In the Hearing of the Lord: Firestorm! ~ Part 2

Passage Recall:

“Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord and the fire died out. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them” ~ Numbers 11:1-3, NASB.

In Part 1 of Firestorm we looked at what I see and understand about God that brought God’s firestorm to the camp of God’s people on the day He was provoked to take action against their grumbling, complaint of distrust and discontent. Have you ever wondered why, out of two people with the same propensity to sin, one seems to have to suffer consequences more than another? Could it possibly be that one, though they keep stumbling over similar stones, is at least open to God and agreeable to learn what is needed for change? God sees the heart and is looking for those with a heart after His own, whole toward Him.

The people of God in our passage are an example to us of a people who would not learn, thus they failed to believe God and come to one heart with Him. As some have said, they kept going round and round the same mountain, having to go through the same life lessons over and over again, facing more devastating consequences. They did so because, despite seeing His might work on their behalf over and over again, they failed to believe.

It seems to me that those who realize quickly their sin and turn to God often face lesser consequences than those who rebelliously refuse to learn and change; or if they do have a firestorm hit, their heart toward God equips them to get through with fewer burns. When we see someone going round a mountain over and over, one of our main prayers and words of encouragement for them needs to be that they develop a teachable spirit that seeks after God and believes in Him, becoming one who is easily moved to change by God.

It also seems to me that those who find themselves in the same situations over and over are those who have little or no understanding of God. The more we know of God, the more we trust Him. The stronger our trust in Him, the easier our faith comes. The easier our faith, the more likely we are to follow His lead with hope in Him despite our situations. If the people of Israel each had a personal knowledge of God, their griping, complaining rebellion would have lessened. But they struggled with an unteachable, rebellious spirit. They often seemed to avoid close proximity with God, asking Moses to do that for them, while they failed to fear going against His ways, so they faced a firestorm.

Thus we learn that to avoid a firestorm, we must avoid ungrateful griping and complaining, and move far away from rebellion against God, instead turning to Him with a receptive spirit to learn His ways. So why would God send a firestorm and what might His purpose in it be?

Fire is a source of light used of God to light up the dark places. Because of the fire, the people’s attitudes and lack of faith was made clear and grace was sought for and received. Fire rises up within us and around us still today, sent by God to reveal our struggle with sin and doubt, leading us to repentance that finds grace waiting.

Fire made God’s opinion of their attitudes and actions evident to the people. God was provoked to righteous anger by His people. Here is the thing, though. God’s anger, even His most vehement wrath is never out of control like ours often is. He is always in control of His response when angered, always has a purpose in what He allows to come as a disciplining rod. Though He may appear to our way of thinking as being unreasonable, His vengeance, unlike ours, is righteous and always based on truth, and His disciplining rod is always just as He is patient toward us.

God is always purpose driven, protective, and proactive (pressing forward to the goal). His anger comes across to us as harsh, in my opinion, because in times of lacking ability to acknowledge our sin, we fail to see how long He tarries with us before turning up the heat. We see Him take what seems to us to be quick, overly harsh action against people who come against Him and His ways and we think that He cannot be pleased. It is vital that we understand how long suffering Father is over His children; then maybe we will realize when we keep running around a mountain and change our ways before the storm worsens.

Fire is cleansing. Fire is cleansing: example – removing bacteria from medical instruments, making them safe for use; removing hidden organisms from the food we eat. God reaches to us, wooing us to Himself. When we continue to refuse Him and walk farther from Him in the process, we eventually reach a point of no return. Firestorms come to those who are in danger of an infectious rebellion that will lead them to that point.

We must remember that God knows the heart of a person. He knows when they are set in their way and set against His in a way that will bring destruction to those around them. God removed people and groups whose hearts were so set against Him and His ways that they would be like leaven to the whole; spreading like infection to bring all to destruction. When He sent His fire or the destructive force of His wrath, He did so to protect and purify the whole camp.

