Bible reading for April 28.
"Speak to the people of Israel, When a man or woman commits any of the sins that people commit by breaking faith with the LORD, and that person realizes his guilt, he shall confess his sin that he has committed..." (Num 5:6-7)
The water of bitterness. This chapter continues with the theme of holiness among the people of God. One ceremony is described in detail, that for a husband who suspects his wife of being unfaithful. Both the OT and the NT condemn adultery outright for both men and women (Lev 20:20; Mark 10:11-12; Heb 13:4). This particular ceremony is for a suspicious husband who is accusing his wife of infidelity. If the woman is found innocent, it provides a public vindication for her. Read Constable's notes on this chapter in the NET Bible online for help in understanding this passage.
This passage highlights to us the perennial problem of unfaithfulness and jealousy in people, both men and women. Marriage was given as a union of man and wife in order to display the beauty of God's covenantal love. There should be mutual devotion, trust, and loyalty. But there are so many obstacles which thwart love in this world: deception, discontentment, suspicion, unfaithfulness, jealousy, etc. How glad we should be that in Christ we are on our way to a new world where there will be no such barriers to love any longer.
In 1738 Jonathan Edwards preached a series of sermons on 1 Corinthians 13. On verse 8, "Love never ends," he said this about heaven..."There are many principles contrary to love, that make this world like a tempestuous sea. Selfishness, and envy, and revenge, and jealousy, and kindred passions keep life on earth in a constant tumult, and make it a scene of confusion and uproar, where no quiet rest is to be enjoyed except in renouncing this world and looking to another. But oh! what rest is there in that world which the God of peace and love fills with his own gracious presence, and in which the Lamb of God lives and reigns, filling it with the brightest and sweetest beams of his love; where there is nothing to disturb or offend, and no being or object to be seen that is not surrounded with perfect amiableness and sweetness; where the saints shall find and enjoy all that they love, and so be perfectly satisfied; where there is no enemy and no enmity; but perfect love in every heart and to every being; where there is perfect harmony among all the inhabitants..." (Jonathan Edwards, "Heaven, a World of Love")
The new creation will be a world without suspicion, jealousy, deception, and unfaithfulness. Amen, come, Lord Jesus!
"O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!" (Psalm 39:4)
The danger of the tongue. How many times have we said something and then wished we could take it back immediately. Rewind, please! But unfortunately, there is no do-over once words have been spoken and heard. The world of social media has even amplified this reality. No matter if you hit "delete", somebody somewhere now has a copy of what you posted. The problem of the tongue is an ongoing, age-old human problem. Language is such a great gift, but like other wonderful gifts it can be used to cause great damage (James 1:19-20; 3:1-12). How much more, when we realize that God hears all of our words (Matt 12:36-37).
David tries to refrain his speech but cannot hold it back. Likely, he is tempted to voice an angry complaint against God. It is one thing to bring our emotions to the Lord, and it is another to speak in unbelief about him. We begin to think we know better than God! It is a sad sight to see believers act and talk like unbelievers. David wisely (and painfully) becomes aware of his frailty and vanity before God (vv 4-6). He realizes that he stands before a God who is eternal, all-knowing, and infinitely wise.
C. H. Spurgeon comments on this passage: "Before the Eternal, all the age of frail man is less than one ticking of a clock. Verily, every man at his best state is altogether vanity. This is the surest truth, that nothing about man is either sure or true. Take man at his best, he is but a man, and a man is a mere breath, unsubstantial as the wind. Man is settled, as the margin has it, and by divine decree it is settled that he shall not be settled. He is constant only in inconstancy. His vanity is his only verity; his best, of which he is vain, is but vain; and this is verily true of every man, that everything about him is every way fleeting. This is sad news for those whose treasures are beneath the moon; those whose glorying is in themselves may well hang the flag half mast; but those whose best estate is settled upon them in Christ Jesus in the land of unfading flowers, may rejoice that it is no vain thing in which they trust." -- Charles H. Spurgeon, on Psalm 39:5 in The Treasury of David. (The Treasury is Spurgeon's commentary on Psalms and available online at biblestudytools.com.)
Image credit: Photo by Dmitry Vechorko on Unsplash.
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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