Taking it By Yourself

Numbers 14

February 18

How many times do you think something at work or school is off and you need to take things into your own hands? The Israelites didn’t like what was going on in Numbers 14. They didn’t put their trust in him. They felt like they had to go beyond him and figure things out on their own. That is probably one of the worst things you can do as a Christian.

There’s so many times in a day where you just feel lost and hopeless and you just feel like you need to take a minute for yourself – but don’t be by yourself. Go into a room and pray, when everything feels wrong or off, talk to God about it. If you take a look at how the Israelites portrayed themselves in this passage., they were lost mentally, physically, whatever you want to say. They started losing trust, they started losing faith. They started believing and acting like God didn’t know what he was doing.

I find myself sometimes needing to take a step back from school and even my family and just be by myself in a room turning off my phone and just having an OutLoud conversation with God. Because when all else fails, I know I can always go back and just figure it out with God. I wish the Israelites did that in this passage. If they took a minute and had a conversation with God trying to work through everything, maybe they would’ve found what they were looking for.

Take a look at what Joshua said, which is in verses 7-9.

“The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

He was brave to go in front of everyone and say what he said. He saw the land that God wanted him to see and he understood if God was pleased with them, He would lead them into this land.

-Genesis Dylewski

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. How well do you feel you trust God when faced with difficulties? When you are in the minority? When you feel like a grasshopper? When you are in a scary situation or unsure of the outcome? How do you think more time calling out to God could help boost your faith in each of these situations? What else could help build your trust?
  2. Can you think of a time you went your own way and tried to take care of a situation on your own (perhaps the “safe” way) rather than joining God where He wanted to lead you? What might you have missed out on?
  3. Which was actually the bigger threat to the Israelites – facing the scary heathen foreigners who didn’t know God (with God at their side) or siding with the majority report from the people of God (who were not trusting God)?
  4. What were the consequences of the Israelites choosing to not go where He was leading when He was leading?

10 Were Bad…

Numbers 13

February 17

I think my favorite song from our children’s worship has got to be the song “Twelve Men Went to Spy on Canaan”. Numbers 13 is that story. Maybe it’s silly to sing a children’s song now. At game night tonight we were listening to our favorite worship songs and “You Say” came on. Now I don’t know about you but Lauren Daigle is by far my favorite singer. We related “You Say” to Numbers 13. The song talks about feeling unworthy but then knowing God is there to help you through.


This can be applied anywhere – but for the 12 men, two thought with God they could do it, they could do anything. The ten on the other hand were stuck in the beginning of the song. Stuck fighting the voices that say they aren’t enough. Numbers 13:31 “But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.’” versus what Lauren sings, “You say I am strong, when I think I am weak.” When you are stuck in a rut and think you can’t do the hard things, think about the twelve men. Do you want to be like the ten or the two?

-Genesis Dylewski

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. When have you felt like a grasshopper? (30:33). When have you believed the voices telling you that you are not enough? How do you do battle against them? What truths would God have you believe?
  2. How can remembering what God has done in the past give you confidence for the battles ahead? List 5 of your favorite victories God provided in the Bible. List 5 instances of God’s power, faithfulness and love in your life or those you have known personally.

Only do Not Rebel

Numbers 13-14 and Psalm 44-45

Here we are to chapter 13, and we get to read one of the “fun” stories throughout the book.  Today, we get to read a handful of spies checking out a chunk of land, and it kind of reminds me of a present-day James Bond movie.  The story starts off with Moses sending out 12 spies to check out the land of Canaan.  If we remember from Genesis, the land of Canaan was the land that God promised to Abraham and his descendants.  Therefore, it’s the land that rightfully belongs to the Israelites.  Since they were saved from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites have been making their way back to the Promised Land.  Now they were so close. Before they were ready to enter the Promised Land though, they wanted to receive some intel on the land, and that’s where the 12 spies come into play.

