Devotions

Monthly Archives: May, 2018

Korah

Lesson Four | Devotion #4: Korah
Wes McCullough | Production Director

Have you ever wanted something and been sure it was God’s plan for you to have it? While the Bible says, “Ask, and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7), it is not a guarantee. God still requires patience from you. Sometimes the answer to your request comes after waiting and sometimes not at all.

The book of Numbers chapter 16 records a story about a man named Korah who served in the tabernacle. One day Korah went to Moses with a couple of hundred people and accused him of leading the Israelites through the desert however he saw fit. Korah accused Moses of promoting himself above all others and of hoarding all of God’s holiness when all the people were holy. After seeing God work through Moses in the ten plagues and the parting of the Red Sea, Korah still did not believe Moses was leading at God’s command.

Korah’s perspective was twisted and selfish. Korah and his gang had come against Moses and Aaron to overthrow them for what they viewed as an abuse of power. Moses countered their accusations saying, “Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has selected you out of the congregation of Israel to bring you near him to serve in the ministries of The Dwelling of God, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them? He has brought you and all your brother Levites into his inner circle, and now you’re grasping for the priesthood, too. It’s God you’ve ganged up against, not us” (Numbers 16:8-11 MSG).

Moses did not need to defend himself. He allowed the Lord to answer the accusations against him. With the whole community assembled, the Earth opened up and swallowed Korah and his family, servants, and possessions. Also, God’s holy fire consumed every man that had joined Korah’s rebellion.

These misguided men teach us a valuable lesson: do not think you can put God on your team; you can only join God’s team. They thought God had their back in the fight they picked but God does not fight from behind the front lines; He leads the charge and does the fighting, so His people do not have to fight.

As you go through life, continue to seek God’s will and ask to be used in any manner God desires. Whenever and however God does use you, be satisfied knowing God is pleased with your obedience.

Deborah

Lesson Four | Devotion #3: Deborah
Debbie Gabbara | Assistant to the Gathering Pastor

The book of Judges tells us of a fascinating time in the story of the Israelites.  According to chapter 2, it only took one generation without a strong leader who was following the Lord for God’s chosen people to forget all that He had done for them.   The Bible says they did not obey the Lord’s commands and worshiped other gods.  So God allowed the Israelites to be defeated in battle and to be ruled by their enemies. Just as it so often continues with God’s children today, the Israelites were caught in a cycle: Follow God, stray away in disobedience, experience defeat, beg for forgiveness, and come back to God.

Because the Lord is always faithful to love and help His children, He heard their cries for help.  It was during a time of repentance that the Lord appointed the first judge to rescue the Israelites.  The judges were special leaders who heard their legal cases and lead them into battle and helped them defeat their enemies.

One of those judges was a woman.  Chapter four introduces us to Deborah.  She was a wife, a prophetess, a counselor, and a judge in Israel.   She sat under a palm tree and gave God’s people counsel.   The Bible tells us that Deborah also became a military leader when God told her to send Barak into battle against the Canaanites.  Deborah told him exactly how the Lord would help him defeat the king’s army.  Barak however, refused to go into battle without Deborah.  Barak’s refusal to go without her tells me of the strength and trust in the Lord that Barak saw in Deborah.  She was someone who obeyed the Lord.

As I think about this story, I am reminded of a song called Trust and Obey, that I learned in church when I was a girl. “When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory he sheds on our way!  While we do His good will, He abides with us still and with all who will trust and obey.”  The chorus continues, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

Such simple instruction with a profound message: Trust God and obey His Word and we will find happiness.

Sprinkled throughout the Bible, God surprises us with women such as Deborah who completely trusted the Lord and was willing to do what He asked of her, even going into battle.

