March 29, 2015

Decently and in order

Numbers 33:1–49, 1 Corinthians 15:12–34, Psalm 28:1–9
Having moved twenty-nine times, I often feel as if I’ve spent a major portion of life sorting and filing. I’ve some attention-deficit symptoms and my workspaces can become very messy, but I don’t do well if they stay that way too long. Because my mind is so easily distracted, life is easier when my stuff in order and easy to find, and my schedule is tackled in an orderly manner rather than doing things the way my mind operates— haphazardly and chaotic.

Today I noticed that God kept an orderly record of His dealing with His people. I like that. When He delivered them from bondage in Egypt, He sent them along their way in an orderly manner and kept track of when and where they travelled. This is just a short part of that record:

These are the stages of the people of Israel, when they went out of the land of Egypt by their companies under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Moses wrote down their starting places, stage by stage, by command of the Lord, and these are their stages according to their starting places. They set out from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. On the day after the Passover, the people of Israel went out triumphantly in the sight of all the Egyptians, while the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had struck down among them. On their gods also the Lord executed judgments. So the people of Israel set out from Rameses and camped at Succoth. And they set out from Succoth and camped at Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness . . . . And Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor at the command of the Lord and died there, in the fortieth year after the people of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month.” (Numbers 33:1-6; 38)

If nothing else, these careful records show us that God takes note of such things, even as He governs these events. He cares that things are done in a certain way.

The NT reading is about the resurrection, and this again speaks of order: “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:22–26)

God likely doesn’t keep a check list with each item in priority order (like I do) but everything comes out just the way He planned it. We sing that our God is an awesome God, yet it would be totally appropriate to add these lines to that song (perhaps with some tweaking by an actual songwriter) . . .

Our God is an organized God,
He reigns with plans from above
With wisdom logic and love
Our God is an organized God

I am the most organized-on-the-outside, disorganized-on-the-inside person that I know. For that reason, I rejoice that, “The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.” (Psalm 28:8) The more scrambled I am, the greater my need to trust Him to keep my life in order. I am fully convinced that He is willing and perfectly capable of making sense of the messes that I make.

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