Friday, December 28, 2012

NUMBERS


I have always tried to read through the Bible every year. Sometimes it takes me more than one year because I skip days and get sidetracked with other devotionals and such. In the past two years, my chemo brain has not lent itself to study of any kind, but this fall, I made the commitment to start again.

I LOVE Genesis and Exodus. I could read the stories of Joseph and Abraham and Moses over and over. My intent is always to study one chapter each day and really meditate on what God is telling ME in that chapter. In the first two books, I get so involved that I read multiple chapters. It is better than any biography.

But then, Leviticus. Leviticus weighs me down every time. Too confusing. Too technical. Too many details of ancient Hebrew offerings, laws, punishments and ceremonies. I admit to skimming here.

I just finished Numbers. The many pages of census taking is laborious for me and feels irrelevant (knowing that the leader of Simeon’s tribe is Shelumeil son of Zurishaddai does not make me a better Christian). More rules for offerings that I usually skim. But then, yes, “the story” continues. The Israelites leave Sinai and journey on to take the Promised Land God has told them is theirs. God gives the promise…..they seek its fulfillment.

Numbers has struck a chord with me in a whole new way as I read it through eyes (one with an annoying detached vitreous, mind you) that are colored with cancer. This book really spoke to me this month as I read it. I too am between a promise and its fulfillment.

Numbers is filled with cycles of rebellion and belly-aching from the nation of Israel. They complain about everything from manna to the prospects of defeating the foreigners inhabiting the Promised Land, to the way Moses is handling his job. There is repentance and then as the Israelites cry out in desperation for forgiveness, God gives it. As soon as they sin again, God withholds His blessings until their impatience and irritation and lack of faith get the best of them and they repent. The cycle was to be repeated for centuries.

What spoke to me? God’s promises are fulfilled because of FAITH and ENDURANCE. I have to give those to my Father God. That’s what He asked of His chosen people. It is all He asks of any of us. He basically promised Israel everything they could ever want, IF they would simply trust Him and be patient for the promise to be fulfilled in His time.

God was looking for their faith and their character in that span between the promise and the fulfillment. That’s what He demanded. Be holy. Worship Me and only Me. Obey My commands. Stay in relationship with Me. Wait in faith that I will do what I said I will do. I cannot lie. Persevere. Trust Me with your whole heart.

It is exactly what God is asking of me. God has promised me healing through His Word. He cannot lie. I believe it is mine. It has not manifested itself on a computer screen, but that means nothing in the world of faith. I have a promise. I await its fulfillment. God reminded me through Numbers that he wants my patience and my faith without any complaining. I am determined to give my God exactly that.

THE LORD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU; THE LORD MAKE HIS FACE
TO SHINE UPON YOU AND BE GRACIOUS TO YOU; THE LORD TURN HIS FACE TOWARD YOU AND GIVE YOU PEACE.
Numbers 6:24-26


2 comments:

Pipsylou said...

Wow, to what you said about being in the time between a promise and its fulfillment. WOW!

Cole said...

So true!!! Love the perspective. Admittedly, I skim those books as well. I thought you were heading a different direction when you said Numbers spoke to you. I thought you were going to talk about all of the stats and figures and predictions about possible outcomes for people with similar disagnoses to yours. That all of those numbers will seem so irrelevant when we think of God delivering His healing promise in you.

I really love the truth God sent you through this book and thank you so much for sharing the perspective. I needed it as patience is a virtue I generally struggle with. I find that rest and patience are SO counter-cultural today that people wonder why I'm not more upset about some things or how I can just sit and read...when that's exactly what God has called us to do. Rest in Him and wait on Him.

Love you and so enjoy your writing, Mary!!