Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
Observations: In Balaam continues to speak what the Lord has given him to speak, blessing the Israelites. In Numbers 25, the Israelite camp falls prey to the Midianite women and a plague starts because of God’s wrath. Phineas stops the plague by running his sword through a couple who were taking after Baal. In chapter 26, God called for another census to be taken. This census would determine how the Promised land was to be divided among the sons of the 12 patriarchs. In chapter 27, God rules that women can also inherit land.
Application: I remember when I first learned about the “Love Chapter”. My niece is the one who first called it that. I am sure I had read it many times, and probably heard it in many weddings, but had never really thought about how strong a message of love it was giving. The reason so many people today feel unloved and unlovable is because our world is getting totally contrary to what love truly is. People are growing more and more arrogant and rude. People are not patient and though I see kindness often, I know of parts of the country where that is a rare commodity. What the world needs now is Love, sweet love. As the song says “it’s the only thing that there’s too little of…”
Prayer: Lord, this world is so full of prejudice and hatred. People are out for themselves. Community barely exists, and where it does, people seem to attack it’s morals. Lord, your greatest commandment was that we love you with all our heart, soul and mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves. The problem is that so many people have grown up with such low self-esteem that they struggle to love themselves. The world is becoming hardened and suicide is on the rise. Please dear God, fill our world with your love! Teach us to love just as your taught your disciples to pray. Direct us Lord we pray.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Numbers 28-29; Mark 8
Scripture: Mark 7: 21-23 “For from within, out of the heart of man, comes evil thought, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sexuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Observations: Starting in Numbers 21, the Israelites start having to fight battles. All they wanted to do was pass through the country and no one wanted to let them do it. All who rose up against them were defeated. In chapters 22-23 we have the story of Balak calling on Balaam to curse the Israelites. First Balaam said he couldn’t go with them because God said no. Then he went with them and his donkey tried to protect him from the angel of God who was ready to kill him, but the donkey spoke to him. I would be in shock if an animal spoke to me, but he just argued back with the beast. Even though Balak offered him a fortune, Balaam was only able to bless Israel two times. Stay tuned tomorrow for the third time (it’s a charm). In Mark 6 Jesus is rejected by his own home town. He sends the twelve Apostles out in groups of two to testify about him. John the Baptist is beheaded because he made King Herod’s wife mad. Jesus feeds five thousand + with two fish and five loafs of bread. Jesus terrified his apostles by walking on water in the middle of a storm. Jesus continued to heal people. Jesus takes a stance against the tradition of the Pharisees, which of course didn’t win him any popularity awards. At the end of the chapter a foreign woman comes to Jesus and asks him to heal her daughter. She had much more faith in him than the people of Nazareth had just a chapter earlier.
Application: The Pharisees were concerned about outward cleanliness, but Jesus assured them that no matter how clean the outside of a cup was, what mattered was what was inside. We were born with a sin nature, and until we allow Holy Spirit to conquer that sinful nature, we are prone to ugliness.
Prayer: Father, please remove any evil in my body. Give us clean hearts! Do not let us follow the evil course Balaam fell into where he sold his soul. Help us follow you unwaveringly.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Numbers 24-27; 1 Corinthians 13