Today’s Readings: Numbers 12-14:12; Psalm 50:1-9; 1 Corinthians 7:25-8:13
It’s not all the time that we can find a unifying theme between all of our readings.
So what does Israel’s spying out the land of Canaan, a psalm and a whole deal about virgins/the unmarried have to do with devotion to God?
simple: devotion is hard and it requires all of our will to be oriented to God in worship.
In Numbers, Miriam and Aaron start to oppose and talk against Moses. Really, it seems that the controversy has arisen because of the ethnic identity of Moses’ wife, who was a Cushite woman. Now, I haven’t done any research into why this was putting such a bend in their attitude towards Moses. The reality is that she had probably assimilated into the Israelite community and as Moses’ wife, she has to be respected by the community.
But she becomes a target.
Specifically, she becomes a target for Miriam and A-A-Ron to get at Moses.
Their motives are jealously as they complain, “has the LORD spoken ONLY through Moses?… Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” (caps mine).
But then God hears their complaining and bitterness towards Moses. God has been using him to lead Israel and they have fallen into the trap of comparison. Because Moses has been so instrumental, somehow, because their ministry has not taken shape the same way, they are jealous and speak against him.
God of course responds and sets them in their place… AND MOSES STILL INTERCEDES FOR THEM!
Man, talk about a humble dude. They jab at him and he just prays to God for them. #realtalk, that’s not easy for us to do.
But the reality is that Moses was faithful to God, he was fully devoted.
Now you have this contrast between Moses, Israel’s human leader, and Israel’s unfaithfulness and lack of devotion with the rest of our reading.
God sends some spies to spy out the land of Canaan and bottom line, they come back and “they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored.” So all the people complain and grumble against God, AGAIN!
and then our reading stops…. you’ll have to wait til tomorrow to see how that story unfolds!
But, again, they saw the challenges that would confront them and needless to say, they were discouraged and chose to rebel against God in an effort to preserve themselves. They didn’t want to risk what God was calling them to risk by leaning on Him and trusting Him.
Skip over to our 1 Corinthians passage and we encounter some topical addresses by Paul. Paul addresses two issues: 1) unmarried folks and 2) eating food sacrificed to idols.
Paul encourages all the single people to remain single, unless they are just gonna burn with passion and fall into sin. And he does the same with the married people. They need to stay married and faithful to their spouse, but don’t let your marriage impede your faithfulness to God.
That is his main concern: relationship goals can become a hinderance to our faithfulness to God.
If we are constantly running after relationships if we are single, that can prove to become a distraction from being fully devoted to God.
If we are married, we are obligated to please our spouse and care for them. But that care and shared love can actually cause us to turn in and neglect our devotion towards God.
So, here’s the deal: Paul wants the church to be fully devoted to God. So much so that if marriage is going to become a barrier for some people in their devotion to God, he councils them to not get married. And same thing with those who are married, “hey don’t let you marriage get in the way of you two pursuing God and being fully devoted to him.” Really, seek to leverage your marriage as a means to become more fully devoted to God.
Bottom line is that God desires for us to be fully devoted to Him. He is the God of deliverance, He is the God of love, He is the sovereign creator of the universe, He is the God who made the only way to be reunited with Him possible through the second person of the Trinity dying in our place. He not only desires us in a deeply loving way, but He deserves for us to be fully devoted to Him because He gave it all for us to be with Him.
What are some ways that we struggle to be fully devoted to God?
Tomorrow’s readings: Numbers 14:13-15:41; Psalm 50:10-23; 1 Corinthians 9