May 8, 2022

(Numbers 16, Psalm 52-54; Optional 1 John 1, Proverbs 22:13-16)

Click the following link to see every day’s through-the-Bible readings and reflections. Once there, you can sign up on my “FREE daily email” page and get daily reminders in your inbox:

NUMBERS 16 – Korah’s rebellion – powerful illustration of Prov 24:21-22 and referenced in Jude 11. A story of well-known select leaders (v 2) who aren’t content with their lot but are jealous of the unique leadership held by Moses and Aaron. They use spiritual talk (v 3), but God is not pleased (nor fooled – see v 30)  and executes the whole group of rebel leaders and all who stayed wouldn’t separate from them.

Num 16:8-11 – Compare Jer 45:5 and Titus 1:9-11, 2:15.

Num 16:25 – Heartbreaking, multi-generational consequences for sin!

Num 16:26-35 – Compare Rom 16:17, 1 Cor 5:9-13, 2 Cor 6:17, Titus 3:10. There are clearly STILL times to have separation.

Num 16:32 – But at least some of Korah’s sons must’ve listened to the warning in v 26 – see Num 26:11 (and many Psalms written by future generations from this line – “sons of Korah,” who were still very involved in Tabernacle / Temple ministry – 1 Chron 6:22, 31, 37).

Num 16:35 – God is STILL a consuming fire (1 Cor 11:27-31, Heb 12:29).

Num 16:34 – This is NOT proper fear of God, though – see v 41ff!

PSALM 52-54 – All three of these Psalms show where evil is seemingly winning for a time. But they’re all focused on WAITING for God’s deliverance in His timing (compare Ps 52:9, 53:6, 54:5).

Ps 52 – The historical setting is when David, fleeing from king Saul’s unreasonable rage, talks Ahimelech the priest into giving him and his men some necessities (1 Sam 21:1-8). Doeg the Edomite was there and curried favor with Saul by tattling, then butchering the community of priests (including their families and animals) that were there when David got a little help (1 Sam 22:7-23). This Psalm is David’s inspired-by-God reminder that God WILL bring justice one day. Again, we’re reminded that the end of the story for each believer is ETERNALLY enjoying the presence of God (Ps 52:8-9), while the end of the story for every person who does NOT make God their refuge (see v 6) is destroyed forever (see v 5; compare 2 Thess 1:9). From the hymn This Is My Father’s World: “This is my Father’s world and let me ne’er forget that though the wrong SEEMS oft’ so strong, God is the Ruler yet.”

Ps 53 – Almost exactly Psalm 14. Don’t miss that v 1-3 (quoted in Rom 3:9-12, so I’ve written a cross and “Rom 3:9-12” in my Bible margin) refers to ALL humans except Jesus. The key point of Rom 1-3 is that ALL of us are depraved, and the only hope is for God to save us through Jesus. Too many in our world think that people are basically good and think that our main problem is something outside of us, victimizing us. Sadly, because this is a post-Gen 3, fallen world we DO victimize one another. But a recurring theme through the Bible is that our MAIN problem is OURSELVES.

Ps 53:1 – Key to understanding the “fool” (a key word in Scripture, especially in wisdom literature like Psalms and Proverbs). “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” He may not say that out LOUD – he may not CALL himself an atheist, but he ACTS like one. He ACTS like he won’t have to stand before God at the judgment someday. Rom 1-3 (and Ps 53:1-3) makes clear that ALL of us come into this world living like this. Then (in v 4-5) God shifts His focus to those who STAY in their own way, thinking that they’re getting away with not calling upon God and turning to Him and His way…

Ps 53:4-5 – The END of the story is that the unrepentant will one day be in great fear / terror / dread, because God as the perfect Judge of all the earth will one day get full and complete justice.  Next to Ps 53:4-5 I’ve written a capital “S!” (because of the focus on the Sovereignty of God) with the note “GOD WINS!”

Ps 53:6 – Wonderful prayer for God’s people (including Gentiles who are grafted into the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob / Israel by faith in Jesus – see Gal 3:14, 26-29) when we feel our overwhelming minority among the unrepentant majority who love to oppress God’s people.

Ps 54 – The title gives the historic context as the events in 1 Sam 23. While running for his life from the unreasonable jealous anger of king Saul, David does NOT just survive, but actively helps others in danger. He leads his men to rescue a town who then betrays his hiding place to king Saul. David AGAIN shows believers who are overwhelmed and under attack how to respond – take our problems to the living God our helper!

Ps 54:4-7 – The END of the story for every believer – full and complete deliverance and joyful thanksgiving to Yahweh forever!

Optional 1 John 1 – 1 John is all about the clear DIFFERENCE that trusting in Jesus makes in the life of a believer. Again, not talking about sinless PERFECTION (see v 8, 10), but there WILL be a clearly different DIRECTION (v 6-7).

Optional Proverbs 22:13-16 – v 13 – yet another verse warning about laziness, and how a sluggard tends to find SOMETHING to use as an excuse. This is a balance to 22:3. Which verse do you need more right now??

Pr 22:15 – Very counter-cultural right now regarding firm discipline in child rearing!