Bible reading for April 27.
"According to the commandment of the LORD through Moses they were listed, each one with his task of serving or carrying." (Num 4:49)
The movers are here. The other job that the Levites had was taking down and carrying the Tabernacle, which was a mobile sanctuary for the nation on its journey to the promised land. Heavy lifting was involved, but also maturity -- the men on duty were between the ages of 30 and 50. These workers had to be careful, for the holiness of the tent and its furnishings needed to be guarded. In all of this there was a plan and division of labor (see Eph 4:15-16). Again we see that God is a God of order. And the Lord was specific in how the work was to be accomplished. Francis Schaeffer once preached a sermon entitled, "The Lord's Work in the Lord's Way," and that certainly is the idea in this chapter: God's work needs to be done in God's way. He tells us not only what we need to do in ministry for him, but also how it is to be done.
Does your local church function in the pattern laid down in the New Testament? Is biblical preaching and teaching at the core? Is the worship truly congregational, with prayer, and is the Lord's supper observed? Are people involved in mutual service to one another in their areas of giftedness? Is there qualified leadership, and accountability? Or... has your church come to rely upon personalities, programs, and slick production? Is it more about technique and talent than it is about the truth of God's word? God's work needs to be done in God's way.
"My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my nearest kin stand far off." (Psalm 38:11)
Social distancing is painful. This is another penitential psalm by King David, like Psalms 32 and 51. The circumstances around this psalm are not known. But David is acutely aware of the need to confess and deal with his own sin before God and before others. He feels in soul and body the pain of his guilt, his shame, and the avoidance of family and friends. Those whom he loves stand at a distance from him.
Today, we are still in lock-down to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. But over time we feel the loss that comes from social isolation. Our situation is not exactly like David's (v 11), but still, we miss the joy of human contact when people must stand at a distance from us. God has made us for community. Like David, however, we may be able to use this time to confess our sins, pray and seek the Lord, and re-order our priorities before God. Who knows, maybe even write a psalm? May the Lord bring an end to this pandemic soon.
Image credit: Photo by Kristaps Solims on Unsplash
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.