AT THE LORD’S COMMAND…Whether we realize it or not, no matter where we are positioned on God’s timeline for humanity, each and every person is subject to the command of The Almighty. For the past month, God has been teaching us just that. These out-of-this-world lessons began very simply with the awesome words: “At the LORD’s command…”
God’s first day of His appointed 5th month began on our 2018 Gregorian calendar on the evening of July 15 with the recording of the death of Aaron, one of the Israelite leaders during the Exodus. “At the LORD’s command Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor, where he died on the first day of the fifth month of the fortieth year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. Aaron was a hundred and twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor.” Numbers 33:38-39
While this verse serves to pinpoint God’s timeline and display His omniscience, we find the setting for this lesson in the first two verses at the beginning of the chapter. “Here are the stages in the journey of the Israelites when they came out of Egypt by divisions under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. At the Lord’s command Moses recorded the stages in their journey. This is their journey by stages.” Numbers 33:1-2
From the very beginning, at the Lord's command, the journey of God's chosen people has been recorded. And it is recorded in stages, more closely interpreted from the Hebrew word "motsa" (mo-tsaw') as "goings out". And we can certainly attest to the fact that they Israelites had plenty of those in their 40 years of wanderings!
Why should all this be important to us today? 1 Corinthians 10:1-6 summarizes the Israelite journey, ending with an important lesson many of us have yet to learn. “For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things occurred as examples and were written down as warnings for us....”
Today, as we continue our journey in life as God's chosen people, our "goings out" are still being recorded. And like the Israelites, we are still wandering, and making plenty of mistakes along the way. And, just like He did for our ancient ancestors, Jesus, the Manifestation of God, is still parting the waters, enabling 21st century mankind to escape our avenging enemy. Our "goings out" along our journey are providing the opportunity of choosing the way appointed by God Almighty. www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/1779857552094426
Our second lesson led us to identify with Israel during their time of national lamentations on the 9th day of the fifth month of Av, beginning at sunset, July 23 on our calendar. We learned that this day in history was chosen by the Lord’s command to bring memorable judgment against Israel when the nation began to look to their own might for deliverance from their enemies, while still claiming to worship and call on His name. A 21 day period of national mourning known as “Three Weeks of Sorrow”, from Tammuz 17 to Av 9, mourns tragedies that happened because of their national idolatry. Over thousands of years, at least 12 disastrous events occurred on the very same date. The odds of that happening is 1 chance in 15,318,685,820,000,000,000,000,000,000! (15 Octillion, 318 septillion, 685 sextillion, 820 quintillion)
Even over recent years we can observe the precise timing of Israel's vulnerable position in the world. In 2014 during this exact time, Israel defended itself against almost 2000 rockets launched from Gaza, capable of reaching even Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. And just this month, they again defended themselves against Iran backed attacks launched from Gaza.
The United States has also been brought into this 9th Day of Av appointment with the beginning of World War I on that anniversary date. And, incredibly, July 4, 1776, also occurred on the 17th of Tammuz. Reflecting back during this same time period in 2013, CNN reported that fears that al Qaeda could attack, closed 22 U.S. embassies and consulates. Jesus said it all in Mark 1:15. "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news! https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/1792237944189720
On the 10th day of God's fifth month, July 24 on our calendar, we learned that contrary to popular Christian opinion, God does NOT listen to all prayer petitions. “… On the tenth day of the fifth month of the seventh year… ‘This is what the Lord God says: Have you come to ask me what you should do? I, the Lord God, tell you that, as surely as I live, I will not listen to you.’ ” Ezekiel 20:1-3.
God has plenty more to say in Ezekiel 20:30-31. “...You people have made yourselves filthy by doing the things your ancestors did. You have acted like a prostitute…Do you really think that I should let you come to me and ask me for advice? I am the Lord God. By my life, I swear that I will not answer your questions or give you advice.”
So, God expresses Himself very plainly here. Listening to God means He will listen to you. Not listening to God can cause Him to not listen to you. We should all pay attention to the fact that He says He will not listen, not that He doesn’t hear. “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”Isaiah59:1-2.
