Key Verse: Numbers 31:6a
Then, Moses sent them to war, one thousand from each tribe.
No wonder this book is called “Numbers.” Our reading is once again filled with numbers. The census taken by our government, attendance at Sunday School and Church services, as well as the amount of the tithes and offerings given each Sunday, are important to us and to God. Numbers allow us to plan, enabling us to move forward, or to know when we’re not moving forward.
We are appalled at the violence, no doubt, in our reading today. If we are watching the news from the Middle East, we will probably conclude that not much has changed in 3,500 years. But there is change for those who follow Jesus with a fervent heart. He teaches us to love our enemies. We can debate “The Just War,” but that can be a frustrating exercise. We who live in lands of peace and safety cannot fully understand the lives of the people of this area, let alone understand the circumstances of Midian and ancient Israel. We may want to read, for consolation, the following Scriptures: John 14:27 & 16:33, Ephesians 2:14, Colossians 3:15, 2 Peter 1:2.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord God, I ask for grace to keep my mind centred on You. You promised that as my mind is “stayed on You,” You will keep me in “perfect peace” (Isaiah 26:3). Amen!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
Allow me to expand on a story I referred to in a recent blog posting. It was in March, 1978, that people from various Christian churches gathered at the church pictured above to pray for the “peace of Jerusalem.” The next morning, President Jimmy Carter spoke in the Israeli Parliament. He looked directly at Prime Minister Begin of Israel and said, “The people want peace,” indicating that Begin did not. He ordered Air Force One readied for departure for the U.S.A. Buses pulled up for reporters to travel to the airport to cover his departure. I was credentialed as one of those reporters, making daily reports to the viewers of 100 Huntley Street. I decided to remain behind. Shortly thereafter, I was approached by Hebrew and Arabic radio station reporters for an interview. They had to fill in live-on-air until their reporters got to the airport. They asked the question, “Do you think there’s a chance for peace?” I felt as if I was in the clasp of God. Contrary to all the prevailing wisdom, I said, “Yes, there will be a breakthrough. Last night, the churches of Jerusalem prayed, and God is answering our prayers. For the first time in history, three leaders representing three different religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, prayed together in Washington, D.C. Carter, Begin, and Sadat joined in prayer to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for the success of the Camp David Accords. God is answering their prayers. There will be a breakthrough.” I believe that this was a prophetic word that helped destroy the plans of Satan. It was carried on live radio all over the Middle East. The so-called “prince and power of the air” was shot down and God’s plans prevailed. Air Force One did not leave that day and the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel was signed. I had the undeserved honour to share that story with President Carter at a “Habitat for Humanity” home building project. I started to weep as I talked about the night of prayer while he and the other leaders were at Camp David (see my personal words in the September 13 blog). I’ll never forget how he put his arm around me and said, “There, there.” I’m not sure exactly what he meant by that, but I know God used me for His purpose that fateful day in Israel. The reason for prophecy in the Bible is not to make work for preachers; it is to fight against “principalities and powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Sorry, I could not get this story into 100 words.
Yours, for God to use each one of us at His time and place, for His purpose,