Number 4:1-5:31; Mark 12:18-37;
Psalm 48:1-14; Proverbs 10:26
Today in our reading, God assigns the Levites jobs to break camp. No utensil is to be left behind and no pole is to be forgotten when the Tabernacle of God is moved in the wilderness. Each Levite clan had a job:
- The Merari clan carried the heavy articles like the pillars, poles, boards, and bars.
- The Kohahites carried the furniture.
- The Gershonites carried the curtains, coverings, and cords.
Do you know your position in God's camp? Could you define why God has you on this earth? What gifts do you have to share with others? Are you a merciful person? What about a natural organizer? Maybe you are an amazing musician? A great parent? Regardless, you have a job in God's camp. Your job creates order in God's universe. Do your job!
One last comment on the Old Testament reading today, the jealousy offering is an interesting, somewhat disturbing offering. I will only say this, a jealous husband can be thought of as a control freak in our day. I think the picture that God is trying to portray here is one of deep love. God is our husband. The church is His bride and Israel is portrayed as His wife. This offering is a picture of God being jealous for our devotion. Are you a good faithful wife to God? Have you broken intimacy with Him? Or is He your only true lover?
Although this is their belief, the Sadducees decide to ask Jesus a question designed to trap him. They ask about marriage after death. Jesus, speaking with the authority of one who is familiar with the afterlife, informs the Saduccees that they don't know their Scriptures. Nice dig. He tells them that there is no marriage in the afterlife. He describes people who have died as being like the angels in heaven in this respect. Note, Jesus is not saying we become angels. This is a false belief that some Christians have. He is putting it in their faces that there are angels. Angels in heaven do not marry. Marriage is exclusive to human beings for a reason. That reason being it is a picture of the relationship between God and those who love Him and have faith in Him. This relationship is meant to be honored and reflected in our lives on this earth.
Anyway, Jesus then confronts their belief in resurrection by using the books of Moses that they so highly esteem. In those very books it states that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The verb used in the text indicates that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive. Jesus is asking them to think about how that is possible. The conclusion is that it is possible because they are alive. They are living on in eternity after death. Jesus informs the Sadducees that they have made an error in their doctrine. He uses the Word of God to prove it.
Next, Jesus had to have been encouraged when a sincere seeker, who happened to be one of the religious teachers of the Law, asks him an honest question. He asks which is the greatest commandment. Jesus responds that loving the Lord, your God and then loving your neighbor as yourself are number one and number two. The man confirms that these commandments are more important than burnt offerings and sacrifices. Jesus is pleased. This man gets it!
God identifies with His Holy city Jerusalem. The name means city of peace. It has been anything but a city of peace on earth. This will not be true for the future. God has a plan. The earthly Jerusalem will be a city of peace in the future and then this earth will pass away. After that, we will all live in the New Jerusalem as part of the new heaven and new earth. Consider this as you read this psalm.
Can we read a little truth today? Okay. "Lazy people are a pain to their employer." Thank you.
What did you notice?
P.S. I turn 50 years old today. Celebrate with me, my friends! The Year of Jubilee has come!