Tag Archives: conflict

You’ve Gone Far Enough

In Numbers 16 and 17 we find that Israel [congregation] confronts Moses [pastor] about just who is important and who isn’t.  It always amazes me how short a memory we have about the past. Israel has just tasted defeat because of their lack of faith and rebellion against the LORD. Now they want to take on the LORD’s anointed.  The clan of Korah – Levitical ancestry challenges Moses and his authority. The Levites were chosen by God to do the administration of the Tabernacle/Sanctuary. Two-hundred and fifty leaders stand up to enact a coup. They tell Moses “You have gone far enough!” Now let’s think about this a bit. Moses reluctantly takes the task of delivering Israel out of Egyptians slavery; he has led them through the Wilderness and been the spokesman for them to God.  Now that the future 40 yrs. is before them – which means wandering around and dying; they bow up and say they are equal to him. “All the congregation is holy, and the LORD is in their midst . In other words – Moses you just aren’t all that! We are just as good as you.”

Now this is a very interesting story – one could ask why the LORD would include it in the scripture? Additionally, what do it mean to us today. This is just my thoughts – but one could look at the story of the congregation versus the Pastor; or the Ministerial leadership against the Laymen in a church.  I have often found that many pastors labor in conflict and difficulty when things are going rough. When congregational life improves, then we find the people want to take over from the leadership – using the justification that they are “God’s people” too. This has the impact of bringing the pastor/leadership down to the pew level. I believe today there is a lack of respect for the pulpit in many congregations. Sometimes this can come about because the pastor/leadership is weak or the congregation looks at the leadership as “hired employees.”

Back to our story of Korah – Moses does his normal response, he seeks the LORD. The incense and censer test will determine who is holy and who isn’t. Moses tells Korah “You have gone far enough.”  Many a conflict arises in congregational life about who is in charge and who isn’t. The Pastor is called to be the under-shepherd; he is to lead the flock/sheep in accordance with God’s will.  Moses has already led them where God wanted them; but they refused to follow. We often have read that Israel is compared to a stubborn, hard-headed sheep.

In this passage we are confronted with the power of God and His protection of his servants and intolerance for rebellion. Korah forgot who they were – nothing they had done qualified them for the priesthood; yet now they boasted of themselves. While Korah thought they were confronting Moses and Aaron, but in reality they were confronting and challenging the LORD. The story continues with Moses interacting with Dathan and Abiram; who refuse to come see him – throwing the failure of obtaining the Promise Land on him, when it was the people who decided not to go.  I have wondered sometimes why Moses decided to stay with the rebellious people? He had opportunity to let the LORD start over fresh with him – I believe it is the pastor’s heart of Moses, even though the people were adamant against him, he stayed with them, interceding and pastoring them. Finally the anger of Moses with the insubordination and rebellion reaches its apex – Korah just kept pushing against Moses’ leadership. The righteous anger of Moses draws the attention of the LORD. “Separate yourself from Korah” the ground opens up and the 250 men are swallowed up.  You would think that after the display of power from God people would get a hint – Nope; the murmuring continues and a plague is sent  that 14,700 die.

In a revitalization thought – how is a pastor to shepherd a people who do not respect or honor the position of pastor? How many business meetings have happened where the pastor/leadership was raked over the coals about something they had no control over? How many times have congregations risen up against the LORD by rising up against God’s man? We wonder why churches die and decline – I think it is a result of the Pew taking over the Pulpit. Now don’t get me wrong, there are bad pastors, just like there are bad congregations. We all have no grounds for boasting of ourselves. We are the priesthood of God, because He made us so!

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Filed under 2017 Peneteuch, Church Revitalization

Synagogues, Sabbaths and Son of God

I apologize for those of you who follow this blog and were looking for my post for the week – I have been to Celebrate Recovery in Tennessee and didn’t get to post my normal Thursday post. Anyway here is it.

