Reading #1 – Numbers 34
Reading #2 – Psalms 93
Reading #3 – Ecclesiastes 2
Reading #4 – Mark 1
Reading #5 – Revelations 16
Numbers 34 – Boundaries of the Land. As with all of G_d’s commands, everything is “fair” to be equitable. Just as Edom (Esau) was given a piece of land that would remain their inheritance, so it was with Israel. Each tribe would be given as much land based on the size of the tribe; for the small tribes, the land was smaller than the large. The same could be said about us; while we do not get land, we get gifts and callings as we use them and grow, so does the power of the gift; when we cease to use the gift, its power also ceases. Along that same line, G_d will never give us a direction for which we are not prepared nor have prepared for it. What is important to note is that Moses was not in the soul charge of giving direction or allotting the land. 7 “Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun are the men designated to divide the grants of land among the people. 18 Enlist one leader from each tribe to help them with the task (17-18).
Psalms 93 – The King of Glory. The Kingdom of G_d (KOG) has never changed its rules, laws, nor direction. The world, unlike the KOG, changes with the seasons of mankind. The people who come into the Kingdom are honor-bound to follow the rules and laws. G_d’s laws because they never change provide the stability that is so desperately needed. The Psalmist asked, “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. I have tried hard to find you—don’t let me wander from your commands (Psalms 119:9-10).” G_d’s laws have withstood the test of time and have endured despite the worst that man could throw against it (3-4). Your royal laws cannot be changed.
Your reign, O LORD, is holy forever and ever (5).
Ecclesiastes 2 – The Futility of Pleasure. G_d’s word has clearly shown that pleasure and things cannot make us happy nor bring contentment because the heart of man will always want more. Things bring temporary pleasure until something new comes out. I said to myself, “Come on, let’s try pleasure. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless. 2 So I said, “Laughter is silly. What good does it do to seek pleasure?” 3 After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. And while still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I tried to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world (1-3). Each of us has a hole in our heart that we try to fill with stuff only to find that the stuff will never completely nor permanently fill it because that is the place with G_d resides.
Mark 1 – John the Baptist Prepares the Way. John’s message was simple, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight paths for him” (1-3). To “prepare the way” is to move aside and get out of the way of the King”. When royalty is coming, heralds would cry out, “The King is coming clear the way”. The problem is that when we are in the way, the King cannot lead the way. When we steep in sin, G_d cannot work in our lives and because of it, we must be baptized as to wash the filth away. John announced: “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit (7-8)!” When Jesus came to John to be Baptized, he showed himself to be approved although it would have been easy for him to believe he was above the law. Because of his humility, people thronged to hear his message. Certainly, it would have been expeditious to bypass the formalities and move onto the “Kingdom of G_d” sort of like the Pharisees and Sadducees but to do so would have had much larger consequences. Compromising at first seems rather hard because we challenge our foundation but, after that, compromise becomes away of life. Jesus’ message and ministry were far too important to sidestep the smallest part of the law. Because he followed G_d’s laws completely, he was blessed and many came to him to hear his message because he taught with authority and not like the scribes and religious leaders.
Revelations 16 – The Seven Bowls of G_d’s Wrath. There is a concept that we must come to grips with and that is, G_d owns this world and by proxy has the right to give it away, take it back, destroy it, build it up, and outline the specifications. Man, on the other hand, simply lives here and is given stewardship of the earth. If we fail to take care of what is given to us, it will be taken away. “You are just, O Holy One, who is and who always was because you have sent these judgments. Since they shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, you have given them blood to drink. It is their just reward (5-6).” The parable Jesus told about the talents, showed how the one with the most brought in a great reward conversely, the one who was given a little hid it in the earth. Both got a reward the one with the most was given more and the one with a little had his taken away from him (Mattew 25:14-30). Rewards are not always positive. In the case of the seven bowls, it is a negative reward to pay back those who killed the prophets. Those who took on the image of the beast to keep themselves out of hawk with the beast ended up with boils on their body. Walking with our Lord does not mean that we will escape trouble nor does it mean that we will live long lives; rather, it means that despite the troubles, G_d is bigger than our weaknesses and He will come through for us.