May 19, 2009
Let the Lord defend you.
1 Samuel 24-25 includes two stories where David is tempted to defend himself, to take his own revenge/vengeance. One, is the opportunity to kill King Saul as he relieves himself in a cave. The other is with the fool Nabal, who offends David. In both instances, David is kept from shedding blood in his own defense. In the Saul instance, David’s men even tempt him with the old “it’s the Lord’s will” that you do this. We will all be tempted to defend ourselves, to take justice into our own hands. But like David we can let God handle it. It’s always best to let God be our defender instead of defending ourselves.
April 15, 2009
Jesus healed ten lepers and only one returned to give Him thanks. I wonder, does that percentage still give thanks today? Only 10%! Am I running back to Jesus to say, “Thank you!”? Or am I one of the nine running to get back to my life?
April 2, 2009
What’s with the four tassels?
Deuteronomy 21 has this seemingly random list of laws and regs. Some involve personal conduct, like what to do with disobedient sons, or when someone commits adultery. Others seem more like building codes, such as, build a railing around your roof to keep people from falling. Stuck in the middle of this list is the instruction to make sure you wear a tassel on the four corners of the hem of your outer garment. These tassels were to be a reminder of the commandments of God.
I was reading the blog of a Messianic Jew recently, who said that each tassel was to have blue thread, wrapped in accordance with the name of YHWH. So, the “Y” or Hebrew Yod would have the number of wraps corresponding to its number in the order of the Hebrew alphabet, and so on for each following letter.
Is it possible that the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, actually touched one of these tassels?
March 26, 2009
Luke records the raising of the widow’s son by Jesus. I love this story! Jesus and the disciples approach a city and are met by a funeral procession coming towards them. You know, their headlights are on and they’re heading for the graveyard. But Jesus stops the pall bearers and tells the dead boy to get up (Jews buried their dead within 24 hours and usually carried them on open pallets or caskets)
The boy is raised and Jesus gives him to his overjoyed mother. Doesn’t Jesus know that you’re not supposed to stop a hearse on the way to a funeral?
March 25, 2009
Have you noticed that Deuteronomy is like a remake of an earlier movie with added subtitles? Why do you think Moses wrote another book summarizing the earlier ones? Hint: The book gets its name from the scholars who first translated the Hebrew Bible into a Greek translation they called the Septuagint. The Greek word “deutero” means “second.” The Greek word “nomos” means “law.”
March 24, 2009
I’m so happy to see all of these posts! When I see WCCers getting deep in the Scriptures it makes me feel like we’re really being the church! Hey, I liked Jonathan’s insight to the temptation of Christ. Three tests, each with a different focus. It reminds me that Satan hasn’t changed much. He tempted Eve with three too (1- good for food, 2- pleasing to the eye, 3- desirable for gaining wisdom)
Perhaps this is what John meant…
“For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:16 NIV).
March 20, 2009
Who are these Midianites and why is God so angry with them? Here’s the surprising thing that we’ve learned from reading so far: Midian is the son of Abraham by a wife he took after Sarah’s death. So, the Midianites are children of Abraham too, although not via the son of promise (Isaac) The children of Isaac (and Jacob/Israel) have had several encounters with the Midianites both pro and con. It was Midianite traders that Joseph’s brothers sold him to. Later, it was a Midianite woman that Moses married (Zipporah, daughter of Jethro, priest of Midian). So, Moses is related by marriage to the Midianites.
The Midianites were influenced by the Moabites (Moab, father of the Moabites, was the incestuous progeny of Lot and his daughter) to contact Balaam to curse the Israelites. The Midianites should have known better. They knew the God of Abraham. Yet, they conspired with the Moabites and with Balaam.
God was angry with Midian and He judged them for their sin. But it was a measured response. Note the limit of the number of solders used and the sparing of the virgin daughters.
It must have been hard for Moses to carry out these orders against his in-laws. After all, he not only married into their tribe, he also lived among them from age 40 to age 80. But he had learned to obey God instead of man.
God takes sin seriously, doesn’t He?
March 18, 2009
When God informed Moses that it was time to leave this world, Moses asks for no personal favor. His only request was that God might appoint a new shepherd to lead Israel, so that the people wouldn’t be “like sheep without a shepherd.” So, God has Moses set apart Joshua (Yeshua.. Jesus) son of Nun, of the tribe of Judah, as the new leader. When I visited Jordan in 2005, I stood on Mount Nebo, the place where Moses stood and looked into the Promised Land before God took him. It was overwhelming, standing there looking down on Israel, the Jordan River, the Mount of Olives in the distance.
March 13, 2009
Zechariah’s tribe. We began reading the book of Luke today. Again, I’m struck by the way OT and NT complement one another. Did you notice the lineage of Zechariah, husband of Elizabeth? They are of the lineage of Aaron. Yes, the same Aaron who God first anointed high priest. This lineage is what qualified Zechariah to serve inside the Temple, handling the incense job. Zechariah was a Levite priest (Both Aaron and Moses were of the tribe of Levi) And according to the rotation, it was his turn to serve (Like WCC, they rotated their church workers too, apparently one month on, 11 off.). It was while he was doing his assigned service that God spoke to him. Do you think God still speaks to those who are busy doing Kingdom work?
March 11, 2009
I’m often struck by the way a reading from the OT connects to a reading from the NT. In this case, I saw a group of Levites who had been given authority to serve God, but they wanted more authority. They falsely accused Moses and Aaron of taking more authority than God had given. They accused Moses and Aaron of “going too far.” It’s funny how their accusation really revealed their own hearts. They were the ones “going too far.” They were jealous of God’s appointed/anointed leaders. They wanted to be the leaders and they got the crowd behind them.
In the book of Mark, the Jewish leaders acted similarly. They falsely accused God’s Son of going too far. But Pilate saw the truth. They were jealous of Jesus. Again, the leaders got the crowd behind them and came ready to back up their false accusations with fleshly support.
In the first story, God’s anointed (Moses) is protected by God. The false accusers are supernaturally dealt with. In the second story, God’s anointed (Jesus) is given over to these false ones and they crucify him, seeking the authority for themselves.
Do you think Jesus could have asked God to have the ground “swallow” them as Moses did? Why did Jesus keep silent? Why did the Son of God go meekly like a Lamb to the slaughter? I wonder if God was saying to Jesus (as He was saying to Moses): “Get away from all these people so I may destroy them.”? I wonder if that’s why Christ responded to God as He stood being accused, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.”?
Do you see the way the OT and NT often connect as if they were meant to be read together? It’s as if they have the same Author.
Blessings as you read God’s Word!