Category Archives: Contentment

The Way of Righteousness is Life

Biblical truth often conflicts with how we see people act in the world around us. One such example is the perception that discipline is only punishment. The Proverbs highlights that those who accept and embrace discipline will learn and become wiser. Having the right attitude makes a big difference. Of course it is hard for anyone to ask for discipline, but in fact in many cases they may be better off if they receive it and it helps them learn and avoid trouble later.

Proverbs 12

Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

1Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
But he who hates reproof is stupid.

2A good man will obtain favor from the LORD,
But He will condemn a man who devises evil.

3A man will not be established by wickedness,
But the root of the righteous will not be moved.

4An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.

5The thoughts of the righteous are just,
But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.

6The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
But the mouth of the upright will deliver them.

7The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
But the house of the righteous will stand.

8A man will be praised according to his insight,
But one of perverse mind will be despised.

9Better is he who is lightly esteemed and has a servant
Than he who honors himself and lacks bread.

10A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal,
But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.

11He who tills his land will have plenty of bread,
But he who pursues worthless things lacks sense.

12The wicked man desires the booty of evil men,
But the root of the righteous yields fruit.

13An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips,
But the righteous will escape from trouble.

14A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words,
And the deeds of a man’s hands will return to him.

15The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.

16A fool’s anger is known at once,
But a prudent man conceals dishonor.

17He who speaks truth tells what is right,
But a false witness, deceit.

18There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise brings healing.

19Truthful lips will be established forever,
But a lying tongue is only for a moment.

20Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
But counselors of peace have joy.

21No harm befalls the righteous,
But the wicked are filled with trouble.

22Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD,
But those who deal faithfully are His delight.

23A prudent man conceals knowledge,
But the heart of fools proclaims folly.

24The hand of the diligent will rule,
But the slack hand will be put to forced labor.

25Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down,
But a good word makes it glad.

26The righteous is a guide to his neighbor,
But the way of the wicked leads them astray.

27A lazy man does not roast his prey,
But the precious possession of a man is diligence.

28In the way of righteousness is life,
And in its pathway there is no death.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The LORD Is My Helper; I Will Not Be Afraid

Good reminders and areas for reflection in the closing of Hebrews.

Hebrews 13

The Changeless Christ

      1Let love of the brethren continue. 2Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. 4Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. 5Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”

6so that we confidently say,
“THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID.
WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?”

      7Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited. 10We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

God-pleasing Sacrifices

      15Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

      17Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

      18Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things. 19And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner.

Benediction

      20Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

      22But I urge you, brethren, bear with this word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. 23Take notice that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom, if he comes soon, I will see you. 24Greet all of your leaders and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.

      25Grace be with you all.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

In The Hand Of God

We think we have control over our lives, but we do not. We have free will, and thus influence in our own lives, but we all remain in the hand of God.  For those that are sons of men, rather than of God, there is wickedness and ultimately when they die they will be separated from him in death as they are in life. For those who are sons of God, we know we will die, but we will be with our Father when we do and remain in his hand. So let us enjoy life as he has provided for us and seek to please him and draw near to him.

Ecclesiastes 9

Men Are in the Hand of God

     1For I have taken all this to my heart and explain it that righteous men, wise men, and their deeds are in the hand of God. Man does not know whether it will be love or hatred; anything awaits him.

      2It is the same for all. There is one fate for the righteous and for the wicked; for the good, for the clean and for the unclean; for the man who offers a sacrifice and for the one who does not sacrifice. As the good man is, so is the sinner; as the swearer is, so is the one who is afraid to swear. 3This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one fate for all men. Furthermore, the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives. Afterwards they go to the dead. 4For whoever is joined with all the living, there is hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion. 5For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten. 6Indeed their love, their hate and their zeal have already perished, and they will no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun.

      7Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works. 8Let your clothes be white all the time, and let not oil be lacking on your head. 9Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.

Trust the Lord to Provide for You

There may be times when we are tempted to look around at what the Lord has provided and be discontent. We may come and ask for more. If we do so, let us to so humbly and with thankfulness in our hearts for what he has already given. Let us then accept his answer, even if it is different than what we expected. Often, even if he will bless us and provide more for us, he may expect us to work for it.

Let us be content and trust in YHWH to provide for us our portion. Let us not strive with one another or look upon one another with jealousy or discontent.

Joshua 17

Territory of Manasseh

     1Now this was the lot for the tribe of Manasseh, for he was the firstborn of Joseph. To Machir the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead, were allotted Gilead and Bashan, because he was a man of war. 2So the lot was made for the rest of the sons of Manasseh according to their families: for the sons of Abiezer and for the sons of Helek and for the sons of Asriel and for the sons of Shechem and for the sons of Hepher and for the sons of Shemida; these were the male descendants of Manasseh the son of Joseph according to their families.

