Humility Preserves

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I am reading through the book of Numbers during my time with the Lord.  I read a passage in Numbers 16 the other day that I do not remember ever reading or hearing about.  I grew up going to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, youth group on Wednesday, and AWANA.  I went to Bible College at Cedarville University and have been a part of numerous Bible studies.  Somehow, I have missed this story.  The humility and love for the people of Israel challenges and convicts me.

The story I am referring to follows a familiar story that many of us know:  the rebellion of Korah.  Korah was a son of Levi along with 250 chiefs of the congregation rose up before Moses questioning his authority.  Throughout the entire story of Korah’s rebellion Moses’ humility continues to shine through.  “When Moses heard it, he fell on his face.” (Numbers 16:4).  Later God spoke to Moses and told Moses to separate the congregation of Israel from Korah and all his followers and their families and again we see the humility of Moses, “And they (Moses and Aaron) fell on their faces and said, ‘O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and will you be angry with all the congregation?” (Numbers 16:22)

The rest of this story ends with God opening the earth and Korah, his followers, and their families are swallowed up by the earth because of their pride.  What I do not remember ever reading was what happened after Korah and his family and followers were swallowed by the earth.  As you read these verses focus on the humility of Moses and Aaron.  We have seen it in the story of Korah, but Moses’ and Aaron’s humility continues to be what shines forth from them.

But on the next day all the congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and against Aaron, saying, “You killed the people of the Lord.”  And when the congregation had assembled against Moses and against Aaron, they turned toward the tent of meeting, and behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared.  And Moses and Aaron came to the front of the tent of meeting, and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying “Get away from the midst of this congregation, thay I may consume them in a moment.”  And they (Moses and Aaron) fell on their faces.  And Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer, and put fire on it from off the altar and lay incense on it and carry it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone out from the Lord; the plague has begun.”  So Aaron took it as Moses said and ran into the midst of the assembly.  And behold, the plague had already begun among the people.  And he put on the incense and made atonement for the people.  And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped.  Now those who died in the plague were 14,700, besides those who died in the affair of Korah.  And Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the tent of meeting, when the plague was stopped. (Numbers 16:41-50).

God is ready to consume the Israelites with a plague because of their pride, and Moses and Aaron intercede for the people of Israel and stave off their complete destruction and annihilation.  God was showing forth His justice, and Moses and Aaron were seeking God’s mercy, which He granted.

Consider how this applies to our own lives.  Do we sit back and watch or do we intercede on behalf of others.  Moses and Aaron did not just intercede, they went “quickly” and “ran” to intercede on behalf of the people of Israel.

I ask myself, “Am I quick to intercede, or do I think it is their just punishment?”  God saw the sin of pride rampant in the camp of the Israelites, and the honor of humility in the hearts and actions of Aaron and Moses.  It’s easy to see in this story.

Can we see pride or humility in our own story?  The closer we walk with God on a daily basis the greater our humility becomes.

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Talk Stories

 

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Recently on our trip to Hawaii to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, I heard a phrase that was oft repeated by the local Hawaiians: “talk story.”  They do not tell stories, they talk stories.  At the heart of the difference between these two phrases is relationship.  Whether meeting someone new or greeting a longtime friend, talking stories is an exchange that takes place between two people who share their stories.  It’s about connecting on a deeper level with someone.  It’s the social interaction of storytelling that becomes an event.  It is stopping long enough to hear another’s story and then share your own.  Talking stories emphasizes the importance of people and their life stories and the relationship that can develop because of shared stories.

This concept is not new but has been around for centuries.  Moses wrote about it in Deuteronomy.  David wrote about it in Psalms.  Joshua wrote about it in Joshua.  The Bible is full of encouragement for us to “talk stories.”

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk to them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. “  (Deuteronomy 6:4-7).  Hear, teach, and talk are the commands that God gives to the children of Israel.  They are to hear, pay attention to this very important commandment.  Love God with every part of your being.

My question is, “How do we practically live this out in our every day lives?”

I often wonder if a tape recorder was attached to me and recorded my every word for a week, could anyone listen to what I had to say and know that I love God.  What would my verbal testimony be on a daily basis?

These verses in Deuteronomy 6 are very clear about what the average of our words should be: love God with all your being.  Now the stated obvious is if my life does not match my words than my words are null and void.

As I have purposed to make my time with the Lord more meaningful over the last months, I have also tried to be purposeful in sharing with our daughters about this journey I am on. I want them to know that walking with Christ every day is not always easy.  Sometimes, my heart tells me one thing and my head filled with the knowledge of Scripture tells me something else. Sometimes, my thoughts are not Scriptural and the Holy Spirit must do His work and remind me of the faithfulness of my Savior.

The key point I want to emphasize is this: Talk about your journey with the Lord.  Talk stories so that as you are sharing with someone else what God is doing in your life, they also want to share with you what God is doing in their life.

“O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you have performed in their days in the days of old.  In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to Your name forever.” (Psalm 44:1, 8).

We are reminded by the Psalmist again, that what God has done should be rehearsed before the children.  Sometime during the four hundred year captivity of the Israelites in Egypt, they forgot to rehearse what God had done for them.  The children did not hear their parents “talk stories” at the end of their long days working for Pharaoh. Somewhere along the way in their journey in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land, they forgot to rehearse with their children all the great things God had done for them.  The children did not hear their parents “talk stories” around the camp fires at night.  We see this evidenced in their frequent bent to complaining and their lack of trust in God to provide for them.

I have found that as I rehearse these stories of God’s faithfulness to me, it is not just about telling others (especially our daughters) it is also a reminder to me of God’s faithfulness.  When I share what God has done for me with others, it reminds me as well of what He has done.

If God is not working in our lives, then there is nothing to share.  If our time with the Lord is more about checking the box rather than deepening our relationship with Him, then there will be nothing to share.

“But His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither, in all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:2, 3).

The fruit on the tree comes from the depth of the roots.  The stories we rehearse with our children and those around us come from the depth of our relationship with God.  So many heroes of the faith we could use as examples that shared with us about their walk with the Lord.  George Mueller has become my favorite because he wrote in his autobiography what a daily intimate walk with the Lord looks like.  The ups and downs.  The trials and the blessings.  He doesn’t hide behind a pretense.  As I read his autobiography, I saw for the first time what a genuine daily walk with the Lord really looks like lived out in a day by day way.  My heart’s desire is to be that to my daughters and others I come in contact with.  God has given me a story to tell, and if I do not share what He has done in my life then I am not only being disobedient, I am also denying Him the glory due to His name.  God desires for us to “talk stories.”

“I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.” (Psalms 45:17)

Talk stories.