Reading #1 – Numbers 29:12-40
Reading #2 – Psalms 136
Reading #3 – Job 37
Reading #4 – Mark 4
Reading #5 – 1 John 1
Numbers 29:12-40 – Feast of Booths. This is an eight-day convocation. During this convocation, the people lived in booths to commemorate the nation’s journey (Feast of Booths). Remember, everything Moses is telling the nation going forward was preparing them for the new land. By living in booths, the people were taken from the comfort of their homes to live in a lean-to so that they would not forget their origins and the need for the support of the community. In addition to the number of animals, wine, and bread required for the eight days, the people were also responsible for free will, drink, peace, and grain offerings (39-40).
Psalms 136 – His Steadfast Love Endures Forever. This Psalm recounts Israel’s journey in the light of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses’ testimony. In the time of Abraham, the Lord promised that from Abraham a great nation would come into existence although it was just Abraham and Sarah. Abraham was promised a son from his loins in the face of Abraham’s blunder in judgment. From Abraham and Sarah, came Isaac “the son of the promise” (1-3). By acknowledging that G-d made the heavens and earth, you get some glimpse of the power of G-d and how much more He will provide for our lives if we will but ask (4-9). The flight from Egypt was anything but a “fun trip” or a magical voyage, the people walked out while the Egyptians were burying their first-born children and Pharaoh’s army was decimated at the Red Sea so, this was a costly journey (10-16). On the other side of the Red Sea, Moses and the nation conquered powerful kings and took the land as their inheritance (17-22). In light of the above, how can we but not praise G-d for all He has done and look forward to what He can do today (23-26)?
Job 37 – Elihu Proclaims G-d’s Majesty. This is the conclusion of Elihu’s sermon. While the first portion proclaims G-d’s glory and majesty, it was the intent that sours the message. It was for this reason that the first portion is spot on and could be used to help people overcome struggles. Where the message turns sour is when Elihu challenges Job to do something great G-d did (14-20). While he meant well, Elihu made it seem like G-d was mad at Job and charged him with offenses. The part I want to get across to you is that what Elihu said is not wrong, it is in the application that the waters get muddied (21-24).
Mark 4 – Parable of the Sower. Jesus’ parable is as much for the teacher as it is for the student. When the teacher presents his/her lesson plan, he/she must understand that not everybody in the room is going to understand what is being presented. If the teacher has obstacles in his/her heart that block the message from bringing forth fruit, he/she is no better than the scribes and Pharisees. The disciples would be sent out to minister to people and if they did not understand the dynamics and/or complications it could present grounds for becoming disappointed and giving up. Unhealthy criticism or “heckling” always stems from a rock, thorn, and/or weed that grows in the critic’s heart. When the minister or musician is heckled, the first inclination is to hide their gift. For the disciples and ministers, this is “Ministry 101”.
1 John 1 – The Word of Life. The message John is conveying to his listeners is the same message he received from the Lord. Because John had sat in the student’s seat during the 3.5 years, he witnessed the overcoming power of G-d in his life and that of his compatriots, he understood what was going through his students’ minds. The word of Life he spoke about was more than a mere “lesson plan”, it was alive and working in him (1-4). Having the power of G-d working you mean that word of life has to be more than a thought, it has to be predicated on the action of faith. Sin in our life should not stop us from learning about our Lord nor should it stop us from walking in him. Sin is an integral part of our life in this world and everyone, ministers included, is affected by it. The thing is the presence of sin should e a springboard for witnessing the power of G-d unto salvation (5-10, Romans 2:4).