      3However, Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, only daughters; and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah. 4They came near before Eleazar the priest and before Joshua the son of Nun and before the leaders, saying, “The LORD commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brothers.” So according to the command of the LORD he gave them an inheritance among their father’s brothers. 5Thus there fell ten portions to Manasseh, besides the land of Gilead and Bashan, which is beyond the Jordan, 6because the daughters of Manasseh received an inheritance among his sons. And the land of Gilead belonged to the rest of the sons of Manasseh.

      7The border of Manasseh ran from Asher to Michmethath which was east of Shechem; then the border went southward to the inhabitants of En-tappuah. 8The land of Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, but Tappuah on the border of Manasseh belonged to the sons of Ephraim. 9The border went down to the brook of Kanah, southward of the brook (these cities belonged to Ephraim among the cities of Manasseh), and the border of Manasseh was on the north side of the brook and it ended at the sea. 10The south side belonged to Ephraim and the north side to Manasseh, and the sea was their border; and they reached to Asher on the north and to Issachar on the east. 11In Issachar and in Asher, Manasseh had Beth-shean and its towns and Ibleam and its towns, and the inhabitants of Dor and its towns, and the inhabitants of En-dor and its towns, and the inhabitants of Taanach and its towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and its towns, the third is Napheth. 12But the sons of Manasseh could not take possession of these cities, because the Canaanites persisted in living in that land. 13It came about when the sons of Israel became strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely.

      14Then the sons of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, “Why have you given me only one lot and one portion for an inheritance, since I am a numerous people whom the LORD has thus far blessed?” 15Joshua said to them, “If you are a numerous people, go up to the forest and clear a place for yourself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.” 16The sons of Joseph said, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the valley land have chariots of iron, both those who are in Beth-shean and its towns and those who are in the valley of Jezreel.” 17Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, saying, “You are a numerous people and have great power; you shall not have one lot only, 18but the hill country shall be yours. For though it is a forest, you shall clear it, and to its farthest borders it shall be yours; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, even though they have chariots of iron and though they are strong.”

Trust the Lord. Seek to Glorify Him. Don’t Compare Your Path to Others.

Yeshua continued to speak with Peter and indicated to him a bit about what kind of death he would experience to glorify YHWH. This conversation continued after Yeshua asked Peter three times if he loved Yeshua. Peter answered three times yes. Perhaps this was related to Peter’s three time denial of Christ before his death? Perhaps it was for emphasis to prepare Peter for what difficulties may come in the future as he lives (and dies) for the glory of YHWH.

John 21:18-23

The Love Motivation

     15So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.

Our Times Are in His Hand

     18“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.19Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me!”

      20Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” 22Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” 23Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?”

Yeshua also makes a point that each of us should focus on what he wants for us, not compare that to what he may want for someone else. If he chooses one disciple to die for him and one to live for him, who are we to complain? what is that to us? Let us put our full trust in him instead of comparing our situation always to that of another, as if all of us should receive the same treatment in the same way.

Let each of us be content with what he has for us. Trust the Lord. Love the Lord. Seek to glorify him. Do not compare your path to that of others.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Lending Money, Forgiving Debts, And Helping The Poor

What a beautiful way to take care of one another… and it it not unique to the book of Acts. This is Deuteronomy. YHWH instructs His people regarding how to help the poor and how to forgive debts. Surprisingly to most of us, He explicitly says we are not to avoid this situation by not lending money, but rather lend generously for those in need, and then forgive the debts every 7th year. Imagine how our society could be transformed if we could live more closely to how YHWH instructs us.

Keep in mind, however, this is not socialism. The government has no role in this. Further, this passage, similar to the church in Acts, is focused on brothers and sisters of faith. This is not to be overlooked. It is not because we don’t want to help strangers and non believers, but non believers can take advantage of this type of situation and wreck it through sloth, laziness, and demands for what everyone “owes” them, though they do little or no work. Surely, not all non believers are like this, but some are and this is why you cannot simply apply this form of godly living to godless people who are only thinking of themselves. The godly will take only what they need and try to repay it, even if they know it will be forgiven. The ungodly choose not to pay their debts and demand they be forgiven.

Deuteronomy 15

The Sabbatic Year

      1“At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts. 2“This is the manner of remission: every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because the LORD’S remission has been proclaimed. 3“From a foreigner you may exact it, but your hand shall release whatever of yours is with your brother. 4“However, there will be no poor among you, since the LORD will surely bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, 5if only you listen obediently to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today. 6“For the LORD your God will bless you as He has promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.

