Vineyard Life Journal

An online forum for our church family to connect around our 2012 daily Bible reading plan using the S.O.A.P. method.

Day 58

Monday, February 27, 2012

Welcome to Day 58 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Numbers 21, 22, 23; Mark 6, 7 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

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

S cripture

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…)

O bservation

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…

A pplication

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.”

P rayer

Lord, help me as I process all that I have read today… So much to take in…

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4 thoughts on “Day 58

  1. In Mark 7 Jesus speaks of the evil thoughts that come from the heart. There are three obvious categories that go from gross to subtle. Here is how I see it: Most blatant = sexual immorality, then less so adultery and the most subtle of the three lewdness. Most blatant second category: theft, less so greed and most subtle envy. Third category most blatant = murder, then malice and most subtle is slander.
    I have not seen the subtler sins as on a continuum of such grievous sins and have not taken them seriously. The three sins that are left are deceit — listed before lewdness , perhaps it is the first of the most subtle sins, then the root sins arrogance and folly. Folly being last I wonder if it is the foundation.
    In yoga they say that spiritual ignorance is the last veil separating us from being our true selves as God created us to be. If by folly we mean spiritual ignorance then I can see the solution.
    But if by folly we mean our modern sense of silliness and not taking things seriously then much of our humor and wasting time is something to be addressed. Most of those subtler sins Jesus mentioned I see in our humor all the time: lewd jokes, slandering others and laughing at them. We don’t take envy seriously either think its a sort of backwards compliment or a goal we are setting for our own lives based on what we see — I guess that is just a matter of where our eyes are fixed and about where we receive our direction, should come from God not from envy.

    I found this article about the Biblical definition of folly

    it is helpful but uses some of the words that would have been in the other parts of Jesus’ list.

    I have a toddler and work with toddlers. When they are silly it is so hard to get through to them — they are enjoying that mode and won’t listen — there is some zoom in it too. I use silliness to keep children’s eyes on me — it can be mesmerizing, and they stay focussed on me when I am in this entertainment mode.

    This reading is making me question how I interact and how trying to remain sober and alert is a better mode. It uses less energy too, which I am always looking for. Being myself and keeping my focus seems more like what God would want me to be doing.

    Father, help us understand what it is You are trying to say to us in Your Word and help us to apply it with humility and gentleness rather than legalism. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

  2. Lisa Green on said:

    The day to day….40 years was a long time to wander in the desert…..but made me think, how often do I grumble and complain in what seems to be the ordinary instead of being appreciative. Like there are dishes to do and laundry to fold and soon grass to cut….

    Balaam and the donkey- thought about when something or someone changes or does something ‘out of character’ how instead of making an assumption, it would be better to find out why.

    Jesus was faithful to do the will of His father where ever He went. It was not about the person giving but how the people on the other end receive.

  3. The Lord listens to the plea of the Israelites showing he is faithful once again and they quickly go back into rebellion. This still happens today. Why do we continue to rebel even today? Interesting that Moses presses on to the promised land even though he knows he will not be able to enter. That is true obedience. The people seem to be getting more rebellious the closer they get. Can we equate this to their true enemy becoming desperate to keep them out of the promised land? Again we are reminded that when we wait on the Lord, success is guaranteed. Also noted that God gives instructions to Balaam even though he is a Gentile and Balaam is faithful since he knows that he is powerless. Smart man. I tried not to draw parallels between the talking donkey and the movie Shrek. Balaam is fortunate that the donkey was alert.

    Jesus speaks out against human traditions and emphasizes our hearts as what is important. It’s interesting that I’ve had several debates about celebrating lent over the past week. Is this meaningful or mere religious practice? Jesus also sets the bar higher by declaring what comes out of us to be defiling, not what we eat. A list is given of sources of evil thought. Thoughts lead to words and actions. I should put that list on my shower door and review it every morning.

    Jesus delivers a foreigner’s daughter after initial refusal, but she pleads with him and He consents. This shows that Jesus is just and right, and sometimes we need to demonstrate our faith and press in. Notice she didn’t have to promise anything. She only needed faith in Jesus.

  4. Scott Sliver on said:

    Great insights, all of you! Thanks for posting!

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