Monday, February 27, 2012
Welcome to Day 58 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
L O N G reading today… five chapters, loaded with amazing stories!
Numbers 21, Israel is about to enter the Promised Land… but not before another incident of grumbling against Moses and God. (You’d think they would have learned by now…)
Numbers 21:6, “Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.”
Jesus mentions this event while talking to Nicodemus in John 3:1-17…
“Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. 4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Israel marches on to take possession of their land… Several battles along the way.
Numbers 22:20-22 God is not happy that Balaam is going to go with the elders of Moab and Midian… (Remember back in the day that Moses stayed with the Midianites… and married a Midianite woman? (Exodus 2)
Funny, the donkey saw the angel before Balaam did… 30, “The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” “No,” he said.”
So… why are you beating me??
As it turns out the donkey saved Balaam’s life… otherwise the angel would have struck him down!
What a great story.
(Funny, no record of Balaam saying, “Ummm, my donkey is speaking to me! Did you hear that?? He SPOKE!”)
Side note: Balaam is considered to be a pagan prophet that had some regard for the LORD. He is actually a prime example of a false prophet and teacher… that God used for His purposes to thwart their plan against Israel. (See Numbers 24:1, “Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not resort to divination as at other times, but turned his face toward the wilderness.”) Seems Balaam saw the benefit of blessing Israel… that it pleased the Lord…
v 27, you gotta love Balak’s response to Balaam’s blessing of Israel… Paraphrased, “Let’s go someplace else… perhaps God will let you curse them from there!” (More on this tomorrow!)
How often do people (I/we?) try to manipulate a situation until we get the answer we want to hear?? Not a great idea. Note to self.
Mark 6, we see Jesus rejected by his own people, sending out the twelve, his cousin, John the Baptist is beheaded (at the request of Herod’s wife… because his DAUGHTER danced for him and it pleased him??) Jesus feeds the 5,000, walks on water.
56 “And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.” Not just the woman with the issue of blood was healed that way… ALL who touched him were healed!
Mark 7, the Pharisees are still trying to figure out Jesus… He heals people, gives amazing teachings, but doesn’t follow the letter of their law (tradition, not the Law of Moses… add ons, if you will…) He is eating with hands that are ceremonially unclean…
He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
6-8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” (Emphasis is mine…)
Most of my observations are already above… Here are a few additional thoughts…
Moses prayed for his people all the time…
Jesus can provide for us miraculously, multiplying food, etc.
Faith and familiarity come into play at some point in terms of how much God can do in one’s life. They didn’t regard Jesus as a prophet or healer in his hometown (even though they acknowledged his wisdom and the other miracles he had performed!) so he couldn’t do much there. It limited his ability to heal… Only a few sick people were healed because of their lack of faith. (Mark 6:5-6)
I still would like to know why God allowed John the Baptist to be beheaded… What a horrible end… and based upon the request of Herod’s wife, via his daughter that danced for him?? This one just makes me shake my head. This is a great example of “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Still seems wrong to me…
I have a category I put this into…
It’s not how I die that matters. It’s how I live.
In the end, we are all going to leave this earth. I’d rather not die “before my time,” but I’m sure many in John the Baptist’s time thought he had… I’d rather not die of cancer, in a fire or a car crash… or some other tragic end. But how I go matters far less than how I live now. John was considered to be the greatest among men!
Keep in mind, he was Jesus’ cousin, too. One would think he may get special treatment, right?? Apparently not…
Wow, lots to chew on today…
I don’t want to be a person that observes human rules and traditions… I want to be a person who honors God with a heart that is near Him, not far from Him. Not just giving “lip service.”
Lord, help me as I process all that I have read today… So much to take in…