Friday, May 30, 2008

Numbers 34:1,2

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying, “Command the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land of Canaan, this is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance, even the land of Canaan according to its borders.’”

[Numbers 34:1,2]

The Israelites had finally arrived at their inheritance, the promised land. Years of rebellion after rebellion against the Lord and after many years of wandering they had arrived.


They had arrived in a dry land full of dust and enemies that wanted nothing but their destruction. They had to fight tooth and nail for every inch of that land. If God went out to war before and with them then they would be successful. But if they rebelled against God again he would remove His hand and they would fail. This was the nature of their inheritance. It was indeed given to them by the Lord but it came with a price.
From their perspective I imagine that they felt pretty good about themselves, after routing out their enemies. Oftentimes in the midst of success we think that we have accomplished much when in actuality we did nothing but be used by God. But if you think about it, what kind of inheritance is that?

Usually when people receive an inheritance they don’t have to put their blood, sweat and tears into it. How far they had fallen. The inheritance that the Lord intended was infinitely better than what they were now going to receive. The Lord created man perfect and had a perfect inheritance for them, to dwell in the Lord’s dwelling place forever. But due to sin the inheritance had dwindled down into this tiny parcel of land that came through much effort and pain.

How far we have fallen. Pre Christ our inheritance was hell. It is a place devoid of all good things; devoid of God himself. Eternal separation. But through Christ, praise the Lord our inheritance is once again God Himself. A relationship with Him that transforms our very nature and changes the course of our lives from being hell bound to being heaven bound. To being tied to the world to being tied to Christ. And now is the time to sell all that we have and buy that field where the treasure lies. With the reality of what we have been saved from and what we now look forward to, our hearts can only be thankful. We can only live lives that glorify Him. Or so we would like to say.

But it is an all too common reality that we forget about our treasure. We forget the new inheritance that we have been given. We forget about His saving grace.

I think that effect is unfortunately amplified in ministry. As we go about our day and we get busy doing “ministry” I think that we have a tendency to forget our first love, our treasure. That zeal and excitement that Jesus talks about that would cause a man to sell all that he has joyfully and then buy a field with a treasure in it.

Let’s never forget that. This application may not seem like the more practical devotions that I have written before, It might seem abstract and almost Christianese to say get back to heart, or remember your first love; Or perhaps this is the most practical thing that I could write about.

To do a quick heart check:
        Do I treasure Christ?

To remind myself:
        What is my inheritance?

In the midst of ministry this is the most important aspect. To keep our hearts correct. To remember what we are here for. Yes, to help people. Yes, to bring others to Christ. Yes, to make it fun and relevant to kids. But always with a pervasive theme that what we do is all for the Glorification of our God.

If we do all those things but our hearts are not correct then we dishonor God and He is not glorified by it.

        13Then the Lord said, "Because this people draw near with their words
and honor Me         with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me,
and their reverence for Me         consists of tradition learned by rote,  14Therefore behold, I will once again deal         marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous;
and the wisdom of their wise men         will perish,
and the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed."

                                                        - Isaiah 29:13

Let’s not force God’s hand. Let’s not wait for him to deal with us marvelously. Let’s bring glory to Him now. Out of our own volition. Let’s have that fear of God’s marvelous work.

Forgive me for not treasuring you like I should. You are my treasure, my rock, my savior. Please glorify yourself through me and the ministry that you have entrusted to my hands. I love you and thank you for the opportunity.

In Christ’s name, AMEN.