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The Backbone

Just like our body needs the backbone to support us, to bring stability into our being, so the Word of God has many aspects of bringing stability into our lives. Of course, most importantly, we cannot know this stability unless we are reading the whole Bible. We cannot pick and choose portions of the Bible, for we cannot understand what God is teaching us. But without a personal relationship with the Lord, we are not grasping on to that stability.

As much as Leviticus and Numbers are hard to plow through at times, there is so much wisdom in those pages as well. Leviticus is full of common-sense laws, conduct for our lives to keep us close to Him. From forbidden sexual practices to practices to keep us trustworthy before man and God to laws concerning finances.

Leviticus 19:12 points out, “Do not bring shame on the name of your God by using it to swear falsely,”. Swearing falsely? Is that using God’s name in vain? Or perhaps we need to start with “do not bring shame on the name of your God”. When many of us were growing up, we had such a respect for our parents that we did not want to do anything to make them look bad. Although we all did things “behind their backs” and we thought our parents wouldn’t find out, they did. Not only did we bring shame to our family name but we disappointed our parents.

And so it is, we should have a desire to be pleasing to our parents, to not bring shame to them but more importantly, we should have such a longing to be pleasing to God that we strive daily to not bring shame upon His name. How? How are we to live such a life? We are not perfect, we sin daily, we fall short. But God is there, waiting for us to come to Him and ask forgiveness. He is waiting with open arms!

Leviticus 19:26b reminds us, “Do not practice fortune-telling or witchcraft.” We are living in a day where people think anything goes. We even have books for children on how to cast spells on their family. Evil is evil and we need to stay far away from it. This shouldn’t take anymore explanation but I know there are people laughing and saying that it’s not harmful, just a fun thing to delve into. Practicing the Word of God will never disappoint you.

Leviticus 24:13-23 talks about just punishment for many sins. For some of you, this probably seems harsh but God knows what is best. Rather than stoning someone today, it is probably best to just stay away from such a person who is not living for God. The frustration we feel in these modern times, seeing certain people getting away with sin after sin, is in part due to the Holy Spirit guiding you towards right living and pleasing God. Unfortunately, we don’t have much control over such evil but we can pray. (see Eph 6:10-20) It may seem that prayer doesn’t help much, but we have no idea what is happening in the spirit world. We have no idea of God’s working in another person’s life and the consequences they will suffer for their behavior. Maybe not in this world but certainly in the next.

Leviticus 25:14b reminds us “you must not take advantage of each other.” Such common-sense principles but many people no longer live by such principles. It just takes one person at a time, intent on pleasing God and God alone, to determine to be kind to people, not take advantage, and love them where they are. Are you that person?

This next common-sense law will be controversial, although that is not my intent. “You must not allow a foreigner to treat any of your fellow Israelites harshly.” (Leviticus 25:53b) Some would even say this is not for our time. Perhaps but still it’s a common-sense train of thought. We don’t allow our local citizens to be cruel to one another, we have laws that keep us in line but this is reminding us that foreigners must follow the same laws.

Numbers has always been a hard book for me to read so I try to find something that has meaning to me. Perhaps you can share a passage in Numbers that has meaning to you. I would love to hear from you.

I do find Numbers 14:34 tugging at my heart, “Because your men explored the land for forty days, you must wander in the wilderness for forty years—a year for each day, suffering the consequences of your sins.” Again, some would say this is for that period only but I try to apply it to my life today. When we are not keeping our focus on Jesus, we have a tendency to go with our emotions, to react too quickly, to act immature and believe me, we suffer the consequences of such behavior. Think twice before leaving God’s side and going your own direction. Before making any decisions, look to God for answers, whether reading the Word, praying…or both…He does have the answers.

I made a little note as I was reading, “making atonement means making it right before the Lord. (purify)” Perhaps we can have a discussion on what it means to you to be pure before God?

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