Readings

God speaks to us through Scripture. When we are lost, we know that we can look to His Word for guidance. We invite you to join us in daily reading as we go through the Bible together and learn as a family.

S . . . L . . . O . . . W . . . to anger is definitely a characteristic of the Lord, and quick to anger is what we humans are! We set our agendas for each day, each month, and each year and grow upset when our schedules are violated. We get frustrated with mechanical breakdowns, inefficient service, and difficult relationships.

God’s nature, however, is just the opposite. When He told Moses His name, God revealed that He is compassionate and gracious. Because He is abounding in love and faithfulness, He is more concerned with a person’s needs than with his faults.

How well we need to learn that lesson! A faithful marriage partner, for example, will stick with his spouse even when that person is hard to love. He will live in the light of the scripture found in 2 Timothy 2:13: “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.”

Besides being faithful and compassionate, God is forgiving (Exodus 34:6-7). Such forgiveness is the crowning virtue of His long-suffering. Because He automatically forgives those who repent of wickedness, God is automatically slow to anger.

Make it a practice to control your anger by instant and spontaneous forgiveness when someone does something to hurt you. If Jesus could forgive the soldiers for their abuse (Matthew 27:28-31), how much more should you be able to control the petty anger and frustrations of everyday life?

Never has there been an illustration of a people more excited and generous toward fulfilling a vision than that of the Israelites giving toward the construction of the tabernacle in the wilderness. The Israelites were so grateful to God for delivering them from Egypt that they delighted to give of their wealth and labor to build a magnificent sanctuary. Loaded with the silver, gold, and jewels that the Egyptians had given them the night of their departure, they willingly set their hearts to work, sew, and build.

The Israelites’ example characterizes the power of the church when united by a common vision. Why not catch the vision of your church and apply your full strength and resources toward making that vision a reality? What has God given you? A talent? Some unexpected income? Some extra time? Find the vision God is building in you and your church and then work with your whole soul toward achieving it until you have to be told, “Enough!”

Jesus gave His all on the cross. He withheld nothing. The least you can do is to give bountifully of the resources His death secured for you!

Troubles come in many forms, shapes, and sizes and include anything that disturbs the peace and tranquility of your life. Two things must be expected when you follow the Lord: First, the devil will throw his fiery darts to try to discourage you through troubling circumstances. Second, no matter the affliction, the Lord will deliver you.

How does He do it? The Word of God says, “The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help” (Psalm 34:15). Furthermore, “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles” (v. 17).  The Lord is watching you and listening to you when you walk through difficulties, and He is eager to rescue you from any trouble.

The disciples faced the deepest despair and trouble of their lives after the crucifixion of Christ. Little did they know, however, that God had a plan and was going to resurrect Christ! That’s the way it is for us, too. We don’t always realize that God is in control in every circumstance of life and has a plan of resurrection waiting to unfold.

When you see the “trouble” side in life, hang in there. You will surely see the “delivering” side as well!

Throughout history God has called His people to follow Him. That divine mandate to leave all and follow Him is the very crux of the Gospels. God does not need decision-makers—He needs hearers. He is looking for those who will hear His voice and respond, following Him even to the uttermost parts of the earth.

Moses did not make his own decisions concerning the building of the tabernacle but “proceeded to do everything as the Lord had commanded him” (Exodus 40:16). In all the travels of the Israelites, they followed the cloud as instructed, never moving unless the cloud moved (v. 36-37). It was not their place to determine when to move or where to go.  They were totally dependent on God’s guidance.

After He was baptized in the Jordan, “immediately the Holy Spirit compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness” (Mark 1:12). Without questioning or hesitating, Jesus followed the Spirit and went into a most unlikely place. In the same way, many times your mind cannot comprehend the directions of God, but you can be led of Him by your spirit, for you are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Paul said, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God” (Romans 8:14). The cloud of God is no longer above you, but within you! Wait for the “cloud of peace” before moving in any direction. Don’t make a hasty decision, but simply purpose from this day forward to follow the Lamb wherever He goes (Revelation 14:4).

