“Please Un-bless Us!” – One Year Bible Reading – March 10

Old Testament:  Numbers 14:1-15:16

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Numbers 14:1-10 Please Un-bless Us!

At the report of the spies, the people went bonkers.  They had whined about the lack of meat and veggies, Moses’ siblings had turned against him, now they again thought it’d be better to make bricks in Egypt than be traveling to a land “flowing with milk and honey” (Num. 14: 8).  The people wanted to pick a new leader and go back to slavery.  Isn’t this so like mankind to prefer slavery and bondage rather than freedom in the Lord with His blessing?

Moses and the High Priest, Aaron, fell on their faces before the congregation making intercession for them.  Joshua and Caleb, who were the only ones to bring back a good report, tore their clothes.  They told the people to stop their rebelling (Num. 14: 9).  They said Yahweh could bring them into the land and they’d eat the pagans’ lunch (cf. ESV, “for they are bread for us” v. 9).  The people wanted to impose the penalty on their leaders reserved for infidels.  They wanted to stone them.  And then the glory of Yahweh descended on the Tent of Meeting.

Numbers 14:11-19 Moses Intercedes . . . Again . . .

Yahweh was NOT happy!  He asked Moses how long the people were going to diss Him despite all the miracles He had done?  Yahweh said He should just as well bring a plague on them and be done with them.  Then He could work with Moses and make of him an even greater nation than Israel.  But Moses argued that would be a bad witness to the Egyptians and they would spread it around that Yahweh wasn’t a good God.  They’d say Yahweh wasn’t capable of bringing the Israelites into the land even with His personal guidance of Moses and the clouds and pillar.

Moses appealed to Yahweh’s character of being “slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness (hesed:  covenant faithfulness and loyal love)” (Num. 14: 18).  Moses reminded Yahweh that He passes iniquities down to the third and fourth generations (Num. 14: 19).  Then Moses again appealed to Yahweh’s “lovingkindness” (hesed).

Numbers 14:20-38  A Pardon with Provisos

Yahweh, said, OK.  But, He said, the people had tested Him ten times and this was the last time.  In fact, He was only going to allow Caleb and Joshua to make it to the Promised Land along with everyone UNDER twenty to sift out all the generations that had rebelled.  Notice not even Moses was mentioned because the Lord knew he was going to mess up in the future as we’ll see.  He told them they would be taking off again the next day.

Yahweh said another penalty would be that the current generation of people who rebelled would wander in the wilderness for forty years, one year for every day the spies were out scouting the Land.  The eleven spies (12 reps from the 12 tribes plus Joshua minus Joshua and Caleb who were preserved), were struck with a plague from Yahweh and dropped dead (Nu. 14: 37).

Numbers 14:39-45 Repulsed

Boy, these guys just don’t get it, do they?  After they all mourned for a while after their sin, they decided to go up to the Land and take on the Amalekites and Canaanites.  Moses warned them they would fail and not to do it.  Since they had messed up in Biblical proportions, Yahweh would not be with them and they’d fail in their attempt to take the Land.  But Nooooooo!  They did it anyway.  And guess what?  They failed!!  They went up the hill and were chased back down again by the inhabitants.  Wow.

Numbers 15:1-16  Reiteration Of The Regulations Redux

Talk about the Department of Redundancy Department.  Since Yahweh was now dealing with the younger generation and preparing them for the Promised Land, He reminded them of some of His rules.  The rules had not been suspended, even in light of the recent uprising.  The younger generation is to carry on in the Promised Land the same as prescribed for the older generation.  As before, the foreigners that came into the camp were to follow the same prescriptions as the Israelites.

New Testament:  Mark 14:53-72

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Mark 14:53-65  Whose Trial Is This Really?

Jesus was led away to the High Priest’s Place.  The chief priests, elders, and scribes were all there, all the religious leaders of Israel.  Peter stalked them all the way to the courtyard of the High Priest.  He sat down and was warming his hands over the fire that was there.

Satan usually acts illegally, even in churches.  Everything about Jesus’ trials were illegal.  Jesus had six trials (see Bible Knowledge Commentary on Matthew 26:57-58 for a chart).  The whole Council tried to get testimony against Jesus to be able to murder Him but they couldn’t do it.  Many were lying and giving false testimony but, unfortunately for the religious leaders, they contradicted themselves.  Some said they heard Him say that He would rebuild the Temple three days after destroying it.  They were still contradicting themselves.

The High Priest asked Him why He wasn’t answering.  Guess he didn’t know about Isaiah 53: 7.  Jesus didn’t answer (Mark 14: 61).  Then the High Priest adjured Him to answer with an oath forcing Jesus to speak.  Jesus finally answered, “I am.”  “I am” meant He was God.  It was an allusion to Yahweh disclosing His name at the burning bush (Ex. 3: 14).  Jesus continued, “you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of Heaven”  (Mark 14: 62, cf. Ps. 110:1; Dan. 7: 13, 14).  The HP tore his clothes which was, perhaps, the appropriate response to hearing blasphemy but was not allowed (remember our recent study in Lev. 10:6?)  Jesus was allowing that He was the Messiah and equal to God.  So as not to be misunderstood, He said He would be sitting at the right hand of God at the Judgment.  That was bad news for the HP given his judgment of Jesus at this point.  Tables would be turned and the HP would some day be judged by Jesus!

The HP essentially said, “Case closed.”  The entire council considered Jesus worthy of death.  Some spat at Him. They blindfolded Him and beat Him with their fists, requesting that He, “Prophesy” (cf. Is. 50: 6).  The temple guards were punching Him as He went by, too.  Talk about total rejection.  Could it have been any clearer that Israel was rejecting her God?

Mark 14:66-72  Disciple In Denial, Pt. Deux

One of the HP’s servant girls saw Peter getting warm next to the HP’s fire and said, “Hey!  You were with Jesus from Nazareth, right?”  He went into denial again, “Huh?”  Peter went out to the porch and the girl saw him again and pointed at him and yelled, “This guy is one of them!”  He went into denial again.  A few minutes later one of the bystanders said, “You’re one of them, right?  You sound like you’re from Galillee” (Mat. 26: 73).  Then Peter threw a fit and started potty-mouthing, swearing to God he wasn’t lying.  “I don’t know Him,” he yelled.  A rooster crowed for the second time.

The crowing was like an alarm going off in Peter’s brain.  He remembered Jesus predicted he would deny Him three times before a rooster crowed three times.  He wept.

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