Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 3 Mar 18:
1. Numbers 5:3 – “You shall put out both male and female, putting them outside the camp, that they may not defile their camp, in the midst of which I dwell.” God is in the midst of His people and does not distinguish between race, gender, or ethnicity.
2. Numbers 5:4 – God expects immediate obedience to the work He gives His people.
3. Numbers 5:6, 7 — “Speak to the people of Israel, When a man or woman commits any of the sins that people commit by breaking faith with the Lord, and that person realizes his guilt, he shall confess his sin that he has committed. And he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it and giving it to him to whom he did the wrong.” Sin is against God, and God takes it very seriously, even if you didn’t realize you were sinning when you were doing it. God commands His people to not only confess their sins to those who they have offended, but he also expects them to make restitution as much as possible. Jesus reiterated this responsibility: “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift (Matthew 5:23, 24).” Unresolved sin between you and others affects your worship. Some have suggested that restitution is not required because sins are ultimately committed against God, and we are under grace; however, this is not Jesus’ teaching. In fact, Jesus says that we are to confess and make restitution immediately, urgently. In Luke 19, Zacchaeus offers a great example of immediate confession and restitution regardless the personal cost. The problem with confessing sins to others is that they are generally not as forgiving as God (Psalm 25 speaks eloquently to the grace and mercy God offers the repentant sinner). However, we are to trust God to work on the heart of the offended. Trust God with the consequences. Delay is disobedience. Today is the day to settle matters “as far as it depends on you.”
– Romans 12:18 — If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
4. Numbers 5:11-31 – To deal with jealousy issues and hidden sins, God included oaths given to the priest with visual symbolism to solidify the commitment. The adultery test essentially turned an unresolvable matter over to God. The ceremony described signified the accused’s oath to God before the priest.
5. Numbers 6 – Remember this chapter when you read about Samson in the future – he was intended to be a Nazarite.
6. Numbers 6:1-21 – God calls certain people to a special commitment which demands extraordinary devotion and focus. Abstinence from strong drink ensured the person under vow would not lose self-control and unintentionally do something to break the vow. Breaking the vow required atonement from God.
7. Numbers 6:4-26 – Peace is a wholeness and completeness of life (not the absence of life challenges) which comes from closeness to God.
8. Proverbs 3:1 — “Let your heart keep my commandments.” Obey God starts with the heart and is not just about activities.
9. Proverbs 3:5 — “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Faith is an issue of trust, and you won’t trust who you do not know. Jesus said, knowing Him was “eternal life.” (See John 17) Your faith is evidence of your relationship with Jesus. Obedience to God is evidence of your faith and love.
10. Proverbs 3:7 — “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.” Faith means that you have to do what doesn’t make sense to you at the time, simply because God commanded it.
11. Proverbs 3:9, 10 — “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” Abraham gave the tithe before the written Law, and Jesus commended tithing in the New Testament. Tithing comes with a promise. It is an act of faith that often doesn’t seem to make sense from a human perspective.
12. Proverbs 3:11, 12 — “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” Faith trusts the Lord through discipline, understanding that His discipline, though painful, is an act of love.
13. Proverbs 3:19 — “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth….” God made the natural laws and the ethical laws that govern all creation. He holds us accountable to both. There are basic principles for living that hold true because God made them. If you choose to disobey either His natural laws or His ethical laws, you will suffer needlessly. For example, if you don’t take care of your physical body, you will suffer needlessly; if you don’t live by love, you will suffer needlessly. Though God gives us grace, He also holds us accountable for the word He has given us, particularly since He has given us access to the Holy Spirit for supernatural strength and self-control.
14. Psalm 25:2 – “O my God, in you I trust.” Really? Obey Him then. Proclaim Him! Surrender all the Him!
15. Psalm 25:3 – “Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame.” Waiting is one of the hardest things to do. God’s promises are not on our timeline. Are you willing to wait and continue to obey day-by-day without apparent results? Consider the Bible stories you have already read about those who waited and were blessed and those who couldn’t wait anymore and were cursed.
16. Psalm 25:27 – “Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!” We count on God’s goodness, not ours.
17. Psalm 25:9 – “He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.” Humility is the prerequisite as discussed previously.
16. Psalm 25:15 – “My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.” Focus is everything. With focus comes power. A 50-watt lightbulb can barely light up a room, but 50-watt lasers are used to cut through bone in medical surgery. The difference is focus. To live a powerful, purposeful life, focus all of your energy on Jesus.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 3 March: Focus all of your energy today on obeying Jesus and serving Him. Make the most of every opportunity today to proclaim Jesus to others. Strive to view everything around you from Jesus’s perspective. Walk with Him today, and wait for His lead. Don’t just get busy with all sorts of activities today. Wait for the Holy Spirit to guide you. (See today’s readings)