For those in the Christian faith, we are called to cultivate a culture of peace. The Gospel is, after all, called the Gospel of Peace. Now more than ever, our culture needs peace. So how does a person of faith cultivate peace? First, we understand that peace begins with reconciliation to God. We have been […]
Last Sunday morning I was listening to the sermon in church from the book of Numbers. I had this thought, “Have we Christians become a bunch of snowflakes?” Here is what led to that question.
In Numbers 20 and 21, the children of Israel are finally moving towards the promise land. The first challenge at this point in the story is that they want to take a direct route. This seems logical, but there was a problem. The king of Edom was not thrilled with having the Israelites pass through his land. Even though he was not their enemy, he flat out refused to let them pass and threatened them with attack if they tried.
OK. first point of the passage–the direct path of our lives may be diverted. The Israelites were forced to change direction, but they trusted the Lord. Now the application. How many times in our lives have we had to change directions because of challenges and difficulty? When this happens, do we trust God? When we take a road we didn’t plan, do we believe God is still in the path of our lives? More importantly, do we surrender our plans for what looks to us like a circuitous route? I want to be like the children of Israel on this one. Obey when God redirects my path and trust that he knows why and what he is doing with me.
Second point: As the children of Israel continue, they run into all kinds of conflicts with other kingdoms. This time, they don’t retreat and understand the importance of taking territory for the Lord. Application: When the powers of the culture come against us, do we retreat? Or do we stand tall and refuse to give in –it cost John the Baptist his head and Jesus his life. It is costing Christians overseas their heads and lives. Do we Americans, who stand by the truth of the Bible, retreat when the culture opposes us. I want to be brave, to see the kingdom of God advance. There is a spiritual war being fought against spiritual darkness. We can’t retreat. Do we trust the Lord in conflict?
Third point: The children of Israel had a long road to reach the land of promise. It was a slow, monotonous journey that was taxing. But they stood. They went forward. They didn’t give in and melt like snowflakes. They were grabbers of the impossible! And trusted the Lord to fight for them and win the battle. How easy it is to melt away when the journey is long and difficult. A little heat and we are done! How easily we complain and grumble.
The life of the Christian is not easy and requires effort, work and yes, spiritual battle or the kingdom of God will not advance. I’m challenged by this ancient story of a people who didn’t give up despite so many difficulties. Perhaps it is a lesson for us today. Let’s not melt away at the sign of conflict and trouble. Let’s not be Christian snowflakes when it comes to standing for our faith.