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Numbers 16:41-18:32

There is something in today’s Old Testament reading that stopped me dead in my tracks. There is something I thought was a modern day phenomena even though I know that the “blame game” began back in the “Garden.” No where in the readings of the remainder of chapter 16 and the 17th chapter do the people take responsibility for their unbelief, their disobedience and their out right rebellion against the Word of God, they challenge leadership ordained by God every step of the way. No wonder they wondered for forty years. God couldn’t allow that kind of “murmuring” and complaining into the Promise Land.

A very funny evangelist said, “If you don’t believe the prophet of the house (meaning the Church you are attending) leave ‘cause your going broke if you don’t.” Well, the way she said it was very funny. How many of us tell the Pastor what to do or mummer against him because he should be doing it like this? And is our guide and model godly wisdom? No, it is the imagination of our own minds; after all I did get a degree from what of the top MBA programs (or the lowest) in the country. Shouldn’t that qualify me to run the church? A Medical Doctor once offered his services to serve in the ministry of my church. Now you must be a member for one year and have taken several required classes (New members; Spiritual Growth and a Service class) before you can serve and they have added a three-month boot camp to insure that you can be submitted to leadership. Well anyway they told him they would gladly use him but the only thing that had an opening for was to patrol the parking lot. He quickly withdrew his offer.

We jockey for church positions thinking that it will make us closer to God or that we will have influence, respect and power in the midst the people we serve. But we are not really looking to serve using the model Jesus put forth; we are really looking to be served. And with the responsibility that leadership demands, I’m not sure if I would want the job! Bottom line: We want the authority but we don't want the responsiblity that comes with it. But God says, "Sorry, they are a package deal!"

Leviticus 18:
1The LORD now said to Aaron: "You, your sons, and your relatives from the tribe of Levi will be held responsible for any offenses related to the sanctuary. But you and your sons alone will be held liable for violations connected with the priesthood.
… 3 But as the Levites go about their duties under your supervision, they must be careful not to touch any of the sacred objects or the altar. If they do, both you and they will die.

Whoa! Back up just a minute. These people won’t listen to God yet those Aaron must supervises he’s responsible for if they don’t follow the command not to “touch” the sacred objects? The comment Jesus made about the generation always needing a “sign” becomes clearer about why he said what He said. The Miracles God worked through Moses and Aaron in Egypt weren’t good enough; the parting of the Red Sea wasn’t good enough and the Manna, the quail, the ground opening up and taking Korah and his crowd didn’t convince them that God was the true God and that Moses and Aaron was His representative couldn’t convince them then what would?

This is the statement that really has me stunned,

Numbers 17:
12 Then the people of Israel said to Moses, "We are as good as dead! We are ruined! 13 Everyone who even comes close to the Tabernacle of the LORD dies. We are all doomed!"

No, the reason they died was because they disobeyed, they were rebellious and they complained against God and accused Him of only wanting to take them out in the dessert to kill them. WOW! How much of this do I do? I need to stop and take stock of my activities and my self-talk. Am I following after this pattern? Do I need to fall on my face and ask forgiveness for seditious behavior?

Some thoughts of Paul to Timothy:

Desiring leadership (teaching)
6 But some teachers have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time arguing and talking foolishness. 7 They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don't know what they are talking about, even though they seem so confident. 8 We know these laws are good when they are used as God intended.(1 Timothy 1)

What James states:
1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.(James 3)

Although I’ve read all the readings for the day, I’m just blown away by Numbers 16 and 17 and must spend more time mediating on these two chapters,

Grace and peace,

OT - Numbers is a consistent story. Israelites grumble, then sin, God judges, and God punishes.

As the Creator of the Universe He has the right to judge (who else) and the right to punish. Especially His people who agreed in covenant (big deal in those times) to obey and worship Him as God. Again, you see God aggressively reacting to sin with Israelites before entering Canaan, after a long period of disobedience (Assyria and Babylon invasions), and Beginning of Church (Acts). Why? To show how serious he takes sin.

We are in a period of Grace now - God is patient and Romans 1 describes what happens to nations who repeatedly claim Him and then deny Him.

NT - Resurrection is key to evidence of truth in Jesus’ claim. Is it true? What is standard? Absolute or reasonable explanation? Dealing with ancient times - can we ever know anything absolutely? Perhaps like courtrooms we should go with beyond a reasonable doubt?
4 Facts Historians agree on:
1) Jesus (historical) died on the cross
(Multiple extra-biblical sources)
2) The tomb was empty (and location at time
Known - Joseph of Arimethea’s tomb and
he was member of Sanhedrin) (Jewish and
Biblical sources)
3) Disciples (Apostles) BELIEVED Jesus had
risen physically from the dead.
4) Why would avowed unbelievers - Paul and
James (Jesus’ brother) change their minds
and switch teams)?
If one could wrestle (honestly) with those four facts, the most reasonable explanation is Jesus rose physically from the dead. (After all, if He is creator of the universe, Resurrection is not that big of deal). AND if Jesus physically rose from the dead one should probably take what he says (and said) in Gospels as important truths.

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