Numbers 2 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional

“The L_rd spoke to Moses and Aaron: ‘The Israelites are to camp under their respective banners beside the flags of their ancestral houses. They are to camp around the tent of meeting, at a distance from it:” Numbers 2:1-2

As we learned in Leviticus, G_d is very concerned with order. The L_rd wants things separate, set apart and holy. Also, He is as interested in FORM as He is FUNCTION. The “way” Israel worshipped was as important as the fact that they were worshipping at all.

This idea of “form” is somewhat lost on our generation. Ours is the generation which rejects formality, and perhaps rightly so in some cases. Our parents and grandparents lived in a culture where women wore white gloves and hats, and men almost always wore suits and ties.

For many folks in their generation, dressing-up for synagogue or “church” became more important than why they were attending the congregation in the first place. The formality of religion trumped a personal relationship with G_d in many instances. It was dry and stiff, especially compared to the, “If it feels good, do it!” mantra of the Hippie movement. Eventually, their children rebelled.

Today, I sometimes wonder if the pendulum hasn’t swung too far toward the casual. In its efforts to create a comfortable laid-back environment, has today’s Messianic movement lost too much of its reverence? Is there a level of formality that is essential? Where is that balance between reverence and freedom? Know this: The balance is only to be found in the Bible.

As for Israel, G_d wanted to maintain the individuality of each tribal family, while at the same time, maintaining the unity of the nation. How was that accomplished, and what could we do to foster that balance of individuality and unity in our congregations today?

Paramount, at the center of Israel’s national life was the ark of G_d’s covenant. Inside the ark were the tablets containing the 10 commandments. Above the ark, G_d Himself met with Moses. Promise, Precepts, Presence. These three constituted His relationship with His people.

Believers in Messiah Yeshua may congregate as varied denominations, expressing their worship and gratitude in different ways. Yet, unity exists among ALL true believers because they share the same central focus: salvation through faith in Yeshua (Jesus), alone. They share the Promise of His Covenant, the Presence of His Spirit, and the Guidance of His Precepts (the Bible).

~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Shuvah Yisrael
Daily Devotional, Friday, May 9, 2014