“A land for livestock and your servants have livestock.” Num. 32: 4b
This is the rationalization the tribes of Reuben and Gad made to Moses and the elders of Israel regarding why they were choosing not to enter into God’s Promised Land, the land of their inheritance, His best for them. I think of this when I drive home from work or picking the kids up from school because I see large tracks of land fenced with weathered barbed wire keeping massive cattle from wandering out into the road. Sequim is a truly beautiful area and the whole N. Olympic Peninsula is very idyllic, in fact, I couldn’t think of a more beautiful place to serve God while we wait for doors to open for our next step in missions. Australia is still on our hearts and we are continuing to press into God to receive direction and eagerly wait for Him to open doors. Ps. 33 has also been a source of encouragement for me as the psalmist focuses on God’s wisdom in His plans. Verses 20 and 21 express the personal application, “Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name.” His “holy name” speaks not just of God’s name but His nature and character; that He is perfectly righteous, all wise, just, and perfect in His purpose and plans, therefore we can trust Him with all confidence. Our church planting team is making their preparations for transition. Some are ready to leave in a matter of weeks, others are in the middle of the process, while still others, like ourselves are waiting for God’s direction in acquiring a visa and the finances to proceed. Waiting can be at times, a difficult thing and we have ups and downs of great faith and sometimes doubt, but we’re excited to see what God’s going to do. One advantage of having our teammates already relocating is that they can begin the work of preparing the spiritual ground for the future ministry and also, can potentially assist us more effectively in attaining our visa.
|Opening Day at the Disc Golf Course|
1) Convenience (comfort)
2) Caution (un-certainty)
3) Choices (consequences of compromise)
Num. 32: 1-6
»Reuben, Gad, & ½ the tribe of Manasseh decide not to cross the Jordan, instead they want to settle in the land on the eastern side…A land very good for pasture.
»Lot did this same thing about 550 years previous (Gen. 14) when he and Abraham settled in the land of Israel…and he met with the same results as the 2½ Tribes…
Our Society is Based on Convenience…Capitalism is based upon giving the customer what they want…not necessarily what they need.
Remote controls, Convenience stores, Drive-thru Coffee (We’ve even shortened “through” in drive-thru out of convenience!), Fast food, etc.
Often we compromise God’s best for us because it’s hard and takes work, it’s not convenient…
- Does God want us in debt? No, but it’s easier to use the credit card
- Does God want us to wait until marriage before getting physically involved with one another? Yes, but it’s easier to give in and not wait.
- Does God want us to be honest? Yes, but sometimes it’s inconvenient to tell the truth, especially at tax time.
Rom. 6: 23 “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Gal. 6: 7-8 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”
What we need to do is…be content with God’s will, then plan and choose daily to surrender to Him knowing that He is good and has our lives and future in His hands.
Micah 6: 8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?”
Num. 32: 7-15
What are the 2 ½ tribes saying by settling for the land on the East of the Jordan? That God doesn’t know what He’s doing…They’re questioning not only His planning, but the heart and character of the Planner…
»It’s as if they’re saying, “This is a great place for cattle and sheep, there can’t be anywhere better than this…Beside, if everything falls apart on the West side at least we’ll have our land over here on the East!”
→This is exactly what we do when we settle for less than God’s best…When we choose to take the short-cut or disregard the clear teaching of His word in order to do what we want.
Gen. 3 This is essentially the strategy that Satan used in tempting Eve in the Garden of Eden…
- “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree in the garden’?” (questioning God’s word)
- “You will not surely die.” (flat out contradicting God’s word)
- “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Satan’s saying, “God does not want the best for you, He’s keeping good things from you”, he’s questioning God’s nature and character)
The Key to trusting in God’s plans are: His Character (all loving) and His Nature (all knowing and all wise)…When we forget or disregard these, we end up compromising and subjecting ourselves and others to danger and/or limit God’s effectiveness in their lives though us.
Choices (Consequences of compromise)
What were some of the consequences of their poor choices
1) Unfulfilled Commitments: A Job Left Unfinished…Short-cuts
Joshua 13: 13 Israel did not fully complete the job of subduing the land and driving out those who were entrenched in idolatry and destructive behavior. »Many of the people mentioned are located on the land allotted to the 2½ Tribes.
»These become enemies of Israel from here on out and reappear during David’s reign…Absolom’s mother was a Maachathite
2) A Dangerous Location…Too close to the world…Compromise puts us in line with the world…We team up with the world.
»Just like Lot back in Gen. 14
1Kings 12 Israel is divided as a nation into two kingdoms…In the north, Israel goes heavily into idolatry…Judah, to the south, waffles back and forth between serving the Lord and idolatry.
»The 2 ½ tribes are the first into idolatry and soon loose their identity.
2Kings, the Latter Chapters…Hosea, Micah, Amos: As a result of their rebellion against God, a few years later the Assyrians war against Israel, defeat them killing thousands and lead them into captivity.
The Good News, Jesus is our Redeemer! He takes bad situations and redeems them (but better for us not to make bad choices in the 1st place!).
Luke 8 The New Test. shows this part of the land (where the 2½ tribes settled) as “Decapolis” and the “Gadarenes”. The place where Jesus came across Pig farmers and the demon possessed man named Legion who lived in a cemetery. After Jesus delivered the man of the demons, the people of the city came and pleaded with Him to leave! Even so, Jesus instructed the man to go back into his own land to share the good news of salvation.
We’ve all made mistakes and have opened ourselves up to be tormented by the demons of our sin…Some of us are surrounded by the swine of terrible choices and even work in and among it everyday. But God wants to deliver us from the demons and send the filthy swine to the bottom of the lake. He wants to give us new life and send us back to those who we love and care for to bring the good news of freedom and deliverance through Jesus Christ.
Heb. 12: 1-2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares [us], and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of [our] faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
God has been pressing on us the importance of embracing our current position at Calvary Sequim and being faithful to serve where we are planted. He’s keeping us challenged with many activities at the church: We recently completed constructing and installing a nine-hole disc golf course and have had a wonderful response from our church family and from many in the community who are visiting the church grounds to take advantage of the beautiful surroundings, challenging course, and all around good time. I have also been challenged to grow musically as Pastor Hans has inserted me into the Sunday worship team to lead worship for both Sunday services. Also, I’ve been enjoying teaching a few beginning guitar classes during the week and the Lord’s been consistently giving me songs to write and record, so I’ve been busy trying to figure out that process. Teaching the Bible is always a joy and blessing and I’ve been privileged to preach from the pulpit once a month and as there are needs in the Youth Ministry, I’ve been teaching a study and leading worship there as well (not to mention mowing a few lawns).
Cameron has been busy teaching Sean and Kay in our home school while at the same time leading the women’s Bible study every other Friday. She’s happily involved once again in women’s ministry and really looks forward to it. Cam and I are also staying busy taking an online class in order to receive certification to independently home school in Washington State. This is important not only for legality sake but to gain more knowledge and skill to transfer to Australia in order to start, or to help develop an existing home school program. In our experience, home schooling does not seem very popular except in very remote areas of the interior of the country.
|Surf Ministry Salt Creek|
The Family is happy and healthy
The Sydney team has begun to relocate
Great things are happening at Calvary Sequim
School is almost out for Ryan and Aubry
Many of our relatives have been up for visits recently
Continued guidance and provision for visas
Financial provision (God has been providing perfectly for our daily needs but our mission savings is very low)
Ryan’s camp to go well and for the Lord to ignite the fire of missions within him
Health insurance for Jeremy and Cameron
Preparations for home schooling all the kids for the coming year