Reading #1 – Numbers 11
Reading #2 – Psalms 71
Reading #3 – Proverbs 10
Reading #4 – Matthew 6
Reading #5 – 1 John 2
Numbers 11 – The People Complain to Moses about their Hardships. The nation Israel was human beings much like ourselves and, as human beings, were given to “complaining”. According to the nation’s perspective, life was a “Garden of Eden” (Genesis 6) and they ate as much as their tummies could hold. The reality is that Egypt was not paradise by any stretch of the imagination; if it was, the people would have had no reason to complain. In the same way, many of us I included have complained about the situations, jobs, living quarters, and people we have to deal with. When I was in the military, it was a common belief that the two best places to be were, the place you were at and the place you were going to and this was true for Israel. Before leaving Egypt, the people were jazzed about the idea of going to the “Land of milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8, 17, and 18 other times). As the leader, Moses had the authority to enlist the support of the people and could have done so by executive order instead, he went to G_d and complained about his hardship. Moses heard all the families standing in the doorways of their tents whining, and the LORD became extremely angry. Moses was also very aggravated. And Moses said to the LORD, “Why are you treating me, your servant, so harshly? Have mercy on me! What did I do to deserve the burden of all these people? Did I give birth to them? Did I bring them into the world? Why did you tell me to carry them in my arms like a mother carries a nursing baby? How can I carry them to the land you swore to give their ancestors (10-12)? You would think that upon seeing the way they were delivered from the Egyptians, given something to eat, and place of rest the people would be happy. Equally, you would think that Moses’ faith would be galvanized just by what he had seen by the hand of the Lord but they were not. In all of the centuries, nothing has changed and we are witnessing that fact today.
Psalms 71 – The Prayer of an Old Man. The writer is reflecting on the events of his life which included his victories, sufferings, fears, and doubts. In his current situation, he is being persecuted either because of his age, messes he had created in his lifetime, or maybe even an illness that is driving him over the edge. Our past, as dark as it might have been, is often the very source from which we get the strength to push thru current issues. 7 My life is an example to many because you have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare your glory all day long. And now, in my old age, don’t set me aside. Don’t abandon me when my strength is failing. My enemies are whispering against me. They are plotting together to kill me. They say, “God has abandoned him. Let’s go and get him, for no one will help him now (7-11).” Faith requires that we plant a seed and from a tiny seed comes a great plant (Matthew 17:20).
Proverbs 10 – Proverbs of Solomon. When I read Solomon’s flowing wisdom, I would think he would have been the world’s “Most Righteous Man”; yet, when I see the outcome, I think that someone else wrote the words of wisdom and Solomon was simply the example of what happens when you are not wise. It is a funny thing about wisdom in that it usually comes from “bad decisions”. As parents, we tell our kids what they must not do but we usually leave off is what we learned from stepping head-long into the same trap. Solomon got a ring-side seat to the whole ordeal of his father and his mother. We have happy memories of the godly, but the name of a wicked person rots away (7). The question we need to ask ourselves is, “what kind of a world do we want to leave behind”? We never seem to take into consideration that our actions speak louder than our words. The people of Minneapolis are reeling with the riots from the past days and have been replicated into all of the major cities.
Matthew 6 – Lessons for Life. In our lifetime, we spin many webs. The strings that we do make connections with other areas of our life. The areas of our life include our finances, prayer life, how we treat other people, deal with adverse situations, and adverse people. What Jesus so eloquently spoke on the mountain to a hungry people seemed to be like the “ideal life”. Yet, the principles are simple and easy to employ. In the end when these principles are put to work in our lives, as Peter put it, “Because of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins (5-9).”
1 John 2 – The Command and the Letter. 1 John was written between 95 and 110 AD. By this time, Jesus had been gone for about 65-70 years about the time of Emperor Domitian who was a vile man bent on destroying any worship other than to himself which meant that the Christian church was the number one target of the Emperor. Johns’s encouragement was for the people to continue to live out the principles of G_d’s kingdom. And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did (3-6). The difficult times that lay just ahead for the church would cause problems within the church if one command was not taken to heart “love one another”. The Devil knows that if we turn to bitterness, arguing, and descension in the ranks, he will have accomplished his mission. The command to “love each other” is universal and it is timeless. Today, just as it was in 95 AD, we need to apply this simple command despite what is going on in our world. When the enemy loses, and he will lose, it will be called on to heal the brokenness and put our world back on its axis. For years, people have lived with mistreatment, exclusion, and frustration in the last days of this modicum of living, the people have reacted negatively and aggressively which is just as wrong. The Devil’s plan entails hurting those who had no involvement in causing the pain and has given license to civil disobedience.; something Martin Luther King would have had nothing to do with but would be blamed for it.