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.
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 Video: Our readings today about the crucifixion of Jesus reminds me of the song "Jesus Paid It All" sung here by Celtic Worship (with bagpipes!):
Do you believe that Jesus Paid It All for you? Click here and Believe!
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,
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our One Year Bible readings at this link.
p.s. #2 - Download a schedule of our One Year Bible readings for the year in PDF format at this link.
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Numbers 15:37-40 The LORD said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. 39 You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. 40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. 41 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God.
These blue tassels that hung from the bottom of the Israelites garments made me curious enough to search through several commentaries to find why they wore them. The tassels sewn on the bottom of the Israelites garments were intended to remind the wandering Israelites to think about what heaven will be like. The Bible refers to blue as the color of heaven. Thinking about what heaven will be like keeps us on track with eternal thoughts instead of the temporal thoughts; it keeps us focused on the big picture rather than worldly temporary distractions. It also makes difficult times here and now bearable by knowing that this broken world we live in is only a temporary stop on our way to heaven, where everything is in perfect working order and will stay that way through all eternity.
The wandering Israelites had come out of Egypt which symbolically represents the ways of the world and had wandered in search of the promise land which represents heaven like the Garden of Eden represents heaven (but of course isn’t). Egypt in a sense took care of all the needs of the Israelites without them having to depend on God, Egypt provided shelter, food and protection but also put them in bondage as slaves. Those blue tassels were to remind them that even though it seems harder to depend on God for all our provisions, we are free and no longer in bondage to the injustices of this world.
When the Israelites lost sight of what those blue tassels represented they went off course becoming dissatisfied, depressed and without hope. This is what happens when we lose sight of heaven. The key to a fruitful meaningful life on earth is to live for heaven.
Posted by: Steve | March 10, 2023 at 08:45 PM