In the book of Numbers we learn why it took the Israelites 40 years to make an 11-day trip and how the Israelites made ten wrong turns. This piece of history allegorically tells us something about the spiritual journey of many believers. If you are you suffering through a wilderness experience and have not entered the Promised Land of the abundant life promised in the New Testament ask yourself this question: Am I being totally obedient to God?
Numbers is filled with powerful metaphors and allegories. We see how mans freedom of choice can limit Gods power. If we have the faith to believe and claim all the blessings God has for us and accept His good and perfect will for our lives, then He can lead us into our spiritual Promised Land. There is a difference between Gods permissive will and Gods directive will. The abundant life is only found in Gods directive will.
In Numbers we see the greatness, the burnout, and the sin of Moses that prevented him from entering the Promised Land. Even great people of God can come to the end of themselves physically, emotionally, and mentally. It is normal for Gods people to get tired from serving Him, but we should not get tired of serving Him. If you are feeling burned out, then you are not only in good company, you are in good hands.
Deuteronomy means the restating of the Law; restating it to the second generation of Gods chosen people before they crossed Jordan and entered Canaan. This book is filled with lessons for those who have decided to take another, more serious, look at their new life in Christ and be totally committed to Him. Moses instructs those who love God to know and obey His Word, and the responsibility to pass those values on to their children.
Throughout Deuteronomy, in the sermons of Moses, there is a strong emphasis on the importance of obeying the Word of God. When Israel obeyed Gods laws, He blessed them. When they did not obey Gods laws, they did not enjoy the blessings of God. In one of Moses final sermons he tells us God does not bless us because we are good. God blesses us because He is good and because He loves us. That is what grace means.
The sermons of Moses teach about our response to Gods grace and about apostasy, about those who no longer respond to Gods grace. Moses preached on tithing, showing God is first in our life and of giving to the poor. He preached a very strong message on how God forbids the occult, fortunetelling, communicating with the dead, and using black magic. He also told them about the Prophet Priest, and King who would one day come and save them.
The book Joshua is all about faith, the kind of faith that conquers and possesses all God wills for His people. Many of us fail, like the Israelites, to experience the spiritual blessing God intends us to have: prayer, Scripture, fellowship, worshipGod gives them all to every believer. You possess prayer by praying, and you possess the Scripture when you read it, understand it, and apply it. You possess your spiritual possessions one spiritual step at a time.
What is faith? How does faith work? The book of Joshua provides sixteen illustrations to demonstrate faith. God will sometimes test your faith but you can be assured He will not take you where His grace cannot keep you. If you know God is leading you to do something, do it. His plan is always the right plan. Joshua teaches us that faith is practical. When faith walks, it works, and when faith works, it wins the battles of life.
The book of Joshua is full of allegories that teach us how to overcome the enemies of our faith. The first enemy of our faith, the world, is pictured by Jericho. The second, represented by Israels defeat, represents our flesh. The people from Gibeon made a treaty with Israel by tricking them. The devil deceives us in the same way and is our third enemy. Joshua challenged his people to seal their faith by making a covenant with God.
We could say that the first seventeen books of the Old Testament are history books. So why should we study so much history of this one little nation of Israel? One reason is to look for examples and warnings. When the Hebrew people obeyed the Word of God, God blessed them, and they are examples for us. When they did not obey, they lived under the curse of God, and their lives are warnings for you and me.
The first four books of the New Testament are called gospels, which means good news. They are central to revealing Gods eternal plan: to redeem and save lost mankind. They are often referred to as biographies: Through them we gain a comprehensive insight into the life of a Man who only lived for 33 years, but who impacted the history of our world more than anyone who ever lived. The gospels declare Jesus the Christ, Gods greatest revelation of truth.
We live in a competitive world. Sometimes our relationship with competitors, or adversaries, becomes hostile, and they are determined to sue us or even put us in prison. Disciples who are peacemakers do not get angry or try to get even with their enemies. Instead, they determine never to be the source of conflict with adversarial people. Jesus also taught us how to relate to the opposite sex. As with other sins, Jesus goes to the source: our hearts. If we really want to be part of the solution as salt and light, we must learn how to control our sexual desires.
The Sermon on the Mount is one of the key teachings of the Bible. Jesus preached this sermon on a mountaintop in Galilee when He challenged people who professed to be His disciples to be strategically placed between the love of God and the pain of the hurting people in the world. He challenged His disciples to partner with Him and be conduits of His love. He concluded His sermon with a call to commitment. It changed the lives of many who heard it.
The word mercy means unconditional love. When David writes in Psalm 23:6 that mercy will follow him all the days of his life, the word he uses for follow actually means pursue. Gods unconditional love will pursue David all of his life. This is the kind of love for others that we must have too, if we are to be like God.
Salt is a preservative that keeps meat from spoiling, and Christians with the attitudes of Jesus are like salt to the world. When disciples with Christ-like attitudes are rubbed into the people of the world as salt is rubbed into meat, their influence will keep the world from total corruption. They become a valuable commodity Jesus uses to revolutionize the culture. The second metaphor indicates that Christians are the only source of light for multitudes living in darkness. As with the first metaphor, Jesus words literally mean that you and you alone are salt and light. If His disciples do not fulfill their role as salt and light, no one else is left to fulfill it. The people who have Jesus attitudes are sent into the world as Gods solution in order to shine for all to see.