Many of us individually and all of us as a society are wealthy in comparison to the rest of the world. We, for the most part, have everything we need and many of the things we want. It is important that we do not begin to rely on these things as our hope our or salvation. Today’s Proverb warns us against this and shows us a better alternative.
- 1 – Listening and knowing what God calls us to do is good, but the doing is where faithfulness really comes in.
- 9 – The people of ancient Israel passed down information by telling stories. God’s faithfulness was remembered through an oral tradition.
- 25-29 – God knows that we will stray at times and he promises that when we discover the error of our ways and turn back and seek him that he will be there ready for us.
- 32-40 – Moses reminds the Israelites that there are no other gods like our God and that he has proven himself and his faithfulness to them in a variety of ways.
- 39-40 – We cannot lead others in things that we don’t know. We have to have faith in order to lead others to faith.
- 41-42 – It is far easier for us to recognize and address other people’s flaws than to admit and deal with our own.
- 45 – We cannot expect to do good work for the Lord when our norm is to fill our hearts with filth.
- 46-49 – Hearing God’s word and putting it into action prepares us for the difficult times.
- 1-10 – A couple of significant things about this passage: 1) The centurion is a Roman official and yet has faith that even amazes Jesus. 2) This is one of the few stories where Jewish religious authorities are painted in a positive light.
- 7-10 – So much of the Bible refers back to itself. This passage refers back to God’s provision for the Israelites in the desert. We too should seek comfort and build our faith on the goodness of God to people throughout history.
- Because we have so much, it is so easy for us to rely on our own wealth and abilities to take care of ourselves. This Proverb warns that this strategy will ultimately fail.
The law that Moses gave the Israelites was very just. If you sinned, you paid for it. If you sinned against someone, you had to give them back an equal amount. In our Luke reading today, Jesus introduces different ways to extend grace. Grace is like the greatest buy one get one free sale ever! You get far more than you deserve. If someone steals your cow, instead of asking for it back, give them another. It was revolutionary then and it still is today.
- Note that God had given specific land to people other than the Israelites, namely Lot and Esau. Esau was from the same family as the Israelites, but wasn’t included in the Promised Land because he gave up his birth right as a young man.
- As the Israelites were faithful in trusting God and respecting the borders he gave them, he was faithful in giving them what he promised.
- 13-16 – The full list of disciples. Most often they are listed with only a few of them together.
- 20-26 – Matthew’s account of the beatitudes only includes blessings while Luke’s records blessings and woes.
- 27-31 – God’s law given to Moses for the Israelites was based on justice. If you kill your neighbors cow, you give him one that’s just as good. But Jesus introduces opportunities to offer grace and to give people better than what they deserve.
- Much of Jesus’ teaching was countercultural.
- The Psalmist asks that God be gracious to him so that he can then make God more known. This should be the purpose for the blessings we request.
- If you look for trouble, you’ll find it.
We have been tainted by a very small group of people who take advantage of peoples’ faith, asking them to give money in order to prove their faith. These faithful folks are promised more financial blessings if they go ahead and give from what they have. Though today’s Proverb may sound like it’s saying the same thing, our blessings can come in a variety of forms and many blessings we receive are far more valuable than money.
Numbers 36:1/Deuteronomy 1:46:
- The Book of Numbers was about counting the tribes, establishing rules to live and function by, and getting the Israelites to the Promised Land.
- 9-18 – Until now, Moses was the Israelites leader, judge, and connection to God. In this statement he spreads the power amongst leaders and judges of the individual tribes.
- 30-31 – It’s helpful to look back at God’s faithfulness in our past so we can be assured that he will continue to be faithful.
- 39 – God kept his promise to give the Promised Land to the Israelites. He did not give it to the older generation because they were unfaithful, but saved it for the younger generation.
- 29 – Tax collectors were some of the most despised people in this society. They were known for charging way too much for taxes and gaining wealth at the expense of others.
- 29-32 – This is true of us today as well. Jesus wants people who are willing to admit their failures and recognize their need for a Savior. He grants the wishes of those who believe they can handle things on their own and don’t need help.
- 36-39 – Jesus’ new ideas and ways of practicing faith did not fit into the Pharisees’ older ways of thinking. Old practices were cherished and had value in that society, so bringing in a new way of acting/thinking was threatening.
