The Idea of Assembly
November 5th, 2018 | Numbers 14:1-10
Another old popular church song declares, “When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.” The hymnwriter got the idea for the song when he was calling the attendance roll for his Sunday school class and an absent student failed to answer. He thought, “Oh, God, when my name is called up yonder, may I be there to respond!”
Assembly is central to the church’s identity. The church is not a building but the gathering of those who have been joined to Jesus Christ by faith. Paul implies with the phrase “when you come together as church” (1 Cor. 11:18). Not every group of Christians automatically constitutes a church, but Christians should have the intention of joining a community of worship.
The idea of the assembly of God’s people originates in the Old Testament with the congregation of Israel. Today’s passage describes how Israel balked at the prospect of entering the land promised to them by God (Num. 13:31–33). Intimidated by the report of some who had returned from a reconnaissance mission and reported that the inhabitants were too powerful for them, the congregation tried to appoint new leadership and return to Egypt. The Lord interrupted their congregational meeting and threatened to destroy them. This threat seems to have been intended to incite Moses to intercede for the congregation.
Much in this incident feels familiar. Churches today have disagreement about mission, resistance to leadership, accusations against others, and conflict. Israel’s experience is a reminder that God sets the direction for the church. He gives the church its marching orders. Israel’s resistance is a sobering reminder that congregations sometimes have a mind of their own. They do not always “get with the plan.”
APPLY THE WORD
Do you know the names of the people who lead your church? Pray for each of them today. You can include in your prayers your denominational leaders and other high-profile Christian leaders as well. Ask God to grant them wisdom as they interact with the congregation and perseverance as they strive to follow His leading.
PRAYER | PAKISTAN
Pakistan’s infamous blasphemy laws have been used disproportionately against religious minorities. Pray with believers who are jailed and imprisoned.
Today in the Word’s Devotion is a production of Moody Global Ministries
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