Saturday, 31 March 2018
Numbers 31:22-24 emphasizes the importance of cleansing. The healing of the demon-possessed man, in Luke 8, emphasizes the power of Christ to cleanse even the most sinful of people. To be cleansed from sin involves an act of the will on our part - “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin” (Psalm 39:1). The Psalmist does not only speak of being kept from sin. He also speaks about being on fire for the Lord: “My heart grew hot within me; and as I meditated, the fire burned, then I spoke with my tongue” (Psalm 39:3).
Friday, 30 March 2018
In the parable of the sower, Jesus speaks of the seed and the fruit. In Numbers, we read of Moses and Joshua. The seed had been sown by Moses. The fruit would be given to Joshua. The important thing is this: It is not the sower or the reaper who gives the increase. It is God who gives the increase. As we look to God to give the increase, we say to Him, “I wait for You, O Lord; you will answer, O Lord my God” (Psalm 38:15).
Thursday, 29 March 2018
Our God is the Lord of hosts – “The total number of the men of Israel was 601,730” (Numbers 26:51). He is also the God of the individual – “Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace'” (Luke 7:50). He is the God of kings – “By Me the kings reign” (Proverbs 8:16). He is also the God of all who love Him – “I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me will find Me” (Proverbs 8:17).
Wednesday, 28 March 2018
There is, in Numbers 24:17,19, a prophecy concerning the Lord Jesus Christ: “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a sceptre will rise out of Israel … A ruler will come out of Jacob.” Centuries later, John the Baptist was sent by God as a messenger. He prepared the way of the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 7:27). Psalm 38 speaks of a very difficult time in the Psalmist’s life. Significantly, this Psalm begins with the words, “O Lord.” This is what we must do. We must in all our need to the only One who can meet our need fully – the Lord. He is not only the fulfilment of prophecy. He is the One in whom we find fulfilment.
Tuesday, 27 March 2018
“God is not a man, that He should lie” (Numbers 23:19). God’s Word is truth. To build on the foundation of God’s Word is to build on a rock-solid foundation (Luke 6:47-48). To build on this rock-solid foundation is to be safe in the stronghold of God’s salvation: “The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; He is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him” (Psalm 37:39-40).
Monday, 26 March 2018
The people of Israel had been “blessed” by the Lord (Numbers 22:12). Jesus also speaks of the way of blessing (Luke 6:20-22). Psalm 37:2 tells us that “those the Lord blesses will inherit the land.” Psalm 37:25-26 reminds us of how much blessing we have received from the Lord: “I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.” Here’s something we must never forget: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Sunday, 25 March 2018
The wilderness years were not easy. The pathway from Egypt (the land of oppression) to Canaan (the land of promise) was not an easy pathway. For Jesus, the pathway between Bethlehem and Calvary was not easy. Jesus’ suffering did not begin at Calvary. There was suffering from the very beginning of His life. Herod tried to kill Him when He was still a baby. Early on in His ministry, Jesus faced opposition from “the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. They ”were looking for a way to accuse” Him. They “began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus” (Luke 6:7,11). Life, for the believer, may not be paved with the gold of this world, but we are learning to live in the light of heaven’s values: “Choose My instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her” (Proverbs 8:10-11).
Saturday, 24 March 2018
The Levites had an important part to play in the life of Israel. A man called Levi (Matthew, the writer of the first Gospel) had an important part to play in the life of the early Church. We are told, in Psalm 37:17, that “the Lord upholds the righteous” – “The days of the blameless are known to the Lord, and their inheritance will endure forever” (Psalm 37:18). This is a tremendous declaration of the saving purpose of the eternal God. We, who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, are part of the inheritance of Israel and of Jesus’ first disciples. We have come to share in their inheritance through reading, with faith, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the Scriptures which declare to us God’s preparation for Christ and God’s proclamation of Christ. Through Christ, we have entered into an eternal inheritance: “eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Friday, 23 March 2018
Thursday, 22 March 2018
In Numbers, there were those who grumbled against the Lord and those who pressed on to know the blessing of the Lord. In Jesus’ time, there were those who despised the Him and those who received the “good news” with gladness. What a difference there is between the two: “See how the evildoers lie fallen – thrown down, not able to rise!” (Psalm 36:12); “Continue Your love to those who know You” (Psalm 36:10).
Wednesday, 21 March 2018
We must contend with the world, the flesh and the devil. In Numbers 11:4-6, we read about the pull of the flesh. This becomes the lure of the world, as men, living in the flesh, speak to Moses as men of the world (Numbers 11:10-15). In Luke 4, we see the ultimate origin of evil – “the devil” (Luke 4:2). We must never imagine that we wrestle only against flesh and blood. The influence of the world is seductive. It is attractive to the flesh. In this situation, we must hear the words of Proverbs 7:24-27 as a warning against the devil, an exposure of him: “Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.” The enemy is real. The warning is strong. The Saviour is stronger. In Him, we have the victory. The world will not prevail over us. The flesh will not prevail over us. The devil will not prevail over us. Jesus is Victor!
Tuesday, 20 March 2018
From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire” (Numbers 9:15). Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp” (Numbers 11:1). “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand to clear the threshing floor and to gather the wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Luke 3:16-17). Fire is a symbol of God’s working among His people. In both Numbers and Luke, there are two aspects of God’s work in us; burning away the sin and brightening our lives with the presence of God, with the power of the Holy Spirit. Those who have been blessed by the Lord in this way must surely say of Him: “My tongue will speak of Your righteousness and of Your praises all day long” (Psalm 35:28).
Monday, 19 March 2018
At the time of the book of Numbers, worship took place in the Tent of Meeting. By the time of Jesus, worship took place in the Temple. The Passover was being celebrated in the Desert of Sinai in the days of Moses. The Passover was being celebrated in Jerusalem in the days of Jesus. The important thing is not the place where we worship. It is the Person whom we worship. In Luke 2:49, Jesus says, “Didn’t you know that I had to be in My Father’s House (or about My Father’s business)?” The important thing is being in the centre of the Father’s will. Many are in the Father’s House, but they are not about the Father’s business. We need both – in the Father’s House and about the Father’s business. When we say, with the Psalmist, “I will give thanks in the great assembly; among throngs of people I will praise You” (Psalm 35:18), it must not be mere words, being in the place of worship without being in the spirit of worship, uttering the words of worship yet missing the power of worship. True worship is always more than just words. It is an offering of ourselves to the Lord.