OT: Numbers 26: 1-51
Well, there's obviously not much to say today. Israel took another census. I would have figured that they would have lost a lot of men, what with the 250 being burned alive, the 14, 700 having died of a plague, and the 24,000 having died of, well, another plague. And yet, their census numbers say that they have lost only a little over 2,000. So...that's good? (This also might be one of those Herodotus things that Coach Sal mentioned in the comments of the March 12 blog). All I can think of is maybe there were a lot of young boys under twenty in the first census who turned twenty by the time of the second one to make up some of their numbers. Also, I have no idea how much time has passed between these two censuses. It's got to be less than forty years though, right?
This line of thought isn't extremely riveting to me, so rather than investigate further, I'm going to move on:)..........
Luke 2: 36-52
Well, we didn't actually name our daughter after Anna in the Bible (though we liked that it was a Biblical name). We just loved the name, Anna Grace. (Unfortunately, Anna means Grace, so her name literally means "Grace Grace." Okay, are we talking about the text, or my daughter's name here? Let's try and focus:)).
As a mom, my first thought is, "How can you leave your son for a day and not miss him???" It is amazing how different these times were, that you could just trust that your children were with friends or relatives and have no thought to their safety. It kind of shows me how rampant and perverse our sexuality has gotten as a society, where I can hardly let my kids out of my sight today without worrying about what someone might do to them. Among other concerns.
It's neat, though, to get a little sense of the community in which Jesus grew up. They traveled as a big group, and they all trusted each other to the point that their kids could run around without them worrying about it. I don't know--reading that, I just sense that he grew up with a lot of love.
Except that no one missed him when he was gone for a day:).
As a child, I loved the image of Jesus amazing the adults in the temple and being taken seriously by them. Isn't that what every kid wants--to have adults take them seriously as a person? And unlike today's typical adult, the teachers of the Law didn't take kids seriously just because they were human beings. Children had no standing in society, and so you know that Jesus was saying amazingly intelligent things. I would love to know how the conversation started and what all was said.
And I love again how Mary "treasured all these things in her heart" (51). Too bad they didn't scrapbook back then:). Thankfully, she had a historian to write all this stuff down for her!
Psalm 60: 1-12
Oooooh, question of the day: the intro to the psalm says that it is "For teaching." What is it supposed to teach? And second question of the day: What story is the intro talking about? My cursory Bible Gateway search led me to believe it might be about 2 Samuel 8, which isn't much of a story, nor does it mention Joab, but it does talk about David becoming famous for striking down 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt (13). And it says shortly afterward that Joab was over the army. So maybe Joab's forces killed 12,000 of those men.
The weird part is that both the intro to the psalm and my proposed context are victorious times. So why does verse 1 start with, "You have rejected us, O God..." The first three vereses, in fact, speak of God sending hardship on the land.
Okay. My knee-jerk theory is that David is trying to give some historical context to their present in order to teach people that God is in control of every situation. God is in control of everything, both the bad and the good. The same God who gave them victory also earlier sent them hardships. But even in the midst of hardship, God calls to the righteous (4), and He makes plans for their future victories (6-8). And so, when the righteous do go on to be victorious, they need to remember that it is God who led them to that point, and not themselves (9-12).
I have a thought about Proverbs that is longer than one sentence! Here, Solomon essentially advises not to put up security for another person. Wouldn't today's equivalent be, like, cosigning a loan? I feel like the principle of this advice is that it is dangerous to tie your money to other people's decisions. And that's true. If you want to keep your money, then you should not make it dependent on other people's ability to pay off a loan. These words are great for self-preservation.
And yet, at the same time, Jesus takes the idea of "wise" giving to a new level. In the Sermon on the Mount, He says to lend without expecting return. And throughout His teachings, you see that Jesus tells us to give freely to God, which often means to give freely to others.
So...what I get from these two teachings is that it is unwise to lend when you expect/want/need the item to be returned. If you are concerned about your own interests (no judgment here), then you should not engage in these practices (putting up security, striking pledges). However, if you have no concern for your own interest in a particular situation, then you should lend freely, not expecting a return (I think that's also called, "giving"). So either give your money away freely, or keep it, but it's not wise to try to find a middle ground. Does that sound right?