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bible reading apr 25

Bible reading for April 25. 

Numbers 2.

"The people of Israel shall camp each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers' houses. They shall camp facing the tent of meeting on every side." (Num 2:2) 

Order and diversity. In this chapter the Lord specifies the arrangement of the tribes around the tabernacle.  Each tribal group, under its own banner, faced the tabernacle, which was the center of the nation.  This reflects a principle, I believe, of the orderliness of God: just as he divided and ordered creation in the first chapters of Genesis, so now he divides and orders his people.  However, all are faced toward the one true and living God as the center which unites them. There was unity and diversity at the same time. In discussing the spiritual gifts distributed among God's people, Paul spoke of a diversity of gifts coming from the same God (1 Cor 12:4-7).  Peter calls this the varied, or manifold, grace of God (1 Pet 4:10).  We see this unity also in the diversity of nations gathered around the throne of God (Rev 7:9; but see also Col 3:11).   

My takeaway: We as believers should enjoy the diversity and unity that God has created.  God's order and variety are good.  The problem with secularism today is that it seeks to celebrate diversity without an underlying unity of principle which comes from God.  To not have that order, with its proper center, is to ultimately have chaos, and not true community with diversity.    


Psalm 36.

"They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light."  (Ps 36:8-9) 

This psalm almost needs no comment.  Well, almost!  What a wonderful praise of God's steadfast love this is, with all the rich images of nature: mountains, clouds, ocean, creatures, feasting, and the shadow of his wings, along with his river, fountain, and light (vv 5-9). How could you paint a more beautiful picture of God's attributes?  As you read, take time to think about each metaphor and what it tells us about God's character.

The preamble (vv 1-4) and conclusion (vv 10-12) are in complete contrast: the wickedness, pride, deceit, and arrogance of evil men. The purpose is not to place some kind of nature-worship against living in the world of humanity, as in, "it's better to be in the woods on Sunday morning rather than in a church service," that sort of thing.  (Of course there may be Sundays that we feel that way, but still...)  Rather, it is to show us the beauty of God's character, as revealed in creation, contrasted with the ugliness of our sin (Ps 19; Rom 1:20).  Sin mars the beauty of holiness.  As a result, we should see our need of the Lord who gives such faithful love, light, food, care, righteousness, wisdom, and salvation to all who take refuge under his wings (36:7). He promises that they will drink from the river of his delights (36:8). As Jesus said, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink" (Jn 7:37). 

My takeaway: do I use the beauty I see in nature as a help, a springboard, to my worship of God?  When I see the beautiful blue sky and clouds, do I think of God's faithful love?  When I see majestic mountains, do I think of God's righteousness?  At the ocean side, do I think of God's deep knowledge and wisdom?  When I see a sparkling mountain stream, do I think of God's life-giving salvation?  Lord, give us eyes to see!      

Photo: Augur Falls, on the Sacandaga River, NY, in 2019. 
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. 
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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