Category Archives: Bitterness / Resentment

Let Go of Anger, Jealousy and Bitterness; It Will Consume You

Saul was harassed by an evil spirit from the LORD because of his disobedience. It seems after that he was consumed with jealousy and fear. He was no longer rational. He just wanted to “get David”. It would seem this could serve as a warning for us also. We may not want to kill someone, but we can be vulnerable to jealousy and irrational desire to “get even” or “beat someone”. It can lead us in a bad direction, lead us away from the LORD. Rather, we should seek the LORD’s help to overcome any anger, jealousy or bitterness toward others. It only consumes us if we let it remain.

1 Samuel 22:6-23

      6Then Saul heard that David and the men who were with him had been discovered. Now Saul was sitting in Gibeah, under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing around him. 7Saul said to his servants who stood around him, “Hear now, O Benjamites! Will the son of Jesse also give to all of you fields and vineyards? Will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds? 8“For all of you have conspired against me so that there is no one who discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you who is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me to lie in ambush, as it is this day.” 9Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing by the servants of Saul, said, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. 10“He inquired of the LORD for him, gave him provisions, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

      11Then the king sent someone to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s household, the priests who were in Nob; and all of them came to the king. 12Saul said, “Listen now, son of Ahitub.” And he answered, “Here I am, my lord.” 13Saul then said to him, “Why have you and the son of Jesse conspired against me, in that you have given him bread and a sword and have inquired of God for him, so that he would rise up against me by lying in ambush as it is this day?”

      14Then Ahimelech answered the king and said, “And who among all your servants is as faithful as David, even the king’s son-in-law, who is captain over your guard, and is honored in your house? 15“Did I just begin to inquire of God for him today? Far be it from me! Do not let the king impute anything to his servant or to any of the household of my father, for your servant knows nothing at all of this whole affair.” 16But the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s household!” 17And the king said to the guards who were attending him, “Turn around and put the priests of the LORD to death, because their hand also is with David and because they knew that he was fleeing and did not reveal it to me.” But the servants of the king were not willing to put forth their hands to attack the priests of the LORD. 18Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn around and attack the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned around and attacked the priests, and he killed that day eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. 19And he struck Nob the city of the priests with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and infants; also oxen, donkeys, and sheep he struck with the edge of the sword.

      20But one son of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the LORD. 22Then David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have brought about the death of every person in your father’s household. 23“Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life, for you are safe with me.”

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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.

He Disciplines Those Whom He Loves

Hebrews 12 reminds us of at least two key concepts. The first is that Yeshua is our example and we should keep our eyes fixed on him and pursue him. Do not rely simply on what others say about him, but instead study what the Bible actually says about him. Many portray him incorrectly, even in churches.

The second point is an important reminder that the LORD disciplines those whom he loves, those who are his children. Receive it well and learn and adapt to go the way he is directing you. Do not take his discipline as failure and stop trying to follow him. He may not discipline those whom he has not called.

Hebrews 12

Jesus, the Example

     1Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

      3For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

A Father’s Discipline

     4You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;

5and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
“MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD,
NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;

      6FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES,
AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”

7It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

      12Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

      14Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 16that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.

Contrast of Sinai and Zion

     18For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, 19and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. 20For they could not bear the command, “IF EVEN A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT WILL BE STONED.” 21And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling.” 22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

The Unshaken Kingdom

     25See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. 26And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” 27This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29for our God is a consuming fire.

Let us remember well that he disciplines those he loves and let us accept and learn from the discipline of the 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.

 

Shall We Chose His Ways or Our Own?

Our strength and protection come from the LORD. He will be with the righteous, those who pursue his ways rather than their own. Those who turn aside to their own ways will face consequences.

This is a simple message, repeated throughout the Biblical texts. The LORD will not treat the righteous and the wicked the same way. He will respond and treat us differently based on our response and attitude toward him. Will we pursue righteousness, which is doing things his way, or will we pursue our own ways?

This is an important question we should ask ourselves often. We should ask the Spirit to help us with this. His ways may be strange to us as our culture, even within the church, has separated in many ways from doing things his way and continues to evolve or change things to suit the culture of people today. To seek his ways is to be on a much less traveled path. Even Christians will challenge you as most have become deeply accustomed to certain ways or traditions of man accepted in the church over time.

