Thursday, February 28, 2013

face to face with God

Moses had no end of trouble from the children of Israel as he led them through the wilderness. They were complainers, gripers, grumblers, malcontents, etc. Nothing was good enough for them - not even the presence of God Himself. He went before them in a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night yet they failed to trust Him. 
Moses faced opposition from the general mass of people as well as from his own family. The day came when Aaron and Miriam, the brother and sister of Moses, challenged his position as God's chosen leader. Their complaint stemmed from jealousy causing them to defy God's order as they questioned, "Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?" God had indeed spoken through them and they made the mistake of assuming that God spoke through Moses in the same manner as He spoke through them.

Ultimately God shut them down with a warning, in the form of leprosy, to never go there again. The part that interests me most about this episode is how God described Moses when rebuking the siblings. Read on:

"Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you, 
I, the LORD, make Myself
known to him in a vision;
I speak to him in a dream.
Not so with My servant Moses;
He is faithful in all My house.
I speak with him face to face.
Even plainly, and not in
dark sayings;
And he sees the form of the LORD.
Why then were you not afraid
to speak against My servant Moses?"

Numbers 12.6-8 (NKJV)

He spoke to others through dreams and visions, but with Moses He met face to face. He spoke plainly with Him as with a friend and Moses saw "the form of the LORD", which was most likely a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ. God had a close and personal relationship with Moses. Go back for a  moment to the years in Egypt and the decades in the backside of the desert herding goats. During those years this intimacy did not exist and yet it was through those years that God was working to bring Moses to this point. 

God used the early struggles of Moses: the murder of the Egyptian, his rejection by the Israelites, fleeing in fear of the justice of Pharaoh, loneliness and futility herding the flocks of another. Each experience, each event, each year served as a test or trial. As the trials piled up Moses' character was being shaped under the pressure. He came through the other side formed into the meekest man to live and a friend of God whom God met with face to face.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

flesh pots or bread from heaven?

The children of Israel were, at times, complainers. As they traversed the wilderness between Egypt and the Promised Land of Canaan they griped and grumbled while asking why Moses brought them out to this barren place to die. In the eleventh chapter of Numbers we read of their tiring of manna and an intense craving for meat. Once again they cried out against God, complaining about the food He faithfully provided them in the barren wasteland. They began to focus on the menu that was available to them back in Egypt, showing contempt for God's provision.

Moses grew angry with them and ultimately asked the Lord to kill him rather than burden him with this people any longer. God's response was to send to Moses seventy men anointed by the Spirit to assist him in bearing the burden of this troublesome and whiny people. He also sent quail, lots and lots of quail, to the discontented people of Israel.  There were so many that they stacked up three feet deep a days journey in any direction from the camp. 

The people worked quickly to gather up as many quail as they could. It would seem that they tore into the uncooked flesh of the quail in order to satiate their ravenous lust for meat. In doing so they brought the anger of the Lord upon themselves in the form of a plague that destroyed a great number of them.

Ultimately the failure of the Israelites was their failure to trust God. Their complaints were a symptom of faithlessness. They did not trust God which led to an inability to appreciate God and be thankful for what He had already given them. In their lust for the things of Egypt they neglected to honor the One who brought them out of bondage.

As a child of God I have been delivered from the chains the world held me in for the first twenty years of my life. The Lord's faithfulness to me has been nothing short of amazing as He provides for me physically, materially, spiritually, and in every other way. However, He doesn't simply provide for me. That is not His intent. Instead He is the provision.

There are seasons in my life when I find myself in the wilderness. The temptation I face most often while there is that of the complain because of fleshly desires. I take for granted the provision of the Lord, rejecting what He has given in my unthankfulness and hungering for the "flesh pots of Egypt". In reality I am rejecting Him.

Guard your heart against the lusts of the flesh. Trust the Lord and be thankful for His provision - Him - in wilderness journeys and every other season of life.

Monday, February 11, 2013

it's been a while

I have been away from this for too long. I apologize to anyone and everyone who has come back to this page wanting to read something new. It's been a dry season, but I look forward to posting regularly again.