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.
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!
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.