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Numbers 6-7:89

In the dedication of oneself to the Lord as a Nazirite (note in the Hebrew text, the English translation in the Tanakh, Nazirite is not capitalized), if someone defiles you by dying in your presence, you are required to present a “sin” offering as well as a guilt offering. This shows us how insidious sin is even when we are not participating in sin ourselves. The sin that is committed around us by others brings guilt upon us. So sin is not an individual thing, like yeast it spreads to those around us just because it is sin.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). Every time the people gathered to hear what the Lord had spoken the people heard, 24 The Lord bless you and protect you; 25 the Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord look with favor on you and give you peace. God, because He made us, knows that it takes us hearing something over and over again before we believe it and this would “train” His people to understand His relationship with them. 27 In this way they will put My name on the Israelites, and I will bless them."

I was wondering why every tribe brought the exact same gift as they presented their gift to Moses after the Tabernacle was anointed and consecrated. But it makes perfect sense because God is not a respecter of persons so as long as everyone’s gift was the same, no one could claim a higher or lesser place in God’s sight based on what they gave.
Which leads into today’s Gospel reading.
Mark 12:38-13:13

Folks not only jockey for power and position by the number of alphabets they have behind their names (degrees), but in a great many churches, including mine, people parade their counterfeit-power by the colorfulness and the high-powered labels on their clothes. This is a very easy trap to fall into and Jesus address his disciples and those he taught to watch out for these trappings from people who behind close doors or out of the light of day manipulate people to gather up money and property that don’t belong to them and cover it up by pretending to be holy.

One of the things I find interesting about the widow that Jesus observed, it doesn’t say that Jesus ran or called after her so he could give her back her money. Jesus knew that there is a blessing in giving and He would have deprived her of that blessing if he had told her a) not to give, or b) given her money back to her. We need to encourage those who think they are poor because they lack monetary wealth to give to God because no one can out give God and it is in our giving that we receive.

Jesus foretelling of the end times is both a blessing and a stumbling block to people. There are those who know that the injustices they see will not last forever and they will be given an opportunity to proclaim Jesus’ name to the nations or ethnos. This will user in opportunities to spread the Good News or Gospel, which is our primary purpose however uncomfortable the situation may be. Then there are those who sit around talking amongst themselves trying to figure out how long or short His return will be based on how they read the political and environmental climate. The problem with that is there is so much time being spent doing this they are not following the command of Jesus, which is to “occupy until I return.” Talents are being buried and are not being put to good use because we are talking about the wrong things.

We use fear to try to get people into the Kingdom when they are suppose to come by faith (Hebrews 11:6)

Psalm 49:

This is a Psalm that tells it like it is. It seems to be something one would find in the Book of Proverbs, but here it sits in Psalms. If ever anyone needs to be reminded of the fragility of wealth, the frailty of intimidation and brute force, and the foolishness of human knowledge, one only need to turn to the Forty-ninth Psalm to get the straight deal.

And as we go into the reading of today’s Proverb we see that our love affair with the human trappings of man’s power, wealth, might and human knowledge comes with defense.

Proverbs 10:27-28

27 Fear of the LORD lengthens one's life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.
28 The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked are all in vain.

I think where we go wrong in this affair when we think that life is confined to breathing and walking on this planet earth in our earth suits. We forget that we are spiritual beings trying to master the human experience. Our longevity is not in question, what is in question is at what location we are going to spend the rest of our spiritual lives: Like real estate its, location, location, location.

Grace and peace,

I think this statement "Folks not only jockey for power and position by the number of alphabets they have behind their names (degrees)" is unkind in that it is made with a sweeping brush. We should not judge based on others' degrees, the cars they drive, or the clothing they wear - only by their heart and only God knows that.

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