Jesus was busy for God. His days were filled with divine activity in healing the sick, driving out demons, and preaching the Gospel. Throughout His hectic schedule, however, there remained one constant: fellowship with God. Such fellowship was the secret of Jesus’ power in ministry.

You must not get more interested in the work of God than in the God of the work! Spending time with God provides a continual recharging of your spiritual battery. As you fellowship with Him, you are able to both listen to His direction and continually enjoy His presence.

In Leviticus 3:1 Moses spoke of the peace offering. This was an offering given to the Lord simply to express worship and love for Him. After Jesus had spent time alone in worship and prayer to the Father, He knew the direction He was to take and shared it with His disciples: “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too, because that is why I came” (Mark 1:38).

As you draw away to express your love for the Lord in that secret place of prayer, the Lord will show you the next move for your life. So draw aside from the world, climb the hill of God every morning, and be refreshed, redirected, and refired!

Guilt does not simply go away. The modern method of denying guilt just postpones it until a later day. Repressed and denied guilt will always resurface in the form of anger, bitterness, rejection, and failure.

God knows how unforgiven sin will destroy you and your relationship with Him and others. In the Old Testament, He gave instructions for the guilt offering that related to any situation, whether it was the high priest, a leader, an individual, or the entire community that had sinned. The only way to be forgiven in the Old Testament system was to bring an individual sacrifice. Worshipers brought a bull, a goat, a lamb, two pigeons, or a handful of fine flour, depending upon their status and means. No sin or negligence was swept under the rug by God but was paid for by something.

Sinners are Jesus’ specialty. The Bible tells us that not only is God precise with sin, but He is also merciful toward sinners. Take Levi, for example. Jesus accepted Levi’s invitation to dine with him and his friends, who were notorious sinners. When the Pharisees discovered this, they criticized the Lord. Jesus responded, “I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough”

(Mark 2:17).

Jesus is your “guilt offering.” Release your guilt to the cross and praise Him, knowing that you were once a sinner but now have been forgiven.

Handling opposition is difficult, especially if the opposition is from those you love. Jesus faced opposition continually, even from those in His own family who said, “He’s out of his mind” (Mark 3:21). In addition, Jesus also faced opposition from the teachers of the Law who remarked, “He’s possessed by Satan” (v. 22).

David gave the best prescription for handling opposition. First, he said to trust in the Lord. Never believe that a problem is yours. Just relax as a baby would in the arms of its mother.

Second, David said to delight in the Lord. Keep your focus on the delightful relationship between you and your God. Never let the devil steal your joy and the sense that all is well.

Third, he said to “commit everything you do to the Lord” (Psalm 37:5). Commit means “to roll.” Just shift the weight of opposition from your shoulders onto the shoulders of God. He is more than able to carry it.

Finally, David said in verse 7 of Psalm 37 to “be still.” How quickly we want to take matters into our own hands and begin to “fight fire with fire”! We’ve got to learn, however, to discipline ourselves to wait on the Lord to fight the battle for us.

Trust, delight, commit, and be still, and in the end you will see that the battle belongs to the Lord.

Harvest is a time of high motivation, a time when all the efforts of an entire year come to fruition. How can someone sleep if the grain is standing ready and a storm is coming that can ruin it? If people sleep, they are wasting the blood, sweat, and tears of all the laborers before them. They are turning their backs on the financial rewards the harvest will bring at the market. They are wasting their day of opportunity.

Jesus spoke of those who receive the Word but are distracted by lives of ease and pleasure. Although the harvest is ripe, they are busy pursuing the things of this world. He reminded us that others, however, would be wise sons or daughters who would gather thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and a hundredfold in the day of harvest (Mark 4:20).

We are now in the period of the greatest spiritual harvest the world has ever seen. Hundreds of thousands of new Christians are being saved every day. Lay aside your sleep and wake up! Your summer of harvest may never happen again this side of eternity.

The command of faith in the mouth of Jesus was astounding. With two words, an entire storm broke, and the violence of death was stilled. The Word of God in your mouth is the most powerful force in the world. Paul said, “The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart” (Romans 10:8).

