Friday, March 10, 2017

March 10: Numbers 14 – 15:16; Psalm 53; Proverbs 11:4; Mark 14:53-72



Overview

            Numbers: The ten spies gave a bad report about the land so that all the people grumbled against Moses and Aaron. They thought it would be better to have stayed in Egypt. They feared for themselves and their children. They wanted to select a new leader to take them back to Egypt.
            Moses and Aaron fell face to the ground before Israel while Joshua and Caleb tried to persuade the people to trust the Lord because he would protect them while the protection of the inhabitants had been removed. But the people wanted to stone Moses and Aaron.
            God said he would kill everyone and make a new nation from Moses. But Moses interceded for the people. He said that killing everyone would give God a bad name because he couldn’t keep his promise to Israel. He asked for their pardon because the Lord is loving and forgiving even though he doesn’t clear the guilty.
            The Lord pardoned the people but the consequence of their sin is to stay in the desert one year for each of the forty days they spied out the land. Everyone who saw his glory, twenty years old and above, would die in the desert over the next forty years. Only Caleb and Joshua would be spared. Then a plague killed the ten men who brought back a bad report.
            The people then decided they would obey the Lord and went to fight to the Amalekites and Canaanites. But the Lord had already pronounced judgment so Moses and the Ark stayed in the camp. The people who went out to fight were badly beaten.
            The Lord then repeated the commands on how to bring food, burnt, and peace offerings. They are to bring the offerings with the correct amount of flour and wine. Everyone, whether an Israelite or foreigner, who wants to provide an offering must do it in the prescribed manner.
            Psalm: Fools don’t believe God exists. As a result, they cannot do good. God looks down on them and can’t find anything good in them. They try to destroy God’s people. But they all live in terror as he rejects them. But God’s people rejoice in his salvation.
            Proverbs: Riches don’t save, only righteousness.
            Mark: Jesus is taken to the high priest, chief priests, elders, and scribes, the Sanhedrin. They bring false witnesses but they don’t get anywhere accusing Jesus. Finally, the high priest asks him if he is the Christ. Jesus says he is and that they will all see him seated at the right hand of God and coming on the clouds of heaven. They label that blasphemy, deserving of death and begin to abuse him.
            While waiting around during Jesus’ trial, Peter is accused three times of being associated with Jesus. A rooster crows after his first and third denial; the last denial was with oaths. Peter then goes out and weeps.

What Stood Out

            Numbers: “Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (Num 14:3).
            Psalm: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Ps 53:1).
            Proverbs: “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath” (Prov 11:4).
            Mark: “Now the chief priests and the whole Council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death” (Mark 14:55).

Insight

            Numbers: The people grumbled against Moses and Aaron, but their real problem was not trusting the Lord. Not only did they not trust him, but they blamed him implying that he only brought them out of Egypt to kill them (Num 14:3). If that were not enough, they willingly and decisively wanted to go back to their old life in Egypt. Their desire to go back to their old life was always their resolution to their difficulties every time they grumbled. It was a testimony to the fact that seeing all the glory of God and his miracles had not changed their hearts. Caleb and Joshua were the two exceptions. They exhibited their trust in the Lord and were willing to go into the land as God had promised.
            This is a picture of the unregenerate heart of sinful man. They are willing to go with the flow as long as things are going well. When difficulties arise because of their false profession of faith in Jesus Christ, they quickly go back to their old lifestyle of sin. The book of Hebrews was written to Christians who were being tempted to do exactly the same thing. Jesus spoke of the same problem when he told the parable of the sower and the seed. These people are the ones who hear with joy but when troubles come, they fall away (Matt 13:20).
            There is only one solution to the problem and that is a genuine trust in the Lord. It doesn’t mean trouble won’t come, it means that when trouble comes, we persevere. He doesn’t always remove the problems. God has given us everything we need to overcome through the problems. We must remember that comfort in this life is not our goal. See 2 Peter 1:3-11.
            Psalm: On April 1st we will be celebrating the national holiday for atheists. God says that they are fools. While this may seem harsh or callous, we must remember that this is God’s assessment. What makes it so foolish to believe God doesn’t exist? The first thing is creation. Paul says that God’s existence, his eternal power, and divine nature can be clearly seen in creation; deniers are without excuse (Rom 1:20). Certainly, evolutionist work hard to explain why creation just happened by itself, but not a single one can explain life or make inanimate goo produce life.
            Indeed, those who hold such beliefs are trying to “eat up” God’s people (Ps 53:4). They may not think so and may be very nice, moral, people. But the very fact that they teach and support their religion of atheism means they are working diligently to keep people from coming to Jesus Christ for salvation. They have even come to the point that they have peace with their concept of oblivion after death. They will be surprised when they find terror on every side after they die (Ps 53:5). We need to do what we can to tell them the truth. Maybe a shocking statement about what God thinks of them will help.
            Proverbs: Godliness with contentment about what we have rather than seeking riches is far better than simply trying to get rich. Riches are temporary but having a godly life because of salvation through Jesus is eternal. See 1 Timothy 6:6-11.
            Mark: Jesus’ trial was an example of everything wrong in a sinful world. The people who knew better, the religious leaders, had already made up their minds that they were going to break one of the Ten Commandments. They wanted to murder Jesus. Their desire to kill him was breaking the Commandment about coveting because they wanted the power and prestige of the ruling class. They believed Jesus threatened that. They brought false witnesses against Jesus and that broke another Commandment.
            When Jesus admitted to being the Messiah, they accused him of blasphemy. But blasphemy is profaning or showing disrespect for God. Claiming to be the Messiah was not blasphemy, it was telling the truth. Jesus had enough miracles and the testimony of the Father and the Spirit to prove that what he said was true. If Jesus had uttered something false about God, then he would have been guilty.
            It reminds me that when I sin, it is not usually one sin alone. If I lie about something, it is usually to cover up something else that is also a sin. If I exhibit a bad attitude toward someone, it is usually accompanied by thinking I’m better, which is nothing but pride. When I’m angry it is because I don’t get what I want or have ungodly expectations of other. That’s why I need a Savior. Thankfully, I do have a Savior who has taken all my sins and yours on himself and given us his righteousness so that we have eternal life when we trust in him.

Application

            I need to be better at examining myself when it comes to those sins that are buried below the surface sins. Those are called the root sins or idols of the heart. So, Lord, search me and reveal them to me.

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