Spiritual Rants: March 4 “Getting Campy” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Numbers 2:1-3:51 Mark 11:27-12:17 Psalm 47:1-9 Proverbs 10:24-25

Old Testament: Numbers 2:1-3:51

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Numbers 2:1-34  Getting Campy

The camps were supposed to arrange themselves in the same way whenever they moved so they could move and set up quickly.   The Levites were positioned nearest to the tabernacle.  Each tribe had its own flag.

The Tribes were arranged based on ancestry.  For more details see the Bible Knowledge Commentary.

Numbers 3:1-51  They Weren’t Wearing Levis — They Were Levi’s

Here is a syllogism for you:  All priests were Levites but not all Levites were priests.  Only direct descendants of Aaron could serve as priests.  However, all Levites served in worship responsibilities short of the priestly duties.

The Levites could not work in the Tabernacle and couldn’t approach the sanctuary (v 10).

The tribe of Levi was picked for the religious work because they were substituted for all the firstborn who were spared in the Tenth Plague (cf. Ex. 13: 1, 2).  The number of Levite men and the number of firstborn of all the tribes was off by about 273.  So remuneration was made for the 273.  All of the details, if you’re interested can be found in a study Bible or a good commentary like the Bible Knowledge Commentary.

New Testament:  Mark 11:27-12:17

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Mark 11:27-33  Huh?

The religious leaders ask Jesus a question about whose authority He had to do and say the things He was doing and saying.  Jesus said He’d answer if they’d answer a question for Him first (shrewd move!).  He asked if John’s baptism was from God or just one of man’s ideas.  They started mumbling amongst themselves.  “Do we get a lifeline phone call,” they asked.  (JK.  They wish.)    They knew if they said John’s baptism was from God, Jesus would say, “Then why didn’t you get baptized?”  If they said it was of men, the people would probably riot because the people liked John.   They had to admit they were stumped and didn’t know the answer to the question.  Jesus said He wouldn’t answer their question then.  Score one for Jesus!

Mark 12:1-12  Squeezing Meaning Out Of A Vineyard

The previous event showed that the religious leaders rejected both John and Jesus.  The history of Israel is one of rejecting God’s messengers.  Both Matthew and Luke have the story of a man who owned a vineyard ((Matt. 21:33-46; Luke 20:9-19).

The owner of a vineyard sent out several messengers to the workers in his vineyard to collect produce.  He first sent a slave.  He was beaten and sent back.  Then he sent another slave and they hit him in the head sent him back.  A third slave-messenger was killed.  Others were also beaten and abused.  Lastly, he sent a son.  The workers in the vineyard figured they had their problem solved.  If they killed the son, an heir, they would gain the inheritance!  So they killed the son as well.

What will the owner do in such a circumstance?  How about wipe out the workers and give the vineyard away (v. 9)?  Jesus quoted Ps. 118: 22, 23, “the stone the builders rejected became the chief corner stone.”  Israel rejected Jesus but He became the cornerstone of the Church.  The Church became the focus of God’s plan at Pentecost.  Judaism faded after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.  Judaism will again be God’s focus to fulfill His promises to them after the Church is raptured.

The leaders caught Jesus’ meaning.  They wanted to ring His neck but were worried what the people would do.   So they absconded.

Mark 12:13-17 Making A Salad Out Of Caesar

The chief priests, scribes, and elders had taken their best shot at Jesus.  Now the Pharisees and Sadducees stepped up to the plate.  They began with some flattery  They had heard that Jesus didn’t kow-tow to anyone but was always straight-forward.  They asked if they should be paying taxes to the Romans.  Jesus said, “What is this a game show or something?  OK.  Show me a government coin.”  They showed him one.  He asked whose picture was on it.  They said the picture was Caesar.  He said, “then you’d better get it back to him.”  They were amazed.

Psalm 47:1-9    A Royal Millennial Psalm by The Sons Of Korah

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Psalm 47:1-9    Applause

This psalm, along with Psalms 93 and 95-99, is an enthronement psalm.  They speak of the crowning of a king.  It speaks of the day that Jesus will be coronated (cf. Phil. 2:9-11) when every knee shall bow to him.  In fact, it speaks of Christ’s thousand year rule in the Millennium (cf. Rev. 20:4).