Jesus is the Word; therefore, when you speak the Word, you are speaking Jesus into your situation. Faith consists of first believing in your heart that God’s Word is true and then speaking that Word to your circumstances and watching them change.

When Jesus spoke the command of faith to the legion of demons, they had no choice but to obey (Mark 5:13). The centurion, too, understood this principle and told the Lord that all that was needed was a simple command from His mouth for his servant to be healed (Matthew 8:8-9).

Joshua spoke to the sun, Jesus spoke to the fig tree, and you can speak to your storms. Expect the Word of God in your mouth to move mountains!

The Master made no conscious decision to heal the woman with the issue of blood mentioned in this passage. Her faith had decided that Christ was the Source of all healing and that God was no respecter of persons. She believed she could tap into that well of life by faith.

Healing must be received, like a radio receives radio waves. Christ is our Healer, but we must be tenacious and unwavering in our perseverance to receive the healing we need. Someone has said that faith is like a fuse. A fuse is tiny and unassuming, having no power in itself except to complete a circuit so power can flow. The fuse only works with low resistance; otherwise, it will blow! In the same way, Christ is the mighty Generator of the power of God, and we need only keep our little “fuses of faith” in the line.

When the report of his daughter’s death reached his ears, Jairus, like the woman with the issue of blood, kept his “faith fuse” from blowing. He refused to allow fear to blow his fuse and short-circuit his miracle (Mark 5:36).

Tap in today with your “fuse of faith.” Christ the Healer is alive!

Sin is a spiritual disease that has strong parallels to leprosy in the natural world. In biblical days, leprosy was a progressive, incurable, contagious disease. It was extremely dangerous to the person afflicted even if only a small area was affected.

Why would the Law pronounce a person who had become covered in the disease to be clean? Charles Spurgeon pointed out leprosy’s striking parallel to the consciousness of sin. When we think we have only a spot of sin, we are unclean, but when we realize that we are totally consumed by sin, we can be made clean! God wants us to understand that our own self-righteousness is as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Only as we abandon our claim to being anything good before God can He come in as our great High Priest and make us clean.

Pity those who feel they only need God as a “Band-Aid” on their sin and don’t comprehend that they are totally consumed by the dreaded disease. Come to Jesus repentant, helpless, and hopeless. He will make His eternal pronouncement: You are clean!

No book could contain the volume of miraculous events that took place during the ministry of Jesus. “Wherever he went . . . they laid the sick in the market plazas and streets. The sick begged him to let them at least touch the fringe of his robe, and all who touched it were healed”

(Mark 6:56). Masses of suffering human beings were carried, laid by the road, and pressed closely to the Master in hopes of receiving just one healing touch. Not one was refused or turned away. Every person who was willing to press in and touch Him received a miracle.

Today, remarkably, more and more miracles are occurring on a worldwide scale. Every day on every continent of the world, thousands receive miraculous healings and deliverances in the name of Jesus. We must take a fresh look at suffering, sighing, dying humanity and purpose to bring this healing, delivering Jesus to their rescue. If we take His name and plunge into the sea of human need, we will find His footsteps and hands following right behind us!

Unclean was the word the Pharisees most feared. They spent hours washing pots, spots, and dots! They followed and amplified to impossible proportions every little hygienic requirement of the Mosaic Law. Jesus answered the objections of the Pharisees by pointing out that unclean refers more to a state of the heart than to a state of the hands.

Bad attitudes, anger, adulteries, and arrogance cannot be removed from the human heart by any amount of hand washing. Unlike unclean foods that are simply processed through the body and the wastes removed naturally, unclean attitudes sit like poison in the human spirit and wait to spring into actions.

Aaron learned the mystery of cleansing before God: “Then he must dip his finger into the blood and sprinkle it seven times over the altar. In this way, he will cleanse it from Israel’s defilement and return it to its former holiness” (Leviticus 16:19). Water may cleanse the body, but only blood can cleanse the spirit! Reach out and apply that blood to your spirit today.

