Sunday, 11 December 2016

There’s one thing that matters more than anything else - the glory of God.

“The Lord is the only true God” (Joshua 22:22,34).
In this new land, the Israelites faced conflict. This was more than a conflict between nations. It was a conflict between the one God and the many gods. It was a conflict  between the true God and the false gods. God’s Word to His people was clear - “You must be loyal to the Lord your God” (Joshua 23:8). God is still speaking to His people. He is still saying, “Get rid of the gods ... Serve only the Lord” (Joshua 24:14). The choice must be made - “Choose today whom you will serve.” God is calling us to make our response: “I will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). After reading many chapters, full of names, we must remember that there is one Name which is more important than all the other names. It’s the Name of the Lord our God. After reading so much about military exploits, we must remember that it is in the Name of the Lord that we are called to do battle. There’s a spiritual battle to be fought. In this battle, we fight for the Lord. We fight in His strength. In this battle, there’s one thing that matters more than anything else. It’s the glory of God.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Don't lose sight of the spiritual dimension.

The cities of refuge (Joshua 20) and the cities that were given to the tribes (Joshua 21) - This isn’t particularly interesting. We should never lose sight of the spiritual dimension, with which Joshua 21 ends: “The Lord gave Israel the whole land ... The Lord allowed them to have peace on every side ... The Lord handed all their enemies over to them. Every single promise that the Lord had given the nation of Israel came true” (Joshua 21:43-45).

Friday, 9 December 2016

In the presence of the Lord

The division of the land among the tribes (Joshua 15-19) seems to be so mundane, yet it’s part of the Word of God. This reminds us that even the mundane aspects of our life are lived out “in the presence of the Lord” (Joshua 18:10; 19:51).

Thursday, 8 December 2016

85 years old ...

In the book of Joshua , there’s plenty of geography - lots of place names. There is also the spiritual emphasis on the direct connection between obedience and blessing. We see this in the life of Caleb (Joshua 14:6-9,13-14). There’s something remarkable about Caleb - “I am 85 years old” and “still as fit to go to war as I was when Moses sent me out.” He was still saying, “If the Lord is with me, I can drive them out, as He promised” (Joshua 14;10-12).

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The victory comes from the Lord.

“Don’t be afraid of them because I am going to give them to Israel” (Joshua 11:6). This is the Word of the Lord that lies at the heart of Joshua’s account of Israel’s victories. The victory comes from the Lord. He gives His people the victory. This is still God’s Word to us. As we face our enemies - everything that stands in the way of our spiritual progress, we must stand on the Word of the Lord - His promise of victory.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Lord fights for us.

“The Lord fought for Israel” (Joshua 10:14). This is what we must see in all the conflicts between Israel and the other nations. God is working out His purpose. He is fulfilling His promises. Without this spiritual dimension, the events recorded in the book of Joshua are of no real significance for us today. Keeping this spiritual purpose at the centre, we will learn this great lesson: The Lord fights for us.

Monday, 5 December 2016

The victory over Ai

The victory over Ai (Joshua 7 & 8) could not take place until the sin of Achan had been dealt with. There needs to be the tearing down of sin before there can be the building up with salvation. This is a spiritual principle of the greatest importance. God withholds His blessing from us when we withhold our obedience from Him. It is to an obedient people that God sends His blessing. We must,in repentance, remove the barriers to God’s blessing. When we do this, we can, then, reach out, by faith, and receive the blessing that He is so eager to give to us.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

The victory over Jericho

The victory over Jericho came immediately after the appearance of “the Commander of the Lord’s army.” It was God who told His people how they were to approach the city of Jericho. Everything about this victory marked it out as the work of God: “So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land” (Joshua 6:27). The Lord accomplishes His work when His people obey His instructions. We must never forget this. All glory must be given to the Lord. It’s not our obedience which earns His blessing. It’s His power and His love, which sends His blessing down from heaven. His blessing is sent to those who are obedient. It’s always the gift of His grace. It’s never the reward for our good works.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

The crossing of the River Jordan

The crossing of the River Jordan was a significant event. It was an event to be remembered. It wasn’t just a geographical event. It was more than a movement from one place to another. It was a spiritual event, a work of God. The meaning of this event would bring blessing to God’s people down through the years: “The Lord did this so that everyone in the world would know His mighty power and that you would fear the Lord your God every day of your life” (Joshua 4:24). The past affects the present. It shapes the future. We remember the Lord so that we might learn to fear Him, now and always.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Our strength comes from the Lord.

