Numbers 15:17-16:40 ~ Mark 15:1-47 ~ Psalm 54:1-7 ~ Proverbs 11:5-6
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Old Testament - Today in Numbers chapter 15 we read about unintentional and intentional sins. Verse 30 stood out to me - "But those who brazenly violate the LORD's will, whether native Israelites or foreigners, blaspheme the LORD." I have thought about this in my life in the past... and thought about that old phrase, "ignorance is bliss." While this phrase may seem true at first glance - ignorance is bliss - it's obviously not "True" at all. It is so much better to know godly Truth, than to be ignorant. However... once we know godly Truth, what if we then consciously go against that Truth? What if we "brazenly violate God's will"? This verse today reminded me that once we know Truth - and as we continue to grow in our knowledge of Truth and the Bible - we really should be much more intentional in how we live. We know what godly living looks like. We should not go back to our old ways of thinking or our old habits. We know better. And we most certainly should not think that "ignorance is bliss." It isn't.
"Trial By Fire" - ever hear this term? I think this term may have gotten its genesis here in Numbers chapter 16. Korah's rebellion caused Moses to explain how this true trial by fire would go down in verses 4 through 7 - "Tomorrow morning the LORD will show us who belongs to him and who is holy. The LORD will allow those who are chosen to enter his holy presence. You, Korah, and all your followers must do this: Take incense burners, and burn incense in them tomorrow before the LORD. Then we will see whom the LORD chooses as his holy one." A trial by fire indeed occurs subsequently in this chapter. Here's how Boticelli depicts this scene of scripture in the Sistine Chapel in Rome (note that Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine - whereas other artists painted the walls - I just learned this just now!):
Verses 12 & 13 stood out as completely strange, as these 2 men had somehow now thought that instead of being a prison, Egypt was now in their minds a paradise?.... "Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, but they replied, "We refuse to come! Isn't it enough that you brought us out of Egypt, a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us here in this wilderness, and that you now treat us like your subjects?" I wonder if we do this in our lives? Think that things that used to be so bad for us are now somehow good? I know I've done this. I've left situations or relationships or bad habits - knowing they were simply bad for me - and then later down the road I've sometimes thought to myself, "ahh... I miss xyz or doing xyz... I should go back to that." And I do. And I regret it all over once again. There is a somewhat obscure R.E.M. song that goes "Don't go back to Rockville - and waste another year." I think of this song on occasion when I am tempted to go back to something I know I shouldn't go back to - I sing to myself, "don't go back to Rockville." Perhaps Dathan and Abiram should have been singing to themselves - "don't go back to Egypt - and waste another year..." What about you? Is there an Egypt / Rockville or two in your life that you've left behind? Are you ever tempted to go back? Do you sometimes even think you might have been wrong about how bad things were back then.... that it might have really been a land flowing with milk and honey even! Well, I know we'll all have our moments of going backwards.... but I pray we see the True land of milk and honey in front of us that is only available through a relationship with Jesus and the Father - and that we won't go back to our "Egypts"...
New Testament - It is interesting in the One Year Bible how we go through the 4 Gospels one after another in the beginning portion of the year. In some ways it may seem repetitive - but I think repetitive is good when we're talking about the story of Jesus... we really cannot hear and meditate upon this story enough. Also, what I like is the nuances of each Gospel - or maybe things that are indeed in a few of the Gospels that somehow just stand out to me in some new way in one of the Gospels. Today is one of those days where something jumped out at me that I have not really noticed before - and that is Pilate in verses 9 & 10 - ""Should I give you the King of the Jews?" Pilate asked. (For he realized by now that the leading priests had arrested Jesus out of envy.)" It's interesting that Pilate used the term King of the Jews here - and again later in the narrative - and that he also had this term nailed to the cross. And the question I have is this - did Pilate do this simply to try and irritate the leading priests? I think this is probably the case. But, I'm looking forward to some further study on this.
Bible.org's commentary on Mark chapter 15 titled "A Follower's Substitute" is at this link.
Psalms - I like Psalm 54 verse 4 a lot - "But God is my helper. The Lord is the one who keeps me alive!" Is this true in your life? Is God the one who keeps you alive? Or are you trying to lean on other things as your source of life? I believe it is such a blessing to surrender more and more to God until we get to the point where truly this true for us - God is the one - and only - who keeps us alive. I am not saying I am there yet - but I'm trying to get there. I'm trying to surrender more and more each day to Jesus and the Father - all that I am - all that I am living for. I pray that in your life and in mine God will be the one who keeps us alive!
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 11 verse 5 stands out as a powerful reminder to not even tell white lies! "The godly are directed by their honesty."
Worship God: Per my reflections in Numbers above, and somewhat related to that old R.E.M. song, here is Building 429's great song "End of Me:"
Have you reached the end of you? Click here for the beginning of eternity!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "Are you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate. "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied." Mark 15:2 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that Jesus is your King today and forevermore. Pray that you will always submit to your King, Jesus.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: Based on our Proverb today, how about you? Are you directed by honesty? Do you place honestly as a major guiding principle in your life? Do you ever catch yourself telling white lies? Do you confess these to God and to others? Do you think we should we confess white lies? 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!
Love, Trust and Obey Jesus,