Jesus sighed. This word is used to describe a groan drawn from deep within. Before a miracle occurs, the Holy Spirit must groan, or pray from within us. Romans 8:26 tells us that we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. That groaning, or inner compassion of the Spirit, always comes right before the works of God are revealed.

Jesus said, “Ephphatha!” (Mark 7:34 KJV), which is an Aramaic word describing the loosing of an entire person, not just a part. Satan had kept this man in bondage, and Christ was commanding him to “be loosed!” The string (or in the Greek, “bondage”) of his tongue was immediately loosed. The process included groaning, commanding, and then loosing!

This is the work of the Church. We are to be so filled with the Holy Spirit that we feel the needs of the poor (Psalm 41:1) and command them to “be loosed!” Ask the Holy Spirit to pray through you for the needs of those in bondage. Satan must loose them because we are of the company of “Ephphatha!”

As one of the two great commandments Jesus quoted from the Old Testament, this rule consists of five simple words that embody everything else: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” For New Testament believers, the Holy Spirit automatically teaches their hearts to do all that relates to this commandment. But for those who were under the Law, God had to spell out exactly how they should behave.

Leviticus 19 tells us that God instructed His people to be generous (vv. 9-10) and to leave something in the fields for the poor. He commanded them not to steal, lie, or deceive one another (vv. 11-13). He told them to respect the helpless (v. 14) and not to take advantage of them. He directed them to judge their neighbors fairly, not showing favoritism (v. 15). Finally, He told them not to slander, harbor hatred, or seek revenge (vv. 16-18). As simple as these commandments sound, they gave practical steps to the admonition to “love your neighbor.”

Love is the fulfilling of the Law and the highest of God’s commandments. In all your relationships, apply this “royal command” (James 2:8). God will bless you, and others will love you in return!

The requirements for the priesthood were extremely high. Priests were separated unto God and restricted as to whom they could marry because they had “been made holy by the anointing oil of . . . God” (Leviticus 21:12). The high priest could not even touch a dead body or mourn for a dead parent. His emotions, priorities, and focus were restricted by his walk in the anointing.

Walking away from sin is not a difficult choice for those of us who understand how precious is the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We cannot walk, touch, and marry as we choose. We willingly restrict our lives in order to avoid grieving the Holy Spirit of God. Others may be able to compromise their lifestyles with seemingly no penalty, but our choices all center on keeping His anointing. We are totally devoted unto God. Our lives are our ministries, and our callings are our priorities.

On the Mount of Transfiguration, Christ’s anointing shone through His very garments (Mark 9:3). So strong was the anointing that demons ran when confronted with it (v. 26). Is it worthwhile to desire that kind of anointing? Absolutely! Receive it, walk in it, and minister in it. Nothing in life is as precious as the anointing.

Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles were the three Jewish calendar feasts. Passover exemplifies our salvation, for Passover is the time when we remember how the blood of Jesus has been applied to the doorposts of our hearts. Pentecost, the day when the firstfruits were reaped, represents our baptism in the Holy Spirit. The Feast of Tabernacles, a seven-day celebration of the completion of Solomon’s temple, depicts a futuristic, eternal celebration of the completion of harvest.

Heaven will be the place of celebration at the completion of the heavenly temple, at the final ingathering of the harvest. Heaven is the place where Christ’s victory over Satan will be celebrated forever. Heaven will be an eternal camp meeting where cares are left behind, total rest and refreshing are continual, and joy is unbridled. Throughout the long year of labor, let us anticipate the final feast at the end of time. In that day, our labors will be over, and God will be our entire reward.

Money is a central heart issue in the Gospel. The rich young ruler mentioned in the book of Mark made a profession of faith, but his money did not follow. Promises of love and discipleship to Jesus are empty unless your possessions mean nothing compared to Him. The way a person uses money is always a reflection of what’s in his heart. If Jesus had occupied first place in the rich young ruler’s heart, it would have been evidenced in his attitude toward his money.

In Leviticus 25 the principle of the Sabbath year brought up an issue similar to the story of the rich young ruler. Simply stated, the people were told to give up something they wanted for God’s sake. God then promised that He would order a blessing so bountiful that it would produce a triple harvest for three years!

When will we ever learn that if we follow God’s laws of sacrifice and obedience, He is well able to speak to our circumstances with His blessing? Jesus promised, “I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return, a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property. . . .” (Mark 10:29-30).

Don’t resent sacrifice. See it as an opportunity to increase!

Can there be any doubt that the psalmist was referring to Jesus? The disciples were “filled with dread” (Mark 10:32) at the fearless, bold approach Jesus exhibited as He walked to Jerusalem, straight into the face of death. He had told them earlier exactly what would happen to Him, yet He did not flinch in leading the way to the city!

In Leviticus 26:1-39, the Lord promised peace and blessing to the Israelites for obedience, but certain destruction if they rebelled. Christ’s intense love for righteousness and hatred of wickedness gives Him a fearless boldness against sin (Psalm 45:7).

The ultimate act of Jesus’ hatred of sin will be demonstrated by His return to earth. He will “ride out to victory, defending truth, humility, and justice, [going] forth to perform awe-inspiring deeds!” (Psalm 45:4). His sharp arrows will pierce the hearts of our enemies, and the nations will fall beneath His feet (v. 5). At His side will be the Church, His Bride, who loves Him and also loves righteousness.

Be faithful and fearless, Bride—Your Mighty One is coming with His sword, and you will be at His side!

Our understanding must change if we are to see that the tithe already belongs to the Lord. When we return it to Him, we are not giving. In fact, if it already belongs to Him, we are actually robbing God if we use the tithe or spend it!

Not only does the tithe belong to Him, but also it is holy to the Lord. The tithe is holy money, set aside for His holy use. When Achan stole from Jericho something that had been set aside unto God, judgment fell upon Achan and his house (Joshua 7).

Another aspect of the tithe is that it belongs to the Lord as His advance provision. In Mark 11:3, the little donkey was there by God’s prophetic command (Zechariah 9:9), marked out centuries before as provision for what the King would need in that generation.

A final point regarding the tithe is that God will return your tithe to you with a blessing for your obedience. Weren’t the owners of the donkey told, “The Lord needs it and will return it soon” (Mark 11:3)? God is not robbing you of ten percent when you tithe—He is using it as an opportunity to bless you!

The tribe of Judah was privileged by God to lead Israel’s march through the wilderness. God had already showed His blessing upon that tribe by causing them to increase in number to the largest of all the tribes. Judah means “praise,” and this tribe was selected to raise the voice of praise as a battle cry for God’s people. As the vast camp set out each day with the blowing of the trumpets, God was displaying to the world that His great Church sets out with a shout of praise.

The psalmist said, “God has ascended with a mighty shout. The Lord has ascended with trumpets blaring. Sing praise to God, sing praises; sing praise to our King, sing praises!” (Psalm 47:5-6). The Church was created to praise the King. Clapping our hands and shouting with cries of joy are the most appropriate things we can do for the One who is the great King over all the earth!

Jehoshaphat taught God’s people to sing and shout as they went out into battle. He “appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor” (2 Chronicles 20:21). As a result, the Lord used their praise to defeat their enemies.

What problem are you facing today?  Why not “send Judah first” and watch the Lord fight the battle for you!

God has given two great commandments, the first of which deals with devotion and service to God. Numbers 4:1-33 explains how the three divisions of Levites supervised such work: they were to care for the tabernacle, furniture, and courtyard with the utmost precision and dedication. Similarly, our service to God is not to be slipshod and haphazard, but precise, heartfelt, and fervent. Whatever our ministries, whether small or great, we must serve the Lord with passion. Having even the slightest responsibility for holy things is a privilege!

The second commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself, is illustrated in Numbers 5:6-7 through the law of restitution. With all our effort, we must make restitution with our neighbors, reconciling any differences with them and treating them with respect and honor, for God keeps account of our dealings with others. As Christians, we are compelled to go the extra mile to ensure our relationships are secured in love.

Let us build our lives on zealous love for both God and humanity. Such love is the Kingdom of God.

