Blinded by self…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

From Numbers 16

15Moshe (Moses) was very angry and said to Adonai, “Don’t accept their grain offering! I haven’t taken one donkey from them, I’ve done nothing wrong to any of them.” 16Moshe (Moses) said to Korach (Korah), “You and your group, be there before Adonai tomorrow — you, they and Aharon (Aaron). 17Each of you take his fire pan and put incense in it; every one of you, bring before Adonai his fire pan, 250 fire pans, you too, and Aharon (Aaron) — each one his fire pan.”

18Each man took his fire pan, put fire in it, laid incense on it and stood at the entrance to the tent of meeting with Moshe  (Moses) and Aharon (Aaron). 19Korach  (Korah) assembled all the group who were against them at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Then the glory of Adonai appeared to the whole assembly.

(iii) 20Adonai said to Moshe  (Moses) and Aharon (Aaron), 21“Separate yourselves from this assembly; I’m going to destroy them right now!” 22They fell on their faces and said, “Oh God, God of the spirits of all humankind, if one person sins, are you going to be angry with the entire assembly?” 23Adonai answered Moshe  (Moses), 24“Tell the assembly to move away from the homes of Korach  (Korah), Datan  (Dathan) and Aviram   (Abiram).” 25Moshe  (Moses) got up and went to Datan and Aviram, and the leaders of Isra’el followed him. 26There he said to the assembly, “Leave the tents of these wicked men! Don’t touch anything that belongs to them, or you may be swept away in all their sins.” 27So they moved away from all around the area where Korach (Korah), Datan  (Dathan) and Aviram   (Abiram) lived.

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/num.16>

English names for Hebrews are in parentheses placed there by this author

Moses expressed his anger at being unjustly accused to God. But when God said he would destroy all the people, Moses went down on his face once more to plead for them.   A man of God subjected to false accusations and attacked for his position expresses anger but only to God.  A humble man as well, he pleads for their redemption.

The taking of the fire and fire pans was a test.  These men were not dedicated to the task so in following through and doing so they were breaking established order set by God.  It was a defiant act of disobedience and disrespect.  They had to consider the previous events recorded in Leviticus 10:1-2 where two were consumed by fire when they inappropriately handled the incense. These are men who daily served in the tabernacle of God; they knew the possible consequences. When these failed to exercise caution and obedience to God, they demonstrated the true nature of their hearts.  Moses knows what is coming and warns the rest of the assembly to step away from the leaders of the rebellion.

It is a fearful thing to come against God’s commands.  There is no respect for Him, no honor when the self rises above his commands.  The ambition and arrogance of these men will be the cause for the judgment about to fall upon them from a holy God.  Their pride, self-importance and jealousy blinded them.  They could not spiritually discern God’s calling on Moses and Aaron.  It was to be their downfall.

The take-away is for all believers to consider God’s commands as supreme.  One cannot defy a holy God with disrespect without also incurring the consequences.  Grace is available today to those who repent; but consequences will come.  The age of grace does not change who God is and what God does.  It provides for humankind’s redemption and shows mercy to a repentant heart.  This is not a call to legalism but to spiritual discernment.  The quest for self blinds the seeker.  They are vulnerable to deception which leads to separation from God.  It is vital to a healthy, overcoming life to be seekers of Christ and disciples of who he is and what he does.

Pray – O God, you are my God and I will ever praise you.  It isn’t about who I am but who you are.

Repent – I repent for the direction many take leading away from you in a search for self.  Please be merciful with them.

Ask – May we always lift you up: “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me.” – Jesus. You, Lord, Your will is our desire.

Yes – Bless, Adonai, my soul!  Adonai my God, you are very great!  Psalm 104:1

Source: Numbers, Leviticus, and Psalm 104

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Search me O God…

 

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Joshua 7:1-11a

 

 But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the LORD burned against the people of Israel.

 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “Go up and spy out the land.” And the men went up and spied out Ai.

 And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not have all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not make the whole people toil up there, for they are few.”

So about three thousand men went up there from the people. And they fled before the men of Ai,

 and the men of Ai killed about thirty-six of their men and chased them before the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them at the descent. And the hearts of the people melted and became as water.

 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until the evening, he and the elders of Israel. And they put dust on their heads.

 And Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord GOD, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to give us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would that we had been content to dwell beyond the Jordan!

 O Lord, what can I say, when Israel has turned their backs before their enemies!

 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it and will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will you do for your great name?”

 The LORD said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face?

 Israel has sinned;

 

When God says ‘give all’ we do well to do just that. One man’s disobedience brought death to thirty-six of his people in a battle that cost Israel their confidence and pride. We cannot play around with the sin that the Spirit of God has shown to us with the prompt to rid ourselves of it. When judgment comes we should then look to our own ways to see what we have held back.

