Clearing Out the Garbage (Numbers 31-33)

September 10

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By Talon Paul

As the Israelites are preparing to finally enter the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, God commands them in 33:52 to “drive out all the inhabitants of the land” (not kill them all) and “destroy all their molten images and demolish their high places.” The very first thing that God commands them to do after driving out everybody is to completely destroy their false gods. God wants nothing but Himself as the divine authority of the Israelites’ lives, and He wants only Himself as the divine authority of our lives as well.

YHWH God says in v. 55 and 56 that if they do not do these things, then those people and their false gods will trouble them in the land. As we know from the rest of the story, the Israelites did not listen and they suffered the consequences for not obeying. They later on begin to follow these false gods and God punishes them for their actions.

But just like the Israelites who needed to clear out the ‘garbage’ of the Promised Land before inheriting it, we as Christians need to do the same. We need to take out the ‘false gods’ in our lives, whether that be a bad relationship, an obsession, an addiction, or anything that keeps us from giving complete devotion to our Heavenly Father. If we don’t, those things can come back and trouble us for the rest of our lives, just like they did to the Israelites. We need to be diligent and active in removing the ‘garbage’ from our life so we can give everything that we are to our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus.

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When God says speak . . . don’t strike instead (Numbers 18-20)

September 6

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By Talon Paul

In Numbers 18-20, most of us have gotten bored of all the sacrifice talk and all the specifics that the priests had to perform to make these sacrifices. There is also detail given to what happens when someone touches a dead body, purification, and everything else that just does not apply to us today. However, beyond all of these historical specifics, there is a tragic story in chapter 20 for Moses and Aaron.

Moses and Aaron are commanded to speak to a rock in order to produce water for the Israelites (v.8), but instead, they hit the rock with a staff (v.11). This was an act of disobedience and disbelief (v.12). Because of these actions, both Moses and Aaron are forbidden to enter the Promised Land.

Let this serve as a fair reminder for us as well. If we do not have full and complete trust in God and His plan for salvation, and if we do not obey His Son (see John 3:36), we will not enter the Promised Land (Kingdom of God) either. God demands our full obedience and trust, even when we are frustrated and things don’t quite make sense. We must have absolute faith in Him because He has something greater in store for us, rather than disobeying Him.

Will you be like the 10? Or the 2? (Numbers 12-14)

Sunday, September 4 – Start of Week 7

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By Talon Paul

After the Israelites have been freed from their slavery in Egypt by God Almighty (see Ex. 3-14), the Israelites are on their way through the desert towards the land that God promised to Abraham and his descendants (see Gen. 12). However, along this brutal journey, the Israelites become hungry, angry, and resentful of their God. In chapter 13, the Israelites are within distance of the Promised Land and send spies to see how the land looks, and if they are able to overcome it. Two out of the twelve spies believe that God will give them this land, while the other ten are fearful and not trusting of God. It gets so bad that the Israelites start to miss their past life in Egyptian slavery! (see 14:3-4)

Our Christian walk can be much the same as the Israelites’ journey. There are times when we question whether or not the promise of the Kingdom of God is worth all the hardships that we face. We sometimes become bitter and resentful of our God as well, although we know He has a better future planned for us. We sometimes look back and wonder if our lives before becoming Christian was easier and better for us too!

Let the Israelites’ story be a warning to us. They were unable to enter the Promised Land because they desired their past life more than God’s plan. I pray that we don’t fall into that same trap. Put your hope in God and His plans, especially when times seem rough. He has a better future in store for us; immortal life without pain or sorrow.