This is the story of what God was doing with His people. He was giving them the land he had promised to them. Joshua was to be the leader of God's people. Joshua’s strength came from the Lord: “Be strong and courageous! ...The Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
The report of the spies - “The Lord has given us the whole country” (Joshua 2:24) - emphasizes that God is in control. God is working out His purpose, His perfect purpose, His purpose of love.
It is important to remember this. Without this understanding of the events recorded in the book of Joshua, we will lose our way and fail to see what relevance these events have for us. From these events, we learn that our strength comes from the Lord, who does great things for us because He loves us with a perfect love.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

The love of God is for every nation and every generation.

"Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one that the Lord loves rests between His shoulders" (Deuteronomy 33:12).
The Lord loves us. His love casts out our fear. His love gives us security. His love shields us. We rest in His love. There's a place in His heart for us. The love of God - This is the message which reaches out "to the ends of the earth" (Deuteronomy 33:17).
"The great love of God is revealed in the Son, who came to this earth to redeem every one. That love, like a stream flowing clear to the sea, makes clean every heart that from sin would be free. It binds the whole world, every barrier it breaks, the hills it lays low, and the mountains it shakes. It's yours, it is ours, O how lavishly given! The pearl of great price, and the treasure of heaven!" (Daniel Thambyrajah Niles). "All for your sake, all for my sake; yes, for all, I say: Now for the world comes news of salvation: 'Christ is born today!" 'Christ is born today!'" (From the Gujarati of Kahanji Madhavji Ranagrahi).
 * "And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him ..." (Deuteronomy 34:9).
The love of God is for every nation - and it is for every generation. As God's work moves forward from one generation to the next generation, we must look to the Lord to fill us with His Spirit, to give us all that we need to rise to the new challenge of bringing Christ's Gospel of salvation to the people in today's world.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Jesus is more than a prophet.

"The Lord your God  will raise up for you a Prophet ... to Him you shall listen" (Deuteronomy 18:15).
We read these words, and we think of the words spoken by God on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:5). There is a difference. Jesus is more than a prophet. He's God's Son. He's greater than Moses. He's greater than Elijah. They were God's servants. He's God's Son. When we realize that we have a Saviour - more than a prophet!, we will listen to Him, we will give ourselves to Him, and we will thank Him for giving Himself for us.
Why do we listen to Jesus? It's because He speaks the Word of the Lord - "I ... will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak to them all that I shall command Him" (Deuteronomy 18:18).  It's more than that! He is the Word of the Lord (John 1:1,14).
We give ourselves to Him because He has given Himself to us. We do not think much of our great devotion to him. We think much of His great love for us.
As I was reading about "the Prophet", I found my attention drawn to these words - "you shall not be afraid of him" (Deuteronomy 18:22). As I read this verse, I noticed that it's telling us that we do not need to be afraid of the false prophet. Satan has no authority over the Lord's people - "No weapon that is formed against you will prosper ... " (Isaiah 54:17). "you shall not be afraid of him" - I thought a bit more about this verse. I found my thoughts turning to Jesus, our Saviour. We don't need to be afraid of Him. He loves us. In fear, we come to Him. We know that He is holy. In love, He comes to us. He shows us that He is our Saviour. "His perfect love casts out our fear" (1 John 4:18).

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Our giving to the Lord can never be any more than a response to His giving to us.



"You shall give to the Lord your God, as the Lord your God has blessed you" (Deuteronomy 16:10).
Our giving to the Lord can never be any more than a response to His giving to us. His giving to us is always greater than our giving to Him. There can be no comparison between His giving to us and our giving to Him. When we focus our attention on His giving to us, our giving to Him will be transformed. It will not be legalism. It will be thanksgiving. No longer grudge-giving - "I have to", or duty-giving - "I ought to", it will be thanksgiving - "I want to."

Monday, 28 November 2016

The Lord's work is moving on.

Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12
The Lord's work is moving on. The Lord's servant - Moses - is looking towards the future. He is pronouncing God's blessing on the people of Israel. He pays special attention to each tribe. There is a Word from the Lord for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. The people of Israel had been "blessed" - "a nation saved by the Lord" (Deuteronomy 33:29). The future lay with the whole people of God, as they moved forward together. there was, however, to be one man who was called to special leadership among the people - Joshua. For this work, Joshua was "filled with the Spirit" (Deuteronomy 34:9). The people of God were moving forward, but they would not forget where they had come from - how the Lord had led them. They remembered Moses (Deuteronomy 34:10-12) - and they gave thanks to God.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Be Strong And Courageous ...

