Numbers 33:40-35:34; Luke 5:12-28; Psalm 65:1-13; Proverbs 11:23
Not too long ago, my husband showed me a Facebook post that said, "Four years ago..." and showed a picture of one of our children doing something. That one image, with its accompanying words, brought back a host of memories. Also not too long ago, a friend sent me a photo of us from college, when we were traveling abroad together. Another onslaught of memories.
This is what we see in the end of the nation's travelogue in Numbers 33:40-49. (Mary wrote more about this yesterday.) "This is where you were. This is what you did. This is how God moved and carried and provided." It's a summary of all their years, a reminder of their past as they're on the brink of their future, which is sketched out in the following chapters. "Remember how I led you," God says, "so that you will live long in the land that I'm giving you at last."
Part of that "living long" involves a tremendous respect for the value of life. We see it on both sides of the coin - the value of the person who is killed, but also the value of the person who has done the killing, intentionally or not. Life is precious. My sister is at a funeral today, where the all-too-brief life of a young mom is remembered. The Israelites have watched an entire generation die; they know how tenuous a thing life is. So do the people attending this woman's service. God places enormous worth on human life.
We see Jesus value life, too, both physical and spiritual. I was reminded of Esther's post on Sunday School flannel graphs (see here) as I read the story of the friends who let down the paralytic through the roof! Both this man and the leper find physical relief and freedom - wholeness of life in the body. Sins, too, are forgiven.
These examples of restoration are Jesus' kingdom breaking into the world. Esther challenged us at the beginning of January (see here) to pray each day that God's will would be done on earth just like it is done in heaven. These healings are such events, such moments. So is the calling and response of Levi, who "got up, left everything and followed [Jesus]" (Lk. 5:28, just like the fishermen yesterday!). Oh, that my son Levi - and I!! - would do the same.
Lord, you are a God of great provision. You forgive (Ps. 65:3) our sins; you care for your creation (vs. 9-10); you "overflow with abundance" (vs. 11). May our desires align with your will, ending only in good (Pr. 11:23). For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
- Sarah Marsh
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