The Lord spoke to Moses in the tent of meeting in the Wilderness of Sinai, on the first day of the second month of the second year after Israel’s departure from the land of Egypt:
As we studied last week, in the book of Leviticus, God has restored Israel to His presence. God spoke to Moses “IN” the tent! This is an amazing thing. Moses was now able to go back into the holiness, the beauty, the awesomeness, of the presence of God. All of this was made possible through God’s direction as He reached down to where the people of Israel were and the obedience of the people of Israel.
Have you ever felt like God is far away? Or maybe He is just not listening. The reality is that God is reaching down to where we are no matter where that is. When we feel this way we need to do as the children of Israel did. We must look at ourselves. God is reaching down to us but are we obeying, following, and lifting our hands to Him? He will restore our relationship. That is all He really wants, to have a relationship with you. He has done and will always do His part. Are we doing ours?
Take some time today to reflect on your relationship with God. Are you spending time with Him? Listening? Obeying His Word?
24 May Yahweh bless you and protect you;
25 may Yahweh make His face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 may Yahweh look with favor on you
and give you peace.
John 10:7-9 & 11-15
7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
This is a blessing from God to the people of Israel. This is a word-for-word message that Aaron was to say to Israel so that they would be blessed. Israel has come a long way from the book of Leviticus. God is giving them the promise of blessing, protection, favor, and peace. That is a great blessing. These four words are exactly what the majority of people want in this world.
We can claim this blessing in the same way. Jesus said in John 10:10, I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. In John 10:7-9, Jesus calls himself the door, as in our protector or guard. In John 10:11-15, He calls himself our good shepherd, as in a guide and provider. Jesus truly gives us blessing, protection, favor, and peace. Ask God to show you how Jesus is working in your life and look for how He is providing these things for you. You will be amazed at what He is doing in your life.
1 Now the people began complaining openly before the Lord about hardship. When the Lord heard, His anger burned, and fire from the Lord blazed among them and consumed the outskirts of the camp. 2 Then the people cried out to Moses, and he prayed to the Lord, and the fire died down. 3 So that place was named Taberah, because the Lord’s fire had blazed among them.
We are back at it again. God constantly holds up His side of the promise but Israel goes back into complaining. This time, they are complaining about the food. God has literally rained down food from heaven called manna. This is amazing but Israel wants meat. They are tired of the same thing. God sends a fire to burn and consume the outskirts of the camp. When this happened Moses cried out to God and prayed to Him. God immediately had the fire die down. How awesome is it for Israel to have a man like Moses who is willing to intercede for them to God?
You can focus on the fire God sent or you can focus on the ungrateful hearts of Israel. You can be the complainer or you can be the one who intercedes. Remember God is holy and just. He deserves praise, honor, and glory. That is why He sends the fire. He has provided everything Israel needed yet they are complaining. They are rising up against Him. How do we do the same thing? We have been given more than we need. We have been blessed beyond reason, yet we still have our complaints. This is because our focus is wrong. We are focusing on what is happening with the people around us instead of focusing on what God is doing. We let the little things that don’t matter push us into a time of complaining and whining to God. Let’s take the time today to check our focus. Are we focusing on the world or Jesus?
13 Where can I get meat to give all these people? For they are crying to me: ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I can’t carry all these people by myself. They are too much for me. 15 If You are going to treat me like this, please kill me right now. If You are pleased with me, don’t let me see my misery anymore.”
Moses is the man in charge. Even after God sent the fire around the camp and Moses interceded for the people of Israel, they still complained to Moses. They stood at the entrance of their tents and cried out their complaints. Can you imagine that? It’s like everyone in your neighborhood standing on their front porch screaming at the governor for him to change something. This is what created this response from Moses. He is looking at God and saying, “I need help! This is not in my power to handle all of this.” Yes, Moses was dramatic and defeated, but he was real and laid the problem at God’s feet and asked for Him to do something about it.
We can look at this and see that God wants us to come to Him with all of our problems. He can look past the drama and see the real problem and then give us a real answer. God is good like that. He sees our problems and He knows the answers. This is how He can remain so calm when we feel like the world is crumbling around us. Trust Him with all your problems. He wants to hear them and doesn’t mind the drama lay them at His feet and listen for his response. He will guide you if you pray to Him and read His word.
