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bible reading may 20

Bible reading for May 20: 

Numbers 29.

"These you shall offer to the LORD at your appointed feasts, in addition to your vow offerings and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings, and for your grain offerings, and for your drink offerings, and for your peace offerings." (Numbers 29:39)

SPECIFIC DIRECTIONS. The offerings are to be made "according to the rule" (v 6; cf Num 15:24; Lev 9:16).  Seven times in this chapter the term "prescribed quantities" is used. The Lord is specific in his instructions. "So Moses told the people of Israel everything just as the LORD had commanded Moses" (v 40). When we consider the laws that God gave Israel we are struck by their beauty, reflecting what a world of love and justice would look like.  At the same time, however, we see the burden which the law brings. Not only are there many commandments and many details, but also the very nature of the law provokes our sinful nature (Rom 7:9-14).  

JESUS WAS TORAH-OBSERVANT. Life is to be lived according to God's specifications. Jesus lived his life with holy precision. He was completely Torah-observant, fulfilling the law both in its intent and in its specifics, with joyful obedience to his Father. He did not always line up with Pharisaical applications of the law, but he fulfilled all that God demanded. Jesus was born under the law (Gal 4:4-5), fulfilled the law (Matt 5:17), and bore the curse of the law for us (Gal 3:13). 

AND NOW GRACE. In debating the place of circumcision, diet, and ceremonial law in the lives of Gentile believers in Christ, the apostles and elders met in Jerusalem in AD 49 (Acts 15) to determine what aspects of the law were to be in force for Christians. After much debate Peter said, "Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will." (Acts 15:10-11)  The Mosaic law with its many demands and details were an unbearable yoke, designed to lead Israel to the mercy of the Savior. In him we are forgiven and freed from guilt before God. And through the Holy Spirit, God's moral law has been written upon our hearts. We obey freely as beloved children of God.  We also have been freed from the burden of the many ceremonial ordinances that God gave to Israel. Grace brings freedom (John 1:16-17; Gal 5:1).

TAKEAWAY. In Romans 6 the Apostle Paul says that we have died to sin, and in Romans 7 he says that we have died to the Law. Why are both of these truths important? Do you ever feel a tension between freedom and obligation before God? How do you resolve that? 


Psalm 73.

"Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you." (Psalm 73:25) 

IS HE WORTH IT? The Psalmist Asaph (see 1 Chron 15:16-17) is asking: what benefit is it to serve the Lord when others don't, and yet they seem better off than we are? This psalm is categorized as "wisdom" or "didactic" (like Psalm 49), the purpose being to teach a life lesson. Why do godless people prosper? Why doesn't God judge the rich and powerful who spurn him? Sometimes, it seems pointless to seek the Lord, all the while being treated poorly in society, and while others -- who don't give God the time of day -- are blessed beyond measure? Asaph said he was worn out by trying to understand it (v 16). But the turning point came in the presence of God (v 17) when he understood how the story would end (vv 18-20). He saw that he had been resentful and brutish (vv 21-22). And then he spoke of all the blessings he had in the Lord (vv 23-28). "Portion" in verse 26 refers to inheritance. Asaph said that the Lord -- not land, family, possessions -- was his ultimate inheritance. 

PERSON AND BLESSING. Sometimes it is really hard to follow the Lord, to give up everything for his sake. Sometimes it seems too hard (see John 6:68-69). Satan would lie to us and present the pleasures of sin, but he does not tell us of the eternal judgment to follow. Jesus tells us the truth about hardship we may incur in following him, but he promises that this is followed by eternal pleasure. And even in this life there are benefits to following Christ (Matt 19:27-30). So, which would we choose: temporary pleasure, followed by eternal pain? Or, temporary pain, followed by eternal pleasure? Here's another principle: If you seek blessings (or things) apart from the Lord you shall lose both the Lord and those blessings. If you seek the Lord himself you will have every blessing added (Rom 8:32). 

TAKEAWAY. What people do you tend to resent or to envy in their power and prosperity?  Go through verses 23-28 and list all the spiritual blessings you possess in the Lord. (See also Eph 1:3-14.)  Which of those truths do you most need to realize right now? 

Image credit: Photo of Torah display at Trinity International University, Chicago, by Taylor Wilcox 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.
The NET Bible is a free, online resource, and a ministry of


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