March 28: Risk: Oversold and Underplayed
Numbers 32:1–42; 1 Corinthians 14:26–15:11; Psalm 27:1–14
The fears of the psalmist are not our fears today, and the fact that they aren’t should bother us. The psalmist remarks, “Do not give me over to the desire of my enemies, because false witnesses have arisen against me, and each breathing out violence. Surely I believe that I will see the goodness of Yahweh in the land of the living” (Psa 27:12–13). How many of us have legitimate enemies because of our faith? And how many of us experience violence because of the way we believe?
There are many problems with Christianity today, but one of the most pervasive is the lack of willingness to take major risks for Jesus. Likewise, there is unbelief in God’s incredible ability to overcome all that we face.
We may say that we affirm God’s power to beat all odds, but we don’t face the odds as if that were true. If we did, there would be far more world-changing Christians than there are. Instead, most Christians, at least in the Western world, are quite comfortable with a faith that generally allows for them to live a life of comfort rather than a life of being stretched for God’s causes. And when I use “them,” I mean that as “we.” We struggle with this, as a people and as individuals.
I think our fear of taking risks for Jesus is directly connected to our lack of knowledge about what to do when they come along. The psalmist tells us, “Wait for Yahweh. Be strong and let your heart show strength, and wait for Yahweh” (Psa 27:14). Notice that the psalmist tells us to wait for Yahweh twice. Only something of grand importance would a poet state twice. Strength is found in Yahweh, and that strength should be shown in how we live.
How can you take more risks for God? What are you waiting on, and how are you praying about that?
JOHN D. BARRY
- Now the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad had an exceeding great multitude of cattle: and the saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that it was an apt place for cattle. Then the children of Gad, and the children of Reuben came, and spake unto Moses and to Eleazar the Preist, and unto the Princes of the Congregation, saying, The land of Ataroth, and Dibon, and Jazer, and Nimrah, and Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Shebam, and Nebo, and Beon, Which countr the Lord smote before the Congregation of the Israel: is a land meet for a cattle, and thy servants have cattle: Wherefore, said they, if we have found grace in thy sight, let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan. And Moses said unto the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and ye tarry them? Thus did your fathers, when I sent them from Kadesh Barnea to see the land. For when they went up even unto the river of Eschol, and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, that they would not go into the land, which the Lord had given them. And the Lord’s wrath was kindled the same day, and he did swear, saying, None of the men that came out of Egypt, from twenty years old and above, shall see the land of the which I swear unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, because they have not wholly followed me: Except Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have constantly followed the Lord. And the Lord was very angry with Israel, and made [them] wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generaiton that had done evil in the sight of the Lord, was consumed. And behold, ye are risen up in your father’s stead as an increase of sinful men still to augment the fierce wrath of the Lord toward Isarel. For if ye turn away from following him, he will yet again leave the people in the wilderness, and ye shall destroy all this folk. And they went near to him, and said, We will build sheepfolds here for our sheep, and for our cattle, and cities for our children. But we ourselves will be ready armed to go before the children of Israel, until we have brought them unto their place: but our children shall dwell in the defensed cities, because of the inhabitants of the land. We will not return unto our houses, until the children of Israel have inherited, every man his inheritance. Neither will we inherit with them beyond Jordan and on that side, because our inheritance is fallen to us on this side Jordan Eastward. And Moses said unto them, If ye will do this thing, and go armed before the Lord to war: And will go every one of you in harness over Jordan before the Lord, until he have cast out his enemies from his sight: And until the land be subdued before the Lord, then ye shall return and be innocent toward the Lord, and toward Israel: and this land shall be your possession before the Lord. But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord, and be sure, that your sin will find you out. Build you then cities for your children, and folds for your sheep, and do that ye have spoken. Then the children of Gad and the children, and folds for your sheep, and do that ye have spoken. Then the children of Gad and the children of Reuben spoke unto Moses, saying, Thy servants will do as my lord commandeth: Our children, our wives, our sheep, and all our catle shal remain there in the cities of Gilead. But thy servants will go every one armed to war before the Lord for to fight, as my lord saith. So concerning them, Moses commaned Eleazar the Priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the chief fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel. And Moses said unto them, If the children of Gad and the children of Reuben