Fire, at its highest temps, will melt the most precious to release from it the dross that soils and spoils the brilliance of the pure. God was, in these passages we consider in scripture, creating a pure lot out of which to save the world. Was He harder on Israel than on those nations surrounding them? To us it would appear to be so, because He was leading them to be the people of His purpose. Will God be harder on us who profess to follow Him in Christ but live like the world? I believe so, for He is still in the business of raising up a holy lot that will be the Kingdom of His Presence. God cannot remain among those of a sinful, unrighteous nature. So He requires much of us who profess to be His, for we are the righteous leaven meant to influence the world for good and glory.

When the fires of adversity come, jump in. God’s fire purifies, revealing the dross that dulls our shine, and removing from us the impurities that affect those around us. Cooperating with God when He sends His purifying fire our way is a whole lot easier and less painful than fighting against it. God’s fire is not meant for our destruction, but it will destroy the few if that is what must be in order to protect the whole. His fire will purify that which needs cleansing if we will but brave the heat to grow in our knowledge of God and be like He is in purity, holiness, truth and righteousness.

Beloved, if our hearts are pure toward God and if we are pliable in the Master Potter’s capable hands, it is doubtful we will ever have to face a God-generated firestorm of our own making. And though the flames sent against the rebellious in our midst may lap around us who are part of that camp, we can take heart in knowing that, just like with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Father will be with us in the fire when our hearts are pure toward Him.

~*~

“Faith in the Lord to handle any and all situations we are faced with is the ONLY way to get through them and end up a winner” ~ Sarah Doe (An anonymous writer of a real letter).

“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” ~ Isaiah 55:6-7.

In the Hearing of the Lord: Firestorm! ~ Part 1

Passage Recall:

“Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord and the fire died out. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them” ~ Numbers 11:1-3, NASB.

We looked these past several days at consequences wrought out of our choices. Consequence is the fruit born from choice, whether good or bad, bringing to us the blessing, or the curse. Do searches through this blog sight alone and you will find many devotionals and articles on the subjects of “choice” or “choose.” Right practice of our God-given right to choose is vitally important, and God’s people write about it often.

In my understanding and belief, our ability to choose was important to Father so that we could know our need of Him in life, and so that we have the option to love Him by choice, just as He chooses us. Love without choice is no love at all. From the first tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden, to the last tree of Calvary’s Christ Cross, God allows us to choose to align ourselves with His prodigy or not to.

“Consequence” stems out of natural law set up by God for all, so our choice will reap a just reward or punishment. Once we choose Father through the Savior, Jesus Christ, we become the children of God and heirs with Christ, having a responsibility to represent His interests in the earth. As the children, God often uses consequences to discipline and train us in righteousness vs. unrighteousness. This understanding of God’s discipline / training that stems out of love for all and desire for us to know Him and live with Kingdom purpose is vital for us in comprehending His allowing such difficulty to come.

How many of us are happy with the outcome of allowing our children to run amuck without any instruction on our part that will help them to become people of worth who do good in the earth? God desires our good, so He trains us up to choose good and blessing by all the means available for His use, and sometimes that puts us in very uncomfortable position in life (Hebrews 12).

It is sometimes difficult for people to believe God is with them and for them when they read the Holy Writ and see His wrath displayed. Add to that the storms of life and the difficulties mankind faces, and faith becomes a dried up mustard seed in a hurry if we fail to understand that His wrath is never out of His control and that it is always coupled with eternal purpose.

Understanding God with knowledge of Who He is and the ability to see things from His perspective with His purposes in mind is vital to our ability to weather the storms and nurture faith in Him. That understanding stems from relationship with Holy Spirit, who is sent to every child of God in Christ as the Teacher and Instructor. Learning to seek the Spirit and trust His voice is vital for us who seek to weather the storms of this life, accomplishing His purposes, with hope of reaping the reward found in this life and the next.

