Celebrating Deliverance

Sep 29, 2015   //   by James Johnson   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Numbers 9 finds the Hebrews in the wilderness exactly one year removed from the final plague in Egypt that ultimately resulted in Pharaoh finally telling them, in essence, “Get out!” Of course, the story tells that he regretted this, went after them, and his army wound up drowning in the Red Sea. The only reason there wasn’t wailing amongst Hebrew homes in Egypt? Because they had celebrated Passover. The doorpost was painted with blood. The special meal was eaten in haste, featuring lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs and more.

A year later, this was to be a celebration of what God had done. God tells the people in Numbers 9 to “celebrate the Passover…” A year earlier, it’s possible that many of them, while observing this meal, felt a great sense of relief that the firstborn in their home was still alive.  Maybe they could even hear the cries of mothers and fathers and younger siblings in other homes of those who did not observe that first Passover as they discovered their pride and joy dead.

But today, Passover was to be celebrated. God had delivered them from the house of bondage with a mighty arm and outstretched hand! They had seen the miracle wonders of God time after time after time, and had even seen His Presence as He gave them His covenant of love and faithfulness. Even for those who were ritually unable to celebrate it (they had touched a corpse, or were traveling) were given opportunity to do so. Plan on doing it a month later. Absolutely everyone needs to remember what God had done for them!

We also observe the Hebrews in motion. They acted and moved upon the command of God. If the cloud of fire stopped, they set up the Tent of Meeting below it and the Hebrews set up camp around it as instructed. It would descend, and as long as it remained descended on the Tent, the Hebrews stayed put. One day, two days, two months, whatever. When it ascended above the tent, they packed up and followed it wherever it went. It was simple really. Do what God says… don’t do what He doesn’t say… don’t move unless He moves.

I think it is very important, in my own life, a couple of principles from this:

  1. Take time to celebrate God’s goodness. He has delivered me from the house of bondage: sin. And trust me, sin has held me a slave in my life. Satan has done it to every one of us. We need God’s constant, daily deliverance. Obviously, we can celebrate in a special way once a year, but really each day is a new day to celebrate what God has done, especially through Jesus Christ, the Lamb who was slain on the cross to deliver us from certain eternal death.
  2. If I find myself unable to celebrate, take this matter to God. Hey, there are days that are so lousy that it’s hard to celebrate anything. Right now, I am writing from Panera. It’s raining outside. My son had to miss out on a field trip and isn’t that happy about it. I have a lot to do and I’d just as soon be reading or back in bed. Celebration isn’t exactly what I feel like right now. But you know what? There’s a lot of people going through a lot worse than that. Really, that isn’t even the point either. No matter how awful I feel or how bad the situation is, somehow I have faith that God is still good, and that He is still being good to me. It’s time for me to take my feelings and my situation to God and ask for His provision of celebration. Can’t find a reason to celebrate God? Ask Him! He’ll give you one!
  3. I must give each day to God. I need to seek more and more to move and speak and act only in response to God. It’s easy to think to myself that a give situation isn’t a big enough deal to do this with, but that’s not the right thinking at all. Much better to, each day, ask for the Holy  Spirit’s fire to descend on my heart and fill me, to move me, to make it clear what I should do and what I should say. Then, respond with gratitude. He is acting for His Kingdom, and He is acting for me.
So, how will you celebrate God’s goodness today? What do you do when you don’t feel like celebrating, or when you just can’t even celebrate? How do you discern what God is telling you to do or telling you to say?
“This is what the LORD says, He who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it, the LORD is His name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:2-3)

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