August 21-25


Longing to Experience God’s Presence

15 On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning. 16 So it was always: the cloud covered it by day and the appearance of fire by night. - Numbers 9:15-16 (ESV)

Warren Wiersbe writes - The code name for the enterprise was “Operation Overlord.” The more popular name was “D-Day”—June 6, 1943, when the combined Allied forces landed on “Omaha Beach” and signaled the beginning of the end of the war in Europe. It was the largest assembly of military personnel and materiel in the history of warfare. Historian Samuel Eliot Morison wrote, “The Allied forces of soldiers, sailors, aviators and supporting services amounted to 2.8 million men in England.” Moses was about to launch his own “Operation Overlord,” and his greatest desire was that Jehovah, the Lord of Hosts, truly be Lord over the whole enterprise.

The nation of Israel is between slavery and salvation in Numbers 9. The cloud of God’s presence led them day and night while on this journey. The cloud was a visible sign of God's presence and His moving with His people indicated the guidance of God. He was leading them to the Promised Land (10:29). He wanted to take them to a better place. So it is with us when God asks us to follow Him. He wants to lead us to a place of closer fellowship with Himself.

What are signs that you genuinely desire God’s presence and direction in your life? How have you sensed God’s presence lately?

Thank God for His presence and guidance in your life. Ask God for clarity on any decisions you need to make and for a renewed sense of His presence.


Looking to Follow God’s Guidance

23 At the command of the Lord they camped, and at the command of the Lord they set out. They kept the charge of the Lord, at the command of the Lord by Moses. - Numbers 9:23 (ESV)

At a dog show near my home, I watched a Cardigan Welsh corgi named Trevor perform. At his master’s command, he ran several yards away and immediately returned, he jumped fences, and he identified objects using his sense of smell. After finishing each exercise, he sat down at his master’s feet and waited for more instructions.

Trevor’s careful attention to his master’s instruction reminded me of the devotion God desired from His people as they followed Him through the wilderness. God led in a unique way. His presence appeared as a cloud. If the cloud ascended, He wanted His people to move to another area. If the cloud descended, they were to stay put. (Precept Austin)

All of us need to recognize that God in His wisdom not only leads us into service but also provides times of rest. Often we desire the thrill of activity when He knows we will draw closer to Him through peaceful stillness. A real test of consecration is the ability to wait when we prefer to work. - H G Bosch. When is the last time you sensed God telling you to wait?

Praise God for the goodness of His commands and desire to guide you into His best. Ask God to show you where He wants you to step next and where He wants you to stop next.


Learning to Depend on God’s Promise

29 And Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses' father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place of which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will do good to you, for the Lord has promised good to Israel.” - Numbers 10:29 (ESV)

There are approximately 8,810 promises in the entire Bible. In the Old Testament there are 7,706 and in the New Testament there are 1,104 wonderful promises. Deuteronomy 28 has 133 promises, which is more than any other chapter in the Bible. “We’re sitting on the premises when we ought to be standing on the promises!” observes Vance Havner. (Encyclopedia of Illustrations)

In Numbers 10:29 Moses invited his brother-in-law to walk into the promises of God. They had in essence already received the Promised Land because of God's covenant promises (God's part), but they had to go in and take it (man's part). That's usually the way God operates in our lives. God does His part, but our responsibility is to walk in His will.

What are a few of your favorite promises from God? Which promise have you had to cling to recently?

Praise God for His guarantee to keep His promises. Ask God to give you the peace and confidence that only comes in trusting Him.


God’s Promise for Your Past (Justification)

8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” - Ephesians 2:8 (ESV)

In 1981, a Minnesota radio station reported a story about a stolen car in California. Police were staging an intense search for the vehicle and the driver, even to the point of placing announcements on local radio stations to contact the thief. On the front seat of the stolen car sat a box of crackers that, unknown to the thief, were laced with poison. The car owner had intended to use the crackers as rat bait. Now the police and the owner of the VW Bug were more interested in apprehending the thief to save his life than to recover the car. So often when we run from God, we feel it is to escape his punishment. But what we are actually doing is eluding His rescue. (Source Unknown)

The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8 that God has saved or rescued us from the penalty of our sin. The Greek perfect tense of “have been saved” emphasizes action initiated in the past, the effects of which continue into the present and beyond. Therefore, salvation has a moment of initiation in the past, but the results of that primary experience continues into the future.

Do you struggle with accepting God’s forgiveness for your past? How can you apply Ephesians 2:8? What’s your part and what’s God’s part in this promise?

Praise God for the absolute forgiveness He promises for your past sin. Ask God to help you accept His complete forgiveness and not run from it.


God’s Promise for Your Future (Glorification)

9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. - Romans 5:9 (ESV)

A frog went to see a fortune-teller, Gazing into her crystal ball, she said to frog, "You are going to meet a beautiful young woman. From the moment she sets eyes on you she will have an insatiable desire to know all about you. She will be compelled to get close to you—you’ll fascinate her." The frog replied: "Where am I? At a singles club?" "No!" replied the fortune-teller: "In a biology class."

“We shall be saved” in Romans 5:9 looks into our future, and, indeed, this verb is in the future tense in seven of its eight occurrences in Romans. God's wrath will result in eternal punishment for every soul of man who rejects Christ's offer of His blood payment in full for their sins past, present and future! Paul's point is that if you have been justified by faith (if you are a genuine believer), there is no wrath in the future for the child of God.

We learned this third and future part of salvation is called glorification. 1 Corinthians 15:35-58(read it if you have time) describes our future glorified bodies which are free from the corruption of sin. What do you most look forward to as part of your future salvation?

Thank God that you don’t have to fear His future judgement. Ask God to lead you to someone this week who needs to hear about the saving grace of Jesus.