Today: Proverbs 10:31-32; Proverbs 11:1-8; John 1:29-51; Joshua 17 & 18

Proverbs 11

“When pride comes, then comes dishonor; but with the humble there is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2

Pride is the oldest sin, thinking we can figure things out without God, thinking we can save ourselves… that is pride. It undergirds every problem known to humanity. Every single possible sin is rooted within pride in one way or another. Pride will determine whether or not a person can even perceive Jesus Christ. Let me explain what I mean…

The ability to come to Jesus or not all depends upon our starting position. If we begin from a position of pride, assuming we can figure it all out using our own human brains (as if our own human brains could be capable of figuring it all out)… if we begin from this position of pride, we will end up not believing Jesus is the only way to God. It just doesn’t make sense to our human brains. If pride is our starting point, then we will come up with all kinds of ways that we can discount Jesus and save ourselves. Pride cannot accept that Jesus is the only way to salvation.

But if we begin from a position of humility, understanding that our human brains cannot possibly be smart enough to understand the One who created the universe… if we start from that position of humility and seek the answer from God, He WILL reveal the truth of Jesus Christ to us as plainly as the noses on our faces. When we humbly ask God to enlighten us, He will open up our minds to understand the truth of Jesus so clearly and confidently that we won’t be able to believe how blind to it we had been before.

It all depends upon our starting position… pride or humility… dishonor or wisdom. Where is your starting position?

"The Baptism of Christ" giclee print by Peter Howson

John 1

“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

These are the words of John the Baptist as he introduced Jesus. John had not at first recognized Jesus, his relative. But God had told John that he would “‘see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.'” (v.33) So this is how God revealed to John the Baptist who the Messiah was. John saw “‘the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven and He remained upon Him.'” (v.32)

It may seem like John the Baptist didn’t do so much. We aren’t told of him accomplishing a single miracle. But John the Baptist introduced Jesus Christ to the world. God chose to reveal Jesus’ identity to John the Baptist first, before anyone else had any idea that the Messiah now walked among them. That is quite significant indeed!

"Christ Among the Spirits" painting by J. Kirk Richards

Joshua 18

I’m not a numerology person but there are some interesting numbers in the Bible that I think are significant. There were 12 tribes of Israel (from the 12 sons of Abraham) and Jesus selected 12 disciples. In Joshua 18 we learn that some of the tribes had still “not divided their inheritance” (v.2). Joshua told them, “‘How long will you put off entering to take possession of the land which the LORD the God of your fathers, has given you?'” (v.3)

I don’t believe these correlating numbers are coincidental. I think these parallel numbers hold a clue God has given us indicating how He wants us to view the stories in the Old Testament. The Old Testament accounts are PHYSICAL representations of our current SPIRITUAL situation. The Promised Land was a physical place God promised to the Israelites. Today our Promised Land is God’s presence, the Holy Spirit, that is promised to believers in Christ. In the next time period, the Promised Land is heaven itself.

God often starts small, gives an example of how He works, and then expands this way of working on a grander scale. He started by choosing one man (Abraham) and then one people (Abraham’s descendants) and led them through a succession of miracles and trials to give us a physical example of how He now works with ALL of us in the spiritual realm.

Jesus’ arrival was the beginning of a new time period when God broadened his Promised Land to everyone who is willing to “take possession of the land which the LORD the God of your fathers, has given you.” It was no accident that Jesus chose 12 disciples. No longer is God’s promised land possessed only by those twelve Israelite tribes. It now rests upon the shoulders of those twelve men who were tasked with taking this new message to the rest of the world.

So many people are put off by the Old Testament. Granted it was a bloody, physical time… but that is kind of the whole point. When we understand that the entire Old Testament points to Jesus, and is one long complex parable showing us how the Holy Spirit works in us NOW, it takes on a new exciting depth of meaning that is incredibly relevant to us today.