What folly it is to trust in our wealth and boast of our great riches! The psalmist described the futility of hoarding wealth, which has no power to redeem our lives from sin. Ultimately, all the wealth we amass will be left to others. The psalmist continued, saying that the rich will not be pampered forever on their estates. One day they will die, taking none of their worldly wealth with them. Like all men, their bodies will rot in their graves.

Someone once said, “You will be dead a lot longer than you will be alive!” We would be looked upon as foolish to think we could send treasures to heaven ahead of ourselves.  Everyone knows that is impossible. The only way we can take any wealth into eternity is to give it to God here on earth and reap our eternal reward.

The story of the sacrificial widow clearly illustrates how God will reward us in eternity. It is not the amount given but the amount sacrificed that matters to God. The amount we give may be small, but if it represents great sacrifice, it is of more value to God than great riches. Just as each tabernacle offering was recorded in Numbers 7, so each of our offerings is recorded in God’s eternal record. We will find those treasures in heaven for all eternity!

These three little words—our God approaches—are the most certain fact in the universe. We may be going through terrible trials, tribulations, sufferings, and temptations, but we can be certain of one thing: our God is coming! One day Christ will return to earth. A fire will devour before Him (v. 3) as He returns to destroy the Antichrist and his armies. God Himself will be the Judge of His people (v. 6).

The concept of Jesus’ return took center stage as Christ taught His disciples about the end of time. “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows” (Mark 13:32). Since we cannot know the moment of His return, we must remain diligently on our guard, for His arrival could be “at evening, midnight, early dawn, or late daybreak” (v. 35).

As we battle the enemy, we should be constantly looking skyward for the imminent return of our Lord. Focusing on His coming will keep us on guard against sin, compromise, and slothfulness and will encourage us in battle. We must keep our lives equipped and our hearts ready, because there will be no time for preparation at His sudden return. To the sleeping, distracted, halfhearted Christian, Jesus gives one word that will keep him on track for life: “Watch!” (Mark 13:37).

The beautiful nature of God is one of sacrifice, the giving of something on behalf of another. The ugly nature of Satan is one of selfishness, the taking of that which belongs to another.

Never have the spirits of sacrifice and selfishness been so starkly contrasted as in the Mark 14:3-10 story of a generous woman and the self-serving Judas Iscariot. The woman was reckless in her sacrifice, pouring over Jesus’ head a perfume so expensive it was worth a whole year’s salary. However, her sacrifice seems insignificant when we consider that it was anointing His head for burial. This was the last act of love shown to Jesus before His death.

Since that time, millions have read and appreciated the memory of her act, even though her money, perfume, and possessions have all long since passed from the scene. In our lives, the unselfish, beautiful sacrifices we make for Jesus and His Body will live and return to us forever. By contrast, Judas’s hideously greedy act of fattening his purse with thirty pieces of blood money has gone down in infamy.

What is the final memory others will have of you? Will it be one of sacrifice or one of selfishness? Break open your “alabaster jar,” and pour it all out on the Lord and His people.

The plague of small thinking strikes again! Joshua was extremely concerned that someone other than Moses might be used of God to prophesy. Joshua did not comprehend that God can use whomever He wants in order to accomplish whatever He wants.

In Numbers 13 the ten spies had to make a decision regarding the grapes and the giants. Huge clusters of fruit should have captured the Israelites’ attention, faith, and excitement. Instead, their eyes were on the giants who stood guard over the abundance.

The devil always tries to get our attention focused more on his resistance than on God’s provision. A small, limited vision will make us feel “like grasshoppers” in comparison to the giants (Numbers 13:33), instead of feeling that “we can certainly conquer” (v. 30)!

Philip rehearsed to Jesus how impossible it was to feed five thousand men in the wilderness, but Andrew went and found five loaves and two fish. Small thinking involves meditating on negative, impossible thoughts that outweigh the truth of God’s Word. Although Moses had told the spies to go into the land with boldness and bring back a sampling of the crops (Numbers 13:20), the spies’ fearful thinking caused them to believe that they could never get to the grapes because the giants were too large.

