Saturday, March 18, 2017

March 18

Numbers 26:52-28:15; Luke 3:1-22; Psalm 61:1-8; Proverbs 11:16-17

Isn't today's reading chock-full of good things?  I love it when my OYB reading is like this: every portion of the reading feels meaningful and beautiful.  I know that all Scripture is God's word and is, therefore, useful to me, but I really enjoy it when my emotional response matches that absolute truth!

Did that section on Zelophehad's daughters surprise you?  Aren't they bold, to go before Moses and demand that he "give [them] property among [their] father's relatives" (Num. 27:4)?  And the Lord responds immediately in their favor, not merely granting this particular group of five women the right to own property, but establishing a precedent in Israel for the inheritance of women.  "If a man dies and leaves no son, turn his inheritance over to his daughter" (vs. 8).  I've been reading Regency novels recently (I love myself some Jane Austen!), and as recently as 200 years ago, males and property were strongly linked, pushing women to the periphery.  Yet here's God, through Moses, thousands of years ago, giving women the right to own land.  Amazing!

Isn't Moses so tender?  You'd think after all the frustrations and even the consequences of his own rashness that Moses would be glad to be done with his leadership.  Instead, Moses is worried about the people after he's gone, petitioning God for a new generation of leaders.  His concern that the nation have someone "to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in" (vs. 17) is very fatherly.  As a parent myself, I can only imagine how I'll feel upon my deathbed, concerned for the on-going welfare of my children.

The historicity of the Bible always catches my attention, too.  Luke's gospel is clearly grounded in a historical context.  We've seen it before, in the beginning of Ch. 2, and here again in Luke 3:1-2.  Luke gives political reference points as well as religious ones.  I wonder why this specificity is so important.

And isn't the practicality of John's preaching awesome?  I'm the daughter of a preacher, and I know the value and necessity of an application piece in any sermon.  John has an answer for each group listening to him: generosity to the poor; honest tax collection; rightful use of power, rather than abuse (see Lk. 3:11, 13, 14).  And isn't it interesting that Roman soldiers have followed John into the wilderness?  The message of "repentance for the forgiveness of sins" (vs. 3) appeals to everyone.  It's too beautiful to be limited.

Last in my crazy quilt observations today: the "kindhearted woman [who] gains respect" (Pr. 11:16).  The Hebrew word translated "kind-hearted" literally means "gracious."  I'm challenged by those words, and I'm curious about why this stellar woman gains respect and not love.  I'd love to be characterized by any of those words.

God's word is so full of good things.  I hope you experienced that today.

- Sarah Marsh

How did God speak to you in Scripture today? Click here to share your reflections on God's word or read past posts. We'd love to hear from you. 

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