Scripture: from verse 16
…none will be lacking a mate.
Observation: Yet more death and destruction. Edom will be razed to the ground and burned and filled with wild animals, none of whom will lack a mate.
I find this kind of amusing because the only other instance of that phrase that I can think of is in Song of Songs, in which the lover tells his beloved that she has beautifully white teeth like freshly-washed sheep, none of which are lacking a mate.
The beloved in Song of Songs is often said to symbolize God’s people, washed and made perfect and presented to Him as a bride (Ephesians 5). So whether God is perfecting His people or destroying Edom, not a detail is left undone.
Application: Trust God with the details. He’ll get to them in time.
Prayer: Father, I praise you because you do not overlook or forget things. You will do your work in your time. Please help me to be patient with your schedule and not try to change other people or myself on my own power. Amen.
Scripture: from verse 14
Within three years [and not a day more], as if a hired worker were keeping track of the time, the glory of Moab will be brought into contempt…
Observation: God’s relationship with time isn’t the same as ours, so sometimes we get weird ideas about when He’s planning for things and it leads to confusion. But we can know that if God has set the schedule, then the schedule will be met. And if we are given a hard time limit like this one, it will happen.
Close doesn’t count in prophecy and cosmic portents. The shooting star that was a month too late is just a shooting star. Mind you, meteors and comets and other shooting-star-things are awesome and beautiful and reminders of God’s beauty and glory.
God knows time. He knows it inside out and upside down and backwards. He even knows it forwards, which is sometimes more than we do. He knows time because He made it. He can see it in ways we can’t.
Which means that we don’t have to doubt His timing. We know things will happen when He says they will, even if that doesn’t end up being when we think they should.
Application: Trust in the Lord. He is never late.
Prayer: Father, thank you for creating time. Thank you for giving me a space of time to live in and understand. Help me to move through time with the confidence that you are moving with me. Amen.
Scripture: from verse 17
See that you complete the task you were given in the Lord.
Observation: This is a reminder that Paul addresses to a specific person, but it applies to all of us. We are set a task. We have to complete it.
It’s easy to leave spiritual work half-done. If our work is to pray or to love or something like that, we may not see concrete results from our work. There may not be a physical sign that we are finished. So we tend to assume that we have finished as soon as we’ve done anything, when God may be calling us to keep going.
All we can do is wait for God’s peace to release us. If we are to pray, we keep praying. If we are to love, we keep loving. If we are to write or dance or eat or talk, we keep going until we are finished. We are accomplishing a great deal in the spiritual world as we do His will, and He can see it even when we cannot.
Application: Have patience and keep going. Wait for God to tell you what to do.
Prayer: Yeshua, thank you for giving me tasks to complete for you. Help me to be patient and persevering and accomplish what you want me to accomplish. Amen.
Scripture: verses 23-25
When you enter the land and plant various kinds of fruit trees, you are to regard its fruit as forbidden — for three years it will be forbidden to you and not eaten. In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, for praising Adonai. But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit, so that it will produce even more for you; I am Adonai your God.
Observation: Leviticus has some weird rules, you know that? If you plant a tree, you have to wait five years to eat the fruit. Even longer if it takes a year or two to start producing fruit at all, I would imagine.
I’m not sure why God did this. It’s probably better for the tree or the land or both. It’s also an act of faith: giving the first fruits to God and trusting Him to make sure that the tree keeps producing in the future. It also encourages long-term thinking and planning, which generally leads people to make better decisions.
Happy Money says that we’re happier when we have to wait for things. Not while we’re waiting, obviously, but once everyone gets their treat the person who had to wait is significantly happier than the person who got what they wanted right away. Waiting isn’t a bad thing.
God wants us to put down roots. He wants us to settle down in Him, not harvest His blessings and move on. He wants us to take the time to make eye contact.
Those things take time, but God is the Master of Time in the first place. He knows whether we have enough time to talk to Him. He knows whether our plans and ministries and investments will bear fruit. We can afford to stop and spend time with Him instead of chasing after the wind.
Application: Spend time with God instead of worrying about the results you’re getting. Don’t rush the harvest.
Prayer: Father, thank you for having plans for me. I’m sorry I worry about results too much. Help me to stay focused on you and your provision. Amen.
Scripture: verses 2 and 3
Always be humble, gentle, and patient, bearing with one another in love, and making every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit gives through the binding power of shalom (peace).
Observation: The Spirit of God binds us together. He brings peace, wholeness, unity, and harmony. Our job is to not screw it up.
We do this by being humble (by having a clear understanding of who we are and what we deserve – which apart from God, is no one and nothing), by being gentle (by moderating our behavior and our reactions to what is beneficial for the community) and by being patient (by choosing not to be angry or demanding, but instead of wait and let God work.) This…is not particularly fun. At least not always.
I’m especially not good at gentleness. I don’t know if I’ve gotten worse over the years, but there’s been a couple times recently where my sisters have deliberately cut me off to substitute their own gentler interpretation of the topic at hand. I suspect I’ve just gotten more outspoken, but that’s irrelevant.
On the other hand, the mutual support and fellowship among people who put up with each other out of love is pretty awesome. I’m glad that God gives us unity in the first place.
Application: Be gentle, just like I tell Beauty when she decides to snuggle Kitten. Don’t do things that upset her, as I tell her when she squishes Kitten.
Prayer: Yeshua, help me to love others properly. Help me to see things gently. Amen.