The Thought of the Month by Matt Rawlins

The Thought of the Month by Matt Rawlins

We are starting a NEW “Thought of the Month” devotional series each month in 2016 by Dr. Matt Rawlins.  Join us!

December 2016

Discipling a Nation / #12 The Priesthood

“But you shall appoint the Levites… Numbers 1:50

Our words are often confusing when we talk about pastors, prophets, priests, church and the body of Christ.  We are often cut off from the Old Testament and think we are all priests and nothing else matters.  With the confusion of language comes a lack of understanding of the kingdom of God and roles and responsibilities in how God works.
God called out the Levites to be the priests. They were to be full time workers in the ecclesiastical structure.  It was only to be ten percent of the population that were to live this way.  They were to instruct the other ninety percent of the people in the whole council of God, in building a nation and the importance of all the other spheres of society.
There was always a clear distinction between the priests and politics.  In the 5 books of Moses it was clear that the priests and the Levites should be kept separate than the other tribes.  They had very different roles and functions for representing God and serving the people than the Kings did.  God chose the Levites to represent Him as His priesthood, where as the prophets anointed the kings, but they did not appoint them.  The people did.  The authority in the priesthood is with God.  He decides who He will anoint and appoint.  Whereas in government the authority is in the people to elect their leaders.
The priests were not given territorial land and were dependent on the tithes and offerings of the people to survive.  It was clear that they were not to gather power or control as this would distort their capacity to represent God to the people.  They were the first health care givers in reaching out and caring for the people who were hurting.  Their authority was to speak for God and to represent Him to the community.  They were hand picked by God and were not chosen on the basis of personal merit.  Their only anointing was to speak on God’s behalf.
This has not changed in the New Testament in the institutional sense.  We don’t need a high priest anymore to represent us to God, as Jesus is now the true and only high priest.  But there is still to be those who work full time for the ecclesiastical structure and they still are to live off the tithes and offerings of the people.  They are to instruct the rest of the body of Christ in the ways of God, in the principles of nation building and how each spheres is to function. (ie. pastors)

Questions for reflection and action:

What does it mean to bring salt and light (God’s presence) in the domain that you are called to?
Have you bought into the lie that says the only ‘spiritual’ work is to be a ‘priest’ or a missionary in the traditional sense?

By Matt Rawlins

November 2016

Discipling a Nation #11 / Struggles are the New Norm

Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. Gen 3:17

There are consequences to our choices. For example: we cannot partake of the tree of life, the woman will bear children in pain and man will have to work for provision by the sweat of their brow.
In essence, if we focus on just the consequences of man’s choice, the created world will not serve us any more, it will fight us our whole life. We will have struggle and hardship; this will be normal in a world that is broken because of us.
Please notice that God doesn’t curse all of creation. He doesn’t curse us. He just curses the ground, one small aspect of our world where we will get our sustenance from. We will now have to learn the meaning of work. Struggle, hardship and painful labor will expose us and reveal our hearts better than anything else in life. God gives us a chance to learn this through the material world. It is still good, just broken; it will not serve us anymore.
Now it is our work to learn redemption in the world around us through this hard work. It can’t be made perfect and much will still be broken, but we are to begin the redemption process of bringing life out of death. Beauty out of ashes. Discovering joy in the midst of sorrow.
Everything around us is fallen. This is a first truth that God makes clear from the very beginning. The world is broken and will yield fruit only after we have struggled by the sweat of our brow to deal with the thorns and thistles that will grow quicker and have it easier in this world.

Questions for reflection and action:                                                                                                         

Do you blame God for struggle?
What would it mean to embrace this challenge as a normal part of life for you and your family?

By Matt Rawlins

- See more at: http://templateinstitute.com/global-observations/tti-monthly-thought/#sthash.noVM64m8.dpuf