Old Testament: Numbers 4:1-5:31
Numbers 4:1-20 8,540 Men And A Truck
A Levite had to be thirty to start in the work of moving the Tabernacle. Num. 8:24 would seem to indicate that the age to starting working was 26 but that could reflect a five year apprenticeship.
The sons of Aaron were responsible for the moving of the veil between the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place. They were also in charge of the table of Presence, the lampstand, cleaning of the bronze altar, and all the other articles used in worship. They were always to use the appropriate poles for transportation of any of the holy things (vv. 6, 8, 11, 14). The descendants of Kohath were then to transport the articles but were to be careful not to touch anything or they would receive the death penalty. Aaron’s son, Eleazar, a priest, was to supervise the handling of the oils, incense, and grains. There were 2, 750 Kohathites (v. 36).
The Gershonites (no relation to Gina . . . or were they?) were in charge of transporting the the nonwooden part of the tabernacle and court including the curtains, ropes, and such materiel. Ithamar, a priest and the other remaining son of Aaron, was in charge of monitoring the Gershonites. He was also the supervisor over the Merarites who were to oversee the transportation of the wood and metal parts. There were 2,630 Gershonites (v. 40) and 3,200 Merarites (v. 44).
The total number of Levites that worked on the transportation of the Tabernacle was 8, 580 (v. 48).
Numbers 5:1-0 Clean Up Time
Yahweh could tolerate nothing unclean in the camp on the way to the Holy Land. All with skin diseases, discharges, or who had touched the dead would have to remove themselves from the camp. Anyone involved in crooked dealings had to make restitution plus 20% to the wronged party. If the ones they wronged were dead, they were to pay the priests. The bodily problems and false dealings symbolized sin and a bad relationship with God Himself. God is holy and expected His people to act with holiness.
Numbers 5:11-31 The Test For “Fooling Around”
If a man suspected his wife was fooling around, he could bring her to the priest. He had to bring an offering of barley meal. She would be made to drink holy water mixed with dust from the floor of the Tabernacle. She had to swear an oath. If she was guilty, her abdomen would swell up and she wouldn’t be able to have children. If she hadn’t done anything she could go on like nothing happened. There was no penalty for the man for having jealous thoughts. This procedure was only in effect in the wilderness and protected the family from the instability brought by jealousy. This test either worked because the psychological guilt manifested itself through withering of the ability to conceive or because God supernaturally exacted the punishment.
New Testament: Mark 12:18-37
Mark 12:18-28 Wind Things Up
This is the only time Mark mentions the religious leaders known as Sadducees. They were the more liberal wing of religious leaders. Though there were less of them, there were more of them on the Jewish supreme court known as the Sanhedrin. They did not believe in the resurrection or a future judgment. They also didn’t believe in angels or spirits (Acts 23:6-8). The only part of the Bible they accepted were the first five books of the Pentateuch written by Moses. Mark and Luke also relate this story (Matt. 22:23-33; Luke 20:27-40).
They asked Jesus a trick question, they thought. They asked about the law that said that if a man died, his brother had to marry his wife to perpetuate his lineage. However, in their hypothetical case, seven brothers had married the same woman because none were able to cause her to have children. They wanted to know which brother would be married to her in Heaven.
Jesus’ response was that they didn’t understand their Bibles. He said there wasn’t any marriage in Heaven. Further, He told them that when God said, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” at the burning bush, it was a present tense verb. It meant Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were still living. God was a God of the living not of the dead. He gave them an “F” in eschatology (the study of end times and the ultimate destiny of humankind).
Mark 12:28-37 Go To The Head Of The Class
One of the religious leaders called a scribe asked Jesus what commandment was the most important. There was a debate among the religious leaders which of the 613 commandments to which they held had the most weight. Jesus said first that God was One which meant He was unique. This was recited every morning and evening by committed Jews. Then he answered that the most important commandment was to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Then He threw in a bonus commandment: love your neighbor as yourself. The scribe agreed with Him. (Wouldn’t you?) Jesus told the scribe he wasn’t too far from getting into Heaven (the man still had to trust Christ for salvation and exercise faith). Of course, those two commandments summed up both parts of the Ten Commandments as well as covered all the other laws. Everyone gave up asking Jesus questions after that incident.
Jesus had a conundrum of His own He asked people about later in the Temple. He asked how the Messiah could be David’s son since Ps. 110:1 said, “The Lord said to my Lord.” If David called the Messiah “Lord,” then how could the Messiah also be David’s son? [Hint: Jesus was in David’s lineage but was still David’s Lord!] Everyone got a big kick out of hearing Jesus. Some still do.
