Today: Proverbs 8:1-11; Luke 5:33-39; Numbers 19 & 20; Numbers 21:1-3

Proverbs 8 – Wisdom

Wisdom is the practical manifestation of truth. And ultimate truth is God Himself. When Solomon wrote about wisdom, He was actually talking about God. Jesus’ sacrifice allows us to unite with God and we do that via the Holy Spirit (simply one of God’s forms) residing within us.

In other words, God is wisdom, and that wisdom already lives within His followers. If we only learn to listen to it, we can also be wise! And we do that by seeking God, spending time with Him in prayer, reading His letters to us (the Bible). These are the ways that we learn how to hear and listen to God’s voice, the voice of wisdom.

So many folks spend their life running after wealth (“silver” and “jewels”) but WISDOM is the most valuable prize!

Lord, You are more precious than silver.
Lord, You are more costly than gold.
Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds.
Nothing I desire compares with You.

Luke 5

“No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment… and no one pours new wine into old wineskins…” Luke 5:36-37

The Pharisees continued picking at Jesus, trying to find fault, trying to cancel Him. They were fake news, desperately trying to hang onto their power and convince the people that Jesus was the bad guy.

They asked Him, why don’t Your disciples fast and pray all the time like John the Baptist’s disciples? Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners? Why are you unlawfully picking grain on the Sabbath?

Jesus’ answers to them boldly proclaim His identity. He is the one who forgives sins, heals our souls, the Great Physician, our bridegroom, Lord of the Sabbath.

Jesus’ physical presence there was a brand new thing that had never happened before. It required a complete shift in thinking to understand. Jesus used examples from their daily lives — wineskins, repairing garments. If He were to tell us this story today, He might refer to it as new technology.  You can’t put a 3.5″ floppy disk into a Macbook Pro. You can’t post a MySpace page on TikTok. The old ways have become irrelevant. The LETTER of the law shifted to the SPIRIT of the law. The physical curse was replaced with the spiritual Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus changed EVERYTHING.

Published as a black on white lithograph by the H. Schile Company of New York, the color added by hand. 1874
Published as a black on white lithograph by the H. Schile Company of New York, the color added by hand. 1874

Numbers 19

Remember that the entire purpose of all the picky rules and crazy laws was to point to Jesus, to show the Israelites how futile it was to try to save themselves, to show them how desperately they needed a Savior.

The priests had to go through intricate, tedious rituals to be cleansed, over and over again. All kinds of things made people “unclean,” a lot of things they couldn’t even help. There were a lot of sins they could even commit unintentionally.

All these books of intricate tedious laws that God slapped onto them were hopelessly impossible to follow. And that was the whole point.

"Striking the Rock" painting by Marc Chagall

Numbers 20

My goodness, those grumbling Israelites were tiresome! I just want to smack them!! God and Moses had much more patience than I would have had.

There was no water in the wilderness of Zin. And so once again, the Israelites argued with Moses, declaring that they would have preferred to perish with their brothers (of course). Everything was horrible and unfair! They were offended!! Life is too hard!!! (sound familiar?) What ungrateful fools they were.

God told Moses to speak to a rock and He would make much needed water pour out of it. And Moses, who up until then had done everything according to God’s direction, decided to change it up a little. He struck the rock with his staff instead of speaking to it.

God caused water to gush out abundantly anyway. But that was the sin… oh the sin… that kept Moses out of the Promised Land.

My heart aches for Moses every time I read this story. I would have been bashing that rock until my staff splintered into a million pieces. I FEEL Moses’ frustration! I understand exactly why he did it. C’mon God, PLEASE grant some mercy to your dear friend, Moses!

But it was not to be… There are a lot of hard things to digest in these Old Testament stories. For me, this is one of the most difficult, because I love Moses so much. So many people reject God because of the difficult Old Testament stuff, because these things seem so unfair and unloving to us. How could we follow a God like that?

My only answer to that is Jesus. We can’t understand God’s ways. All I can do is look at what God did by sending Jesus. And that is enough for me.