Numbers 10:1-11:23 + Mark 14:1-21 + Psalm 51:1-19 + Proverbs 10:31-32
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Old Testament - Today we begin to read about the Israelites discontent with God’s provision and care in Numbers chapter 11, and this discontent & disobedience we will read about through chapter 25. As we read through these chapters, I do think we would do well to not point fingers at the Israelites and say that we would have behaved differently back then. I’m not so sure that I would have. . . I think these chapters will very likely speak into our lives today and we might find that we are often not so different from the Israelites. In Numbers chapter 11 verse 1 today we read: “Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused.” How does this verse speak to you today? I don’t know about you, but for me this verse is convicting. Simply because I know that I often complain more to God than I actually thank God for the blessings he has poured out into my life. It really is incredible to stop and think about how good God is to us. In fact, one of our One Year Bible participants in the past had a blog called “God is Good All the Time.” And this is so true. And yet, what is our percentage of thanksgiving to God versus our complaining to God? I’m afraid my percentage is way skewed toward complaining or worrying (worrying is really similar to complaining I think). I pray that as I go forward in my walk with God that I will do a lot more thanking and a lot less complaining & worrying. It is an amazing thing – this gift of life. Even in the midst of all of our daily challenges and storms, let us know that God is the anchor and harbor in our life. And he continues to pour out blessings upon blessings upon our life – oftentimes without us consciously being aware of the blessings. And oftentimes without us thanking God for the blessings. How about you? How is your thanksgiving of God’s blessings in your life going these days?
New Testament - In Mark chapter 14 today we read the beautiful story of Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who anoints Jesus, and as he tells us in verse 8 - "She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time."" A new insight I learned on this today is from Zondervan's commentary - In Jesus' day it was a normal Jewish custom to anoint a dead body with aromatic oils in preparing for burial. Jesus seems to be anticipating suffering a "criminal's" death, for only in that circumstance was there no anointing of the dead body.
Psalms - Today we read one of my favorite Psalms! Psalm 51. Psalm 51 is David’s humble prayer for forgiveness and cleansing after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed in battle. I believe that this Psalm can continue to be a humble prayer for forgiveness and cleansing for each of us today. This Psalm is read by many liturgical churches during the season of Lent as a penitential Psalm. A brief quote about Psalm 51 from this Bible.org is this – “The application of the psalm to believers today should be obvious. We, like David, can and must have complete cleansing before we can fully and freely serve God in any capacity. Our eternal destiny may not be in doubt when we sin as believers, and neither was David’s because he appealed to that covenant relationship, but our fellowship and service will be. God will not tolerate unconfessed sin, and so will hold us accountable if we do not confess.” I’ve been trying to figure out my favorite portion or two of this Psalm to share with you. . . but I can’t just pick one portion. It is all so powerful! Tell you what – I’m going to copy the full Psalm below in the NIV translation (my favorite for this Psalm). Please take a few moments to meditate upon this Psalm. My questions for reflection are these – Do you confess your sins to God? Do you confess your sins to others? And ask them to hold you accountable? When was the last time you confessed your sins to God? Do you have sins to confess to God today? Will you do so now? I pray this Psalm opens up your heart to the amazing burden that is lifted when we confess our sins to God. . .
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts;
you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.
Save me from bloodguilt, O God,
the God who saves me,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.
In your good pleasure make Zion prosper;
build up the walls of Jerusalem.
Then there will be righteous sacrifices,
whole burnt offerings to delight you;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
Proverbs - Proverbs chapter 10 verses 31 & 32 are great reminders of how very important the words that come out of our mouths are! They reflect the condition of our hearts... What are the types of words that are coming out of your mouth these days? Are they helpful to others? Do they give wise advice?
Worship Video: Psalm 51 reminded me of the fantastic song "Create in me a Clean Heart" performed here by Donnie McClurkin and a choir:
Do you want a clean heart? Click here to be made clean!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray for a pure heart. Pray that God will purify your heart. Pray for renewal of a steadfast spirit within.
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: How does Psalm 51 speak to you? Can you imagine yourself praying any of these lines to God? Have you ever prayed Psalm 51 to God? Or have you prayed other Psalms to God? Do you confess your sins to God? Do you confess your sins to others? And ask them to hold you accountable? 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.
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