Dec. 30, 2020 - Grasshoppers
"We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them." (Numbers 13:33b)
One last book to read and I'll have the whole Bible read again this year. New Testament twice. Psalms and Proverbs twice. Minor prophets and Daniel twice. Revelation...four times along with Ezekiel 38-39. Privileges of being a pastor.
My last book for this year is the book of Numbers. Don't ask me why. It just fell that way. And I was a bit disinterested, like reading Leviticus or Obadiah, because...well...its about numbers. It's why its called...wait for it...Numbers. Take a census for this. Take a census for that. Count how many of them. Count how many of those. Boring. Not really. Okay...I lied...it is. But the Holy Spirit put it in there for a reason and I need to figure it out.
Beyond the initial chapters the book is quite interesting. Numbers 6 gives you the wonderful Aaronic blessing. Numbers 7 gives you a wonderful example of giving - starting with leaders leading the way. Numbers 8 tells me about the rights and privileges of firstborn sons and the Levites who had the honor of taking care of God's house- the privileges associated with full-time ministry. Numbers 9 tells me that God is flexible when it comes to the rules. Numbers 11-12 and 16 about rebellion against God and jealousy against his divinely appointed leaders. And chapter 12 gave me a deeper understanding of Deuteronomy 18:15 and the description of the Messiah as one who would be like Moses - speaking with God face to face (Num. 12:8). I'll stop here but I hope that the reader will take some time to glean in this spiritual field sometime. A lot of good harvest available.
I was meditating on the very familiar story of the Israelites doing the exploratory trip into the Promised Land in chapter 14. Everything that God had promised them was there - a land of milk and honey - a land so filled with possibilities that it was quite frankly, unbelievable. For goodness sake, they brought back a cluster of grapes on a pole carried by two guys!
Problem: Giants. Wrong. Problem: Little God. Almost. Problem: View of oneself in light of a little God. Yes. Got it. See it. Understand it. How do I change it?
I feel like 2020 was a little me/little God year. The virus, the elections, government intrusion based on "safety"...we voluntarily shut down our houses of worship, we stopped singing, we limited people on Christmas Eve (thank God we had one), we stopped hugging and shaking hands, we stopped visiting.
I'm not down playing the seriousness of the virus or the need to love each other in a unique way for a time but where is God in all of this and what exactly is our role in it as followers of Jesus?
I get the Romans 13 obey your government thing but it feels like we are losing ground instead of taking it. I'm saying this in my head but also knowing that God has done a lot of good work this year. In particular, the Holy Spirit kicked the church in the pants and redirected us back to the basics of our mission. And its not to make sure the building is still there. If we learned nothing else...
It's like the spies came back and said, "You are not going to believe all the good things that God has in store for us. It's just over the horizon. Yeah! But...we can't have them because there is a virus out there." Little me. Little God. Big world.
Interesting point that I had not seen in the many years of reading through this book: a census was taking in the early chapters to see how many fighting men Israel had over 20 years of age. Judgement: all of those counted men would die in the desert for their lack of faith. God knew. God knows. Count off.
Only two guys, Joshua and Caleb, tried to rally the people. Express a big God and therefore a mighty people. To no avail. The will was not there. Their knowledge of God was not there. Their trust/faith was not there.
Jesus told his disciples, "When I come back will I find faith on earth?" I wonder. I wonder if that was a question or a foreshadowing of the foreboding truth to come? Paul did tell Timothy that in the end-times people would abandon the faith.
My New Year's resolution is simple this year. I want to be an unstoppable grasshopper - a locust plague for God, for good. In my spirit I feel like this is my/our last shot before the Uptaker comes.
Grasshoppers jump. Grasshoppers fly. They carry around body armor 24/7. Their ears are on the belly not on their head (true fact). In other words, they have their ears to the ground - they know what's going on in reality. They have the ability to make music whenever they want (back legs rubbing together). They conquer when they work together in mass. And...they go well with chocolate.
So...I don't care what enemy might come my way next year. I'm a big grasshopper serving a big God.
Count me...in. How about you?
Happy New Year!