope to keep God’s law, so Christ came to die for us and fulfil the Law for us. Only He could do so.

Praise God for His Law, for only it can point out to us our need of a Saviour.