Devotional

A Message from the Lord

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Zechariah 12:1-13:1

Many years ago we used to sing a song:


I’ve a message from the Lord, Hallelujah!

The message unto you I’ll give.

‘Tis recorded in His Word, Hallelujah!

It is only that you “look and live”.

Refrain:

“Look and live” my brother, live.

Look to Jesus now and live.

‘Tis recorded in His Word, Hallelujah!

It is only that you look and live”.

The song goes on, sharing that it’s –“a message full of love”, one that is offered unto you”…a personal message.

A message was given to the prophet Zechariah. “This is the word of the Lord concerning Israel!” (12:1). This oracle begins by describing God’s wrath against those who attacked Jerusalem. “On that day” occurs 16 times in chapters 12, 13 and 14.

Judgment is the theme of Zechariah’s message. Immediate fulfillment occurred when Nebuchadnezzar captured Judah. The ultimate fulfillment is yet to come, “on that day” during the tribulation years. For our purposes today we will jump in towards the end of Zechariah’s prophecy.

“On that day” – a day yet in the future, Jesus will return to do battle with the nations who have persecuted Israel. Named “Faithful and True”, the Rider on a white horse will come with blazing eyes to make war (Revelation 19:11-12). Destruction of evil will be complete (29:20-21).

Zechariah informs us that at the second coming of Christ Israel will recognize Jesus as their Messiah. “They will look on Me, the One they have pierced and they will mourn….and grieve bitterly….On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great!” (Zechariah12:10-11). However the Lord doesn’t end the story there, but gives, as He always does a continued message of hope.

“On that day a fountain will be opened to the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity” (Zechariah13:1). Note the promise is inclusive….“And so all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26). Paul wrote further to the Roman Church: “Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments!” (Romans 11:33). You see, God had to remain true to His covenant with Israel. “They are loved on account of the patriarchs” (11:28b).

Reflection:

Note the simple message of our song captures all that will happen “On that day”. Folks who look to Jesus will live! As John watched his beloved Master dying on the cross, he was reminded of the ancient prophecy (John 19:37). This is the covenant, an everlasting, binding agreement with God’s people. Because He is faithful and True to His word, we have hope and joy and peace! Praise be to our God!

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

Can One Escape God?

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Matthew 25:31-34

Reading through the prophets, we distinctly hear the voice of God. Sometimes He is angry, sometimes He is pleading, sometimes He seems to be just biding His time. “I will remain quiet and look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.” (Isaiah 18:4-5) This is rather a pastoral view of God in His heaven, isn’t it?

Matthew Henry shed some light on this unusual passage. Apparently God’s people were being trampled on, but the perpetrator will find that in the end they are indestructible. God is waiting until the time is right to rescue His people. In the case of Cush [modern Sudan], God will show mercy. Eventually they will bring gifts to the Lord, when they recognize Him as the Almighty One (Isaiah 18:7). Ryrie suggests that these gifts will be the people of Cush, themselves.

This illustrates the day, yet to come, when the nations of the earth will be convinced that Jehovah is the true God, and Israel is His people, and unite in presenting spiritual sacrifices to His glory. Because the wicked seem to triumph for a while, let us take heart from this scripture that God does care for His people, for Israel as well as the international church.

There is a time and place for everything. Contrast this picture with the words of Jehovah in Isaiah chapter 62. “For Zion‘s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet until her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch” (:1). Note how important it is to keep verses in their context!

A Psalm illustrates not only the plan of God as seen above, but the presence of God. “You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise. You know my thoughts….You are familiar with all my ways”(Psalm 139:1-3). This can be rather disconcerting when we admit there are times when we do not understand ourselves. God knows. Amazing! Even more thrilling is God’s omnipresence. The Psalmist continues…”Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”(:7).

Scripture is full of promises of God’s faithfulness, of His abiding with His people, of the Holy Spirit now indwelling believers (Matthew 28:20, 1 Corinthians 6:19). These bring great comfort in times of distress and hardship.

In the end, both the saved and the unsaved will come before God. Jesus describes this event “When the Son of Man comes in His glory….He will sit on His throne…..All nations will be gathered before Him and He will separate the people……the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left…..Then the King will say – ” (Matthew 25:31-34). There is no escape! Those who follow Jesus have nothing to fear. Take heart! “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you”(:34).