We see examples in which Sabbath has been given up and no longer has practical meaning to most. Now with regards to homosexuality and transgender, rather than helping these people as our LORD would want us to do, we see more churches accepting and celebrating them to remain in sin and confusion. The same is true with many (almost all) traditional holidays that church going Christians still partake of. Their are many pagan roots based on worship of false gods, but we have relabeled them and declare that they mean something else to us now. However, we must remember that it is not what it means to us that matters. It is what it means to YHWH that matters. We need to seek to understand what it means to him, rather than hold on to something based on what it means to us.

Psalm 125

The LORD Surrounds His People.

A Song of Ascents.

1Those who trust in the LORD
Are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.

2As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
So the LORD surrounds His people
From this time forth and forever.

3For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest upon the land of the righteous,
So that the righteous will not put forth their hands to do wrong.

4Do good, O LORD, to those who are good
And to those who are upright in their hearts.

5But as for those who turn aside to their crooked ways,
The LORD will lead them away with the doers of iniquity.
Peace be upon Israel.

Pray that YHWH would open your eyes to any areas in which you are turning aside from his ways to your own crooked ways. Truly reflect on it and be willing to change. Seek to define your life to match what is written in the Bible and lived out by Yeshua rather than defining yourself by simply what you grew up considering to be “normal” or “Christian”. This is hard. It takes YHWH’s help. It takes a truly submissive heart that is willing to surrender some things that you like and want so that you can instead pursue what he likes and wants. You will have to walk away from some things that you have accepted as good your whole life and try out some new things which seem strange at first.

It is not a journey for the faint of heart and most are not willing to really make the transition. Pray for his help and give yourself time to change. You will not get everything right but go in with a desire to please him and submit fully and a willingness to change and a willingness to be humble and learn and get better at it.  Do so humbly and joyfully and without bitterness or complaint.

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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.

To Stand Boldly With and For Christ Means Others Will Come Against You

Today we are digging in a bit deeper into John 7. In a previous article, we highlighted that Yeshua was documented as participating in the appointed times of YHWH as laid out in Leviticus 23, in this case Feast of Booths or Tabernacles. Though this has largely been dropped from mainstream Christianity, those who seek truth by following Christ’s example should study more and consider participating in the appointed times as Yeshua did. My family has been doing so for years now and it is very rewarding, though a bit awkward as you get started.

There are a few main points I want to highlight as we dive a bit deeper into the beginning of John 7.

  • For those facing persecution for their faith in Christ, note that Christ in this chapter also chose the time and place for His teaching. He knew there were those who wanted to harm him. He was clearly actively proclaiming the truth of the gospel, but did so strategically and at times remained private or hidden. We should take care not to use this as an excuse to avoid standing for YHWH. Clearly Yeshua proclaimed His ways publicly.
  • For many of us who come to know Christ and then proclaim the truth of His message, the fullness of His instruction, our own families and friends may reject us. It is uncomfortable for many who claim to follow Christ, and perhaps genuinely do, to accept that much of what the church has taught them is wrong and they should change based on study of the whole word of YHWH, the whole Bible. The appointed times are a great example. You will face resistance and discouragement from some for pursuing the same celebrations of YHWH that Yeshua participated in just because they are not wanting to face the change themselves. Do not be discouraged. For Yeshua, even His own brothers were not believing in Him.
  • Do not fear rejection. Ask YHWH for the grace to accept and deal with it, as Christ did. The world will hate us, as it did Yeshua, if we testify that their deeds are evil. You can see it plainly today. If you share with someone the love of Christ for unborn children and the fact that abortion is offensive to YHWH and should be to us… you will be likely scorned by half the population not just as “disagreeing” but labeled all sorts of mean and nasty things. They will say you hate women and such. None the less, we must stand up for the ways of YHWH as Christ did.
  • If we teach the full word of YHWH it will be different from what most Christians are now accustomed to. Many ignore Sabbath. Those that don’t, celebrate on Sunday instead of Saturday (as Christ and His disciples did), gluttony is a significant problem in our culture but it is taboo to say anything, sexual relations outside of a husband and wife relationship are out of control in society, and coveting is practically a national pastime more than baseball. Our society does not accept rebuke or correction, each claiming offense if someone tries to point out where they may be in need of repentance.  People don’t like change and they like admitting they are wrong even less. Though some people will agree with you and say good things, so too will many disagree with you, grumble and say bad things about you… as they did Yeshua. Be prepared for this and ask YHWH to help you with it.

