Sunday, March 21, 2010

March 21

OT: Numbers 32:1-33:39

Allow me to relate imperfectly to Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh for a moment.

When I read this story, I felt that I was kind of like them. They were incredibly blessed, and they saw some good, easy land, and they wanted to take that instead of crossing over the Jordan into the inheritance God planned for them. This proposition did not go over well with Moses, who thought that they were trying to get out of fighting for what the Lord had planned for them. The tribes hastily clarified that, no, they weren't trying to shirk their responsibilities. They would do what God wanted...they just really wanted this life. The one on this side of the Jordan.

I don't really know if what they did was right or wrong. God seemed okay with it, even though it wasn't His plan for them. But I can't help but wonder if they didn't miss out because they chose not to embrace the full inheritance that God had for them.

The way I relate to them is that I feel very blessed, and I love the comfy life I have. I don't want to shirk my responsibilities to God or anything...but sometimes I wonder if, by embracing my comfortable life, I am missing out on the "full inheritance" that God has for me. Like, maybe He has plans for me that don't involve my picture of how I want my life to go, and by clinging to that picture, I am missing out. I don't know. I guess I just don't feel radical enough in my life sometimes, though I'm honestly unsure of what God would want me to do differently.

It's a strained analogy, to be sure, but I am a little interested to see how all this works out for them. Does their "settling" end up being a good thing or a bad thing?

NT: Luke 4:31-5:11

I don't really have any deep thoughts about the NT. I just love seeing how much Jesus loves people. After witnessing God's violent tendencies yesterday, seeing Jesus heal people left and right was a wonderful experience.

I also love how people couldn't get enough of Jesus. Verse 42 says that they tried to keep Him from leaving, but He told them that He had to go preach the good news to others. Jesus did such amazing things in their lives that they just didn't want to let Him go. (Do I sometimes try to keep Jesus all to myself instead of sharing Him with others? Or am I just looking for ways to engage in self-flagellation with today's reading?)

Luke's gospel shows how Jesus' calling of the disciples was not a completely spontaneous, "Follow me." Jesus had used Simon's boat as a platform to preach to the masses. Thus, Simon was well aware of Him and His teachings. After reading the OT, I also understand Simon's reaction a little better when Jesus works His fish miracle. Simon falls "at Jesus' knees and [says], 'Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!'" Apparently, the people have learned all too well that sin and God don't mix. And so if you couldn't stop sinning, then you had best be staying away from God! Thus, when Peter sees someone who clearly has a bit of God in Him, he is terrified of dying. And rightly so! The fact that Peter had nothing to fear underscores just how truly amazing this shift is from the OT to the NT.

Psalm 64:1-10

Yeah, yeah. People are still jerks, and David wants God to "take care" of them. (Today's plan involves shooting them with arrows.)

I did like verse 9: "All mankind will fear; they will proclaim the works of God and ponder what he has done." (I'm a sucker for the highlighted ones, apparently.) I have definitely been pondering what God has done lately!

Proverbs 11:22

Oddly, I love this verse. Maybe it is because our culture worships outward beauty so much that I appreciate the acknowledgment that such beauty is nothing if the inside doesn't match the outside. And I am especially drawn to the idea of how that is true of a "woman who shows no discretion." To be frank, outward beauty is such a gift. It makes me sad when people waste that gift, when they nullify it by the choices they make.


  1. Some quick thoughts before I go to bed:

    I tend to think that it wasn't a problem (i.e. selling themselves short) for Reuben and Gad to settle down where they saw that it was good. My verse 4a says, "[T]he LORD has conquered this whole area for the people of Israel," so I think that land still "counted" as being part of what God wanted to give them. I can see how you get what you're thinking--and that could be possible--but I tend to think that that's what God had in mind for them. (Although, really, there is no way to know for sure.)

    I thought it was interesting in Luke how Jesus had to leave the people to be able to help other people. I think we often feel guilty about turning people away who need help, but the truth is that we only have so much to give. It's okay if we have put someone/something on the back burner to take care of someone/something else. We don't like to do that, though.

    BTW, Kim, let me know if you/Greg need any help with anything for Cross-Training (like in the morning or afternoon) since I'm just down the road and don't yet have any plans (except on Thursday) set in stone for this week (though I'm sure I will soon; I just want to give you the chance to ask first). :) Oh, and I really liked Greg's sermon this morning. That was just what I needed to hear. I wish he would preach more often.

  2. Thanks, Becky! Thanks for the offer to help, and the feedback on Greg's sermon. I will pass both of them along!

    And thank you for being such a faithful commenter. I was just talking to the Salleys today about how wonderful it is to hear other people's perspectives on Scripture. Your takes on Numbers and Lukek today were both great, and they helped me in my understanding. I especially loved the idea of only having so much to give. So true:).

    I know that you may not always be able (or inclined) to add your two cents, and that is totally okay. But I did want to let you know that I very much appreciate it!