Numbers 20:22-29 – It’s Gonna Get Worse Before It Gets Better…Yeah, I Want That!

Posted: October 2, 2016 in Book of Numbers
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Numbers 20:22-29

The Death of Aaron

Sometimes, we think that our life is magically going to get better when we accept Christ as our Savior and Lord. We hear stories of how people have turned their life around through Jesus. We want that too, don’t we? However, there are often things that come about that are consequences of our poor life choices and sinful ways that still are in motion when we accept Christ as our Savior and then there are things that just happen as part of living in a fallen world against which we are not exempt.

 

I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord in December 2001. In the months and years that followed, there was a lot of stuff that happened. In February 2002, my stepson, my wife’s oldest son, was killed in a car accident which altered the course of my second marriage. Although it drew my second wife and I closer together initially, it eventually began to widen the gap in our marriage because of the my kids vs. your kids basic flaw in our marriage. The seething jealousies of my kids vs. your kids that long been a problem that was ripping at the core of our marriage from the beginning, that is often so typical in second marriages. After her son’s death and after the initial closeness that it brought so as just to get through the traumatic event, she began seeing my oldest daughter as everything that she was missing with her son. My oldest daughter and her oldest son were only 4 months apart in age so they were in the same grade. Although Meghan began living with me full-time during her junior year, she continued going the same school that she went to as if still had still been living with her mother. Nonetheless, all the stuff that Meghan was going through at school in the second half of her junior year and her senior year (all after my wife’s son’s death) were all the same things that my stepson would have experienced if he had still been alive. Proms, high school ring ceremonies, summer getting ready for the senior year, ordering graduation regalia and invitations and announements, senior pictures, applying for colleges, visiting colleges, senior trips, final spring break vacation, graduation and graduation parties. These jealousies that had already existed for 9 years in the relationship became heightened after my stepson’s death. After Meghan went off to college, it got worse because it seemed as though my wife thought we no longer had any financial responsibilities to my oldest daughter. She would get outraged at any monies I had to spend on my daughter. Supporting a child in college is so much more than just tuition and books. It is a whole host of other expense that you have to spend. Rent, clothing, activities, all kinds of stuff, gas money, spending money, you name it. The jealousy and refusal to see that when a kid is in college they need as much or more support as when they were at home by my wife led me to hide my support for my child. As with all lies, they are found out eventually. This was the final straw in the marriage that was teetering over disaster from the beginning.

 

Although I was a Christian, I was a baby Christian and God had so much to show me about being one, there was things that I had to experience to grow up. Although I accepted Christ as my Savior, I was still a sinner (one saved by grace but yet still a sinner on my own merit). One of my sins that God had to deal with was the fact that I had made my second wife my god. I lived and found my value in life through her and how she felt about me. God set in motion the final conflict over my child where I had to choose between my god and Him, between my god and the right thing by my child. Continuing to live a life of zigging and zagging and not dealing with real issues in the marriage and satisfying my god or doing the right thing by my kids. Ultimately, I chose supporting my kids over ignoring their needs to keep peace in my house. We split up in August 2004 and there was so much rough ground over the next few years. Walking away from another house that I had purchased. Starting over again. Recovering from being addicted to a person, my second wife. Trying to figure out who I even was at this point in my life. New life that I didn’t really want. As Dickens wrote, “it was the best of times and it was the worst of times.” The death of my second marriage was a rollercoaster ride of emotions and changes. Although I was growing up in Christ, it was a such a painful experience and at the same time a great time of freedom that I had never experienced before (straight from my parent’s home to my first marriage, straight from my first marriage to my second). The hard times were peppered with experiencing life on my own for the first time. I look back on it fondly now that I am on the other side of it and remember the good times but when I sit down and really think about those years between the break up of my second marriage and meeting and falling in love with and marrying Elena, those were some of the loneliest and most lost feeling times of my life. Sure, there were some great times in there and I would take nothing for those experiences but yet at the same time it was a soul-wrenching time. There were stretches were I physically ached at the loneliness and sometimes just didn’t feel like getting out of bed, but you get out of bed and go about your life in a robotic manner just to get through it. There were times I would spend whole weekends alone. Going home lonely on Friday after work and meandering around my apartment for a whole weekend and emerging out the other side on Monday morning feeling even more lost and alone. It was a valley that I had to go through though. God was dealing with me and my past sins were playing themselves out in the consequences of my life.

 

It was that valley of life, peppered with small joys here and there, that I had to go through after the end of my second marriage that I thought of as I read our passage for this morning, Numbers 20:22-29, about the death of Aaron. Let’s read through it together right now:

 

22 The whole Israelite community set out from Kadesh and came to Mount Hor. 23 At Mount Hor, near the border of Edom, the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 24 “Aaron will be gathered to his people. He will not enter the land I give the Israelites, because both of you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. 25 Get Aaron and his son Eleazar and take them up Mount Hor. 26 Remove Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar, for Aaron will be gathered to his people; he will die there.”

 

27 Moses did as the Lord commanded: They went up Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community. 28 Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain, 29 and when the whole community learned that Aaron had died, all the Israelites mourned for him thirty days.

 

Here, in this passage, we see that Aaron died before entering the Promised Land. It was the consequence of his sin of rebellion against the Lord on numerous occasions. It got me to thinking about how the consequences of sin play out in our lives, even after we become Christ followers. There is no sudden clearing of the skies from cloudy to sunshine when we accept Christ as our Savior. There is no reboot of the computer or game system. There is no sudden pushing of the reset button and the game starts over. After we accept Christ as our Savior, life goes on as it did before. The things that were in motion before we came to Christ will continue to be in motion. The consequences of our lies, deceits, pride, arrogance and so on before we must Christ will continue to play themselves out after we meet Jesus on our Damascus Road.

 

Often times, our lives will actually get worse before they get better. Many Christ followers get disillusioned by this fact. However, if our salvation is a valid one and not just some spiritual high or spiritual warm fuzzy, then there is a purpose in it. Our lives often get worse before they get better because we are dealing with our sins and no longer trying to justify them and cover them up so that we can continue them. It is like riding a wave to the shore without a surf board. We will be beaten up and pounded and scraped and cut until the sea spits out on the shore. We must deal with the very real consequences of our failures to be obedient to the Lord. They will play themselves out. It is not because God is mean but rather simply the consequences of stopping trying to outrun our sins and their consequences. It is like the physics of the universe (that God created). There is cause and effect and we must eventually deal with the consequences of a lifetime of sin. However, I am here to tell you that the purpose in it from God’s perspective is to sharpen us and to make us realize that we are totally dependent on Him.

 

I am also here to tell you that, though we must deal with the consequences of our sin, we will come out the other side. We will be spit out on the beach. Life does get better. The sun will come out. We come out the other side fully realizing that God has seen us through the storm. It is only through the sending of the Holy Spirit by Jesus Christ when we accept Him as Savior and Lord that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. He gives us hope. He gives us perseverance. He gives us resolve. He gives us vision to see what God is doing in our lives. We know that God is allowing us to see that we need Him every hour of every day. And, yet, He gives us hope of arriving at the shore at the Promised Land.

 

Amen and Amen.

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