The 12 spies spent 40 days away checking out the land of Canaan.  At the end of the 40 days, they reported to Moses and the Israelites.  All twelve of their reports were similar in the fact that they all agreed the land was good!  The land was flowing with milk and honey – better than some manna and quail.  However, 10 of the 12 spies said that they should not go take the land because it was well defended, as the cities were large and well-fortified.  The other 2 spies, Joshua and Caleb, said that they should go for it because they have the X-factor, God.  What great faith demonstrated by Joshua and Caleb!

The Israelites ultimately listen to the 10 spies unfortunately.  This was very displeasing to God, as they didn’t have faith that He could deliver to them the land that he promised them.  Therefore, God said he was going to strike down the Israelites right then and there, but Moses interceded for them.  God compromised with Moses, and instead of striking them down, God decided that he wouldn’t allow anyone over 20 years old to enter the Promised Land other than Caleb and Joshua.  Spoiler alert, this is precisely why the census at the beginning of the 40 years was about the same as the end of the 40 years.  There would have been a lot of dying and a lot of reproducing at the same time.

At first the Israelites didn’t want to go in the Promised Land when God promised it to them.  However, when God said they couldn’t enter the land, they decided to take matters in their own hand and attempt to enter the land.  You guessed it, that attempt did not go very smoothly for those who tried.

Let’s learn from the example of the Israelites here.  When the Israelites displayed a lack of faith, they were severely punished by God.  Then, when God told them not to enter the land of Canaan, they did that exact thing!  Because of their disobedience, the people who attempted to enter were killed.  Rather than going against God’s direction and will like the Israelites, let’s humbly submit to God and His will for us.  Trust me, it will totally pay off if you follow God rather than rebel against God.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of the book of Numbers, as there are some interesting stories waiting for you all!  Remember, the book is not as boring as the title would suggest.

A note from Psalms:

“For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me,” Psalm 44:6.

The Israelites would have been well off if they considered this verse when they attempted to go to Canaan against God’s direction.  We may not put our trust in a bow or sword; however, it’s very tempting to put our trust in our money and possessions.  When we put our trust in our possessions, we will only be disappointed.  In fact, we will only not be disappointed if we put our trust in God!

-Kyle McClain

Links to today’s Bible reading – Numbers 13-14 and Psalm 44-45

Complaining

Numbers 11-12 and Psalm 42-43

A couple of years prior to Numbers chapter 11, the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt.  They were being mistreated by the Egyptians, and they wanted out!  God answered their plea, and he delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians.  It wasn’t an easy process though, as man could not have done it alone.  God had to perform a number of miracles along the way to free the Israelites. 

If we fast forward back to Numbers 11, the Israelites begin to complain because they are hungry.  They complain to Moses who then complains to God.  It’s as if the Israelites completely forgot all of the miracles that God performed in the first place to get them out of Egypt.  When I read about how the Israelites complain time and time again about being hungry, thirsty, or whatever, I get irritated with them.  I ask how in the world could they complain after all that God has done for them?!

Unfortunately, the more I think about the Israelites complaining, the more I realize similarities between them and many of us today, myself included.  God may not have rescued us from the hands of the Egyptians, but He has done so much more than we could ever begin to ask.  God laid down his own Son for us, so that we could have everlasting life in His coming Kingdom.  That’s powerful!  After all that God has done for us, we still have our bad days.  We still have our days in which we complain to God about the current issues we are experiencing in life.

From the outside looking in, the problems that the Israelites faced seemed like such small issues in the big picture, and the truth of the matter is that they were.  The same could be said about many of the small issues that we face on a daily basis and have the audacity to complain to God about after all He has done for us.  I’m all for being honest with God and expressing our real, raw feelings to God, so I don’t think that’s the issue.  Rather, maybe we shouldn’t let the small issues that we may experience affect us so much.  We need to put all the temporary issues that we experience into perspective.  Most of the issues that a lot of us, myself included, may complain about aren’t even worth complaining about in the first place! 

A small bump in the road may seem like a giant mountain when we are going through it, but hindsight is often able to put those issues into perspective.  Let’s work on putting those small issues into perspective in the moment, which is a lot easier said than done.  If we do this, then our positive attitudes will uplift us and those around us.

A note from Psalms:

“Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!” Psalm 43:3

This ties directly in to our conversation yesterday about being led by God.  Pray for God to send out his light and truth to us to lead us where He sees fit.

-Kyle McClain

Links to today’s Bible reading – Numbers 11-12 and Psalm 42-43

God Guides

When you Look for It

Numbers 9-10 and Psalm 40-41

I always love a good celebration with my friends and family!  The Israelites had a number of different celebrations, but arguably the most important one to them was the Passover.  The Passover was in commemoration of God sparing the Israelite firstborn sons during the tenth and final plague to free the Israelites from Egypt.  All of the Israelite households who spread the blood of the lamb on their doorposts had their firstborn sons spared, but everyone else did not.  In chapter nine of Numbers, God instructs the Israelites, through Moses, to celebrate the Passover.  This is a vital celebration that the Israelites struggled to remember to celebrate later on.

It would be cool to see the whole nation of Israel gather together to celebrate the Passover.  Truth be told, there are a ton of events recorded in the Bible that would be flat out awesome to see firsthand!  Of all the awesome things to see, Numbers chapter 9 records one of the top 10 things that I would have liked to have witnessed firsthand – maybe top 5.  That awesome thing recorded is the pillar of fire that guided the Israelites where to go at night.  During the day, a pillar of cloud guided them, but at night it had the appearance of fire.  How cool would it be to see the pillar of fire in the sky at night?!  I would say top 10 throughout the whole Bible!  Our God is incredible, and he is capable of some awesome feats.

I don’t think many of us are going to be led by a pillar of cloud or fire.  However, similar to the Israelites, we can and should still be guided by God.  There’s a very good chance that the guidance that God provides you will not be as obvious as the pillar of cloud or fire.  Therefore, we really need to be in tune with God and keep our eyes, ears, heart, and mind open to His guidance.  There are a number of ways in which God can lead us, so we should be ready at all times.  If we are actively seeking God’s guidance, then we are much more likely to see it.  That has to do with our Reticular Activating System in our brains.  If you don’t know what that is, then look it up on Google or YouTube.  You’ll be amazed.

 I would encourage you all to pray to God to help you become susceptible to God’s guidance.  You may be surprised with all the ways that God attempts to guide you.

A note from Psalm:

“Blessed is the one who considers the poor!  In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him,” Psalm 41:1.

Let this serve as a reminder to be generous with everything that God provides us with.  If we consider the poor with our resources, then God will deliver us!

-Kyle McClain

Links to today’s Bible verses – Numbers 9-10 and Psalm 40-41

Giving and Serving

Numbers 7-8 and Psalm 38-39

The Tabernacle played a very important role for the Jews before the Temple era.  The Tabernacle served as the central area where the Jews worshiped God.  Therefore, it was important that the Tabernacle was well taken care of.  We discussed two days ago that the Levites were responsible for the upkeep of the Tabernacle.  Although not all the tribes participated in the actual work of the upkeep of the Tabernacle, the tribes did provide gifts for the Tabernacle.  When we think about the church today, we may not all partake in the physical upkeep of the church building.  However, we should follow the example set in Numbers 7, and everyone should provide for the needs of the church.

After 88 verses describing the different gifts that the tribes presented to the Tabernacle, Moses communicates with God.  Moses went into the tent of meeting (the Tabernacle), and God spoke to Moses from above the mercy seat that was on the Ark of the Covenant.  The Ark of the Covenant represented the presence of God to the Israelites, and it was an extremely important artifact for the Israelites.  I, along with Indiana Jones, have often wondered where in the world the Ark of the Covenant is located today. 

Chapter eight talks more about the responsibilities of the Levites.  Not only were the Levites responsible for the upkeep of the Tabernacle, but they were responsible for serving the people of Israel at the Tabernacle.  The upkeep of the Tabernacle and the upkeep of our church buildings are important, but it is all for naught if we neglect the people of God.  Therefore, let these two chapters serve as a reminder to provide for our church buildings, but also more importantly to care for the people of God.

