Thursday, April 23, 2015

iPray: 1 Corinthians 10:5-6


"Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.  Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did."  1 Corinthians 10:5-6

Disobedience and unbelief did not bode well for most of the Israelites.  Far removed from their experiences, it is easy to shake one's head and go "Tsk, tsk, silly Israelites.  God saved you. He parted the Red Sea for you.  He met your needs.  He fed you.  He quenched your thirsts.  He promised you something really, really, really nice.  Why don't you believe?  Why don't you trust? Why don't you obey?"

In Numbers 32, we read about how some of the Israelites wanted to settle in the nice land of Jazer and Gilead... apparently a nice hilly place for cows and grazing... but it was not the Promised Land.  God's response to Moses' request is rather straightforward: 

"The LORD's anger was aroused that day and he swore this oath:  'Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of those who were twenty years old or more when they came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Issac and Jacob - not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the LORD wholeheartedly.' " (Numbers 32:11-12).

Great.  I hope your cows were happy.  I bet the hills were alive with the sound of music, too.  Not.

It is easy to be harsh on the Israelites, yet I have found myself "right there" with them, lacking in belief, trust, and obedience, recoiling back to the same things that don't work, all the while having experienced the saving, miraculous awesome wonderment of God. 

There's gotta be a better way!

The word recoil is quite interesting, and in addition to springing back, it is also the word used to describe kickback from a gun.  Apparently there's some smart, physics-y law at work during this recoil, regarding the conservation of momentum.  I'll be honest, guns and physics, alas, are not areas of expertise of mine.  This conservation of momentum law makes it sound as if in a closed system (with no external forces acting on it) the initial and the final momentum will be equal.  So...  equal and opposite reaction... so... you always get what you always got.  Okay so let me take that and run with it... 

I don't want to give up on what God has for me (and others) trying to make some cows happy (in whatever form they come in.)  I don't want to settle.  Yet, I have lived in the "recoil"... when I'm tired.  When I'm grouchy.  When it's all about my "selfie".  When my equilibrium was threatened or at risk and I didn't want to give up control.  Though I longed for this "wholeheartedly" thing exhibited by Joshua and Caleb, I found myself "springing back" to attempting to rely on myself and my plan.  How did that work out for me?  (Not well.)  What's an Israelite to do?!?!  (Forget the cows and cling to Jesus...!) 

We need to intensely and consistently seek out and seek after THE external force that can change us up and free us from recoiling... from always getting what we've always gotten.  From resorting back to tendencies to settle.  I'm pretty sure, as children of God, we want to unleash MOMENTUM for the Kingdom of God, not conserve it.  :) 

In light of this week's passage, and our overall sermon series (iRock:  the end of self-revelry), let us prayerfully consider the following questions together: 

Have you ever settled?  Reflect on that experience.
Was what you settled for better than what God has for you?
Have you ever found yourself in a cycle where you recoil back to your own tendencies and comfort zones, much like the Israelites did?
Do you believe God can help you (and everyone you know) overcome that?

Do you long to follow God as Caleb and Joshua did... wholeheartedly?
Do you believe God can help you (and everyone you know) do that?

Dear Jesus,
I believe You can save and provide for everyone I know.  I don't want to get in the way.  Help me turn to You daily so that I don't recoil back to my ways and settle.  Help me be transformed and changed by You so that I can reflect Your love toward other people.  Don't let me settle.  Instead, settle me down in Your presence every day.  Amen.

Join us at 6pm tonight, at PoC|Coverage, where we will spend some time praying for everyone we know that we believe Jesus can save AND provide for...

Pastor Celia

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