Reflection:

Why would anyone want to escape God? It is impossible to hide from Him. ”Where can I go from Your Spirit O God?” (Psalm 139:7). David follows this question with several questions beginning with “if” demonstrating the omnipresence of God. There is no escaping One who is everywhere!

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

God Save the King

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Romans 13:1-7

For most of my life there has been a Queen. I do remember the day King George the sixth died, the ceremony as the flag at school was lowered, but now, seventy years later the Queen is dead. There are many lessons to be learned from history. However, a few verses written by the Apostle Paul teach us where to place our trust in changing times.

The first King over the Jewish nation was chosen by God. In fact the first 3 were specifically appointed by God. Saul, because he rejected God’s ways was replaced by David, whose son Solomon became famous as the wisest man on earth. Their histories are recorded in the Old Testament books of 1-2 Chronicles and 1-2 Kings. Since then many kings have projected the thought that they were chosen by God, but the truth remains to be seen. Certainly many of David’s descendants did not live lives which glorified God.

The Bible says “Everyone must submit himself [herself] to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established”. Do we believe that? Apparently submission to ruling authorities was important to Paul since he also instructed Titus to “remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good” (Titus 3:1). It is interesting to note that Titus’ ministry took him to the former Yugoslavia (Dalmatia) as well as to Corinth and to Crete, where he died.

Peter also was concerned that followers of Jesus would “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God”. Part of that entailed submission – “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men, whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by Him [God] to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right” (1 Peter 2:12-14).

“It is important to recognize that God establishes and upholds the principle of government even though some governments do not fulfill His desires” (Ryrie). These rulers appointed by God are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrong-doer (Romans 13:4). We must recall incidents in the Old Testament when the Jews were dispersed because they refused to follow God. The land God had given to them was over taken by pagans. In recent history we have seen the promise of God to restore them to their land, coming true when they gained their independence in 1948.

Today a new King sits on the throne of England. Queen Elizabeth was a follower of Jesus and her faith in Jesus is being celebrated as an integral part of her life. King Charles 3 has already declared his faith nurtured in the Anglican Church. Let us pray that his life, going forward, will bring glory to God as his mother’s did. For her 90th birthday a book was published “The Servant Queen and the King She Serves”. She was pleased to call herself a “servant” of the King of Kings!

Reflection:

God has a purpose in everything He does. He remains actively engaged in the affairs of men and women here on earth. We may not always understand why He allows suffering, sickness, famine, flood and fire, but we must never forget He must remain true to Himself. He is a God of love, but He is also the God of justice. When He warns us that judgment will fall He means it. We need to review, from time to time, what we actually believe about God. If we believe He hears and answers prayer, let us pray that God will save the new King!

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

Meditate

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Joshua 1:8

Looking in my Bible’s concordance the words meditate, or meditation seem to be all in the Old Testament. One of the best-known examples of this would be God’s instructions to Joshua as God placed him in leadership of the Israelite nation, following Moses. Three times God tells Joshua there is nothing to fear; God calls him to be courageous ( Joshua 1: 6a, 7a, 9). The basis of Joshua’s confidence is two-fold. The promise – “The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (1:9). As well the law would protect him. “Be careful to obey all the law….do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth” (1:7, 8).

What does it mean to meditate? Synonyms for meditate are  muse, ponder, and ruminate. While all these words mean “to consider or examine attentively or deliberately,” meditate implies a definite focusing of one’s thoughts on something, so as to understand it deeply.

In 1 Timothy 4:15 Paul uses the Greek word for meditation. He did this because he knew that it was not immoral for the Church member to do so and because he knew that they could relate to this language.

“Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress”

Writing to the Philippian church he admonished them with a final thought: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). Oh that the media today could be trained to bring us this kind of news! Our hearts grow weary hoping for some good news as wars and hatred, sex and violence , graft and corruption dominate the news. Satan has ways of drawing our thoughts far away from things that are holy.

Sadly Christians are sometimes led astray, hoping to have quick and easy devotions. Books have been written to give us just a thought for the day. Is this enough to know our God, to know either His character or His laws? David, known as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), wrote about mediation at least twelve time in the Psalms.

He found God’s unfailing love irresistible (Psalm 48:9). Along with that He also praised God as he meditated on all His works and wonders (Psalm 77:12, 119:27, 143:5, 145:5). David mentions God’s precepts, decrees and statutes as worthy of his focus (Psalm 119:15, 48, 99).

