Posts Tagged ‘Israelites’



April 5, 2014

“At that time I said to you, ‘I am not able to bear you by myself. The Lord your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are today as numerous as the stars of heave. May the Lord, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times as many as you are and bless you, as he has promised you! How can I bear by myself the weight and burden of you and your strife? Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.’” Deuteronomy 1:9-13


…but what if it is your Circus?
…And what if they are your monkeys?

 I finished reading through the book of Numbers in my daily Bible reading plan. I would very much like to have seen the Israelites traveling through the wilderness. I would have liked to have stood beside Balaam at the top of a peak to see what a fraction of God’s people looked like.  However, I read the chronicles of the grumbling and intrigue of that people and wonder at what a circus it was. The faithful provisions of God, sustaining His people, delivering His people, guiding His people, did not stop all of the sinful drama.

Circus Smrikus TentYet, I know that the drama of the Israelites in the wilderness is matched by the drama of the Nation of Israel in the Promised Land, which was matched by the drama of the Pharisees and Sadducees. It was all a circus.

I also know that the redemption of God’s people by the saving work of Jesus Christ did not cure us from this circus of sinful drama. There was drama amongst the disciples; drama in the 1st Century church; drama in the Church of the Middle Ages; drama through the reformation; and drama to this day.

I was speaking with a co-worker who was explaining the chaos of a church split where he had previous attended – it was a circus.

If you have ever been a part of the leadership in a well-establish community Church – it is a circus of meeting needs and quelling the disgruntled.

If you have ever been a part of a Church plant – CIRCUS.

The functioning of God’s people has always been a circus. The Church is a circus because it is filled with monkeys. The Church breeds drama because we all are drama monkeys in one degree or another. No one is sin free. We are all progressing in our sanctification. Therefore, we all bring our sanctified selves and our drama monkey selves to whatever we do.  You don’t have to look hard to see the effects of Church monkeys.

The Donkey Kongs (Donkey Kong)
The Church monkeys who continually
puts obstacles and barricades in the way of others.

donkey kong

The Georges (Curious George)
The innocent and naïve Church monkeys who do not listen
to anyone and continually get themselves into trouble and danger.


The King Louies (Jungle Book)
The Church monkeys who live amongst blessings, but crave something
different and manipulate others through their discontentment.


The Clydes (Every Which Way but Loose)
The Church monkeys who are just ornery and
have a bad habit of hurting people.clyde

The Caesars (Rise of the Planet of the Apes – 2011)
The Church monkeys who covet position and prestige
through the instigation of rebellion and discord.


The Rafikis (The Lion King)
The Church monkeys who appear wise
but no one really understands anything they are saying.


The Church is filled with a variety of drama monkeys. I don’t want to be a drama monkey but I know that I am. I hope that I am less monkey than I used to be but I know there is still a drama monkey within me. Thankfully, God’s work in my life is not done. Yet, I am always disappointed when my drama monkey escapes to play in the sinful circus of relational drama. I am disappointed when that happens because I know that I have just played a role in making the Church the circus that it should not be. I hate that.

I long for the day when the Church will be drama free but I don’t expect to see it until Christ returns. I lament the fact that those outside the Church recognize the hypocritical nature of our chaos and strife ridden circus.  However, everything that sinful man touches turns into a circus – government, councils, civic clubs, unions, commissions, work groups, boards, sports teams, associates, …everything has the relational drama of a circus.  Every organization composed of people will be fraught with drama because we are drama monkeys.

We should not be surprised by the fact that our churches have drama. They contain people who are still progressing in their sanctification. Therefore, circuses are bound to occasionally break out due to unrestrained drama monkeys. Yet, I love the Church because it is the only place on Earth where the circus is being removed. It is not perfect and it is not complete but it is where God’s people come together and wherever God’s people come together, the Spirit is at work.  And wherever the Spirit is at work, God is sanctifying us from our drama monkeys.

