Tag Archives: Israelites

In the Breach

We can glean a lot from the leadership of Moses. This picture we get of him standing in the breach is one that exemplifies what it means to be a leader. Don’t stop reading with the excuse that you are not a leader. Everyone is leading someone. The question is—do you stand in the breach?

First, you have to know what it means that Moses stood before God in the breach. When you consider a breach, picture a wall. You have a wall for protection. This wall works great so long as it remains intact. However, there are moments when there is a breach in the wall—a breakdown of the wall at some point that makes the wall ineffective. Now whatever you are trying to keep out is now coming through this break in the wall. When soldiers are protecting an area and there is a breach, the soldiers will use their own bodies to stand at the breach to continue to ensure the area is protected.

When we look at Moses and this picture of him standing before God in the breach, we see a leader who is concerned for the Israelites, the people he was leading. Despite their sin, their shortcomings and failures, he cared for the people. He sought for their best interest. He stood between them and God and made his plea of intercession. He recognized their weakness. He recognized their sin, but he did not let that change the way He cared for them. He sought the mercy of God. He prayed for the people.

As a leader, the most important thing is to care for the people you are leading—to love them. Love them like Jesus loves them. Love them with all that you are and love them despite their shortcomings and failures. Look at them as God sees them. Do all you can to stand in the breach. Pray for them. Give them your very best as you pour into their lives. Treat your time with them as precious. Don’t sell them short. Don’t treat them as a number or a task. Seek their best interest always. Love them. Love them like Jesus.

“So he said he would have destroyed them–if Moses his chosen one had not stood before him in the breach to turn his wrath away from destroying them.” – Psalm 106:23 [CSB]

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The Lord Allows

God selected Moses and Aaron for special roles in leading His people. He also set apart the whole community of Israel. They were God’s chosen people, His special people. In Numbers 16, we read about the rebellion of Korah. The people united against Moses and Aaron. They stood up and claimed two things. The first was true- that all of the people of Israel are set apart. The second part was about greatness. Korah asked why Moses and Aaron acted like they were greater than the rest of the LORD’s people.

We don’t read a bunch of text talking about Moses and Aaron having pride issues. But Korah took the faithfulness of these brothers and made it seem as if they were acting as if they were above the people. The truth was that God placed them in a position above them. Korah was also in a special position. Verse 9 speaks about how they had this great position that allowed them to be near the Lord. However, that wasn’t enough for them. Moses and Aaron had a larger role in their eyes. As a result, they incited a rebellion.

Moses and Aaron allowed the Lord to intercede. Moses understood that it was God Who selected those who enter the presence of the Lord. Moses was a mere man. He also spoke about his calling and recalled “all these things that I have done—for I have not done them on my own.” He pointed to God as the One. God was behind everything. God allowed everything. It was Korah who had “gone too far.” Today, remember that God places each person in a position. Wherever He places you, rejoice in that position. Be thankful that He wants to use you. May you be a faithful, humble servant of the Lord!

“They united against Moses and Aaron and said, ‘You have gone too far! The whole community of Israel has been set apart by the LORD, and He is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the LORD’s people?’ Then he said to Korah and his followers, ‘Tomorrow morning the LORD will show us who belongs to him and who is holy. The LORD will allow only those whom he selects to enter his own presence.” And Moses said, ‘This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things that I have done–for I have not done them on my own.’”  – Numbers 16:3, 5, 28 [NLT]

Graves of Gluttony

Kibroth-hattaavah means “graves of gluttony.” It was given this name because of all of the people who were buried there that craved the meat that was served in Egypt. After God led His people out of the bondage of the Egyptians, the Israelites grumbled. They complained and said, “Oh, for some meat.” God’s provision was not enough. The people were rejecting the Lord. They even said that they “were better off in Egypt.”

As a result of their rejection of the Lord and His provisions, they received what was on their hearts. They received meat, more meat than they probably imagined. So much meat was provided that it was promised: “You will eat it for a whole month until you gag and are sick of it.” When the meat was delivered, they did not humble themselves, repent for their sin, and thank the Lord. Instead, they gorged themselves on the meat. The anger of the LORD “blazed against the people, and He struck them with a severe plague.”

