When I was in the seventh grade, I had a math teacher that I was scared to death of! His name was Mr. Davis; he had the most piercing blue eyes and the meanest look of anyone I had ever seen. The class was full and my desk was dead up against his, so I had a close look at those eyes every day. The bad news was that I was terrible in math! A test taken from page 57 of the textbook just about did me in! There were three-word problems on percentages. I took the test and got a big fat F. Mr. Davis decided to give a re-test for those of us who needed it. This is where it all began, page 57 and until the day daddy died all I had to say to get a big laugh out of him was, “page 57” or if ever there was something I didn’t understand he would just say “page 57”, and I would know what he meant. Daddy helped me study for it and I finally just memorized it so that I could pass it, did I really learn the lesson? I plead the 5th.
What brought that to mind was thinking about the Children of Israel walking the floor of the desert for forty years! Did you know that they could have made that trip in, some say a week and a half, and others say three weeks, but certainly in less time! Why did it take them so long, why did they continue to go around the same mountain for forty years? Because they didn’t learn page 57! The lesson has to be learned before you can move on. What did they need to learn? One thing is that God was their provider! They were worried about having left the garlic and leeks back in Egypt, and as I have said before, they obviously forgot the fact that they were slaves in Egypt! Why would you want to return to that? God gave them Manna, they got sick of it so God gave them Quail and sure enough they got sick of that also, God supplied water for them when they were thirsty, and opened the waters of the sea for them to walk through on dry land, yet they continued to complain about everything!
I was thinking of something personal that I am dealing with when this whole story, once again, dawned on me! I am not going to find the solution until I learn the lesson He is trying to teach me, what is it? Well, for me it is probably patience! Yes, that is definitely a bad word to most of us, but true. After all it is one of the “fruit” of the Holy Spirit, or a way that people can know that the Holy Spirit dwells in you!
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. You will continue to be tempted in one area or have to deal with the same type problem until you learn the lesson.
What is it that you need to learn? Is it to love your neighbor, no matter what? To be joyful in the face of discouragement? To be good when evil is all around? To remain faithful, when it seems that all faithfulness around you has been shredded? To be gentle and show self-control when there is so much stress in your life that you want to pull your hair out by the roots? Whatever it is:
Hebrews 13:5-6 Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?
The Holy Spirit is your teacher Luke 12:12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.”
Don’t be like me and just memorize the material… learn the lesson on page 57!