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March 2017

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Numbers 30:1-31:54
Upon reading this portion of scripture I began thinking of the following verses:

Proverbs 20:25 (AMP)
25 It is a snare to a man to utter a vow [of consecration] rashly and [not until] afterward inquire [whether he can fulfill it].

Ecclesiastes 5 (AMP)
4 When you vow a vow or make a pledge to God, do not put off paying it; for God has no pleasure in fools (those who witlessly mock Him). Pay what you vow.
5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.
6 Do not allow your mouth to cause your body to sin, and do not say before the messenger [the priest] that it was an error or mistake. Why should God be [made] angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands?

How easy it is for me to open my mouth and utter some rash vow without thinking, This is so easy to do when you are amongst other “saints” in the church and they are standing around talking about what “work” they are either going to do for the church or God. Now wanting to feel left out the mouth opens and the foot goes in. Or I feel pressured to respond because I don’t want to look like a “bad” or “lazy” Christian.

The reading today plus the verse I copied in show us that God takes our vows seriously and no matter the amount of pressure we experience or excitement in the moment should cause us to utter a vow to God. This is a much needed reality check for me. If I’m to do something for the church or God it should be done with a joyous heart and not out of a feeling of pressured obligation.

Chapter 31 of Numbers is fascinating because God actually directed them to fight against the Midianites and because they obeyed not one life was lost. However, they didn’t fully listen to what they were told to do they spared some things that should not have been spared. However, again Moses came to the rescue. Even though Moses was told that after this battle, He would go the way of his ancestors, Moses’ heart always yearned for the best for his people. This shows me that our outlook on life must go beyond the current generation; we must have a heart for the generations to come. To have this attitude one must get out of selfishness and understand that this life on earth is about investing in the next generation and not consuming all the resources on self.

Numbers 31:
14 Moses was angry with the leaders of the army, the heads of thousands and the heads of hundreds, who had fought in the war.
15 He said to them, " Have you allowed all the women to live?
This interpreting of God’s Word to confirm to lustful desires will bring much harm to leadership and the nation from the time of this battle until now. God tells us to completely destroy something in that will impact our lives in the future but because we don’t understand the danger, we preempt God’s all knowing knowledge and replace it with our reasoning. Joshua and King Saul will feel the sting on not adhering precisely to instructions from the Lord. I think this modifying of God’s Word began when Moses and Aaron struck the Rock twice; instead of speaking to the Rock back in Numbers 20:8.

Luke 4:1-30

Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to be tested. We forget that the Holy Spirit may lead us into a time of testing. This testing is not to break us but to show us where the cracks are, if any. God knows what we will and will not do, it is we ourselves who have a distorted picture of what we are capable of doing. Just ask the Apostle Peter.

The three areas of testing that Jesus faced or the same three areas where we will be tested: the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).

Take note that the second temptation, or testing, the Devil makes a statement that Jesus doesn’t rebuke. Is his, the Devil’s, statement truth or half-a-truth (half the truth is a whole lie)?
5 The devil took Jesus up on a high mountain. He had Jesus look at all the nations of the world at one time.
6 The devil said to Jesus, 'I will give You all this power and greatness. It has been given to me. I can give it to anyone I want to.

Hmmm, Satan is saying that all the power and greatness is his, or at least it use to be his before Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection took it away from him. Jesus didn’t tell him that he didn’t own it. Is that way the Apostle Paul called Satan, the God of this world? (2 Corinthians 4:4)

When Jesus withstood the temptations the text states that he went back to Galilee under the power of the Holy Spirit. What happens to me when I withstand temptations and testings? Since Jesus is my brother, the first born from the dead, it stands to reason that the same power available to Him should be available to me when I withstand pressure from the enemy. That is something I need to focus on when I am being tested.

We hear this over and over again, even secular folks quote this, but do we really understand the implications?

24 He said, 'A man who speaks for God is not respected in his own country. (NLT)
Or in King James language, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.

Psalm 63:1-11
While reading this Psalm it occurred to me that this first verse is the attitude I should have when I am, “Asking … Seeking … Knocking …”

1 O God, You are my God. I will look for You with all my heart and strength. My soul is thirsty for You. My flesh is weak wanting You in a dry and tired land where there is no water.

So often I look for answers for understanding scripture in all the wrong places. The answer is in this Word!


Proverbs 11:20-21
I did some studying on this particular passage especially since there is this view that God “loves” everyone and thus He is incapable of “judging” anyone as being bad or wicked, they are just misunderstood. But clearly the twentieth verse doesn’t say that. So either God is lying or man has distorted the Words of God.

When in doubt go to back to the Hebrew. The word translated “twisted hearts” in the NLT, is almost word-for-word in the Hebrew. Twisted in the NLT, or “forward” in King James, actually means, twisted, distorted, crooked, perverse, perverted. However the word translated “hate” in several translations yet in the King James the word abomination is used (is an abomination) in the Hebrew [a disgusting thing, abomination, abominable;
in ritual sense (of unclean food, idols, mixed marriages); in ethical sense (of wickedness etc)]

Since we have just gone through the Book of Leviticus, dealing with clean and unclean, we have a clearer understanding of what this actually means. Since God is a Holy God, uncleanness cannot stand before Him. So I believe who we use the word hate and what the Hebrew states may be slightly off; however, we get the picture of how much God “hates” the crooked and perverse way: just something to think about.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

Found this link on Jesus' temptations
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/paperbacktheology/2013/02/the-wisdom-of-henri-nouwen-how-vulnerability-comes-to-life-during-lent.html

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