A note from Psalms:

“But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.” Psalm 38:15

Praise God that we serve a good God who hears and answers our prayers.  God may not always answer our prayers the way we want or expect to, but he will provide an answer.  Sometimes, we need to remember to wait on the LORD.

-Kyle McClain

Links to today’s Bible reading – Numbers 7-8 and Psalm 38-39

Set Apart

Numbers 5-6 and Psalm 37

            This past year has been quite the crazy one to say the least!  The main contributor to this for many was COVID-19 and how we responded to it.  Many governments throughout the world encouraged their citizens to quarantine because of the virus.  These decisions received a lot of support and a lot of backlash at the same time (you’re never going to be able to please everybody!).  I’m not here to provide support or backlash for these decisions, but I am here to inform you that this was nothing new.  In Numbers chapter 5 verses 2-3, God commanded the Israelites to “quarantine” the “unclean” people.  The word “quarantine” isn’t found in any translations that I found, but that is precisely what was taking place.  Now obviously the circumstances are by far and away vastly different in Numbers chapter 5 compared to the year 2020.  Therefore, take this bit of information for what it is worth in comparison to our past year’s circumstances.

            Chapter 5 also describes a test to see if a woman has committed adultery against her husband.  Sex outside of marriage was not something that the nation of Israel took very lightly, as God had very strict rules for them in this regard.  It’s a shame that our society does not value the sanctity of marriage like the Israelites in the Old Testament.  Our society teaches us that the physical benefits of marriage are for everyone, whether married or not, and that hinders many marriages.  Let’s revisit and exemplify the positive values demonstrated by the Israelites and live a sanctified life.

            Speaking of living a sanctified life, there were some Israelites who took this concept above and beyond.  Those Israelites took on the Nazirite vow.  The purpose of the Nazirite vow was to “separate himself to the LORD,” (Numbers 6:2).  There were a number of different rules revolving around the Nazirite vow, but the two most well-known ones are abstaining from alcohol and cutting your hair.  Some may recall that the judge Samson took on the Nazirite vow, and he did not cut his hair – until a lady came in and ruined it for him.  We don’t necessarily need to take on the Nazirite vow ourselves, however, we shall strive to live lives that are set apart from the rest of the world – the purpose of the Nazirite vow. 

A note from Psalms:

“The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever.” Psalm 37:29

What a glorious hope that we have!  If we live a sanctified life, then we can inherit the land forever and ever!

-Kyle McClain

Links to today’s Bible devotions – Numbers 5-6 and Psalm 37

Belonging to the Lord

Numbers 3-4 and Psalm 35-36

            Today, we get to talk about the Levites.  We should already basically be pros on the Levites, as we just finished the book of Leviticus.  Just a refresher though, the Levites descended from Levi, the son of Jacob.  If we remember from Exodus, God saved the Israelites and spared their firstborn sons through the Passover.  Therefore, rather than God taking the oldest son of each family, the descendants of Levi would be dedicated to God.  We can read about that in Numbers 3:11-13, as God says, “They shall be mine: I am the LORD.”  Moses and Aaron were both Levites as well who belonged to the LORD.

            The Levites had a number of jobs, but they are mostly known for being priests.  Aaron himself was one of the Levite priests, and his descendants followed in his footsteps.  No matter what job a Levite had, they were to be used for God’s glory and sake.

One of the main responsibilities of the Levites were to care and provide for the Tabernacle.  I like to refer to the Tabernacle as a “portable temple”.  The Israelites were constantly moving around in the wilderness.  Therefore, they had to build the Tabernacle out of curtains so that they could move it around easily. 

            Chapter four talks about the Kohathites, and they are a clan within the Levites.  Their jobs specifically revolved around the Tabernacle.  The Kohathites were in charge of setting it up and breaking it down each time.  It reminds me a lot of the last day at a church camp, and we all have to pitch in to put away all the equipment.  It’s a tough job that we sometimes forget about.

