March 15

Numbers 27:16-17 (NIV) 16"May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this community 17to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord's people will not be like sheep without a shepherd."

Moses was not going to be allowed to go on with the Children of Israel into the Promised Land. He had a heart for the people and knew they needed a strong leader to turn them from sin. They needed a commander who would go before them into battle and inspire them to keep up the fight. Where would you find someone like this with a heart like Moses, who would plead for the people before God?

He prayed the above prayer, asking God to send a man with a real shepherd's heart. God answered that prayer in Joshua. Joshua is the Old Testament form of the New Testament name Jesus. In that day, God fulfilled that prayer in Joshua. However, Joshua didn't completely finish the job. As great a leader as he was, some of the enemy remained in the land. One enemy group deceived him into making a treaty. The Children of Israel grew weary and would not drive the others out. The result was constant battles throughout Israel's history. Along with that came the influence of idolatry that was the greatest of all poisons to Israel.

Ultimately, God answered that prayer in Jesus. He is our Shepherd. Unlike the first Joshua, He can lead us to victory over all enemies. He is not tricked into any compromises. A man became our Shepherd. He protects, leads, feeds, and cares for us, the sheep of His pasture. Thank God for the ultimate answer to this prayer and for His great ability to lead us into complete victory without compromise!

Meditation: Jesus goes before me into battle. I just need to follow.

March 15

Matthew 19:24-26 (NIV) 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 25When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?" 26Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

A rich young man approached Jesus. He inquired of Jesus which laws were necessary to keep to enter into heaven. Many Jews believed that if they could narrow down the laws to those most important to God, they would stand a better chance of getting into heaven. Jesus asked the man to sell all he owned, give it to the poor, and follow Him. This came at a time when Jesus only had about a week before the crucifixion.

The man went away sorrowful. Jesus had put His finger on the one thing that kept this young man from God. He trusted in his wealth. Then Jesus told the disciples something that astounded them, the camel and eye of the needle analogy. Some of the gates around Jerusalem were not of great height. To get a camel through, the baggage had to be taken off. The camel had to be pulled through on its knees. The picture is a forsaking of wealth and acceptance of humility. Jews thought wealth was a sign of God's blessing, so the disciples asked, "Who then can be saved?" It is the same for all men. It is not a keeping of the Law or any outward thing. It is the miraculous work of God.

Remember: Salvation is a work of God's grace. Nothing you can do will make God love you any more. However, clinging to the world may keep you from opening your hands to receive His grace.