Category Archives: One-Year-Bible


Over the weekend, I caught up on my One-Year Bible reading.  Truth be told, I got behind during the less-than-riveting Book of Leviticus.  As I made my way through the beginning of Numbers, a passage in Chapter 8 stood out to me in a way that continues to preoccupy my mind.

Picture this: The tabernacle has finally been completed.  Moses and Aaron are going through the process of anointing and consecrating the tabernacle and the leaders of Israel.  God sets apart the Levites for Himself from among all others in the nation.  He calls them to complete service of Aaron and the tabernacle, to perform priestly duties for the whole congregation of Israel and to care for the tabernacle itself (Numbers 1.50)  In short, the Levites were called to specific service in the place of worshiping God.  The Lord said that they shall be Mine (Numbers 3.12 & 13).

Then comes Chapter 8.  The Lord instructs Moses to cleanse the Levites and have them make offerings before Him that they would be consecrated for their service.  Verse 11 states, “Aaron then shall present the Levites before the Lord as a wave offering from the sons of Israel, that they may qualify to perform the service of the Lord.”  What struck me so powerfully about this passage is this: this tribe had already been called by God to specific duties in the tabernacle.  They had already been called to a priesthood, to serve in unique ways in the sacrifices and worship before God.  YET they still had to cleanse themselves, make offerings (symbolic of confession) and prepare themselves to be qualified to fulfill their role in serving the Lord in the tabernacle.

How tempting would it have been for the Levites to feel a sense of superiority over the nation of Israel?!  How easily could they have felt somewhat entitled to the position given them?  “We’ve been called.  We’ve been given such and such responsibilities in the tabernacle.  We’ve been set apart to serve in this specific way.”  But as verse 11 reminds us – though they had been called, they still had to be qualified to serve the Lord.  This did not reflect on their physical ability to perform the duties assigned to them but on their spiritual condition before God.

As one who serves from the platform with the worship team, this greatly resonated with me.  Countless times in my life, I have heard others say and at times felt within myself, “I know I’ve been called to sing, to lead, to serve on the worship team (or whatever position applies to you)”  This may be valid but it must be taken a step further.  While God does place callings on His people, so often we jump from receiving the call to feeling entitled to that position of service without qualifying ourselves to walk in the path prepared for us.  We focus more on the position we feel obligated to rather than our condition before God.  As I read Numbers 8, I sensed God say to me, “Being called to something and being qualified to walk in that calling are two different things.”  The Levites were called to serve but they still had to act in humility and obedience to cleanse themselves, to confess their sins and to consecrate themselves before the Lord in preparation of that service.  They had to take ownership of their own condition before God rather than proudly assume they were good simply because of their given status.

Thank You, Lord, for this timely reminder!  I pray it be true for Journey’s worship team and for anyone who has a calling of service placed on them (in essence – anyone who calls themselves a Christian.  God has a calling on your life!)  May we walk humbly before the Lord.  May we never disqualify ourselves from the calling He has placed on us because of our own sin, lack of obedience or pride.  Every time we step up on our “platform” (be it a stage, work, your family, any audience, or simply alone before the Creator of all things), may we assess the condition of our heart and bodies to make sure we are qualified to walk in the calling He has placed on our lives.

We have been called.  The question is: are we qualified?


Filed under Faith, God, One-Year-Bible, Worship

Where You Are

I recently finished reading through Exodus with my quad girls.  It has always been a favorite of mine as I see so many parallels between Israel’s wanderings and the Christian life.  Our human fickleness contrasted with the steadfast faithfulness of God who never breaks His promises.  Even as Israel faced the consequences of their own poor decisions and disobedience, God’s love for them remained.

One passage has stuck with me for days.  It’s a passage that I’m sure I’ve read in the past, but stood out in a new way this time around.  Exodus 33.  Just prior, Moses is on Mount Sinai for 40 days as God gives him the Ten Commandments.  Meanwhile, the nation of Israel grows impatient and quickly forget all God has already done for them.  They build for themselves a golden calf to worship instead.  Both the anger of the Lord and Moses burn against them for this sin and Israel suffers severe consequences for such disobedience.

