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bible reading apr 29



Bible reading for April 29. 

Numbers 6.

"The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."  (Num 6:24-26)   

Nazirite vow (6:1-21).  A man or woman could set themselves apart for special service to the Lord for a length of time. These were called "Nazarites" (not to be confused with Nazarene, a resident of Nazareth). This period of service was a time of complete dedication to the Lord.  Known examples of life-time Nazarites were Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist.  Read more about this here.

Benediction (6:24-26). You may be familiar with these words as a closing benediction in many church services. The context here is that the priest of the tabernacle, by offering sacrifices on behalf of people, is able to pronounce God's blessing upon them. It's the proclamation of a restored relationship with God. This benediction ("good word") places "the Lord's name upon" the believer (v 27).  Ultimately, this points toward the Lord Jesus, who alone was the One who restored us to God's favor and blessing. Christ accomplished -- with his incarnation, life, death, and resurrection -- the very things we need: God's grace and favor, the blessing of his friendship, preservation, and peace. As the eternal high priest Jesus gave us the Father's name (John 17:6, 11, 12, 26).  It is by Christ's name that we are saved (Acts 4:12).  And we are baptized with the three names of the Trinity (Matt 28:19). Our lives are forever linked to his name, and it's from him that the blessing comes.  

Not just for church services.  Of course, this is a very appropriate benediction for the end of a church meeting, but it is more:  we too serve as priests (1 Pet 2:5-9; Rev 1:6) and so we can pray for and remind others of these blessings we have in Christ's name.  Why not take time and pray this benediction for those you know who need to realize all the blessings they have in Christ (Eph 1:3)? Speak this and pray this for your children, too! 

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Psalm 40.

"He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD." (Psalm 40:3) 

Sweet song of salvation.  This psalm is another personal favorite of mine.  In the early days of my Christian life I would often sing a chorus from the first three verses.  I was so deeply aware that God had taken me from the miry clay of sin and death, and put my feet upon the Rock (himself), and put a new song in my mouth.  

It's about Jesus. Hebrews 10:5-7 tells us that the words of Psalm 40:6-8 are the words of our Lord Jesus, coming into the world, as spoken prophetically by King David. The truth revealed is this: that animal sacrifices could never take away human sin. Only a perfect human mediator could do that. Jesus himself accomplished the Lord's will (Luke 22:42; John 17:4).  And the blessing of the new covenant is that, as believers united to Christ, we also will have his heart: "I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart" (v 8; Jer 31:33). 

Psalm 41.

"Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him..."  (Psalm 41:1) 

This psalm concludes the first division of the Psalms.  There are five books (collections) of psalms just as there are five books of Moses.  In this psalm David is sick in bed, and feeling helpless while some of his powerful associates are wishing that he'd just go ahead and die.  He describes himself as poor, but likely the issue is not money. He is not economically deprived; he is feeling helpless and vulnerable, with no friend but God.   

Not just about money.  Poverty, that is, merely being without money, is not considered a virtue in the Bible.  It may be the result of injustice (Prov 13:23). Or it may be the result of laziness or foolish decisions (Prov 24:30-34). But faith and hope in God are like poverty in many ways: it is to feel helpless and to have nothing left but God's mercy.  Socially, believers in God (like poor people) can be viewed by others with some embarrassment, even by family and friends.  It is to be without worldly pride, resources, and respect.  To be a follower of Christ in this world often means to be without rich and powerful friends, and to be spurned, neglected, or taken advantage of. So, for the "poor in spirit" (as Jesus called them), their security and joy is not in the things they own in this world, but in the Lord himself. 

My takeaway. Is it any wonder then that we go through humbling times?  It may be due to illness, lack of finances, loss of friends, lowered social status, or the scorn of the world.  Yet, it is when we're low, and broken, even humiliated, that we are most aware of our need for the Lord and his mercy. It is then that we see and realize God's wealth and power. He is the friend who never abandons us (Prov 18:24).           



Image credit: photo from desiringgod.org. 
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.
The NET Bible is a free, online resource, and a ministry of bible.org.


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