My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
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Saying What the Lord Says
Sometimes the power of culture feels formidable. A lion at Kruger Park.
Numbers 24:13 ‘If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the LORD, to do either good or bad of my own will; what the LORD says, that is what I will say’?
No amount of money from Balak could persuade Balaam to speak words beyond those that had been revealed to him by the LORD. Balak was angry because he had paid Balaam to complete a task and now he was claiming that Balaam was being either immoral or incompetent. This wasn’t the case, because Balaam had to contend with a higher authority. No amount of silver or gold could make him go against the word of the LORD. Even Balaam, whose character comes into question recognizes the authority of God. He is often associated with the old saying, “The Lord can strike a mighty blow with a crooked stick.”
Saying what the Lord says is not always the “politically correct” thing to do. Followers of Christ in many different cultures may be pressured to conform to society. We go through periods of time where that is easier, and then others, where it is much harder. Today, many Christians around the world are facing persecution for their refusal to submit to the culture, or even their government. Far too often those in power, like Balak, have a hard time understanding why a believer would stand firm in their faith.
The ruler, Balak, thought that his request made perfect sense. The same is true for our secular culture that believes wholeheartedly that their perspective makes sense. However, there is something profound that happens when you come face to face with the reality of God. Even the “crooked stick,” Balaam, was powerless to speak against the word of the LORD. You and I should humble ourselves before the LORD Almighty and realize that we are only beginning to understand the ways of God. We are the ones who need to live in obedience to what the LORD says. It’s through the life of Moses that we begin to see that the closer we are to God, the greater the requirement for obedience. When Moses was on the mountain asking to see the glory of God, he had to hide in the cleft of the rock to be protected. He had become so close to God that even a few meters of disobedience would have resulted in his death.
This conversation with Balaam is a foreshadowing of what would be required of those who follow Christ. The world may try and pressure us into doing something that is viewed as either “good or bad of my own will” but ultimately we have to stand with Balaam and declare, “what the LORD says, that is what I will say.”
Lord, please help your children to have the courage to stand and embrace what you have asked us to say. Amen.
Scripture: Job 38:1-2 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Observation: Trying to give a reason for Job’s circumstances, his friends had provided every explanation imaginable to the human mind. Now, it was time for God’s response and reality is brought into focus. The friends were bringing counsel to Job, but they did not have knowledge. There was far too much that they did not understand. Following this question God reminds Job that God alone has power over creation, and this knowledge is far beyond Job’s understanding. Therefore, the words of Job’s friends are hollow with misunderstanding. They do not know God, and should not presume to speak for God, for their counsel becomes words without knowledge. Application: If our first instinct is not to run to the Lord in difficult circumstances, we may be allowing ourselves to be counseled by words without knowledge. There are plenty of people who are willing to give us ad…
Scripture: Acts 9:32 Now as Peter went here and there among all the believers, he came down also to the saints living in Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, for he was paralyzed. 34 Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!” And immediately he got up. 35 And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. Observation:
In this text by the physician Luke, Paul has just recently been converted. Suddenly the narrative shifts to the Apostle Peter who is, no doubt, the leader of the followers of the Way. This passage sets the stage for the expansion of the ministry to the Gentiles. It is in Joppa that Peter has his vision that eventually leads him to the house of Cornelius but at this moment, Peter has no idea where this is going. Peter is simply going about his business, visiting the believers who live outside of Jerusalem, making it to the town of Lydda.
It is in Lydda, not far from …
Scripture: Galatians 3:28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise. Observation:
This passage from Paul’s epistle to the Galatians is frequently quoted and used to remind us of the unity which is found when we belong to Christ. Any barriers that may have existed are to be brought down. The power of prejudice is to be destroyed and a new life is to be found when one belongs to Christ.
Jerome put it this way, “ When one has once put on Christ and, having been sent into the flame, glows with the ardor of the Holy Spirit, it is not apparent whether he is of gold or silver. As long as the heat takes over the mass in this way there is one fiery color, and all diversity of race, condition and body is taken away by such a garment.” (EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS 2.3.27–28) What happens is that the former…