Archive for the ‘Numbers’ Category

How can we better understand what happens to us as believers when we think we should be living the abundant life (John 10:10), but we seem stuck in patterns and behaviors of the past–from before we were saved. As with most situations, the Torah (instructions for living) offers insight.

54 You will inherit the land by lot according to your families. You are to give more land to the larger families and less to the smaller ones. Wherever the lot falls to any particular person, that will be his property. You will inherit according to the tribes of your ancestors. 55 But if you don’t drive out the inhabitants of the land from in front of you, then those you allow to remain will become like thorns in your eyes and stings in your sides — they will harass you in the land where you are living. 56 And in this event, I will do to you what I intended to do to them.” Numbers 33:54-56.

Consider first that when we commit ourselves to God and receive the sacrifice of Jesus (Yeshua) as a substitutionary sacrifice on our behalf and acknowledge His lordship over us, we enter the “promised land” of the abundant or fullest life. (See John 10:10) This promised life is not heaven. The land promised to the Israelites was not their final reward, it was not to be sin-free, worry-free or tear-free. Rather it was a land still occupied by their enemies, still requiring that they work the land, raise livestock, plant crops, and use human effort to survive.

So too with us, if we use this analogy of the promised land of our lives as God’s people, the full or abundant life is not heaven, it is not sin-free, worry-free or tear-free, and we may still surrounded by our enemies–those we have failed with God’s help to drive out.

Often in our lives as believers in God, we find that we are still struggling with issues from our past, fears, addictions, obsessive thoughts, self-destructive behaviors, or life-besetting sins. We may observe that others have been delivered from things with which we still struggle. We might even question our own salvation in light of the ongoing struggle with sin and behaviors that don’t glorify God.

Into this struggle, I would inject Numbers 33:54-56. We may be struggling because we have not driven out “the inhabitants of the land.” In the case of the Israelites, we often refer to these inhabitants of the land as the “-ites,” e.g. Canaanites, Amorites, and Jebusites. As believers in God under the new covenant, we must ask who or what are the “inhabitants of the land?” The answer may be different for each of us. Consider, however, your own situation and let God inform the conclusions you reach.

For some of us, the enemies in the land may be what we expose our mind too. That is to say, what we consume, e.g. movies, books, music, social media. Am I allowing “the inhabitants in the land” (remnants of the life before Christ) to access to my thoughts–the gateway to my mind and soul?

Or maybe the influence is through a relationship with someone from the old life. Does my time or communication with them have me looking over the fence to the old life with nostalgia, causing me to miss those days? You may have to evaluate for yourself if a person from your past is causing you to miss the peace of the full life promised. (See John 14:27)

It is worth taking some devotional or prayer time to ask God to show you what is causing you to fail to fully experience the abundant, full life promised to you. It is God desire to give you all the riches of His grace. (Ephesians 2:7) He desires that we walk in the fullness of our new life with Him. (Romans 6:4) He hasn’t promised freedom from tribulation and trouble, but rather that He will be with us through it, providing us a way to stand against our enemies. (Ephesians 6:10-18) He hears our prayers and answers. Ask. Seek. Knock. (Luke 11:10)


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