Joshua did not know what Achen had done; he believed all of Israel had obeyed God’s commands. His first impulse was to question God. How often do we do the same? We say God allowed this to happen, or God must have a lesson in this for us… Joshua knew God; he mentored under Moses and yet he fell to the same place we all tend to in questioning God why He didn’t fight for us. Better to ask God, what have we done? Or what have we not done? Forget the cop-outs of “God allowed this to happen for a reason” – sure did and the reason may be in our own disobedience.

It is good to ask; why do we always assume God let stuff happen before we do a thorough searching of our own state. Let us say with the psalmist; “Search me O God and know my thoughts I pray, see if there be a wicked way in me.”

 

[Psalm139:23-24 KJV] 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if [there be any] wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

 

 

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Standing in the gap…

Re-blogging.  Seems it continues to apply to this day and time.  Are we praying?  Are we standing in the gap with Christ?

Ekekiel 22:17-31

The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 18 “Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to Me; they are all bronze, tin, iron, and lead, in the midst of a furnace; they have become dross from silver. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Because you have all become dross, therefore behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 20 As men gather silver, bronze, iron, lead, and tin into the midst of a furnace, to blow fire on it, to melt it; so I will gather you in My anger and in My fury, and I will leave you there and melt you. 21 Yes, I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of My wrath, and you shall be melted in its midst. 22 As silver is melted in the midst of a furnace, so shall you be melted in its midst; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have poured out My fury on you.’ ”
23 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 24 “Son of man, say to her: ‘You are a land that is not cleansed [fn1] or rained on in the day of indignation.’ 25 The conspiracy of her prophets [fn2] in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured people; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst. 26 Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. 27 Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain. 28 Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD had not spoken. 29 The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger. 30 So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. 31 Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord GOD.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=22&v=1&t=NKJVP>

Is there anyone who can stand in the gap?  The list of offenses continues levied against Israel for which the wrath of God will fall.  The offenses include making all things being the same; there is no distinction between that which is holy and that which is common;

“…they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean;…”

there is robbery and the destruction of individual’s lives and livelihood; there is the oppression of the poor and needy; there is the cover up of the sins of the religious leaders; there is the cover up of the sins of the leadership of the people; there is the killing of people for personal gain.

“… to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain…”

Sounds like today’s headline news!! Extortion, robbery, mistreating the alien in the land, oppression of poor and weak all show up in today’s news.  How shall our land escape a similar event?  The Lord looked for someone to stand in the gap. Gap is defined in BLB as a breach in the wall, a broken wall, bursting forth.  The imagery that creates is something was contained behind the wall and now it is escaping, and now there is no denying that it exists.  Like a broken pot with a candle inside and now one can see the light pouring forth.  What now pours out for all to see is the evil in the land.  It is so pervasive there is no denying it. Can there be one who like the little boy, put their finger in the dyke to hold back the flood that threatens to engulf all of mankind?  There is evil in the land, will it engulf all in the land?  Who can stand in the gap and hold back the forces of evil?  That one individual who would build a wall between the sins so obvious and a righteous God.  We have that one in our Lord Jesus Christ. He stood in the gap between our sins and our Creator so that we would not be destroyed.  What of our nation, our planet, our world, time, space and place?  Is there someone to stand in the gap, someone who will pray for the oppressed, the unborn slaughter, the starving of people for gain, the mistreatment of the aliens in our land; someone who will work to right the wrongs the general population wreaks upon each other? Who will spread the word of Christ and his salvation from the consequences of that sin?  Who will fight for justice?

Regrets, deep mourning…?

Ezekiel 19

“Moreover take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel, 2 and say:

​‘​What is your mother? A lioness:

​​She lay down among the lions;

​​Among the young lions she nourished her cubs.

3 ​​She brought up one of her cubs,

​​And he became a young lion;

​​He learned to catch prey,

​​And he devoured men.

4 ​​The nations also heard of him;

​​He was trapped in their pit,

​​And they brought him with chains to the land of Egypt.

5 ​‘​When she saw that she waited, that her hope was lost,

​​She took another of her cubs and made him a young lion.

6 ​​He roved among the lions,

​​And became a young lion;

​​He learned to catch prey;

​​He devoured men.

7 ​​He knew their desolate places, [fn1]

​​And laid waste their cities;

​​The land with its fullness was desolated

​​By the noise of his roaring.

8 ​​Then the nations set against him from the provinces on every side,

​​And spread their net over him;

​​He was trapped in their pit.

9 ​​They put him in a cage with chains,

​​And brought him to the king of Babylon;

​​They brought him in nets,

​​That his voice should no longer be heard on the mountains of Israel.

10 ​‘​Your mother was like a vine in your bloodline, [fn2]

​​Planted by the waters,

​​Fruitful and full of branches

​​Because of many waters.

