“This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.”
(Psalm 118:20, ESV)
I sat perfectly still captivated by the message. I dare not look around. The pastor was talking directly to me. How did he know? Had he read my prayer journal?
Until now, I had considered Numbers a boring book filled with ancient laws and moaning Israelites. Those thoughts changed this week. Sunday’s message was from Numbers chapter eighteen. I will attempt to give my abbreviated paraphrased version, which by no means is a substitute for the real Word:
In previous chapters, the Lord spoke to Moses detailing his responsibility to lead the people out of slavery. Aaron is next in line to receive his calling. The Lord offers careful explanation of Aaron’s new assignment, which cannot be completed by anyone else. The Lord tells Aaron, He has personally hand selected a group of people to help him in this role. The Lord refers to these people as “a gift to you, dedicated to the Lord”(Numbers 18:6). The Lord continues with a commandment to present the best and holiest part of everything to the Lord. Then the Lord, issues a promise, if Aaron presents the best part, it will be given back to him. (Numbers 18:29-30)
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
(1 Peter 2:9, NIV)
Numbers is thought to have been written between 1450-1410 B.C., over 3400 years ago. Yet, these three words, “The Lord said…” are just as relevant in our life now as they were to Moses and Aaron then. I am neither a great leader nor am I employed by the church, God reminded me this week, that He too has a purpose for my life that cannot be completed by anyone else. God reminded me that He has also given people as a gift to help me accomplish His task for me. Today in my prayer journal I wrote out the names of those people who have encouraged me in my walk with the Lord and in Red Chair Moments. These friends have prayed me through difficult seasons and encouraged me when I felt like a failure. Some of these friends are the ones who told me to write a blog and even help to edit posts for publication. Along with God, they could see something in me that I could not see.
College and High School graduates were honored Sunday. The nervous anticipation was palpable as the graduate’s photographs danced across the screen. Our pastor concluded his message explaining God’s purpose for our life is on the other side of the gate. These graduates are preparing to enter the gate. For some the gate might be college, for others it is their chosen career. Perhaps, their gate is marked with an unknown name. Our pastor shared these verses from Psalms:
“Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.”
“He will bless those who fear the Lord— small and great alike.”
(Psalm 115:13, NIV)
Since the fall, I have felt God speaking, “April, Go!” “Where?” I respond. All signs led to the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. I took the blind step of faith and enrolled in the upcoming week-long conference. I am scared to not know anyone (for an introvert, this is a huge deal!) I am scared of feeling inferior and lonely. But more than anything, I am scared of what’s on the other side of the gate! I know God has already gone before me to prepare the way; I need to trust the owner of the gate.
God: April, Go!
God: Walk through the gate.
If God is stirring you to walk through a gate, don’t be afraid. You are not alone. You are God’s special possession and He will send you gifts of friendship along the way. He promises to “bless those who fear the Lord, small and great alike” (Psalm 115:13).
Lord, open wide the gate…I’m coming!