I’ve just completed a study of the Pentateuch. The laws of the Lord are so detailed, covering every aspect of life. What does this tell us as we mediate? God cares about every detail of our lives – Jesus said that even the hairs of each head are known (counted) (Luke 12:7). When misfortune falls we want to know that God understands the minutiae of our situation. When we turn to Him, the Creator of our minds and bodies, we pray with confidence that He knows above and beyond what we can see with our mortal eyes and understanding.

Meditation is intentional. God told Joshua to “be careful” (1:7). The success of his mission would lie in his personal obedience to the law of God, if he took the time to ponder, to muse on what Moses had received from the lips of God, and had carefully written down. We know that God’s promises to Joshua held true. Because he made the right choices “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15), his life made an impact on the nation he served. “Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him” (Joshua 24:31).

Reflection:

What glorious truths do we miss when we scan over a scripture, rushing to get into our day? How exciting it is to find thoughts which permeate each moment of our day with the greatness of our God! These are the thoughts which prepare our hearts to share His presence, His love and His watch-care with others whom we meet during the day. May God bless you as you meditate!

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

The Privileged Life

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Philippians 4:4, 10-13

How many of us have compared ourselves to the rich and famous from time to time, and wondered what it would be like to have no material needs? Let me share the story of a young woman I once knew. Her job took her to many countries around the world; money was not an issue in her home. Which one of us wouldn’t like to be rich enough to travel? We might forget to count the cost – consider how difficult it was for her to leave her children behind for days at time. Her health suffered from lack of proper rest and eating. She was always running, always fatigued, always feeling guilty because she couldn’t give the quality time she wanted to either her job or children, and suddenly she found herself considering suicide. Things are not always as good as they look.

Poverty comes in different packages. Some folks are rich in spirit. I remember being hosted in very humble homes in Kenya, homes where the joy of the Lord reigned over a simple cup of Kenyan tea. Yet how impoverished are the rich, who like Zacchaeus had spent his lifetime robbing folks in order to gain wealth.

What is it then, that gives us a sense of privilege? God created human beings with everything necessary for a good and happy life. Adam and Eve didn’t need clothes in order to be fashionably trendy. Their diet was very simply vegetarian. They were surrounded by beauty, and they walked with God. If it wasn’t posh, it was a privileged life.

Perhaps we need to examine our expectations. What is legitimate and what is unfortunate? The thing is – God has placed each one of us in circumstances from which we can and will, learn and grow. What we learn is up to us. Will we become bitter or better? Will we spend time regretting the past, blaming and shaming others, or will we take the gifts God has given to us and make them into something that blesses His heart?

Each one of us has been given gifts of personality and temperament. We choose what characteristics we allow to shape us, by using the strength of will God has also given to us. The whole issue is one of choice. There are heroic testimonies of folks who have overcome terrible odds – super heroes in the Para-Olympics, for example. Why are they different from another human being who moans and groan their way through daily life?

Made in the image of God, we have the privilege of choosing what we will be remembered for. Have we been generous and kind, or do self-centered habits alienate us from others? I learned from the poorest of the poor that sharing what one has, makes one feel rich.

Reflection:

Jesus challenges us today to love others as we love ourselves, because He loved us enough to die for us! This is the privileged life! God knew from the beginning that the plan of salvation included not just His chosen people, the Jews, but also included the Gentiles. He prophesied to Abraham thousands of years before Christ came to earth, that his seed would bless the nations. I am a Gentile, as probably most are, who read this. Consider the privilege we have of being grafted into the Branch, the Lord Jesus Christ! (Jeremiah 23:5) I want the whole world to know that joy and peace come from our relationship to God through the Lord Jesus, don’t you? It is my privilege to share Jesus with others, as He shared his life with me. What is your privilege?

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

My Peace

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Isaiah 26:1-13

When my heart is troubled, how do I deal with failure feelings or challenges to my rights? Is there a human being who has not felt the sting of rejection or the pain of discrimination in big ways or in little? Injustice hits a raw nerve in all of us from time to time, doesn’t it? When feelings overwhelm us where can we turn?