The people were so fixated on the provisions and promises of God, rather than God Himself. It was more about what they could get, than Who they could be involved with in a relationship. Rather than accepting the God of the Universe, they wanted meat that provided temporary satisfaction. Today, consider what you want. Are you desiring something temporary, or something eternal? Are you focused on God or on the provisions of God? Are you trying to fill yourself up with God or with something else?

“But while they were gorging themselves on the meat–while it was still in their mouths–the anger of the LORD blazed against the people, and He struck them with a severe plague. – So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah (which means ‘graves of gluttony’) because there they buried the people who had craved meat from Egypt.” – Numbers 11:33-34 [NLT]

Heard about Everything

When Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came for a visit, he had “heard about everything God has done.” This verse isn’t a verse people usually post as the big motivational verse. This isn’t the life-changing verse for most people. But look at it closely. This man had heard what God did for Moses and the Israelites. He heard. To hear, someone must have shared. Not only was someone sharing, but they were sure to mention that “the LORD had rescued them from Egypt.”

This verse speaks volumes about what we should be speaking about with others—how our gift of gab or our social media savvy can help point people to Jesus. Someone who wasn’t able to see how God moved in mighty ways to rescue His people, still heard about what had happened. People gave God the glory. People spoke of the great things God had done. People heard about everything from those willing to share their testimony.

Today, understand that you have a great testimony to share. You might think it’s not as grand as the parting of the Red Sea. Don’t overthink things my friends. Every person has a testimony; each testimony is important. John ended his book to tell us that the world could not contain all that could be written about the works of Jesus (John 21:25). We each have a part to share. Our testimony is a blessing. Our testimony is a gift. Our testimony needs to be shared. Share today. Remember your testimony is not only meant to be kept in your head to remind you of how God acted, but to share with others who desperately need to meet Jesus.

“Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, heard about everything God had done for Moses and his people, the Israelites. He heard especially about how the LORD had rescued them from Egypt. – Exodus 18:1 [NLT]

The Lord is My Banner

In Exodus 17, after the defeat of the Amalekites, Moses builds an altar and named it Yahweh-nissi, which means “the LORD is my banner.” This may seem strange for us to embrace personally, unless we have a good understanding of a banner. When we think banner, we think of something posted at a convention or bazaar.

Think of a banner as the flag taken into battle. To the army, the flag is a great symbol. This shows the side of who you are fighting. This is a symbolization of strength and security. If you are defeated, the flag is taken. Think of capture the flag. The flag is also a place to rally. One would return to the flag, the rally point, after battle. Consider a sporting event, where the individual teams or schools are represented at different rally points. A person knows where to find their teammates when they find their flag. The banner is also lifted high. This is important to the battle against the Amalekites. Remember, as long as Moses raised the banner high, the Israelites were winning. Lifting the flag high was a great symbol against the Amalekites. It showed all that it was in fact the Lord fighting this battle—He was bringing victory for His chosen people.

What can we take away from this? How is the Lord our personal Banner? He is our strength and our security. It is at His altar that we can fall and find comfort in His strength and His security. As well, it is at His altar that we find safety—He is our rally point. We are meant to run to Him. Just as Moses lifted high the banner during the battle, so we lift Jesus high. We lift our hands to Him. We raise our voices to Him. When we think upon these things, it is then that we can embrace Yahweh-nissi. The LORD is my banner.

“Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-nissi (which means “the LORD is my banner”).” – Exodus 17:15 [NLT]

Glory

The Israelites were quick to complain about God when they didn’t have their eyes on food. Just after God brought them out of Egypt, they forgot what He rescued them from, because they were hungry. Where was the food? We would be better off back in Egypt.

Even though the Israelites were complaining, God showed His glory to them. He didn’t withhold His glory. How awesome is that?!? He graciously allowed them to “see the awesome glory of the LORD in the cloud.”

Have you ever seen God’s glory? If you haven’t, you haven’t been looking. Despite each of us being sinners, He allows us to see His glory. Despite us often being ungrateful, He allows us to see His glory. Today, thank Him for His gracious ways. Thank Him for allowing us to experience Him—allowing us to see His glory!

