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Numbers 26:1-51 ~ Luke 2:36-52
Psalm 60:1-12 ~ Proverbs 11:15
Old Testament - Today in Numbers chapter 26 we read about Israel's second census, which was commanded by God. (We'll read later in the Bible a census conducted by David that was not commanded by God, which was a sin.) This 2nd census in numbers was taken approximately 38 years after the first census. The first census in Numbers chapters 1 & 2 was taken after Israel had left Egypt. This second census is being taken just before the conquest of the Promised Land. In verse 51 today we read - "So the total number of Israelite men counted in the census numbered 601,730." This total of the second census compares to 603,550 from the first census, so is very comparable. These second census numbers obviously reflect the 24,000 deaths we read about in chapter 25 - so this number would have been higher. To me, overall, to see the numbers so similar over 38 years in the wildnerness shows that God's hand of blessing was so clearly upon the Israelites. They were flourishing in the desert. Hopefully this is encouraging to us today. If we are in right relationship with God, I believe our lives will clearly flourish in whatever circumstances we might find ourselves in - even if we are in the desert.
New Testament - In Luke chapter 2 today we read about Jesus' wisdom at the young age of 12. How's this for a profound statement from Jesus to Mary & Joseph when they found him in the Temple in verse 49 - "But why did you need to search?" he asked. "You should have known that I would be in my Father's house." I like that! And I like that Jesus was paying such respect for the Temple as well - essentially calling it the house of God. I do believe this can be carried forward today to Jesus' love for his body, the church. I often think to myself, when I'm on my way to church, that "I'm going to the house of God." Do you believe that we can find Jesus today in his Father's house? Or are you searching elsewhere? I do believe of course Jesus can be found outside of church... but I also know that I oftentimes experience his presence so profoundly at church - and Communion in church clearly being one such a time & place where I cannot help but find Jesus in a profound way.
Here's Jesus in the Temple at Twelve, by Duccio -
Psalms - I like the imagery of Psalm 60 verse 4 a lot - "But you have raised a banner for those who honor you -- a rallying point in the face of attack." I do believe that if we honor God, he will in some profound way "raise up a banner" for us. A banner that will rally and encourage us in the face of attack - in the face of doubt or despair or sickness or just plain old fashioned attack from the Enemy - I believe God will give us a banner of hope. This banner could end up being one of a million different things I think, depending on the circumstances. For me, certainly a banner that rallies me each and every day is God's very Word, the Bible. I believe the Bible is indeed a banner that rallies us in the face of attack... What are some banners in your life that God is providing to rally you in the face of attack?
Proverbs chapter 11 verse 15 is saying one thing - which I get - but for some reason today, something else is being said to my heart. Here's the verse - "Guaranteeing a loan for a stranger is dangerous; it is better to refuse than to suffer later." It's that last half of this verse that is jumping out at me - and in a way unrelated to loan guarantees. :) Here's the tangent this verse brought to mind for me today. I am someone who does not do a very good job of "refusing" much of anything. I say yes to way too much and take on way too much. And part of me really enjoys this - I feel wanted, loved, invited, needed, busy, etc. But then.... I suffer later. I then feel overbooked, stretched thin, and just plain tired and grouchy. So, for me, the second half of this verse tonight is a good verse on boundaries - it's better to refuse than suffer later.... I like that.... I need that....
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!