Devotional on Numbers

2014 – Whidbey Island, WA

Now that I have your attention
Numbers 7: When Moses entered the Tent of Meeting to speak with God, he heard the Voice [of God]…He spoke with him.
One thing about these ancient Israelites: they know how to throw a party. The dedication of the Tent of Meeting lasts twelve days with each day having its own pageantry and symbolism. Each of the family tree groups gets a day of its own and as the days progress each family is connected to this sacred place. The offerings have been made and now Moses, instead of going up on the mountain to meet with God, enters the Most Holy Place in the new Worship Center to complete its dedication. In an awesome moment, there above the Covenant Chest and between the golden angels God’s Voice is heard. Wow! No longer will it take a trip up Mount Sinai for a meeting with the Lord. Instead, he comes to them, dwelling right there at the heart of their camp. It’s impressive to remember that this wasn’t Moses’ idea. The building and furnishing of the Tabernacle was initiated by the Lord, himself. The Israelites don’t have to figure out some way to get God’s attention. In fact, from the very beginning of their story it’s the Lord who has reached out to them, initiating a relationship with them. So it is to this day. It isn’t that I figure out just what I have to do to get God to respond to me. Instead, from the start, he reaches out to me, inviting me to be his very own. When I hear and respond I find that the Almighty is more than willing to allow me to connect my life to his.
Take Away: God has always been a communicating God.

Devotional on Exodus

2014 – Dead Horse Point State Park, UT

The Urim and Thummim
Exodus 28: Place the Urim and Thummim in the Breastpiece of Judgment.
One of the mysteries of the Bible surrounds the Urim (“light”) and the Thummim (“truth,” or “perfection”). When they’re mentioned by the writers of the Bible those writers assume everyone knows all about them, so there’s no description or explanation of how they were used. Some think they were a sort of dice used to ascertain the will of the Lord – kind of like casting lots. Others believe that the Lord used them by causing some combination of precious stones on them to glow, indicating “yes” or “no” – a sort of red light/green light approach. Apparently, the High Priest was not only the keeper of the Urim and the Thummim but also the only one who was authorized to use them in seeking the will of the Lord. I think I lean toward the red light/green light understanding of the Urim and the Thummim. After all, even as these are being used there’s a Pillar of Fire and Cloud overhead and manna appearing every morning. Having glowing stones of some sort to give direction is certainly in keeping with all the other miracles they’re experiencing daily. I can’t help but think that having a Urim and Thummim would sure be handy today. Once, when I was barely out of my teens I tried using my Bible that way. I had a decision to make and tried praying about it, and then flipping my Bible open to read the first verse I saw. I kind of got an answer, but looking back, I think I saw what I really wanted to see in the first place. These days I better understand that God calls me to a life of faith and trust. He’s a communicating God and when he has something to say to me I won’t need glowing stones or a random verse from the Bible to know what he’s saying. Still, I admit that if I had a Urim and Thummim in my pocket that I’d be tempted to use them once in a while!
Take Away: The Lord is well capable of communicating his will to me if I’ll patiently listen.

Devotional on Genesis

2013 – Burgess Falls State Park, TN

Genesis 40: Don’t interpretations come from God?
Joseph’s situation deteriorates from his being a slave to his being a slave in prison. However, even there God’s with him and, while his life is not that of a favored son, he does rise to a position of authority in this limited world. The most significant thing that happens to Joseph during these years is his contact with the disgraced cupbearer of the King. When he, along with another prisoner, has disturbing dreams Joseph offers to interpret them. With God’s help Joseph is right on in his interpretation and that lays the foundation for the next chapter in God’s plan for him. It’s interesting to think about God speaking to people through dreams and I have to confess that if the Lord has ever spoken to me in that way I missed it entirely. Still, the Bible has several stores of people having dreams and visions from God. Even the Apostle Paul received his “Come over into Macedonia” request in a dream. I’ve concluded that I don’t think about God-given dreams very much for two reasons. First, unlike those whose stories are in the Bible, I have the Bible as a communication from God. Everything I need to know for my salvation is found there. If I want to know what God is saying to me, I need to spend less time dreaming and more time reading his Word. Second is, I think, lack of expectancy. Godly people of the Bible weren’t surprised to hear from God via their dreams. In some cultures, that amounts to just so much superstition. However, they knew they served the Living God and that he is a Communicating God. With that in mind, it may be that I need to keep praying the child’s bedtime prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” as a sincere request that the Lord watch over me through the night. I might even want to extend to the Lord an invitation to inhabit my dreams if he so desires.
Take away: Let’s be open to hear from God in any way he chooses to communicate.

Devotional on Hebrews

None other has these credentials

Hebrews 1: But he says to the Son, You’re God.

God has always been a communicating God. That’s abundantly obvious as I read through the Old Testament. Hardly a page can be read without reference to God’s communicating something. Outside the pages of the Bible there are other communications of God; sometimes in direct, undeniable ways, other times for anyone willing to pay attention. The unnamed writer of the Book of Hebrews focuses on the ultimate communication of God. In Jesus, I’m told, God has spoken to us as he has never spoken before or will ever speak again. Up to this time, people might debate on who has been the greatest messenger of God. Perhaps it was one of the great patriarchs or prophets. Some might argue that it has to be the angels, whose very name means “messenger.” In the Book of Hebrews the case is made, and won, that only one messenger has spoken with the very authority of God. Other genuine messengers should be honored and their message heeded. Only one messenger is to be worshiped as God. His name is Jesus.

Take Away: In Jesus we see God, himself.