You can not preach the truth of the gospel without offending those who reject it or accept only parts of it. To stand boldly for Christ means others will come against you. If no one is coming against you, you may want to reflect if you are really living and speaking boldly for Christ in your daily life and if you are doing so to those that do not necessarily already agree with you.

John 7:1-13

Jesus Teaches at the Feast

     1After these things Jesus was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him. 2Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. 3Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. 4“For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” 5For not even His brothers were believing in Him. 6So Jesus said to them, “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune. 7“The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil. 8“Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.” 9Having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee.

      10But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as if, in secret. 11So the Jews were seeking Him at the feast and were saying, “Where is He?” 12There was much grumbling among the crowds concerning Him; some were saying, “He is a good man”; others were saying, “No, on the contrary, He leads the people astray.” 13Yet no one was speaking openly of Him for fear of the Jews.

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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.

Let Bitterness And Wrath Be Put Away From You

To live a life the way Christ calls us to live means we change our ways and are become different from the world. We do not blend in with those around us. It is not easy, but by the grace of God we can live as He directs us. So many today in our culture create reasons to be offended. They are bitter and angry without justifiable cause. It sours their own life as well as adversely impacting those who must be around them. God calls us to a different path.

Ephesians 4:31-32

31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Prayerfully reflect on this scripture. Really challenge yourself to see if there are areas or people in your life where you are not living up to this standard. Ask the Lord’s help  to do as this scripture instructs. Make a conscious choice to ask forgiveness from God, and if appropriate from people as well. Choose to repent and live differently. If you stumble into old habits, try again. It is an imperfect walk we follow as Christians, but a perfect master.

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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.

 

How Will You Treat The Vineyard Owner?

The Israelites at times turned their backs on YHWH. They rejected his prophets and then killed His son, Yeshua. The Jewish people largely rejected Christ. As such, YHWH invited the gentiles to be grafted in to be His people in their place. If YHWH will allow His chosen people, Israel, to be replaced, none of us should be so arrogant as to think we can dictate the terms of our relationship to YHWH. He invites and accepts people on His own terms, which are outlined in the Bible.

YHWH will not force any to remain in relationship with Him. Nor will He hold back judgment for those who reject His offer through Christ of forgiveness by grace

Luke 20:9-18

Parable of the Vine-growers

     9And He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey for a long time. 10“At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, so that they would give him some of the produce of the vineyard; but the vine-growers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11“And he proceeded to send another slave; and they beat him also and treated him shamefully and sent him away empty-handed. 12“And he proceeded to send a third; and this one also they wounded and cast out. 13“The owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14“But when the vine-growers saw him, they reasoned with one another, saying, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.’ 15“So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16“He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others.” When they heard it, they said, “May it never be!”

17But Jesus looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written:
‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED,
THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone’?

18“Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”

Those who reject Christ may feel as though they are having a victory in this world for a time. They may laugh and reassure themselves that they are in control. However, YHWH will hold them accountable for their sin should they continue their rejection of Christ’s offer of forgiveness through grace.

What decision will you make? How will you treat the vineyard owner and His messengers? His son?

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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.

Trust God In The Desert; Faith and Obedience Bring Us To The Promised Land

Have you ever gone through a tough situation, one that was really emotionally and physically draining? It may have even lasted months or years. Let us remember to cling to God in these situations, trusting that if we are faithful He can turn all things to use for good.

Romans 8:28

  28And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Let us take care not to complain and whine or worse… rebel against where God is leading us or bringing us through. Think back on the Israelites as the Lord led them out of Egypt and into the promised land. He performed many mighty miracles and yet as time passed, the people continued to stumble and make mistakes. They continued to complain and at times rebel against God. They saw only their immediate, short term struggles and kept focusing on those rather than focusing on and trusting the Lord who was leading them through the desert. They could not seem to focus and trust that the promised land was theirs at the end of the journey.