Deuteronomy 31:1-32:52
Moses' time of leadership was coming to an end. Joshua would replace him as the leader of God's people. With God's command - "Be strong and courageous" - and promise - "you will bring the Israelites into the land that I swore to give them, and I will be with you" (Deuteronomy 31:23), Joshua set out into the work of the Lord. Moses still had a Word to bring to the people from the Lord - a Word which proclaimed the Lord as "a faithful God" (Deuteronomy 32:4) and called the people to be faithful to Him (Deuteronomy 32:5-6).

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Choose Life.

Deuteronomy 29:1-30:20
"Today I offer you life ... Choose life" (Deuteronomy 30:15,19). The meaning of these words concerning life is expanded on in Deuteronomy 30:16,20 - "Love the Lord your God." Loving God - This is what life is all about. This is life as He intended it to be. This is the meaning and purpose of life. This is to be the direction of our life.

Friday, 25 November 2016

'Obedience and Blessing' or 'Disobedience and Curse'?

Deuteronomy 27:1-28:68
Obedience and blessing or disobedience and curse - This was the choice which was set before the people of God. It is still the same choice today. What a difference there is between the two ways - the way of obedience and the way of disobedience, the way of blessing and the way of curse. So much has changed since these words were written - yet the spiritual principles remain the same.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Obedience, Blessing And Prayer

Deuteronomy 24:1-26:19
Doing "the right thing in the presence of the Lord your God" (Deuteronomy 24:13), living "a long time in the land that the Lord your God is giving you" (Deuteronomy 25:15) - the two are vitally connected: obedience and blessing. Together with obedience and blessing, there is prayer. The blessing is not earned by our obedience. It is God at work, answering prayer (Deuteronomy 26:7). Together with the prayer which asks God for blessing, there is to be the prayer which thanks God for His blessing (Deuteronomy 26:8-10). We show our thanksgiving to the Lord by "faithfully obeying His Word with all our heart and with all our soul" (Deuteronomy 26:16). As we keep on obeying the Lord, He will keep on blessing us (Deuteronomy 26:18-19).

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

From ancient Israel ... to us today

Deuteronomy 22:1-23:25
We read the detailed instructions regarding morality. We feel that we are in another world, the world of ancient Israel. Nevertheless, we get hints, here and there, of the timeless spiritual principles, which are still applicable to us today. Deuteronomy 23:5 - "The Lord your God loves you." Deuteronomy 23:14 - ""The Lord your God moves around in your camp to protect you and hand your enemies over to you." God gives us His guidelines for life because He loves us and wants to protect us from everything that would endanger our enjoyment of His blessing.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Are we being true to God?

Deuteronomy 20:1-21:23
The conflict between the Israelites and the other nations was really a conflict between the true God and the false gods (Deuteronomy 20:17-18). Everything in life must be seen in connection with our relationship to God: Are we being true to Him? Or, are we being false? We must seek to do what "the Lord considers right", what is "clean" in His eyes (Deuteronomy 21:9,23).

Monday, 21 November 2016

The spiritual dimension must never be forgotten.

Deuteronomy 18:1-19:21
"The land the Lord you God is giving you" (Deuteronomy 18:9; Deuteronomy 19:1,8,10,14): In all the practical instructions given to the people of Israel, there is always this reminder of the spiritual dimension. They are the people of God. They have been blessed by the Lord. They are to live as people who appreciate God's blessing. The spiritual dimension must never be forgotten. We are not talking only about social matters. We are talking about the life of God's people, "the redeemed of the Lord."

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Our worship is to be filled with thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:1-17:20
"Honour the Lord your God" (Deuteronomy 16:1) - We are to worship the Lord. Our worship is to be filled with thanksgiving, praising the Lord for His redemption - "The Lord your God brought you out of Egypt." Moving from the land of bondage, we move, by faith, into the land of salvation: "You will enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you. You will take possession of it and live there" (Deuteronomy 17:14). As the Lord leads us on, our praise to Him increases. Let praise increase as grace increases.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Those who have been saved by the Lord are to live for Him.