      7“If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; 8but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. 9“Beware that there is no base thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,’ and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the LORD against you, and it will be a sin in you. 10“You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. 11“For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.’

      12“If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free.13“When you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed. 14“You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you. 15“You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today. 16“It shall come about if he says to you, ‘I will not go out from you,’ because he loves you and your household, since he fares well with you; 17then you shall take an awl and pierce it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever. Also you shall do likewise to your maidservant.

      18“It shall not seem hard to you when you set him free, for he has given you six years with double the service of a hired man; so the LORD your God will bless you in whatever you do.

      19“You shall consecrate to the LORD your God all the firstborn males that are born of your herd and of your flock; you shall not work with the firstborn of your herd, nor shear the firstborn of your flock. 20“You and your household shall eat it every year before the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses. 21“But if it has any defect, such as lameness or blindness, or any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the LORD your God. 22“You shall eat it within your gates; the unclean and the clean alike may eat it, as a gazelle or a deer. 23“Only you shall not eat its blood; you are to pour it out on the ground like water.

Do not miss that nowhere in this is YHWH telling people to lend so they may charge interest and make money themselves, thus taking advantage of the poor. The money is loaned without personal benefit to the one loaning it to someone else. It is all about helping our brothers and sisters in faith. And because they share the faith, they do not take advantage and ask for more than they need and they intend to pay it back.

Deuteronomy 23:19-20

   19“You shall not charge interest to your countrymen: interest on money, food, or anything that may be loaned at interest. 20“You may charge interest to a foreigner, but to your countrymen you shall not charge interest, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land which you are about to enter to possess.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

God’s Provision Is Not Always Easy, But It Is Always Enough

Paul learned how to be content in all circumstances, and he faced some very difficult ones. He rejoiced when others expressed concern for him because for having brothers in Christ who were concerned for him.  When he was amply supplied, he said so. He did not keep asking for more.

These are all important aspects we should pursue in our lives as well.

Philippians 4:10-23

God’s Provisions

      10But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. 14Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.

      15You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; 16for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. 17Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. 18But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. 19And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

      21Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. 22All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.

      23The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

When Paul says he can do all things through Christ, he is not talking about literally moving mountains or flying or anything silly like that. He is pointing out that Christ has helped him to deal with real life situations with contentment and even joy. Most of us have so much abundance of things, and always have, that we may struggle if we were to suddenly do without them. Paul experienced that and overcame it through Christ.

Let us ask the Spirit to help us be content in all circumstances and to rejoice that we have brothers and sisters in Christ that care for us. Let us not constantly exert our efforts always seeking more worldly things or wealth but rather to focus our efforts seeking an ever growing relationship with our Lord.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Lord Is My Shepherd

I want the kind of relationship with YHWH that David reveals in Psalm 23. I ask the Lord to help me draw near to Him so that I may have that in greater and greater portions. I have seen so much of my life transformed since fully submitting to YHWH through Christ. I find more peace indeed and more reason to rejoice, even when things are bumpy. I am more content. But I know I have farther to go…

Psalm 23

The LORD, the Psalmist’s Shepherd.

A Psalm of David.

     1The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not want.

      2He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.

      3He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

      4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

      5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.

      6Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

I encourage you to pray for this kind of relationship with YHWH and this kind of world view. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

On Life And Conduct

Wisdom that never goes out of style… how will you apply it in your life?

Proverbs 20

On Life and Conduct

     1Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,
And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.

      2The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion;
He who provokes him to anger forfeits his own life.

      3Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man,
But any fool will quarrel.

      4The sluggard does not plow after the autumn,
So he begs during the harvest and has nothing.

      5A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water,
But a man of understanding draws it out.

      6Many a man proclaims his own loyalty,
But who can find a trustworthy man?

      7A righteous man who walks in his integrity—
How blessed are his sons after him.

      8A king who sits on the throne of justice
Disperses all evil with his eyes.

      9Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart,
I am pure from my sin”?

      10Differing weights and differing measures,
Both of them are abominable to the LORD.

      11It is by his deeds that a lad distinguishes himself
If his conduct is pure and right.

      12The hearing ear and the seeing eye,
The LORD has made both of them.

      13Do not love sleep, or you will become poor;
Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food.

      14“Bad, bad,” says the buyer,
But when he goes his way, then he boasts.

      15There is gold, and an abundance of jewels;
But the lips of knowledge are a more precious thing.