- 1-5 – Jesus uses David as an example because he was such a well-respected figure.
- 1-11 – Jesus’ point was not to dishonor the Sabbath. He realized God’s desire for us to rest on the Sabbath was for our good. If some action was necessary for someone’s wellbeing, that trumped the need to rest.
- It is important to celebrate the good things God has done in order to share his goodness and faithfulness with others.
- This should not be mistaken for “the prosperity gospel” that God wants to make all the faithful people rich. Vs. 24 might sound like this, but often we go richer and things far more important than money when we choose to trust God with our finances.
As if you didn’t already know that One Direction had a fragrance…
To be honest, I thought the bottle said “One Moment” instead of “Our Moment”. “One moment” makes me think of today’s Luke reading where the soon-t0-be disciples encounter Jesus one time. They have one experience with him and he tells them to follow him and they do. How many times did I have to hear about Jesus before I decided to follow him? But also, it makes me want to share Jesus with people as often as possible, because maybe they’ll just need one moment to get it.
- Moses sniffs out the fear of the leaders of the tribes of Reuben and Gad. They do not want to go to war to inherit the land God has promised to them. Eventually they come to a compromise where they will still fight, but leave their children and livestock behind.
- 3-4 – This is referring back to the original death of all the firstborns in Exodus. This is not a new series of first borns who die.
- 33-34 – Though most people did not recognize Jesus’ identity, spirits, both clean (the Holy Spirit inside of Elizabeth) and unclean, seemed to recognize him.
- 43 – Many people believe that Jesus’ sole purpose on earth was his death. Verses like this refute that and prove that Jesus’ life and ministry also held great importance.
- 10-11 – One encounter with Jesus caused these men to leave their regular life to follow Jesus.
- Jewish people consider pigs to be unclean. Wasting gold on an unclean animal is like wasting the beauty and goodness of a woman on someone who will throw themselves around as if they weren’t created in the image of God.
Families are a funny thing. In today’s Luke reading we find a different lineage for Jesus. Don’t worry though! This is Mary’s lineage even though it ends with Joseph. It was common for people to call themselves the “father” of a son-in-law. Now, go on and go take a family picture you’ll regret in 5-10 years.
- Most of us tend to read through the explanations of offerings simply to get through that section. Today, try reading it as if you were an Israelite who actually needed to know the details in order to follow God’s law.
- Burnt offerings are often followed with a description that it has a “pleasing aroma to the Lord.” Since we no longer offer burnt offerings, what do you think we offer that presents God with a pleasing aroma?
- Considering the quantities of the feast that starts in vs. 12, the Israelites must have had massive herds.
- Note that in Matthew we already read a lineage for Joseph and it was different than this list. Most theologians believe that this is actually Mary’s lineage since most of the birth narrative and beginning of the book focus on her.
- Interesting that David, multiple times, says my soul waits for “God alone”. Too often, when under pressure, we’re not willing to wait for God but put our trust in anything and everything else.
- Note that it may not be much comfort to us that good wins out in this verse. Though the wicked’s wages are deceptive, they still earn wages.
Sheep and shepherds are a big deal in Scripture. Like in other passages, today’s Numbers reading refers to the Israelites as “sheep without a shepherd.” Sheep without a shepherd are pretty hopeless. They can’t protect themselves or take care of themselves. The shepherd is crucial. When we get to John, Jesus refers to himself as “the good shepherd.” I wonder if there’s any correlation?
- 1-11 – All inheritance was passed down through male offspring until this story. This was probably shocking to the Israelites because women were seen as property, not landowners.
- 17 – In Matthew, Jesus looks at the people of Israel and has compassion on them describing them then too as “sheep without a shepherd.”
- Joshua becomes Moses successor. He also becomes the first official judge of Israel.
- John the Baptist was a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy that there would be one to prepare the way for the Lord.
- 7-9 – John is speaking to Jews who relied on their heritage as their means to righteousness and connection with God. John is explaining that their lives should reflect repentance and living for God.
- 10-14 – John’s teaching sounds a lot like things Jesus would say. He is teaching how to be honorable, generous, and humble.
- 22 – God’s confirmation of Christ’s identity.