Before we consider the firestorm in our focal passage, to learn what we can learn that will help us avoid or deal with a firestorm from God in our own lives, here is what I know of Him and see about Him that led to the firestorm in our focal passage:

God – Holy, Righteous, and True – at this point in history was raising up for Himself a holy people out of which He would birth the Christ. That Christ would pay the price of sin for the whole world, saving those who believe from the sin and death that was birthed into the world through the fall in the garden. It was vital for the gods of Egypt and their reliance upon that place to be worked out of their system so they would be able to connect with God as their God and so they would trust His provision for them. God’s presence and protection was visible to the people as a cloud by day and a fire at night.

The cloud by day provided visible proof of God’s presence with them and His leading them on their journey to the Promised Land. It also provided shade to protect from the heat of the desert place in which they found themselves as they followed God.

A column of Fire was there to protect them through the night, providing light in the darkness and revelation of His presence with them. It also was there to protect His work in them that God purposed to bring to completion. His fire was not there to do them harm, but to protect them and to provide light in the times of darkness.

An enemy entered into the camp of God’s people, presenting itself and its destructive force through grumbling, complaining, discontent, and a sundry of emotional upheavals that hindered their faith to trust in God. That was leading the people to look back to Egypt, denying faith and God’s trustworthy ability to lead them and care for them. That enemy flowing from their fleshly desire, worldly understanding, and demonic influence, was leading the people to greed and covetousness, looking with wanton pleasure to things of their heart’s desire, refusing gratitude for what they had and hope for the greater things to come. So God sent a firestorm against the enemy of God.

We are told that this particular firestorm lapped around and consumed the outskirts of the camp. There may have been destruction of people, but we are not given clear indication of that in this version of scripture. But the fact that the camp was surrounded by God’s fire, I am sure, got the attention of the people.

God’s firestorms are against His enemies: fleshly indulgence, worldly wisdom, and demonic prodding: those given over to these enemies put themselves in danger of facing the wrath of God as allies with them. Even in the deliverance from Egypt, the plagues God sent was not just against those people who were abusing and using God’s people, but it was against the false, demonic gods behind those people. Each plague was directed against one of Egypt’s many gods, and, God, knowing the heart of every man, seeing those who would refuse to turn in repentance, consumed many of them as part of the enemy camp. The same is true in the camp of God’s people, when those allied with the false god of this world infiltrate it and refuse to turn to God and His way.

So, what do I see that we can learn in the firestorm that hit the camp of God’s people that day? Fire has purpose in God’s hand that is for our good and His glory. What is that purpose? Tomorrow we will finish our series.

In the Hearing of the Lord: The Eye of Calm Waters – Part 3

Remember our focal passage:

“Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord and the fire died out. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them” ~ Numbers 11:1-3, NASB.

When I find myself tossed by storms of life, there is something there for me to learn. This entire article stems out of the fact that I have learned much in the storms of life. One thing I have learned when touched by consequence, whether my own or another’s that puts me in a storm is to ask Father what it is I am to learn in this place in which I find myself.

God’s Word promises that we will find Him when we seek Him, and we will surly find Him when we seek Him with whole heart. He will respond to us when we seek His face in order to understand our circumstances from His viewpoint and with a heart that desires to improve oneself. And I have learned that if God allows a storm to touch me, there is something He wants to teach me. The quicker I am to seek His face, the faster I am to find the Eye of the storm and the rest that is there: the place where my prayers will be more effective, for they are birthed by God; the place where my actions are God-directed to bear pure fruit that accomplishes much.

And what I learn, I must teach others as I have opportunity or obligation:

We are looking at dealing with the consequences brought about by our choices and how the outcome of decisions made can affect those in the vicinity, whether for good or for evil. Yesterday I was reading in Numbers and a passage there grabbed my attention. It is one that I have often read and thought how unfair that dictate from God seems. But as I read it this time, I had a different understanding hit me that I think we need to realize here. In Numbers 14:32-33, God says to Israel, who is about to face their consequences for rebellion against God:

“But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness. Your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness.”

Reading this before, I have always focused on the children being punished for the sins of the fathers, but is that what is truly happening? Could it be that God is saying that because they are in a position of being effected by the consequences of the fathers, they will have suffering until the fulfillment of the time: 40 years, in this case? It is vital, as we learn our lessons in the wilderness of consequence, that we teach our children as well, so they may avoid inviting consequences of their own into life.

In the Eye of the storm, God hears me when I call, for in the Eye of the storm there is faith to trust Him more. As God has taught my heart to run quickly to the center of the hurricane, where the winds become still and quiet waters reside, He has also taught me that no matter how great my faith may be, it is never more than a mustard seed when placed against His faithfulness.

As I have lived in the Eye of the storm with God, I have grown to realize that the more I know Him, the more I realize there is to learn of Him. I can never, in this earthly existence, know Him fully. There are always greater depths to fathom in knowing God so as to understand and comprehend.

We trust what we know to be true. And because of what we know to be true of Him, we have faith for our future and for the outcome of consequences. Therefore knowledge of God is vital for trust to grow, and faith for the yet-to-be-seen works out of trust in what we know to be true. It is in the Eye during the storm that we grow to know Him better. There we have trust strengthened and faith secured.

The greatest thing we can do when consequences hit is to discern and own our part in them. As we’ve already addressed, repentance for the things we do to raise the winds of adversity is vital to our ability to enter the Eye and know Father’s presence and provision. When we are quick to seek the Father to discern our part, if the consequences we are facing are not caused by us, we can quickly draw near to God in the eye and let Him prepare us for our part in helping the one in the storm. If the consequences are due to personal choices, we can address the storm quickly as we draw near to God in repentance.

And as discussed above, if I have made a personal, ill-equipped response to circumstances before seeking God and added to the storm caused by another’s consequences, by the grace that God supplies, I can see where my flesh-driven responses to an insult may add to the storms of life and take responsibility for my part. Only then am I able to see with clarity when I need to take Spirit-driven action and when I need to sit quietly to wait upon the Lord, knowing that He will be exalted to have His purpose fulfilled (Psalm 46:10). With my ears attuned to His voice in the quiet, stillness of the Eye, I can receive His word to me and share it with others so as to help them find the quiet waters He provides for those who believe.

Here, I must add that repentance does not always remove consequences. Often we still must deal with the situations brought about by sin: an untimely pregnancy; a broken home; broken relationships; loss of a job; etc. Entering the Eye through repentance equips us to deal with these issues in right ways that do not perpetuate and add to the storm. Through repentance and quiet trust we learn to…

Avoid the Fire-storm. In the hearing of the Lord, I can choose whether to enter the winds of adversity or remain in the stillness trust breeds by choosing my words and thoughts and actions carefully, while following His lead. It is one thing to face consequences with God at our side to help us through them. There we find the greater depths of His person, helping us to grow and become all He planned and purposed. But beware taking actions to try to deliver self from ones well-deserved consequence without acknowledging His Lordship in the life you face, and beware refusing to see and own the cause of the storm our actions birthed.

Getting back to our focal passage, beware complaining, ingratitude for God’s good to us, looking with greedy covetousness to things we deem better, often looking with wanton pleasure to a past we gave up to follow Him, thus dissing Him as God. Failing to own our consequences and to trust God in the storms of life will find us fighting against God, facing a firestorm of His making.

Why would a good and faithful God send a Firestorm? Join me in the next post of Ponderings.

“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” ~ James 1:12, NLT.

 

 

In the Hearing of the Lord: The Eye of Calm Waters – Part 2

Remember our focal passage:

“Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord and the fire died out. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them” ~ Numbers 11:1-3, NASB.

Yesterday we looked at entering the eye of the storm where calmer waters reside by trusting God’s hand, aim and desire toward us to be for our good, to give us a hope and a future. And we enter in by believing God’s word of promise to us in the given situation that is driving the storm. Today we begin to look at what I have learned in storm seasons that help me to remain in the eye, unhindered, and how remaining there equips me to better deal with the storms winds when they reach to me or when God sends me into them for a purposeful time of ministry or training.