Thankfully the Word of God speaks to our hurting hearts. I’ve mentioned this many times before: “You [God] will keep him /her in perfect peace whose mind is steadfast because he/she trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3 MDV). No wonder Jesus was able to reassure His disciples: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives”. His peace was beyond anything the world could ever know. Have you ever experienced it? ….that exquisite moment when worldly cares just melt away and your heart is truly at rest? God doesn’t want our hearts to be troubled. Twice in John 14, Jesus cautions His followers “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (14:1, 27).

Troubled hearts aren’t able to rest. Hearts which are not resting in God do not have the same impact on our troubled world as hearts which are at peace. Satan is happy to ruffle our feathers because that renders us useless to God. Jesus adds another thought that troubled hearts are really afraid (John 14:27). He doesn’t want us to be afraid, but rather to be fully trusting, in spite of circumstances beyond our control. That is hard, but not impossible. Notice He is saying it in the imperative “Do not…!” It is not a suggestion. It takes determination and hard work!

Here is how it is done…”Trust in the Lord forever” (Isaiah 26:4). What do we really mean when we say we trust God? Do we let Him control the happenings in our lives, or do our plans even include Him, as we go about our daily lives? Do we live on automatic pilot, thereby not even seeing those exciting surprises that we so often miss because we are focused on what we want?

The Lord is our Rock, according to Isaiah (26:4). When we recognize the amazing stability He lends to us each day, we may find our souls yearning for Him in the night! Have you ever wakened with a sense of His presence in the darkness? What an illustration of His presence in the darkness of our world today! “In the morning my spirit longs for You” (Isaiah 26:9). Both soul and spirit rest in Him, the One through whom the world learns about righteousness (:9).

Reflection:

The subject of peace is crucial in our war-torn world today. So many families are split apart. Political leaders are torn from their posts. Violence is entering our schools making them unsafe for our precious children….and the fear grows. If only people knew the Lord. Yet, even in our churches we find competition and resentment, unfaithfulness and unforgiveness, disapproval and unacceptance. We need revival! Oh that the Spirit of our dear Lord would reign in our hearts and minds, exhibited by His amazing mercy and grace; lived out in lives of service and love. Then we would know His peace and truly be representatives of Almighty God!

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

Principles of Suffering

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1 Peter 2:21

Peter is writing “to God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered….who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:1-2). He praises God who, because of His “great mercy” gives us “new birth” along with a “living hope” and eventual “inheritance” which is kept in heaven for each one who “through faith are shielded by God’s power….to be revealed in the last time” (1:3-5). Does this apply to you and to me today?

He then goes on to say that Salvation comes through the sufferings of Christ (1:12), which were predicted by the prophets, men who spoke about God’s anticipated grace (i.e. Isaiah 53). Let’s pause for a moment to look at the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ. Long before the cross Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37). For any of us who weep over loved ones who still reject salvation through Jesus Christ, we know the suffering of His heart! He knew that everyone would not turn to God, even when He gave His life for them. We know the crowd was fickle; just as people are today. How many want what they can get [heaven], without being willing to suffer for principles seen in the life of Christ. He gave up everything…”making Himself nothing” to become a human being, humbling Himself and being obedient to death! (Philippians 2:7-8).

Jesus taught His disciples all about suffering. When He said “ the Son of Man must suffer many things” He then listed rejection by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law before He mentioned being killed (Mark 8:31). Rejection is painful. Every human being has been created with the longing to “belong”, to be significant and secure in relationships. It is hard to stay the course in the face of rejection. But, thankfully He did!

Peter goes on to describe what following Jesus looks like. Even if we suffer for doing good our hearts will be at peace because our intentions were good, and therefore our consciences are clear before the Lord. If someone speaks maliciously against us, our good behaviour may be a rebuke to them. Certainly our attitude of gentleness and respect will be a powerful testimony in the face of adversity (1 Peter 3:13-16). After all we are representing the One who cried from the cross “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing!” (Luke 23:34).

How might we respond to suffering for Jesus’ sake? Peter addresses this too. We must rejoice! Really? Yes, he writes “Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may rejoice when His glory is revealed” (4:13). He goes on to say what he, himself, knows all too well to be true: “If you suffer as a Christian do not be ashamed”. We mustn’t forget Peter denied knowing Jesus, fearing for his life at one point in time, yet now his perspective ha s totally changed! Why? “Praise God you bear that name [Christian]”. For Peter to be a Christian meant everything! (4:16).

