Old Testament: Numbers 6:1-7:89
Numbers 6:1-21 No Razorites
What did Samson, Samuel, Paul, and John The Baptist have in common? They were all Nazirites Judges 13: 5, 7, 16: 17; 1Samuel 1:11-28; Luke 1: 45; Acts 18:18). (Jesus was a Nazarene from Nazareth not a Nazirite). Nazirites took a vow of commitment and devotion to the Lord that included three things 1) no drinking of wine, alcoholic beverages, or eating any part of the vine or seed 2) no cutting of their hair 3) no touching or coming close to dead bodies even of close relatives. The vow could be taken for life or for a designated period of time. A man or a woman could take a Nazirite vow. If a Nazirite touched a dead body accidentally, there had to be an elaborate ceremony before the time of consecration could be resumed.
Numbers 6:22-27 Bless You!
Aaron’s benediction was one of the best in the Bible. You can use it in church. Numbers 6: 25, “Make His face shine on you,” was a blessing of prosperity. Numbers 6: 26, “Peace,” was Shalom, the Hebrew word which connoted contentment and joy.
Numbers 7:1-9 No. 2, But Trying Harder
Except for Ps. 119, this is the longest chapter in the Bible. That makes it No. 2.
A month earlier, the commands had been given on how to transport the Tabernacle. The 12 tribal leaders brought gifts of six wagons and 12 oxen for this purpose. They were for the Levites (v. 4, 5). The Gershonites received two carts and four oxen (v. 7). The Mararites received four carts and eight oxen (v. 8). Kohathites received no carts and no oxen because they were supposed to move things on their shoulders (v. 9 cf. 4: 15). One of the most consternating accounts in Scripture is in 2Sam. 3 – 8 when Uzzah is . . . well, you should read it. It haunted me for years after seminary. I thought if poor Uzzah didn’t have a chance, how could I please God in ministry? The answer is that God’s stipulations were repeated in the Old Testament and very clear. Certain items were supposed to be transported in a certain way. I’m sure Uzzah is in Heaven and was well-meaning. But it’s not like he wasn’t warned.
The Merarites had to transport the heavier items of the Tabernacle’s wooden and metal framework (cf. Num. 4:31-32). That’s why they were given more carts and oxen than the Gershonites.
Numbers 7:10-89 Gifts x 12
The 12 leaders were literally, “elevated ones.” They all brought identical items as gifts on 12 consecutive days. This section seems to be written in the Department of Redundancy Department. The emphasis shows God’s appreciation for the leaders and their gifts. The gifts were for the maintenance of the Tabernacle. The Lord was so pleased that He spoke to Moses audibly from between the cherubim on the Mercy Seat of the Ark.
New Testament: Mark 12:38-13:13
Mark 12:38-40 Going Down?
Dante wrote an allegory of Hell called The Inferno. He was a Roman Catholic. Despite this, he places religious leaders in some of the deepest parts of Hell. He writes of nine levels and has several popes in the eighth level. Satan is on the bottom of the ninth floor. Was Dante right to write of degrees of punishment in Hell. Yes, he was. This passage would indicate such. They will receive “greater condemnation” (v. 40). Also, check out Mt. 11:20-22; Luke 12: 47, 48; John 19:11 and Heb. 10: 29. These dudes were clearly in the ministry for the wrong reason.
Mark 12:41-44 A Rich Poor Woman
Jesus was watching people put money into the treasury of the Temple. Rich people were putting in a lot of money but a poor woman only put in a couple lepta, the smallest bronze coin in circulation in Palestine (cf. Bible Knowledge Commentary). They were worth 1/64 of a Roman denarius or approximately a day’s wage for a common laborer (see BKC). Mark converted the amount for his Gentile Roman readers, “a cent.”
Should we tithe? That would be giving ten percent. Jesus said if someone had two coats he should give one away (Luke 3: 11). That would be fifty percent. The widow put in 100%. The most extensive passage on giving is in 2Cor. 8, 9. Those two chapters could be summed up in 2Cor. 9:6, 7, “Now this [I say], he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one [must do] just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” God knows our hearts. We should give accordingly and only with joy.
Mark 13:1-13 I’ll Take A Court
Jesus was taking a tour of the Temple with the disciples. The boys were raving about the building. Jesus told them the entire edifice would be completely razed.
The twelve guys wanted to know when that would happen. Jesus said that there would be antichrists that would come (v. 6) and wars, earthquakes, and famines. These things will only be the “beginning of birth pangs” (v. 8). Those of us who are Dads know what that means. The contractions have started and it’s time to head quickly to the hospital! It’s just about that time. Do you notice earthquakes, wars, or famines? (Luke 21: 25 may even speak of tsunamis!) An antichrist is anyone who preaches a gospel other than the one in the Bible. Theological liberalism, cults, watering down the gospel of faith alone all fall into this category. The Apostle John said there were antichrists in his time already (1John 2: 18). They have multiplied exponentially in our day.
