March 24, 2014
READ: Numbers 14:11-23
In keeping with your magnificent, unfailing love, please pardon the sins of this people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt (v.19).
Our young daughter has always preferred sleeping flat on her stomach and without a pillow. But last winter she developed a sinus condition and the only way she could stop coughing during the night was if she placed her head on a pillow and slept on her side. Six years of lying flat on her tummy without a pillow had become a habit, however, and she would stay in that raised position for only a few moments before wriggling down and sleeping on her stomach.
Habits that we should change take time and intentional action to stop. In our instant gratification culture, however, we often expect to see immediate positive results. Sometimes we lose patience with those who have come to believe in Jesus but are still dealing with bad habits. We support them for a while, but it doesn’t take long for us to place premature or misguided expectations on them.
The Israelites habitually grumbled against God and disobeyed Him so badly that He almost wiped them out (Numbers 14:11-12). Moses reminded Him that He is slow to anger, filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion (v.18). Although the people of Israel rebelled against the Lord and His chosen leader, Moses pleaded for their lives and God did forgive them—even though the hard-hearted generation never saw the Promised Land (vv.20-23).
God was gracious to the Israelites and He’s gracious to us. The apostle Paul reminds us to be gracious to each other—tenderhearted, full of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, making allowance for each other’s faults and forgiving as the Lord has forgiven us (Colossians 3:12-13).
When we remember how God has shown grace to us, we’re able to show grace to others, loving and forgiving as we journey with each other in harmony (vv.14-15). —Ruth O’Reilly-Smith
365-day plan› 1 Samuel 10:1-27
Read Ephesians 4:1-16 to see the good habits Paul tells us to develop.
Who do you need to extend grace to today? Why is it so important for us to deal with our bad habits?