11 ​​She had strong branches for scepters of rulers.

​​She towered in stature above the thick branches,

​​And was seen in her height amid the dense foliage.

12 ​​But she was plucked up in fury,

​​She was cast down to the ground,

​​And the east wind dried her fruit.

​​Her strong branches were broken and withered;

​​The fire consumed them.

13 ​​And now she is planted in the wilderness,

​​In a dry and thirsty land.

14 ​​Fire has come out from a rod of her branches

​​And devoured her fruit,

​​So that she has no strong branch— a scepter for ruling.’ ”

This is a lamentation, and has become a lamentation.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=19&v=1&t=NKJVP>

Several points are made in the lament.  One, the lions (leaders) did no good.  Their fruit was destruction.

 

Second, the vine came from within and had fruit, but was high-minded, lifting itself above the rest of the foliage (pride).  Both were brought down.

taken from Creative Jewish Mom

taken from Creative Jewish Mom

taken from Creative Jewish Mom

And finally, the agent of defeat came from within.  A rod from the vine spread the fire that consumed it and there was no fruit left, no branches for a scepter for ruling(no more leaders).  This was a people who had once followed the Lord’s commands.  This was a people who had once expressed their love for him in song and dancing.  This was a people who placed their faith and trust in the Sovereign Lord and were blessed abundantly for it.  These same ones became a people who began to place their trust in themselves because of their blessings.  The deception of the enemy of the soul is clearly presented.  When we are blessed we need to be sure to continue to thank the one who blesses us.  We cannot give in to the temptation to begin to believe that our blessings are our own doing.  Ezekiel gives us a warning and quite the picture of what happens when a people take their prosperity and blessings sent through their relationship with the Creator and turn it around saying it is their own doing, their own strength, their own intellect.  All things come from the Lord.  He is worthy of our praise.

The Lord says:

“…Why will you die…for I take no pleasure in the death of anyone.  Repent and Live! …”

But when the voice of God is ignored or rejected he laments:

“…This is a lament and will be used as a lament. …”

The lament gives reason for and result of consequences that come when the Sovereign Lord is rejected.

Faith pleases God.  Faith that says: “I believe God.”  When we take him at his word and see the coming judgment placed alongside the life and freedom in Christ, the decision is not difficult.  When we see…

“Seeing is believing…”

In the lament we see the penalty for sin administered.  There is death, destruction, and imprisonment.  Darkness mingled with sorrow.  When the light of faith shines bright, we see the darkness  dispelled; what was destroyed  rebuilt, and what was in bondage  set free.

 “Repent and live!”  Words of the Sovereign Lord.

Who’s your daddy?

Romans 6:15-23

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?  But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.  I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.  But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Who do we obey?  Self? God? Two roads to travel in life from which to choose. Which road have we chosen?

 “…to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey,...”

Do we begin each day asking; What shall I do today?  Or do we begin with: This is the day the Lord has made, I shall rejoice and be glad in it.  What can I do for you today, Lord?

 “…you were slaves of sin, …  you became slaves of righteousness….”

It is a mind-set and the manner in which we approach life that has changed when we decide for Christ and a life lived for God and His righteousness.  It is how we present ourselves to Him each day, all day and night.  Who’s our daddy?  Who do we serve?  Self or God?

Paul reminds us that the wages of sin is death.  The gift of God is eternal life.  One a wage for which we work, the other a gift, freely given and freely received.  Both enslave us in the sense we attend to the wishes of the source.  Who is our source?  Who is our Daddy?

 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

Crucify self…

Luke 14: 25-35

 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them,  “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.  And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.

 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?  Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’

 “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him?  And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.

 “Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again?  Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”

 Hate here is similar in meaning to ‘turn from.’  Self rules when we consider what we do for  those close to us more important than what we do for the Lord.  Self rules when we plow ahead with plans before considering the cost and find we can’t complete what we started.  Self must be crucified on a cross before we can be useful.  The totally self-absorbed person says their family means much to them and that is true, seen through the filter of self.  The totally self-absorbed person lacks greatly in awareness of the needs of others, or even what others are doing.  The blinders are on and their vision is only inward.  They often are not even aware of their self-absorption.  Jesus likens them to salt with no flavor, worthless, even to themselves!  There is the dilemma.

 When we lose self and having to have things our way, we are free to truly love those we say we love, free to truly serve others without always needing to serve self, do it our way.  We can begin to hear what is said, we can begin to understand the living of the life of service Christ calls us to.  Do we have the ears to hear?  Or do we have earplugs of self in, sunglasses of self that don’t allow us to see?  Crucify self.  There’s the cross we carry; constantly ridding ourselves of having it our way. “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”  Lord increase our awareness of when self tries to get down off the cross.  Increase our awareness of putting the filter of self back in place. Keep us only to Yourself.