Readings:  Numbers 9:1-23 and Luke 16:1-18

Numbers 9:1-3, 22-23 

And the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, “Let the people of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time.  On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it.” …

Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out.  At the command of the LORD they camped, and at the command of the LORD they set out.

Luke 16:13

[Jesus said} “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and money.”

 

“Serving God by Letting Him Move You”

You have to give the Children of Israel a lot of credit.  They camped in their dwellings, most likely tents, and lived in family units by their clans.  When God was ready for them to pack up and move on, or as John Wayne would say in one of his westerns, “Saddle up!” they were ready to move.  They wanted to get to the Promised Land.  Even more, they were growing tired of being in the wilderness.  

Sounds like us, doesn’t it? We’re anxious to get out of our ‘wilderness’, that confinement at home, and return to doing things as we used to, including attending worship as we used to gather in church.  But has God said that He is ready for us to move yet?  Perhaps He knows what dangers lie ahead, and prevents us to move forward, much like a parent holding a child’s hand at the crosswalk.  The parent can see a car coming and knows the hazard, but the child is more anxious to cross the street, just to get to the other side.  (Sorry for the chicken-crossing-the-road-reference!)

We hear in the news of people anxious to get back to work and make money. They want to do their recreational things, to begin the baseball or NASCAR season, or even join family reunions.  Governors across our United States are hearing the demands of their constituents about opening things up.  But Governors are guided by what the health reports show.  That’s something we’ve heard from day one of the “Safe-at-Home” or whatever label the mandate may be called.  Today, we’re growing anxious to know when is it safe to ‘come out’ and play or work?  Again, the numbers will guide us.

Just as God would guide His people across the wilderness, so God will guide us.  He will tell us when He is ready for us to “Saddle up” and move.  God uses His holy Word today to instruct and guide us.  As we hear the Gospel, that good news of Jesus’ love for us, the Holy Spirit also calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies us—makes us holy—through that Word.  

That’s probably one thing we need to hear again.  The Holy Spirit will tell us when He is ready for us to move.  Until then, we worship God rather than the things of this world.  We draw on His counsel and might, rather than depend on our own short-sighted knowledge and weakness.  

A note on the transition from our reading in Leviticus to the book of Numbers.  The book of Leviticus, instructing the Children of Israel on how to use the Tabernacle and prepare the offerings required, took place over a year’s time or so.  The book of Numbers, by contrast, takes place over a 38 year period of time.  There is much movement in the book of Numbers.  As we will read, there were also many challenges the Children of Israel faced.  Are we ready to be like them?

I hope that we would fear, love, and trust in God above all things, including the money in our hands or bank accounts.  But I also hope that we would trust that God would move us now in this life as well as to fulfill His promise to bring all who believe in Him and move us into the Promised Land of heaven.  

 

Let us pray:  

O Lord, keep Your Church in Your perpetual mercy.  Because without You we cannot but fall, preserve us from all things hurtful.  Lead us when You see best to move us to all things profitable for our salvation, and safe for our health in these days.  Continue to watch over the sick and those who suffer from the virus.  Bless those who treat them with courage and compassion; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Our Father…

One thing’s needful; Lord this treasure
Teach me highly to regard;
All else, though it first give pleasure,
Is a yoke that presses hard.
Beneath it the heart is still fretting and striving,
No true, lasting happiness ever deriving.
The gain of this one thing all loss can requite
And teach me in all things to find true delight.  (LSB 536:1—Public domain)