- Beautiful imagery of God’s protection. David describes him as a “rock higher than I”, “refuge”, “strong tower”, “shelter of your wings”.
- This verse is problematic in that the Proverbs usually teach that unrighteous behavior leads to our downfall, but here it follows that suit except when speaking of violent men.
We all had an awkward adolescence…even George Clooney. Yikes! In today’s reading, we find the only story in the Bible about Jesus’ adolescence. Don’t get too nervous about the ending. No surprise, he finds himself in church.
- The Israelites were meticulous with their record keeping.
- 41-45 – The pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover would have been a journey of several days and whole extended families and friends would travel together. It is not unusual that Mary and Joseph would assume that Jesus was somewhere in the group. But can you imagine the panic they must have felt when they thought they had lost the Son of God?
- 51 – This verse is placed here to assure the reader/hearer that Jesus wasn’t unkind or disrespectful of his parents. He was simply engaged in his long-term call.
- This passage is the only canonical recording of Jesus’ childhood or adolescence.
- This is warning not to make promises you can’t keep and specifically not to promise something that someone else is intended to keep because you can never guarantee it.
Today’s Proverb reminds us that flapping our gums is hurtful and unwise. It is too easy to break trust, tell secrets, and speak ill of others for our own gain. Unfortunately, these things have been problems for humanity for centuries, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to stop these tempting habits.
- 22 – It is confusing why God gets angry about Balaam going with the princes of Balak because God gave him permission. God’s permission, however, was to only do what God told him to do. Balaam may have acted in a way at some point that was not pleasing to God.
- 23-35 – Did you know this was in the Bible? Yep, a talking donkey. God truly can do all things! Note that God gave special sight to the donkey to see the angel and protect Balaam.
- Balak continues to push Balaam to bend to his will instead of God’s. Balaam’s response is continually, “All that the Lord says, that I must do.”
- 68-79 – Zechariah’s song serves as both a praise song to God and a blessing for John.
- It seems that we still have the same problems that ancient Jews did. They struggled with slander and trustworthiness and we do as well. The Proverbs are helpful for us even today.
A lot of times we get caught up in how many times the people in the Bible screw up. We’re appalled! How can these people not GET IT! Today, in Numbers, we get to read about a handful of people who make faithful decisions. Pay attention to Eldad, Medad, Joshua, and Caleb today. Let them give you a little hope that faithfulness is possible.
- 26-30 – Eldad and Medad are examples of God using ordinary people who haven’t necessarily gone through all the expected requirements to be holy people.
- 12 – Clearly Miriam and Aaron, Moses’ siblings, were in the wrong for speaking against Moses, God’s chosen servant. It does seem odd, though, that only Miriam was punished.
- 25-33 – Of all the spies, only Joshua and Caleb believed they could overcome the inhabitants of their promised land. The others did not trust that God would give them what he promised because it looked impossible to them.
- 36 – A great example of how we should pray. We present all our requests to God, but always have an attitude of submitting to His will.
- 38 – Jesus’ words, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” is true of us in a number of temptations we face. We intend to do God’s will and honor him, but often our ability to withstand it is too weak.
- 51-52 – The mention of this young man is found nowhere else in the Bible and has very little explanation.
- Those who seek salvation and/or security in anything but God will falter.
- God cares about the way we conduct business. He cares about the morals and ethics we show to the world.
There are a lot of times when closing your mouth is beneficial…particularly while sleeping on a plane. Proverbs makes it clear over and over again that we are supposed to limit our words, think before we speak, and listen without trying to insert our opinions as quickly as possible. Who knew this was more than just a life skill? It’s an act of wisdom.
- 19-25 – If people offered animals with blemishes it was to keep the best ones in their herds and flocks. This meant they were not offering their best to God.
- 32 – “Afflict yourselves,” means for them to fast.
- Many of the offerings happened at the appointed times of the festivals.
- 38-41 – Jesus makes similar comments multiple times regarding people who didn’t officially follow him. As long as they were serving others and not preaching a false message, Jesus felt like they were on the same team.
- 42-48 – Whatever it is that causes us to stumble, we should remove.
- 6-8 – We tend to try to trust in our own abilities and accomplishments, but it is God who should receive the glory for saving and empowering us.
- We should all seek to be listeners first.