Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday's in the Word: Clearing a Path for Blessings

And the LORD said unto Moses, Is the LORD'S hand waxed short?
thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.
(Num 11:23)

The new school year is rapidly approaching and like many of you, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the changes I’d like to make this year. One thing that the Lord has really impressed upon me is that all the learning in the world is meaningless if our priorities are wrong. I have always said that if I had to choose between my children being educated or godly, godliness would win hands down! Having good children is nice; having godly children is priceless! 

Sally, over at Diamonds in the Rough, has a rule in her home that we have decided to adopt. It’s so simple yet I believe it could be life altering. Want to know what it is? Here you go: No Bible, No Breakfast! All too often lately, we’re in such a mad dash to get out of bed and get off to some other obligation that our time in the Word goes by the wayside. More often than not, I’ll rise earlier than the girls to get my quiet time in, but in doing so, I’m neglecting to encourage them to have theirs. Jesus tells us in John 6 that spiritual food is of far greater importance than physical food.

We only instituted this rule on Monday but I can tell you that, without a doubt, I’ve seen a difference in my days!  The Lord really does bless when we try to do right! For right now, I am spending time with the girls all together, sharing God’s Word. They need to be reading on their own as well but until a pattern is developed for setting aside this time first thing in the morning, I think we’ll continue as a group. On Monday and Tuesday I read the Proverb for the day and we talked about various verses. However, this morning, the Lord showed me something in my quiet time that I wanted to share with them…and with you!

I was reading in the book of Numbers about the children of Israel. Chapter 11 talks about how the Israelites were tired of the manna that God had provided them, and began to murmur and complain. Throughout the chapter, a conversation takes place between the Lord and Moses. God promises to give the Israelites the meat they are crying for “until it come out at your nostrils”. Moses questions God, asking if they are going to have to slay all of their cattle or catch all the fish in the sea in order to feed such a multitude. At this point, God replies, “Is the Lord’s hand waxed short? Thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.”. 

God is telling Moses that His hand is not shortened and to basically "watch and see". Of course, we know that God is able to fulfill any promise He makes, and indeed, He had promised the children of Israel meat…and lots of it!

What the Lord really spoke to my heart about in this chapter is my own lack of faith. Like Moses, I have questioned God about things that He has promised. We are each given promises in the Word of God and it is up to us believe them by faith. The story in this chapter has a very negative outcome. The Israelites received the promise from God but it wasn’t really what they wanted. We can turn this around and apply it to our lives. What if there is a promise from God that we want to claim, that we really want to hold on to and that we wait for God to fulfill? What can we learn from our examples in Scripture?

And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD:
and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled;…
(Num 11:1)

All of this started with the people complaining. The Bible tells us that God hears us when we complain and that it displeases Him. See, the children of Israel were complaining because they had to eat manna and they were longing for the meat of Egypt. Manna was the food that God had provided for them, directly from Heaven. How often do we do the same thing? God provides us a roof over our heads and it’s not big enough. He provides us a vehicle to drive and it’s not new enough. God blesses our husband with a job and the money isn’t enough. I could go on but I am sure you get the point. Each and every time we complain about God’s provision for us, it displeases Him. I think of my own children and how it feels to buy them something special and have it not be the right something. It certainly doesn’t make me feel like blessing them further! Now imagine how the Lord must feel.

The next significant thing that I saw was in verses 6 and 10:

(6) But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.
(10) Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families,
every man in the door of his tent:
and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased.

These verses really tie right in with verse 1 : Their complaining led to ungratefulness. You simply cannot complain and be thankful at the same time!!! And lack of thankfulness displeases the Lord as well.

What the Lord showed me (and I was able to pass along to my daughters) is that Israel’s complaining and lack of thankfulness led to the Lord fulfilling a promise that they really didn’t want him to keep. However, I believe the reverse is true as well. If we would stop our complaining and instead be thankful, the Lord could fulfill His promises towards us. Oh, we cannot ever earn or be deserving of God’s blessings but we can certainly restrain the hand of the Lord from being able to bless us because of our sin. Each and every day we are recipients of the goodness of God in our lives; not because we have earned it but just because He loves us! However, there are some promises that can only be fulfilled by our obedience.

Do you remember the study we did a while back on Psalm 84:11 (no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly)? We simply cannot claim that promise if we are not going to walk uprightly. By the same token, God tells us here in Numbers that complaining and not being thankful greatly displease Him. The Bible says that to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (James 4:17) God simply cannot bless sin and by our addressing our sin of ungratefulness and complaining, we clear a pathway for His blessings.

I don’t know about you, but there are things in my life that I would like the Lord to do. There are promises I want to see fulfilled. There are prayers that I long to have answered. I do not want sin in my life to be the reason that He is unable to do so. I’m thinking that you don’t either. I pray that this might have been an encouragement to you. Complaining is more than just something children do to annoy their parents – it is sin and it needs to be dealt with accordingly.

Keep your eyes on Jesus!

© Adorning Grace 2011

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