Psalm 48:1-14 A Song Of Zion by The Sons Of Korah
Psalm 48:1-14 Zionized
Psalm 48 is the third psalm in a row that celebrates Yahweh’s victory over the Assyrians. King Hezekiah had been victorious over the Assyrians, thus saving Jerusalem from pagan rule (cf. 2 Kings 18–19; 2 Chron. 32; Isa. 36–37). Since Jerusalem is Yahweh’s city, to celebrate Jerusalem is to celebrate Yahweh’s rule (v. 1). There are several psalms about Jerusalem (e.g., 76, 84, 87, 122, and 132). The New Jerusalem will be our home someday as New Testament believers (cf. Rev. 3:12 21:2). So we can sing about Jerusalem now, too. Jerusalem means “city of peace.”
We had an older fella in one of our church starts who called the Scripture songs we sang, “ditties.” We used to sing a neat ditty based on the first three verses of this psalm. It was a great way to learn it. But why sing about Jerusalem as New Testament believers? Because that’s where we’re going to end up. At least, we’ll be close to the New Jerusalem. It will be the capital of the new world ruled by the Messiah in the millennium (see Addendum To The End).
Jerusalem is elevated over the area surrounding it (v. 2). That is why the Scripture often speaks of “going up” to Jerusalem even if the travelers are on the north side of the city (Mark 10:32, e.g). God, Himself, not her defenses are her security (v. 3).
Leaders of nations are afraid of Jerusalem (vv. 4-6). That will be especially true during the Millennium.
Verse 7 could be a reference to Israel’s victory over the Assyrians (cf. 2 Kings 19:35-36). God will protect Jerusalem forever into eternity (v. 8).
Here is the hesed term again in verse 9. Don’t you love it? It means binding, covenantal, loyal love. He will not leave us or desert us (Heb. 13:5).
John 16:24 says that we can ask God anything in Jesus’ name. What does that mean. Verse 10 says, “As is Your name, O God, so is your praise to the ends of the earth.” His name stands for His character, “Your right hand is full of righteousness” (v. 10c).
The worship leader exhorts everyone to be happy because God is ruling from the mountain of Zion, aka Jerusalem, and His judgments are just (v. 11). Can you imagine living in a land where all the court rulings were just? We will live in a land like that someday and it could be soon. Have you ever considered that if the Rapture were to occur today, that would mean the Millennium would start in just seven years? All will be put right in the world at that time. There was to be no injustice that is not put right.Can you imagine living in Jerusalem now? Mortars are being fired into schools! Not so in that day. All of the towers and buildings will be intact and safe (v. 13). What a difference!
God is such that He can, in His strength and power, protect everyone and everything (v. 14). He will perfectly rule from Jerusalem in that future day. He will preserve us until the time He has determined for us to be promoted to Heaven (v. 14c).
Proverbs 10:26 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
God has a sense of humor. Do you get the joke in verse 26? A gift of a lazy person is like getting smoke blown in your eyes or drinking a little vinegar. Do you like smoke in your eyes? Do you like to drink vinegar? Me either. It hurts to think about. I have to crinkle my eyes. Uhh.
Don’t send me any lazy people!
Choose Life: Scripture: Mark 12:30 NASB “Measuring Up”
“AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.” Mark 12:30
I listened to one of my favorite professors from seminary on a podcast the other day. Many people say they can’t understand people that have gone to seminary. But I got the gist of what he was saying and it was good. It was really good. He said the purpose of our lives was to love God. He used some big words and some big concepts but when you shrink down what he said, that’s what you come up with.
Here’s why I think that’s cool.
I can ask myself . . . is my life measuring up to that standard? Am I loving God with all my heart and being? Jesus placed it as the number one commandment with a bullet, as they used to say on the old Billboard music charts.
It’s good to make routine checks and see how we’re doing. Now I believe that if I am loving God like I should, I’ll also be reading my Bible and trying to learn all I can about Him through His Word and through a correct theology (check out the book of 2 John in your Bible and Vicars Gone Wild!).
I like to shrink things down to their essence and asking if I love God shrinks me down, pretty good, would’t you say?
Shrink yourself down today. How are you doing? Anything in your life you need to sure up? Anything you need to delete out of your life (cf. Heb. 12: 1)? Any applications should be adding for God? Take an inventory of your life and see how you think you are doing at loving God.
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Fun Application: Yesterday, I had you ask God and check with your conscience whether there was anything you should change in your life. Today my suggestion will be even a bit harder on you. Ask your spouse, parents, or Christian best friend if there is anything they discern in you that you need to change. Ask them if they think you are living a life that reflects a love for God.
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: 8,540 Men And A Truck