Reading #1 – Numbers 26:52-65
Reading #2 – Psalms 132
Reading #3 – Job 34
Reading #4 – Matthew 28
Reading #5 – 1 Peter 5
Numbers 26:52-65 – The Census of the New Generation. There is a lesson to be learned in this segment and that is, “life goes on”. Many of the 601000 man armies would not live to see Canaan because of their lack of faith however, their children would rise up to take their father’s place in the army (64-65). In the same way, when we are asked to do something and we refuse, someone else will do the work in our place. The Lord’s plan was for the land to be divided into portions commensurate to the size of the population (52-56). Aaron was replaced by Eleazar and Moses would be replaced by Joshua the son of Nun from the tribe of Ephraim.
Psalms 132 – The Lord Has Chosen Zion. This is Solomon’s dedication prayer over the temple that was built. David desired to build this temple but the Lord deferred the honor to David’s son (1-5). So, armed with the instructions, provisions, and manpower, the temple was built. This temple served not only as a place for religious practices but was also the place where people gathered (6-7). Solomon called on the Lord to inhabit the temple because the Ark had found a resting place (8, Numbers 10:36). The priests would be responsible for carrying out their assigned tasks with dignity and pride (9). The king would be responsible for his kingdom and would be to blaze the trail of righteousness that his kingdom could follow (10-12). While it was great that Solomon held a festive party, it wasn’t the end of the work. If the people in the next generation wanted peace and joy to reign in their lives, they too would need to adhere to the word of G-d (13-18).
Job 34 – Elihu Asserts G-d’s Justice. It is important to note that if the person on trial was anyone other than Job, what Elihu said would be true. The ear does test the words by hearing the sounds and the mind interprets what is heard and applies or rejects the message (2-3). We are indeed responsible for the choices we make, which determine to be “good” and “bad” (4). The problem is, what Job said is also not wrong (5-6). The problem is, the situation presented challenges to conventional wisdom. To Elihu, Job is being a scoffer and needs to confess (7-9). Elihu is also correct in his assessment that G-d does not do wicked things, nor does He pervert justice. Our common enemy and the cause of this whole mess, the Devil, has no compunction and hates Elihu as much as he hates Job and any other person who rises to serve the Lord (10-15).
Matthew 28 – The Resurrection. The disciples had been told what would happen and yet, they couldn’t quite grasp how a man could die and be resurrected; it was like their world had come to an end. The thing is, it wasn’t the end, it was a new chapter. The Pharisees and the Sadducees were probably sitting back toasting themselves for their successful endeavor. Then a marvelous thing happened, an earthquake occurred which opened the stone admitting entrance to the cave (1-6). Like Paul Revere, the woman ran to meet the 12 declaring the word “the Lord has arisen he will meet us in Galilee (7-10). When the soldiers reported what had occurred on the mountain, a plausible explanation was erroneously reported by the soldiers after they received their reward (11-15). In Galilee, Jesus gave the commencement speech and handed out diplomas (Mike’s version). The disciples were taught for 3.5 years and now they were given the command “Take my message to the world and declare the truth of the Word of the Lord (16-20).
1 Peter 5 – Shepherd the Flock of G-d. Part of Peter’s job was to educate those who were coming up through the ranks, counseling the elders, and exhorting people to live holy lives for the Lord (1-5). When we walk before the Lord, it is not a matter of “How Great I am” but “How Great the Lord is”. Pride is the downfall of great men and/or women of the Lord. The Devil will do his best work in the hearts of the proud and arrogant. For this reason, we need to resist the Devil and, in our hour of need, bring our concerns, our misgivings, and fears to the Lord G-d (6-11).