NUMBERS 11:24-13:33 | MARK 14:22-52 | PSALM 52:1-9 | PROVERBS 11:1-3
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The burden of leadership is distributed more evenly and as promised, God arranges for seventy elders from the people to receive the gifts of prophecy and leadership so that Moses is not alone. Also, the desire for meat that the people were craving is satisfied by the provision of quail. And yet, the ways of the Almighty cannot be completely understood by man.
Even whilst the blessing of prophecy was afforded to the two elders who did not come out publicly to receive it, meaning there was a form of acceptance and forgiveness in this, there is punishment meted out to the people in the form of a plague soon after the gift of the quail. If you think you know it all, well, perhaps you don’t…
And there’s perhaps even less to know and understand with the incident of Miriam, Moses’ sister. Miriam and her other brother Aaron aren’t too happy with Moses’ wife, it seems, and perhaps one thing leads to another, and next thing we know is that there is a conflict between the three. But Moses does appear to be a man after God’s own heart, so much so that he is apparently the only one to have the privilege of seeing God’s face.
But, alas, Miriam’s offense of backbiting does not go unpunished—she is afflicted with leprosy immediately after God comes down in a pillar of cloud to clarify things, and were it not for Moses’ plea, Miriam would not have been restored to her normal self seven days later.
But it is time to move on through the desert to the promised land. And that is what they do. A team of young men is assembled—one from each of the twelve tribes—and they go up through the Negev and discover a land so impressive that they return to Moses and report “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.”
Next, we turn to Mark and find the account of Jesus’ betrayal and arrest. But before that, Jesus spends time with his disciples in the garden of Gethsamane. If only the disciples knew that this would be the last time they would all be together; if only Peter knew that despite all his good intentions, he would be overcome to deny Jesus not once but three times—in the same day. If only they knew that Judas who had slipped away sometime during the night—perhaps when Jesus was agonizing in prayer and the rest were in a deep slumber—was to return with Roman guards to arrest Jesus. If only they knew what a great event was soon to take place!
The Psalm for the day is one in which David appears to spare no detail in the comparison between the righteous and the wicked, and chief among the differences between the two is the use of the tongue. Would that one could train that little organ in our bodies! But like David, I too would like to say this about myself:
8 But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
forever and ever.
9 I will praise you forever for what you have done;
in your name I will hope, for your name is good.
I will praise you in the presence of your saints.
Finally, from our Proverbs for the day, Solomon offers up these words, worthy to be reproduced and remembered:
2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.