Archive for : February, 2020



Numbers 34
Numbers 35
Numbers 36
Mark 9:33-50

We have read in Matthew and in Mark that Jesus sometime withdrew to a “solitary place” for personal prayer and time of contemplation.  And today we see another example He sets for us – at times we may also need to withdraw with others for a time of study — a retreat of sorts:

Mark 9: 30 They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, 31 because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” 32 But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.



Numbers 31
Numbers 32
Numbers 33
Mark 9:1-32

Mark 8: 31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

I begin with this passage from Mark 8 because I think it provides a bit of insight into what we read today:

Mark 9: After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them

Do you see what Peter did in Mark 8?  As we discussed last year during our Bible Class on “Fearless” Peter was placing Jesus in Peter’s “box” of being an earthly king who could not be killed.  And today we read that Jesus revealed himself as who he is – the light of the world!   There could be no denying that this “man” they were following was different from what they expected – certainly not an earthly king.



Take Time to Reflect on the Impact of the Scriptures You Have Read …



Numbers 28
Numbers 29
Numbers 30
Mark 8

When you read chapter 28 with all of the sacrifices and memorials the Lord commanded (via Moses) the Israelites to observe were you like me in thinking “I have already read these commands in Exodus and Leviticus why are they repeated?”

This is where I think it is so important for us to keep in mind the time-line of Israel.  Yes, these commands were given earlier but to a different group of Israelites.  Remember they are now ready to enter the Promised Land after 40 years of travel.  And due to their disobedience, the earlier generation has all died.  So, Moses repeats the Lord’s command to a new population.  There could be no excuse for failing to follow the commands of the Lord!



Numbers 25
Numbers 26
Numbers 27
Mark 7

Did you note that in the passages from Mark the word “tradition” was used at least six times? And no doubt that we all observe at least six traditions be they family, work, school or even within the Body of Believers.  And there is nothing wrong with traditions unless they fall within the two admonishments Jesus spoke to the Pharisees and teachers of the law:

Mark7:  You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 

 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”

And how do we know if our traditions “nullify the word of God?”  First you have to know the word of God and secondly, compare the tradition to the truth of the Word.  If the tradition intuitively “feels wrong” compare it to God’s teaching. 



Numbers 22
Numbers 23
Numbers 24
Mark 6:30-56

Since today’s reading in Numbers is focused on the actions of Baalam and of course as children we read of the “talking donkey” segment I thought it would be worthwhile to shed some light on who Baalam was.  I mean was he a true prophet of God or was he one of the ungodly men the Lord used to fulfill His plan?  James Coffman provides an apt discussion:

His name, Balaam, means “devourer, destroyer, or devourer of the people.” In 2 Peter 2:15,16, Balaam was referred to as having “forsaken the right way,” indicating that certainly, at one time, he was in the right way. Also, it is clearly declared in the narrative before us that “the Spirit of God” enabled him to deliver valid prophecies. Thus, there was surely a period of his life when he walked in the truth, even praying that his “latter end” be like that of the faithful. Peter also called Balaam a prophet (2 Peter 2:16).

However, upon the occasion of Balaam’s death, when he was slain along with the enemy opposing Israel, Joshua referred to him as “the soothsayer” (Numbers 13:22), a description that fits both the beginning and the final period of Balaam’s life. Soothsayers were proscribed under the law of Moses, and the practice of that art was utterly forbidden to Israel.

Despite God’s use of this prophet in the matter of frustrating the desires of Balak, however, this favor of God was insufficient to keep Balaam in the right way. The reason for this stated in the N.T. is that “he loved the wages of the unrighteousnesss.” Balaam evidently thought to make amends for his failure to give satisfaction to Balak, and this he did by advising Balak to accomplish the destruction of Israel by seducing them to commit adultery with the daughters of Moab. The manner in which this seduction was carried out is reported in Numbers 25. Balaam also joined forces with the Moabites against Israel and died in the battle that resulted in their defeat. The account of this evil counsel which originated with Balaam is in Numbers 31:16. That this was one of Balaam’s greatest sins is evident in the fact that in the message of the Holy Spirit to the church at Pergamum (Revelation 2:14), one finds this: “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there some that hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication.”



Numbers 13
Numbers 14
Numbers 15
Mark 5:1-20

Mark 518 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolishow much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Did you notice a bit of contrast in this episode?  Not only did Jesus remove demons he also created a missionary.  And when He acts in our loves are we as willing to tell the story.?



Leviticus 25
Leviticus 26
Leviticus 27
Mark 1:29-45

A Depression Tactic:  Federal agricultural programs launched during the 1930s changed how and what Nebraska farmers planted by paying them to plant certain crops or paying them not to produce a crop at all – letting the land lie idle (fallow).

I begin with the above paragraph because this technique used to help end the devastation of the American Great Depression was a command of Godly wisdom from the Lord to care for His people. 

Leviticus 25: But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.



Leviticus 22
Leviticus 23
Leviticus 24
Mark 1:1-28

If someone asks me for my opinion for the first gospel they should read I refer them to Mark.  Mark is an action biography of what Jesus did – not so much as what he taught (as does Matthew and Luke.)  And in today’s reading we see Jesus baptized and immediately tempted.  It occurred to me that this is the same way Satan tries to work in the life of new believers.  When we arise from the waters of baptism we are making a choice between being obedient to God or or to Satan.  And Satan does not like to lose! 



Take Time to Reflect on the Impact of the Scriptures You Have Read …



Leviticus 16
Leviticus 17
Leviticus 18
Matt 27:32-66

Did you note that even as Jesus was dying on the cross Matthew continues to describe to his audience (intended for mostly Jews) the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy that Jesus is indeed to Son of God?

Matthew 2735 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.  — Psalm 22:18

Matthew 27: 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[c] lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)  — Psalm 22:1



Leviticus 13
Leviticus 14
Leviticus 15
Matt 27:1-31

As you read the chapters in Leviticus did you wonder why the Lord went to such detail?  Coffman and other commentators explain that it is the Lord’s instruction on how to protect his chosen people from the then uncurable earthly disease, leprosy.  Coffman writes:

The Holy Scriptures were never provided in order to give men scientific information, and the thing that is in view here is the divine instruction to protect the spread of disease, especially that of leprosy. It is not the cure of this malady which is given here, but the rules for the isolation and quarantine of those having it. That such instructions are Divine should not be for a moment questioned. The fact that those ancient priests charged with the task of observing human maladies and deciding which was leprosy and which was not were probably subject to human error in their decisions should not obscure the truth that the method they followed was the best known and the most efficient that that age provided.



Leviticus 10
Leviticus 11
Leviticus 12
Matt 26:47-75

Matthew 26:  52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” 55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. 57 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. 58 But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.

Two thoughts came to me as I read today – one based on scripture and the other on human nature.  First, did you note that even when arrested Jesus was still teaching the fulfillment of His Father’s plan.  And secondly, we often “judge” Peter for his three denials of Jesus.  But did you note that “all the disciples deserted him” and, yet, it was Peter who followed Him later?