Sunday, February 14, 2010

Vision and Memory--Two Keys to Faith by Bobby Dionne

Week 8--February 21-27
Scripture Reading: Numbers 7-21; Psalm 26-29
Key passages for devotion: Numbers 7-21 

What is it that keeps us from receiving everything God has for us? I mean the Bible is so full of glorious promises and truths, yet when I look around my sphere of influence, it seems as though so few of those I love are truly experiencing that “abundant life” Jesus described. During my reading this week in the book of Numbers, chapters 7-21, I caught a glimpse of at least a few hints that I believe the Lord is desperate for us to uncover so that he can lead all of us who call on His name to the “promised land” of blessing and intimacy with Him.

I remember many years ago, as a very new follower of Jesus, being between jobs and experiencing some of the hardest financial strain in my life to that point. Food was low in the house so I decided to take what little money I had and make a short list for the grocery store. I put together a little meal plan for the week and listed all of the necessities, then lower on the list wrote out things I would like to get if I had enough money, but would put back on the shelf if I came up short. I drove to the store, parked, and said a little prayer in the car that the Lord would provide for me to have enough for at least the necessities. I picked out my things, nervously placed them on the checkout counter, and winced as I awaited the total. To my absolute joy and blessing, the total for my purchase of “necessities” and “things I’ll get if I can” came to exactly the amount I had in my pocket, I mean to the penny! I just remember being so enthralled that God had heard my prayer and met me at my point of need (plus some).

The Israelites had clearly seen the deliverance and provision of God in their midst as well. He did, after all, hear their cry while in bondage in Egypt and set in motion a plan to meet them at their point of need by taking them out of that situation. He reigns down plagues on their captors, mobilizes them for freedom, ends up obliterating their enemies, snows food from heaven, flows water from rocks, parts seas for them, so on and so on.

But as I read the accounts from the book of Numbers between chapters 7-21, I found myself so enamored that time and again, the “people of God” had the audacity to gripe and complain when the going got a little tough. If I’m being honest, at times during my reading, I found myself wishing that God would just wipe them out and be done with it! Ah, but then came that precious Holy Spirit shoulder tap. He said to me “Umm Bobby, my beloved. You do that too.” Me Lord? Surely not me! But in a tender surge of conviction, Holy Spirit reminded me that even earlier this week, while working on our household budget, I found myself falling back into that pit of worry and even frustration at the state of our finances presently. Forgetting literally countless times that my Daddy in heaven has provided for us, I made a subconscious choice to look only upon the present circumstance than to recount the promises that not only he has made for my future, but also the promises he has already fulfilled in my midst.

So what’s the disconnect? I believe there are two distinct issues at hand. One is a lack of vision for the assurances God has given for things to come, and the other is a lack of memory and acknowledgement for blessings fulfilled already in our lives. Remember that God had already made it clear to the Israelites that He would lead them to “a land flowing with milk and honey.” That had already been established, and was never in question. But their lack of vision prevented them from internalizing that great promise.

It was vision that allowed Joshua and Caleb to see things differently from the other 10 Israelite spies Moses sent into Canaan; “They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey!” Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored.”(Numbers 13:27,30-32) That lack of vision on the part of the other 10 spies caused them to see only the temporal, and caused a spiritual blindness to the things of God. That missing vision is only compounded by a lack of memory and acknowledgement for the things God has already accomplished in our lives.

One thing I love about the discipline of journaling is that it provides a written record for the faithfulness of God in my life. But much like a beautiful Bible that sits dusty on a shelf, that journal of mine serves only part of its purpose unless I choose to go back and reread it, and be reminded once again of the reality of a faithful Daddy in my life. It’s my belief that if the Israelites had chosen to recount the many, many things that God had done on their behalf before opening their mouths to complain, it would have softened their hardened hearts.

Holy Spirit, may you give us each vision today. Vision to see like Joshua and Caleb, and to take hold of the things Father has in store for each of us. And may you help us today to make a list of the many, many ways He has been faithful and kind to us up to this day. May we add to that list consistently, to keep a record of His loving kindness, and may we look upon that list frequently to remember and proclaim that indeed HE IS GOOD! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Bobby Dionne has been in love with Jesus and a member of Crossroads Church for nearly ten years. He currently serves as chairman for the men’s ministry leadership team and has a fervent passion for leading and utilizing outdoor adventure as a ministry and evangelism tool. He and his wife Ashley have been married for seven years.  Bobby also has a strong desire to see men of God restored to their God-given place in the kingdom, families, homes, and workplaces.

1 comment:

  1. The personal experience of “life in all its fullness” requires an ORIGINAL MODEL for imitation, which is:

    • PROMISED in the vision of eternal life (John 1: 50-51),
    • EXPECTED in Jesus’ diacritical death (Ibid. 14: 18-21) and
    • DELIVERED as promised (Ibid. 19: 30-37).


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