Deuteronomy 14:1-15:23
"The Lord has chosen you to be His own special possession" (Deuteronomy 14:2). This is a great blessing - We have been saved by grace (Ephesians 2:5,8). "You are people who are holy to the Lord your God" (Deuteronomy 14:21). Those who have been saved by the Lord are to live for Him (Ephesians 2:10). "Be generous to the poor and needy" (Deuteronomy 15:11) - Living for the Lord involves showing kindness to others. We have been loved by the Lord. We are to love others.

Friday, 18 November 2016

At the heart of our obedience to God, there is worship.

Deuteronomy 11:1-13:18
God had blessed His people greatly. They were to live in obedience to Him. This is the way of further blessing (chapter 11). At the heart of our obedience to God, there is worship, true worship, worship which glorifies the Lord (chapter 12). At the heart of worship, there is to be the Word of God. Without the Word of God, we will be easily led astray (Deuteronomy 13:1-2). The central message to us here is summed up in Deuteronomy 13:4 - "Worship the Lord your God, fear Him, obey His commands, listen to what He says, serve Him and be loyal to Him."

Thursday, 17 November 2016

On A Journey

Deuteronomy 9:1-10:22
The Lord's people were on a 'journey' (Deuteronomy 10:11). They were journeying with Him. He was leading them in the way of His blessing. In our journey through life, how are we to experience an ever-increasing measure of God's blessing? - "Fear the Lord your God, follow all His directions, love Him, and worship Him (Deuteronomy 10:12). This is the way of blessing. It is "for your own good" (Deuteronomy 10:13).

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

How are God's people to remain true to Him?

Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20
The contrast between God's people and those who worship false gods is so strong. It would be easy for God's people to feel superior. God's Word gives us no encouragement to have a superiority complex (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). How are God's people to remain true to Him when there are so many pressures to conform to the world? - We must remember that we need the Word of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3). Without His Word, we will be easy victims for Satan. The Lord warns His people - We must remember to obey Him, or we will, by our disobedience, bring ourselves under His judgment (Deuteronomy 8:19-20).

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Keep on following the Lord.

Deuteronomy 4:1-6:25
There is a real challenge here - Continue in the way of the Lord. Don't turn back from following Him. This is important - not only for ourselves but for generations to come. The Word of the Lord must never be dismissed as something which is to be left in the past. Love for the Lord is not to be set aside as a thing of the past. We are to preserve the Word of the Lord for the next generation. The call to love God must be passed on those who come after us.

Monday, 14 November 2016

On To The Promised Land

Deuteronomy 1:1-3:29
This is the continuing story of God's mighty working on behalf of His chosen people. He is leading them on to the land He had promised to them. Entering this land will not be easy. There will be plenty of opposition. The enemy will be defeated. The Lord will triumph over all who stand against Him.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Before we can hear the Lord speaking to us, we must stop speaking against Him ...

"We have spoken against the Lord" (Numbers 21:7).
Before we can hear the Lord speaking to us, we must stop speaking against Him. How can we hear what the Lord is saying to us if we keep on speaking against Him? If we are to speak for God, we must begin with listening to Him.
"Speak only the Word that I tell you" (Numbers 22:35).
If we are to bring the Word of God to others, we must pray that He will speak to us. We must pray that He will give to us His Word - "the Lord put a word in Balaam's mouth" (Numbers 23:5). At the heart of our ministry of God's Word, there must be this firm conviction: "God is not a man, that He should lie or change His mind" (Numbers 23:19). Who are we to call in question the Word of the Lord? When God speaks to us, He calls us to believe His Word. We are to trust Him. If we question the Word of the Lord, and, then, attempt to speak His Word to others, we're asking for big trouble - "If the trumpet doesn't sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?" (1 Corinthians 14:8). We do not help the people of God to triumph over Satan, if we do not speak to them the Word of the Lord.
"All that the Lords speaks, I must do" (Numbers 23:26).
There needs to be obedience to God's Word. This is not only speaking God's Word. It's doing what God's Word says.
"The Spirit of God came upon him" (Numbers 24:2).
There needs to be empowering by the Spirit of God. Without His power, our words will never speak to people as the Word of the living God. With His power, everything changes. It is His power that carries home His Word to the hearts of our hearers.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

The whole of life is to be arranged according to God's perfect plan.

