Numbers 11:16-30 (Part 1) – Birthdays: Time To Reflect On What God Has Done

Posted: August 25, 2016 in Book of Numbers
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Numbers 11:16-30 (Part 1 of 3)

Moses Choses Seventy Leaders

“They say it’s your birthday! It’s my birthday, too! We’re gonna have a good time!” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MYCPB7a8ks). It’s classic song by the Beatles from back in the day! And then there’s always, “Happy birthday, Mr. President”, a classic impromptu birthday wish from Marilyn Monroe to John F. Kennedy at his birthday celebration (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqolSvoWNck). I guess by this point you can deduce that today is my birthday. Thank you. Thank you. To all the little people that made this all happen. Thank you! Thank you! Yes, today, as of 7:10am EDT, it will be the 54th anniversary of my birth. These fifty-four years have flown by in a flash particularly that last 31 and 4 months since the birth of my first child. I just thought life was fast before that, but since that time, I just don’t know what happened to all those years. The speed of the last 31 years is the speed of the first 23 years on mega-steroids. It’s like the difference between the speed of the Shuttle Enterprise vs. the speed of Starship Enterprise at Warp 9. I was telling someone this past weekend that some want to grow old gracefully but I am not going down without a fight. I am going down kicking and screaming. I will not go quietly into the night. I am still such a kid inside and I am screaming on the inside that I am not this 54 year old exterior that you see. I feel like I still belong in the youth ministry and not in the over-50 ministry. I don’t want to take bus rides to quilting conventions. I don’t want to play bingo on Friday nights. I don’t want to ever think, “I can’t do that because I getting too old” (well, only if it’s convenient). Going down scratching, clawing, and screaming!

 

But it is on our birthdays that I think that we can have an opportunity to sit down and reflect on our lives. In my 54 years, I have seen much. I have been through much. I have survived being a Methodist preacher’s kid and the insecurities that it brought into my life, moving every couple of years and starting over. I have survived two failed marriages. I have survived losing a job twice during recessions. I have survived moving to Charlotte after 20 plus years living in Greenville. I have survived living in California by myself for a time, across the country from my girlfriend (who is now my wife). I have survived creating order out of chaos at my current job on two different occasions (when I first took the job it was a mess there, and then when we went through the Oracle conversion) and I have survived the intercompany politics of Corporate vs. Subsidiary that could of cost me my job a couple of years ago. All of that bad stuff over the years includes times of great joy as well. The births of my two daughters, Meghan and Taylor, and watching them grow into young women. The mighty struggles and the too infrequent joys of parenting stepsons (Trey, Josh, and Dillon) during my second marriage. And to now for the last six years being a stepdad to an adult child who is just as goofy as I am, Michelle. I have seen much heartache in my life, more than I ever want to revisit. However, at the same time, when I look back on my life, I can reflect that it has been equally blessed and even the hard times were preludes to good ones. Even the hard times were used by God to mold me and move me into the place that I am now. God has performed miracles in many instances in my life to keep me from destroying myself so that I can be in this place that I am right now.

 

He is not finished with me yet. I just feel that. I am not done. He has much more in store for me and I think that I will ultimately die doing what I love – serving the Lord through the talents that He gave me. He has blessed me indeed. I have sailed through the troubled waters of my earlier life and am now in a season of blessing and a season of effectiveness. I have a wonderful wife who would follow me anywhere to serve the Lord. I have three wonderful daughters, Meghan, Michelle, and Taylor, who make my life complete. I have a great job at Fujikura America, Inc. that has enabled Elena and me to pay off all the debts of my past and allowed us to begin to be more generous than we ever have been. I have been lucky enough to start following my true calling of going into ministry through my part-time work at my church. Hopefully, one day soon, the Lord will take all this life of heartaches, joys, triumphs, sorrows, mistakes, getting-it-right, wrong turns, correct turns, ups, downs, failed marriages, successful final marriages, good jobs, bad jobs, all of it to serve Him in a full-time way that uses it all. He will have prepared me for it through the roads that he has led me down and through roads that He has saved me from. When I look back, it has been amazing ride so far. When you look back, you can really see the hand of God in your life. When you look back, you can see what he has saved you from. You can see the handiwork of God in not only what He saved you from but what He steered you toward. These are miracles. When I look back at my life, I could whine and complain for what I have been through (about half of which was self-imposed and the other half imposed on me by others), or I can focus on the miraculous way that God has provided for me and guided me to the point where I am today – where I actually see God’s hand daily in my life and live a life of eternal thanksgiving for it when I have time to reflect upon it.

 

In the mundane, routine of living life as it appears in front of you, it is sometimes difficult to see the miracles of God in our lives. We get so tied up in the routine and the mundane that we do not see the hand of God in anything in our lives. It is that need to step back and see what God has done that came to mind when I read through today’s passage, Numbers 11:16-30, today for the first time of the three times we will visit this passage over the next few days:

 

16 The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.

 

18 “Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The Lord heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it. 19 You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the Lord, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”

 

21 But Moses said, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’ 22 Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?”

 

23 The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”

 

24 So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the tent. 25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied—but did not do so again.

 

26 However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”

 

28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”

 

29 But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” 30 Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

 

Moses had witnessed God’s power in spectacular miracles, yet, at this time, he questioned God’s ability to feed these people meat every day for a month. After all he had seen God do? Wow! If even Moses could doubt the power of God, how much easier is it for us to do so. When we begin to rely on our own understanding, we are in danger of ignoring the power of God in our lives. By remember how He has delivered us from many dangers, toils and snares, we can be sure that we are not short changing the power of God. How strong is God? It is easy to trust God when his miracles are right before us, but after a while, in the mundaneness of life, His strength may appear to diminish in our lives. God doesn’t change but our view of Him often does. The monotony of day to day life lulls us into forgetting how powerful God can be. As Moses would come to learn, God’s strength is always there and always available to us.

 

Let us take time to reflect on what God has done in our lives. Look back and see what He has delivered you from and delivered you too. Think about how He has saved you from so many things and how He has guided you into the life you lead now. Thanksgiving should pour out of us daily for what He has done in our lives and how He should have written us off a long time ago. Yet, He loved each one of us, individually, so much that He provided each one of us, individually, a way to be brought back home to Him through Jesus Christ. Look back at your life. God was there even when you did not see Him. That He cares so much for us even when we do not recognize that He is there. That is the greatest miracle, the greatest love, of all. Take time today to see what miracles God has done in your life. Sing praises of thanksgiving. Love God for what He has done. Act like it’s your birthday! Reflect!

 

Duh dun na duh dun na uh uh….it’s my birthday too!

 

 

Amen and Amen.

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