Reading #1 – Numbers 14
Reading #2 – Psalms 74
Reading #3 – Proverbs 13
Reading #4 – Matthew 9
Reading #5 – 1 John 4
Numbers 14 – The People Rebel. Of all things I do not understand, it is this situation. The nation had watched as water came from a rock, the Egyptian army is annihilated, bread comes from heaven, and the waters of the “Reed Sea” be driven back. When the 12 members scouting party returned 10 of the 12 spread a bad report and the nation accepted their testimony without one time considering that it was the Lord who sent them into the land in the first place (Numbers 13:1). The proposition the Lord gave Moses, would have been tempting but, Moses knew how bad it would look in the eyes of the world at that time (12). Moses asked G_d to please forgive the rebellion with the understanding that the guilty would still be punished. Because of the rebellion, the people would spend the next 40 years walking around in circles until the rebellious generation passed away. The people who started the problem were killed with a plague. In the end, only Caleb, Joshua, and the children of the rebellious generation entered into the new land (17-20). Once we have rejected G_d’s direction on our life, that door is closed and if we try to go at it alone “because we sinned but are now willing to comply”, the ministry will not work and the power will not flow (39-45).
Psalms 74 – The Rhetorical Question. This Psalm was written shortly after the destruction of the temple in 586. For over 200 years the temple served as the external sign of G_d’s presence and it was the heart of the city. Yet, the writer knew all too well why it was destroyed. Punishment for rebellion affects everybody that is connected to the rebellious person(s). We no longer see your miraculous signs. All the prophets are gone, and no one can tell us when it will end. How long, O God, will you allow our enemies to insult you? Will you let them dishonor your name forever? Why do you hold back your strong right hand? Unleash your powerful fist and destroy them (9-11).
Proverbs 13 – The Purpose of Wisdom. Wisdom, like prophecy, is uttered to keep one on the right path. “Wisdom” just like “foolishness” is a door that provides an option. The Listener makes the choice which door he and/or she will go through. Once the listener goes through either doorway, there is no going back. Equally, the two doorways open to two separate rooms so you cannot live halfway between the two. Godliness guards the path of the blameless, but the evil is misled by sin (6). The rhetorical question of Psalms 74 asks “Why has this destruction happened” and the answer was “because we were disobedient to your laws and commands” (Psalms 74:1). When a child is disobedient and is punished, he and/or she might complain that their punishment was unmerited although he and/or she knows full well why they were punished.
Matthew 9 – Jesus Heals the Paralytic. What is it about faith that moves the heart of mankind to do great things with the resources we are given? In Jesus’ time, not everybody who came to him was healed because faith comes from the heart of mankind. Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, for she thought, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed at that moment (20-22). And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him (Hebrews 11:6).
1 John 4 – Discerning False Prophets. Today, just like in the 1st century, we deal with the spirit of the antichrist. The problem is that the truth and the lie look so much alike that telling the difference becomes much more difficult. This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God (2). The crux of the problem is that as humans, we fail to ask the question “who gets the glory” so we continue into the doorway of foolishness only to find out that we made a mistake in judgment. The Devil is smart enough to know that his presentation needs to first seem “innocuous” then it needs to have the right stimulus; that is, it needs to play to our bias, fears, and temptations. When we forgive one another and deal with the sins that pull us apart, we defeat the Devil. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us (9-12).