Numbers 35:1-36:13
The whole of life is to be arranged according to God's perfect plan. This principle underlies all the detailed instructions given here. We see it, first, in Numbers 35:1 - "The Lord spoke to Moses ... " It is repeated in Numbers 35:9 - "The Lord said to Moses ... " It is emphasized in Numbers 36:5-6 - "So Moses gave the Israelites a command from the Lord ... This is what the Lord commands ... " It is seen in the response of "Zelophedad's daugthers" who "did as the Lord commanded Moses." It is found in the concluding verse of the book of Numbers: "These are the commands and rules the Lord gave the Israelites ... " (Numbers 36:13). Life may be very different today. Still, the spiritual principle remains the same: Our life is to be lived according to the teaching of God's Word.

Friday, 11 November 2016

In God's "place", the "place" of His blessing, there must be nothing that hinders true worship of the Lord.

Numbers 33:1-34:29
Much of what we have here is geographical. There is also, however, a spiritual dimension. God is leading His people to their new land, the land He had promised to them. In all the names of the places, we must see the hand of God directing His people according to His perfect plan. In God's "place", the "place" of His blessing, there must be nothing that hinders true worship of the Lord (Numbers 33:52).

Thursday, 10 November 2016

We will do as the Lord has said.

Numbers 30:1-32:42
In the various areas of life - personal faithfulness (chapter 30), our relationship with the world (chapter 31), our relationship with the Lord's people (chapter 32), there is one thing which is of the utmost importance: "we will do as the Lord has said" (Numbers 32:31). This is the most important thing: obedience to God.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The Perfect Sacrifice

Numbers 28:1-29:40
The people of Israel were given an extremely elaborate and detailed description of the sacrifices they were to bring to God. We no longer need to to bring such sacrifices to God. God Himself has provided the perfect Sacrifice. The Son of God has given Himself for us. He has put away our sin by the Sacrifice of Himself. We must focus our exclusive attention on Him.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The names change - but the Lord remains the same.

Numbers 27:1-23
Joshua was to lead the  people beyond the point to which Moses had led them. Joshua was chosen and empowered by God. Reading the story of God's people, from one generation to another, we find that the names change - but the Lord remains the same. Moses played his part. Joshua played his part. At every point in the story, God is there, upholding His servants in every generation.

Monday, 7 November 2016

God's people are being called on to maturity.

Numbers 25:1-26:65
God's people are being called on to maturity. This is the significance of the phrase, "at least twenty years old" (Numbers 26:2,4). There are, however, many dangers. We are easily sidetracked - putting other "gods" before the Lord our God (Numbers 25:3). This turning away from the Lord is a serious matter, leading to the withdrawal of God's blessing. We can, however, continue to enjoy the Lord's blessing if, like Caleb and Joshua, we are men and women of faith (Numbers 26:64-65).

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Speaking The Word Of Truth

Numbers 22:1-24:25
The story of Balaam concerns the challenge of speaking God's Word in truth. God is the God of truth (Numbers 23:19). His messengers must speak the Word of truth.. Before we can speak God's Word in truth, there needs to be a confession of sin, an acknowledgment of how far we have deviated from the way of truth. This confession of sin is to be accompanied by a fresh commitment to walking in the way of truth (Numbers 22:34). Speaking the Word of truth involves looking beyond ourselves to the One who is the Word of truth - our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (Numbers 24:17).

Saturday, 5 November 2016

If there is to be real blessing among God's people ...

Numbers 21:1-35
The Israelites are journeying with the Lord. He is leading them from victory to victory. Salvation for Israel, salvation from the God of Israel, the true and living God, meant "destruction" (Numbers 21:3) for those who opposed God and His people - "How horrible it is for you, Moab! You are destroyed, you people of the god Chemosh" (Numbers 21:29). If there is to be real blessing among God's people, we must face conflict and overcome opposition from God's enemies.

Friday, 4 November 2016

The blessing of God must never be taken for granted.

Numbers 20:1-29 
Neither Moses nor Aaron were to enter the land, promised by God to His people (Numbers 20:12,24). This is a reminder to us that we dare not presume on God's continued blessing. The fact that He has blessed us in the past does not mean that He will always bless us. We can lose out on His blessing. The blessing of God is to be treasured. It is not be taken lightly. It must never be taken for granted.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Jesus Christ is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

Numbers 19:1-22
When we read about being made clean, we must look beyond what we read in the Old Testament. From the sprinkling of the blood of "a red cow that is perfect, with no defects", we must look on to the New Testament, where we read of "the blood of Jesus Christ which cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). Jesus Christ is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Whoever we are, whatever our place in God's work, we are to be dedicated to the Lord.

