March 2, 2015

Just who’s in charge here?

Numbers 1:47–2:34
John 11:28–57
Psalm 2:1–12

The movies often have scenes where someone walks into a chaotic situation and yells, “Who’s in charge here?” I’ve done that myself, not yelling it out loud but wondering in my heart, even sometimes when I am praying. This is why it is good to read the Scriptures often. They remind me of the power and orderliness of God . . .

“The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, ‘The people of Israel shall camp each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers’ houses. They shall camp facing the tent of meeting on every side. Those to camp on the east side toward the sunrise shall be of the standard of the camp of Judah by their companies, the chief of the people of Judah being Nahshon the son of Amminadab . . .’ Thus did the people of Israel. According to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so they camped by their standards, and so they set out, each one in his clan, according to his fathers’ house.” (Numbers 2:1-3ff - 34)

Most would think that the book of Numbers is boring, but this detailed account of how the Israelites were to set up their camp reminded me that God isn’t messy or unorganized. He had an exact plan of how His people arranged their lives. I am positive this kind of plan is laid out for me today, not about where I pitch my tent, but how I am to set my life in relationship to everyone else in His family. God is in charge.
The New Testament reading revealed the same truth. This is also a bit obscure, but can be found in this passage about the religious leaders and their perplexity of what to do with Jesus . . .

“So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, ‘What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.’ But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.’ He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.” (John 11:47–53, italics are mine)

Caiaphas was saying something that had an entirely different meaning than he thought it did. He wanted Jesus to die so the Romans would not take over their nation, but God put words in his mouth that revealed His plan that Jesus would die so that sinners would not perish but have eternal life. God is in charge.

Right after that, “Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples. Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, ‘What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?’ Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.” (John 11:54–57)

It seemed that these leaders were in charge. They gave orders and had the power to carry them out. They were going to arrest and kill Jesus, thinking that would give them the upper hand. When I turned to the last reading, I laughed out loud . . .

“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.’ He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, ‘As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.’ I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 2:1–12)

Read it twice and know this: God is in charge!

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