Exodus 33:16 presents a picture of being people set apart for God. The key was that God’s presence was with them and they had found favor in God’s sight. The surrounding verses show us that Moses wanted to know God’s ways and to see God’s glory. So Moses had no interest in being distinct (different) for the sake of drawing attention to himself. But Moses was so interested in knowing that God was with him that he was willing to be different from everyone else in order to accomplish what God wanted to do through him and through the Israelites.
The book of Numbers reminds us to have Godly confidence when God has called us forward. If God hasn’t called us forward, our faith is mere risky presumption. But I am more prone to err by playing it safe than by taking a risk! I am Moses instructing God that there isn’t enough meat in the world to feed all the Israelites. And God responds “Is the Lord’s arm too short?” Numbers 11:24-25. When the ten spies argue for going back to Egypt, Caleb and Joshua plead with them to possess Canaan because “The Lord is with us.” Numbers 14:4-10.
As I read about the tabernacle furnishings and the glory of the Lord in Exodus 39-40, I ponder the significance today. Clearly, the New Testament teaches we are God’s temple and we should take care of that temple. But it amazes me how much detail God gives in the construction and care of construction and care of the OT tabernacle and temple. God can and does meet us in all kinds of environments from rustic tabernacles to grand cathedrals, and they should be loved and cared for. But they are only buildings until the glory of the Lord comes.
Regi Campbell posted a great blog yesterday about being created to look forward based on Romans 8:38-39. It reminded me of mothers who are accused of having eyes in the back of their heads because they seem to know what their children are doing behind their backs. But God only gave us eyes in the front of our heads, I think in part, because he wanted us looking forward and not living in the past. Paul forgot the past and strained forward to gain what God had for him (Philippians 3:13-14). Shift from reverse gear to forward!
During the years of seven abundance in Egypt, Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. The names had meaning. Manasseh—God helped him forget his past troubles—or to move past them—because he obviously remembered them, but they no longer held him a prisoner. Ephraim—God made Joseph fruitful in the land of suffering. Few of us have stories like Joseph—I certainly do not. But all of us have troubles. God doesn’t always deliver us from them—sometimes He helps us move past them and become fruitful even as a result of those troubles. Awesome God!
In my morning devotions, Oswald Chambers said what we know but do not say: When we obey God, it will cost other people more than it will cost us. The obedience of Jesus to go to the cross cost Simon having to carry his cross when Jesus could no longer carry it (Luke 23:26). I’ve made a number of decisions this past year that were costly to those around me. I don’t like it, yet I have no regrets. I’ve had to trust God to take care of those who bear the cost of my obedience.
I’ve been sensing God wanted to change my devotional habits so I’ve been trying to pay attention to his leading. What am I doing now? I’m reading the Daily Bible in Chronological Order which I’ve never done before. I have also returned to reading Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest while listening to the audio of it in contemporary language. That’s fascinating to watch what wording was updated and what fresh phrases were used to replace them. Lastly, I struggle with a good prayer life, so I have chosen a different prayer focus for each day of the week.