Are we Clinging to the world or god?
The Book of Numbers is a description of the Israelites time in the desert. There was confusion, rebellion, frustration and reprimand. However, the Israelites had the amazing privilege of God dwelling among them. They could see His burning light and pillar of cloud, it guided them during the night and shaded them during the day.
For you, O Lord, are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them and you go before them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. ~Numbers 14:14
The Israelites had a physical relationship with God that everyone could see. Yet they still struggled to do what was right. Almighty God had delivered them, with His amazing signs and wonders, from the oppression of Egypt and they STILL struggled to trust Him.
They could see His glory, it was right in front of them. But they still grumbled and suffered many setbacks because of their troubled hearts. Many even said they wished they were back in Egypt and did not trust that God would provide for them.
Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. ~Deuteronomy 6:3
Today, we are blessed with the gift of the Holy Spirit that Jesus gave to His followers on Pentecost after He ascended to Heaven. This was a powerful gift, given by our Lord and Savior, Jesus. We now are offered a direct relationship with Jesus without a physical sacrifice. Though we can’t see Him, when we choose to follow Him, we are offered His presence. His sacrifice and gift to us can be complicated and hard to comprehend.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. ~Isaiah 53:5
Even though we have the power of the Holy Spirit, we are easily persuaded by the physical things of this world.
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. ~1 John 2:16
Unfortunately, in our current society, we have begun to worship earthly things such as medicine, power, lust, pride, possessions and ourselves. Our self-absorbed, self-help culture makes it very difficult to stay in the presence of Jesus. When it comes to healing, comfort and wholeness, we are constantly bombarded with Earthly remedies and solutions. In our current society about 54% of American children suffer from one or more chronic illnesses, such as ADHD, allergies and anxiety. At least 55% of Americans take regular medications. In fact, 9 out of 10 aged 65+ are taking prescription medications.
Not only that, but we also are dealing with a lot of emotional stress in our country. Division, anger, confusion and isolation has been slowly increasing among youth, parents and the elderly. Through this increased stress and frustration, we can see the similarities of the desert experience from a long distant past.
Is the Lord preparing us for greatness? Are we strong enough to shed our pride, anger and frustration and listen to His loving voice. When He says – do all things in LOVE, can we set our anger, distractions and confusion aside? When He says – trust Me, can we release the things of this world and humble ourselves before Him?
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. ~Colossians 3:13-15
In Numbers 21, Moses is instructed to set a bronze serpent on a pole for the people to look at after they had grumbled against God. Their constant complaints and sinful nature, resulted in an infestation of serpents into the camp. When the people turned back toward God, He gave them a way to be healed from affliction.
So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. ~ Numbers 21:9
Sadly, it wasn’t long before the people began to worship this bronze serpent as an actual idol instead of realizing it was only a symbol and that only God should be worshiped.
He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan). ~2 Kings 18:4
Not only was the Lord using this situation to teach His people to look to Him for healing but also it was a foreshadow of Jesus to come and save us all, through His sacrifice.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. ~John 3:14-15
So the question remains, can we fight through the confusion of our time and be who Jesus has called us to be? Do we trust Him? Do we call upon Him for healing? Or are we going to continue to cling to the world? Will we grumble and complain of His goodness and His divine timing? Will we cause division and point fingers or pray for those who do not know the Lord? Are we strong enough to love one another through this difficult time? Loving one another does not mean agreement. We are called to stand by the Word of God, to stand for God’s truth, even when that means others do not agree with us. This is a truly draining task and we need each other and the Holy Spirit to endure through this time. We encourage you to stay connected with us and others who are strong in the Lord and can build each other up. We will need each other in this season to come.
May the Lord, Jesus bless you all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ~Matthew 6:33
Self-indulgence has seeped into Christianity. Not only that but a continual push from professionals to take a myriad of prescriptions and ‘remedies’ to find comfort. Anything we exalt, we worship. Though God may direct a person to seek a professional, He still wants to be consulted first. He wants your prayers. He wants repentance. He can still heal you. He still LOVES YOU.
RETURN TO ME
…Rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.