All in all, the Levites were a very important group of people in the Old Testament, as they ultimately belonged to God.

A note from Psalms:

“Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD, exulting in his salvation.” Psalm 35:9

Let this serve as a joyful reminder that we should constantly be rejoicing in the LORD.  We serve a good, good God who provides each of us the opportunity to partake in his salvation!  Hallelujah!  Praise God!  Amen!

-Kyle McClain

Links to today’s Bible reading – Numbers 3-4 and Psalm 35-36

Counting

Numbers 1-2 and Psalm 33-34

            We have made it to the book of Numbers – yay!  I’m sure not many of you are celebrating being to the book of Numbers, as it is notoriously known for being one of the most boring books of the Bible, if not the most boring.  However, I think it’s a false representation.  I think the false representation comes from the name of the book – Numbers.  The title “Numbers” isn’t a book that just screams to be read.  However, we have to understand where this name comes from. 

The reason that the book is entitled Numbers is because the nation of Israel took a census at the beginning of the book and near the end.  In other words, the book is entitled Numbers because of 2 chapters out of 36.  That’s it!  The book of Numbers actually has a lot of really cool, unique stories. It’s a book that consists of a talking donkey, spies, the earth eating people, and more!  Therefore, I’d encourage you to celebrate the book of Numbers!  There’s a lot more in it than just two censuses.  Whether this is your first-time reading Numbers, your second, or fiftieth, I hope that you can learn something from this fun, yes fun, book.

            Well, let’s get down to it and take a look at the first two chapters of Numbers.  The book starts off with one of the previously mentioned censuses.  Their objective was to count all of the men who were able to fight in war.  The number came out to be 603,550 men.  This census was taken in just the second year after the Israelites escaped from Egypt.  This number also only includes the number of fighting men, so one could assume that Israel had about 2 million people.  That’s a huge increase from 400 years prior, as they were just the family of Jacob.  That’s a lot of multiplying taking place in 400 years to say the least!

A note from Psalms:

            Each day this week I would like to include a verse from the reading in Psalms as well, and provide a very brief note.  Here is today’s verse:

“Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!” (Psalm 33:8).  Let’s remember to have that healthy fear for God and just be in awe of His great wonders.

-Kyle McClain

Links to today’s Bible reading – Numbers 1-2 and Psalm 33-34

Learning from Obedience & Disobedience

Deuteronomy 3 & 4

Deut 4 9 NIV

We live near apple country. In the fall we have driven to the mountains and visited apple orchards. The taste of ripe apples from the tree is amazing. The apple trees are pretty hanging with the delicious varieties of apples and the views are really beautiful. In Deuteronomy 3, Moses is told that he can “Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes to the west and north and south and east, and see it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan.” Imagine Moses standing on the mountain looking at the Promised Land. He would not enter the land because of his former disobedience. I think this consequence was important for the Israelites. Moses was so close to God and was an example for the entire Israelite community. He was their appointed leader and they followed his example. They could also learn from his disobedience. Experiencing this consequence of not entering the land probably made a big impact on the Israelites and Joshua. In fact, God tells Moses to “charge Joshua and encourage him and strengthen him, for he shall go across at the head of this people, and he will give them as an inheritance the land which you will see.”

I grew up with siblings. I had an older brother and sister and I learned from their example. If they did something good at school or church, they were rewarded with awards and praise. It was great because I learned what I should do by their example.

In Deuteronomy 4, Moses is giving his all to make the people understand the importance of obedience to the LORD. Not only will the Israelites and their children be blessed by obeying, but if they keep the decrees and laws they will have wisdom and understanding. They will set an example for other nations. People will hear these statutes and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him? Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?”

Our personal obedience to God can be a positive example for others. Obedience leads to blessings for us and for others.

Rebecca Dauksas

 

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+3-4&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Deuteronomy 5-7 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

 

%d bloggers like this: