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|Posted on March 6, 2011 at 7:45 AM|
The Bible readings for March 6 are Numbers 34 – 26 and Mark 10:32 – 52. Today, we finish off our reading of the book of Numbers. It comes to an abrupt end, but right at the end we are reminded that “These are the commands and regulations that the LORD gave to the people of Israel through Moses while they camped on the plains of Moab besides the Jordan River, across from Jericho.” Although Moses was so close to the land of Canaan, he would not enter it. He had led the people of Israel this far, and Joshua would be the one to lead them into Canaan. One thing we do learn from the book of Numbers is that there was a succession plan. God had everything in control. God gave to Moses the boundaries of the land. Once more, notice the precise detail with which God organises everything. The people appointed to divide the land would be Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun and one leader from each of the tribes. God chose each of these men to fulfil His purposes. This is an important point to consider. Too often we elevate men and women to positions of leadership without waiting upon God for His guidance. God made sure the Levites were cared for. Cities of refuge were also set-up so anyone who accidentally killed a fellow human could run to for protection. Cold-blooded or intentional murder was punishable by death, but the cities of refuge were a safe haven for someone who accidentally causes another’s death. The cities of refuge represented God’s concern and provision for justice in a culture that did not always protect the innocent. God’s strict laws about murder and its consequences demonstrated His justice; murder was never taken lightly. But proof of guilt was required. In the meantime, suspects might need to stay in a city of refuge to protect themselves from the retaliation of the deceased’s family or tribe. This demonstrates the balance between God’s justice and mercy. While we are not to grow tolerant of sin and we are to seek justice, we can only be sure that justice is served when the truth about a matter is sought out. To finish the book of Numbers, we have information relating to women who inherit property. I like how the heads of the clan of Gilead saw a problem, and determined to find a solution. Rather than sit back and complain about how unfair a situation might be, why not determine to find a solution with Gods help. If things had been let go, I well imagine there might have been some bitterness amongst the tribes. However, because of the action taken by the heads of the clan of Gilead, this was averted. In Mark, Jesus is closing in on Jerusalem. Knowing His death was fast approaching, He reminds the disciples again of what to expect. Yet death is not the end – for Jesus says that after three days He will rise again. The disciples could understand talk of death, but rising again? Now that was a different kettle of fish. It must have been so hard for them to get their heads around Jesus rising from the dead three days after He died. Evidently James and John weren’t too upset by Jesus’ words. Here we find them chatting to Jesus, asking to sit in places of honour next to Him. It is interesting that the disciples become so self-centred after Jesus shares about His suffering, death and rising to life. Previously, they argued amongst themselves who was the greatest. Now, the Sons of Thunder try to have prominent positions in Jesus’ glorious Kingdom. No wonder the other ten disciples were indignant when they found out what James and John had been chatting to Jesus about. Jesus takes control of the situation, and talks about being a servant. Jesus came to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. Our ambition should not be to attain position or power but to serve one another. Finishing off Mark 10 is the story of Jesus healing blind Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus cried out to Jesus for mercy. While others tried to silence him, Bartimaeus became even louder. Eventually, Jesus heard him and called him over. Jesus knew his need, but He still asked the question, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus wanted to see. Immediately, Jesus healed him. Having been healed by Jesus, he was not going to let him go. Bartimaeus followed Jesus down the road, no doubt praising God for his sight.
Categories: Read Your Bible In A Year