In Luke chapters 4-8 we find a very difficult time for Jesus and His ministry. The odd part about it, is that the conflict comes from His presence and activity while attending the synagogue on the Sabbath. It was Jesus’ normal routine to visit the Temple when He could, and to attend the local Synagogue when He was in town.

After the Temptations in the wilderness [just a thought, Satan defeated man in the Garden under ideal conditions for man; yet when he tempts Jesus in the Wilderness – under extreme conditions, he fails; thank You Jesus! Also Satan couldn’t defeat the Father- hence cast out of Heaven; so he goes after then Son – another failure.] which are an attempt by Satan to get Jesus to get “the Crown without the Cross.” You know we really do have an awesome Savior!

Jesus enters into the synagogue on the Sabbath and reads Isiah 61:1-2; sits down and says this “day these words have been fulfilled in your hearing.” Rather than reflect on what was said, the people disregard the prophecy fulfillment because they “know Jesus” as the carpenter’s son and his family. Often people disregard a testimony or miracle right before them because of either familiarity with the person or the thing said or done violates the senses of the mind.

An often overlooked passage is Luke 4:25-27; Jesus came for many reasons, one of them was to bring a final indictment upon the Jews for failure to accept the prophets and the Word of God. Jesus uses two Old Testament stories to show how that the Jews just aren’t all that and a bag of chips! The willingness to help the widow [gentile] and Naaman [gentile] when there were plenty of Jews He could have helped; reveals that God is a God that loves all people, and that if we think that God HAS TO DO for us because of who WE ARE; we are really mistaken. Obviously those who got it, were offended. Hmm, preaching of the word in the synagogue [church] being offensive? Over the course of the next few chapters we see that this trend of Savior on the Sabbath in the Synagogue repeated over and over. As I read the difficulties that Jesus experienced while “going to Church,”  I wondered if He ever got tired of going to Church on the Sabbath, because of all the drama?

In chapter 5, Jesus gets great fallout over forgiving sin, not over healing the lame guy. The Church has often been the source of frustration and great conflict for pastors, prophets and the Word of God. Paul experienced the same things while on his missionary journeys. The Trouble making Judaizers followed him just as the Jews, Pharisees, Sadducees and religious leaders followed Jesus, not because they wanted to know more about the Kingdom of God, but that they might find fault with Him. News flash the same thing happens today.

Word for us who have to deal with all the junk of the Church today; Jesus never stopped loving and healing the people – neither should we! Jesus continued to minister to those around Him. The healings and miracles of catching fish and casting out demons didn’t stop because people [religious people] couldn’t wrap their minds and hearts around the love of Christ. His works of healing and great words of teaching affirmed Him as the Promised Messiah; yet there were skeptics that even though the facts substantiate Jesus, they asked “Are you the Christ, or is there another?” Even John the Baptist was found to have doubts. Jesus is ridiculed for the company He keeps, of course the Religious leaders wanted Jesus to BE WHAT THEY WANTED not who He was. Today many still try to claim Jesus as their own, yet try to twist Him and make Him FIT what they think a Savior and Lord should be. When the Bible and Jesus do not support the ways of “the people” they walk away in disgust.

In chapters 7-8, we have Jesus teaching in His favorite way – Parables. We sort of understand parables today, only because Jesus gave us insight into the parable. The story of the centurion salve healing reflects back onto the healing of Naaman earlier except with a twist. The Jews were okay with Jesus healing this Gentile, for he was a great contributor to the synagogue. Really, not much has changed. I know that Pastors and Churches will pressure what is or isn’t done based on the acceptance of those who “give the most” rather than what is right by God’s Word. Even though the synagogues and churches are messed up; Jesus died for the Church, it is His Bride. He will build His Church and Present His Bride [Church] pure, unblemished, chaste and adorned in radiant White to the Father. Yeah we’re messed up, but God hasn’t given up on us – let’s not give up on us either!

 

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