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|Posted on March 3, 2011 at 6:06 AM|
The Bible readings for March 3 are Numbers 26 – 28 and Mark 9:1 – 29. In Numbers, we begin with the second census of all the men of Israel who are twenty years old or older, to find out how many of each family are of military age. This census took place after the plague had ended. The numbers had dropped since the first census was taken. The Israelites are gathered across the Jordan River from Jericho. The time was fast approaching when the Israelites would inherit the land God had promised to give them. With the exception of Joshua and Caleb, all others from that first census would die in the wilderness. Now Moses is concerned as to who would lead the Israelites following his death. God gave Moses the opportunity to climb the mountains and look out over the land He would give the people of Israel. Moses knew God would keep His promise, and though He would not set foot in this land, He knew the people of Israel would. God called Joshua to lead the people, and Moses did as God commanded. He presented Joshua to Eleazar the priest and the whole community. Laying hands on him, Moses commissioned Joshua to his responsibilities. It is very clear that Joshua is the new leader and it means there would be a seamless transition. There would be no need of a vote or fight over who would be the leader. As the time drew near for the Israelites to settle in their new land, Moses stressed the need for constant devotion to God through the various sacrifices and festivals. In chapter 28, these included the daily offerings, Sabbath offerings, monthly offerings, offerings for the Passover and offerings for the Festival of Harvest. As we have noticed over recent weeks, God gave Moses specific details so the people could worship and honour God in the right way. These were God’s commands, and the Israelites needed only to obey. Anything less was disobedient and dishonouring to God. In Mark, we read of the transfiguration. Six days have passed since Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah, and now Peter, James and John would witness an amazing meeting between two Old Testament men of faith and Jesus. Jesus talked with Moses and Elijah. What an incredible moment for these three disciples to be present. I feel sure they were all blown away by the experience, and good old Peter opens his mouth and blurts out an unnecessary suggestion. To top it all off, a cloud came over them and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.” As they looked around, only Jesus was with them. Moses and Elijah were gone. I wonder how quickly their hearts were beating. This voice from the cloud – what did it all mean? If it was God speaking, then Jesus is the Son of God! No wonder they should listen to Him. Time will show they still struggled to really listen to Jesus, for they tended to put their own earthly definition on Jesus’ words. Although they chatted amongst themselves about what they witnessed on the mountain, they found it hard to completely understand what Jesus meant by talking about “rising from the dead” and Elijah. Coming back to the crowd, Jesus finds the teachers of religious law locked in a verbal battle with the other disciples and surrounded by a crowd of people. On seeing Jesus, the soon forget about the argument and run to Jesus. Jesus wants to know what is going on, and so one of the men speaks up and tells Jesus what the problem is. His son is possessed by an evil spirit, and the disciples could not cast out this evil spirit from the boy. Thankfully, Jesus can. “Do something if you can,” says the man. “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. Then Jesus goes on to clarify this point. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The man responds, “I do believe, but help me not to doubt!’ Jesus goes on to heal the boy completely. I sense that sometimes we are like this boy’s father. Rather than trusting in Jesus 100%, we use a small two letter word “IF,” thereby offering an escape clause for Jesus. However Jesus does not need us to add “IF,” He simply wants us to believe, for as He said, anything is possible if a person believes.
Categories: Read Your Bible In A Year