Today’s Bible reading: Numbers 28:16-29:40; Luke 3:23-38; Psalm 62:1-12; Proverbs 11:18-19
In Numbers 28 and 29 God reviews the plans for the various festivals He gave to Israel. God wanted Israel to work hard, but He also wanted them to have fun and celebrate. Before I was a Christian I thought living a life with God would be boring. There were far too many rules to keep and could anything be less fun than keeping rules? I could not have been more wrong. One of God’s rules was for us to have fun and enjoy life. I wish I could convey this concept to all the non-believers I know who think just like I used to. God loves a party!
Notice that on these festival days no “ordinary” work could be done (Numbers 28:18). God created the concept of work and He commands us to do something with our lives. But on these festival days the focus was to be entirely on Him. He wanted Israel to be reminded of His presence in their lives and all He had done for them. That is why these festivals celebrated historical events experienced by the ancestors of the generation of Israel alive at the time. None of them lived through the Passover, for example. But God wanted them to be reminded of how He rescued Israel from slavery and offered them rest in the Promised Land, if they chose to enter it.
That sounds just like what God did for us with regard to sin. We are born slaves to sin (John 8:34). But through Jesus we have access to an eternal home in heaven, should we choose to accept God’s offer to live there with Him. But just as some of the Israelites didn’t want to enter the Promised Land, some people will reject heaven. Please don’t be one of those people.
I found Numbers 29:40 interesting. At this point Moses knows he is going to die shortly. Yet he still continues to obey God and lead the people. His time is short but he is no lame duck. He continues to work hard. Moses could easily have slacked off at this point thinking he had done enough for the past 40 years. But he didn’t.
This is a great model for us to follow, especially if we are in leadership positions. I work on a contract basis. I work for one company for a certain amount of time at the end of which I leave and find another job. It would be very easy for me to coast during the last couple of weeks with an employer knowing that my time is almost over. But I know God is watching. I also want to leave a strong impression with my soon-to-be former co-workers so they realize that I am working for God (Colossians 3:23).
One of the more difficult passages to understand in Scripture is Luke’s account of Jesus’s genealogy (Luke 3:23-38). Luke’s account differs from Matthew’s account after King David. Matthew continues with David’s son Solomon while Luke continues with Nathan. It is widely accepted that Matthew was tracing the kingly line of Jesus (Solomon was a king whereas Nathan was not).
Although not definitive, many believe that Luke was tracing Mary’s ancestry. Since Joseph had no biological influence on the birth of Jesus (i.e. he contributed no sperm) Jesus is not technically related to Joseph. Even though Mary did not contribute an egg, she did incubate the unborn Jesus for 9 months and, hence, there is some biological connection. Since the Messiah had to come through the line of David, as foretold in the Old Testament, Luke’s account proves that Jesus did descend biologically from King David, through Mary, fulfilling this Old Testament prophecy.
More interesting is that Luke traces Jesus all the way back to Adam. By doing this Luke was letting his readers know that Jesus came to save all men, not just Jews.
Psalm 62 really puts our lives in perspective. Verse 9 says that we are like a puff of wind; we are lighter than a breath of air. We are nothing, really. Our lives exist for a moment in time. The only reason we have any value is because God gives us value. The only reason diamonds are valuable is because people say they are. The same with gold. People could just have easily given worth to cardboard. Think of a US dollar bill. It is just a piece of paper, really. The reason it has value is because the US government says so. The point is that something has value only because someone says it does.
God says that we are valuable. We are valuable enough for Him to create. We are valuable enough for Him to die on a cross for.
Money and wealth are not bad things. God will sometimes reward someone with such things (think of King Solomon). But wealth should not be the center of our lives (Psalm 62:10). The very next verse speaks of how “power” belongs to God. I think these two verses are linked. As we accumulate more money we may try to exert more power over others. But that is not right. God is the only one to whom power should be given. Money has no power at all.
Proverbs 11:18-19 gives us another view of money. Earthly wealth only lasts for a short time. At most a few decades. Then it is gone. But the rewards of God last forever. Why chase after something that won’t last? Better to spend your life seeking something that will last for all eternity: a relationship with God.
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