In the history of Israel it would have been used to celebrate the kingship of Yahweh over all the nations.  It may have been used particularly during the Feast of Tabernacles, celebrating the re-entry of the Jews back into Israel in the future (see Soon And Very Soon and Take A Break).

Did you ever have a kindergarten teacher that would start to wildly clapping and shout, “C’mon, people!”  I did.  And first grade, second grade, and third grade, too, I think.  Those teachers were trying to get our attention.  So was the person leading the worship here (v. 1).  He was trying to get everyone excited and for good reason.  He was proclaiming the Lord to be king over all the nations (vv. 2-4).  Yahweh subdued Israel’s enemies and will continue to defeat His foes (cf. Ps. 2, as Jesus Christ, Rev. 19).  He was worthy of applause.

After the worship leader had stirred up some excitement, he exhorted everyone to “sing praises” (v. 6-7).  They should sing because God has ascended (v. 5).  To where?   God in Christ ascended in victory forty days after His resurrection (cf. Acts 1:9).  McGee and Walvoord take the descriptions of the New Jerusalem very literally and suppose that it is possible to see the New Jerusalem suspended above the earth when Jesus reigns over the earth during the Millennium (Rev. 3:12; 21:2, 10).  In that sense, He will “ascend” to Jerusalem on a regular basis.

Yahweh is the king of the earth (v. 8).  I am afraid that many people think that if they vote for the right people that there will be utopia.  Utopia is when the Lord comes back to reign in the Millennium (see Addendum To The End).

Someday God will reign over all the nations as Psalm 2 says (v. 8).  The “shields of the earth” represent all the weaponry on this planet.  Talk about gun control.  It will all be submitted to The King (v. 9).

God will be exalted someday (v. 9c).  Won’t some people be really surprised?  And some will be very, very happy!

Proverbs 10:24-25    Irreverent AND Irrelevant

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There is a televangelist that always tells people that if they don’t have faith that what they “fear will come upon” them.  That is his answer to why they don’t prosper.  They don’t have enough faith and they are fearing.  He is a fraud.  He is a massive fraud.  Some people just suffer.  It is part of God’s will (cf. 1 Pet. 3:14, 17; Heb. 12:3).  

I once asked a prosperity preacher what he did with the book of 1 Peter which speaks so much about suffering in the Christian life.  He was puzzled at first and then answer that it was “irreverent.”  He meant that it was irrelevant.  He was wrong.  How could the entire book of 1 Peter be irrelevant?

Preachers who preach prosperity are heaping much more suffering on poor, unsuspecting Christians.  Not only will they suffer but then they will blame themselves, heaping more suffering on their suffering.

The “desire of the righteous” will often be granted.  I had a youth pastor years ago who told me that God allowed him his dream of playing professional basketball for a short time.  He said it was part of Ps. 37:4, “Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  He was probably right.  God is gracious and often grants us things that don’t directly further His kingdom but are things we’d like.  I was able to do standup comedy one time in a professional setting.  Once.  It was all people could stand.  And I also DJ’d for a short time.

Believers do not have anything to fear when they are in line with God’s will though (cf. Isa. 41:10; 2 Tim. 1:7).  There is no fear in love (cf. 1 John 4:18).  But if you are afraid of something and something bad happens, it isn’t because you don’t have enough faith!

When the smoke clears and you look around as a believer, the unbelievers will have vanished (v. 25a).  Believers will be around forever (v. 25b).

Choose Life: Scripture:  Mark 12:17  NASB    “Taxing Situation”

“And Jesus said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were amazed at Him.”  Mark 12:17 NIV

If you’re wondering if you should pay your taxes this year, here’s the answer.  Pay them.  In fact, honesty is always the best policy.  Pay everyone that you owe something to.  Paul later says, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another . . .” (Rom. 13:8).  Don’t cheat on your taxes.  You won’t feel good about yourself.  Honesty is always the best policy.  Jesus’ Father owns everything  but Jesus still paid His taxes.

Is there anyone that you owe something to?  Pay that person.

If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:   God will let you know through the Spirit or through your conscience if you owe anyone anything.  Or maybe you just know who you owe.  It may be something small or it could be something large.  Whatever it is, pay it and you’ll have a clear conscience (cf. Acts 24:16, also Ps. 139:23-24).

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:  They Weren’t Wearing Levi’s, They Were Levi’s

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