March 23, 2017

Numbers 20:12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

This is one of the strongest lessons in the whole Bible about not taking God for granted. The fact that even Moses fell into that, when the Bible says he was “more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth,” (Numbers 12:3) should give anyone pause. It strikes me that this incident connects directly to the first phrase in the Lord’s Prayer: “May Your name be acknowledged as holy.” I doubt most people think about that phrase at all, even when they pray the prayer regularly. We need to consider just what Moses did that caused this rather severe discipline. He was quite understandably irritated with the people for failing to trust God, but the problem was, he took it personally, and when God had told him to speak to the rock, instead he hit it, not once but twice. Paul said that the rock was Christ, (1 Corinthians 10:4) which puts Moses in the place of taking his anger at the people out on God. This mistake didn’t deprive Moses of his eternal salvation but it did deprive him of an earthly reward that he had been working for for a very long time. God is indeed holy, more holy than we can grasp, really, and we must not forget that. As Moses illustrates, the more we are used in spiritual leadership the more vital this becomes, because others take their cue from us. Under the New Covenant, every believer is a priest before God, and we are all called to lead those who don’t yet know Christ out of darkness into His light. That will not happen if we fail to treat Him as holy.

Once again I am clearly talking about myself. Given the level of familiarity I have with God and His Word, I am always at danger of letting that breed contempt, just as the expression says. I feel I have a great deal to learn about the holiness of God, and this may indeed be a major, unperceived hindrance to my ministry. I am to love Him, in response to His overwhelming love for me, but I am also to fear Him, to hold Him in awe and reverence. To be honest, I don’t know really how to do that right. For starters, it occurs to me that I need to treat this area where I meet with Him every morning with more respect. Right now it’s pretty cluttered and dirty! He looks at the heart rather than at externals, but that doesn’t mean that the externals are unimportant. My life as a whole needs to be a recognition and reflection of His holiness, without coming across to others as “holier-than-thou.” I’m not smart enough to do that! As always, I’m totally dependent on Him, but that’s not a bad thing. I need to be conscious of the issue and be responsive to His guidance, so that His perfect will may be done in everything concerning me.

Father, thank You for this reminder. It’s not an issue I think about often enough. Clutter is a real problem for me. Help me deal with it as a response to Your holiness, so that my heart likewise may be uncluttered, a fitting place for Your throne, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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