16 The Lord answered Moses, “Bring Me 70 men from Israel known to you as elders and officers of the people. Take them to the tent of meeting and have them stand there with you. 17 Then I will come down and speak with you there. I will take some of the Spirit who is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you bear the burden of the people, so that you do not have to bear it by yourself.
God responds to Moses’ problem by providing him with helpers. Moses was overwhelmed and the burden was too heavy for him. So God brought 70 men from Israel to become elders and officers to help with the entire nation of Israel. God brought them into the tent of meetings and gave them the same Spirit that was in Moses. Their entire purpose was to help bear the burden of the people.
This makes me think about how we all need our inner circle of people. People who will point us to Christ in our time of need. People who will challenge us when we need it and love on us when we need it. This life can be a heavy burden at times. We need those people we can lean on. We are not meant to go through this life alone. So the question is two-fold. Who are your friends who lift you up when you are down, point you back to Christ when you are heading the wrong way, and love you through the challenges of life? Also, Are you that friend to someone else? Work on your inner circle this week. Form a group of friends and elders (Godly men and women) in your life to be those helpers in your time of need.
25 At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. 26 And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the people of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh. They brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan.”
30 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31 Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” 32 So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. 33 And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”
8 If the Lord is pleased with us, He will bring us into this land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and give it to us. 9 Only don’t rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land, for we will devour them. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us. Don’t be afraid of them!”
The people of Israel have made it to the outskirts of the promised land. God tells Moses to send in 12 spies to scout the land. When they return ten of the spies say that they will be destroyed and that there is no way Israel could take the land God had promised them. There were two spies, Joshua and Caleb, who came back and believed that God would provide away and help them defeat the Canaanites. The people began to argue and choose sides. Many of them chose the side of the ten spies. This is where Numbers 14:8-9 come in. Moses, Aaron, Caleb, and Joshua all fall to their face and beg the people of Israel to trust God and follow Him. They finish with don’t be afraid. They wanted the people to choose correctly. To choose to go into the promised land that God had promised them and to trust that God would guide them through the difficulties. They didn’t deny the problems they would face, they just believed that God was bigger than the problems.
Sometimes the task that is set before us is scary and difficult. Just as these verses have said, God is with us and we do not need to be afraid. When it looks hard and when we are scared, that is when we need to lean on the power of God. We need to realize that He is right there beside us and we do not need to be afraid. Do you remember when you were little and you would hide behind one of your parents or immediately grab their hand? There was a comfort in knowing that they were standing in front of you or holding your hand. In the same way, God is asking us to hold onto His hand or get behind Him and He will lead us through. Rest in that comfort today.
Numbers 23:19-20 (Read chapter 22 and 23)
19 God is not a man who lies,
or a son of man who changes His mind.
Does He speak and not act,
or promise and not fulfill?
20 I have indeed received a command to bless;
since He has blessed, I cannot change it.
If you read Numbers chapters 22 and 23, you learn of a man named Balaam, who served God, and a Moabite King named Balak, who really just served himself. These two men go back and forth about cursing the people of Israel. Balak was afraid of Israel and wanted to curse them, so he thought Balaam was the perfect man to do it because he had a great relationship with God. (Talk about a great testimony for Balaam.) Balaam prayed to God and found out that he can do nothing but bless Israel because they were blessed by God. No matter what Balak offered Balaam and no matter what plan he could come up with, every time Balaam prayed to God, God came back with nothing but blessings for Israel. This verse is a piece of that exchange. It says God holds to His promises and blesses Israel. It cannot be changed.
This is an awesome story of how man sometimes thinks he can manipulate God, but God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Balaak thought Balaam and God were so close that God would do what he wanted. The closeness of Balaam and God was correct, but the ability for Balaam to change who God is was the wrong way of thinking. God is who He is. He will not go against His promises. We can hold on to this and realize that all God's promises are true. The bible says in 2 Corinthians 1:20, that God's promises are yes and Amen (so be it). If God says it, it will happen. What are the promises of Scripture God has made for you? How does that bring you comfort knowing that you can hold on to those promises? Take time this week to think through those promises.