Since the same Spirit who moved men to speak for God dwells in me, when I see a theme repeated in my daily reading, I pay attention. That happened twice today, grumbling and losing heart.
It didn't take the people of Israel long to begin to grumble, did it? It started almost immediately after Moses and the people sang a new song to the LORD rejoicing at His deliverance from the Egyptians with a bonus chorus line of Miriam and all the women singing and dancing.
Their discontent came from two basic needs; what do we drink and what do we eat. It is interesting Jesus addressed those two issues very early in His ministry. Jesus says in Matthew 6:25, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?"
In Exodus 15:24 and 16:2, the people were grumbling against Moses and Aaron. Isn't that what happens when things go wrong? Are not those who are leading to blame? God corrected that idea very quickly. He wanted the Israelites to know who was the true leader and, therefore, who they were really grumbling against.
Years ago a young man who lived with Carol and I went on a ministry trip with me which required a long bus ride. After several decisions were made which I found questionable, I expressed my irritation to Billy. He thought a moment and asked me if grumbling was a sin and used this example in his question. Needless to say, I was immediately convicted by this young believer's insight.
Sovereign Lord God, You reign and rule. You are the true leader. Forgive me of questioning those You place in authority over me. May I speak to You about my frustrations and concerns rather than those around me. When I fail to do so, please place more Billy's in my life.
The Septuagint, often referred to by the symbol LXX, is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. By using the Septuagint, we can trace the use of the same word through both the OT and NT. The word grumble used in Luke 19:7 is exactly the same word used in Exodus 16:2. So grumbling has a long history.
The crowd grumbled because they did not understand Jesus' purpose. He bluntly states His reason for coming into the world in Luke 19:10. The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. How could He save them if He did not seek them? Jesus came into Jericho seeking Zacchaeus just as the Holy Spirit had Zacchaeus seeking to see Jesus. We do worship and serve the God who orchestrates everything.
I love Jesus' description of Zacchaeus as a "son of Abraham". Obviously, Zacchaeus is a physical descendant of Abraham, but here Jesus is referring to Zacchaeus as a spiritual descendant of Abraham. Galatians 3:5-9 gives a great explanation with the summary in verse 7, "Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham".
Jesus, thank You for coming to seek and save sinners. I understand why Paul would refer to himself as the chief sinner but would respectfully submit my name to the list for I know how much You have forgiven me. Thank You for the gift of faith so I, too, may be a son of Abraham.
2 Corinthians 4:1-18
The Greek word for losing heart is used only six times in the NT. We have seen it three times (Luke 18:1, 2 Corinthians 4:1,16) in the last two days, so maybe it deserves more attention today.
As I have grown older, Paul's comment on not losing heart in verse 16 resonates with me. Paul proclaims our treasure, having the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ shine in our hearts, is held in fragile clay jars. When he mentions this clay jar (my outer self) is wasting away, I must agree.
His explanation of why we do not lose heart causes my soul (my inner self) to rejoice. He compares the difficulties of this life to light momentary afflictions which are preparing us for glory beyond comparison. The knowledge of the glory of God we have received will become not just knowledge but our eternal experience. Therefore, I will focus my attention on what is eternal but unseen instead of what is seen but passing away.
Why would I lose heart with this promise from the Living God made to those who believe He raised the Lord Jesus and will bring us into His presence?