Old Testament: Numbers 26:1-51
Numbers 26:1-51 Take A Number
The book of Numbers began with a census. Now we have another one. The main reason was that we now have another, entirely new generation fixing (as we’d say in Georgia) to move into the Promised Land. The older generation had nearly all died off. In fact, notice in v. 1 the command was given to the new High Priest, Eleazar, since Aaron was now gone. The first census was to determine their numbers before their journey began. For this census, new land needed to be apportioned and the number of men of military age had to be ascertained.
If you had wondered how many people died during the desert wanderings, the number is 1,200,000. The total of men is 1,820 less men than forty years previously.
J. Vernon McGee believes that since the guys are not numbered till they reach twenty that that age could represent the age of reason. That would explain a lot of male teenagers.
Some familiar names pop up in the census. Korah, Abiram, and Dathan. Notice Korah’s family was not taken out the earthly trap door (Num. 26:9-11). Er and Onan are mentioned in Num. 26:19 who were offed by God for their er-rors.
The total number of Israelite . . . men . . . was 601,730.
New Testament: Luke 2:36-52
Luke 2:36-38 Anna, Banna, Bo-Banna
Anna was the female counterpart to Simeon in that she was also praying diligently for the redemption of Israel. Her name meant “gracious” and was the same name as the OT Hannah. Both Hannah and Anna extolled the coming of God’s messenger’s. Jesus in the case of Anna and Samuel in the case of Hannah (1Sam. 2: 1-10). She was a widow, eighty-four years old, having been widowed after only seven years of marriage. She is a good representation of what the Apostle Paul would describe years later (1Tim. 5: 3-6). Anna was a prophetess. She was always in the Temple praying and fasting. She proclaimed to Israel that the Messiah had indeed come.
Luke 2:39-40 Pulled Into Nazareth
The family went back to Joseph’s town of Nazareth. Despite all the specials on the History channel about Jesus’ boyhood, there really isn’t much in the New Testament about it. Jesus grew up like other boys and “continued to grow and become strong” (Luke 2:40). He was not just intelligent but had practical knowledge aka “wisdom.” “God’s grace was upon Him” (Lk. 2: 40). God’s grace is on us also if we are obedient as Jesus was (John 14:21).
Luke 2:41-52 Lost At The Mall
Ever lost your kids at the mall? Me neither. But it would’ve put me in a major panic. Jesus’ parents basically lost Him at the mall during the Feast of Passover in Jerusalem. There were crowds everywhere. Mary and Joseph had already started back to Nazareth when they realized they were missing something. The Son of God. They had misplaced the Son of God. They looked for Him amongst all their relatives but couldn’t find Him. They went back to Jerusalem to find him and after three days (one day out of town, one day back, one day searching), they found Him in the Temple. He was learning from the teachers there. The teachers were amazed at His understanding. His parents said, “Hey, huh? What were you thinking? You have put us in some anxiety.” Jesus said He had to be in His Father’s house. They didn’t really understand what He meant. They took Him back to Nazareth. Mary tucked all of this experience into the back of her mind and churned it over in meditation.
Jesus continued to grow up and mature. He was “in favor with God and men” at this point. The book of Hebrews says, “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” Heb. 5:8. He learned and matured through suffering in ways similar to us.
Psalm 60:1-12 A Lament Psalm by David
Psalm 60:1-12 Scraping Enemies Off His Shoes
Psalm 60 is another mikhtam psalm. Mikhtam means the psalm is an encouragement to be steadfast. Psalms 56 through this one are all mikhtams.
In this psalm, David is encouraging himself to be steadfast in light of the attack by the Edomites against Israel. Things worked out eventually since the Israelites pummeled the Edomites into submission (cf. 2 Sam. 8:13; 1 Kings 11:15-16; 1 Chron. 18:12). But David didn’t know that when he wrote this psalm. He was encouraging himself to be steadfast in light of the attack and in view of his trust of the Lord.
When something happens that you don’t like or you didn’t expect, do you immediately blame God? I learned the “idiot rule” so I don’t tend to do that so much anymore. David had learned his lesson. He was attacking the Arameans to the north of Israel, the Edomites attacked Israel from the south. That would be disconcerting. But David put his faith in the Lord.
At first, David thought the Lord was punishing Israel (v. 1). The effect of the attack on Israel must have been similar to the effect on our nation on 9-11. They felt like the earth had split and the people were reeling (vv. 2-3). David was going to remain steadfast and, figuratively, wave a flag with God’s name on it (v. 4). Remember how everyone wore U.S. flags after 9-11? David was putting his trust in his nation’s God, Yahweh. He knew that God would deliver His beloved nation (cf. Song of Sol. 2:4).
Shechem was a city west of the Jordan River near the valley of Succoth (v. 6). Gilead, Manasseh, Ephraim, and Judah were all tribal areas threatened by the attack (vv. 7). By naming all these areas, David was showing that God was personally aware of their danger. He considered the enemy, Moab and Edom, like a bowl to wash His hands or a place to scrape off his shoes (v. 8). He will make Philistia scream in pain (v. 8c).
David expected the Lord to lead him into Petra, most likely, the capital city of Edom (v. 9). Though David believed God had rejected Israel, he still put his full trust in Him to lead him in victory over his enemies (v. 10). He knows he cannot just rely on his troops, trusting in man is not enough to win (v. 11).
David ends in a statement of complete trust, he “will do valiantly”(v. 12a). It won’t be the Israeli armies that will win the battles, it will be the Lord who “will tread down [the] adversaries” (v. 12b).
In the trials you face today, are you trusting your own power and abilities? Not good. Put your trust in the Lord (cf. Prov. 3:5-6). He alone can you give you victory over your challenges (cf. Ps. 33:17; Prov. 21:31; 1 John 5:3; Rom. 8:37).
Proverbs 11:15 You Can Loan If You Want
We have already seen a warning from Solomon against securing someone else’s loan (see Signing and Co-Signing). You shouldn’t loan anything to anyone unless you are prepared to not see it again (cf. Luke 6:35). But you can loan. Just expect to not get back whatever you loaned. I remember then whenever I loan out a book. It’s a good thing since I rarely see the book again. But you can loan if you want . . . .
Choose Life: Scripture: Luke 2:52 NASB “Coming Out On Top”
“And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2:52
Can this verse really be in the Bible? Jesus matured? Seriously? How does Almighty, Infinite God mature? How could God “increas[e] in wisdom”?
Here’s another like it, “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8).
The answer is that Jesus came in the form of a man and “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, . . . being made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:7). This doesn’t mean that Jesus wasn’t God, it means He set aside all His prerogatives as God so He could be a model to us of relying on God. In that sense, He had to undergo all of the maturing processes that we undergo. He was even tempted to sin in the same way as we are (cf. Heb. 4:15). The difference was that He never sinned.
This all should be a great comfort to us. Jesus suffered like we did but He always came out on top. Because of that we can go to Him for help (cf. Heb. 4:16) and trust Him for strength (Isa. 40:31).
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Fun Application: What are you going through today that you’d need God’s strength and comfort? Consider what Jesus would have done in your circumstances (cf. Heb. 12:2-3). Don’t just guess what He would have done. Look for some Scripture (or at least one verse!) to back up your thoughts.
The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: Anna, Banna, Bo-Banna” and “Jesus, Lost At The Mall