Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Numbers brings comfort. (Numbers???)

A moment of honesty:

I have found it hard to believe that the Old Testament books of Numbers or Leviticus would have inspirational words in them. The wars, the blood, the sacrificial system just didn't speak to me. Maybe you've kinda wanted to skip over that stuff, too.

But -- recently I was writing an essay on the making of the tabernacle in the desert (Numbers 3-9). And as I read Numbers 9, I was struck by the promise God made - to always be with the people who were called to love and serve YHWH. Even though they had chosen to worship an idol in their man-made golden calf, even though they complained, even though they did not believe God would rescue them from the Egyptian armies, again and again God was faithful.

When the tabernacle was built in the desert, God's Presence descended over it as a pillar of fire at night, and a cloud by day. In the middle of the camp, there was a visible sign that God would never leave nor forsake the people God had called by name. When the cloud moved, the people moved. When the cloud stopped, the people stopped. It didn't matter when. It didn't matter for how long. They just watched and obeyed.

I think that many times my fears and reluctance are because I am not confident of God's presence and direction. And yet - in every circumstance - if I just look and wait and pray - God is very clear. When I charge off on my own and then look over my shoulder to see if I'm doing what God asks, ah, then, more often than not, I'm struggling.

So as I read over Numbers 9 recently, I journaled this prayer... and I thought I'd share it with you.

Lord of the Comforting Presence and Awe-bringing Fire,

I am only able to enter into your Presence because the sacrifice of Jesus, who was made sin on my behalf, and who goes before me as my High Priest, Savior and Lord. I recognize that nothing I could ever do would make me worthy. I seek Your guidance, protection and re-direction as I prayerfully make decisions about future ministry and service for You.

God, I ask that You make me wise as a leader. Give me discernment to see Your guiding hand. Give me patience to wait on Your direction. And give me humility to follow others in authority over me as You direct them, whether or not the way seems plain or clear to me.

Thank You, Father, Protector, Redeemer, Friend and Guide. I am listening to Your Spirit’s call and I desire to obey You in every way.

In the Name above all names, Jesus –


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