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Don't Cut Yourself Off from God's People

Numbers 9:1-14
Pastor J.B.

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Hi GAMErs,

In Numbers 9:1-14, the Lord instructs the Israelites to assemble on a certain date for a Passover service.  (For more on what Passover is, see Exodus 12.)  But some of the Israelites could not celebrate the Passover on the appointed date because they were ceremonially unclean.  So Moses inquires of God.  God tells Moses that if anyone cannot attend the Passover service for reasons beyond their control (such as being ceremonially unclean or traveling), they can assemble and celebrate the Passover on a separate date (v10-11).  This is likely the first record of when God's people started meeting in multiple services!  It wasn't due to division, but due to God's desire to reach as many people as possible.

What can we learn from this?

1. When you face a problem, do as Moses did and go to God first for help (v8-9).  Expect the Holy Spirit to guide you in making the right decision.  God is ready to guide you as long as you're ready to listen.

2. God has a heart to reach as many people as possible.  He does not want anyone to be left out.  So pray to God and seek creative ways to reach those in your life who might otherwise not be able to participate in the worship of God.  For a church, that might mean moving to a new location, or starting new services, or trying new ways to more effectively reach people in the city, so as to reach as many people as possible with the hope that is in Jesus Christ.

Finally, in verse 13 it says, 

"But if a man who is ceremonially clean and not on a journey fails to celebrate the Passover, that person must be cut off from his people because he did not present the LORD's offering at the appointed time. That man will bear the consequences of his sin."  
What does verse 13 tell us?  God is not pleased when people skip church simply because "they don't feel like it" or because "it's not that convenient".  When a person skips church even though they could have been there, they are cutting themselves off from the body of Christ.   (This explains why the Old Testament punishment for such a person was to be cut off from the people (v13), because deciding to skip church is exactly that: cutting yourself off from God's people.)  

When a person skips church, it hurts the body of Christ.  It also grieves the heart of God.  Most of all, it hurts the person doing the skipping.   A body might survive if a hand is amputated, but the hand cannot survive without the body.  Sever a hand from the body and the hand will shrivel up and die unless it is reattached to the body quickly.  So for the sake of your own personal health, the health of your church and the glory of God, let's not be lazy in our church attendance.  Don't worship your feelings or your inner sloth.  As Hebrews 10:25 says, "let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing" (Hebrews 10:25) but let's worship Jesus together!

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