February 11

Numbers 8-10, Psalm 42

There are many excuses as to why many choose not to share their faith in Jesus with others. Among the most prevalent is: it makes them feel awkward, they are afraid to offend someone, they are afraid of losing that friendship, and they are afraid they either don't know enough or will be asked something that they can't answer. This last reason defies logic, since we don't have all the answers for anything. As a physician I'd like to say that every question that I'm asked I could immediately respond with the right answer. But sometimes a patient's symptoms require a time of reflection. Other times I need to go to resources, either journals, textbooks, other colleagues for advice. This is not a sign of weakness, but a realization that I don't possess all the answers, all the time, to help another. It is often pride which makes us feel that we need to respond immediately. In Matthew 5:3,5, we read, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven...Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth."

We read in Numbers 9:8, after receiving a question from certain men who wanted to celebrate the Passover but found themselves unclean and incapable of doing so due to being unclean as a result of being in contact with a corpse, "And Moses said to them, "Stand still, that I may hear what the Lord will command concerning you." Moses despite all of the laws and his wisdom and knowledge, did not know the answer. He does the right thing, being both humble and meek, he defers to God. Despite Moses' exalted leadership, he did not presume to speak for the Lord when the Lord had not spoken to him. He, like all of us, need to listen for the voice of God when a clear answer is not apparent. We read in Numbers 9:9-11, "Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the children of Israel saying: 'If anyone of you or your posterity is unclean because of a corpse, or is far away on a journey, he may still keep the Lord's Passover. On the fourteenth day of the second month...". They could celebrate it, but the following month. This answer was probably very important to two famous Pharisees in John 19:38-42, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea who took care of the body of Jesus and buried it during the Passover. Since most people like exceptions and try to make it a new rule, God goes on in Numbers 9:13, to let them know that if they are not on a journey or unclean, there were no exceptions to celebrating it at the designated time.

Too often we are ready to exert our opinion on matters. When God has not spoken on a matter, we would do well to follow Moses' example and seek God first in prayer. People are sometimes envious of Moses and those who had the presence of God in a physically tangible way, in this case His continuous presence in the cloud and pillar of fire (Numbers 9:15-23). But we read in Jeremiah 31:33, we have something better in the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit, always available should we seek Him, "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." Are we allowing God to lead us like His cloud in the wilderness. At church do we allow Him to lead us into and out of conversations, not mindlessly approaching the same old clique of friends. If the conversation goes from the things of God and turns to idleness or gossip, do we allow ourselves to be led away from that conversation and move on, like the Israelites who followed that cloud. God wants us to enjoy the Spirit filled life and He will then direct our steps. This takes total submission and emptying of ourselves. God can direct all of our steps if we allow Him too. If we are asked something that we do not know, we just need to step back and pray, and God will eventually give us clarity.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster