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.