In the Eye of many storms in life, I learned:

Spurts of earnest, faith-filled, God-inspired prayer is better than my many words. Through the years of a very long storm in my life, I felt like I was praying little while sitting in the Eye of trust in God, but what I found is that I was truly learning to pray with greater effectiveness. When prayer came to me it was Spirit-led, often Word-inspired, focused, and faith filled as opposed to my fretting cries. I found my own faith strengthened in the praying, knowing the Words were God-inspired, and therefore, were already fulfilled in the heavens. Knowing that allowed me to remain secure in His rest and to know His presence in the storm. As I watch many prayers answered and as I wait for still more, my trust grows stronger and rest comes easier.

It is vital to distinguish what I can do from what God must do, and do that which I can do. Not only has my prayer life strengthened through my storm dealings, but I have learned greater strength for more effective action.

Women / moms usually are “fixers”. We are equipped by God to protect and care for the children we bear. Men / dads are protectors and providers for their families. It is difficult when our children get older and we – still having those attributes ingrained into us, find ourselves hindered from the ability to do and be what we have always done and been because of the right of choice one has as an adult child or a mate. Resting in Father equips me to hear and receive His instruction for what I can do in a given situation. And when He tells us to do something, He equips us in every way and supplies all our need for doing His will. Once the ordained task is accomplished, I return to rest-mode and watch to see the Lord move. I can better hear and receive His promise for what He will do as I sit in quiet trust in Him and believe His Word to me. Ability to trust Him in the things I can’t do anything about and to be more effective in the things I can do to affect a situation further equips me to enter into and remain in His rest.

Consequences belong to the Lord for His use in maturing the one suffering them. There comes a time in the life of every person when they have to begin to mature and make choices for good or evil for themselves; and they, like I had to do, must face the consequences for their choices. Fretting and complaining does not help that fact when we are in the situations wrought from consequence, our own or that of others. They only aid in stirring up the disciplining winds of the storm; and those disciplining winds, if they go unnoticed or ignored in rebellion, can quickly turn to a firestorm as Father turns up the heat of discipline. Trusting that God has purpose to work through the consequences we are watching unfold and doing our part to cooperate with Him equips us to weather the storm, find and remain in the eye.

Realize when consequence is in play and let it do its work. Fretting and fuming often lead to laying blame.

The blame game that began in the garden with the first fall continues in our day to make it difficult when we have to face consequences for our choices. Our world works more and more to remove consequence from the equation by making blaming others acceptable, and by removing the incentive of winners and losers from the equation of life. Both ends of that continuum destroy our ability to benefit and learn through consequences.

The blame game seeks to make the consequence of our choices someone else’s fault, making us the fall guy in our own eyes. That breeds bitterness and anger, and it leads to failure to learn from mistakes we will not take credit for making. We cannot face consequences and grow up when we refuse to acknowledge they are ours to bear.

On that same thread, parents or significant others, trying to protect a child or loved one from their consequences by blaming self for some failure on our part seldom helps them grow up. Some of the consequence may be ours to deal with, but they must face their part to benefit from the outcome of choices made. The blame game hinders the effectiveness of God’s purpose in allowing the storms. Owning ones part and repentance, while allowing others to do the same will win the day. As Isaiah 30:15 warns, “For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, ‘In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.’ But you were not willing.” A repentant heart and willing obedience are the fertilizer for seeds of righteousness that bears much good fruit out of life’s adversities brought about by consequences for sin.

Never being in a position to work to win anything removes from us the understanding of meeting expectations if we want to win. For us as Christians, our competition is not against one another, so I can see myself as better than you. It is against self, stemming from a desire for Christlikeness, to be as much like Him as we can be. As we defeat our own fleshly desires through surrendered reliance upon God to walk in godliness and in the fullness of God’s ways, we grab the prize of God’s glory and crown. We keep it by continuing to do the same.

Who has to do anything to improve oneself if there is no win or lose? God has winners and losers: winners of crowns and those who lose them; winners of the prize and those who miss the mark and fail to grasp the ring. Consequences help us see where we need to work to better ourselves as the people of God, and the ability to win a crown gives us something to reach for that brings us up higher in life.