will go with you over Jordan, all armed to fight before the Lord, then when the land is subdued before you, ye shall give them the land of Gilead for a possession: But if they will not go over with you armed, then they shall have their possessions among you in the land of Canaan. And the children of God, and the children of Reuben answered, saying, As the Lord hath said unto thy servants, so will we do. We will go armed before the Lord into the land of Canaan: that the possession of our inheritance may be to us on this side Jordan. So Moses gave unto them, even to the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, and to half the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Shion king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land with the cities thereof and coasts, even the cities of the country round about. Then the children of Gad build Dibon, and Ataroth, and Aroer, And Athroth, Shophan, and Jazer, and Jogbehah, and Beth Nimrah, and Beth Haran, defensed cities: also sheepfolds. And the children of Reuben built Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Kirjathaim, And Nebo, and Baal Meon, and turned their names, and Shibmah: and gave other names unto the cities which they built. And the children of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead, and took it, and put out the Amorites that dwelt therein. Then Moses gave Gilead unto Machir the son of Manasseh, and he dwelt therein. And Jair the son of Manasseh went and took the small towns thereof, and called them Havoth Jair. Also Nobah went and took Kenath, with the villages thereof, and called it Nobah after his own name. Numbers 32:1–42
- What is to be done then, brethren? when ye come together, according as every one of you hath a Psalm, or hath doctrine, or hath a tongue, or hath revelation, or hath interpretation, let all things be done unto edifying. If any man speak a strange tongue, let it be by two, or at the most, by three, and that by course, and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the Church, which speaketh languages, and let him speak to himself, and to God. Let the Prophets speak, two or three, and let the others judge. And if anything be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may have comfort. And the spirits of the Prophets are subject to the Prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as we see in all the Churches of the Saints, Let your women keep silence in the Churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak: but they ought to be subject, as also the Law saith. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the Church. Came the word of God out from you? either came it unto you only? If any man think himself to be a Prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge, that the things that I write unto you, are the commandments of the Lord. And if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak languages. Let all things be done honestly, and by order. Moreover brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which ye have also received, and wherein ye continue, And whereby ye are saved, if ye keep in memory, after what manner I preached it unto you, except ye have believed in vain. For first of all, I delivered unto you that which I received, how that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, And that he was buried, and that he arose the third day, according to the Scripture. And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve. After that, he was seen of more than five hundred brethren at once: whereof many remain unto this present, and some also are asleep. After that, he was seen of James: then of all the Apostles. And last of all he was seen also of me, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the Apostles, which am not meet to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God. But by the grace of God I am that I am: and his grace which is in me, was not in vain: but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which is with me. Wherefore, whether it were I, or they, so we preach, and so have ye believed. 1 Corinthians 14:26–15:11
- The Lord is y light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host pitched against me, mine heart should not be afraid: though war be raised against me, I will trust in this. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will require, even that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to visit his Temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his Tabernacle, in the secret place of his pavilion shall he hide me, and set me up upon a rock. And now shall he lift up mine head above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his Tabernacle sacrifices of joy: I will sing and praise the Lord. Hearken unto my voice, O Lord, when I cry: have mercy also upon me and hear me. When thou saidest, Seek ye any face, mine heart answered unto thee, O Lord, I will seek thy face. Hide not therefore thy face from me, nor cast thy servant away in displeasure: thou hast been my succor, leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. Though my father and my mother should forsake me, yet the Lord will gather me up. Teach my thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a right path, because of mine enemies. Give me not unto the lust of mine adversaries: for there are false witnesses risen up against me, and such as speak cruelly. I should have fainted, except I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Hope in the Lord: be strong, and he shall comfort thine heart, and trust in the Lord. Psalm 27:1–14