Numbers 30: 1—31: 54
There are some things we have to square with today in the reading. 1) God sets up order in the home just like he sets up order in creation. Men are the head of family unit. This authority trumps any vows the woman in his home makes. 2) Sin=Death, and God gets to exercise the penalty for sin however He wants to. We are so use to His Mercy and Grace that we get offended when He chooses NOT to exercise them. To be sure the Midianites had received Mercy. God cannot help Himself but to offer Himself to His creation out of Love. They got to hear the stories of what the Lord had done in Egypt to rescue the Israelites. They witnessed the blessing of Balaam. They could look at all the creation around them and see that someone had to create it and they were worshiping that which had been created and not the creator. But instead of falling on their knees before the God and asking Him to save them, they led the Israelites into the worship of Baal. That is sin, and sin=death. The Israelites in this war are acting as God’s judgement tool. We have become so accustomed to sin that it is shocking to see the judgement of it. But people, sin is not a joke to God, he hates it and will judge it, he does not sweep it under the rug. God is also Love, so guess what, He made the way for us to avoid the penalty we deserve. (Spoiler Alert: Jesus)
Human judgement decides to save the women and children. Moses “SMH” at them because he is tuned into God’s perspective—The women were the ones that lead Israel astray! The most important thing to do when God is using you to exercise judgement is to DO EXACTLY WHAT GOD SAYS!!!
If you are struggling at all with this aspect of Gods perfect character—email me! firstname.lastname@example.org. PS. if you are mean or rude I won’t respond because I don’t have perfect mercy like the Lord.
Luke 4: 1-30
Temptation from the devil is so slick it almost sounds right. For one he says, “Jesus, you are hungry, save yourself and get your needs met.” Sounds right, right? Especially if you are an American or have Facebook. Americans believe God helps those who help themselves. But this is not an actual biblical doctrine. God actually says we can’t save ourselves. If you are on Facebook for 5 seconds you see 1 million offers for self improvement and don’t even say to me “Girl, wash your face.” Jesus’ answer is brilliant, probably because of the fact that He is God. He says that we don’t live just because we care for ourselves. God is in control of our life and our death. Its up to him. This is proven by a man that is in top health having a widow maker heart attack or an alcoholic living to be 100. The second temptation temps Jesus to skip the process and obedience to God’s plan and become the king of all nations right now, if He will just worship the devil. Jesus responds by saying that you must worship the Lord your God and serve Him only. This means that you can’t skip the process and just grab what God has promised you. You get what God has promised you from being obedient to Him and worshiping Him, there are no short cuts. Thirdly the devil says, “Alright, jump off this temple and prove to everyone that you are the Son of God in a showy spectacle of angels saving you, forget this humility stuff.” Jesus’ response makes me think of being in the car on a family road trip and seeing just how far I could push my parents before they would say something like, “Don’t make me turn this car around!” Testing God would mean that God would have to humble you, that is not a good choice. So Jesus makes it clear that He is staying obedient to God.
Remember how Luke is writing to Gentiles to show them that salvation for all nations is in Jesus. Well his recording of Jesus’ mic drop moment in the temple points to that as well. Luke records that Jesus was not accepted in his own Israelite community, and then uses two stories about a time when Israel was not following God, so help(salvation) came to gentiles. And all the gentiles said AMEN! (that is you and me)
Psalm 63: 1-11
The idea of being numbed to God’s mercy has really stuck with me this morning. As I read this psalm I thought to myself I may never be in a situation like David because as a believer in Jesus, God is always close to me. David understood his need for God so clearly because his circumstances made him thirst for the presence of God. Sitting with this idea leads me to practice thankfulness.
Proverbs 11: 20-21
Well, here we are again. Repetition of this idea of crooked hearts and evil people causes us to remember that repeated themes in the Proverbs means that he is teaching AGAINST our natural bent. Godly integrity will not be natural. It will take us making godly choices instead of evil choices.