Friday, March 31, 2017

March 31: Deuteronomy 16 – 17; Psalm 72; Proverbs 12:8-9; Luke 9:7-27



Overview                                                             

            Deuteronomy: Moses recounts the festivals that Israel must observe. The first is the Passover in the month of Abib. They must offer the sacrifice in the place the Lord determines within Israel. They must not do it anywhere else. The Feast of Weeks is also to be celebrated at the place the Lord chooses for his name to dwell. The Feast of Booths is also a joyful time of celebration for seven days at the place the Lord chooses. These three times a year all males must appear before the Lord and not come empty-handed but give as they are able.
            They are also to appoint judges and officers in the towns. They must not pervert justice.
            They are not to set up any Asherah pole beside the altar of the Lord. Nor shall they set up any other pillars that the Lord hates. They are not to sacrifice any blemished animals.
            If anyone worships anything other than the Lord, then the matter must be investigated. If there are two or more witnesses, the person is to be stoned. The witnesses are the first to cast the stones. This is to purge the evil from Israel.
            If any murder or other legal case is too difficult for the town’s judges, it must be taken to the priests and judge in office at the place the Lord chooses. They must follow the priest’s decision. If they don’t they are to be put to death.
            If they want a king over them then they will have a king that the Lord chooses. He must be a Hebrew and not a foreigner. He must not acquire many horses, wives (who will turn his heart from the Lord), or excessive wealth. He must write a copy of the Law and read from it every day of his life and keep the Law. If he does these things, he will not exalt himself above his brothers and will continue long in his kingdom.
            Psalm: Solomon asks the Lord to help him rule over Israel with justice and righteousness. He asks for Israel to fear the Lord (most translations) and be blessed as long as there is a sun and moon. He asks for dominion over all nations with kings serving the king. The king delivers and has pity on the needy. He asks for the king to live long and have tribute brought to him. He asks for the land to be bountiful with crops and people. He ask for his name to be remembered forever and people to be blessed in him. He blesses the Lord who does it all and asks for the earth to be filled with God’s glory.
            Proverbs: Good sense is always appreciated but no one likes a warped mind. It’s better to be poor with a enough than to pretend to be great but lack everything.
            Luke: Herod heard about Jesus and the miracles. He was perplexed because people were saying different things about who Jesus was. Herod wanted to see Jesus.
            After the twelve return from their preaching, Jesus takes them to Bethsaida. People followed him and he welcomed them, spoke about the kingdom of God, and healed them. When it became late, the disciples said they should send the people away to get something to eat and lodging. Jesus replied that the disciples should feed them. They balked because they only had five loaves and two fish. Jesus uses what they have to feed 5,000 and they had twelve baskets of leftovers.
            Jesus was praying alone while the disciples were with him. He asked who people thought he was. They answered the same as what perplexed Herod. They thought John the Baptist raised from the dead, Elijah appearing, or a prophet of old. He asked what the disciples thought. Peter said he is the Christ of God. He told them not to tell anyone. He must suffer, be rejected by the officials, killed, and raised on the third day.
            Jesus then explained the cost of discipleship, denying all, taking up their crosses daily, giving up their lives, and not being ashamed of Jesus. Jesus will not be ashamed of his disciples when he comes in the Father’s glory. He said some who were there would not die before they see the kingdom of God.
           

What Stood Out

            Deuteronomy: “He shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law” (Deut 17:19).
            Psalm: “May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun!” (Ps 72:17).
            Proverbs: “A man is commended according to his good sense, but one of twisted mind is despised” (Prov 12:8).
            Luke: “You give them something to eat” (Luke 9:13).

Insight

            Deuteronomy: The instructions for the king of Israel are the same instructions that each of us should follow. The first thing that the Lord commands is not to acquire many horses or cause people to return to Egypt to acquire horses. I don’t think the Lord was telling us that we shouldn’t have many literal horses. The key is going back to Egypt to acquire them. We are not to go that way again. This changes the picture because Egypt was their land of slavery. If we are to apply this, then we should not go back to our life of sin just so we can get the wealth or status symbols of our society. We shouldn’t go back that way for anything.
            The king was not to have many wives. The crazy thing about his one is that every king had more than one wife with the exception of Saul. Solomon was the worst offender and was supposed to be the wisest man. We should stick to the one husband, one wife rule.
            The king was not supposed to acquire excessive wealth for himself either. It appears that David dedicated much of his wealth to the Lord and it was used in building the temple. However, later kings used the wealth of the temple as if it were their own. Since the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil and leads us into many foolish and harmful desires (1 Tim 6:9-10), this application is timeless.
            The last is the most important. The king was to write a copy of the Law and read it every day. It wasn’t a paraphrase, but had to be verified as an exact copy by the priests. It had to be accurate and without errors. Undertaking this daily blog has helped me remember what I read every day because I’m summarizing it and writing about it. I’m seeing places where I need to improve and apply correction. If the kings had actually done this, I’m sure many would have turned out different.
            Psalm: Once past the first couple of verses, this Psalm changes from being about Solomon and becomes all about Jesus. While there are a few things in here that could be attributed to Solomon, the longevity of the king can only be attributed to the Messiah. He is the only one who redeems life and considers poor people’s blood precious. He is the only one to whom all nations and kings will bow. Jesus’ name will endure forever. If we haven’t figured that out by now, and we’re still alive, then we need to submit to him for our salvation as well as live our lives for him. If we do, we’ll see all this take place.
            Proverbs: I read a comic strip where an old man, Earl, tells his grandson that common sense is ordinary. He and his grandson have extraordinary sense, which is better. He then asks his grandson, “If we had common sense, do you think we’d be eating chocolate donuts on Gramma’s nice sofa?”[1]
            Well, that is common sense and the proverb says that good sense is commended. What the world often calls common sense may be twisted and the Lord despises that. Common sense changes as time marches forward and society does what it wants. The only way to have good sense is to read the Bible, fear the Lord, and know Jesus personally as Lord and Savior. Without those, even common sense can be twisted.
            Luke: Some of the people believed that Jesus was one of the prophet of old. It’s fairly easy to see why they might think this. Many miracles were performed at Elisha’s hand. He raised a boy from the dead (2 Kings 4:32-35), fed one hundred men from that was deemed insufficient and had leftovers (2 Kings 4:43-44), and healed Naaman of leprosy (2 Kings 5:14). The people incorrectly credited Moses with feeding all Israel with manna (John 6:32). Whatever the prophets of the Old Testament did, Jesus did more.
            The disciples had seen Jesus raise the dead, calm a storm, cast out demons, heal all kinds of illness. Yet when he tells them to give the people something to eat with next to nothing, they can only see what is in front of them. They can’t see what God can do.
            We read the Bible and know all about these miracles. We often come to Jesus and ask for healing and other requests. But I wonder how many times we miss God’s answers because we don’t see what we already have and how God can use it. Many people are able and act on what they have. They volunteer to help others teaching and leading groups. The work in all sorts of ways because they know God can use them. We’re not all that way. Sometimes we are like the disciples and question how God can use so little (us) to do what seems impossible. If we withhold our resources, and ourselves, then we miss out. If we give what we have, he will use it.

Application

            There are times when I need to stop using common sense and use good sense, sense that is biblical. Then it is possible to do much more than I can ask or imagine with God’s power working in me (Eph 3:20)


[1] Brian Crane, "Pickles by Brian Crane for Mar 29, 2017," GoComics, March 29, 2017, accessed March 30, 2017, http://www.gocomics.com/pickles/2017/03/29.

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