No more than we can bear…

These past few mornings, I’ve been reading through the book of Numbers. It’s always fascinating to see the beauty of God’s Word reveal itself little by little, especially as I dwell on it. And well, I will be the first to admit I am no Bible expert, but I believe everyone can learn something on their own as they pursue God! Here are my thoughts:

To start off, I find much comfort from 1 Corinthians 10:13, where Paul declares,

13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

To know what whatever troubles I am going through are trials God knows I can overcome depending on His strength – what a blessing and peace it brings!

Which brings me to a possibly relevant reading:

Numbers 31:21-23:

21 Then Eleazar the priest said to the men of war who had gone to battle, “This is the statute of the law which the Lord has commanded Moses:

22 only the gold and the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin and the lead,

23 everything that can stand the fire, you shall pass through the fire, and it shall be clean, but it shall be purified with water for impurity. But whatever cannot stand the fire you shall pass through water.

God is an extremely consistent God.

[TANGENT]

Many people choose to believe, if they believe in a god at all, that it must be a god of love. This god exists solely to deliver them and execute their every fancy. What an incredibly self-serving idea, is it not? A god, who is presumably all-powerful, all-seeing and one to be feared, must cater to the needs of such sinful, self-seeking people?

God is loving, indeed, for 1 John 4:8 says:

8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

So in a sense, people have it right when they think God is loving. However, their definition of “love” (catering to their needs) is not His definition of love. God demonstrated His amazing love for us (oh, how undeserving we are!) by sending Christ on the cross and offering us the change to live for eternity with Him in heaven! It’s either that or reject him by pursuing your own desires and going to a place of eternal torment, a place where people moan and gnash their teeth. I shudder just… thinking about living an eternity separated from my gracious, loving Father in heaven…

[END TANGENT]

But that’s getting off the point. God is consistent. He promises us He will not try us until we cannot take it, but that we will be able to endure these things. This gives me so much hope! And so, it was an absolute delight discovering that God already showed this facet of His perfect character in the Old Testament!

23a everything that can stand the fire, you shall pass through the fire, and it shall be clean, but it shall be purified with water for impurity.

God allots “to each a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3). Because of this, we cannot take pride in what we can handle or how faithful we are- God grants it to us, and it is none of our own doing that saves. I read this text as an analogy for what God has planned for each individual. Each person will go through trials, no doubt. But some will go through more than others, and they can stand it. Some other people will be alloted a different, perhaps smaller measure of faith. And what happens with them?

23b But whatever cannot stand the fire you shall pass through water.

Despite the fact that the stronger materials can handle fire, everything ultimately is purified by water to cleanse it of impurity. What is that impurity in mankind? Sin. Yet Christ’s blood acted as the “water” in this passage. As the water purifies the metals, Christ purifies us.

1 John 1:8-10

8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.

9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His Word is not in us.

Did you read that? Read it one more time. Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness, all our impurities. But it doesn’t happen for everyone. Did you read everything? He cleanses us and clothes us with His righteousness IF we confess our sins. Do you believe you haven’t sinned? That what you have not done is not so bad that you could call it sin? Are you “better” than the person next door? Then you are self-deceived, for we are all sinners. Romans 3:23 says

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

That “all” doesn’t exclude you, I’m afraid. If a person denies the Bible’s diagnosis of mankind, I must say again: they are self-deceived. Why? Romans 1:18-20

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who  suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, having been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

My friends, we are without excuse. And please, do not take this lightly, for  “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

Christ lived the perfect life and died as ransom for all our sins. I know I say this over and over again, but it only gets more beautiful hearing it and knowing it to be true. Every individual has faith in something, whether they like it or not. You can have faith that you don’t believe anything, or you can have faith in something. No one, unbeliever and believer alike, is without faith. The question is, WHO or WHAT do you have your faith in? Are you certain that what you believe will allow you to receive the gift of undeserved eternal life?

To go on, every individual who believes in Christ alone for eternal life, also known as a Christian, is alloted some measure of faith. God sovereignly bestows more on some and less on others. Why? It may be beyond our comprehension (and it probably is), but we can trust in Him because His ways are perfect. We may think it unfair that He  knows and we do not, but truly, Isaiah 55:9 says it all:

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways

And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Who are we to question the all-knowing God, when we can’t even hope to know everything about the history of the world, or even ourselves? God controls it all: our struggles, our faith, our strength.

God has a divine plan to make His glory known, and it’s such a joy knowing that He uses each and every individual- weak or strong. Everyone who believes may not experience the same things. We all have different life courses. We all struggle with different things. We all sin in different respects, we all are tempted by various things to different degrees. Regardless, we are all made new because of Christ’s righteousness by His blood shed on our behalf. And not only that, but God promises to be with us always! Whatever hardships we may go through, God is sovereign and lovingly gives us the strength to fight temptation. He always gives us a way to endure and escape it!

As I continue reading through the Bible, I pray to keep discovering beautiful truths in Scripture and have a teachable, humble heart through it all. I hope this was encouraging for you to read as well!

Until next time,

Jessica

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This entry was published on March 23, 2011 at 7:03 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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