Today: Psalms 37:21-31; Luke 6:12-36; Numbers 21:4-35; Numbers 22:1-20
There are more beautiful promises from God in Psalms 37. These must be viewed with eternal vision to make sense. We will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. We will hold the hand of God! This is a glimpse of our beautiful eternal destiny when we believers will indeed be “righteous.” What a glorious future awaits us. This paltry life, with all its pain and struggle, will only be a distant memory.
How do I know this is true? Because God extends fragments of this to us even now if we fix our eyes on Him. Even now He will embrace us in His graciousness, hold our hand, establish our steps, and protect us. Even now we can taste of His amazing love.
“… He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer with God.” Luke 6:12
We are often told in the gospels that Jesus went off by Himself to pray, to be alone with God. If this solitary prayer was something even Jesus found important, how much more do we need it? It is so important to BE STILL with God. Nothing can replace this time.
I grew up in a very legalistic church where the teaching was that the Beatitudes described ways that you SHOULD be — you SHOULD be poor, hungry, and weeping. You SHOULD be hated, insulted, scorned, and excluded. The thinking was that good Christians should strive for those things… that if you didn’t find yourself poor, hungry, sad, and hated, you were missing the mark and should feel a bit of shame (there was a lot of shame involved in their teachings).
But I never could understand it that way. How could anyone WANT to be those things.
Then one day a lightbulb turned on for me and suddenly these Beatitudes made sense. Jesus wasn’t implying that we should WANT to be poor, hungry, weeping, or hated. Jesus was saying that in this cursed world, we WILL find ourselves poor, hungry, sad, and hated. This world is cursed, and it really stinks sometimes. Most of us WILL experience poverty (of one sort or another), hunger (of one sort or another), and sadness.
But Jesus’ message is to take heart because this cursed world is not the whole story. Our destiny is great blessings. Our destiny is a place where we will laugh and be satisfied, where our reward will be great.
Jesus was giving His listeners a glimpse of ETERNAL VISION.
Well, surprise, surprise! Guess what? The Israelites were grumbling again! My goodness, it was a broken record with those people.
And they never learned. Their lives were pretty difficult already, but every time they spoke out against God and Moses, the LORD smacks them with a punishment — plague, fire, earthquakes, fiery serpents — and their lives then get infinitely harder. And then Moses falls on his face and begs God for mercy. And God relents and doesn’t kill them all.
This same story plays out over and over and over and over again!
Learn from this, PLEASE! We find ourselves in the same endless cycle. Human nature does not change. Don’t get sucked into this complaining, grumbling, cancel culture that currently surrounds us. It is Israelites 2.0. Rise your heart up above it. Just look at that bronze serpent on the flagpole, look at Jesus, look at your life with ETERNAL VISION and LIVE!!
And then just like that, their wilderness time was over. They began their conquests, conquering and moving into the cities they encountered. God gave them cities — houses they didn’t have to build, gardens they didn’t have to plant, wealth they didn’t have to create. Just like that God rained blessings and victory down upon them.
Surely then they stopped their complaining, right? Stay tuned…