March 21

Numbers 32:1-33:39

The children of Reuben, and the children of Gad were a people with great livestock. When they saw that the land on the east side of the Jordan was a place rich for livestock, they approached Moses and Eleazar the High Priest and requested that their inheritance fall on the east side of the Jordan.

Moses initially assumed that they wouldn’t cross over the Jordan to help their brothers fight for their inheritance, but found out that their intention was indeed to cross over and fight – and when the “battles” were over, afterwards return to their homes on the east side of the Jordan.

Moses agreed to their plan which would also include half the tribe of Manasseh, but I wonder if it was truly the will of the Lord.

Weirsbe, “Some people choose to live on the border of God’s blessing. They make their decisions on the basis of material gain and not spiritual blessing. The two and a half tribes did not claim their inheritance in Canaan, though they were very close to it. They assured Moses that they would help conquer the land, but the tribes still brought division to Israel.”

Years down the road, when Israel began to be conquered by her enemies, these three groups, Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh were the first to be swept away (1 Kings 10:32-33). There’s something about those words, “Do not take us over the Jordan,” (Numbers 33:5) that just don’t sound right.

Border of the Promised Land – NET Notes

In Numbers 33 Moses chronicled the departure from Egypt and wanderings of the children of Israel in the wilderness.

Dr. A. T. Pierson said, “History is His story.” 

Moses makes sure to connect the Passover with their departure and redemption from slavery (Numbers 33:3). The Egyptians were still burying their firstborn when Israel was departing – the Jews did not leave as insignificant slaves, they left as a favored people who believed in the LORD who executed judgment on all the so-called-gods of Egypt (Numbers 33:4).

Wiersbe, “It is good to review the past and discern the hand of the Lord at work. God delivered them from Egypt and brought them to Sinai, where they entered into a covenant with Him (Numbers 33:1–15). Then He brought them to the border of the Promised Land, where they refused to go in (Numbers 33:16–36). They wandered for forty years and then ended up on the plains of Moab (Number 33:37–49). Unbelief means wasted time, wasted lives, and wasted opportunities, but God is gracious and long-suffering with His people.”

Luke 4:31-5:11

Jesus goes on to the beautiful city of Capernaum, teaching, casting out demons (even in the synagogue), and the people took note:

Luke 4:32 (NKJV) “And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority.”

Nothing was too big for Jesus and nothing too small. I love the way He healed Peter’s mother-in-law of a simple fever (yes Peter was married) and by the end of the day many were brought to Jesus, who proceeded to heal them and defeat every demon. The next day He rose early to pray (see Mark 1:35) and received His marching orders from His Father – time to teach in other towns.

I can’t even begin to imagine how awesome Jesus’ teachings must have been. The multitude was so impressed, they pressed about Him to hear the Word, they’ve crowded and cornered Him against the sea; so Jesus is basically forced to hop in a boat, asks the owner, Simon Peter to float out a little, so that He sits down and shares the Word with the people who are standing on the shore. Pretty cool!

We don’t have the content of this message because the emphasis of Luke at this point is the calling of Peter. After the message Jesus asks Peter to launch out farther and let his nets down for a catch. At first Peter resists, after all, he’d been fishing all night and caught nothing (have you ever worked all night?). He must have been exhausted and frustrated, maybe even mad – and then to top it off – he’d already spent that time cleaning his net. But somehow this burly fisherman had a certain respect for Jesus, and even though this wasn’t the time to fish, he was willing to submit to Jesus’ Word (think there’s a lesson there?). When he did, the catch was so crazy that their boat (and their friend’s boat) started to sink! Peter immediately knew he was in the presence of holiness and suddenly his sinfulness overwhelmed him. He fell down before Jesus with those heartfelt words, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

It’s as if he was saying the last thing someone who’s as good as You wants to do, is hang out with someone like me! But Jesus commanded Him, not to be afraid – and Jesus then, again, called Him into the ministry – from now on you will catch men. And all these sinful filthy fishermen, finally, left everything behind to follow Christ. What an adventure it would be!

And what a beautiful lesson this is, on how Jesus calls us all to follow Him, even though we’re unworthy and unable, He will teach us to be fishers of men.

Psalm 64:1-10

In this Psalm, David again prays for God’s protection from the slander of his enemies. It’s a painful to think that others would speak bad of us, and at times it’s even more than painful – it’s harmful. The lies Saul was spreading about David mustered up a movement against a man who was completely blameless from those accusations (Psalm 64:4).

David was confident that God would speak on his behalf (Psalm 64:7) and as we see so frequently in the Psalms, he ends on a high note:

Psalm 64:10 (NKJV) “The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and trust in Him. And all the upright in heart shall glory.”

We’ve all had those days or seasons of slander against us; one passage that has helped me time and time again is:

Isaiah 54:17 (NKJV) “‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,’ says the LORD.”

Proverbs 11:22

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “Israelite women wore nose rings for ornamental purposes, like earrings and rings on fingers today. How incongruous to suppose a nose ring would beautify a pig, a notoriously unclean animal! Similarly it is incongruous to suppose that a woman’s physical beauty can excuse her lack of discretion (moral perception). This verse has an unusual impact by comparing a beautiful woman to an ugly pig. Outward female beauty with indiscreet conduct is valueless and morally ugly. This is the first of many verses in Proverbs that use the word like or “as” to make a comparison, in what is called emblematic parallelism.”

(An ugly visual) Here’s a woman who is beautiful, but not wise, she lacks discretion. Discretion is defined as, “the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information.” It’s not a pleasant sight, nor a pleasant sound.

Derek Kidner, “The proverb puts it more forcibly than we might. Where we (to whom the outward is the impressive part) would have spoken of the lady as a little disappointing, Scripture sees her as a monstrosity. In contrast, see verse Proverbs 11:16, where the charm is not skin-deep, and 1 Samuel 25:33, where Abigail is praised for the discretion, or right judgment, which this Proverb counts all-important.”

(See also 1 Peter 3:3-4)

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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