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Tuesday, September 16, 2014Listen to this message on your audio player.
Our neighbor Marion took this photo of a White Heron and ducks along Donegal Creek on the trail across from our house.
(Click on photo for larger view)
"Be Sure Your Sin Will Find You Out!"
"But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23). "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13).
Mollie, our three year old border collie, was pitifully whimpering because she got into a literal entanglement two days ago. Because she can jump over our high fence we attached additional wire fencing to discourage her frequent leaps to freedom. We also place wire border fencing like the one in the picture below along any openings in the lower part of our outer deck to prohibit her from digging the soil underneath it (as she loves to do).
But as usual no matter what we do to discourage her mischief she manages to find trouble. Two days ago Brooksyne hollered from upstairs, "Stephen, quick... get the camera and go outside to Mollie." This time when she tried to get through the deck fencing it caught on her collar and, though she was dragging it through the yard hoping to get rid of the evidence, she finally confessed her bad doings through her whimper with a pleading look on her face that read, "Please get me out of this mess!" I could almost hear the song, "Please release me, let me go..."
I did release her after taking several photos (after all, you don't have to get a dog's permission like you do your spouse or child when you want to use them for a negative illustration). Though she's a dog I couldn't help but think of the Old Testament verse that applies to Mollie and to all of us, "Be sure that your sin will find you out."
Let us examine the background to this verse. In Numbers 32 the new generation is camped east of the Jordan preparing to enter the Promised Land. Leaders from the tribes of Reuben and Gad approached Moses and made a proposal to Moses that they would settle and consider as their inheritance the lands east of the Jordan, which they had already settled and found suitable for their livestock. Moses initially misunderstood their request, assuming they were attempting to dodge their responsibilities in the conquest of Canaan.
However, they further clarified their proposal, indicating that they would indeed be sending their fighting men to assist the other tribes and pledging that they would not return until the conquest was complete. Moses' tone changed with the clarification and he accepted their proposal, but in the first daily text he reminded them of the consequences of failing to keep their word. Tracking through the history of the conquest we see they did indeed fulfill their commitment and were commended by Joshua for their faithfulness in Joshua 22.
There's a lot of good teaching in this chapter but let me just focus on today's first text which has a timeless spiritual principle. Moses cautioned the tribal leaders about the consequences of failure to keep their word: "But if you fail to do this (what they had promised), you will be sinning against the LORD." Ultimately Moses solemnly reminded them that the failure to honor their word in regard to their responsibilities to others is a sin against the Lord. The principle is the same for us and we do well to always keep that before us, especially when circumstances make it attractive to opt out.
Then Moses states, "and you may be sure that your sin will find you out." It's interesting the precise way this is worded, "your sin will find you out" and it is consistent in standard translations. We might expect it to read to the effect, "Others will find out about your sin" which is also the case. However the wording is significant due to self-deception. Sir Walter Scott stated it this way, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”
I consider a parallel of how it is in our dealings. We may very well think we are getting away with something but we can be sure our sin will find us out, sometimes sooner, other times later. Since the consequences of sin are not always immediate we may be under the illusion that all is well. But eventually our sin will find us out. The apostle Paul's word to the Galatians is so powerful in this regard, "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:7-9).
Today let us live with the solemn realization that our sin will not go undetected by an all-seeing, all-knowing, all-present, holy God. Indeed, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight." But we also live with the solemn blessing of His forgiveness when we go to Him with a humble and contrite heart.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, Your Word shows us that obedience brings about blessing but disobedience brings about dishonor. I want to honor You with my life, for there is nothing hidden from Your eyes. Help me to uphold the standards of truth and honesty as revealed through Your unchanging Holy Word; not by the standards of this world that customize "truth" to suit their ever-changing whims, nor by my brothers and sisters of the faith who often come up short. When I'm confronted with my sin help me to have the fortitude and courage to deal with it. May I not cover it up, seek to justify it, blame others, procrastinate or deceive myself. Thank You for granting complete forgiveness to those who come to You in contrition willing to lay down sin and take up righteousness. Amen.
Today's text is an example of what many have called sins of omission expressed in James 4:17: "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin."
Brooksyne canned lots of peppers this year, a tasty mix of crisp hot and sweet that tastes great on sandwiches and in salads.
I (Brooksyne) stopped at a neighbor's house and was greeted by this friendly duck. The neighbors were gone but the duck walked right beside me down the long driveway, and escorted me back to my car, and everywhere I went. It was my first encounter with a pet duck and strangely after a while I felt like "waddling" right along with the duck.
After seeing Mollie in her tangled mess Brooksyne recalled that years ago Roxie had her own entangling experience with the same look in her eyes (see here for story.)
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"What About Now" Video Booth Brothers A very thought-provoking song about how we live our lives each day.
"Broken and Beautiful" Video Mark Schultz
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Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
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