Reflection:


When we think of suffering, often it is with the fear of physical pain. However, emotional pain goes even deeper – right into the soul of every human being. God can rescue us from that, delivering us from evil (Matthew 6:13), as Jesus taught us to pray. The Holy Spirit infuses us with the power to be kind and good and patient (Galatians 5:22), when we encounter Satanic attacks. Let us be “strengthened with all power according to His glorious might, so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully give thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light!” (Colossians 1:11-12).

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps” 1 Peter 2:21

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

Let There Be Light!

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Genesis 1

It is a simple statement, but what does this tell us about God? His first words indicate He wants us to live in the light of His presence. His glory lit up the darkness at the dawn of creation when “the earth was formless and empty” and darkness prevailed (Genesis 1:2). There was no other source of light! Hovering over it all was God’s Spirit, ready for our world to join the universe, in God’s great creative plan.

Suddenly light burst forth in the darkness! The power of God’s word is manifested as He separated the light from the darkness, preparing a place where mankind could dwell. He “saw that the light was good”! He even named “day” and “night”; these became morning and evening, the first day (1:4-5). In the beginning….! At the end of time there will be a wonderful experience for all who believe that Jesus is “the Light of the world” (John 8:12). We are going to live in a city where there will be no hydro. In fact there will be no need of sun or moon since the glory of God will brilliantly illuminate heaven! (Revelation 22:23). It is going to be beyond spectacular!

In the life of Jesus we see again the heart of God who desires all people should walk in the light of His glory. Adam and Eve enjoyed that privilege in the Garden of Eden, until they chose to disbelieve God’s Word. Jesus brings us back to God. He said “I am the Light of the world”! That is quite a claim! (John 8:12). This theme is repeated “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world” (9:5). Miracles performed by Jesus brought light to the blind, but let’s not forget – He also came to bring light to the spiritually blind.

God’s intention is for all people to enjoy the “light of life” brought to us by His only begotten Son (John 3:16). It isn’t complicated. That fellowship comes to those who believe and receive the Light which John clearly identifies in his gospel (John 1:12). “In Him [Jesus] is life and that life is the Light of men”. John is inspired to explain “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:4-5). However, the truth is that “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).

Now, the gospel is free. Paul says he offers it through his preaching in order “to win as many as possible”. Isaiah, hundreds of years before Christ came to earth proclaimed “How beautiful….. are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion ‘Your God reigns’!“ (52:7). Today the best preaching is done by the silent witness of lives changed by God to love others!… lives lit by the Light of God, who make a difference – you in your small corner and I in mine! Lives touched by the Holy Spirit with joy and peace, kindness and patience, and forgiveness.

Reflection:

Is God’s Light radiating from your life? How will your eulogy read regarding the way your life has represented faith in Christ Jesus, to the people around you? These are questions each of us would do well to consider. God’s Light is both exquisite and powerful. His love generates tranquility and energy. It attracts because it is real!

Let there be Light!

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

God Speaks to Joshua

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Joshua 1

Who was Joshua? The son of Nun, we know, but what was it that drew Moses’ attention to this young man? Preparing for battle against the Amalekites, Moses trusted Joshua to choose the Israelite warriors (Exodus 17:9-14). The Lord singled Joshua out when the battle was over, because God wanted Joshua to remember what He had accomplished through him that day (:9). Was this a sign of things to come?

From that time, Joshua was chosen by Moses as his aide, to accompany him to Mt Sinai where he received the 10 commandments. Moses also appointed him to guard the Tent of Meeting where God spoke face to face with Moses. Clearly Joshua had proven himself capable and trustworthy.

We find Joshua gradually being given increased responsibility. At the end of Moses’ life he was commissioned before Eleazar the priest and the whole assembly (Numbers 27:17, 23). Passing the baton must have been a very moving experience for Moses who knew he would never enter the Promised Land because of the sin he had committed at Kadesh.

Joshua’s name meant “Yahweh is salvation”. He was a descendent of Joseph, one of the tribe of Ephraim. He had scouted the land of Canaan with Caleb and the other 10 spies who had given a negative report. After the death of Moses, the Lord spoke to Joshua directly. He had been accustomed to receiving the word of the Lord through Moses. Now Moses was dead.