That makes the Church the Greatest Circus on Earth. 

That makes it my Circus.
And all those drama monkeys, are my monkeys.
And I am theirs.  

PRAYER: Father, forgive me for making a circus out of your Church here on earth.  Forgive me for all of my monkey drama ways.  Continue your work in me.  Continue your work in your Church.  May you be glorified in our imperfect works and flawed attempts to live with one another.  Lord, may your Spirit abound amongst us.  Help us to look past the monkey drama of our brothers and sisters and love them as you do.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen



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“Thence to That to Zzzzz”, – Dec. 9th

December 9, 2012

“And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.” Joshua 21:44

Occasionally, I have to read legal descriptions of properties.  That is a mind numbing process:

 Beginning at a point 605.05 feet South and 323.75 feet East of the Northwest corner of Government Lot 5 in Section 10, Township 15 North, Range 2 East of the W.M.;

Thence North 86.43 feet;

Thence East 85 feet;

Thence South 65 feet;




Thence to thence to ad nauseam.

 I really, really, really, don’t like to read legal descriptions. However, there is one particular legal description that I have read with enthusiasm. The land that document describes is the location of our home.  My wife received this property in the form of an early inheritance. Her parents are alive and well but they saw that we could put this property to better use now rather than waiting several decades.  It was an incredible blessing and that inheritance is where we have built our home.

If we had not received the property as an early inheritance, we would be waiting; waiting to receive a promised inheritance. We call that sort of promise a will but it is really a form of a covenant. My wife’s parents faithfulness would have been the basis of that promise.

The Children of Israel Crossing the Jordan (il...I have recently been reading through Joshua 13 – 21.  It reads a lot like legal descriptions, rather mind numbing.  This is where Joshua makes the allotments of the promise land to the specific tribes of Israel. It is not very exciting and I have a tendency to skip and rush through it because it doesn’t seem very relevant to me.  I am sure it was very relevant to someone in the tribe of Zebulun or someone in the tribe of Naphtail or Asher but I am not in one of those tribes and the names of all those places and cities bear  little importance to me.

However, these passages have a meaning that extends beyond their plain reading. They have importance beyond that of entitlement to some property in the Middle East. God’s promises are being fulfilled to the tribes of Israel; God’s faithfulness is on full display.  God made a promise to Israel.  He promised to bring them into the promised land and he did exactly that. Every good promise that God made came to pass.

We believers have been given the promise of eternal life. We know by faith that we are now experiencing the free gift of eternal life and will continue to experience that gift after our death. We are heirs of God and fellow heirs of Christ – that is our hope.

A promise is only as good as the one making the promise. You can’t rely upon the promise of a liar.

Can you trust the one making the promises in the Bible?  How do we know that God keeps his covenants – his promises?

We can know that God keeps is promises because he has done it before – he has proven his faithfulness to his people time and time again. He said that he would give Israel a land flowing in milk and honey and he did exactly that. He did it with such accuracy as making official allotments to each tribe of Israel, even down to the equivalent of our legal descriptions.  God is very precise about his promises.

There are so many things in this life that can cause us to doubt.

When that happens, we have to go back to what we know.

  • God is a covenant keeper;
  • We know this because He has faithfully showed it to Israel when he gave them the promised land and He has shown it countless times after that.
  • He does not change.
  • He has kept His promises before. He is doing it today and He will do it tomorrow because that is who He is;
  •  Therefore, we can hope in the promises that God has given us.

These passages are as boring as a legal description until we realize that they are describing a God that is intensely relevant to each and every one of us this very day.  God’s faithfulness to His own word is why we can hope in our future.

What are you basing your hopes on?

PRAYER: Lord – You are faithful and you have shown that so many times. You are a proven rock. You are a tried fortress. You are an established shelter. Father – thank you for giving me your word to answer my doubt.  Thank you for being a convent keeping God, whom I can trust.    Amen

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