Thus begins Exodus 33.  The Lord instructs Moses to lead Israel on towards the Promised Land, sending an angel before them to drive out their enemies.  However He says that His presence will not go with them due to the people’s obstinance.  But Moses responds in verse 15 and 16, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.  For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people?  Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”

Think of it!  God was sending Israel on from their wilderness wanderings towards the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey.  He promised an angel to go before them to fight their enemies.  Israel would finally be out of this never-ending desert and arrive at their Promised Land!  If I were Moses, how tempting would it be to get this massive group of complaining, difficult people to their destination and be done with the struggle of leading them?  How eager would I be to move from this place of total dependence and weakness to a land promised full of provision and ease?  For generations, Israel would have heard of the foretold Promised Land.  Would they not be jumping at the chance to get there as soon as possible?

Yet Moses’ response struck me powerfully.  “Lord, if Your presence does not go with us, I would rather stay in the wilderness where You are than go to the Promised Land without You.”  He was far more concerned with being with the Lord in a place of uncertainty than to go on to an easy place without Him.  As recorded in verse 16, he rightfully said that it was the Lord’s presence that made Israel special, that set them apart in the earth.  Nothing of Israel itself was exceptional.  Quite the contrary.  They were a fickle, whiny group of people who would receive miracles and yet crave their former slavery the moment anything got remotely hard.  It was the God of Israel that made this nation exceptional!  It was God’s presence!  When given the choice, Moses emphatically chose to stay in the place of struggle with God’s presence as his guide than to move to a place promised for generations without Him.

Wow!  This passage has given me great pause over the past many days.  Am I more focused on what I want to receive from God or on experiencing His presence in the midst of trials?  What do I crave more – arriving at my “Promised Land” or being in God’s presence even if that means remaining in a wilderness?  Am I defined by my situation on this earth or by my relationship and intimacy with the Living God?  Think of it – the Promised Land was a good place.  After all, it was promised!  But Moses rightfully recognized that no matter the destination, God’s presence along the journey was of paramount importance.  He would rather stay in a barren land with obstinate people and have God’s presence than go to a place of ease and freedom apart from Him.

My hope and prayer is that given the same choice, I would respond as Moses did.  I certainly have not always done so in the past, eagerly awaiting reprieve from seasons of trials and wanderings.  But may Exodus 33 take firm root in my heart, that I would crave God’s presence in my life above anything and everything else.  Lord, I want to be where You are.


Filed under Faith, God, One-Year-Bible, Patience, Thoughts

Wondering Why

Recent happenings in the lives of loved ones has me once again wrestling with an age-old question: why.  Why was this allowed to occur?  Why has this not happened yet?  Why?

In many ways, I find myself in a similar place as when I wrote the post Seasons.  Its a time of wondering, of wrestling, of balancing life’s circumstances on this fallen planet with the Truth of God’s Word and His promises.

My quad group (four ladies reading through the Bible in a year together) just finished the book of Job yesterday.  How timely!  After chapter upon chapter of Job’s laments and his friends’ off-based judgments, God finally speaks and sets the record straight.  Interestingly, He never gives the reason for His actions.  He simply reminds Job of who He is and that “whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine.” (Job 41.11)   Though Job’s circumstances did not immediately change, his confession certainly did upon seeing who God is.  “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted…I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You.” (Job 42.2, 5)

What struck me most of all was that last statement: I have heard of You but now I see You.  Job had known of God in the blessed times, but it was in the times of deep trial that he saw God Himself.  Job’s perspective shifted from the difficulty of his circumstances to God’s magnitude above and amidst it all.  This did not diminish the severity of what Job had experienced.  Rather it allowed him a greater perspective of who God was in spite of them.  Though Job’s life had been turned upside down, God who loved him remained sovereign and supreme.  Through this dark valley, Job received the greatest gift of all: he gained personal knowledge of the Almighty for himself.

The Book of Job closes with beautiful restoration as verse 12 records, “The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.”  I can’t help but wonder how much more Job valued all he was given after loosing everything.  Each possession and privilege – a blessing.  Each new child born – a gift.  Such a treasured perspective that could only be gained from loosing it all.  And interestingly enough, there is no record that Job ever knew the original why to his suffering.  Nevertheless he gained a priceless gift in the midst.

I’m sure I’ll always grapple with life’s hard circumstances, always struggle with wondering why.  But in the not knowing, I pray that I’ll be able to remember God reigns supreme above it all and that all things allowed to occur can be worked out for my good according to His purpose of conforming my life to the likeness of Christ (Romans 8.28-29).  And perhaps in looking back on life’s mountaintops and deep valleys, I’ll be able to see all the hidden treasures therein.  It may not remove the real pain of challenging times but it will provide His peace that surpasses all understanding.


Filed under One-Year-Bible, Struggles, Thoughts