NUMBERS 6:1-7:89 | MARK 12:38-13:13 | PSALM 49:1-20 | PROVERBS 10:27-28
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The origin of the tradition of the Nazirite is housed within this chapter of Numbers. Not to be confused with the town of Nazareth, a Nazirite was a person—male or female—who was free to take on a vow for a certain length of time or even forever that included among other things to not take a razor to one’s head.
The most well-known personality of this order was Samson whom we shall encounter shortly in the Book of Judges. It is thought that the modern tradition of Rastafaria has origins from this ancient Hebrew tradition.
Continuing in the chapter, we find a most sublime blessing that, as the record states, has been given to Moses directly from God in that Moses in turn is instructed to give to the priesthood so as to have it become the standard blessing to the people of Israel.
To this day, it happens to be the most common blessing given by ministers from every Christian denomination to their congregation as a final benediction. It is as follows:
24 “The LORD bless you and keep you;
25 the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
The next chapter provides a most detailed account of the freewill gift offerings that a representative from each of the twelve tribes of Israel makes on the occasion of the dedication of the altar in the Tabernacle. The massive amounts of gold, silver, and livestock is quite staggering, but after all the offerings are presented by the people, all appears to be well with God and man.
Turning to our reading in Mark, we see Jesus observing the people around him. He has a harsh prediction for the teachers of the Law in the Temple who are all about show-and-tell. However, he makes a careful observation about a poor widow who gives the princely sum of two copper coins, and yet that is what he says, is more valuable and meaningful. Jesus says when you give from whatever little you have, you give more than what the richest man on earth could ever give.
Jesus goes on to speak to the matter of end times, and says this about signs: 13 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Take note, all ye who believe that the life of a Christian on this earth is one untouched by trials.
Next, in our Psalm for the day, David expounds on the futility of riches, and has this to say about those who have wealth without one other thing more valuable than all the riches of the world: understanding.
20 A man who has riches without understanding
is like the beasts that perish.
Many years later, David’s son Solomon has words of wisdom that transcends generations. Fear in this usage is a synonym for deep respect, not unlike the emotion commonly known as love. He says this:
27 The fear of the LORD adds length to life,
but the years of the wicked are cut short.
28 The prospect of the righteous is joy,
but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.