The Lord’s first words confirmed his Divine appointment. “Get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give….I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses” (Joshua 1:2-3). As a warrior, Joshua was used to war. However, God’s promise “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life” must have been deeply encouraging (:5). Joshua may have remembered earlier experiences when God was true to His word. Now God was giving him a glimpse into the future of His people. WOW!

Moses had called the people to be strong and courageous. They were not to be afraid, because the Lord their God would go before them, never leaving or forsaking them! (Deuteronomy 31:6.) Now God Himself is making the same commitment directly to Joshua “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). Three times God repeats “Be strong and courageous” (:6, 7, 9).

Today God calls us to be strong and courageous. Paul writes: “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong” (1 Corinthians 16: 13). Jesus, as He was leaving His disciples promised “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). He had promised earlier that He would send a comforter, the Spirit of Truth, one who would live with and in believers, Christ-followers (John 14:16-17).

Joshua rose to fame because his life was totally committed to God. Just as God spoke to him, so God will speak to us through His word – the Bible, and even through others in our lives. We need to recognize the role of the Holy Spirit dwelling within. The Lord said: “Take Joshua….a man in whom is the Spirit” (Numbers 27:17).

Reflection:

In what way(s) would you like your life to resemble Joshua’s?

Is our response to God’s call “Here am I – send me”?

What is more thrilling than to remember those significant moments in our lives when God has used us to His glory?

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

Numbers


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Numbers 14:18-24

Numbers are often used as a measure of success. What marks did you get? How much do you earn? How many attended a certain function? How old are you? Our great Omniscient God attends to detail, counting the very number of hairs on each person’s head. He also created vast expanses of stars, and angels without number. He numbered the tribes of Israel exactly one year after they left Egypt. They gathered in the desert near Mt Sinai to receive instructions from the Lord, through His servant Moses (Numbers 1:1-2).

Are numbers important to God? The Bible answers that question for us. The Lord Jesus talked about the importance of one sheep that was lost and how the good shepherd left ninety-nine to recover that one (Luke 15:3-7). He used this to illustrate the rejoicing which takes place in heaven over one person who comes into the family of God (Luke 15:7-10).

When is the last time you heard a sermon from the book of Numbers? Yet – the theme of this book is relevant to our day and age. God’s intention was for His people to walk by faith, trusting in His promises. They did not have Bibles tucked under their arms when they went to church, but rather stood in the sun for hours, to hear the Word of the Lord, thundered by His prophet Moses. The book is very real, since it describes the weaknesses of the nation’s leaders; Moses, Aaron and Miriam did not always measure up to God’s standard. Ryrie notes “God miraculously supported them during those years of rebellion and wandering and finally brought them [the nation] to the Promised Land” (Ryrie Study Bible Page 197).

The first chapters of this book deal with the sanctification of God’s chosen people. One event had Messianic overtones, when Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness to heal folks bitten by snakes (Number 21:9) Compare this scripture with John 3:14. Only God could turn that evil into good. Paul understood this principle when he wrote “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

In this remarkably honest book we find the nation celebrating the first Passover. Just after the completion of the Tabernacle, designed to foster worship, God spoke to Moses in the Desert of Sinai (9:1) laying out the details of this specific celebration. And so “The Israelites did everything just as the Lord commanded Moses” (9:5). We also find the Holy Spirit in this Old Testament book! Moses gathered 70 elders together and the Lord descended in a cloud to speak to him. Then “He took the Spirit that was on him [Moses] and put the Spirit on the seventy Elders “. Under the power of the Spirit of God, they prophesied – a one-time only event (11:25).

Throughout their journey, the Israelites often grumbled. We read that in spite of this “The Lord was slow to anger, abounding in love, and forgiving sin and rebellion” (14:18). It is this same God who grows patience and kindness and love in His children today through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). However, lest we take God’s mercy for granted He warned “no one who has treated Me with contempt will ever see it [the Promised land] (Numbers 14:23). There are consequences for our choices, even today.

Reflection:

There are so many lessons to be learned from the Book of Numbers. Here the character of our faithful, covenant-keeping God is confirmed in the experience of wayward Israel.

The words of Balaam remind us of the committed life “I must speak only what God puts in my mouth” (22:38). Would to God we stayed by this principle, letting our yea be yea and our nay mean nay (Matthew 5:37).

God desires to make a covenant of peace with those who are zealous for the honour of the Lord (25:12-13). This reminds us of the cost to the One who purchased our peace at Calvary, doesn’t it?

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)