August 18, 2017

Rebellion & Righteousness {TTB12}

This week I’ve been reading from Numbers and Revelation. And you may wonder, as I did, what connections there are between those two books. One is history, one is prophecy. One is the old covenant, one is the new. One deals with Israel alone, the other deals with all the redeemed from all ages. One shows man’s sinfulness, the other shows God’s righteousness.

But it is that last contrast that actually proves to connect the two books. You see, God always {eventually} repays us according to our works. If we rebel against Him, we receive punishment. If we live according to His righteous commands, we receive honor and blessings. And the surety of these truths is portrayed so clearly in the contrast between Israel’s wanderings in Numbers and God’s righteous victory in Revelation.

In the book of Numbers, we find Israel wandering through the wilderness under the leadership of Moses. And we find, over and over again, that they love to complain about God’s provision, to veer away from the course He set for them, to disobey His direct commands and do things their own way. And time after time, they pay the price for their rebellion. Time after time, we’re told that God’s anger is kindled against them, and in His righteous judgment He sends fire or plagues upon them. Until they repent, and turn again to God. And the cycle begins all over again. Disobedience always brings punishment.

But then on the flip side, we have the book of Revelation, where we find that all who reject God (and rebel against Him) are eternally punished in hell. Righteousness prevails and wins the ultimate victory, as God establishes His kingdom on earth. In fact, He wipes out all evidence of sinfulness and replaces this old world with a new heaven and new earth. He wipes away every trace of sin’s effect by replacing sorrow and pain and tears with abundant joy and life everlasting. He repays the wicked for their wickedness by sentencing them to eternal death. And He repays the righteous by dwelling in their very midst, letting them rule and reign with Him, and allowing the fullness of His glory to shine upon them. Obedience always reaps blessing.

So which side are you on? Are you headed for God’s sure wrath, living in disobedience to something He has commanded? Or will you enjoy the fullness of His blessings, as you remain faithful to do what He wants? He will punish rebellion, and He will reward righteousness. It may be harder right now, but if you choose to live righteously, you will experience His ultimate victory and glory:

No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Revelation 22:3-5

That’s what I was reminded of this week – the sure reward for living how God wants me to, and the sure recompense for rejecting how He wants me to live.

So how is your Bible reading going? 

Are you still on track with whatever reading plan you’re following? If not – think of like physical exercise. Just because you miss a day or two (or more) doesn’t mean all progress is lost. Just jump back into it and keep going.

And if you are reading daily, are you learning anything from it?

If not, stop for a moment and think about that. Why aren’t you? Are you rushing through it, just to check it off, not really paying attention to the message behind the words? Is there sin in your life that’s blocking the fellowship between you and God, and thus stopping you from hearing His Spirit’s whisper as you read?

But if you are reading, and you are learning, why don’t you share what God is teaching you? Jot down a brief testimony in the comments below of how He is shaping you in His image. Offer a few words about whatever He’s reminded you of this week. It doesn’t need to be long or detailed, just a sentence or two, to share what God is doing in your life right now.

.

For anyone still reading the Blended Plan, here is next week’s schedule:

Sunday: Numbers 26-28, Matthew 2
Monday: Numbers 29-31, Matthew 3
Tuesday: Numbers 32-34, Matthew 4
Wednesday: Numbers 35-36, Matthew 5
Thursday: Jonah 1-4
Friday: 1 Kings 1-2, Mathew 6
Saturday: 1 Kings 3-5