March 20

Numbers 30:1-31:54

Numbers 30 deals with vows that are made to the LORD and it’s rather straightforward.

Numbers 30:2 (NKJV) “If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.”

ESV Notes, “In a crisis people often make a vow: “If God delivers me from X, I promise to do Y.” There are many examples in the Bible (e.g. Genesis 28:20–22; 1 Samuel 1:11). The danger is that, when the crisis is over, the vow may not be fulfilled. Stern warnings about failing to fulfill a vow are found in Deuteronomy 23:21–23 and Ecclesiastes 5:4–6.”

If a woman made a vow to the LORD she was also bound to keep it. But if she made a vow in the presence of her father or her husband, there was a provision of protection. It’s very possible for any one of us to say something rashly, without thinking things through, therefore, if her father or husband judged the vow unwise, they were empowered to overrule the vow.

One of the responsibilities we have as fathers and husbands is to protect our daughters and wives, and that’s seen so clearly here. It’s also important to listen to our wives. I’m a bit saddened by what we read in:

Numbers 30:14 (NKJV) “Now if her husband makes no response whatever to her from day to day…”

Here’s a man who’s not listening, who’s not talking, and in essence not caring or protecting. Many husbands are like that. Oh the power of words, the power of authority, and the power of silence.

This chapter calls me to be a better husband, father and to be a man of my word. We read in:

Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 (NKJV) “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed–better not to vow than to vow and not pay.”

For those of us who are married, may we never forget the vows we made to God, and may we always have that heart to keep those vows!

It’s also important that we keep the chapter in context. As Israel is about to enter into war, men may be rash in making vows to God with a view to secure victory (see Judges 11). Simultaneously God was fulfilling His vow to grant Israel the land.

Numbers 31 is God’s vengeance upon the Midianites. Keep in mind this was the nation that had a heart to curse God’s people and had seduced Israel into idolatry and immorality.

Warren Wiersbe, “Balaam did not have long to enjoy whatever rewards Balak gave him because he was killed in the battle (v. 8). Alas, he did not “die the death of the righteous” (Numbers 23:10)! As Mark wrote, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). Israel won the war but almost lost the victory, for the leaders brought some Midianite women into the camp along with the spoils. Incomplete obedience always leads to further temptation. (See 1 Sam. 15.) If we do not defeat the enemy, the enemy will defeat us.”

As a pastor I often pray Numbers 31:9, “Let not a single soul, not one man or woman be missing.”

Luke 4:1-30

Before Jesus begins His public ministry, He is filled with and led by the Spirit – to spend some secluded time (40 days) with His Father – AND – to be tempted by the devil. It’s absolutely awesome to see the way He prevailed, how Jesus overcame each temptation by quoting and standing on Scripture – He swung His sword, and we need to do the same.

In reading this chapter I’m deeply convicted and reminded of the importance of fasting. May the Spirit lead us. Why don’t we have that power over temptation? Power over the enemy, power to preach, teach, and heal like Jesus? Sometimes it’s simply because we’re not seeking God with ALL of our heart, we’re neglecting the Christian call to fast (Luke 5:35; Matthew 17:21).

When Jesus was done defeating the devil, He wasn’t drained, He was empowered. The Word began to spread, and Jesus’ teaching ministry began. We have a sample sermon in His hometown of Nazareth. Jesus is handed the scroll of Isaiah, He opens up to chapter 61 (back then they didn’t have chapter and verse – but Jesus knew exactly where to find this prophecy – Isaiah 61:1-2a). Jesus reads it and simply says, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

I’ve always loved this prophecy because it describes such a beautiful ministry to the people. Jesus Christ was anointed by the Holy Spirit, to preach the gospel to the humble, and He was sent to heal the brokenhearted. Question, “Do you have a broken heart?” Let Jesus heal it, He can.

Our Lord brings liberty to the captives. There are so many in chains, and slaves to all sorts of sin; Jesus sets us free! He helps us see; He lifts the oppression, all rooted in the fact that we are “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). Jesus came to preach the “acceptable year of the LORD.” We often speak of accepting the Lord, and there is a ring of truth to that, but primarily the Bible speaks of the Lord accepting us, as we believe in and receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. 

It’s interesting that Jesus stopped reading the scroll where He did, because the prophecy in Isaiah goes on to speak of God’s judgment – it speaks of His Second Coming – the Day of Vengeance. That Day will come, but first, it was the Acceptable Day of the Lord. Have you opened your heart to the Lord? Have you received Him as Lord and Savior?

Tragically the people of Nazareth rejected Jesus as the Messiah. It didn’t fit their feeble minds – they knew Joseph, Mary, and the rest of the family, so how could He possibly be the Messiah? They refused to believe. And in the very beginning we begin to see what would develop in the end, how Jesus would (generally speaking) be rejected by the Jews and embraced by the Gentiles (there was Biblical precedence). When Jesus brings up this truth in the Old Testament, they try to kill Him. Isn’t it insane how quickly people can be moved by Satan himself to murder the Messiah? (John 8:44)

But it wasn’t His time.

Psalm 63:1-11

This was another one of those times when David’s life was on the line, there were those who were seeking to destroy him (Psalm 63:9). Have you ever been there? Ever had an army hunting you down, seeking to steal, kill, and destroy? Probably not physically, but spiritually we’ve all been there. I’m reminded of Jesus’ words of contrast between the Devil and Himself:

John 10:10 (NKJV) “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

In this war we’re in, we are to fight the good fight with spiritual weapons. David sought God, HIS God, early. David did not look to anything the world had to offer because it was all futile in this fight. David looked to God and looked for more of God. David was satisfied in that place, he remembered God, he meditated on God and He knew God would be his help.

David knew the power of God as well as the love of God (Psalm 63:3). That combination of God’s absolute sovereignty and His perfect love for us all – should bring us to a  place of trusting God. We can even praise Him in advance for the victory in front of us.

Psalm 63:11 (NKJV) “But the king shall rejoice in God; Everyone who swears by Him shall glory; but the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.”

Proverbs 11:20-21

V. 20 – What a contrast – there are those who are perverse in heart, and there are those who are blameless in heart. The former are an abomination to God, while the latter are His delight. O God, grant us lives of blamelessness, where we would be willing to surrender EVERY area and member of our bodies, every minute and moment, to You. (see also Genesis 17:1; Job 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:2)

V. 21 – It’s inevitable, even though the numbers are mounting against God, it matters not, even when the whole wide world comes against Him, they don’t stand a sliver of a chance, the day will come, when the wicked will be punished. On the flip side of that same truth is the promise of prosperity to the posterity of the righteous. God help us to do all we can to maintain a right relationship with God.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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