Numbers 17:1-18:30
Moses, the priests, the people - All of them were to honour the Lord in everything. (i) "Moses did exactly what the Lord commanded him to do" (Numbers 17:11). (ii) The priests were "a gift, given by the Lord, to do whatever work is necessary at the tent of meeting" (Numbers 18:6). (iii) The people were to "contribute the best and holiest parts to the Lord" ("out of all the gifts they had received" (Numbers 18:29). Whoever we are, whatever our place in God's work, we are to be dedicated to the Lord, committed to doing His will and being faithful in the work He has given to us to do for Him.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Holiness Is To Be Real.

Numbers 16:1-50
In this chapter, we read about the judgment of God upon those who sinned against Him. God is perfectly holy. He calls us to be holy. This is not to be a pretence. It is to be real. Those who came under God's judgment claimed to be holy (Numbers 16:3). God saw what they were really like. This very challenging. It's a reminder that we must not take God lightly: "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Alongside this, we should also remember that Christ's hands were pierced for us. He waits to welcome all who return to Him, fleeing from "the wrath to come."

Monday, 31 October 2016

Our present obedience draws strength from our past redemption and our future hope.

Numbers 15:1-41
God's work among His people was directed toward the future - "Once you're settled in the land I'm giving you" - and it was grounded in the past - "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God" (Numbers 15:2,41). Our present obedience draws strength from our past redemption - "It is finished" - and our future hope - It is still to come.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Grace is freely given by the Lord - but it can never be taken for granted by us.

Numbers 14:1-45
The problems continue. The problems increase (Numbers 14:1-4). Again, there is the Word of encouragement - "this time from Joshua, as well as Caleb" (Numbers 14:5-9). The people bring judgment upon themselves. They will not enter the promised land. Of the older generation, only faithful Caleb and Joshua were to enter the land. They would lead the next generation into the land of promise, thus fulfilling the Lord's promise of grace, which is always free grace - but it's never cheap grace. Grace is freely given by the Lord - but it can never be taken for granted by us. This point - not taking God's grace for granted - becomes clear in Numbers 14:39-45.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

By faith, we shall overcome the problems.

Numbers 12:1-13:33 
In his leadership of God's people, Moses faced problems. It was not an easy pathway towards the promised land. There was opposition from Miriam and Aaron (Numbers 12:1). There was an unbelieving report, brought back from the land of Canaan by most of the spies (Numbers 13:31). Alongside these problems, there was the encouragement, which came from Caleb's words of faith: "Let's go now and take possession of the land. We should be more than able to conquer it" (Numbers 13:30). By faith, we shall overcome the problems.

Friday, 28 October 2016

The release of God's Spirit among God's people

Numbers 11:1-35
There were problems among God's people. The spirit of complaint had spread among them. This brought the "fire" of judgment (Numbers 11:1). The spirit spirit of complaint comes when people don't like what God is doing among His people.We see this in Numbers 11:26-28. The words of prophecy are described as the result of the working of "the Spirit" (Numbers 11:26), yet Joshua said, "Stop them, sir!" (Numbers 11:28). Note Moses' response - "I wish all the Lord's people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit on them" (Numbers 11:29). What we need is not the quenching of the Spirit, but the release of God's Spirit among God's people.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Travelling towards the promised land

Numbers 9:1-10:36
The Israelites were travelling towards the promised land. As they travelled, they were to celebrate the Passover (Numbers 9:1-14). In their journey, they were being led by the Lord (Numbers 9:15-23). In the course of their journey, they faced opposition from their enemies, the enemies of the Lord. In this situation, they looked to the Lord for victory: "the Lord your God will remember you and rescue you from your enemies", "Arise, O Lord! Scatter Your enemies! Make those who hate You, run away from You!" (Numbers 10:9,35). Our journey is from the past (for which we give thanks to God), through the present (in which we look to the Lord for victory), to the future (towards which we are being led by the Lord.) In every part of our journey, we are journeying with God.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Without God's Word at the centre, everything else means nothing.

