Numbers 30:1-31:54, Luke 4:1-30, Psalms 63:1-11, Proverbs 11:20-21
Today is March 20th. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian. It is a joy, an honor, it is a pleasure to come around the global campfire, come in out of the cold, come in out of the dark and just see the fire glow all around the campfire where we’ve come to take the next step forward together in community. So, we’re reading from the God’s word Translation this week and we will go back out into the wilderness, into the book of Numbers, chapter 30 and 31 today and we will listen to more of the law.
Okay. So, from what we read in the book of Numbers today, we can piece kinda two pieces of a story together that will bring some context for the territory that we’re in and then we’ll talk about the gospel of Luke because what we read there today gives us some pretty significant advice for how to conduct ourselves in a specific situation. So, first the book of numbers. God told Moses to attack the Midianites for what they had done to the Israelites and that kinda comes right out of some laws. So, we have to go back a few days. Remember Balak and Moab. Remember Balaam, son of Beor, this Oracle that God spoke to who was supposed to go back to King Balak but only say what God said to say. Remember the angel with the drawn sword, that whole story. He shows back up in Midian today and he is killed in this battle and tying the two pieces of the story together with maybe a little bit of conjecture, what it seems happened is that Balaam could not curse Israel on behalf of Moab. He could not curse Israel on behalf of anyone, but at some point some advice was given on a way maybe that could undermine the Israelites without a curse and that would be to seduce the men with the women. And already we’ve seen that the intermingling with surrounding nations has already been going on and it has only led the people into idolatry. This is the reason for the battle today and perhaps why the women were named as enemies in the battle today because they had waged a war of their own on Israel through sex. Perhaps a totally different kind of weapon, but no less mortal or harmful in this case. So, that’s what we have going on here. The children of Israel are still trying to get regrouped and get themselves together so that they can actually cross the Jordan River into the promised land. Like, we’ve been chasing the promised land since January and we’re still not there. Like for us, we’re following a story that’s leading us toward the promised land but it’s taking a while because it took a long time for this promise to come to fruition. So, while the children of Israel are out in the wilderness a million strong, so a formidable society. Yeah, all the surrounding nations are freaked out by them and trying to figure out how to destroy them. And yeah, there are times that they gotta fight back. So, that’s what we see going on in the book of numbers.
Now in the book of Luke, Jesus is baptized, He goes into the wilderness, the Judean wilderness, He is tempted by the devil and then He continues His journey out of the wilderness, north into the Galilee region where He begins his ministry. He eventually makes his way to His hometown. He begins to do the same things He was doing in every other village but He’s not able to because of their lack of faith, because they watched Him grow up, they don’t have any respect for what God might be doing. He announces what His mission is from the prophet Isaiah, from the scroll of Isaiah. And then He announces that He in their hearing is fulfilling that prophecy. So, this is happening in His hometown. They are all enraged, like, “no, we saw You grow up, we saw You when You were peeing Your pants, like You’re not a prophet. And then they decide…it’s so funny…the herd mentality you can kinda see in the Bible and you scratch your head, but the same stuff still happens today. They decide that, even though they watched Him grow up and even though He’s announcing that the Spirit of the Lord is upon Him and He has been doing some pretty miraculous things in the region, they’re just gonna throw Him off a cliff and be done with it. And, so, they attempted to do that and Jesus walks right through them and goes on His. So listen, in your Christian life there are going to be times when you feel like you’re being tempted, tempted of the devil. You may feel like you’re in the wilderness when this is happening. It may be confusing to you and you will have to resist the devil because you will have to fight for your life and you may be successful, you may defeat the enemies taunts and temptations and you may move out of the wilderness and into your hometown and you may be called by God to step out and do something only to find out that nobody believes in you at all and are only taunting you. And you may continue to press forward in your calling doing everything that you know to do and staying humble before the Lord as he leads and directs your steps. And the result might be that the people who are closest to you decide to throw you off a cliff. Now that’s a metaphor in this situation. I doubt any of your family or friends again actually try to throw you off a cliff, but proverbially you may be written off, you may be abandoned, you may be walked away from, you may feel like you’ve been thrown aside. Here’s what you need to do, walk right through the crowd and go on your way. That’s what Jesus did. He went somewhere else and healed the sick, healed the brokenhearted, set the captives free, restored site to the blind, brought hearing back to those who were deaf, healed the lame, raised the dead and spoke the good news to anyone with ears to hear or eyes to see. If God has instructed you and invited you into a dance that you and He are to do together and start dancing and stop paying attention to who’s watching. Lose yourself in his eyes. Walk through the crowd and go on your way.
Holy Spirit, we invite you into that. It can mean many things to many people in many context and yet its central truth rings true for each of us. We get lost and distracted so often and in so many ways that we our often focusing on why something you may have invited us into can’t be a reality, can’t be You, can’t happen. We get distracted by the taunts and it feels like we’re rejected, abandoned, and thrown off a cliff when what we need to do is walk right through it and move on our way. Show us what that looks like in our stories Holy Spirit as we continue to move through this season of Lent, this season where we continue to contemplate what it cost to give us our freedom for free and how our lives should be oriented as an act of worship because of this in everything we do and say. And one of the things we must learn to do is listen to you above all other voices. So, come Holy Spirit, lead us into all truth, lead us forward on the way that we should go. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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