“And as Aaron spoke to the whole community of Israel, they looked out toward the wilderness. There they could see the awesome glory of the LORD in the cloud.” – Exodus 16:10 [NLT]

Not Against Us

The Israelites were not happy campers after they left Egypt. The people continued to complain as they went through the Wilderness. The people were hungry and considered how better they would be if they had only stayed in Egypt, because there was food available.

The people went up to Moses and began to complain about their current situation. They were hungry. They were frustrated. They complained. The Bible notes in this verse that the complaints were not against Moses—the complaints were against God. Take nothing personal. They are upset with God.

Many times people get frustrated with their current situation. They lash out at you. But they aren’t necessarily upset with you. They are upset that their plan isn’t aligning with God’s plan. They complain because they only see the present; they don’t see what God has prepared for them. They grumble because they believe the provisions of God aren’t enough. They want more. Keep speaking God’s Truth in love. The battle is His!

“In the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your complaints, which are against him, not against us. What have we done that you should complain about us?” – Exodus 16:7 [NLT]

Filled with Awe

The parting of the Red Sea is one of the most known events that we read about in the Bible. God moved in a mighty way as He led His people through the parted waters while chased by the Egyptians. After the Israelites made their way safely through the parted sea, the water came crashing down upon the Egyptians. The Bible says that “Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore” (v. 30 NIV).

“When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the LORD had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before Him.” This is the awe that we should always have for God. He moves in mighty ways in our lives each day. Sometimes we are unable to see what He is doing because our eyes are fixed elsewhere. Sometimes we forget all He has done in the past.

Today, consider if you have lost the awe. Do you have that deep respect for God? Do you have that fall on your knees, face to the ground type awe? Do you have that speechless awe? Are you filled with awe? If you aren’t feeling that this morning, take time to realign yourself to God. Spend more time in the Word and prayer. As you refocus your eyes, may your heart follow.

“When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the LORD had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before Him. They put their faith in the LORD and in his servant Moses.” – Exodus 14:31 [NLT]

Clear Distinction

When God sends the plague of flies, He says that He will make a “clear distinction” between the people. Everyone would know what people were His people and what people were not His people. The actual word used for “distinction” is “peduth,” which means division, ransom, or redemption.

Today, there should be a clear distinction of God’s people as well. You will not see this division by looking at where the flies hang out. Instead, the distinction should be something everyone visibly sees by the way a person lives. A person who is a child of God should stand out as a rebel. A person who is a child of God should not look like a person of this world. Remember, God’s people are not of this world. We should not be transformed by this world—we should be transforming the world.

Continue to shine for Jesus. Focus on what is good, pure, and lovely. Don’t allow the world to infiltrate your life, but instead, spread God’s Word through your words and your deeds. By living this way, there will be a clear distinction between you and the world. By the way you live your life, people will know that you are a child of God. By the way you live your life, people will see Jesus.

“I will make a clear distinction between My people and your people. This miraculous sign will happen tomorrow.” – Exodus 8:23 [NLT]

They are Lazy

Pharaoh said that the Israelites were lazy, because they wanted to leave to make sacrifices to God. Their special request had nothing to do with being lazy, but this was an easy way for Pharaoh to speak out against this request. The Israelites were requesting to travel a good distance to make sacrifices to God. Does that sound lazy?

In life, we encounter people who do not grasp what you are doing. They may not understand why you won’t work on a Sunday—why you take a day to rest with God. They might not think it is important to attend church on a Wednesday evening when you could be going to the gym or going out to eat with friends. People will see what they want to see and call you whatever leaves their lips.

Pharaoh shouted at the Israelites. “You’re just lazy,” he screamed. But saying this didn’t make it true. Others may never understand your desire to worship God. They will call you lazy. They will call you strange. They will miss the boat. Keep on keeping on. Finish the race.

“But still require them to make the same number of bricks as before. Don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy. That’s why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to our God.’ But Pharaoh shouted, ‘You’re just lazy! Lazy! That’s why you’re saying, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to the LORD.’” – Exodus 5:8,17 [NLT]