Numbers 7:1-8:26 
From each tribe, the gifts came. The Levites had a special ministry. For this ministry, they needed to be made "clean" (Numbers 8:5). Through cleansing, they were made "ready to do the Lord's work" (Numbers 8:11). In a very special sense, God said of them, "the Levites will be Mine" (Numbers 8:14). Between the gifts from the tribes (Numbers 7) and the preparation of the Levites (Numbers 8:5-26), there are the seven lamps on the lampstand, giving "light in front of the lampstand" (Numbers 8:1-4). The lamp stand was made of "gold."  This is the precious light of God's Word, shining like gold, which is greater than all the other metals. God's Word is the light which inspires the giving of the tribes and the ministry of the Levites. Without God's Word at the centre, everything else means nothing.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Sin Can Lead To A Withdrawal Of God's Blessing.

Numbers  5:1-6:27
We must take sin seriously. It can lead to a withdrawal of God's blessing. This is the important and challenging message of Numbers 5. We must not lose sight of God's purpose for our lives. We are to be "dedicated to the Lord" (Numbers 6:6). It is God's intention to bless. In His love for us, He continues to speak to us His Word. His promise of blessing is still His Word to us. It is a Word which never ceases to be relevant to His people: "The Lord will bless you and watch over you. The Lord will smile on you and be kind to you. The Lord will look on you with favour and give you peace" (Numbers 6:24-26).

Monday, 24 October 2016

Listen to what God is saying. Do what He has said.

Numbers 1:1-4:49
God spoke, Israel obeyed (Numbers 1:1,54). This is the constant pattern of the life of faith - hearing and obeying the Word of God. The names of God's people differ from place to place. The pattern of their life remains the same. This pattern is also emphasized in Numbers 2, which begins with God speaking (Numbers 2:1) and ends with the people obeying (Numbers 2:34). This pattern is repeated in Numbers 3-4, which begin with God's Word (Numbers 3:1; Numbers 4:1) and end with our obedience (Numbers 3:51; Numbers 4:49). In Numbers, we read so much that is unfamiliar to us. We must learn to look for the Word that comes to us, in our time, as a Word from the Lord who is "the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). Hear and obey. Listen to what God is saying. Do what He has said.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Set Free For God's Future

"a sin offering ... an atonement ... clean" (Leviticus 12:8).
We read the words of the book of Leviticus. We feel like we're out of our depth. We don't really know what to make all of this. We read about " a sin offering", we read about "an atonement", we read about being made "clean" - We read all of this, and the light begins to shine. It's the light of Jesus, our Saviour. We think of Him. We think of His death upon the Cross. We know that He died for us. We know that He loves us - and we rejoice in His love. Do we need to understand all that there is in the book of Leviticus? No! We catch a glimpse of Jesus - and His "sin offering." Our hearts are filled with joy, as we think of His "atonement." This a new beginning for us - "the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).  It's a new beginning. We're set free from our past. We're set free for God's future.
What is God's future? What great plan does He have for us? - This is what He says to us, "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high" (Leviticus 26:13).
What God has done for us in the past is not all that He will do for us. We must never forget what He has done for us in the past. the Exodus from Egypt was a great event. It was an event of salvation. The death of our Saviour was an even greater event. this is the event of our salvation. without His death for us, we could never be saved. he took our place. He died our death. He took our sin upon Himself. He died that we might have life - the new life of those who have received the forgiveness of their sins, the eternal life which will be filled with joy forevermore. Following our entry into this new life and before our entry into God's everlasting Kingdom, there is a journey that each of us must make. It will be a different journey for each of us. We must make our own journey. My journey will not be your journey. Your journey will not be my journey. In my journey, I am not alone. In your journey, you are not alone. The Lord is with you. The Lord is with me.
What kind of journey will it be? It will be a hard road. How hard? In what way will it be hard? No-one really knows. We know that there will be "enemies" - but we know that the Lord has given us his promise: "When they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them ... I am the Lord their God" (Leviticus 26:44).
What a great promise this is! We have many enemies - but there is one enemy who is more determined than all of the rest of them, put together. Our great enemy is Satan. God's Word teaches us that Satan is a determined enemy. It also teaches us that he's a defeated enemy. we look at Satan - and we look at Jesus. We see what Satan is trying to do to us. We look at what Jesus has done for us. At the Cross, we learn that Jesus has succeeded - and we learn that Satan has failed. Jesus has triumphed over Satan. Can we doubt that Jesus' victory over Satan will be a complete victory? Can we doubt that Satan's defeat will be a total defeat? At the Cross, we catch a glimpse of the final victory. In our hearts, we know that God's Word is true: "Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57).