The Israelites who followed Moses out of Egypt had at least two problems: they didn’t respect God and they were horrible when it came to obeying His commands. They were constantly complaining and in a state of unhappiness over their leadership and their conditions. They rebelled against Moses authority and informed him that they didn’t need a priest, they could stand before the LORD in their own behalf. Moses gave them a challenge, he told the leaders who were rebelling to bring their walking sticks. Moses put these sticks along with Aaron’s in the most holy place, beside the Ark. The next day, he brought out the sticks and Aaron’s was different. His walking stick had budded, bloomed, produced flowers and almonds. Moses then informed the rebellious Israelites, “I am putting Aaron’s stick in front of the Ark of the Covenant as a warning to those who refuse to obey.” Suddenly, the Spirit of God descended on the rebellious leaders and they became afraid. They said to Moses, “We are going to die aren’t we?” They certainly realized in that moment that they deserved death for their ingratitude and rebellion.
Isn’t it amazing how some things do not change. Our world is clamoring like these rebellious Israelites, “Who needs a priest, I can stand before God in my own behalf.” God is mentioned in the conversation but few acknowledge a need for Jesus. Everyone needs a priest and none of us can stand before God alone. Thank God we have an able, willing, sympathetic and loving High Priest in Jesus. Why is so difficult for this world to admit its need of a Savior?
Our LCBS lesson last Sunday was great. The Roman Centurion had more respect for Jesus than did the Jewish religious leaders. In many translations, this “respect” is referred to as “fear of God.” Solomon believed that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and understanding. I went to work for James M. Newby in the 7th grade. Mr. James was a good sized man and he had a deep commanding voice to go with his intimidating body. I had such deep respect for him that I never, not one time, talked back to him. Was I afraid of Mr. James? Did I ever fear him hurting me or abusing me? No, not at all. He was a good man and I knew it. I was afraid of his displeasure. I was afraid of disappointing him. These are fears we do not have unless we have deep respect for the person. Healthy fear of God is not a cringing fear, it is a deep respect for His person, who He is. It is a fear of His displeasure and that fear is absent in today’s culture.
A cold one is expected today but warmer weather on the way. Great crowd at the gathering last night. I also had a good day visiting yesterday. We are taking the Senior Adults to Top of the River on Sunday evening March 26. We want to make reservations so sign up this Sunday. We will leave the church at 3:00. I will drive the white van with the GOLDEN GIRLS and Joe David is driving the gray van. We can haul 27 passengers. I don’t know who is more excited: me or June’s LCBS class.