Scripture Reading: Numbers 6:22-27
“May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.” (Nu 6:24-26 NLT)
In order to develop a good self-esteem children need repeated affirmation from parents, teachers, friends, and neighbors. A lack of validation can lead to self-doubt and feelings of inferiority and insecurity. A continual barrage of negative comments can cause them to lose their spiritual moorings and turn them away from worshipping God.
My wife and I raised four boys and a girl and were ill-prepared for parenthood. The early years were difficult ones. Low wages (pastor’s salary), poor living conditions (three room house), lack of time to spend with the family (too busy meeting needs of church members), and feelings of inadequacy led to dysfunction within the family. Then, during their teen years everything seemed to fall apart. I didn’t have a clue how to deal with the problems that were present with the sixties generation. The drug culture, anti-government sentiments, rebellion to authority, and refusal to abide by our standards left me disillusioned and bewildered. If it were not for the grace of God, I doubt if we would have made it through those years. We took refuge in the fact that we had faith that God was smiling down on us. What I learned from those experiences was that God always takes the initiative. He was faithful to us even if we weren’t faithful to him.
Moses faced similar difficulties as he led the children of Israel through the wilderness. He was faced with constant complaints, anti-Moses protests, rebellion, and mutiny. On one occasion the people were ready to stone him. Moses’ faith was tested to the limit, just like mine was, and he responded in a similar manner by crying out to God for help. How did God respond? He answered his prayers by directing him to water to answer their complaint, “we are dying of thirst.” He sent them “manna” when they were demanding food. When they complained that they were tired of the manna, he sent them meat in the form of quail. Through all the complaints and threats on Moses’ leadership God continued to smile down on them.
In case you are thinking, that’s Old Testament stuff, let me remind you that God is the same “yesterday, today, and forever” as recorded in Hebrews 13:5. God’s heart has never changed and he is still smiling on his people today.
Think about it! Right where you are right—whether at your work place, in your car driving home or walking through the super-market— God is smiling on you? What should be your response? Reflect upon his love and care and then smile back.
Prayer: Dear Lord, may my smile be as loving as the one I receive from you.