Like so many women today, Deborah wore many hats.  She was a wife, she worked, she counseled others, and most important, Deborah was a follower of the Lord who trusted and obeyed His commands.  Sometimes we get to sit under the palm trees and sometimes we have to go into battle and fight.  When the battle is won, continue to follow the example of Deborah who sang a song of victory to the Lord.   Get a cup of coffee and spend a few minutes reading Judges chapters 4 and 5, and find your strength in the Lord through the story of Deborah, a woman who trusted and obeyed.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

Aaron

Lesson Four | Devotion #2: Aaron
Joshua Combs | Lead Pastor

“What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?” Exodus 32:21

The relational and leadership dynamics between the great leader Moses and his brother Aaron (the first high priest) are fascinating. As Moses stood before the burning bush, God ordained him as the deliverer of Israel, the hand of God’s power, and the mouthpiece of God’s holy words. Yet, Moses, a man who the Scripture calls “…mighty in his words and deeds…” (Acts 7:22), trembles at the thought of speaking before tyrannical Pharaoh. So God, on the back side of the Sinai desert, righteously rebukes this trembling shepherd, and then graciously offers the speaking assistance of Moses’ brother, Aaron.

From that point, Aaron and Moses are a two man, tag team act that God uses to gloriously bring the Egyptian empire to its knees. Plagues would rain down, God’s glory would be seen, and standing in the middle of this catastrophe and rescue mission were two brothers. When hard-hearted Pharaoh finally relented, Moses and Aaron led the people across a parted Red Sea to the base of Mount Sinai. Moses ascended the mountain with his servant Joshua, where God gave Moses the law and the structure for Jewish society. But while Moses was away, the people panicked and Aaron led them to nearly be annihilated.

Pressured by the impatient Israelites, Aaron led the effort to assemble gold that he would fashion into the image of a golden calf. He declared that the following day they would celebrate and worship this image and praise it for the exodus from Israel (Keep in mind that while they worshiped a golden calf of their making, God’s glory was currently burning on top of Mount Sinai in such a dazzling display that everyone could still see). When the following day came, the noise of celebration reached the ears of Moses and the Lord. Disgusted, the Lord moved to destroy Israel for their blasphemy. One man stood between the angry holy God of Heaven and the people. It was Moses.

Aaron, however, had not interceded for the people but had unwittingly led them to the brink of disaster. Moses confronts his brother, “‘What did this people do to you,’ Moses asks, ‘that you have brought such a great sin upon them?’” (Exodus 32:21). Of course, the answer had very little to do with the pressure of the people and significantly more to do with the weakness of Aaron. He could not stand for the Lord, his brother, or even oppose the people for their safety and well-being. Aaron would repent and stand with the Lord, but the cost of his poor, idolatrous leadership was the loss of 3,000 men’s lives.

What kind of leader are you? Are you willing to stand for the Lord and hold to His holy standards? When opposed by others, do you stand firm? Most importantly, when you fail as a leader, do you repent, acknowledge the failure and then change?

Moses

Lesson Four | Devotion #1: Moses
Mike Fox | Creative Director

Abandonment

A few years ago, I had an ATV. I remember one evening, soon after I got it, I wanted to try it out, so I traveled to a place for riding. I had never been there before. When I arrived, there were a lot of people around. I grabbed a map, tried to understand the grounds and took off riding. It was very late in the afternoon, and it began to get dark. I knew I needed to get out of there, but everyone else was smarter than me and had left already. I found myself lost in the woods and there were moments I honestly did not know where I was going. There was no one left to help guide me, and I felt abandoned.

When you think of Moses, what comes to mind? Is it him freeing the Israelites from the Egyptians? Is he parting the Red Sea? Is he holding the Ten Commandments? Do you think of abandonment? I did not at first until I began reading more of his life. When I began studying the life of Moses, what stood out the most was his very beginning.

Take a moment and read Exodus 2:1-10. It records Moses’ birth. Verses 2 and 3 read, “The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank.” At this time in history, in Egypt, the Pharaoh of Egypt ordered that any Israelite baby boy born was to be placed in the Nile River and killed. We see in the passage that Moses’ mother tried to hide him, and then when she could hide him no longer, she created protection for him and placed him in the river.

