You may feel a little ragged from the run, but you are stronger today than you were three months ago. And, you’re planting seeds into your soul that will yield a harvest for years to come.
If, for some reason, you’ve been forced to drop out of the race here or there, that’s okay too.
Everyone who finishes, wins.
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Deuteronomy 16. How fortuitous that we would read about Passover during Holy Week!
I never noticed this before, but Moses refers to the Passover bread as the “bread of affliction” (Deuteronomy 16:3). It’s the only time the phrase is used in Scripture. The “bread of affliction” refers to their time in slavery and deprivation while in bondage to Egypt. But it also symbolizes their deliverance from captivity and freedom.
The reason why the people couldn’t include yeast in their bread or the evening Passover sacrifice to remain until morning was because both symbolized the presence of spoilage.
The Feast of Weeks mentioned in verses 9-12 is better known as Pentecost.
In his summary of the Feast of Tabernacles, Moses tells the people to be joyful in the celebration and that as a result, their “joy will be complete.” This is the only time the phrase is used in the Old Testament, but it is used six times in the New Testament. If you want to learn more about how you joy can be complete, look up John 3:29; 15:11; 16:24; Philippians 2:2; 1 John 1:4; and 2 John 12.
Deuteronomy 17. Reading through the Pentateuch, it’s hard to escape the fact that our present laws governing western civilization are built upon Old Testament laws. First, God issues a command that judges must not take bribes. Then he says that no person can be put to death for doing evil in the eyes of the Lord except for the testimony of two or three witnesses. But most interesting (to me at least), if a person is put to death, the witness must be the first one to “pull the trigger,” so to speak. If the accuser is lying, then the he must wrestle with the guilt of putting another person to death for the rest of his life. That probably provided some kind of deterrent to false witnesses.
Reading over the rules concerning Israel’s future king in verses 14-20, I couldn’t help thinking about King Solomon, who violated these very commands.
Reading through the psalm, however, it quickly becomes obvious that Solomon could never fulfill his request. Only through Jesus, the king of kings, could his request become reality.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
Although we’ve studied the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 earlier in the gospels, what struck me this time (Luke 9:10-17) was how Jesus’ disciples limited their leader. After watching Jesus calm the storm, cast out demons, and raise a little girl from the dead—and then ministering on Jesus’ behalf with the authority to drive out demons and heals diseases, they still doubted him.
We read that they reported to Jesus what they had done and then took a long, hard look at the large, hungry crowd.
“Send the crowd away,” they instructed Jesus.
“You give them something to eat,” he retorted.
“We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.”
Despite their first-hand, front row seat watching Jesus in action, the disciples still limited him according to the confines of this temporal existence.
But Jesus is so much bigger than that!
And I’m no different than the disciples. So often when I encounter a problem, I try to solve it on my own rather than invite Jesus—the Lord of heaven and earth—into my difficulty.
Since returning from my getaway almost a week ago, I’ve felt extremely tired and lethargic. Granted, I hobbled through a marathon the week before, but my weariness was beyond explanation. While laying in bed at 2:30 this morning contemplating another day of exhaustion, I finally prayed Jesus, would you please deliver me from this lethargy?
And you know what? Today I felt 100%.
My recovery might be a coincidence, but then again, I might be assuming too little of Jesus.
Obviously, God is greater than any formula, but it prompts me to ask myself, How often do I respond to problems as if Jesus can do nothing to change them?
When I observe the interaction between Jesus and his disciples, it quickly becomes obvious that he continually tried to convince them that he was greater than their minds could conceive.
If you’re a disciple of Jesus, he’s probably trying to convince you of the same thing.
- What spoke to you in today’s reading?
- What everyday problems do you inadvertently leave Jesus out of? Why do you think you do this?
- How can you better include Jesus in your plans?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.