~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Numbers 33:40-35:34 ~ Luke 5:12-28
Psalm 65:1-13 ~ Proverbs 11:23
Old Testament - Today in Numbers chapter 33 we read about the other nations in Canaan. In chapter 34 we read about the boundaries of the Promised Land. Below is a map of how the tribes will divide Canaan - which we will read about later in the Bible in more detail:
In chapter 35 verses 10-12 we read about the Cities of Refuge - "`When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, designate cities of refuge for people to flee to if they have killed someone accidentally. These cities will be places of protection from a dead person's relatives who want to avenge the death. The slayer must not be killed before being tried by the community." Reading about the Cities of Refuge reminds me of our current day laws of "innocent until proven guilty." It seems like the Cities of Refuge idea still lives on in our justice system today in some regards.
New Testament - In Luke chapter 5 we read one of my favorite healings' of Jesus - where he heals the paralyzed man on the mat - in very large part because of the paralyzed man's friends who carry him to Jesus! I love that his friends did this. I pray if I was paralyzed I would have friends like these! Check out verses 18 through 20 - "Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to push through the crowd to Jesus, but they couldn't reach him. So they went up to the roof, took off some tiles, and lowered the sick man down into the crowd, still on his mat, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, "Son, your sins are forgiven."" I am fascinated by this - "seeing their faith" - I don't know if this is a quirk of the New Living Translation or if indeed Jesus literally saw the faith of the paralyzed man's friends. My hunch is that he did. And this makes me realize that sometimes when our faith is at a low point, maybe our friends can help carry us along and bring us closer to Jesus. And maybe we should act like these friends for someone in our life who is "paralyzed" by something.... Is there someone in your life that you can help "carry the mat for" and in doing so bring them closer to Jesus? Wow. I pray I have friends like this - and I pray I can be a friend like this to others...
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Luke chapter 5 titled "Stretcher Carriers and Sermon Critics" is at this link.
Psalms - Psalm 65 has some amazing verses about nature! I love verse 8 - "Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy." When is the last time you have been inspired to shout for joy to God for the beautiful sunset he created?
Verse 7 of the Psalm says this - "You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations." When is the last time you have stood in complete silence before God because of his beautiful Creation?
Proverbs - Today's Proverb 11:23 teaches us: "The desire of the righteous ends only in good, but the hope of the wicked only in wrath." This is a great teaching that leading a godly life will lead to happiness. And leading a wicked life.... brings wrath. This is sobering to really ponder. It's a choice each one of us must make. What type of life will we lead? And where will that life choice ultimately lead us. I pray each of us are on the Path of Life toward and with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It's the only path that leads to eternal happiness.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: Based on our readings in Luke today, have you ever had someone "carry you on a mat" when you were in a time of need? Have you ever had friends that demonstrated great faith in you? Conversely, have you ever carried friends on their mat when they were in need? Do you think we are called to carry each others burdens? Why or why not? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!