On the Plains of Moab Blog
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September 7, 2012, 8:28 AM

Numbers & Us

We are about to close out this series in the book of Numbers.  As I was preaching last week, something occured to me on the spot.  Each sermon text I've chosen in this book ends on a predominantly negative note.  Uuugh!  I remember the words of the professor in my Old Testament Survey course in college:  "This is the saddest book in all of the Old Testament."  Well, I don't know about that -- perhaps Jeremiah's Lamentations might be a good candidate for that distinction -- but his point was well taken.  But, here's the sobering reality about  that remark:  The people of God in the Wilderness resemble the people of God in the Church today.  [!]  Think about that for a moment.

  I can't help but come away with that thought after reading of their adventuires on the way to the Promised Land.  They are the Israel of God.  The people who are the "apple of his eye."  The nation entrusted with the mission of bringing the Kingdom of God to a needy world.  The beneficiaries of all that hevane has to offer.  And then on the other hand, here are the most discontent, ungrateful, grumbling, fickle, backsliding people on the face of the earth!

Don't we resemble that remark?  Ouch.

And yet, and yet.  God doesn't leave things that way.  He provides for his people over and over.  He forgives them over and over.  He stays with them and fulfills all of his promises.  In spite of all the human failure, he continues to lay the groundwork for his ultimate answer to human need.  The fingerprints of Jesus are all over the book of Numbers:  From the numerous prayerful interventions from Moses and Aaron to the blatantly obvious preview of the cross in the serpent lifted up in the wilderness.

As I read and preach through this book, I want to make sure to come back to the man in the mirror.  How can I, as a believer in Jesus Christ, keep myself from the grumbling state of mind?  How can I learn from my spiritual ancestors?  How can I draw closer to the Lord?  Well, I'm not a fan of laundry lists, but I came across a blog entry a few days ago that I found very helpful and encouraging.  Check it out.  Hope that you will find it so as well.

22 Ways to Humble Ourselves

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