Thursday, February 24, 2011


The people of Israel were dismayed when they heard the reconnaissance report: they were sadly dwarfed and outnumbered by their enemies, a multitude who were taller and stronger than they. Joshua and Caleb tried to bolster their brothers' sagging self-confidence with encouraging words:

If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land
and give it to us . . . Only do not rebel against the LORD.
And do not fear the people of the land . . . the LORD
is with us . . . "
- from Numbers 14:8-9

It is not when we're surrounded by giants and far away from home that we're in a bad place, but when we retreat or refuse to march forward. Do we trust our perceived security, or will we trust the Lord? I pray we will trust Him, and walk according to His marching orders in spite of feelings of fear and unease. There are brave examples in today's reading.

There was Aaron. Do I love anyone enough to run into the path of destruction in order to save them? Yet the priest, Aaron, did not hesitate to do as he was instructed, and his intervention was effective. He "stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped" (see Numbers 16:47-48).

Then there was Jesus. He knew everything, so when he felt critical eyes watching, He might have said to Himself, "Uh-oh! I want to heal this man, but Wait! It's a trap, I'd better hold back." In retrospect that would have been ridiculous! We know Him better than that. His response was this:

Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus,
so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him
on the Sabbath.
Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand,
“Stand up in front of everyone.” - Mark 3:2-3

Very rarely does the Lord call us to walk into a trap -- or into any danger whatever -- in order to do the good He has called us to do. Nor does he often ask us to walk the thin line between the living and the dead like Aaron did. So what's our excuse to hold back the good news? Lord help us move out of our comfort zone with a prayer, a word, or a deed to promote the good news of grace.

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