Numbers 14: Sermon Sum-Up
Jesus is invited to Sabbath dinner at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees. Have you noticed that Jesus eats and drinks quite a bit? Eating and drinking is hugely important in the Bible. God feeds the children of Israel in the wilderness. Jesus feeds the crowds listening to him because he has compassion on them (Matthew 15:32). Moreover, Jesus commands that we eat the communion supper, “Do this, in remembrance of me.” I want very much to have a full meal communion service. This would help us to remember what Jesus has done for us on the cross and it would point to the feast that we shall share with the Lord in the time to come. But no matter how worthy something is, it can become an idol. An idea can fill up our hearts and minds to the extent that we no longer see who God is. “Going to heaven” is a wonderful thing. We do not fear death. In addition, we avoid making an idol of safety when we know that with the Lord’s help we will go to heaven when we die. But even “going to heaven” can so fill our hearts and our minds that we forget about God. I once saw a movie produced by a famous evangelical. In the movie the main characters were so driven to witness to a couple (and thus “get them into heaven when they died”) that they forgot basic pity, forgot even to have an ounce of compassion. The moviemakers were entirely unaware that the drive to “witness” had completely usurped any thought of our Lord who is filled with pity and compassion. (Exodus 34:6)
Anything can become a false idol. What we want and need more than anything is the Lord. How can we remind ourselves of the Lord? First, we remember how prone we are to make idols and simply ask that we might know the Lord. Second, another prayer: Ask the Lord, “Lord, make me like you.” Our inheritance is that we should be like God. This belongs to us. In asking we remind ourselves of who God is; he is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, forgiving. He does not keep these treasures to himself. He gives us his all. Therefore ask him for what he has promised. In this way, we can begin to knock down the idols that we make and get what we really need, our good and gracious God.