What do you do when you enter the presence of someone famous or important? When Wayne and Garth from the movie Wayne’s World met rocker Alice Cooper, they fell to their knees and chanted “We’re not worthy.” If you’d like to relive the moment, just click on the video clip above.
But imagine God kneeling before you. He wouldn’t say, “I’m not worthy” because he eminently is. But he does kneel before us to serve us.
A little further in today’s devotion, we’re going to take a brief departure from The Word Made Fresh to read an interesting post from yesterday. Please join me!
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Numbers 8. In verse 8 we read that Israel commissioned the Levites by laying hands on them. This symbolically resembled the same thing the priests would do before sacrificing an animal. And that’s what it was essentially.
The wave offering, mentioned in verse 11, was an offering of dedication.
Numbers 9:1-14. The New Bible Commentary explains the reasoning behind the concerns of some people who were forced to miss Passover because they touched a dead body: “The problem was very serious: men who were unclean through contact with a corpse, could not join the people in bringing the Lord’s offering. There was a real fear of being removed from the community. Therefore an additional law was given, that they must keep the Passover one month later.”
Mark 13:14-37. This chapter in Mark has been called “the little apocalypse” hearkening to Revelation, which is also called “The Apocalypse.”
The first question most people ask about this passage is, “What’s the ‘abomination that causes desolation?’” It refers to a tragic event in the second century B.C. when
In the second century BC, Antiochus Epiphanes, the king of the Seleucid Empire, set up an idol in the temple thereby defiling it. But Jesus is speaking of another abomination that causes desolation which will occur in the future. Most scholars believe Jesus’ words were fulfilled in 70 AD when the Roman armies ransacked Jerusalem and destroyed the temple.
It’s always hard to know what to do about passages like this. That’s why Jesus advised his listeners in verse 33 to “Be on guard! Be alert!”
Psalm 50. Verses 8-15 form the heart of this psalm. To update this into a 21st century understanding, God is saying, “Your good works and generous offerings are good, but what I really want from you is gratitude and for you to turn to me when you’re in trouble.”
That last part really speaks to me. What does God want from us? He wants us to call on him when we’re in trouble. Usually when I’m in trouble, I find reasons not to call on God. I convince myself, He must be tired of me for asking for help or I don’t deserve anything from him. But that assumes God is exactly like me, which he isn’t.
Proverbs 10:29. “The way of the Lord is a refuge for the righteous, but it is the ruin of those who do evil.” We live in a society that values “bad” boys and “bad” girls, people who refuse to live by the rules. At the same time, it laughs at morality and the people who seek to live by a biblical standard. But living righteously can be a refuge, a strong tower where we can run and be safe.
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YOUR SIDE OF THE CONVERSATION
Today, instead of exploring a nugget of inspiration from today’s reading, I thought I’d share with you a very interesting post that Ephraiyim shared with us from Numbers 6:24:
“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
Here is what he shared, which comes from the Ancient Hebrew Research Center:
Most are familiar with the beginning of the Aaronic blessing; “May the LORD bless you and keep you” (Numbers 6:24). We often read or say these words without really knowing what they mean. The words “bless” and “keep” are abstract words which we are familiar with in English. But, the ancient Hebrews were concrete thinkers who related all things to concrete ideas.
The Hebrew word for “bless” is “barak” which literally means “to kneel”. A berakah is a “blessing” but more literally, the bringing of a gift to another on a bended “knee”. When we bless God or others, we are in essence, bringing a gift on bended “knee.” A true king is one who serves his people, one who will humble himself and come to his people on a bended knee.
The Hebrew word for “keep” is “shamar” which literally means “to guard”. A related word is “shamiyr” which means “thorn”. When the shepherd was out in the wilderness with his flock, he would construct a corral of thorn bushes to protect the sheep from predators, a guarding over of the sheep.
With this more Hebraic concept of Hebrew words we can now read the beginning of the Aaronic blessing as, “Yahweh will kneel before you presenting gifts and will guard you with a hedge of protection”. The remaining portions of the Aaronic blessing can also be examined for its original Hebraic meaning revealing the following:
Yahweh will kneel before you presenting gifts and will guard you with a hedge of protection, Yahweh will illuminate the wholeness of his being toward you bringing order and he will beautify you, Yahweh will lift up his wholeness of being and look upon you and he will set in place all you need to be whole and complete.
Meditate on that one awhile! Thanks, Ephraiyim, for sharing this with us.
- What spoke to you in today’s reading?
- Taking Jesus advise to “be alert,” how can you be alert?
- How does it feel to envision God kneeling before you? What does this tell us about God?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.