Jesus warned the disciples that they would be taken to the courts and flogged. They will stand before kings and governors to testify about Jesus. They need to worry about what to say because the Holy Spirit will help them (v. 11). The gospel will be preached to all the nations (v. 10). During this time, even close family will betray believers (v. 12) and even turn them over to be killed. Everyone will hate believers during this time but whoever “endures to the end . . . will be saved.” The events described in this passage have a dual fulfillment. They were true for the disciples in the first century. They will also have a fulfillment in the time of the tribulation after the Rapture. Whoever endures through this seven-year period will be “saved” into the New Age of the Millennium and Christ’s reign. They will receive their glorified bodies.
Psalm 49:1-20 A Wisdom Psalm by The Sons Of Korah
Psalm 49:1-20 Grabbing All The Gusto
We have a gigantic problem being born into our country. We think we were born to be rich. I mean, rich financially. We were born to rich. But we were born to be rich spiritually (cf. John 10:10). Psalm 49 is a wisdom psalm. That means smart people will pay attention to what it says and get smarter.
Our Declaration of Independence guarantees us the “pursuit of happiness.” To use an old adage from a beer commercial, we take that to mean that we should be able to “grab all the gusto we can get.” But happiness cannot be found in things or even people. John 17:3 says, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Romans 14:17 says, ” . . . the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Knowing God is peace and joy. Wisdom is to find that Jesus is our life. Nothing else.
The psalmist says that all the world should hear, the highly educated and the poorly educated, what he is about to declare (vv. 1-4). He says there is no reason to fear the adversity in the days ahead (v. 5). The wealthy will not be able to depend on their wealth (v. 6). Have you ever noticed, Walt Disney not withstanding, that wealthy people die? The Rockefellers and Vanderbilts all died. Their money couldn’t save them. Walt had himself frozen until there was a cure for what ailed him. But the verdict is still out on that experiment.
No one can even pay to save his family members from death (vv. 7-9). Though, of course, Jesus did die for His brothers (cf. 1 Pet. 3:18; 2 Cor. 5:14-15; Heb. 2:11).
Wealthy people leave their money to someone else and hope someone will take care of their houses but, as it turns out, people die just like all animals do (vv. 10-12).
The “foolish” in Scripture, particularly in Proverbs, are the unsaved. How more foolish can you be than to reject the Lord? They are the ones who live to accumulate money during the course of their lifetimes (v. 13). They are the ones who get slaughtered like sheep (v. 14). The only One Who can save us is God (v. 15).
Ps. 73 is a great psalm that warns us of envying the rich (vv. 16-19, cf. Ps. 73:3; also Ps. 37:7). Here we are told that the rich can’t “take it with them.” Have you ever heard that saying? I was at a Gideon’s meeting one time and the speaker said, “You can’t take it with you but you can send it on ahead.” He was about to take up a collection But he was right. He was referring to what Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” (Matt. 6:19-20).
I wonder if the sons of Korah were ever asked to speak at positive thinking conventions. How is this for a grim ending? “Man in his pomp, yet without understanding,
is like the beasts that perish.”
Proverbs 10:27-28 True Joy
Have you ever seen a segment of the TV show Where Are They Now? How many gorgeous people look hideous when they get older? Quite a few. They properly didn’t live by biblical guidelines. In fact, they probably violated them. They probably weren’t just ugly on the outside either.
But those who respect God and try to follow his rules live longer (v. 27). When did you start to learn the Lord’s ways? Probably, when you lived under your parents’ roof. And heeding what they taught you for your good leads to a longer life generally. One of the ten commandments says so (cf. Eph. 6:2-3; Exod. 20:12; Deut. 5:16).
Do you want to have joy? Here are some verses on joy:
Neh. 8:10 “Then he said to them, ‘Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.’”
John 16:24 “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.
Phil. 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”
Ps. 16:11 “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”
The only true joy comes from our relationship with the Lord (v. 28a). Unbelievers don’t really have a true hope or joy (v. 28b).
Choose Life: Scripture: Numbers 6:24-26 NASB “Bless You”
“The LORD bless you, and keep you; The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’” Numbers 6:24-26
When I was first saved, years ago, I had a good Christian friend who was a good model for me. Whenever someone would sneeze, he would respond with “Ephesians 1:3” instead of “bless you.” (Look it up and find out why. A Christian is already blessed with every spiritual blessing in Heaven!) He may have just as well have said “Numbers 6:24-26” but that would have been a lot more tedious.
People over the ages have seen the Trinity in this verse. It is the Father who “keeps” and “blesses” us. The Son is the One who makes God’s “face shine on” us. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives us peace. The word for peace in the Hebrew is shalom. It means “completeness, safety, soundness in body, welfare, health, prosperity, peace, quiet, tranquility, contentment, friendship, peace with God, and cessation of warfare” (cf. the Hebrew dictionary, the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon).
Today, we can claim the promise in Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the PEACE of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I capitalized “peace” so you wouldn’t miss it. If we thank God for the all His blessings and talk to Him about things, He’ll give us His peace (cf. Ps. 107: 1; 62:8).
Trust God today for His shalom! And God bless you!
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Fun Application: You can actually buy jewelry in the form of a Hebrew letter that represents shalom. Check out the internet and Amazon. A necklace or something similar can be a good reminder to trust God for His peace. Another thing you can do is build your next software password around the word shalom.
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: A Virtual Inferno