In fact, they even completely ignore their own accountability in making the journey take 40 years! God delivered them to the promised land and they disobeyed and did not take it because they were afraid of the people living there. They did not trust the Lord. Their journey got much longer. But as they complain in Numbers 20, they blame Moses and God rather than their own mistakes in disobeying the Lord.

Numbers 20:2-5

      2There was no water for the congregation, and they assembled themselves against Moses and Aaron. 3The people thus contended with Moses and spoke, saying, “If only we had perished when our brothers perished before the LORD! 4“Why then have you brought the LORD’S assembly into this wilderness, for us and our beasts to die here? 5“Why have you made us come up from Egypt, to bring us in to this wretched place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, nor is there water to drink.”

How callously they chastise Moses and defame the Lord’s reputation and character, implicitly in their complaints about “It is not a place of grain or figs or vines …” in contrast to God’s promised land. They take no accountability for their actions being the cause of why they are in the desert still. Should not they be saying… “O’ Lord, forgive us and have mercy on us for our disobedience and lack of faith resulted in our remaining in the desert”?

Let each of us take care in our relationship with the Lord. Sometimes our actions create the bad situation we don’t like or make it much worse. The answer is not to get mad at God and complain. Turn to God and ask Him for forgiveness and help to get through the challenge. Ask Him for joy and encouragement. As Him for mercy and grace. These things He will give to a submitted and repentant heart.  God is indeed just, but He is also compassionate and kind.

Pray that He would use the difficult circumstances for good, for His glory through you. Pray He would bring good from the hard times. Then patiently and faithfully trust that He can and He will, even if it may not look like what we want in the situation. Let us cling to the Lord, knowing He may simply be bringing us through personal growth or to a place even better than where we started… as He was bringing the Israelites from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the promised land. Rather than complain and blame the Lord, we should pray for the Spirit to help us be patient along the journey.

Trust God in the desert. Faith and obedience bring us to the promised land.

P.S. Want to know how God responded to the unrighteous complaints of the people? Read on further in Numbers 20. Once a righteous man interceded and asked the Lord for help, He provided them water, despite their general lack of faith and active complaining. I believe He did so to try to continue showing the people His glory to help lead them to trust and follow Him. Only in trusting Him would their journey truly get any easier as they continued in the desert.

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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.

Accept All Things That Come From The Lord With Joy and Without Grumbling

What a tremendous moment for Zacharias and Elizabeth… the birth of John. Zacharias was unable to speak for months, tongue tied by the Lord. Now with the birth of his son, and his final step of obedience to the Lord in naming his son John, he is able to speak again. He had quite a lot to say.

Was he grumbling and complaining about “being punished” for making a mistake when the angel told him about John? Was he saying it was “unfair” what happened to him. Certainly not! Zacharias took the sign as confirmation of all the angel had said and burst forth with confidence to prophecy over his son. I get the picture in my head that he was positively joyful in celebrating this moment and in serving the Lord.

Any of us may receive some difficulty at the hands of the Lord, as Zacharias did. Are we ready to receive it as correction or guidance from a loving Father? or are we so focused on ourselves that any inconvenience or difficulty makes us angry and impatient for it to be removed?

Luke 1:57-80

John Is Born

     57Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son. 58Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her.

      59And it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zacharias, after his father. 60But his mother answered and said, “No indeed; but he shall be called John.” 61And they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name.” 62And they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called. 63And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, “His name is John.” And they were all astonished. 64And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God. 65Fear came on all those living around them; and all these matters were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea. 66All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, “What then will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.

Zacharias’s Prophecy

     67And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:

      68“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,

      69And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of David His servant—

      70As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old—

      71Salvation FROM OUR ENEMIES,
And FROM THE HAND OF ALL WHO HATE US;

      72To show mercy toward our fathers,
And to remember His holy covenant,

      73The oath which He swore to Abraham our father,

      74To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,

      75In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.

