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|Posted on March 5, 2011 at 5:20 AM|
The Bible Readings for March 5 are Numbers 31 – 33 and Mark 10:1 – 31. God tells Moses to take vengeance on the Midianites for leading the Israelites into idolatry. After this, Moses would die. It must have been a strange feeling knowing that your time on earth was ending. Of course, it happens to all of us at some time, but knowing it was approaching rather quickly might have led to some heartache for Moses, that wonderful leader of the Israelites over forty years. From what we know of Moses, he seems to have taken it all in his stride. We read recently how God had shown him the land. We know that through his disobedience at an earlier event that God had declared then he would not cross the Jordan River. God was in control and He would do what would be best. Twelve thousand men went into battle, under the leadership of Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest. They killed all the men, captured the Midianite women and children and seized their cattle and flocks and all their wealth as their plunder. On returning, Moses was furious to see they let the Midianite women live. After all, these women caused Israel to sin. Moses gave orders to execute all the women except the virgins. Since the war was a holy judgment by God, the Israelites had to remove whatever uncleanness had resulted from their contact with the enemy. Those who handled dead bodies needed to be ceremonially cleansed. Articles of clothing were purified by washing. Metal articles were purified by passing them through fire and then washing them. Next came the division of the spoils. When the soldiers realised they had not lost one man in battle, they made an additional offering to express their thanks to God. The offering was placed in the Tabernacle, as a reminder that the people of Israel belonged to God. Two and a half tribes chose not to cross the Jordan and settle in Canaan as they were happy with the good pastures east of the Jordan. Initially, Moses thought they were pulling out completely, weakening the Israelite’s resolve and thus incurring God’s anger upon all the tribes. This was not the case, as soldiers from the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh would still go to battle to help defeat the people in Canaan. They kept their promise, and did as they told Moses they would do. Do you remember how we looked at promises yesterday? This is a good example of how to keep one’s word, thereby honouring God in the process. Numbers 33 is an interesting chapter. It traces the Israelites journey from Egypt, on the morning after the first Passover celebration, right through the next forty years of wandering about in the wilderness until the time came for the Israelites to cross the Jordan into Canaan. God gave Moses orders for the Israelites as to what they were to do once they arrived in Canaan, as well as warnings if they did not obey God’s command. The division of the land was also discussed, and the land would be divided up according to the size of each tribe. This was a fair way of handling a potentially awkward situation. In Mark, we read about divorce, marriage, children and worldly riches. These have already been dealt with in a reading from Matthew’s Gospel several weeks ago, so I do not want to repeat myself here. However, I do want to say that it is clear from these verses that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman, for God made them male and female. I recently signed a petition against gay marriage, and I trust every Christian would be willing to make a stand on such an important area of family life. I have heard the argument that Jesus does not talk about gay marriage, and therefore, it must be okay. I totally disagree with this reasoning, for although Jesus did not talk about gay marriage, He did define marriage as being between a man and a woman. How important it is to have childlike faith. Jesus blessed the children, and He longs to bless us, His children, too. To finish off this section is a rather sad story about a rich man who chose his self-righteousness and worldly wealth over following Jesus. Yes, he longed for eternal life, but he refused to look to the One who made this possible. Sometimes, there are possessions that take our time and attention over Jesus. May we not make the mistake of relying on the things of this world or our self-righteousness over Jesus. Trust Jesus and know the peace of forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life.
Categories: Read Your Bible In A Year