February 25 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?’” ~Numbers 14:11

Sadly, in spite of all the blessings God has given His people, they do not stop complaining. After repeated rescues and more than a few warnings, the entire worshipping community continues to whine. In spite of their attitude, Moses loves the Israelites so much that he is willing to give his life for them (Ex. 32:32). But these stubborn and faithless people are ready to take his life and appoint a leader who will do what they demand.

At the heart of the people’s griping and complaining is a lack of faith. They do not trust God with their present difficulties. They do not trust God to protect them. They do not trust God with their future. So they attempt to take matters into their own hands. They will determine what is best for them. They will decide where to go.   They will choose who will lead them. The results of this experiment in quasi-self- governance are painful discipline and, sadly, more disastrous disobedience (Num 14:44-45).

Paul applies these stories to the modern worshipping community in 1 Corinthians 10. God’s discipline, Paul explains, is an example written down for our benefit (vv. 6, 11). The New Testament writers will not allow believers to dismiss the woes of the ancient worshipping community as inapplicable to current life. We are warned not to fall into the same snare of unbelief. Unbelief leads to every kind of sin: craving what we do not have, committing idolatry (worshipping anything other than God), committing immorality, and constant complaining (vv. 6-10). Ultimately, unbelief can destroy lives, which is why John Piper wrote, “Our chief enemy is the lie that says sin will make our future happier. Our chief weapon is the truth that says God will make our future happier. And faith is the victory that overcomes the lie, because faith is satisfied with God” (Living By Faith in Future Grace). If only we would realize that God wants to make our future happier! And if only we would believe that God is able to make our future happier.

The contrast between belief and unbelief is nowhere more stark than in yesterday’s New Testament reading and today’s. Recall the powerful faith-based healings in Mark 5:21-43 and compare them to the feeble few who received help in Mark 6:1-6. In His hometown, “Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith” (Mark 6:6). The unbelief is unbelievable. Are there circumstances where you are having a hard time trusting God? Have you considered that unbelief is the root of the problem? You don’t trust that a solid marriage is possible for you and your spouse. You don’t trust that your son’s struggles can spark growth in his life and yours. You don’t trust that God is working through your work situation or through your spiritual leaders. You don’t believe that following God’s ways will make your life happier. Think about it. Pray about it. Do something about it. If you know you need to trust Him, but you are struggling to do so, cry out to Him for help (Mark 9:24).

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.