Stories of grace and light: Gathering sticks
And I read some really encouraging things in all except Numbers. Though it’s what I read in Numbers that is sticking to me this morning.
This morning after reading Numbers 15 I’m so thankful to be on this side of the Cross.
I was reading where a man was stoned to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath. There are dire consequences to disobeying the Lord, and though people today aren’t stoned for infractions of the law, death is the result of any sin, and the only way out of it is the Cross!
Numbers 15:32-36 (32) While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. (33) And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation. (34) They put him in custody, because it had not been made clear what should be done to him. (35) And the Lord said to Moses, “The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” (36) And all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, as the Lord commanded Moses.
This occurred after the people of Israel were told to wander for 40 years for lack of faith of trusting God to go into the Promised Land after being spied out, and only Joshua and Caleb expressed faith in God. After hearing God’s judgment they became more focused (for a time) on what God said apparently. Here are some points:
- God takes His Word seriously and it was demonstrated vividly on that day
- The judgment was one that touched everyone, for ALL THE CONGREGATION was involved in the stoning.
- The memory of disobedience was still fresh in their minds from before (for it was the unbelief of the faithless spies in Canaan that affected the next four decades of the people of Israel) and
- Many can suffer from the unfaithfulness of one or a few.
Now I go to what Jesus said in the passage about the woman caught in adultery, and what parallels there are!
John 8:1-11 (1) but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. (2) Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. (3) The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst (4) they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. (5) Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” (6) This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. (7) And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (8) And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. (9) But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. (10) Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” (11) She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
This is where we are today. You and I sin, and it’s pretty severe stuff too, and from our perspective today it’s much more severe than gathering sticks on the Sabbath.
And instead of being stoned by a community of fellow sinners, we are redeemed by Jesus Christ who paid the price with His own life.
We didn’t get away with anything, for Jesus paid it fully on the Cross. He was stoned by our sin, broken, and what He tells us today is: John 8:11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
God bless you and have a wonderful and blessed day. Next time you’re out tempted to gather “sticks” remember that each day is the Lord’s and though we’re saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, we’re to be honoring Him with our every action and deed. Every day is holy!