Prayer Focus: Bahamas, Bahrain

Bible Reading: Numbers 14-16, Psalm 95

Scripture

For the LORD is a great God, a great King above all gods.  He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains.  The sea belongs to him, for he made it.  His hands formed the dry land, tooCome, let us worship and bow down.  Let us kneel before the LORD our maker, for he is our God. Psalm 95:3-7 NLT

Observation

In our reading schedule Psalm 95 comes after three devastating chapters in the book of Numbers.  The Israelites want to replace Moses, rebel against the Lord and return to Egypt.  In the course of events God declares that they will not enter the Promised Land, an entire generation will have to wander the wilderness for 40 years and die and then their children will enter the Promised Land.  Thousands are killed to rid the Israelite community of evil.

It’s difficult to read.  The Lord rescued these people from slavery and has cared and provided for them every step of the way.  How could they keep grumbling against the Lord and even reject His word to them?  Now they pay the consequences of their rejection.  On the very door step of the Promised Land they are turned away.

Application

When I attended a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church we sang the words of Psalm 95 every Sunday.  It’s a beautiful piece and I can recall the tune even now in my head.  In the same way that God spoke to Job, Psalm 95 speaks to the Israelites, and it’s speaking to us, too.  The message is simple: God made the universe.  He holds it in his hand.  He makes it go.  Arguing with Him is not an option.  You can take your case before the Lord and ask Him to explain things and sometimes He will.  But to stand before the Lord and suggest that He doesn’t know what He’s doing is foolish in the extreme.  Question, argue, ask for answers, but never tell God how, when, or why to do something.  He built the system; He knows how it works.

Maybe that’s a bit harsh, but given what happened in Numbers 14-16 I think it’s good advice.

I shouldn’t be so hard on the Israelites either because I’ve done the same thing at one time, or another, when I knew the right path, but ventured off on a side trail anyway.  I’ve sided with the enemy more times than I can count, but thankfully, God covers me with his grace and mercy.  Not so that I can do wrong again, but so that I can learn to do right.  Grace isn’t a license to sin, it’s another chance to do the right thing.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for another chance.  I don’t know how many times I’ve stood at the door of opportunity you’ve place in front of me only to turn and go back the way I came.  There’s that lyric, give me your eyes for just one second, so that I can see the opportunities you’re giving me.  Now I know, if you’re providing the opportunity, you’re also providing the means to see it through.  Thank you, Lord.  Amen.

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