      16Take his garment when he becomes surety for a stranger;
And for foreigners, hold him in pledge.

      17Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man,
But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.

      18Prepare plans by consultation,
And make war by wise guidance.

      19He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets,
Therefore do not associate with a gossip.

      20He who curses his father or his mother,
His lamp will go out in time of darkness.

      21An inheritance gained hurriedly at the beginning
Will not be blessed in the end.

      22Do not say, “I will repay evil”;
Wait for the LORD, and He will save you.

      23Differing weights are an abomination to the LORD,
And a false scale is not good.

      24Man’s steps are ordained by the LORD,
How then can man understand his way?

      25It is a trap for a man to say rashly, “It is holy!”
And after the vows to make inquiry.

      26A wise king winnows the wicked,
And drives the threshing wheel over them.

      27The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD,
Searching all the innermost parts of his being.

      28Loyalty and truth preserve the king,
And he upholds his throne by righteousness.

      29The glory of young men is their strength,
And the honor of old men is their gray hair.

      30Stripes that wound scour away evil,
And strokes reach the innermost parts.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

“I Would Never Act That Way”

Hollywood could not dream up a story as wild and exciting, with as many surprise turns, as that of the Lord delivering His people from Egypt to the promised land. A persecuted slave class of people being lifted up out of bondage through plagues and mighty miracles. Through moments of faith and moments where the faith utterly fails and they are disciplined by the Lord. A righteous man, Moses, interceding on their behalf each time they repent. There was no easy road. What irony that they were too afraid to take the promised land but then had to fight many other nations along their now extended journey. Don’t skip the details, read back through… the ground swallowed up some who rebelled, and not snakes through the camp causing mayhem and repentance. A bronze serpent as a symbol to save them… what a wild ride… and it’s all true, historical events.

We get the opportunity  to learn from the Lord through exciting and unexpected plot twists that His people actually experienced first hand.

As we read the historical events of Numbers 21, we once again see a roller coaster ride for the Israelites. They are attacked by Arad and beaten initially. They turn to the Lord and He gives them absolute victory. Then not long after, the people get impatient again and speak against the Lord. What a tiresome bunch for the Lord to tolerate… but let’s take care, as we still often act in much the same way. We forget His last blessing or victory so quickly once the next challenge or wait is in front of us. We are naturally impatient and selfish and often do not long remember the victories He has given us.

With rebellion in speaking out against the Lord, comes punishment… righteous punishment. All of us deserve correction from time to time, and a loving Father disciplines those He loves. Then comes the question of how we receive that rebuke… with humility leading to repentance or with resentment leading to further separation from the Lord. The Israelites at least turn toward the Lord for help again once they punishment of the snakes was upon them. Moses interceded for them with the Lord and the Lord forgave them.

At least for awhile, they remained more patient on their ongoing journey.

Numbers 21:1-20

Arad Conquered

     1When the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel was coming by the way of Atharim, then he fought against Israel and took some of them captive. 2So Israel made a vow to the LORD and said, “If You will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.” 3The LORD heard the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites; then they utterly destroyed them and their cities. Thus the name of the place was called Hormah.

      4Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey. 5The people spoke against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.”

The Bronze Serpent

     6The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. 8Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” 9And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

      10Now the sons of Israel moved out and camped in Oboth. 11They journeyed from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim, in the wilderness which is opposite Moab, to the east. 12From there they set out and camped in Wadi Zered. 13From there they journeyed and camped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that comes out of the border of the Amorites, for the Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.

14Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the LORD,
“Waheb in Suphah,
And the wadis of the Arnon,

      15And the slope of the wadis
That extends to the site of Ar,
And leans to the border of Moab.”

      16From there they continued to Beer, that is the well where the LORD said to Moses, “Assemble the people, that I may give them water.”

      17Then Israel sang this song:
“Spring up, O well! Sing to it!

      18“The well, which the leaders sank,
Which the nobles of the people dug,
With the scepter and with their staffs.”
And from the wilderness they continued to Mattanah,

19and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the land of Moab, at the top of Pisgah which overlooks the wasteland.

Don’t fool yourself that each of us is not able to act in similar fashion as the Israelites did in Numbers 21. It is all too easy to declare, “I would never act that way.” We are still vulnerable toward focusing on our selves rather than God, focusing on our current challenge rather than our past victories with Him, grumbling against Him when things are not going how we want them to go. Pray for the Spirit to help us remain faithful to the Lord through even the tough times, remain thankful for all the victories He has handed to us in the past, and trust in Him that He will be with us through to the end of our current and future challenges. He is a loving Father! Let us rejoice and praise Him and not speak against Him!

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