“Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes” (Ephesians 1:4 NLT).
Two days ago I returned from a family vacation to Rhode Island spent near the ocean and visiting relatives on my husband’s side that live there whom we don’t often get to see. Our days were spent driving around in the minivan we rented with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law accompanying us. We drove from one end of the state and back, even making a trip to Connecticut one day to visit an aquarium – since my son loves anything to do with the ocean. We were having a great visit with family and enjoying our site seeing, yet something was missing…
With all the hustle and bustle, I felt myself feeling very distant from my usual time spent in the Word. I had a few days when my data storage was almost at capacity, which prevented me from accessing my favorite devotional app on my smart phone. I also wondered when I would find the time to write with all of the activities we had planned.
It became clear that making time with God was becoming an issue and I found myself feeling unsettled about it.
Upon my return from our family vacation, I began reflecting on Chapters 26 through 31 in the Book of Numbers – which I had read before we left for our trip. In these chapters, there is a strong message of living intentionally with and for God.
In Chapter 26, we see God instructing Moses and Eleazar, the priest, to take a census of the people that should serve Him as clan and tribal leaders. Here, God is appointing His people to be His leaders and example.
In Chapters 28 to 29, God addresses His commands for His people to observe the daily offerings and feasts. He has the people make time in their schedules to gather in worship and sacrifice.
In Chapter 30, God addresses the importance of keeping vows both to Him and to others, and in Chapter 31 we see God fulfill His vow commanding Moses and His people to take revenge on the Midianite people. Here, God fulfills His promise to Abraham (see Genesis 15:16) when He tells Abraham that His people will take the land over when the sin of the Amorites (descendants of the Midianites) has reached its full measure.
Out of all of these Chapters, the most poignant part for me is in Chapter 27, when God tells Moses that he must die on the mountain overlooking the Promised Land. My immediate response is sadness for Moses that he must die. But, Moses’ response is quite the opposite. Moses asks God to appoint a new leader for His people. Moses doesn’t cry out why or get mad at God. His immediate concern is for the welfare of God’s people and he goes directly to God with that concern. God, in response, appoints Moses to bless Joshua as His new leader to the people (see Numbers 27:12-23).
If we jump ahead to the New Testament in Matthew Chapter 17, we see Jesus take Peter, James and John to “a high mountain.” It is on that mountain, where Jesus becomes transfigured “as white as light” and also where Moses and Elijah appear to them! (See Matthew 17:1-3).
Praise God! Moses gets something better than the Promised Land. He gets to be with God in His Kingdom! What a lesson for all of us in recognizing that God does indeed bless His servants, and also that what may appear to be punishment, might be God’s greatest blessing for us.
Thankfully, through reflecting on God’s Word, I am reminded of God’s love for me and for all of us. It overwhelms me and makes me not want to take a single moment I have in this life for granted.
During my vacation with my family, there were moments I took for myself acknowledging God. For instance, when I stepped out onto the shore at the Beach and let the sand and water run over my toes, I thanked God for His beautiful creations of the sand and ocean.
When I attended my husband’s grandparents 90th birthday celebration, I talked with some of the other seniors there about my writing and about how God has been such a part of my journey.
At night, before I went to sleep, I prayed to God and asked Him to bless my husband’s family and thanked Him for the beautiful weather and for the blessing of being able to spend time with them.
Maybe I didn’t open my bible each day, but I did keep God in my mind and in my heart. No longer do I feel apart from God, but I recognize and rejoice in how God blessed both me and my family with a trip full of beautiful sights and long-lasting memories.
Father God, through your Word I am reminded of how much you love us and want what is best for us. All around me are visual reminders of the beauty of your creations. Let me always bask in the warmth of your love for me and help me to not take for granted the daily blessings you provide me with. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.