We Did it, We made it through Numbers!
It is hard to believe but we are officially done with the book of Numbers! Over the past six weeks we have been working through the book of Numbers with Good Morning Girls in our Blogging Through the Bible series. I have learned more than I ever expected from this book.
I don’t know about you, but I have had a bad view of the book of Numbers for a long time. I have read through it a few times, but I often avoided it because it seemed an old dusty book that really didn’t have anything relevant for me today.
I was reminded yet again how wrong my thinking has been. I have learned a lot through this bible study and I have seen over and over again God’s mercy, grace and constant patience with us. The people of Israel are constantly straying off the path that he sets up for them. It seems that they are constantly messing and and I just wonder why.
How Do I See God?
In Chapter 33 of Numbers we find the Lord giving the people of Israel instructions on what He requires them to do once they arrive in the land. At the end of the chapter, God tells the people that they are required to fully conquer the people of the land and remove them from the land. God has a mission for his people. God has a big plan.
We find out later in the book of Joshua and Judges that the people didn’t do what God told them to do. They didn’t drive out all the people from the land. They paid dearly for this mistake. [see Psalm 106]
As I was thinking about why the people didn’t follow through with God’s plan I just couldn’t understand why they would stop? Then I realized that the people over the generations had forgotten who God really is. The generations who were born in the promised land didn’t grow up seeing God preform the miracles that the generation who crossed over the Jordan river saw. They didn’t really see God as the all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere present, creator of the heavens, creator of the skies. Their view of God had gotten too small. They had gotten too comfortable with the people around them, and they didn’t see God the same way any more.
When the people of Israel crossed the Jordan, they were all in. They knew what God wanted them to do, and they had the amazing examples of men like Caleb and Joshua to remind them of what God was going to do through them. The following generations didn’t see God that way and they were not as enthusiastic about God’s plan as their parents and grand parents. They became more concerned with their own comfort rather than fulfilling God’s plan.
Let’s take a minute and picture the life of someone in Israel following Joshua’s death. The women are sitting around the cook fire talking about the changes that are coming to the land. As we approach the fire let’s imagine a conversation that might have happened there:
Mother: “I am so glad that your father is going to be home for a while. I need his help I simply can’t take care of everything here without him. I need him to be home and not fighting all the way down there in the South. I am so tired of this constant fighting and battles. Things are quiet enough here. The towns that are still inhabited by the —–ites are nice enough people. They sure do have nice baskets. Their baskets are the best quality I have seen in years. I don’t know why we have to drive them away just because they believe differently.”
Grandmother: “Dear daughter don’t forget what God has called us to do. He has a punishment that these people deserve for their sins, and it is our job to carry out that punishment. We must be faithful.”
Granddaughter: “Come on grandma you don’t really believe that still holds true for us do you? I mean that might have been for your generation, but it doesn’t apply to our generation. These people are so much better than they were when you all crossed over the Jordan.”
Mother: “Daughter, hush now, we can discuss this later after your father finally comes home, now go get more wood for the fire.”
Can you see how the generations get off track. They probably got off track the same way that we do. We forget who God is. In this forgetting we forget that God’s plans are so much bigger and higher than any plan we could ever dream of, and we get busy getting comfortable and stop doing what we are supposed to do.
The scriptures remind us over and over again that we need to guard ourselves from this and how we can prevent this drift away from God that so easily happens.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
I can see how I would easily fall into this trap of drifting and losing sight of who God really is. I strive for comfort constantly and I want my life to be easy. Some days living out God’s plan for our lives is just so very hard. These are the times to remember that we need to be diligent and faithful. God is eternally faithful, he will never change.
I want to challenge you and me both today. How do you see God? Are you trying to put God in a box? Do you in the words of A.W. Tozer “make God a little bit bigger than yourself so that he is big enough to help when you are in trouble”? Or do you stop and consider what it means when we say God is all-knowing, all-powerful, everywhere present? Take some time this week and think about who God is and what that means. Stop and consider if maybe you are off mission from what God is calling you to do and be because you don’t see God as big enough.