Friday, December 20, 2013

Lessons From the Desert: To Be Zealous for God

This month at Pasture Living, I'm sharing what I learned during my Israel trip and why I think this series is very relevant to healthy living. I believe being physically healthy is important, but being mentally, psychologically, and spiritually healthy is also extremely important for a fulfilling and joyful life. If you missed any of this series, click here.

Advent Day 20

To Be Zealous for God

Passage Reading: Numbers 25

We visited Gamla, which is considered the "Masada of the north," and our Pastor shared with us the story of the fight between the Romans and the Jews (the Zealots) and the tragic ending of the Zealots. We then read a passage from Numbers 25, which is believed to be the precursor to the Zealot movement (The zealot was a movement formed against the Romans. They were extreme pharisees who knew and followed the Law strictly, but believed that suicide was better than slavery.) It explains how God made atonement for the Israelites because Eleazar, the son of Aaron, was zealous for the honor of his God. We were reminded that we too should be zealous in our walk with God and passionate about learning the Word.

On top of Mount Carmel

Passage Reading: 1 Kings 17-18

We were up on the beautiful Mount Carmel, a land that is fertile and water is abundant, thus the name Mount Carmel, which means "God's vineyard." We learned the story about Elijah from 1 King 17-18, how he passionately followed God, doing things that we may consider "too intense," gave offerings to God something that was in high demand (in this case offering big jars of water in the middle of a drought) - all the things that we may considered "too intense" or "over the top."

We know from the Bible how God was pleased with Elijah's love for Him and he was taken to heaven by a chariot and horses of fire. Then we read how Elisha asked God to give him twice as much passion as Elijah had (2 Kings 2:9) and he received it. This passage is about following God with passion. To give our ALL, not just some. We're to love the Lord our God will ALL our heart, with ALL our soul, with ALL our might. We can have that passion if we want to. Like Elisha, all we have to do is ask God to give us that burning passion, a renewed energy and the "fire of the Lord" will come down upon us.

"Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also liked up the water in the trench." - 1 Kings 18:38

We know by living day to day that we are likely to do good works and be successful if we're passionate about doing it. Likewise, if we are not passionate about what we do, it will show in the fruits of our labor. Following God passionately doesn't mean we will not experience challenges, struggles, or troubles. It is through trials that we will be able to make choices to obey His commands and as a result, our relationship with God grows deeper as we experience His faithfulness in our lives. As we follow Him, maybe there are times when we find ourselves at the back of the line or in the middle of the line. It is when we know that our walk with God is stagnant that we should ask for passion so that we can experience what it is like to be walking at the front line with Jesus. When we give our all and are passionate about walking with Him, we will experience the fullness of His love in our lives. God's fire is bigger than any jars of water and will lick up the water for us. He is bigger than any challenges we face and we will overcome it if we stay faithful in our walk with Him.

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