Numbers 2:34 NLT So the people of Israel did everything just as the LORD had commanded Moses. Each clan and family set up camp and marched under their banners exactly as the LORD had instructed them.
Acts 24:20-21 NLT Ask these men here what wrongdoing the Jewish high council  found in me, ..21.. except for one thing I said when I shouted out, ‘I am on trial before you today because I believe in the resurrection of the dead!'”
Two texts leap out at me in today’s reading. The first is the from Numbers referring to the obedience of the Israelites. The second, is Paul’s understanding of why he is imprisoned. Here is what I see:
The obedience of the Jews is required by God, led by Moses, and respected by the people. As long as they obeyed, they progressed in their faith and journey. It is only when they disobeyed that they begin to suffer consequences.
Paul showed this kind of obedience when he preached what God asked him to preach. It caused persecution, imprisonment, and <sigh> trials (pun intended), but it also provided great opportunities. This imprisonment issue eventually led to Paul taking the Gospel directly into Rome, but we will save that for later chapters. However, as we see in today’s texts, he was able to share his faith with Felix and his wife over and over; for two years.
It is so easy to get discouraged, depressed, and subdued when we are imprisoned by our circumstances. But Paul never let that happen. Throughout the book of Acts, we find him singing praises and hymns while in jail, we find him ministering to broken jailers while he is still in chains, and we find him boldly professing his faith (e.g. “I believe in the resurrection of the dead”) while testifying to the high officials.
Paul does not let his circumstances dictate his mission, vision, and values. He has surrendered that to God and is unwavering in his quest to free others from the bondage of sin.
I sometimes aspire for the kind of drive and unyielding faith Paul exhibited. I long for the type of Damascus Road experience he went through – yet, strangely, I don’t know if that was a “fun” experience. I imagine, like Isaiah’s experience recorded in the sixth chapter of his book, it was terrifying. However, it certainly left a lasting impression upon those men and changed the course and velocity of their lives.
Maybe, like most of my relationships, based on the way I’m built, the slow, steady building of my relationship with God is the best approach. Maybe? Hmmm… me thinks that my Father knows best and that I should leave the course, trajectory, and velocity of our relationship in His hands.
Father God. I am being disobedient, on many levels. I excuse my abuses due to stress, tiredness, lack of sleep, change, kids, babies, workload, etc, et cetera. Hogwash!
It is time to repent and get disciplined. Forgive me Lord – I’m ready to move forward.