27th February: Numbers 32-34 – We find happiness when we aim at holiness.

Numbers

32:1-42  –  Some look for an easy life. They know that there will be conflict on the other side of the Jordan. They opt out – ‘do not take us across the Jordan’ (5). They think they’ve travelled far enough. God says, ‘Let us go on to maturity’ (Hebrews 6:1). ‘My happiness’ – This is what concerns the self-centred person. Spiritual maturity is not about happiness. It’s about holiness. We find happiness when we aim at holiness. What is holiness? – ‘It’s the life apart from the world’s excess. It’s the Lord’s command, not the Lord’s request. It’s the only life that the Lord can bless’. Pretend to be more holy than you really are, and ‘be sure your sin will find you out’ (23). A small minority – Caleb and Joshua – ‘wholly followed the Lord’ (12): Better a minority with God than a majority without Him.

33:1-49  –  In the history of Israel – Set free by the power of God, failure to learn, wandering, the promised land – , there is a picture of the Christian life – conversion and growth to spiritual maturity by way of learning from our mistakes. We are not to remain in the past. That would be nostalgia. It is, however, a good thing for us to remember, with gratitude, all the way the Lord has led us. This will increase our appreciation of the goodness of God. It will deepen our sense of indebtedness to Him. Israel’s redemption was a mighty work of God. Our salvation is a mighty work of God. Think back over your life – ‘stage by stage’ (2) – and thank God for all that He has done. ‘These are the stages of’ what the Lord has done (1): You may see the Lord in places where you hadn’t noticed Him before!
33:50-34:29  –  ‘Drive out all the inhabitants of the land’ (52): We must drive out the enemy (Satan) if we are to enter more fully into our salvation in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:3-14). Idolatry is to be banished (52). It has no place among God’s people. God wants us to ‘possess the land’ (53) – a fuller enjoyment of Him. Idolatry is settling for ‘second best’ – letting something or someone else become more important to you than the Lord. Don’t let it happen! The setting of the boundaries of the land of Canaan (34:1-29) is a reminder that there are boundaries in the Christian life, boundaries set by God Himself, the boundaries of Holy Scripture. When we move beyond the boundaries of God’s holy Word, we move outside the sphere of God’s blessing. Live in the will of God – within the boundaries set by His Word.
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