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]
Organization is often a problem in life—or should I say disorganization is the problem? For a family to function, for a workplace to function, for a ministry or church to function, organization is very important. Along with this is communication. If you look at struggling relationships, struggling marriages and struggling churches, many times one of the top problems is a lack of communication or a problem with disorganization.
When Nehemiah was leading the people back to godly living, he got everything organized. From the very beginning, he walked around and made notes. I think his organization is one reason I’ve always been drawn to him for I am a bit OCD at times. One of the items he organized included the list for the priests and Levites. He wanted to be sure everyone knew what their job was so they could be focused and get the job done.
In your home, does everyone know their responsibilities and stick to them or is one person carrying the ship? At your work, does everyone understand their job description and requirements or are people micromanaging or slacking off? At church, do you know what area to serve or are you spread out thin like scraping the last out of the butter tub? Nehemiah made sure each man knew his job. Today, write down your job for work, home, church, etc. Make a list and if unsure, ask questions. When you do this, you can find out if you are doing too much, if you are spread thin, and what areas you could put forth more effort. You can do this!
“All in all I cleansed them from everything foreign. I organized the orders of service for the priests and Levites so that each man knew his job. I arranged for a regular supply of altar wood at the appointed times and for the firstfruits.
Remember me, O my God, for good.”
-Nehemiah 13:30-31 [MSG]
There are moments when an opportunity pops up and it is not necessarily best for us to jump on board. When Paul was in Ephesus there was a position that was open. They wanted Paul to stay there to spend more time ministering.
He declined – someone else then filled the position at Ephesus. Is it possible we say yes to things because no one else is saying yes, but if we would just say no, a person would stand up? Some people hesitate. Some people don’t think they can do it. Some people are battling things in their minds with God’s calling.
Paul ended up going to Galatia and spent time helping to strengthen the disciples. A man named Apollos went to Ephesus and he filled the open position. “He spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately” and he spoke “boldly in the synagogue.” (v. 25-26 NIV). Because Paul said “no,” it made room for Apollos to step up and say “yes,” and that acceptance helped Apollos to grow and to even minister elsewhere. We aren’t always meant to say “yes.” Pray about it. Each person has a role to play in the Kingdom. You can’t do it all.
“When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined.” – Acts 18:29 [NIV]
God used Moses as well as Aaron to perform many signs and wonders to get Pharaoh to let His people leave Egypt. During that time, Pharaoh brought forth his magicians to show his power. Exodus 7:8 is the start of the signs and wonders, and it actually begins with God saying that when Pharaoh says to “perform a miracle,” then throw down the staff and it will be a snake. The staff gets tossed down, leaving us to understand that Pharaoh started the ball rolling by asking for the sign. This act by Pharaoh is to suggest that he and his magicians could compete and be shown to be more powerful than God.
As we continue reading onward, the “plagues” start coming. At the beginning, the magicians of Pharaoh were demonstrating that they could do the same things with “secret arts.” However, as time went on, the magicians could not compete. When the gnats came, they realized they couldn’t, and so they said, “This is the finger of God,” acknowledging God as the source of the signs and wonders (Exodus 8:19). As the signs and wonders continued due to the hardened heart of Pharaoh, the furnace soot was tossed in the air to bring about dust over all of Egypt and boils on the people. At this point, “The magicians could not stand before Moses” (Exodus 9:11). They went from being able to perform the same actions to not even being able to be present.
We face many things each day. Sometimes we are like these magicians. We put ourselves in the position of God, but we soon find that we cannot deliver all of the time. We are human and we can only go so far. It is important to acknowledge where the true power comes from as these magicians did. As we start acknowledging God we soon find that He is El Elyon, “God Most High” and El Shaddai “God Almighty.” In all reality, there was a time when we were not able to be present before Him. Thankfully God is gracious and has given each of us a way to be present before Him through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.
We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are to share Jesus, to show everyone Jesus, to point to Jesus. This is not something that we can take lightly, and it’s not something that we simply pick up on when Sunday comes around. This is a 24/7 call from God. We don’t need to have a title, hold countless degrees, or have a class we teach on Sunday to obey this command. The Great Commission is all about a way of life.
Around the holiday season, we have Christians who wish to not offend anyone and to include all people, and so they say “Happy Holidays.” There are also those people who simply say “Merry Christmas,” whether they are believers or not. Then there are the others, the Christians who hear someone say “Happy Holidays” and feel this great need to “correct” the person. I’ve seen people tell a person they were “doing it wrong.” When I hear this, I think the person talking needs to consider that quite possibly they are “doing it wrong.” It is important to remember that Jesus wants us to share the Gospel, not shove it down someone’s throat. Jesus wants us to show love, not to put ourselves on a pedestal. Remember, we all fall short.
This holiday season, I hope you remember the importance of taking Jesus with you, and that it continues on throughout the new year to come. I also pray that you remember the importance of the 3 A’s.
Approach with care. Put yourself in the position of others. Remember that we are all unique. Do not try to force someone to see things your way. Jesus never forced someone to believe in Him and we can’t either. (1 Corinthians 9:22)
Absolute truth. Do not attempt to change the Word. Stand firm in your faith. It is okay to accept others, but it is not okay to try to tweak the Gospel. You can change your methods and your approach, but the Truth never changes. (Romans 1:18-25)
Always show love. God is love. If you are truly representing God, you are showing love. If you are not showing love, rethink your motives because if love isn’t present, God is not in it. (1 John 4:8)
Recommended Further Reading: Romans 12
Like everyone, Peter made a heap of mistakes while following Christ. The denial of Christ was something he refused to accept would happen; however, he was left weeping afterward, knowing the depth of his failure. Even so, Peter did not sink down and allow this failure to stop him from pressing forward with the Great Commission Jesus left with the disciples. In the first chapter of Acts we are able to see that Peter got right back up on the horse and began to lead as was his purpose.
In Acts 1:15-26, Peter stood before the remaining Twelve and proposed the need to fill the position of Judas. This concept was not something he devised from his own thinking, but rather, he knew that the vacant spot must be replaced for the Scripture to be fulfilled. He didn’t allow his failures from the past to stand in the way from the plan God had for his life.
I believe that this example of Peter and his willingness to answer the call is something that we should all model in life. Like Peter, we all will make mistakes and be undeserving of the grace we receive from God. Nonetheless, we cannot allow our imperfections to thwart the plan that God has for our lives. By His grace and mercy we are able to stand no longer condemned. Peter constantly reminds me of the need to press forward and not allow anything, including our shortcomings, get in the way of God’s plan.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 3:12-14 [NIV]