Today: Psalms 37:10-20; Luke 5:17-22; Numbers 16:36-50; Numbers 17 & 18
Psalms 37 makes complete sense if you view it through the lens of eternal vision. We are surrounded by wickedness. Evil is glorified and extolled in our culture, raised up on social media pedestals and worshipped. Our wealthy elites, today’s royalty, openly curse God and mock the Christian faith. We can focus on this sad state of affairs and feel dejected… Or we can view our situation with eternal vision, as David does in Psalms 37, and understand that ultimately we are victorious.
Which is more important: the “little while” that the wicked will reign on this cursed planet? Or all of eternity when “the humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity?” (v.11) Take heart, friends, eternity lasts much longer than our paltry 75 or so years here in this place. Some day the swords of the wicked will “enter their own heart and their bows will be broken.” (v.15) In the meantime, “the LORD sustains the righteous, and their inheritance will be forever.” (v.18) That is a promise! We need not feel ashamed during this “time of evil” for some day the wicked will “vanish — like smoke they [will] vanish away.” (v.20)
In Luke 5, the Pharisees and teachers of the law had “come from every village of Galilee and Judea, and from Jerusalem.” (v.17) Had they come specifically to see this Jesus they had heard about?
I think that Jesus first tells the paralyzed man, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you,” BECAUSE the religious leaders were there. Jesus knew that they would think His words were blasphemous. He didn’t usually tell people their sins were forgiven before He healed them. This message was purely for the benefit of the religious leaders.
He told the man his sins were forgiven and then He waited… He let the religious men chew on it for a while. Imagine the paralyzed man sitting there. I wonder if he was thinking, “Is that all?” or did he feel a change within His soul? We aren’t told; we only know how Jesus’ words affected the religious men — this theater was all for them anyway.
Jesus wanted to make sure they got it. He then told them, “Which is easier, to say: ‘You sins are forgiven you’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk?’ But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins… I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher, and go home.” (v.23-24) And the paralyzed man jumped up and walked home!
WE know that Jesus had authority to forgive sins. But the religious men had no idea. There is no way to SEE when someone’s sins are forgiven. But a paralyzed man jumping up and walking? That is pretty obvious! The crowd was astonished, struck with fear. They responded by glorifying God.
We aren’t told how the religious men responded but I suspect they weren’t glorifying God along with the crowds. They continued skulking around behind Jesus, grumbling against Him for eating and drinking with the “tax collectors and sinners.” They didn’t like this guy, Jesus. He exposed their arrogance and made them look bad.
Wow, did those Israelites had a lot of nerve! They had JUST watched Korah and his fellow mutineers get swallowed up by the earth. Yet immediately they started grumbling again against Moses and Aaron. I think I would have kept my mouth shut!
God was done with those incessant grumblers! “Move aside, Moses!” He said, “Let me at ’em! I’m gonna burn ’em alive!” (v.45 paraphrased)
If I were Moses, I think I would have said, “Certainly, God! Please and thank you!!”
But nope. Once again, Moses falls on his face and begs for God’s mercy on the Israelites.
See why I love this guy, Moses, so much? Was anyone in the Old Testament ever more humble? More selfless? More patient? More compassionate than Moses?!?