Think large: Conquest . . . good report . . . well able!

Jesus stood before the high priest and boldly declared who He was. There stood Christ, unafraid of death, declaring before all men His identity and their judgment. His bold, resilient declaration ignited a storm like a match in a powder keg. Oh, what a difference the presence of the Holy Spirit makes as He gives us boldness to fearlessly declare our witness for God!

How opposite Jesus’ assertion was from Peter’s timid, fearful denial of who He was just six verses later. Peter shrank back, cursing, swearing, and denying that he had ever known Christ. If “fearing people is a dangerous trap” as Proverbs 29:25 declares, then Peter fell headlong into that trap. What a change we can observe in Peter’s life, however, when he stood up on the day of Pentecost, demanding repentance from the men who had crucified Christ!

Joshua and Caleb demonstrated the same boldness when facing a whole assembly that was about to stone them (Numbers 14:10). Never let the fear of man intimidate you in your greatest hour of destiny. Others may run, hide, and deny, but you must stand tall and be bold.

It is true that God will repay those who falsely accuse us, but how hard it is to remain silent and let God exact vengeance! Moses and Aaron knew this truth, as their attitudes remained perfect when faced with the strongest challenge to their authority in the wilderness. The “gainsaying of Core” (Jude 11 KJV) is marked as the most slanderous, dangerous illustration of rebellion in the Old Testament. Moses could have easily ordered the opposing leaders’ deaths or fought them in a fistfight. Instead, he “threw himself down with his face to the ground” (Numbers 16:4). He chose to let God execute His own justice.

Christ displayed a quiet, humble spirit before Pilate. In spite of wave upon wave of slanderous accusations, “Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise” (Mark 15:5). The moment arrived when both Moses and Jesus were justified by God before all men—Moses when the ground swallowed Korah, and Jesus through the resurrection.

Be patient, humble, and quiet before your God.  Proclaim with the psalmist, “But God is my helper. The Lord is the one who keeps me alive!” (Psalm 54:4).

One rod ended an entire insurrection. What a powerful rod this was to have amazed, confounded, and brought to repentance the powerful forces opposing Moses! The miracle of this rod was that it represented something impossible: a resurrection. How could a dead stick—separated from the tree trunk, polished and smoothed— suddenly sprout leaves, buds, and almonds? Only by the resurrection power of God!

Christianity is the only religion whose leader was dead for three days and then physically resurrected. While all other religions are as mere sticks with man-made claims to authority, Christianity is distinguished by the fact that Jesus’ rod has budded. This budding rod has persuaded millions that He is truly the Son of God. People of every nation stand in awe that someone beaten, crucified, and speared in the side could stand three days later and say, “All hail.”

His name has all authority over demons, disaster, and disease (Mark 16:17-18). We, as His disciples, can stand holding the rod of the resurrection in our hands. Let us preach the Gospel of the resurrected Christ to all creation and watch the Lord confirm His Word with signs following (Mark 16:20)!

Unbelief is dangerous, regardless of who you are. Zechariah, a member of the priestly tribe, was standing in the Holy Place offering incense before God when an angel of the Lord brought him a message. Because he refused to believe the message and questioned the power of God, Zechariah was struck dumb.

Another example of unbelief is found in Numbers 20:11-12, which tells how Moses’ and Aaron’s lack of trust in God led them to act rashly. They struck the rock twice instead of merely speaking to it as God had instructed. This simple act of unbelief disqualified them from their long-awaited entrance into the Promised Land.

God does not exempt His leaders from judgment if they fail to walk before Him in the purity of faith. He “doesn’t show partiality” (Acts 10:34) and equally dispenses judgment on all who refuse to believe. His judgment can be swift and stern, as when Uzzah was struck dead for steadying the ark of the covenant after the oxen stumbled (1 Chronicles 13:9-10). In another instance, “Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu put coals of fire in their incense burners and sprinkled incense over it” (Leviticus 10:1) and were immediately burned alive by the fire of God.

God is awesome in His holiness and will not be disregarded.  Let’s serve Him with the proper respect and awe, “for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).