(Numbers 30, Psalm 74; Optional 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Proverbs 24:5-9)
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STARTING to catch back up, I hope 😊. SEE May 11 for SPECIAL NOTE on format change…
NUMBERS 30 – A chapter on the importance of keeping vows. Why here? 1) Vows often involved with sacrifices and offerings (see Num 15:3, 8; Num 29:39) and we just had two chapters on those. 2) Vows often made during battle (Num 21:2), and they’re being prepared for a whole season of battle to conquer the land that God is giving them. 3) God has kept all HIS vows to them and is now reminding them of the importance to Him that His people keep their word (compare Jesus reaffirming and deepening our understanding of this in Matt 5:33-37).
Num 30:3-16 – Very counter-cultural to our current norms, clear that there IS a difference between male and female and that a husband and father have a unique leadership role in their home. But Num 27:1-11, 30:9, 36:6-8 are all counter-cultural for the cultures of THAT time (and many still today), being clear that there does not have to be a man in a woman’s life to complete her.
PSALM 74 – Mostly sad, a cry to God after some huge sad event in Israel, very likely the destruction of the Temple in 586 BC. Like so many Psalms, we have a God-inspired model of how to take our anguish to God. Clearly laid out are the FEELINGS of the Psalmist (it FEELS like God has forgotten His people – v 1 and has His hand in His pocket rather than judging the wicked – v 11). Also clear cries to God for rescue and help (and note the appeal to God’s character as the covenant promise keeper in v 20 and that it’s God’s name and cause being reviled – v 18, 22).
Ps 74:12-17 – Don’t miss the sweet encouragement tucked in the middle of all this sadness. The Psalmist is reminding his FEELINGS of Biblical TRUTH. God IS the all-powerful King and Creator. From the wonderful old hymn This Is My Father’s World: “This is my Father’s world, oh let me ne’er forget that though the wrong SEEMS of so strong, God IS THE RULER YET.”
Optional 1 Cor 1:18-31 – Yet another section in the Bible that should both encourage AND humble God’s people. Encourage because if we’re God’s it’s because He CHOSE us (even if it’s clear that the world doesn’t prize most of us). Humbled because it’s not about how great WE are, but completely about how great and gracious GOD is! The Corinthian church tended to get excited about the wrong things, and 1 Cor 1:30-31 reminds us that anything good in the life of a believer is because of GOD, so get excited about HIM!