I was reading an article this week by Lori Hatcher, and she goes on to explain that Moses was the first abandoned child mentioned in the Bible. In Exodus 2:5, we learn that the Pharaoh’s daughter saves Moses, “Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it.” We then learn from this passage that the Pharaoh’s daughter protects Moses and later raises him as her son.

Because of what happened, Moses lived, even though he was abandoned. God used Moses throughout his life. What I learned from studying the beginning of Moses’ life is that God always has a plan for our lives, even if it is not what we can immediately see. God promises protection, even when we feel abandoned. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

I do realize in my story above, that it was my fault that I was abandoned in the woods on my ATV. How many times do we look to ourselves instead of looking for God’s plan, and asking God for protection?

Rahab the Harlot

Lesson Three | Devotion #6: Rahab the Harlot
Carole Combs | Wife of Lead Pastor Jim Combs

Grace Erases

Have there ever been decisions and or actions that you have made that you wish you could just erase? There are products on the market to virtually get every stain imaginable out of fabrics, carpets, and anywhere else there seems to be a spot that does not belong. What if I told you there is someone who could erase all the stains that have tarnished your life?

Rahab experienced personally the stains of life erased by the grace of God. Rahab was a woman who lived in Jericho. Her home was built into the wall of the walled city. Every one of the city knew the location of Rahab’s house. Even those who traveled to Jericho for business knew where Rahab lived. Rahab was a prostitute. However, her life changed the day when she had two male visitors that did not come seeking for what she had to offer. God had promised the children of Israel the land beyond the Jordan. Jericho would be one of those cities within that region that God had promised to His people. God had instructed them to conquer and destroy all of its inhabitants. Joshua, the leader, had sent the two spies to Jericho that day.

In our day and age, we have the capabilities to have news travel in moments across the globe. It may not have been moments, but the news of the Israelites coming to conquer the lands beyond the Jordan was front page news. There was a fear in the people of the lands. They had heard how this God of the Israelites had stopped the waters for the people to cross on dry ground. They heard how this God had provided food for them on their travels. They heard how He protected and drove their enemies away and to destruction. They heard that this God promised the very homes in which they were living. Rahab was no stranger to this news. She had heard it for years from the traveling businessmen about this God of the Israelites. The people of Jericho were living in fear of what they had heard. Now Rahab was faced with a decision as to what to do with these Israelites who had lodged at her bed and breakfast. The King of Jericho heard that these men had stayed at Rahab’s place and commanded that these men be brought to him.

Rahab chose to put her life on the line for the God of theses Israelites. She hid the men on her roof under stalks of flax. She told their pursuers that they had already fled the city. Rahab believed the stories she had heard about the God of the Israelites. She believed that this Almighty God who took care of His people could take care of her as well. She declared that the Lord their God, He was the God in the Heavens above and the God on the Earth. Rahab feared the King of the Universe more than the king of Jericho. As soon as the spies’ pursuers were a distance from Jericho, the spies climbed out a window from Rahab’s home by a red cord. The spies promised Rahab that when they saw the red cord in her window, her life and all her family that came within the walls of her home would be saved from destruction. They were thankful for her courage and sacrifice to them.

Rahab’s faith in the Jehovah God saved her and her family. When the people of the city saw no beauty in Rahab, God saw her beauty. When the people of the city saw only a harlot, God saw a heroine. Only men came to her home to use and to abuse, but God came to her home that day with mercy and grace. Rahab had an opportunity to choose the lifestyle she was living or choosing to trust in the Jehovah God that she had only heard stories about what He did. She found out that day that they were not just stories, but God was real! Grace erased her past. Grace can erase your past as well. Make the choice and accept the hand that holds the biggest eraser in the world. That eraser is called GRACE!



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