Reading #1 – Numbers 20:22-29
Reading #2 – Psalms 123
Reading #3 – Job 25
Reading #4 – Matthew 19
Reading #5 – James 1
Numbers 20:22-29 – Death of Aaron. Because of Moses and Aaron’s disobedience, neither of them would get to see the promised land (12-13). So, three men went up the mountain but only two came back down. Eleazar, Aaron’s son, was tapped to be the next High Priest. So, the Lord told Moses to take off the High Priest’s clothing and put them on Eleazar after this, Aaron died on Mount Hor (22-29). The point to be made is when we are called to ministry or whatever job, we owe it to ourselves to go all of the ways and not let anything undermine G-d’s best.
Psalms 123 – Our Eyes Look to the Lord our G-d. Looking to the Lord, in this context is when our heart looks to Him waiting to hear what the Lord will say (1). When the maidservant looks to her mistress or the servant looks to his master, there is a point of humility. In the same way, when we come to the Lord, we need to carefully consider that we are in the presence of the almighty and so we need to carefully weigh our words and attitude (2). From the Lord, we will receive mercy and help in our hour of need. So what are we looking for? Do we want to receive more of what the world offers or, do we want the healing of our wounds? (3-4).
Job 25 – Bildad Speaks: Man Cannot Be Righteous. What Bildad has to say is correct to a point and that point is, where and soul and spirit are divided. Unless we are born again by the Spirit of the Living G-d, no matter how “good we are”, our best efforts would amount to a blood-stained menstrual cloth (3, Isaiah 64:6, John 3:3). It is indeed true that when we come to the Lord we don’t become a new physical person with a new agenda, a new drive, and new hope but the old person (the flesh) remains to deal with the consequences (4-6, Acts 9:10-16).
Matthew 19 – A New Sheriff in Town. When Jesus came on the scene, there was one question on their minds, “Is the Messiah we have waited for”? It was for this reason that people followed him from location to location. Jesus told the truth and didn’t mince words nor give eloquent explanations because his time was short. The rich man came to because of Jesus’ track record of laying things on the line without helping himself to the money; compared to the Pharisees and Sadducees, this was a breath of fresh air (16-22, Matthew 23:14). Jesus did not change his Father’s laws and precepts to please anybody so when we are told the truth, then we, just like the rich man, have a choice to make – stay where we are comfortable or go all of the ways into the Kingdom (23-30).
James 2 – The Sin of Partiality. What James is presenting are rules for the church to keep it from dying or becoming ineffective. Partiality, just like mold, spreads in the church and leads to dissension (1-7). Although James mentions partiality, it is no more or less of a sin than anything else (8-13). Faith is an important characteristic of our walk with the Lord. But what is faith? The textbook definition is found in Hebrews 11:1-2. The caveat to James’ argument was that if we do nothing with our faith, our words are meaningless. We can tell the Lord and everyone we meet that “I have faith” but never step out on it, our words become like a “CLANG, CLANG” (14-17). Consider Rahab who hid the spies and let them out of the city; if she had told the spies, “I know you will conquer the city but let the spies be captured, she would have died right alongside the rest of the inhabitants of Jericho (18-25, Joshua 6).