A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com.
Bible Reading Plan - www.Bible-Reading.com ; The Story, Chapter 6, You Version Bible app, days 36 through 42
We continue our journey through God’s Story. We’ve looked at God’s creation of the perfect garden and His desire to walk with us and interact with us in personal, intimate ways. We discovered how our decisions severed that relationship by bringing sin into the world and so God, in His holiness, could not walk in the garden with us anymore because He cannot tolerate sin. We also learned that from the time of that first act of disobedience, God has been working to make a way to restore that perfect relationship with us so that we can once again walk with Him.
We discovered how God uses the most unlikely people to carry out His plan so that no one can claim ownership of that plan. It becomes obvious that only God can be the author of the restoration between God and humanity. He built a special nation through which His plan would come together. He built that nation through Abraham and Sarah and their son, Isaac, born to them at their perfect child bearing ages of 100 and 90 respectively. We saw how God used a slave and prisoner to save His special people and all the other nations of North Africa and the Middle East during a seven year famine that swept that region.
And we learned why God gives us rules so that we can learn to get along with each other. Remember the premise. If we can’t get along with and live with each other, how can we broken, imperfect, selfish, sinful people expect to live with a holy God. Those commands God gave us are not burdensome, gotcha rules and regulations, but rather, the means by which we can live in community with those around us and with God in the center of our community.
So this week, as you read the stories that will come from Numbers and Deuteronomy we will learn something about the Israelites journey in the wilderness. They have escaped from their Egyptian tormentors. Pharaoh’s chariots rest at the bottom of the Sea of Reeds and his army’s bloated bodies float face down in its waters or wash up on the shores. The Israelites have camped out at the foot of Mount Sinai for a year learning about God’s instructions and then God says, “Ok, it’s time to go. Head out to the land I promised you.”
Have you ever headed out on one of those multi-day drive vacation trips? I have to admit, I don’t do those much anymore. When I was younger I took more of them, but I think like me, most people choose to fly rather than spend days in the car to get to their destination these days. Find cheap flights a few months in advance and it’s probably cheaper than the extra days in motel rooms and the gas for the car, right? And certainly better for my back and my psyche.
But when I was a kid, I remember going to Ohio with my parents to visit my grandparents. My dad would sometimes try to make the drive overnight so all of us kids would sleep in the back of the car and not ask THE questions. “Are we there yet?” “How much farther?” “When can we stop to eat?” “What is there to do? I’m bored.” Back then travel was a little different than today. Remember, the first interstate highway wasn’t built until 1954, so by the early sixties many trips still took place on two lane roads. Nashville to Sebring, Ohio was one of those trips.
When it was daylight, the questions started and occasionally my mom or dad’s arm would reach across the front bench seat and swat a leg to let us know it was time to stop whatever it was we were doing. The questions, picking at each other, trying to grab whatever one or the other had. The swat said straighten up, act right, behave yourself. We’ll be at our destination when we get there. Be patient.
Back to God’s story. God told Moses to get going. It was time to leave for their final destination. The promised land awaited. Everyone is thrilled...for a day or two. They complained they needed food. So God sent them manna. Then they complained about the manna. So God gave them quail. But this time God gave them what they wanted. He gave them so much quail that it “came out their nostrils” the Bible says. I’m not sure how much quail that was, but I’m sure I don’t want to find out.
So they complained about the quail. And Aaron and Miriam complain about their brother, Moses! Why is he the leader and not them? He can’t even talk right. Why does he get to go into the tabernacle alone and not them. They want to see God, too. They want to be part of this plan. They have the same blood running through their veins, don’t they? They have the same mother and father as Moses, don’t they? It was Miriam that helped save Moses from being drowned in the Nile after all. This just wasn’t fair! Miriam came away from that argument with leprosy.
Just the year before, these same people were slaves making handmade bricks out of mud and straw for Pharaoh’s buildings. They had a diet of cucumbers and onions. They were beaten by their masters. Pharaoh had all the male babies thrown into the Nile as crocodile snacks. But they thought they were better off there than on their dusty journey through the desert to the promised land described as flowing with milk and honey.
Sounds just like us, doesn’t it? God can do the miraculous for us one moment and then we complain about some minor struggle we have the next moment. He can do the impossible for us and then we question how we will make it through the next day. We lift some prayer request to Him in a study group or prayer circle and then we are amazed when there is an answer to that prayer. We’re just like the Israelites sometimes, aren’t we?
Can I ask you to look back over your life and see how God is working in His upper story to restore His relationship with you? There might be some deserts you’ve gone through. There might be some places where the only thing you had to eat was that plain old manna or you had what you asked for but it was like quail coming out your nose until you just wanted to be rid of it. Maybe you look back and it’s hard to see many places where God worked His miracles because you’re on that dusty road and the winds block your view as if in a sandstorm. Can I challenge you then to remember that we live in the lower story where it is hard to see very far ahead. We only see to the bend in the road and that bend my not be just to the end of our arm. But remember God operates in His upper story and His desire is to bring you into an intimate relationship with Him. He wants more than anything else to walk with you face to face in the perfect garden He has prepared for those who love Him and work according to His purpose.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more about The Story and our part in it. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn’t, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.