Their journey was wrought with struggle. Their wayfaring was consumed with consternation. In many ways, the people of God seemed to be going from one judgment to the next–all with what appeared to be without a purpose. Why were they wandering, they might have wondered? Why were they being chastened, they might have chattered? However, in any case, they were being prepared. Prepared for something great. Prepared for something ancient. Prepared for something promised. God had spoken to their forefathers, and He was going to make good on His covenant promise despite their deviations, presumptions, and complaints. God’s character was on the line, and God would fulfill that which He said.
And so, coming off the heals of snakebitten judgment the people of God journeyed on. They came to the ancient land of their kinsman, Lot. The heritage of Abraham had passed down from Isaac, to Jacob, to the 12 sons, and now to a people group representing millions making their way from Egypt to the land of promise–the land of Canaan. However, Abraham’s nephew, Lot, also found his home in this land. And it was through a series of unlikely and unimaginable events that the people of Lot–Moab–came into existence. Nevertheless, the Moabites were far off relatives to God’s chosen people–the Israelites. But this fact didn’t matter to the people of Moab. No, no, the people of God–Abraham’s heritage–were foreigner’s at best to their distance relatives, the Moabites, and were quickly becoming enemies at worst.
“…the sons of Israel journeyed, and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan opposite Jericho.”
At this point, one might envision a reconnection of kin, a reestablishment of posterity, or at the least a hospitable welcome. But that was not the case. No, the distant relatives of Abraham’s family had gone so far off course that their purpose was now personal protection apart from the God of their relatives. In fact, the people of Moab became so concerned with this traveling band that their choice of security was an attempt to curse them…
“…please come, curse this people for me since they are too mighty for me; perhaps I may be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land.”
The king of Moab, Balak, sought refuge in a pagan diviner, Balaam, and his means of war was cursing.
What would lead him to this point? What would cause him to resort to such matters?
The presence of the people of God had preceded them. Behind the scenes as God was preparing His people–through trials and tribulation–to enter in to the land promised them, He was also going before them to prepare the way. And it is here that we see yet another reason why Christ had to die. The people of God caused fear to fall upon Moab. He had heard what they had done to the Amorites, he feared their numbers, but standing behind all of these physical issues was God. God had caused them to incubate and grow from 70 to in the millions in Egypt under Pharaoh’s protection. God is the one who allowed them to be put under slavery, only to be rescued when they cried out for help. God is the one who raised up Moses to lead them on their journey, and Aaron to stand as the mediator between them and Himself. God is the one who gave them food, water, and provision on their journey. God is the one who gave them victory over their enemies as they journeyed on the way. God is the power, the might, the influence, and the character behind their fear-striking presence. It is God. God alone. And the king of Moab is only able to see the accidents of this power, and so resorts to cursing them. The people of God were preceded by the power of God. Their protection was wrought in God’s reputation through them. And so, the people of God had–for that sliver of time–struck fear in those who stood on their journey before them.
How Does This Apply to Us Today?
First, God has gone before you to prepare your way, to fight your battles, to win your wars, and to establish you as a victor in all aspects of eternal significance. This was done through the person and work of Jesus Christ. God is perfect, and therefore requires perfection. Mankind is prideful, and therefore sins. The sins that mankind commit disqualify him from the presence and an eternal relationship with God. As a result, mankind has no hope for eternal peace and rest…as it would logically seem. But, God sent His Law as a tudor, copy, and shadow to prepare humanity for the ultimate revelation and solution to mankind’s problem of sin. The Law was a temporary measure given because of transgressions. And then, in the fulness of time God sent forth His Son to accomplish that which every human being was unable to accomplish. That is to say, Christ became man in order to keep God’s Law, to fulfill God’s law, and to satisfy the requirements of God’s law, in order that He might give to mankind the blessings of the Law. Therefore, God sending forth His Son was the greatest act of love. It was the greatest act of preparation for humanity. And it was God who prepared our way before us through Christ. In other words, God prepared the way for all of humanity to be victorious over sin, death, and the curse of the Law by sending His Son ahead of us to live the life we couldn’t live, to die the death we wouldn’t die, and to be resurrected from the grave in order to give us His righteousness according to the Law. We didn’t and don’t do anything to receive this blessing. We simply believe that this preparation by God was for us on our behalf, because of our sin and separation from God. God made a way where there was otherwise no way. He paved a path to eternal life with Him through His Son’s life, death, and resurrection. Glory!
Second, your identity is not in what you have done, what you do, or what you will do as a human, but in who you are as a child of God. If you have received the sight of Christ, whereby you trust Him alone–His life, death, and resurrection–to save you from your sins and to reconcile you with God, then you are a child of God. That means that your identity is not in your past, not in your present, nor is it in your future. Rather, it is in the righteousness of Christ. Many call this justification. The bottom line is that your dirty and worn out coat of sin has been traded for a royal gown or a royal coat only to be worn by princes and princess of the King of kings and Lord of lords. Therefore, there is no person more important, no position more prominent, no pleasure more powerful than being made into the image of Christ. Let that sink in, and then face each day with that in mind! Glory!
What if…you remembered that God has fought your battles, won your wars, and prepared the way for you–in every area of life?
Does that mean instant success–materially? No. Does that mean instant pleasure? No. Does that mean instant control or power? No.
But, it does mean that everything you do today will echo into eternity, because God let you on the battlefield of things with eternal consequences. Without His action on your behalf, the best you could hope for is a long life with more pleasure than pain. This is not the case with the Christian. The Christian is given the privelege to walk on the battlefield of eternal matters, and wage war against sin and darkness, and at the same time to be rewarded for his/her faithfulness in that battle.
What if…you remembered that your identity is in Christ and not in your humanity?
Does that mean that your humanity is unimportant? No. Does that mean that your personality is irrelevant? No. Does that mean that your quirks, behaviors, and passions are insignificant? No.
But, it does mean that who you are informs how you act. It does mean that every detail of your life in Christ is being used to make you more and more like Christ and less and less like your sinful humanity. Every personality trait is utilized; every behavior, passion, and quirk all contribute to you being you and God using the uniqueness of you to make you more into the image of Christ. The purpose is for God’s glory. Just like God is praised when a bird flies from tree to tree instead of climbs from tree to tree, so is God praised when you are living in the exact gifting and personality in which you were made–all rooted in the knowledge, belief, and motivation of being in Christ. Glory. You’re made new in Christ, but are still the unique person called you! No person can change that, no position can give more power to that, and no pleasure can surpass that. Glory!
May God be praised in all He has done for you, and in how He uses the uniqueness of you in this world!— December 1, 2017