When I find myself tossed by storms of life, there is something there for me to learn. And we will continue this segment of this series tomorrow with “In the Hearing of the Lord: The Eye of Calm Waters – Part 3”.

 

In the Hearing of the Lord: The Eye of Calm Waters – Part 1

Remember our focal passage:

“Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord and the fire died out. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them” ~ Numbers 11:1-3, NASB.

Yesterday, in the introduction to our study, we looked at the journey of Israel during the first one to two years of their travels after leaving Egypt, considering their tendency to complain when storms come to life, as is our own tendency, bringing difficulty to our days and adding to the force of the winds we face. Today we begin our journey to discover what we can learn that will help us to join the Father in the eye of such storms, where calm and peaceful waters reside.

The things I am about to share with you come mostly from personal experience. I went through a season of many storms flying all around me – divorce within the family circle, parental aging issues, etc.: it was overwhelming. These particular storms were brought on by other people’s choices and beliefs, things I could do little or nothing about. Seeing these things so out of my control, I wound up being tossed and torn by them. Hear me now, I was tossed and torn BECAUSE OF my mentality toward fretting, complaining, and the want-to-fix-it. With these emotional responses to the situations, my own decisions in dealing with and coping with the situations did not always lend help in the storm and often aided in stirring up more wind.

One day, as I found myself again telling God all that was going on, I realized that my eyes were so snared by the raging winds that all I was accomplishing was to complain in the ears of God. If you ever feel like your prayers are just hitting the ceiling, perhaps a complaining, ungrateful, faithless spirit is the issue. Realizing that fact about myself set me on a journey in which I learned how to lay such issues at God’s feet and entrust them to Him.

The eye of the storm is made up of trust in and full reliance upon God with confidence in Him to use the situation for good.

On my journey from the point of realizing my complaining spirit – a sign of lack of faith to trust God and one of disrespect for Him and His position in my life – progressing from a complaining spirit to that of entering into and remaining in the Eye, at rest, I went through years of feeling like I was praying little because it was all said and there was nothing left to add. The best I could do was to rest it with God and wait: wait to see what He would do.

I know this is true in all situations and at all times, but in that season of my life, I became acutely aware of “the best I could do”. Many of my prayers consisted of, “Lord, here it is. I trust You.” I might have to lay the situation down several times a day, praying more for my responses in the storms than for the situations stirring them. But as I did that, I found myself resting more and more in the Eye of the storm, under His Wings.

As I think on that, I realize anew that we are called to be a people that remain under the wings of God. Think about that.

In life, the time we most often see a chick under its mother’s wing is when there is an evident and present danger: a predator in the area or in the midst of a storm, or when there is need for provision to sustain life (example: the need of warmth). The enemy lion, Satan, is always on the prowl, roaring to see if he can stir up his prey. And this life, fueled by fleshly desires, worldly ways, and demonic influence, constantly rages to stir up storms all around us. Therefore, as the people of God, reliant on Him, it is vital that we learn to live, remain, and function from the position of His protective cover and provision that sustains Life.

Another important aspect I learned about entering the eye of a storm is that of receiving and believing revealed promises of God, especially those He gives me personally in regard to a particular situation.

It helps me greatly when I can say as, for example, with a prodigal son, “Here he is again, Lord. I trust You; for You have promised me that You will deal with him as with a son and that Your lovingkindness will never leave him” (2 Samuel 7:14-15). We even see this portrayed for us in many of the prayers of Moses, as he often reminded God of His promises toward His people and the need for Him to not give the enemy opportunity to gloat (Exodus 33 *:12-17*; Numbers 14:13-19).

Yes, I have learned much about God through the storms of life, and as I have grown to more quickly relinquish difficulty and enter the eye of the storm, I have learned still more about how to remain there and what to do while there. Now that we have entered calmer waters through trust and belief, calling God’s attention to His promises and to His honor, return to join me in the next posting as we continue to look at being in the hearing of the Lord in ways that keep us in the Eye of life’s storms.

