Note: At church and in these Devotionals we are on an adventure called 90 Days with Jesus that will culminate at Easter. Throughout this adventure we are considering the amazing stories of the Master Teacher and Storyteller, Jesus Christ. This week’s Devotionals will not specifically deal with this week’s story. The story of the “Mustard Seed” helps us “picture the kingdom of God” in good and helpful ways through the image of the tiny mustard seed growing into a great tree that increasingly influences and blesses the world. Our mission is to bless the world with the kind of love and care God gives to us as His children. When the opportunity comes, we share the message of salvation with those God is using our lives to bless. What an exciting thing it is to be a part of a spiritual kingdom that is influencing and winning the world one person at a time as individual lives are touched and reclaimed for God. We hope this week’s Devotionals will serve to compliment the story of the “Mustard Seed” and be a blessing to you.
Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!” Numbers 13:30–14:2
On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite …. I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” …. Then God appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and He blessed him. God said to him, “your name is Jacob; but you shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” Thus He called him Israel. God also said to him, “I am God Almighty; be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come forth from you. The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you, and I will give the land to your descendants after you.” Genesis 15:18-21, 17:7-8, 35:9-12
But you are a chosen race, A royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:9-12
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
With Israel of old God worked to build His kingdom by seeking to establish them as a model nation for all other nations. With the church God works to build His kingdom by taking individuals from all nations and uniting them in the body of Christ and using them individually and collectively to reach the world. Through the ages whenever and wherever God is at work building His kingdom, there will be those who co-operate with it and those who oppose it. One might suppose that all those who are in opposition are outside God’s kingdom and against it. However, often there are those within the kingdom who oppose the advancement of God’s true kingdom. Such ones don’t usually realize how they are coming up against God’s true kingdom while all the while supporting poor substitutes for the real thing. Also, it is interesting that there are sometimes those who are outside God’s true kingdom who are more in tune with features of the kingdom than many who are on the inside.
We will explore more of all of this later. In the meantime, every one of us must realize that we will have an impact, but the question is will our impact be one of co-operation or one of opposition. Sometimes it is not clear how God is at work. For Israel God had made Himself very clear and there was nothing left to do but go in and possess the land. The author of the book of Hebrews in the New Testament speaks about this event and says that they failed to enter because of unbelief and disobedience. Every one of us needs to enter fully into to the true kingdom of God with its many amazing features (we will explore later) and then help additional people enter the kingdom as well. It is truly a matter of belief and a matter of obedience.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, I want to be a believing and obedient member of your true kingdom. Show me the reality of your true kingdom with all its amazing features. Help me willingly abandon all the poor substitutes I have settled for and help me embrace fully every part of the real thing. Without this help and my good response to it, I can never serve your kingdom fully as a good and trustworthy steward of your amazing grace. Amen!
Posted on Tue, April 9, 2019
by Ken Hart