February 12

Read Numbers 1 -- 2

In Today 's Reading:

First numbering (census) of the Israelites for military purposes and encampment location of each tribe in relation to the tabernacle

About 70 times in the book of Numbers, we read: The LORD said or the LORD spoke to Moses. These were the words of our heavenly Father speaking to His children. The desire of God was to have a people that would love, obey, and follow Him without reservation. He, in turn, would be their God, and lead them into the promised land. While the Israelites remained at Mount Sinai, it was twice said of them: They did everything just as the LORD commanded Moses (Numbers 1:54; 2:34). As long as the Israelites were neither accomplishing anything for the Lord nor going anywhere, but were just talking about it, they were satisfied. But, just days after they moved out from the mountain of the LORD . . . to seek out a resting place for them. . . . The people began complaining. . . . Who will feed us meat? . . We're wasting away, and there's nothing to look at but this manna!(10:33; 11:1,4,6). Rather than see their difficulties as an opportunity to believe that God would continue to meet their needs and lead them to the promised land, they chose to be dissatisfied with their circumstances.

In much the same way, our lives are also a wilderness journey, a march each day through unfamiliar territory. Let us not forget that, from the time the Israelites were led to move forward in obedience to God's word, Satan was there to create discontent.

When Christians find fault and complain about their hardships, as the Israelites did, they too disqualify themselves from the Lord's best.

Only a faithful few, like Caleb, Joshua, and Moses, recognize that God is in control and has arranged His plan for our lives. We all can avoid wasted years. As we faithfully read the Bible with an unreserved desire to be all that He would have us be, and to do all that He would have us do, then His indwelling Holy Spirit enlightens our minds and stirs our hearts to pray. The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful (James 5:16).

Christ Portrayed:

By Moses as he led the people (Numbers 1:54). Jesus said: I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep. . . My sheep . . . follow Me (John 10:14,27).

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Constance Morella (MD) and Sen. Arlen Specter (PA) · Country: Panama (3 million) in southern Central America · Major languages: Spanish and English · Limited religious freedom · 78% Roman Catholic; 12% Protestant; 5% Muslim; .1% Eastern Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: When you are afraid, have confidence in and rely upon the Lord (Psalms 56:3-4).

Optional Reading: Mark 15

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:9