      76“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
For you will go on BEFORE THE LORD TO PREPARE HIS WAYS;

      77To give to His people the knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins,

      78Because of the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,

      79TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

      80And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

When each of us receives discipline or guidance from the Lord by way of difficult circumstances, let us pray for the Spirit to help guide us in our response… that we would be filled with joy nonetheless and focus on our Lord and His desires and that He loves us enough to discipline us as His children. Let us accept all things from the Lord with joy and without grumbling.

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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.

Displining and Encouraging His People

I think people often forget that our God never changes. He is immutable. To say He is a God of grace and forgiveness now, after Christ, but imply He was not before Christ when people had the law only and not yet the Holy Spirit is to be mistaken. He is the same Lord yesterday, today, and tomorrow. There are many examples of Him showing grace and forgiveness to the people. However, people also tend to overlook that Christ spoke often about hell and called people to repent. It was His first message at the beginning of His ministry and He continued to preach it throughout His ministry. Repent in this context means to turn away from sin and back to God. For those who do not, there is judgment and accountability for they have rejected Christ’s offer of forgiveness through grace.

The God of the Old Testament is no different than the God of the New Testament. He does not change.

Numbers 16 includes an historical account about rebellion of the people against God, murmuring and complaining and even a plague that the Lord sends to discipline the rebels.  The people did not want to submit to Moses and Aaron as God’s chosen leaders. Then in numbers 17 Jehovah provides a clear sign to address the ongoing complaints of the people. He is trying to discipline them and also love them… they are His children. There is a path to grace and forgiveness but they need first to submit to Him and stop demanding their own way, not content with what He has called for them to do. If He had not grace and mercy than it is a wonder He would not have wiped them all out and started over.

Numbers 17

Aaron’s Rod Buds

     1Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Speak to the sons of Israel, and get from them a rod for each father’s household: twelve rods, from all their leaders according to their fathers’ households. You shall write each name on his rod, 3and write Aaron’s name on the rod of Levi; for there is one rod for the head of each of their fathers’ households. 4“You shall then deposit them in the tent of meeting in front of the testimony, where I meet with you. 5“It will come about that the rod of the man whom I choose will sprout. Thus I will lessen from upon Myself the grumblings of the sons of Israel, who are grumbling against you.” 6Moses therefore spoke to the sons of Israel, and all their leaders gave him a rod apiece, for each leader according to their fathers’ households, twelve rods, with the rod of Aaron among their rods. 7So Moses deposited the rods before the LORD in the tent of the testimony.

      8Now on the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony; and behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds. 9Moses then brought out all the rods from the presence of the LORD to all the sons of Israel; and they looked, and each man took his rod. 10But the LORD said to Moses, “Put back the rod of Aaron before the testimony to be kept as a sign against the rebels, that you may put an end to their grumblings against Me, so that they will not die.” 11Thus Moses did; just as the LORD had commanded him, so he did.

      12Then the sons of Israel spoke to Moses, saying, “Behold, we perish, we are dying, we are all dying! 13“Everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the LORD, must die. Are we to perish completely?”

Pray that the Spirit would encourage and guide you to strengthen your faith and obedience toward the Lord. Accept joyfully the evidence already presented in historical accounts, archaeology, the biblical text, etc. that He is Lord! Do not continue in rebellion against Him, but rather submit to Him as the first step in a lifelong relationship with Him. Submit to Him all aspects of your life, not just a few. Become a willing vessel to be used for His purposes and covet not what others may be called to do that you may prefer.

As a simple parable… I am a Father. I have four children. There are times when there is a lot of clean up needs to be done. If I send all four to do the same task, then who will do the other work which needs to be done? Some are called to lead, as Moses and Aaron were, others to support, others to lead within their families and so on. Some to care for the temple and some to fight and defend God’s people. Some to a variety of skills for music or creating beautiful things such as those made for the temple.

We could explore the same parable for any sports team.  How would the football team fare if all the lineman went out to run routes to catch a pass and left no one to block for the quarterback? What if no one on a soccer team wanted to play goalie because they all wanted to go get glory by scoring goals?  So too with the body of believers that make up God’s people. Let us accept the role He has for each of us and do our part that the team (the body of Christ) should bring glory for our Lord by working together.

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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.