Today’s Bible reading: Numbers 4-5:31; Mark 12:18-37; Psalm 48:1-14; Proverbs 10:26
Back in Exodus, the Levites were given the responsibility, by God, for taking care of the Tabernacle and assisting the priests. In Numbers 4 God gives out specific duties to each family of Levi’s three sons. Notice how no one signed up for this work. God gave the assignments. It is God who hands out skills and talents to people and He expects us to use them for His service. Since God knows exactly how each of us is wired He knows best what we enjoy doing and what we are good at doing. But often times we end up doing things with our lives that don’t match our skills and interests. Perhaps because our parents or boyfriend/girlfriend pressured us into becoming what they wanted us to be rather than becoming what we wanted to be. I can remember telling my guidance counselor in junior high school that I wanted to write. But I never became a writer. The first thing I really ever wrote was this blog and I can say that I am thoroughly enjoying it. I don’t know who said it but there’s a saying that goes “its never too late to become what you could have been”. Its never too late to make Jesus your Savior either.
Its interesting that to be eligible for serving in the administration of the Tabernacle a man had to be between the ages of 30 and 50. Younger than 30 and the man would be too immature. Older than 50 and he would be too physically weak.
The sacred objects in the Tabernacle could not be touched by anyone other than a priest. So it was they who packed up all the items. It was the rest of the Levites who carried the items as God moved the Israelites into the Promised Land. All the items had poles attached so that none of them had to touch the items directly.
As we learned a few weeks ago all the Tabernacle was quite valuable. Just the gold and silver alone would be worth millions of dollars today. So packing and transporting it was not an insignificant job. There are no insignificant jobs in God’s economy. When we work for Him we are working for the most noble cause in the universe. Sadly today in the church we find people who want or don’t want certain jobs for whatever reason. The bottom line is we need to serve God in any capacity we can according to the skills and talents He has given us.
One aspect of leadership is accountability. In Numbers 4:16 & 28 we see that God appointed on man over each of the 3 divisions. We need workers but we also need leaders. Not everyone can be a leader. Many people who are “workers” would rather be leaders. But we have to play the role that God has for us and be happy that we are serving Him. When we get jealous or start thinking of our own glory things fall apart.
In Numbers 5 we read the procedure to be followed when a husband was jealous of his wife, either justifiably or not. This process would expose the wife as an adulteress or the husband as a fool. Adultery between married couples is intolerable to God because it symbolizes unfaithfulness to Him. God wants us to be devoted to Him and to Him only. Not because He is an egomaniac who has a need to be loved. But because He nows that He is the only good thing for us. God was tough on adultery because He knows that straying from His truths will lead us to ruin.
Notice in God’s legal system there is only guilty or not-guilty (Numbers 5:23). There are no justifiable crimes. How would our society be today if our legal system functioned the same way?
The Sadduccees, who didn’t believe in life after death, confront Jesus about that very issue in our reading in Mark 12 today. These men thought they were intelligently superior to others. They believed in the Scriptures but only the first 5 books (Genesis – Deuteronomy). They propose an absurd “what-if” scenario expecting to confound Jesus.
Jesus, though, being God, knows more than they do and He proceeds to show them the errors of their ways. Notice that Jesus tells them that the reason they are wrong is that they don’t know the Scriptures (that would be the entire Bible for us today). Truth is in the Bible. Anyone who attempts to dictate truth from any other source will be wrong. Jesus explains that in heaven there will be no marriage. Marriage is reserved for earth. We can extrapolate that to mean that there won’t be any sex in heaven either. 😦
But Jesus goes even further to address their real question about life after death in Mark 12:26. He points out they are wrong about saying it won’t happen by referring to the book of Exodus – one of the 5 books they recognized. In that book God says to Moses “I am the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob”. God used the present tense. If these men became non-existent when they died (hundreds of years before Moses) then God would have used the past tense. Once again those who attempt to demonstrate that they know more than God will walk away disappointed.
In Mark 12:33 we read that God isn’t as interested in rituals and behavior modification as He is in love. It is God’s will for us to love Him with all our heart and strength above all else. We are to also love our fellow human beings just as we love ourselves. Both of these commands are more important than adhering to the law. Working hard to not break the rules will not make us any more righteous with God. We are born sinners and will remain that way in this life. The only thing that can save us is a love for God and acknowledgement of what He did for us – coming to earth as a human being (aka Jesus), living a defect-free life, dying, and spending 3 days in hell on our behalf.
After answering the trick questions posed by others, Jesus asks them a question in Mark 12:35. Notice that, unlike the others, Jesus was not trying to make anyone look foolish. He was trying to get them to think. Jesus’s goal is for people to arrive at the truth of who He was for their benefit. He had nothing to gain. He was concerned about their welfare and their eternity and nothing else.
Jesus’s question goes back to Psalm 110 in the Old Testament. In that Psalm David calls the coming Messiah “Lord”. Everyone knew that the Messiah was going to be a descendant of David. How could David call one of his future descendants “Lord”? The answer, which escaped all the religious leaders to whom Jesus is posing the question, is simple: God was planning on coming to earth as a human being. But they didn’t understand. Not even when God was walking among them (Jesus) performing all kinds of miracles. They were blind because they were relying on their own good behavior to get them to heaven. They didn’t see the need for someone to die for their sins because they didn’t think their sins were “all that bad”. Tragically, many people today think the same thing. The result of such an unnecessary mistake in thought will be eternity in hell.
God is great and deserves to be praised as Psalm 48 tells us today. God protects His people. I especially like verse 9 which says “meditate on Your unfailing love”. What a great thing to do. Focusing on God’s love instead of the mockers and haters will lift you up and keep you moving forward in life. This is certainly something I need to keep reminding myself to do. Notice that the word is “meditate”, not “think about once in a while”. Meditation is continuous thought, not only of, but about something. We need to not only think of God’s love but really think about what it is and what it means.
I hate smoke in my eyes or anywhere near my face. It is very irritating, don’t you think? That is how irritating it is when people steal time from their companies. God calls on us to be honest and faithful in everything we do. That includes working hard even if we’re in a job we don’t like. The way we do this is realizing that we work for God not man. Whenever we work hard we are demonstrating the character of God as well as the power of God in our life.
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