Isaiah speaks of a "righteous servant" who will "bear their iniquities". Today, we know that God has sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus, to bear our iniquities. Isaiah 53:5-6 speaks of His coming. “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Yes, we certainly have a lot to learn when it comes to our relationship with the Almighty. Consider Psalm 66:18: “If I had known of any sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened to me.” John 9:31: “We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.” In Mark 11:25, Jesus Himself says, “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive your transgressions.” And 1 Peter 3:7 definitely surprises many with its warning that lack of respect for a wife by her husband will hinder his prayers. https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/1802110829869098
This week we close God’s 5th month of lessons by counting forward 40 days from the 17th day of God’s 4th month to the 27th day of God’s 5th month. That date on our Gregorian calendar is August 10, notable because Moses descended Mt. Sinai for the second time with the second set of Ten Commandments. We recall he smashed the first set against a rock when he was angered that the Israelites were worshipping the Golden Calf. But there was definitely something different about ‘ole Moses the second time around!
Exodus 34:29-35 tells the story. “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he carried the two stone tablets of the agreement. Because he had talked with the Lord, his face was shining, but he did not know it. Aaron and all the people of Israel saw that Moses’ face was shining bright. So they were afraid to go near him. But Moses called to them. So Aaron and all the leaders of the people went to him. Moses talked with them. After that all the Israelites came near Moses, and he gave them the commands that the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai. When Moses finished speaking to the people, he put a covering over his face. Any time Moses went before the Lord to speak with him, Moses took off the covering. Then Moses would come out and tell the Israelites what the Lord commanded. The people would see that Moses’ face was shining bright, so he would cover his face again. He kept his face covered until the next time he went in to speak with the Lord.”
The completion of the Old Testament can always be found in the New Testament, with the introduction of Jesus the Christ, the Living Word and Incarnate Son of God Almighty. The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 3 which clearly explains this Old Testament passage. It begins with our opening verse: “…You are a letter from Christ... not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”
We continue reading 2 Corinthians 3:5-18 “…He made us able to be servants of a new agreement from himself to his people. It is not an agreement of written laws, but it is of the Spirit. The written law brings death, but the Spirit gives life. The old agreement that brought death, written with words on stone, came with God’s glory. In fact, the face of Moses was so bright with glory (a glory that was ending) that the people of Israel could not continue looking at his face. So surely the new agreement that comes from the life-giving Spirit has even more glory. This is what I mean: That old agreement judged people guilty of sin, but it had glory. So surely the new agreement that makes people right with God has much greater glory. That old agreement had glory. But it really loses its glory when it is compared to the much greater glory of the new agreement. If the agreement that was brought to an end came with glory, then the agreement that never ends has much greater glory.”
“We are so sure of this hope that we can speak very openly. We are not like Moses, who put a covering over his face. He covered his face so that the people of Israel would not see it. The glory was disappearing, and Moses did not want them to see it end. But their minds were closed. And even today, when those people read the writings of the old agreement, that same covering hides the meaning. That covering has not been removed for them. It is taken away only through Christ. Yes, even today, when they read the Law of Moses, there is a covering over their minds. But when someone changes and follows the Lord, that covering is taken away. The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And our faces are not covered. We all show the Lord’s glory, and we are being changed to be like him. This change in us brings more and more glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
Yes, the glory is the Lord’s choosing. This 2016 headline should bring us to our knees: "Muslims are coming to Jesus more than at any time in the 1400th year history of Islam. According to Al-Jazeerah’s interview with Sheikh Ahmad Al Katani, the president of The Companions Lighthouse for the Science of Islamic Law in Libya, every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity. Al-Jazeerah has since removed the interview and details." https://apologeticanswers.org/are-muslims-dreaming-and-seei…/
This info was followed by these powerful words: "As the sun sets over the Mediterranean Sea, Muslims across Northern Africa are converting to faith in Jesus Christ in record numbers. What God is doing in North Africa, all the way from actually Mauritanian to Libya, is unprecedented in the history of missions....How come Jesus is visiting the Muslim world at this time and age and we don't hear that happening in the traditional Christian community?"
Maybe we have more lessons to learn than we think, and more appointed "goings out" than we could ever imagine!
“At the LORDS command…”