In the Hearing of the Lord: Series Introduction

“Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord and the fire died out. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the Lord burned among them” ~ Numbers 11:1-3, NASB.

Near as I can figure from the timeline of events, and I could be off some on this, but I don’t think by much: God led Israel through the wilderness, taking about a year to get to the Mountain of God which was about a 13 day journey going in a straight line there. He then took most of another year to give the people the laws and instructions they needed before entry into the Promised Land: leading them to build the Temple, and numbering the people for the purposes of service assignments as priests and warriors.

Why so long? Why not just cross quickly and head into the Promised Land before all this complaining began? Not wanting to get too much into this subject, as lead-in to our subject for this writing, here is what I see as the reason for God taking the long way to get to their destination:

  1. The people were weak from their time as slaves and needed to be built up mentally, physically, and spiritually.
  2. The people were divisive, each thinking they knew a better way, and they needed to be brought to one heart and mind, God’s; and to the ability to follow His lead through the leadership of men He anointed and appointed.
  3. The people were filled with the falsehood of Egypt and needed to have Egypt worked out of their system of belief and wantonness.
  4. The people needed to grow in their ability to trust God to do all He told them He would.
  5. The people needed to learn obedience in order to cooperate with God in seeing the promises fulfilled.

Don’t confuse these events on the timeline of Israel’s wilderness experience with the 40 years that follow. It was failure to believe in, trust in and rely upon God with the first approach to entering the Promised Land that led to Israel’s 40 year wilderness wanderings.

At this point, I am sure that there is more that can be gleaned from a two year jaunt to make a 13 day journey. But as I consider where to go in introducing our subject matter in this writing, these things listed above come quickly to mind. The point is that God always has good purpose for any adversity and every storm He allows to touch our lives. Yes. Always. And His purposes are for our good, to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11-14).

It has been years since I have not had a storm raging somewhere, at least on the outskirts of my life. It seems when one situation dies down, another flares up or begins again. Sounds horrendous, doesn’t it? It may even sound familiar. But the reason I can pronounce a storm to be on the outskirts of my life – sometimes touching life, maybe stirring things some, but not destroying life, is because throughout all the storms to date, God has taught me how to enter into His rest and remain in the eye of the storm, where calm waters dwell.

Our focal scripture that leads to this writing reveals that frequent complaining over adversity stirs up the winds of the storm, and can even put us in the midst of a God-driven Firestorm. This is the beginning of a rather lengthy, two-part series on dealing with life’s adversity that I believe, if you will read all over these next three to four days, Walking_on_wateryou will find it worth the time.

Through this study, we will look first at the things I have learned that are vital to entering into the Eye of life’s storms and remaining there (see the next two to three posts). Then we will look at this “firestorm” sent by God and discover what it may consist of and why He would send such into our lives.

I look forward to visiting with you again in our next post as we begin to look at “In the Hearing of the Lord: The Eye of Calm Waters”.

Glorious Thunder!

God’s voice is glorious in the thunder. We can’t even imagine the greatness of his power ~ Job 37:5, NLT.

God has me meditating on this verse again today. For several days now He has used its wisdom to remind me that His voice booms out His glory in the midst of the storms of life. He is ever present in our situations, bringing good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). The question is, will we realize Him in the storm and trust Him for the outcome? Will we be open to what He is doing and wants to accomplish in and through us because of the things we learn of Him while in the storm?

thunder002Beloved, whatever you are going through today, be alert to God there, open to hearing from and seeing Him. Realize even in the midst of the storms of life that His power is beyond our comprehension. The storm that overwhelms us is nothing to Him. He will not be overcome, and He who loves us will fight for us to bring to pass the purpose for which He allows the storm to come (Romans 5:1-5; James 1:2-3).

Oh, for the fresh breath that comes with the passing of the storm: Watch for it. He who fights for you will not fail to accomplish His good purpose and plan, and we will be the better for it.